Potential New GEN3 Owner?

DWS44

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Hi Everyone...I'm Dave. I'm just south of Charlotte, NC. Hopeful you might indulge a few newb questions. :)

Some quick backstory. I'll admit straight away, Corvettes have always been my first love (hopefully you didn't just stop reading. hehe). Been lucky enough to have owned four of them, including my current, a 2017 C7 GSCE. Always manual trans...never owned an Automatic anything. That said, I've long admired Vipers as well and owning one has been on the bucket list. With C8's still being all but unobtanium, I've been thinking that now might be a good time to add a Viper to the garage to play with for a little while. (This would be a third vehicle for me, actually. Daily is a 2018 JL Rubicon)

I've been watching the various sites like AutoTrader, Cars.com, etc. for several months trying to get a feel for what's out there. I prefer a Coupe over a roadster, and it seems like the Gen3 is around my wheelhouse for what I'm comfortable $$$-wise. Early on, I was enamored with a VOI9, white w/ blue stripes, for sale in the area, but it sold before I got really serious. I love the classic Viper blue w/ white stripes of the 06 Launch Edition. Seems when they pop up, they seem to start in the low 80's and work up from there, include one that has popped up that I'm considering looking at. I guess that is question one...am I insane for considering a Gen3 in the $80k range, or does that seem appropriate in the post-Covid world for the Gen 3 Viper market moving forward?

Seems like Vipers are fairly reliable for a high-performance car, or am I off-base in thinking that? Hate to say it, but having mostly bought new or 1-2 year old used cars in my time, save for a 1981 Corvette I had for a few years...I feel woefully unprepared for looking at one of these cars condition-wise. Any fast tips for problem areas to look for in a Gen3 (or Gen4) Viper? I've bought cars over long distance before, but never gone the route of having an inspection done, so not sure the best way to go about having one done. Or the etiquette for requesting if a long-distance dealer will allow one for that matter? Out of curiosity... any of you Viper experts in Ohio with any thoughts/recommendations in the Cleveland area?

Lastly...probably the obvious one...I've never driven a Viper. Heck, I've only once ever sat it one. I've read the "Keeping Viper Owners Safe" thread on the board here, which was very helpful. I've driven a lot of fast cars over the years. I've been through the Corvette School @ Spring Mountain, and driven some other supercars on the track via exotic car driving experiences, but I have no delusions as to how much of that translates to the power of the Viper. I wouldn't say I'm scared off by a Viper, but at the same time, I don't want to embarrass myself (or worse) and be "that guy" the first chance I get to drive one...if a dealer will even let me test drive one. I've always been a fairly docile driver on the streets no matter what I'm driving, so I'm hopeful that could translate to safe Viper driving, but just not sure what to expect from the legends of Vipers "trying to **** you" lol. Didn't think twice about buying new Corvettes w/o driving, but I have a hard time thinking about paying $80k+ for something this different w/o at least trying one first.

So...if you read this far...thanks! I'd love any wisdom y'all feel like tossing my way, or direct me to any similar posts for reading if you'd rather.
 

MoparMap

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Hey Dave, thanks for stopping by! I actually grew up on Corvettes as well. Price to performance they are probably still the best value out there, just a different driving experience. As for some of your questions, a lot of it just comes down to what you're willing to pay for. If you a dead set on a coupe, then that will pretty much drive a lot of the pricing you're going to see. The gen 3 only had the coupe for the last year of production, so it's going to be very limited for availability and higher prices as you've seen. That being said, if you're comfortable with the $80k kind of price tag, then I'd suggest expanding your search to gen 4s as well (08-10). Pretty sure you can still find some in that price range, and the looks are basically the same (mostly just different hood vents). Plus, you get the added power of the new engine as well with some of the other upgrades. $80k for a gen 3 is a bit wild in my head, but then again the particular ones you have in mind are more collectors, so it makes some sense.

Regarding reliability, they are pretty rock solid, especially if you're just going to cruise around in it and have fun. There are a couple small preventative maintenance things you can do depending on what gen you end up with. Both have oil cooler lines that like to weep at the crimps over time. Never heard of a blown hose or anything like that, just a leak. Easy enough to fix with a kit that converts to AN style fittings. The gen 3s also have a similar issue with the power steering line leaking around a quick connect fitting. Some of these have actually blown off before because of the higher pressure. Same fix though, there is a kit to convert to AN style fittings. Otherwise they are pretty dang bulletproof with just standard fluid maintenance. The gen 3s did have some oiling system issues when pushed ******* a track (I've fallen victim twice now), but for everyday street driving you'd likely never have a problem. I did 120,000 miles on my car with great oil reports along the way and never had an issue.

As for drivability, don't let people intimidate you too much. The main thing about Vipers that I think catches more people off guard is just the large amount of low end torque. I think most people expect to have to wind an engine up to make it do stuff, but the Viper makes 400+ ft-lbs of torque pretty much right off idle if you nail it and I have the dyno sheets to prove it. That's more than a lot of other cars will make peak at 5000+ rpm. However, the other thing to remember is you can make any torque number up to that as well, it's all just controlled by your foot. Quick hard stabs of the throttle when you aren't paying attention can break tires loose a lot faster than other cars that don't have the same kind of torque. That being said, if you drive it like a normal car, it drives like a normal car. Sounds dumb, but hopefully you get what I mean. I daily drove mine for years until my wife's back wouldn't let her ride in it regularly and I never had any problems or concerns. You don't have to set records or go full throttle or nothing every stoplight. Use good judgement and just pay attention and you should be fine. You've got experience with higher horsepower rear wheel drive cars in the Vettes, so I don't think it's going to be like something coming from a front wheel drive Honda or something like that. My dad had a base 2017 C7 for a while I got the chance to drive. Was a nice car and certainly had performance, but for me at least it just wasn't quite as fun as the Viper. Everything in the Vette felt just one step removed and less direct if that makes any sense. The steering was just the smallest bit more vague, the brakes and throttle not quite as direct, etc. Both might turn similar times on the track, but I just prefer the feel of the Viper.
 

NBFSRT10

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80K price range like @MoparMap mentioned Gen 4 would be attainable. I just recently purchased my very first Viper about 2 weeks ago and of course you respect the machine but something I learned, from when I bought my first motorcycle, “the machine is only as deadly as YOU make it”. Said and done in the current market I bought a Gen 3 roadster in red with 12K miles on it for $65K. Steep no doubt but that’s just the market we are in. Again I am a new owner and have yet to truly feel what it can do but the notion that they constantly want to k_ _ _ you is not true, they just encourage you to want to push the limit and rightfully so the car is amazing in design and mechanics for its time. Any other questions again for me being a new owner and learning the vehicle day by day right now feel free to PM me.
 

MoparMap

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The comparison to a motorcycle is probably one of the best I've heard for the Viper. Both are extremely capable and high performance in the correct hands, and also deathtraps in the wrong hands. Respect the machine and learn its limits and you should have years of enjoyment. I suppose the other thing to remember is that the Viper (other than the gen 5) doesn't really have any nannies to save you. ABS is about it, so it's not just about knowing the car, it's about knowing your surroundings as well. I know we can't all predict sand and other stuff on the road that might impair traction, but paying attention and being aware of what the car is doing goes a long way to keeping you safe, regardless of what kind of vehicle you drive.
 

Mamba_153

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Welcome. I owned two corvettes in my past. I now own a 2005 Viper and love this car. It has always been reliable...until a week ago I went into the dash to figure out a way to bypass the TPMS Low Tire warning and now I'm working on figuring out what I did to prevent starting. :) Anyway, there's a great network of Viper owners good part market and after market parts. If you buy a Viper, buy the manuals! If you ever have a problem and are mechanically inclined, the Viper is easy to work on. Corvettes are a dime a dozen, Vipers turn heads at every car show. Good luck.
 

viperman4125

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Welcome. I owned two corvettes in my past. I now own a 2005 Viper and love this car. It has always been reliable...until a week ago I went into the dash to figure out a way to bypass the TPMS Low Tire warning and now I'm working on figuring out what I did to prevent starting. :) Anyway, there's a great network of Viper owners good part market and after market parts. If you buy a Viper, buy the manuals! If you ever have a problem and are mechanically inclined, the Viper is easy to work on. Corvettes are a dime a dozen, Vipers turn heads at every car show. Good luck.
Let me know how you found it fix that tire pressure switch, mine has been on since I bought the car 3 years ago. Says Low Tire
Thanks Dave
 

MoparMap

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Let me know how you found it fix that tire pressure switch, mine has been on since I bought the car 3 years ago. Says Low Tire
Thanks Dave

Odds are the batteries in your sensors have probably just finally died. The estimated lifespan on them is only 7 years I think, though I got 10+ out of mine. That being said, there are a couple of fixes. You can buy a brand new set of OEM sensors and reprogram the module in the car to the new unit IDs, or you can buy aftermarket sensors that you can program to mimic the original ones. I went the second route on my car because I had two sets of rims and wanted to be able to swap back and forth without reprogramming stuff as I didn't have the tools at the time. Dorman sells cloneable sensors that you can program to match the original OEM unit IDs so you can get back to having a fully functional TPMS system again, but you will have to break down your tires to install them.
 
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