97 and 01 compatibility

Jessica Hinman

Asked by Sep 18, 2014 at 08:30 PM about the 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix GT

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2001 grand prix gt 3.8 v6, it has many issues, the major one being the bum
tranny. I have the opportunity to buy a 1997 with the same engine for a pretty good
price. I know the engine/tranny is interchangeable. I know most of the body stuff is not
interchangeable, as they changed the body style a bit in 99. My question is, how much
of the other parts are interchangeable? Have I found myself a good parts car?
Furthermore, should I just change out the tranny and try to sell the engine to offset
cost? Or would it be better to keep the 97's engine and tranny together and put in 01?
Is it even all worth it or should I just pray that someone totals my car? Because the
tranny is just the worst of its problems. There are so many other lesser problems, but
still ones that need fixed if I have a snowball's chance of making it through winter. And
I've already dropped about as much money into repairs on this thing as what it cost me
to buy 3 and half years ago.

3 Answers


What I'd suggest is that you trade in the '01 for something newer with less or hopefully no issues. Even if you do the swap you're still talking about a 14 year old car with other issues. Other issues mean still more money. At this point you're spending good money after bad. With your trade in plus the money you'd spend to buy the parts car that adds up to a down payment on something better! Even if you have no credit or poor credit you can still get a nice car at a buy here/ pay here place. Just do your homework on whatever you're interested in. Get a carfax or other vehicle history report and have it checked by a mechanic whom you trust. That's what I'd like to see you do with your hard earned money! You'll be much better off in the long run. Good luck. HTH. -Jim

Jessica Hinman

That is nice in theory, but I can't afford to get a better car, not even with payments. I probably should have mentioned that I have an uncle that is a mechanic with his own shop that work do the work for me super cheap. The other problems I have are minor compared to the transmission. Blower resistor, window motors, missing lower driver front outer door panel, wheel speed sensor, etc. And maybe a slightly more major wheel issue, not really sure, the wheel makes a noise that nobody seems to know what it is. The body is good, the interior is good. If you look at the fact that a car only a couple or few years newer, with only like 20-30k less miles on it would cost me approximately $6000-8000, and I'm only going to get maybe $1000 trade in for mine, putting payments at like $150 a month, I still can't afford that. I have student loan payments sucking my bank account dry every month, so I can only afford maybe $50 a month. At that rate, the interest would add up to an obscene amount. Where as, I might be able to get this 97 for as low as a $1000. The engine and tranny are worth about $1400. I can scrap off all the parts I don't use to help offset the cost of paying my uncle for the work. Does it kind of seem like a better deal now? Because I just need a car that will get me to and from work, maybe an occasional road trip, for the next couple years until I get some money saved up to be able to get a better car. If this was tax return time of the year, and I had more time of money saving, ya I might be able to trade in. But alas, that is not the case, and how my car sits now, I don't think it will make it through winter.


Why not just drive the '97 as is? If all you need is cheap transportation it will do the job and you don't have all the expense of swapping parts and getting rid of what you don't use etc., etc., etc., $$$. Get rid of your '91. It's pretty much worthless as is so if you can find someone to take it for free, take that offer. I agree with Js. This car and your plan is going to bankrupt you. The cheap labor will help a lot but you're still going to spend thousands on a worn out worthless car with very little life left in it. Search auto wrecking sites and parts for sale in local online classifieds and find a cheap transmission that's correct for your car and that is already removed. For an old car like yours you shouldn't have to pay more than $500. Have your uncle put it in, hopefully not more than $500 (if the trans you buy has fluid in it reuse the fluid. It will be fine). After that don't spend another nickel on this car. Drive it until it is dead and then have it hauled away. In the mean time set all that money aside that you were going to spend on additional repairs and hopefully by spring you've got a little bit towards a different (not newer, just different and with less issues) to take you forward until you get on your feet financially. Sorry if I sound a bit harsh, but it breaks my heart when I see people spending what little money they have and then being heart broken when the results are not what they had hoped for. I know you're struggling, and you've done a good job of thinking this through, but I think the final outcome will be a lot of money gone and you'll still be walking. Good luck.

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