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Differences between 1988 and 1989 models


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Ronnie

Discussions come up on the forums from time to time about the differences between the '88 and '89 models. Although they look basically the same at first glance there are several important differences. I'm going to attempt to make a list of the differences between the '88s and '89s. Please correct me if I get anything wrong and feel free to add to the list anything that I might leave off.

 

Here are the difference that I can think of off the top of my head.

 

  1. Early production '88 models had black horn button emblems instead of the gold starburst design of later models.
  2. Some, if not all, early '88 models had suede side bolsters on the seats.
  3. The '88 models didn't have Remote Keyless Entry like later models and there wasn't an antenna in the rear window that is needed for RKE.
  4. The '88 model had a button for the fuel door release and a button to release the glove box latch located on the center console in front of the shifter. On the later models these buttons were relocated to the inside of the glove box.
  5. The '88 model glove box door does not have a manually operated latch like the later models do. The glove box latch on the '88 model is released electrically by pushing a button on the center console.
  6. The struts on the front of the '88 models are a different design than the struts on the later models. I've been told the '89 model struts will work on the '88 models but I can't confirm that.
  7. The intake manifold on the '88 models have "3800" cast (or machined?) into the top of the plenum. Later models do not.
  8. The plastic cover that fits over the fuel rail and injectors on '88 models does not have "3800" molded into it like later model covers do.
  9. The camshaft in the '88 is reported to be different from later models and gives the engine slightly better performance.
  10. The '88 models have different transmission mounts and possibly different motor mounts, than the later models have. The later models have an aluminum cage type of transmission mount bracket on the drivers side of the transmission that the '88 model doesn't have.
  11. The '88 models have a different system for the controlling the cooling fans than the later models have. The '88 models utilize a large resistor to control the low fan speed. Later models don't have a resistor to control cooling fan speeds. Later models utilize relays to change the fan speeds.
  12. The '88 model power steering cooler is basically a large diameter straight pipe with no fins located in front of the radiator. The later models have a finned power steering cooler.
  13. The '88 models did not have the little damper shock mounted on the engine in front of the harmonic balancer like later models have.
  14. The early '88 models didn't have a sunroof as an option. Latter '88s beginning with #3000 did as as did '89 and all other models.
  15. The early '88 models had a rubber pressure line on the Teves brake system. Later model '88s had a steel pressure line as did '89 and all other models.
  16. The ALDL jumper for the Teves diagnostic test (flashes) changed from A-G on '88 models to A-H on '89 and later models.

 

That's my list for now. Feel free to post any additions or corrections below and I will edit my list to include them.

 

 

 

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2seater

Pretty sure the power steering “cooler” on the 88 is a large diameter straightish tube across the front ahead of the radiator rather than a finned cooler. I think front hood emblem is smaller on 88’s too?

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Ronnie

I have no doubt you are probably right about the PS cooler. I've never noticed that. As for the hood emblem, I'm not sure. I believe my '88 has the large emblem and I don't think the hood has been replaced. Maybe the emblem was changed for some reason. Could that have been a running change instead of a model year change?

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2seater
3 hours ago, Ronnie said:

I have no doubt you are probably right about the PS cooler. I've never noticed that. As for the hood emblem, I'm not sure. I believe my '88 has the large emblem and I don't think the hood has been replaced. Maybe the emblem was changed for some reason. Could that have been a running change instead of a model year change?

Both items may be like the suede bolsters and are a running change as you say? I am certainly not an authority on the early cars. I think you mentioned the motor mount difference and I don't know if that includes the little damper shock right in front of the crank damper or not? I can say for certain the camshaft is indeed slightly more aggressive on the '88's. I have three of them, one oem and two replacements, and have verified. I seem to remember a running change with sunroof availability.

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Ronnie

You were right about the power steering cooler. I just looked up the PS cooler in my '88 FSM and it shows a pipe with no fins. I added that to the list. I had forgotten about the engine damper shock not being on the '88 model. I will add that to the list as well. Still not sure about the hood emblelms.

 

Did I describe the transmission part on the later models when I referred to it as a cage? It is something my '88 doesn't have. I have never seen one except in photos. I can't find a photo of it in the '89 FSM.

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Ronnie
1 hour ago, Ronnie said:

Did I describe the transmission part on the later models when I referred to it as a cage? It is something my '88 doesn't have. I have never seen one except in photos. I can't find a photo of it in the '89 FSM.

I'm starting to think I dreamed up this stuff about the '89 "cage" transmission mount being different from my '88. I think I made up the name "cage mount" too ?. I can't find a photo of what I THINK I'm talking about anywhere. I may have to remove this from the list.

 

EDIT: I finally found it. It is called a transmission mount bracket. As far as I can tell my '88 doesn't use this bracket for mounting the transmission. Can anyone confirm one way or the other?

 

It's part #1

Screenshot_89 ENGINE TRANSMISSION MOUNTING-V8.png

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ship

I have both the '88 and '89-'91 hood emblems in inventory.  The '88 is approx. 2inch diameter and the '89-'91 is approx. 3inch diameter.

Edited by ship
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2seater

The 89 and 90 I have both have that aluminum spider or cage bracket. I would guess it is a stress reliever for what would be the trans. bell housing?

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Ronnie
1 hour ago, 2seater said:

The 89 and 90 I have both have that aluminum spider or cage bracket. I would guess it is a stress reliever for what would be the trans. bell housing?

Thanks for confirming this. I was starting to think there wasn't a bracket like that on the transmission. I'm not sure how the transmission mount fits on my '88. I will take photos of it the next time I change oil.

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DAVES89

My '88 has the 1990 Dash...

 

 

 

 

 

 

April Fools!

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Padgett

Late 88s (after 3000) could have a factory sunroof. Even later ones changed the Teves return line from rubber to steel. Finally the ALDL jumper for the Teves diagnostic flash changed from A-G (88) to A-H (89-on).

 

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Ronnie
2 hours ago, Padgett said:

Late 88s (after 3000) could have a factory sunroof. Even later ones changed the Teves return line from rubber to steel. Finally the ALDL jumper for the Teves diagnostic flash changed from A-G (88) to A-H (89-on).

 

Good points. I've added them to the list. Thanks for the tip.

 

 

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