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Resolved Confused RS or GS?

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Probationary Member
May 8, 2024
San Diego, California
Hey, I’m new to the car community especially to DSM, I love my 98 2G I just can’t tell if it’s an RS or a GS trim I’ve looked online and can’t find anything useful, some say it’s a GS, but I have a peeled sticker where the trim abbreviations should be and the first letter looks like an R. Just wondering if someone could help me out

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It was possible to order an RS to be kitted with any combination of the GS options. So it isn't necessarily what options you have, it's the ones you don't have that idnetify it. Though the easiest way to tell is always through the VIN.

I agree that it appears to have been badged RS.
Your hatch is definitely from an RS; it doesn't have the rear wiper, and the remaining portion of the sticker matches the standard "R" in "RS."

From the single photo of the rear, I can see you have black mirrors, so I'd bet you have an RS. If those mirrors are manually adjusted and not power, it's even more likely it's an RS. As outlined in the article linked by @19Eclipse90, you should be able to verify it by running down the equipment list.

The best way to tell, as @DSMPT said, is the VIN. The only issue is it's etched into a plate attached to the dashboard, so if someone ever swapped out the dash, the VIN plate goes with it (unless they took the time to swap the plate back).

Your VIN is also on your Manufacturer Identification Tag/Plate in the engine bay, but these can be pretty worn out and hard to read, and sometimes people install new ones over the original which may, or may not be accurate.

You MIGHT be able to verify the VIN from the window glass. On my 99 RS, the VIN is etched into all the glass, typically on the lower edge. That’s not the case on my 98 GS parts car, and I don't see the etching in the 99 GS 10th Anniversary Edition hatch I bought a few years back. Since glass is easy to swap out, that probably isn't helpful information.

I'm still working on my RS to GS conversion project and learning the nuanced differences between trim levels. You CAN convert an RS into a GS, but a true, complete upgrade isn't easy, even if you start with a fully-optioned RS. Here are some interesting things I've discovered:

Rear Seat: One of the easiest ways to tell is whether the car has a bench or split-back rear seat. If it has a bench and you pull the rear seat and don't see this bracket, it's an RS (or a converted Eagle Talon Base or ESi).
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This bracket wasn’t installed on the RS models; it allows for the split-back rear seats.
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If it doesn't have that bracket, congratulations—you almost certainly have an RS, or a Talon Base or ESi converted to an Eclipse. The odds of your specific car being a converted Talon are low (but not zero) because the car has the low-rise three-piece spoiler that was only available on the Eclipse versions of the car.

To piggy back off of what @BLACK'98DSM said, about kitting out a car, I had a 1997 Eagle Talon base model some years back, and it had the high-rise Eclipse spoiler on it. Interestingly enough, I seem to recall this car having the third brake light in the window, as all cars equipped with that spoiler from the factory had, yet it definitely did NOT have a rear wiper, like every GS-T, GSX, and 10th Anniversary Edition GS would have had. And the top part of the rear hatch was painted black, like every Eagle Talon would have been. I believe this was a special order from the factory. The car had at least one other special order too, it had the 10-disc rear CD changer in the trunk.
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The car was not an Eclipse converted to a Talon; I installed the Eclipse side skirts on it, and it had a bunch of quirky Talon base-model specific equipment that MIGHT have only been shared with the rare Eclipse base model (from 1996?), IIRC. It was a weird car, I wish I had taken more pictures of it.

Other ways to tell from parts that aren't as easy to swap out:

Sun Visors: The sun visors on an RS had unlit vanity mirrors on both sides. The GS had a lit vanity mirror on the passenger side and no mirror at all on the driver’s side, where it had Homelink instead.

Factory Sun Roof: A factory sunroof was an option for the RS, but if your car doesn't have one, it's probably an RS. It’s rare to see a GS after 1997 without a sunroof.

Main Wiring Harnesses: The differences between an RS and GS go much deeper than the surface. I'm working on this part of my car now, but as best as I can tell from my research so far, the wiring in the doors is different, even on a fully optioned RS. The RS doesn't have the wiring for power mirrors. The main chassis harness appears to be different too; it likely won't have the connectors for the rear washer pump, but I plan to dive into this a lot more soon. The engine bay main harness is different as well, lacking pigtails for fog lights and wiring for the fuse box. I'm planning to update the guide @19Eclipse90 shared once I learn more.

These are probably the most in-depth differences I've seen so far. If your car is a true hodgepodge of parts (a "Frankencar," if you will,) and you don't trust your title, it may not be possible to tell. :idontknow:

I went into this depth in my reply to try to help people with hard-to-identify projects that may stumble onto this thread. Your car, OP, looks almost certainly to be an RS from that single rear shot. You should be able to check off plenty of RS trim level boxes from that guide to almost certainly confirm that. 👍

So I wrote out my reply, took a break, and didn't read any new replies before posting it. 😆

Glad you figured it out. Enjoy your RS @Ogparker915. 👍 😄

Going to leave my reply in case it helps other folks who discover the thread in the future.
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