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Intrepidation

Car Shopping Round 2

14 posts in this topic

Alright, well so far we've looked at 3 cars, and will be looking at a 4th tomorrow. So here's some quick stories about the three. Also, besides the Intrepid, these are photos of the actual cars.

#1: 2002 Dodge Neon

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I saw an add for a `02 Dodge Neon. There were two photos of it. The driver's side was banged up, but he said it ran good. Cosmetics didn't bother me because parts are easy to find (I saw 2 of them at the junkyard I went to last week). Yesterday we went to take a look at it, since it was nearby. The guy's English sucks but whatever, he seemed nice enough. I walked around the car, and saw it had seen better days. Driver's doors, fender, hood, and bumper were all in need of replacement, but with the exception of the bumper it seemed usable. The bumper was an issue though, as it was rubbing against the tire. I asked to see under the hood, which he opened it from outside...so it didn't lock...lovely. I looked at the engine, and saw no visible leaks...so I'm thinking...not bad. I looked under it and saw no leaks and no rust. Interior was good too. I asked to turn it on and he handed me the keys. I sat inside and noticed the windshield was cracked...uh oh.

This is where it gets fun though. I turned the car on and it ran extremely rough, and it had a knock as well. Immediately I was done with the car, but to humor myself I looked around and listened to it. I put the a/c on, which then caused the steering wheel to shake violently. I turned it off and told him thanks but no thanks. Even though it seemed like 1k for an `02 might have been reasonable considering the damage, I suspected mechanical issues, and boy was I right. It's not worth putting money into, and whoever buys it if they do is an idiot. It might as well just be sent to the junkyard.

#2 1996 Dodge Intrepid

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That's not the actual car, but that's the color and what it looked like sans fog light. This car has been for sale on someone's front yard for at least 2 months now. I figured since it was on the way we could take a look. The car was sitting in the front yard of an abandoned house with a number to call, and a price of $1600 OBO. I looked it over, it seemed pretty nice except there was paint peel on the roof and the driver's side rocker had a rust hole in it...I figured that would be a good way to haggle the price down to under a grand if we were serious. I called an left a message about it, he called back while I was at work. When I returned the call later today he told me he had just sold it. Bummer, the thought of another Intrepid in the family was cool.

#3 1998 Chevy Lumina

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This one caught my eye. It has 208k miles on it, but the body looked good and the seller said it ran and drove well. Today I wen tto go look at it. The seller was a kid, but his dad was there to help talk to me. They were nice as well. I started the car up...sure enough it ran nicely, with no knocking or ticking. I took it for a short drive around teh parking lot, and it seemed to shift nice and smoothly, as well as go in reverse no problem. I didn't here any funny noises either. However, and thsi is where you guys can come in, the ABS and Check Engine lights were on, although the ABS light didn't always stay on. It did brake fine, and pedal feel was good for both brake and gas, and steering felt nice too. I'm wondering if it's an emissions issue, like an O2 sensor or something. Otherwise, there was some surface rust on the rockers but no rot, under the car was clean, interior was pretty clean, and the power accessories and radio worked. a/c doesn't work, but perhaps just needs a recharge. He revved it for me and it sounded fine too. Fluids seemed good although the trans fluid looked like it could use a change, but I would change the fluids anyway.

Anyway, this car seems promising as it seems in good shape, runs and drives well (in the parking ot at least). Plus, Ive always had a thing for these cars...I dunno I just thought they were handsome in their day. The only hangups are those lights...can any of the GM experts (I hope there's a few :P) offer some insight, and opinions of the Luminas and maybe things to look out for? They seem to go the distance, as I' saw one for sale today with 270k on it.

#4 1993 Mercury Grand Marquis

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This one so far seems the most promising. I'll be going to look at it tomorrow, but the guy I talked to seems very nice and knows a thing or 2 about cars. He was also prompt about returning my calls. He told me the car needs nothing (as it says in the ad). Heat and a/c work, electricals work, and all that stuff. From the photos at least it also looks very clean. Although these tanks may not be fuel sippers, the parts are cheap and easy to come buy, so that's a big plus. Some of the Ford guys are welcome to offer thoughts and insight about this one. I'm liking it so far. If it's as good as he says it is then it will most likely be the pick of the litter, but I'll know more tomorrow.

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The ABS light on the Lumina could be due to a faulty sensor, I think. So look there first. As for the Check Engine light, check all possible things emissions-equipment related (O2 sensor, catalytic converter, etc.). You may want to get a second opinion on what I just told you as I am still learning "the ropes" of mechanics, so to speak. :P

I don't think you would regret getting the Lumina though, not matter how cookie-cutter is it. I have an aunt who has one and it has been a dead-reliable way for her to get from point A to point B. :)

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Get the Marquis and never look back.... But do get the rubberized trunk kit organizer thingy from a Ford Dealer that prevents it from bursting into flames when rear-ended

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Well, we bought the Mercury. It's extremely clean and runs great. Transmission shifts well, body panels are all in good shape, interior is good, all the stuff works except a blown headlight and the passenger side window motor...easy fixes.

We should get it tomorrow or Monday, so I'll take photos of it and all that good stuff. The Mopar family now has a Ford in the fleet. :P

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Congrats. That's a smart move, esp. compared to that best to $h! Neon.

Looks like it was in the upper atmosphere during a meteor shower.

Sooooo... is this the first RWD car in the familiy since the Cudas?

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Man, I didn't even have time to chime in.

I was going to say:

All your choices look pretty ragged, but the Grand Marquis looks to be the best of the group.

I guess you made the right choice then.

This would be for your mom, right?

Some insight into the Lumina, since we have a '95:

They are excellent, dead reliable cars. The 3100 is an excellent engine, with decent power and economy. They ride smoothly and quietly.

Problems areas are (as already mentioned) ABS and other sensors, lower intake gasket on the 3100, and frequent front brake replacement (a W-body common flaw). A Lumina with underbody rust may also experience a leaking gas tank (GM gas tanks from the mid-90s are not the best quality).

Our Lumina has had the intake gasket done (never any engine problems since, purrs like a kitten). We also changed the gas tank, as it leaked (slightly at first, then it got worse). Its ABS light is on right now, and I know its the damn sensor, because it was raining the last few days, and I "tested" it. ABS works. We had this problem before, and it was the sensor at the wheel not reading.

The best Luminas are loaded low mile 3100's, or the later ('98-'99) police spec 9C3's with the 3800! They had full size spares, heavy-duty suspension, engine and transmission oil coolers, digital speedometer, and could have Recaro front buckets.

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Man, I didn't even have time to chime in.

I was going to say:

All your choices look pretty ragged, but the Grand Marquis looks to be the best of the group.

I guess you made the right choice then.

This would be for your mom, right?

Yep, it's basically a temp car until the house is sold and then she plans to buy a newer used car, but we'll see how much she likes it. Otherwise it'll probably go to my brother.

Edited by Dodgefan
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He told me the car needs nothing (as it says in the ad)

....all the stuff works except a blown headlight and the passenger side window motor...easy fixes.

Always a catch to a used car.

<_<

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Take your time with the window. Be carefull not to break any tabs (dunno how Fords have it).

Once re-attached, the door will never be like from the factory. If done wrong, there may be unwelcome squeeks.

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Always a catch to a used car.

<_<

Yes... that's the price you pay for saving on

purchase price, sales tax, registration,

insurance, exice tax, maintenance items,

replacement parts.... the list goes on.

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Take your time with the window. Be carefull not to break any tabs (dunno how Fords have it).

Once re-attached, the door will never be like from the factory. If done wrong, there may be unwelcome squeeks.

No worries, I always practice on a junker. I'm a good at ripping interiors apart and putting them back together. :P

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No worries, I always practice on a junker. I'm a good at ripping interiors apart and putting them back together. :P

That's my particular strong suit, interior disassembly and reassembly. :P

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That's my particular strong suit, interior disassembly and reassembly. :P

Yep, I can rip the dash of my car apart and put it back together in 10 minutes. Door panels take 2 or 3.

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