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Old 06-22-2007, 11:55   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb 86 Grand Marquis, should i buy?

Hi everyone! I just joined, and would like some advice. :D

I have never owned a car, but this is my second motorcycle. I live in Ontario, so I will likely (definitely) need a car for the winter to get to work/school (co-op). Originally, I was looking at getting a very cheap car that will last me just for one winter. I was thinking either something small and cheap like a corolla, or a big boat…

Last night, I went to look at a 1986 Mercury Grand Marquis. I can get it for $500, which seems like a steal. It was certified in March, but I’m not sure if it will need something to be cetified again. It has a bit of trouble starting… and the starter motor was replaced last week. It comes with 4 brand new winter tires. What I really love about it, is the character of it. Not like some shitty (pardon my French) Honda civic.

I was toying with the idea of buying a car like this and working on it in my garage all summer. I don’t know too much about engines, but we have a well equipped garage and my dad knows a fair bit.

Is this car a good investment (will it be cheap to keep on the road)?

I was also reading a lot of these discussions and found myself very interested in the problems people were having. Right now, I really like the car; it feels like I’m driving a big comfy couch! Maybe I will end up keeping it, and even upgrading to get some more horsepower out of it. I can see that I will almost definitely run into difficulties with it.

Everyone I talk to about it says it will be very bad on gas and that I should not buy it, for that reason. I guess I am kind of thinking out loud in this post (sorry for the length). Maybe I just need some positive reinforcement to push me in the right direction.

Any comments, ideas, suggestions, or feedback is appreciated!


James

p.s. I also need a car like this so I will drive nice and slow. I am addicted to speed on my bike right now, and I am afraid I might kill myself before I finish school.
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Old 06-24-2007, 23:53   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 86 Grand Marquis, should i buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by batoutofhell
I have never owned a car, but this is my second motorcycle. I live in Ontario, so I will likely (definitely) need a car for the winter to get to work/school (co-op). Originally, I was looking at getting a very cheap car that will last me just for one winter. I was thinking either something small and cheap like a corolla, or a big boat…
Well, I know from other people I've talked to that Ontario uses quite a bit of road salt, so look underneath the car and check out the condition of the frame and the floors. If they're all rotten and falling apart, run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by batoutofhell
Is this car a good investment (will it be cheap to keep on the road)?
Maintenance-wise, they're pretty cheap, but keep in mind that it's a 21 year old car, so some of the parts are going to start failing...once you get a lot of those things replaced, it'll probably be good for another 21 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by batoutofhell
Maybe I will end up keeping it, and even upgrading to get some more horsepower out of it. I can see that I will almost definitely run into difficulties with it.
Getting more horsepower out of these cars really isn't all that difficult since they're very similar to a 5.0 Mustang from the same era. If you get the computer, heads, upper intake, cam, and headers from a 5.0 Mustang, it'll all bolt on directly and take you from about 150 horsepower to 225 (assuming you put on a decent dual exhaust system).

Quote:
Originally Posted by batoutofhell
Everyone I talk to about it says it will be very bad on gas and that I should not buy it, for that reason.
Would you consider 24 mpg highway bad mileage? I'm not sure what that would convert to in liters per 100 kms, but suffice it to say, these cars really don't get any worse mileage than a new SUV.

Hope this helps!!

--Nathan
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:43   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 86 Grand Marquis, should i buy?

Yeah, Ontario uses a LOT of road salt. It's actually quite ridiculous. I hate all the salt.

I told him to get it certified and then I'd buy it. If it passes good then I'll check out the frame when I meet with him again, and run if it's bad.

24mpg is actually not bad, I thought it would be a lot worse then that.

Would removing the catalytic converter increase power? Is that bad/illegal?
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Old 06-25-2007, 17:33   #4 (permalink)
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cool Re: 86 Grand Marquis, should i buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by batoutofhell
Yeah, Ontario uses a LOT of road salt. It's actually quite ridiculous. I hate all the salt.

I told him to get it certified and then I'd buy it. If it passes good then I'll check out the frame when I meet with him again, and run if it's bad.

24mpg is actually not bad, I thought it would be a lot worse then that.

Would removing the catalytic converter increase power? Is that bad/illegal?
Depends on your local emissions laws. Here in MA., cars 1985 and older do not have to pass emissions testing, just safety. 1986 and newer have to pass, which means the cats. stay.
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Old 06-25-2007, 18:05   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 86 Grand Marquis, should i buy?

Yeah our law says that vehicles 1987 and older are exempt, since the law was changed this year that vehicles 20 years and older don't need e-tests (means 1988 cars will always need e-test no matter what their age).

So since theirs no e-test, is it legal, and more importantly, does it give more power to take the cat out? Sorry, I'm still learning all this stuff.
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Old 06-25-2007, 23:48   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 86 Grand Marquis, should i buy?

As long as the cats aren't plugged, they really don't present a significant restriction. If you want to go catless, here's your recipe:

--HO headers (or aftermarket ones--those will be better, of course, but also more expensive)
--Mustang off road H-pipe
--Mustang mid-pipes
--pair of 2.5"x18" extension pipes
--mufflers of your choice (2.5 inlet/outlet, offset at both ends)
--'94-'95 Impala SS tailpipes (just the front section, they're a two piece tailpipe)
--another pair of 2.5"x18" extension pipes
--tips or turndowns of your choice

That'll give you 2.5" dual exhaust from front to back. It'll be too big for your stock engine, but if you do an HO conversion with maybe a little more than stock parts (better cam, ported heads, etc.) it'll be perfect. If you'd prefer not to go that far with the engine, you can get the Mustang h pipe, midpipes, and front extensions in 2.25". That'll be better for a more mild engine.

Btw, here's the link for the details of the HO conversion:

{HO Conversion} Mike's Tips and FAQ's.... - GrandMarq.NET - Panther Headquarters
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Old 06-28-2007, 12:38   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 86 Grand Marquis, should i buy?

Thanks for all the tips.

Turns out that theres an exhaust problem that needs to be fixed to get it certified, will cost around $500! The guy wasn't too sure what the problem was, but I think it might be a hole in the exhaust manifold.

Should I still buy the car and fix it? Should I get it done at the shop, or should I do it myself? My dad says that it's so much work that I will regret I ever got the car, and I don't have very much patience for huge projects like that, so I think he might be right. I mean, I want to work on the car, just not for months at a time.

Should I still pursue this car, or let it go and wait for a different one?
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Old 06-30-2007, 23:04   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 86 Grand Marquis, should i buy?

Well, find out for sure where the leak is, first. (I'm assuming the "exhaust problem" is a leak of some sort.) If there's a hole in the manifold (that doesn't seem too likely--they're pretty thick cast iron), you can just replace it with one from a boneyard if you have one available. If it's in the pipe, you'll have to find out specifically where the leak is and what's causing it, and then act accordingly. Shouldn't be too difficult to isolate the leak.
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