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Old 03-31-2011, 01:42   #1 (permalink)
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'96 Crown Victoria LX, $900, been sitting 8 months

Hello internet;

My Dodge Neon died (FINALLY) and I need a cheap replacement in a hurry. I discovered my landlord's son is selling a 1996 Crown Victoria LX with 164,000 miles for $900. The problem is it's been sitting there for at least 8 months. This is in Montana and the weather is harsh.

Before I purchase the car I plan on taking it by a mechanic for a once over. My question to you is: Is it even worth that? They have revealed that it needs a ball joint replaced and the battery "will not hold a charge." They say they'll jump it so I can take it to the mechanic, but I wonder if that battery is even jumpable.

Should I tentatively go for it?
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Old 03-31-2011, 03:04   #2 (permalink)
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Re: '96 Crown Victoria LX, $900, been sitting 8 months

Well IDK if I would pay $900 for something not running and in need of a battery and ball joint, I mean two very small things, but it's a 96 with 164k on it, And to answer your other question, I could take the battery out and jump your car to start.

I would try and offer $500, just say "hey it needs some work it's pretty old and reasonably it is legally a clunker". My bottom line would be $600, after 6 if they don't want it I'm walking. but that's me. :)
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:48   #3 (permalink)
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Re: '96 Crown Victoria LX, $900, been sitting 8 months

My experience with the Ctown Vics has been VERY good. An LX has extras that the others don't. My granddaughter has a 95 P71 that I originally bought and fixed. It was a slightly damaged ex police unit that sat for 18 months. It jump started after it was towed to my house. Ftarted right up and has run for 9 years now. If it's been serviced regularly, I wouldn't be afraid to buy it. Have your mechanic check it first though and offer them less to see if they go for it.
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:33   #4 (permalink)
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Re: '96 Crown Victoria LX, $900, been sitting 8 months

my 1986 Grand Marquis i paid $500 for it... i once bought a 1987 Crown Vic for $400 and it sat for over a year... the cars ran great... needed a few things to keep on the road ... my 1986 i just bought was turned down from the clunker program since it was a 20 mpg car... try offereing $750 or so that way repairs can bring it to about a $1000 car... before my 1986 me and my fiance had a 1992 Grand Marquis with over 330,xxx miles... the thing still ran like new except insurance totaled it from it getting rear ended and rear bumper torn and front headlights were pushed in some from being knocked into another car... nothing broke except rear bumper tearing... i like the cars since they are reliable and last longer than some think
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Old 03-31-2011, 17:12   #5 (permalink)
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Re: '96 Crown Victoria LX, $900, been sitting 8 months

In my opinion there is more to the story.
People don't usually leave a car sitting for 8 months just because the battery was not holding a charge, or for a bad ball joint.
Take a good look (and sniff) at the transmission fluid.
Get it started and listen for knocks or other signs of a bad engine.
On the plus side; I was at the junk yard here and there must have been 30 CVs (from taxi fleets) and every one I checked had between 400-500K miles on them.
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:07   #6 (permalink)
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Re: '96 Crown Victoria LX, $900, been sitting 8 months

people get misleading stories about ball joints and shops run the price up by quoting high prices for unnecessary parts sometimes... balljoints they say that you need the whole control arm because it dont come out... they do that to make more on labor many times... also it is easier for them to do the work in most cases doing this opposed to only fixing the problem... i have worked at shops that pulled these stunts... i can say if it sat for a while, you should give it an oil change, and coolant change and get fresh fuel in it... it may need a tune-up and fuel filter too... and after driving for a week and getting brakes worn in some again the calipers may need changed from developing a spot where they do not wanna release ... calipers are usually $15 or so dollars, coolant around $10 a gallon, and oil change can be done if you get the 5 gallon jug which is cheaper than buying individual quarts many times.... these cars were notorious for getting lotsa miles, and if taxis can get over 400k on them, a regular person with normal maintenance should get more... taxi drivers arent exactly nice to the cars... around here taxi companies buy retired cop cars... and cop cars you cant believe mileage on them.... mileage on a cop car you can take it times 2 and sometimes 3 from all the idle time that the car doesnt register
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:54   #7 (permalink)
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Re: '96 Crown Victoria LX, $900, been sitting 8 months

2 updates: 1. It is a 1994 2. Met with the owner today. I didn't want to jump that battery so I installed my Neon's battery. Holy crap, it worked. A battery meant for a 2.0L I4 cranked that 4.6 V8 over in less than 5 seconds. Not bad for a car that's been sitting there. All fluids were good, so it is now at a mechanic awaiting inspection. *edit* formatting
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Old 04-01-2011, 18:45   #8 (permalink)
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Re: '96 Crown Victoria LX, $900, been sitting 8 months

Let us know what the mechanic says Weather or not it has a lot of work to be done or not?
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Old 04-02-2011, 01:02   #9 (permalink)
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Re: '96 Crown Victoria LX, $900, been sitting 8 months

I'm buying it.

The mechanic said I have what amounts to a very mild oil leak. He said it could be the valve covers, oil pan, or rear main seal. Claims it is minor enough to leave alone provided I keep topping off the oil.

He also said there was "Transmission Pan seepage." Again, minor, recommended waiting on repair until it actually gets bad.

The only other things the car needs are new headlight assemblies (left and right) and tires. The lights were damaged in a nasty hail storm last summer. Strangely enough though, there is only one dent in the body from that storm.

The front tires have very little tread left, and the rears have studs in them (lol).

There's no way in hell I could do better for $900.

P.S.,
That balljoint? NOTHING wrong. No idea what the hell the owner was talking about.
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:58   #10 (permalink)
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Re: '96 Crown Victoria LX, $900, been sitting 8 months

Sounds like a deal. Post some pics. Keep us informed on how it's doing.
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