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Thread: kishy's 1985 Country Squire

  1. #1
    formerly blkpnthr
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    Cool kishy's 1985 Country Squire

    Opting to branch-out from my other thread, My Rides, since this one just seems like it needs a bit more room.

    During vacation on Pelee Island, Ontario in 2014 (possibly earlier, but I have a photo from then at least) I noticed a Panther wagon with Ohio plates sitting in a driveway looking quite neglected. I have yearly "checked in" on this car since first seeing it and the owners have never been around. Finally, on vacation this year, they were there so I could ask them about it.

    It's a 1985 Country Squire, 302, with EEC-IV CFI and a 'Y' (3.08 open) axle. The 5-digit odometer indicates 48k miles; the Ohio title from 2005 indicates it said 42k then with "odometer discrepancy" indicated as well.

    Supposedly, it was brought up from South Carolina, and shortly after was sold to the Ohio owners I mentioned above. They bought it and used it as an "island car" at this vacation spot, notably for launching a boat. It has been exposed to winters, but presumably only since 2005, and there was no salt exposure any of the time it spent on Pelee Island. The flip side of its history, though, is that it was also never oil sprayed. Accordingly, it has rust levels typical of a car that was new in 2005, never oil sprayed, and was winter driven. Not ideal, but maybe not scrap yet. Maybe.

    Anyway, I spoke with the couple that owned it and the basic story is that it developed some electrical gremlins and was parked. I was also told it has a knock, but the distributor is turned around at an odd angle and I'm thinking there's a chance that may have been a timing related knock. If the actual mileage is 148k, I wouldn't be surprised if it jumped time. If it's actually 48k, the problem may be less straightforward (more early EEC-IV wiring gremlins, which it almost certainly has anyway). The expense involved in hiring a tow truck to visit the island was prohibitive and they had another vehicle so the wagon just sat. Annoyingly, with the parking brake set. They told me if I wanted it, I could have it (free), which prompted me creating a thread here asking about technique to extract the wagon since I'd never done such a thing before. My confidence in the procedure was good, so I told them to sign the title and a bill of sale for me so I could pick the car up, legally import it to Canada (though it was physically in Canada, still titled in Ohio), and figure out a plan for it.

    The strategy was to get it home then evaluate if it's worth putting back on the road, because scrapping it could more or less break even if I pulled some parts from it in the process.

    As discussed in that other thread, I rented a Uhaul F-250 (2016, 6.2L, 4x4) and their Auto Transport car trailer, due to required mileage got it at the commercial daily rate, and packed up a bunch of gear to ensure I'd be prepared. I left on a 10AM ferry from Leamington, ON to Pelee Island, arrived 11:30, popped in for some baked goods at the bakery/deli then headed for the wagon and got to work. It was a very hot, humid day with an occasion but inconsistent breeze and it wasn't particularly fun fighting physics in those conditions. Around 4PM, the car was on the trailer and truck was packed up again, so I headed for the Canada Border Services Agency office to get my Vehicle Import Form 1 completed. Due to age, one of the usual fees ($300!) didn't apply, so it should have been free (only import duty based on the sale amount, until they asked if it had A/C...then a nonsense $100 tariff was applied. No refrigerant in system and no belt on compressor, should have just said no, it wouldn't have really been a lie. Drove a lap of the island introducing my buddy to the place, grabbed dinner, then queued up for the 8PM ferry home. 9:30 back in Leamington and hit the highway back to Windsor. The drive was uneventful and the truck and trailer drove like a dream. Dropped buddy off and drove home to unload the wagon and get the truck and trailer back to Uhaul.

    The import paperwork is in a processing stage that I'm waiting to hear back about. In the meantime, here are a bunch of photos taken at three major time periods: when I first checked it out in May of this year, the recovery process on June 17, and starting to clean out the garbage and inspect its condition on June 18. For organization's sake I'll put each in a new reply.

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  2. #2
    formerly blkpnthr
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    Default Photos Pt. 1: May 2017, initial thoughts of bringing it home

    Below are 16 pics of the car from May 2017 on my vacation when I first was able to talk to the owner.





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    Default Photos Pt. 2: June 17 2017, Loading on Trailer

    Introducing our hero, the Uhaul F-250 and Auto Transport:


    A little bit from the journey there:


    Below are 18 photos showing the process of getting the wagon on the trailer. Not shown: beating the crap out of the driver rear drum trying to get it to unstick. It eventually did somewhat, but still hangs up a bit.







    And, from the trip home:
    Last edited by kishy; 06-19-2017 at 02:27 AM.

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    formerly blkpnthr
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    Default Photos Pt. 3: June 18, seeing exactly what I dragged home

    And, up to present: I started cleaning out garbage and examining exactly what I've got. Rustier than I was thinking, but most is (scaly) surface rust. Further testing with trying to put implements through the floors is still needed.

    18 photos below. I've been finding multiple refreshes are sometimes necessary to get Imgur to cough up the thumbnails, hence saying how many pics there are. If it seems short, refresh and more may pop up.







    Current known defects:
    -tailgate won't flip down, and I seem to have angered it by trying
    -driver window inop
    -power locks unresponsive to 'lock' button, but unlock seems to work
    -ignition switch screwed up. starter relay trigger wire is constant hot with key in run and accessory has no power.
    -obvious rust faults underneath and on body
    -audio inop but this might be ignition switch related
    -engine control issues are assumed to exist just because of what it is
    -timing suspect

    no starting attempts will be made until I've reviewed the condition of the electrical system a bit better.

    Fuel pump does prime with key in run and sounds healthy, surprisingly. But I don't want to imagine the condition of whatever it sucked up when it did that. Tank doesn't seem to have leaked but a new one would be in the plans if I end up keeping this.
    Last edited by kishy; 06-19-2017 at 02:52 AM.

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  5. #5
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Wow, that thing is roached.. I've never seen a dash that bad. That is not just scaly surface rust but rot. Such a shame they let it disintegrate like that, I'll never understand or accept why people do that. Such a nicely optioned car too, appears to be fully loaded. Does it have the load leveling suspension? You are a brave soul. I will be watching this thread lol
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    Wow, that thing is roached.. I've never seen a dash that bad. That is not just scaly surface rust but rot. Such a shame they let it disintegrate like that, I'll never understand or accept why people do that. Such a nicely optioned car too, appears to be fully loaded. Does it have the load leveling suspension? You are a brave soul. I will be watching this thread lol
    Eh, we'll see. If enough of it goes through, it's going for scrap. We have safety inspections and I'm not putting that level of dedication in.

    I did a very unscientific test with a jack at the torque box and there is no flex in the fender-door gap, which is generally a good sign that it's not folding at least. But, the floors may be tricky.

    It'd be easier to commit to if the aftermarket was making floorpans for Panthers, but they don't, so floor repairs in these cars are a really big deal and not worth it even slightly.

    As for your remark in the other thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    Yay tripminder! Wonder if any of the electronics inside it and everywhere else are even viable? Bout the first thing I'd do is throw a battery on it and see if any smoke escapes.
    The accessory circuit seems to be a little screwed up but again, the ignition switch seems to be trashed. It might be more in-depth than that since the column lock is broken too, though.

    The tripminder illuminates correctly. I haven't tinkered with it enough to know if it actually "works" of course. I happen to have 2 spare tripminders in my garage, but I think one was for EEC-III and supposedly the fuel consumption output of the ECM is not compatible between III and IV. Hard to say for sure that it's compatible between IV CFI and SEFI even.

    The car wasn't underwater or anything like that...I think most of what we're looking at is the effects of being parked over dirt for several years. Natural moisture exposure from the soil in the air gap under the car. It's more solid than it looks but it's less solid than I'd like.
    Last edited by kishy; 06-19-2017 at 09:46 AM.

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    At least the snakes kept the rodent population low if not non-existent.

    As for the floors, just do what roadkill did and use road signs! Totally safe...
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    I dunno - Most of that underneath looks like ground moisture sweat induced surface rust. Rust none the less but maybe not structural. Now the hood and the door bottoms are a another story. But I think it certainly has potential? Certainly worth checking out.

    I've been driving my winter beater 88 for ten years now and they are still quite drivable if not keepers. My front floor pans are patched with tar, sheet metal, and rivets. Works good and passes safety inspection just fine.

    I think you may have a problem with interior corrosion from the rain, evaporation, and constant condensation. This is probably the problem with your ignition switch?
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiggie View Post
    I dunno - Most of that underneath looks like ground moisture sweat induced surface rust. Rust none the less but maybe not structural. Now the hood and the door bottoms are a another story. But I think it certainly has potential? Certainly worth checking out.

    I've been driving my winter beater 88 for ten years now and they are still quite drivable if not keepers. My front floor pans are patched with tar, sheet metal, and rivets. Works good and passes safety inspection just fine.

    I think you may have a problem with interior corrosion from the rain, evaporation, and constant condensation. This is probably the problem with your ignition switch?
    Ignition switch doesn't "feel" right. It doesn't have defined stops, it just kind of turns, with a lot of resistance. Switch has probably come apart like period Ford switches are known for.

    I'm going to take a flap wheel or similar to one of the darker rust spots and see what it looks like cleaned up. I'm expecting pinholes, but if it's not worse than that, it might be a keeper. Pinholes can be addressed a lot easier than putting in floors out of a junkyard car.

    Inspection is only once, at time of ownership transfer/new owner first getting plates. So this means corner-cutting is usually a viable option particularly if the overall lifespan of the vehicle is questionable. Stuff like brake lines, I don't screw around with. But floors, particularly when the part holding the seats is intact, I'm less picky about as long as it's a functional barrier from the outside.

    Complete interior stripping to survey the floors from the top side is also going to happen. The seats are actually in good condition, aside from being kinda grungy.
    Last edited by kishy; 06-19-2017 at 10:23 AM.

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    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    I tend to have a lot more fun with cars I don't intend on keeping as pristine. So excited to get this beater Mark VII of mine going! Got it road legal on Saturday, now to plate it and drive it Although I took Ashley for a ride in it and now she wants it

    So yeah, I guess if you can just tar the spots or whatever then have at it.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    I tend to have a lot more fun with cars I don't intend on keeping as pristine. So excited to get this beater Mark VII of mine going! Got it road legal on Saturday, now to plate it and drive it Although I took Ashley for a ride in it and now she wants it

    So yeah, I guess if you can just tar the spots or whatever then have at it.
    Bingo...

    I bought my '91 for too much money, motivated largely by its then-perfect appearance.

    5 years later, it has rust, door dings and other imperfections. I had constant anxiety about maintaining the appearance of that car. It wasn't as clean as it appeared initially, of course, but I'm still annoyed that it's the car I bought when I could have bought a beater condition example for a third of the price or less.

    I've had a lot more fun with my Ranger and Town Car, both of which I'd call beaters. When someone parks over the line in a lot, I can put the Ranger right up against them and not worry about them keying it because it'll blend right in. My first ever collision was in the Town Car, and honestly, it was kinda fun...because it didn't tear me apart inside that a pristine car had been damaged. Mind you, if I'd been at fault, I wouldn't have enjoyed any part of it.

    The wagon will keep its patina, and maybe even that rusted-through hood, if I end up keeping it.

    The sad part is, though, Parts Galore in Flat Rock has a wagon and when it went in there, it was cleaner than this one. But their whole-car price is way too much and salvage titles are a hassle so it wouldn't have been an option anyway.
    Last edited by kishy; 06-19-2017 at 12:03 PM.

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    What I could see of the frame looks good in the pics.
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  13. #13
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    Based on the vehicle history you've mentioned - it does not look bad. Wrap your knuckles on the frame - see if it has a ring to it or a thud. Thud would suggest full of shit that needs flushing.

    Heck you're into it for scrap value. I really don't think you did bad at all. I've seen nicer ones go to the junkyard sadly - like you've seen.

    That looks like a southern car. That sat in grass. Looks like all the underbody paint and undercoat has baked off and come off. LOL at the dashpad wow.

    I see why you got it.

    Make sure your tailgate check strap
    Is still there. Also make sure that the strikers on the passenger side are still there for the tailgate. If gone or out of adjustment, functions won't work!

    I'd definitely gut that interior and pressure wash everything if you have a good floor pan to work with.

    Seriously congrats on car - you paid the right price!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaywish View Post
    What I could see of the frame looks good in the pics.
    It seems to be. It's very evenly coated in rust, but all the metal seems to still be there, and that's what counts for this purpose.

    Quote Originally Posted by TecNickal View Post
    Based on the vehicle history you've mentioned - it does not look bad. Wrap your knuckles on the frame - see if it has a ring to it or a thud. Thud would suggest full of shit that needs flushing.

    Heck you're into it for scrap value. I really don't think you did bad at all. I've seen nicer ones go to the junkyard sadly - like you've seen.

    That looks like a southern car. That sat in grass. Looks like all the underbody paint and undercoat has baked off and come off. LOL at the dashpad wow.

    I see why you got it.

    Make sure your tailgate check strap
    Is still there. Also make sure that the strikers on the passenger side are still there for the tailgate. If gone or out of adjustment, functions won't work!

    I'd definitely gut that interior and pressure wash everything if you have a good floor pan to work with.

    Seriously congrats on car - you paid the right price!
    Price, maybe. Costs overran my intended budget (and in doing so, also the scrap value).

    I'm at $458, all-in (Uhaul, ferry fares, import fees/tariffs).
    "Budget over-runs" include:
    $100: government import tariff on A/C equipped vehicles, which CBSA did not inform me of when I asked originally, so it wasn't on my radar.
    $30: the amount of fuel I put in that I didn't end up using by the end of the day. The F-250 did way better on gas than anticipated.
    $23: Uhaul truck and trailer insurance policies, as I didn't want to take a chance on cars in the ferry rolling into either and me being responsible.
    Without those, it would have hovered around that magic $300 mark which was my original target cost.

    There are other expenses I'm not counting related to tools and equipment which I didn't own previously. I won't count them as part of the wagon cost because I'll own those items forever now.

    There will be other upcoming expenses re: taking ownership and license plates, but those would be the same for any car, so I don't factor them in here either.

    It's still a lot of car for the money. $500 couldn't have bought this private sale near me so it's still OK.
    Last edited by kishy; 06-19-2017 at 03:43 PM.

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    When you posted your original thread, I pictured some out of the way field access lane, not an actual driveway in an inhabited area.

    For as ugly as she is, she isn't all that bad considering. Take a lot of elbow grease to get her cleaned up. Speaking of which, do you have a time limit on getting the car inspected? Better check into it, I seem to remember reading something. You might be burning the midnight oil to get it up to muster for the crappy tire inspection.

    Alex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GM_Guy View Post
    When you posted your original thread, I pictured some out of the way field access lane, not an actual driveway in an inhabited area.

    For as ugly as she is, she isn't all that bad considering. Take a lot of elbow grease to get her cleaned up. Speaking of which, do you have a time limit on getting the car inspected? Better check into it, I seem to remember reading something. You might be burning the midnight oil to get it up to muster for the crappy tire inspection.

    Alex.
    No time limit I'm aware of. The safety inspection criteria already got stricter, I believe June of last year.

    Going to get a 10-day temp sticker for it, so that it is not transferred as "unfit", even though it won't be driven in the next 10 days. Doing it this way as opposed to transferring it as unplated and unfit (in the absence of a safety cert) means it can receive another 10-day temp later on. If it transfers as unfit, it will need to be towed to a shop for a safety the next time it touches the road.

    No time frame in mind. But since I've got it now, this helps motivate me to get rid of the 97. Space in my driveway is significantly reduced.
    Last edited by kishy; 06-19-2017 at 05:56 PM.

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  17. #17
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    I wonder if that $100 AC thing is because it would have been R12 originally. Maybe some sort of environmental fee due to CFC refrigerants, which it almost certainly has none of anymore.

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    https://www.riv.ca/RIVInspection.aspx

    45 days from the day you visited the Border guys.

    It is the importerís responsibility to complete the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) inspection within 45 days (or 1 year for salvage vehicles) from the date of import. All required modifications must be completed prior to the RIV inspection. If you are having trouble completing the RIV inspection within 45 days (or 1 year for salvage vehicles) it is important to Contact us.
    No pressure.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by GM_Guy View Post
    https://www.riv.ca/RIVInspection.aspx

    45 days from the day you visited the Border guys.



    No pressure.

    --

    A/C fee applies to any refrigerant. Gotta pay that when you buy a new car as well.

    Alex.
    Oh, that. It's RIV exempt due to age. Transport Canada confirmed on the phone this morning I'm good to take the 13-0132 "Vehicle Import Form - Form 1" to Service Ontario and that'll do to get me an Ontario ownership.

    In Section 16, (d) is checked for "Vehicle is fifteen years old or older" and the RIV section is crossed out and has a CBSA stamp on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GM_Guy View Post
    You might be burning the midnight oil to get it up to muster for the crappy tire inspection.
    Crappy Tire is the last place I would go to for an inspection. I hope that's not his only choice for a repair shop.
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