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Thread: New, looking into getting a Grand Marquis

  1. #1

    Default New, looking into getting a Grand Marquis

    Hi there,

    Just recently moved to Canada (Southern Ontario) from the UK and have been looking for a car. Ever since we moved here I have been admiring a Grand Marquis that parks around the corner from our apartment. Great looking machine, and since I grew up in the 80s/90s, pretty much exactly the image I have in my head of a North American car!

    Anyway, a couple of weeks ago a For Sale sign appears on the window....
    All the other cars we've been looking at have been generic, dreary vehicles that would do the job and nothing more, so when we find out that it's within our budget we thought - why not? Plus it turns out the insurance is cheaper than a lot of newer vehicles. We took it for a test drive and it was nice. Veeerry smooth, comfortable, almost everything works... but since I don't know much about these cars it would be really helpful to get a few pointers on whether this is a good buy or not.

    It's a Grand Marquis LS, white, with the 351 Windsor engine. 47,000 original km.

    The good:
    Low mileage
    Lots of options (apparently comes with everything except the sunroof and the extra fender lights)
    Pretty much everything works
    Runs nice, drives very smooth
    Good tires
    Passed safety test less than a year ago, seller is getting new safety test done next week.
    Body in good condition, no obvious corrosion
    Engine bay looks tidy, interior very clean.
    Seller has been using the car regularly, but not a lot.
    3 owners, first kept it garaged for most of its life, but last 1-2 years it's been kept on the street.

    The potentially-less-good (this is really where I could do with pointers about how bad they are / how much they might cost to get fixed)
    A/C doesn't work - no information about why or for how long. Certainly the belt was missing but I assume there is more to it than that.
    No belt to smog pump (though I gather some say this is a good thing...).
    Driver's seatbelt doesn't retract properly (though maybe the safety test will catch this and we'll get it sorted before buying).
    Paint peeling in a couple of spots, eg. small spot behind front fender (but no corrosion underneath).
    In a few patches the paint finish looks different, almost like it's been waxed there but not elsewhere. Only really noticeable until it's been pointed out. It's obviously not because these bits have been resprayed so I'm not sure what's happened. The seller reckons that only appeared after he had it professionally buffed, so....?
    Bit of surface rust on the exhaust.
    Slight gas smell inside when running.
    Whining sound when I put my foot down at about 50 mph to get some acceleration and the car drops into lower gear. Noise disappears immediately on coming off the gas and settling back to a steady cruise.

    No idea how big an issue any of these (especially the last one) are, and how much they might be to sort out (if needed).
    Seller is asking for CA$ 3000.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Whitestone, NY


    All I can say is that ac compressor and smog pump run off the same belt.

    Good luck with your new car. Sounds nice to me.

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

  3. #3
    Approaching 2 decades of DDing Box Panthers VicCrownVic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Shelby Township, MI



    Overall sounds like a good deal.

    The paint issue sounds like peeling clear coat, very common on these cars. It was probably buffed off in some spots when the PO had it buffed.

    The AC compressor could be seized, or some problem with the smog pump could have caused someone to remove the belt. Putting a new belt on requires removing the belt that drives the alternator and power steering since the AC belt lives behind the alternator belt. There could be other reasons for the belt to be missing. I haven't had AC in about 8 years, so not much input I can provide on fthe cost of fxing it. Perhaps grab a belt, throw it on and see what happens when you flip the AC on (hood open in a driveway to see if the compressor spins).

    The whining that you hear, is it the power steering pump? Does the same whining happen while turning?

    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis LS "The Scab" - plenty of rot, summer DD
    ~ 1997 GMC Yukon - wannabe winter DD - returning summer 2020, I finally have an engine
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis GS "The Ice Car" - My rotting winter DD
    ~ 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis GS - Rotting Retired DD
    Gone but not forgotten:
    ~ 1988 Country Squire ~ 1987 Ford Crown Vic

  4. #4
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Bedford, VA


    Overall description sounds decent. Couple things Iíll add.

    The carbureted 351 will be a gas hog compared to a fuel injected 302.

    The smog pump and A/C should be able to be turned, to some degree, by hand. Spin the middle of the front of the A/C (should turn a little) and the outer pulley (should turn a lot, easily). Most A/C problems with these cars are leak related. O-rings, maybe a new hose, and a R134a conversion get most of them going. Compressor and compressor clutch failures do happen though.

    The peeling paint issue and your mention of some parts looking waxed are either a clear coat/paint failure problem like Vic said or prior accident damage repairs. What year and color is it? Clear coat wasnít available on some colors, or optional, or standard depending on the year and color. If itís clearcoat failure, then there isnít much that can be done to fix it short of repainting the car or living with it. If itís accident damage/repair, then look closely!

    X2 on the power steering whine. Check fluid level and give it some Type F ATF. Some pumps just like to sing. Especially if you were potentially hitting 2nd gear at 50mph.

    Seatbelt problem very common. Replacement isnít hard. Parts are available for four door cars, but you may have to settle for gray (the service replacement color).

    Gas smell is concerning. Common leaks: seal around filler neck, or fuel line or tank rust. Could be a loose fitting on the carb? Fuel system isnít very big, or expensive to fix. Use your nose and youíll find the leak.
    1988 Crown Vic Wagon - daily
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, former lawn ornament
    Other: 95 Ranger, 74 F250, 68 Mustang, 94 Mustang
    Sold: 1982 LTD and 1987 Crown Vic

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  5. #5


    Thanks for the welcome, and the pointers. There was no noticeable noise on turning, the whine only occured when I put my foot down, basically going in a straight line...

  6. #6


    Thanks a lot for the answers. It's a 1985 car, white. I think the clearcoat issue is more likely than accident damage given that some is on the hood, some on the trunk.

  7. #7
    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Lewisville, TX


    hood, roof, and trunk are the usual paint fade areas. Not unusual.

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein
    rides: 88 MGM (SOLD), 93 Vic, 2000 Crown Vic, 2003 Expedition
    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73
    ... and it should all work like magic and unicorns and stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by dmccaig
    Overhead, some poor bastards are flying in airplanes.

  8. #8
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Whitestone, NY


    I know for certain my 87 did not come with clear coat. My car was brown. Maybe white was a different story back in 84/85?

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Columbia, SC


    Are you driving this car year-round,? Or more as a summer only car? Being from the UK you are well aware of road salt and what it does to a car. If this is as nice a car as you’re describing body wise and does not have rust or rot, you may want to consider looking into a winter beater as well as keeping this thing around as your non-salty Car.

    Plenty of these cars came with primer and a basecoat. Not all had clearcoat. Especially in the 80s. My 87 Taurus in sand beige was not a clearcoat car. Depending where you are in Ontario, as I’ll be passing through in September, I will be happy to take a look at your air-conditioning system. Living where I do, it’s a necessity if I don’t want to show up in a shirt that changed colors between my house and my destinations

    Is it possible that the whine is coming from the rear end of the car? It could be the pinion.
    -Nick M.
    Columbia, SC

    66 Squire, 89 Colony Park, 90 TC, 03 (2x) TC, 06 TC, 07 TC
    03 BMW 540iT, 05 GMC Yukon (tahoe)

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