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Thread: Noob Looking for Car Buying Tips

  1. #1

    Question Noob Looking for Car Buying Tips

    Hi GMN Members!

    I'm considering buying a 2000 Grand Marquis for my teen son (believe it or not, he likes the styling). Allegedly it only has 60k miles because it's only been driven by seller's elderly parents who cannot drive anymore. Never been smoked in, no mechanical issues, no "funny sounds".

    Unfortunately, there are no service records. Seller sent me copy of Carfax which has no records at all between from 2001 to 20012, inclusive. I plan to get a Carfax of my own after I check out the vehicle.

    Can you please tell me what Grand Marquis specific items I should be looking for when I inspect it myself? Also plan on getting it checked out by a mechanic before buying. Any suggestions on what I should have him look for?

    Thanks,
    JPG.

  2. #2
    n00b SteveM426's Avatar
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    I have a 2000 Grand Marquis. Only thing I can think of is the Rear Air Bags if it has them, if it has a Digital Instrument cluster and Auto Climate control Check them Thoroughly! Every thing else is Just like the Crown Victoria. P.S. I'm Sure if I missed Anything Others on here will Help you out. People here are Pretty Cool.

    Good Luck, Steve.

  3. #3
    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    Check rubber bits for dry rot. Vacuum lines, control arm bushings, hoses, tires... check for leaks in shocks, engine, trans, rear axle. Drive it with the radio off to check for oscillating hum that changes with speed. This would indicate wheel bearing or wheel issues. Make sure you get heat and cold and all vent positions work. Check the power windows for function. Make sure the electric radiator fan works.

    CHECK THE DATE ON THE TIRES. If you don't know how, search it. There's lots of info out there now on how to read those date codes. If the tires are more than 5-6 years old, they may gain issues in short order. Check the spare. Make sure it has the jack.

    If it is what they say, the only concern I would have is the tires. The rest should be mostly fine. If you're in the rust belt, the usual checks for rot are a good idea. The torque boxes at the A pillar locations on the frame are a main point of failure if it hasn't been taken care of.

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein
    rides: 93 Crown Vic LX (The Red Velvet Cake), 2000 Crown Vic base model (Sandy), 2003 Expedition (the vacation beast)
    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73
    ... and it should all work like magic and unicorns and stuff.
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    Overhead, some poor bastards are flying in airplanes.

  4. #4
    Road Warrior Kodachrome Wolf's Avatar
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    Intake manifold crossover is a place to look. If it has the all plastic one, that might be of concern. If it has the later aluminum coolant passage on it, it’s fine.

    Also, check the coolant condition. I’m not sure if it was 2000 or 2001 when the coolant switched from green to gold, but it’s a good idea to see if it looks clean or if it’s all nasty.

    My Cars:
    -1964 Comet 202 (116K Miles) - Awaiting Resurrection
    -1987 Grand Marquis Colony Park LS (325K Miles) - April 2017 + September 2019 POTM Winner
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  5. #5
    2 decades of DDing Box Panthers, now in a Whale VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    At that mileage I doubt you would find a reason to walk away. I bought my '98 MGM Feb 2020 with 63K miles on it and, although it was totaled in 2018 or 2019 (someone spent over $5200 to have a new fender, hood, bumper/header panel and paint), there were no scary issues.
    Although I did have an intermittent battery light that I narrowed to the alternator and a replacement fixed that. I've had multiple cars that have sat before I bought them and 3 of them have had bad alternators.

    The EATC, if equipped, most common issue is defaulting to blowing out the defrost vents no matter the setting. Bad orings in the control head are the most common cause. I like to retrofit the later style vacuum actuator assembly because it's easier to service those orings and cheaper to buy just the actuator assembly at the junkyard. http://www.grandmarq.net/vb/showthre...l=1#post839773

    The coolant crossover on the factory intake as mentioned. Check for leaks and replace it preemptively if it has not already been replaced. Some info in a few posts in my '98 thread starting with this post: http://www.grandmarq.net/vb/showthre...l=1#post840943

    As was mentioned, tires could be a concern if it has sat for a long time. Tread does not matter if they are all dry rotted.

    Nothing super concerning that I can think of to look out for.
    Last edited by VicCrownVic; 10-06-2021 at 10:14 PM.
    Vic

    ~ 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis LS - new DD
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis LS "The Scab" - plenty of rot, backup/summer cruiser
    ~ 1997 GMC Yukon SLT - wannabe winter DD - many issues, returning sometime in the 2020s
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis GS "The Ice Car" - Rotting Retired Winter DD
    ~ 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis GS - Rotting Retired DD
    Gone but not forgotten:
    ~ 1988 Country Squire ~ 1987 Ford Crown Vic

  6. #6
    Told ya everything I know when I said hello P72Ford's Avatar
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    Alot of good points here.

    I will echo the sentiments of others. I bought an '06 GM last December and the EATC defaulted to defrost within 6 months. $3 in o rings and about a half hour of my time resolved it.

    Make sure the airbags don't leak down if it has them (not the end of the world if they do, there are affordable fixes).

    Even the cars with AL coolant crossovers on the intake can leak, so keep that in mind.

    Seatbelt retractors can intermittently fail and throw the ABS light, but are cheap to have rebuilt. The later cars have cluster issues, but not on the '00.

    Also check the ball joints.

    There is nothing that would turn me away if the car is clean, and runs and drives fine. These cars are affordable to buy and maintain, and you can pack the miles on with only basic maintenance.
    **2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302: 5.0/ 6 spd/ 3.73s, 17K Cruiser
    **2006 MGM,"Ultimate": 4.6/ 2.73/ Dark Tint, 76K Daily Driver
    **2012 Harley Davidson Wide Glide (FXDWG):103/ Cobra Speedsters/ Cosmetics, 7K Poseur HD Rider
    **2014 Ram 1500 QCSB Express: 4WD Hemi/ 8spd TF/ 3L21/ Exhaust/ Cosmetics, 39K Truck Duties

  7. #7
    I post a lot...
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    I might be turned off by all the correct and true issues that many have mentioned here but as far as nice 11 yr old used cars go these are all very minor, except for severe frame rot which is a potential killer on any vehicle. These cars have a way of making one comfortable with them after they are sorted to taste and they generally keep on running with few major problems as P72 ford mentioned.

    You did not ask but these can be relatively easily and cheaply modified to taste if you are not looking for a rocket in your pocket.
    03 Marauder DBP, HS, 6disk, Organizer Mods> LED's in & Out, M&Z rear control arms, Oil deflector, Blue Fuzzy Dice
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveM426 View Post
    ... Every thing else is Just like the Crown Victoria ...
    Thanks Steve, but I'm equally as ignorant of the Crown Vic. hehehe. You were right about other guys being helpful too!
    We shall see what happens soon.

  9. #9

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    Thanks sly. Some of that stuff I don't know how to check (e.g. torque boxes), so this reinforces that I need a mechanic to give it a second look after I test drive.

  10. #10

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    Thank you also to Kodachrome Wolf, VicCrownVic, P72Ford, and jaywish. You guys know WAY more than me about cars, period. I don't know how to check for all that stuff. Will definitely need to ask a mechanic to check into this stuff.

  11. #11
    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    The torque boxes are the corners of the frame directly under the A pillar (behind the front wheels) that connect the front arms of the frame to the rocker area of the frame. Just make sure they're not rusty rotten.

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein
    rides: 93 Crown Vic LX (The Red Velvet Cake), 2000 Crown Vic base model (Sandy), 2003 Expedition (the vacation beast)
    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.

  12. #12

    Question Noob's concerns after inspection and test drive

    I went to see it right after my last post; didn't have time to learn how to check all your suggestions.

    Here is a link to some images and a video of potential problem areas on imgur (tried to use albums or attach pics directly to post without success).


    My concerns:

    1. Oil level seems very low prior to startup. Car was on approx 10 or 15 degree incline (right rear bumper lower than front left bumper). Some oil seems to be leaking but cannot tell how severe it is.
    2. Some rust in underside of car close to where you would normally place the jack.
    3. Some dry rot of a rubber cover around a part in the engine compartment (no clue what that is).
    4. Some rust in other areas like engine compartment (see pics).


    I cannot tell how severe these problems are. With 60k miles, I'm hoping to find a car that will last my son for 2 years of high school and 4 years of college - without incurring a repair that will cost over $1000 within the first two years.


    What are your thoughts?



    Oh, some good things:
    • Tires are from 2020 and in really good shape.
    • Really smooth ride, responsive engine, brakes, and steering without "funny noises".
    • VIN matched Carfax sent previously.
    • Interior is nice considering age.
    • Starting to believe odometer has not been tampered with.
    • Son still likes it.

  13. #13
    2 decades of DDing Box Panthers, now in a Whale VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    Honestly, at 60k miles I was expecting something in better shape.

    It looks like a great beater if the price is low enough, and even better for a kid to learn in without fear of wrecking something nice.
    I think it has at least 6 years if not more left, but if I were looking for something nice I would pass on this one.

    1. Should not be such a noticeable leak at 60k miles.
    2. Does not look to be on the verge of death
    3. That insulation can/should be removed and run with out it. Earlier models did not have that insulation.
    4. More rust than I would want on a 60k mile car unless the price is super low.
    Vic

    ~ 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis LS - new DD
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis LS "The Scab" - plenty of rot, backup/summer cruiser
    ~ 1997 GMC Yukon SLT - wannabe winter DD - many issues, returning sometime in the 2020s
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis GS "The Ice Car" - Rotting Retired Winter DD
    ~ 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis GS - Rotting Retired DD
    Gone but not forgotten:
    ~ 1988 Country Squire ~ 1987 Ford Crown Vic

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by VicCrownVic View Post
    It looks like a great beater if the price is low enough
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by VicCrownVic View Post
    4. More rust than I would want on a 60k mile car unless the price is super low.
    What's low enough?


    He's currently asking $4900 but I've not intention of paying that much.

  15. #15
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Yeah wow, 5 large for that pile of shit? No thanks. If there's one thing I could impart on you is, don't pay attention to mileage so much as age. Nothing fucks anything harder than time haha. That's a 22 year old vehicle, I wouldn't pay no more than $2,500 for it. Not sure why people think 100k or less is supposed to net them double their money..
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

  16. #16
    2 decades of DDing Box Panthers, now in a Whale VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    Yikes.

    I'd be interested to see what others think before basing a decision on what a random guy on the internet like me says.

    I would be starting to get uncomfortable at $2500 maybe $3k but apparently used car prices are way up at the moment so I might be out of touch with the unfortunate reality. Still, the asking price is nowhere near what I would be willing to pay.

    Edit: Did not see Derek's post before I posted, but that's 2 votes for the $2500 range. No way a seller would come down that much.
    Vic

    ~ 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis LS - new DD
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis LS "The Scab" - plenty of rot, backup/summer cruiser
    ~ 1997 GMC Yukon SLT - wannabe winter DD - many issues, returning sometime in the 2020s
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis GS "The Ice Car" - Rotting Retired Winter DD
    ~ 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis GS - Rotting Retired DD
    Gone but not forgotten:
    ~ 1988 Country Squire ~ 1987 Ford Crown Vic

  17. #17
    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    Yeah... they're asking high end money for a low end car. The rockers are GONE. The frame looks okay though. The body rust however makes it "fair" condition in my book. I wouldn't pay more than 2k for that one. Especially with the bad oil leaks. It may just be valve covers, but a rear main seal would suck.

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein
    rides: 93 Crown Vic LX (The Red Velvet Cake), 2000 Crown Vic base model (Sandy), 2003 Expedition (the vacation beast)
    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.

  18. #18
    fomoco panthers !
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    No way would I pay the seller's asking price. $2,500 would be max. Even with used car prices high, The rust issues would make me pass on that car. IF you plan to repair the rust properly and fix the oil leaks, you could get a few years out of the car. Add $1,000-$1,500 at least for the cost of repair to a reasonable purchase price. If that vehicle was in the west, and in excellent shape, maybe the asking price would be acceptable. Low mileage does not mean well cared for.

  19. #19

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    Wow guys. Thanks so much for all your advice. It's all very reasonable. You saved me a bundle of $$ because I was going to take it to a mechanic - unknown to me - to have him tell me the same thing.

    THANK YOU ALL!!

  20. #20
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Yeah, with how fresh that oil looks, I'm betting that's a rear main seal and a very bad leak.

    Rust repair is expensive, and it always comes back faster and harder than it was before. My advice is, don't repair rust unless the car will never see salt or excessive moisture again.
    1985 LTD Crown Victoria - SOLD
    1988 Town Car Signature - Current Party Barge

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