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 What to look for when buying a wagon?

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PostSubject: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:44 pm

Hi.

My name is Joe and I am looking to buy either a Caprice, Olds, or Buick wagon. I want to be able to haul stuff and this seems like a better option than a minivan. I want to know what to look for when I am shopping. What are some things to watch out for? I am looking at a 93 Caprice with 182,000 miles on it.
I did a few searches and came up dry. I'm sure there's a few threads on it, bu I couldn't find them.

Thanks!
Joe
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frederickflintstone

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PostSubject: Re: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:50 am

it depends on what you want. all of them will keep a sheet of plywood dry in the rain.
I wanted rust free above anything else.

generalities:
roadmasters mostly have leather interiors. Chevy's generally have cloth.
roadmasters generally end up in the hands of old more mature affluent drivers and MAY be in better shape.

94-96 SHOULD have the LT1, generally more power, but with a problematic optispark. the 4L60e trans has known weeknesses.

if you look thru the tread on differences between the years it will give you a lot of info.
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94Woody



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PostSubject: Re: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:03 am

RUST! These wagons easily get it and it can get quite nasty in a hurry.

While you can haul plywood in it and keep it dry. It is a very tight and uncomfortable ride home.
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jayoldschool

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PostSubject: Re: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:36 pm

I'll correct a few things from flintstone's post.

Caprice was cloth only (wagon).
94-96 ONLY got LT1. I'll leave the "problematic" opti and "weak" 4L60E up for debate (but I would disagree with both points).

People that say you can haul plywood have never hauled plywood, or, they are under 5 feet tall. You have to shove the seats forward almost all the way.

I agree that rust is your number one enemy... every thing else can be fixed with tools.

190k on a TBI Caprice would make me look for something else. There are lots of wagons out there, set a budget, and shop until you find the right one.
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94Woody



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PostSubject: Re: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:16 pm

jayoldschool wrote:

People that say you can haul plywood have never hauled plywood, or, they are under 5 feet tall.  You have to shove the seats forward almost all the way.


That only applies if you want to keep it inside. Leave the gate down and it fits perfectly. I carried all my deck supplies home in my wagon.

Edit--Actually.....5x8 sheet of drywall, seats in a comfortable position and the gate/glass could close. Plywood would net the same results. I'm 5 foot 10.

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frederickflintstone

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PostSubject: Re: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:12 pm

jayoldschool wrote:
I'll correct a few things from flintstone's post.

Caprice was cloth only (wagon).
94-96 ONLY got LT1.  I'll leave the "problematic" opti and "weak" 4L60E up for debate (but I would disagree with both points).

.

there was nothing to correct in my post.

while the 94-96 wagons came with an LT1, in 18-20 years since then there is the potential for many engine swaps. in my 6 month search for a wagon I ran across two without an LT1. one had a TBI and one a frigin Q-jet. both were being pawned off as LT1 engines.
to a lesser extent people have put RMW interiors into caprice wagons for an upgrade. I saw one for sale at a junkyard that way.
once again they didn't come factory that way but 18-20 years and multiple owners things happen.

the sun shell in the 4L60E is a known failure item in that trans in all GM vehicles.

the optispark is considered "troublesome" by most GM techs but not nearly as often as the sun shell failure.


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jayoldschool

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PostSubject: Re: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:49 pm

Quote :
Leave the gate down and it fits perfectly

That's kind of obvious, but isn't exactly "fits perfect". A giraffe fits perfectly if you leave the glass open, lol.

Plywood doesn't flex like drywall, either.
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jayoldschool

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PostSubject: Re: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Sun Aug 31, 2014 5:02 pm

Quote :
there was nothing to correct in my post.

Okay. Welcome to the forum. Let me know when you find a Caprice wagon with factory leather.
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sherlock9c1



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PostSubject: Re: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:25 pm

What are you trying to haul?
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Bobloblaw

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PostSubject: Re: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:04 pm

Guess it all depends on how mechanically savvy you are.
I just bought one 2 weeks ago and had to put nearly $700 into it.
I found a 92 caprice with 136k on the odometer and it looked dang near perfect!
I took a gamble on some engine noises and that gamble payed off. Lifter tick!, but I knew the car had not been driven more than 2k miles in the last 10 years. Changed the oil, added some Marvel Mystery Oil and drove it 500 miles and the tick is gone.

What to look for....look under the hood. If it looks like a rats nest, chances are the car was not cared for.

Check the oil, what color is it? Is it Milky?
Radiator fluid, what color? Is it cloudy?
Transmission fluid, what color? Does it smell burnt?
Driving, does it make any noises?

Those are always my biggest concerns. Make sure that works good and you should be set. Besides the electrical system, all other things will easy to take care of.
Just a reminder though, you are looking at a 20+ year old vehicle. Although GM widely used the frame and drivetrain, the cosmetic things may be hard to come by.

FYI....in the Chevy Caprice they used the 5.0 in something like 65% of the vehicles in 1993. They also used a 6 cyl, but not in many. I would try to find the 5.7 if you can.
I have the 5.0 and it is not a terrible motor, but I would love to have the added power of the 5.7.

Good luck in your search. Keep us posted on what you find.
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phantom 309

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PostSubject: Re: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:23 pm

Bobloblaw wrote:




FYI....in the Chevy Caprice they used the 5.0 in something like 65% of the vehicles in 1993. They also used a 6 cyl, but not in many.

Good luck in your search. Keep us posted on what you find.

Definitely let us know when you find a 6cyl,..although some uneducated folks often think the 4.3 L99 engine is a 6cyl,.until they learn its actually a baby lt1,.
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benn

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PostSubject: Re: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:42 pm

alot of folks know these wagons came with the lt1 but dont know they offered the tbi in earlier years. i see so many '92s and '93s with the "corvette engine" alot of folks tend to get the years wrong when the list them too. ive seen some tbi cars listed as 95s or 96s. you just need to know the years differences i.e interior, roof racks, small mirrors vs big ones etc.

things to look for no.1 should be rust. check the door jams and b pillars for rusting near the bottom. spare tire well is common to rust out, drivers side floor especially. body mounts etc etc etc. d pillars like to rust at the bottoms, swing the tailgate out as a door and look for rust in the jam. the lower rear quarters like to rust out too, especially if you have a leak around the quarter glass or roof racks.

just take your time looking at them, take it to a shop if your really not sure. dont make the same mistake i did...

My F*** up
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rabalc

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PostSubject: Re: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:29 pm

I know of a nice one in minnesota
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lakeffect
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PostSubject: Re: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:15 am

A giraffe fits perfectly only when you remove the moon roof. Sheep fit in as is.
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benn

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PostSubject: Re: What to look for when buying a wagon?   Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:29 pm

What's the max amount of sheep you've been able to fit in yours??
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