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 (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?

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TheRoadmasterKing

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PostSubject: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:21 pm

I already have my temp permits and am about to get my license when I turn 16 in September, which also means I need to find a first-car. My neighbor has a Buick RMW. It is either a 1995 or 1996 judging by the wheels on it and the dashboard when I peeked in the window, it looked like the stereo was double-din. It is DCM and wood delete. He's tried selling it 3 times before and now it just sits in his backyard. I'm unsure of how many miles are on it though. I really want this wagon as my 1st car but I'm unsure on how much $$ to offer him.

Here's a crappy cellphone pic of the car:


Last edited by TheRoadmasterKing on Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Krzdimond
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:39 pm

That is a tough one to answer. He may not have sold it because he wants too much.... or it is rusted out/ high mileage.

Strike up a conversation with him and see how he feels about the car.
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TheRoadmasterKing

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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:42 pm

Superior Finish wrote:
That is a tough one to answer. He may not have sold it because he wants too much.... or it is rusted out/ high mileage.

Strike up a conversation with him and see how he feels about the car.
Well, being Ohio, what doesn't have rust up here? And I'd imagine it probably has high mileage given that the car is 20 years old and the guy daily drove it for a long time. Later I'll have to walk down and talk to him.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:01 pm

Talk to the owner and find out what he's been asking for the car in previous offers to sell. If that car were in excellent running and cosmetic condition and from a southern state, and the owner advertised it effectively and broadly, it might sell for well over $10,000. If it's rusted through anywhere, leaking oil from every gasket, with high mileage and a dodgy interior, the owner would be lucky to get $2000. However, none of this matters to the owner if he's set on a minimum price and under no pressure to sell.

So, the first step is to talk to the owner and find out what they are asking. Don't offer any opinions on whether the "ask" is reasonable. At this point you are just collecting information.

Here's a question for you: do you have $5000 in your pocket to burn on this car in the first year of ownership? Gas, insurance, registration, maintenance, and safety come before mods. So does college. Think this over.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:28 pm

dmg4 wrote:
Talk to the owner and find out what he's been asking for the car in previous offers to sell.  If that car were in excellent running and cosmetic condition and from a southern state, and the owner advertised it effectively and broadly, it might sell for well over $10,000.   If it's rusted through anywhere, leaking oil from every gasket, with high mileage and a dodgy interior, the owner would be lucky to get $2000.  However, none of this matters to the owner if he's set on a minimum price and under no pressure to sell.  

So, the first step is to talk to the owner and find out what they are asking.  Don't offer any opinions on whether the "ask" is reasonable.  At this point you are just collecting information.

Here's a question for you: do you have $5000 in your pocket to burn on this car in the first year of ownership?  Gas, insurance, registration, maintenance, and safety come before mods.  So does college. Think this over.  

Ok, I will talk to the owner when I get a chance. The car looks to be in decent shape (haven't looked closely for frame rust though) and I know that the car isn't from a southern state because I remember seeing the owner driving it around town back when I was a little kid. He stopped driving it like 2 years ago, which is when he attempted to sell it (which he didn't put much effort into it, he just had it on his driveway with a sign, no online posts) and since it didn't sell it's just been sitting in his backyard and hasn't moved over a year (and because of that I'm willing to bet if I do end up getting my hands on it I'll need to put in a new battery at least.)

I don't have $5k yet, but I am getting a job at one of the local grocery stores so I can start saving up for things. I also agree with what you said, I plan on going to college so I'm not doing any "real" modifications to the wagon until I graduate. The only thing I'd end up putting in it during HS and college is subwoofers, which I already own, they're a set of old school Fosgate HX2s with a 1000w amp I bought at a garage sale when I was (I think) 12 years old. We had it out in the family truck for awhile and it was pretty loud.

Thank you for the tips and advice!!!
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:40 pm

My experience in wagons from the rustbelt states is that you'll see gaping holes in body panels before the frame rusts through. If it looks good from 10 ft, the frame is the least of you worries. If it was not driven a lot in the winter, and the owner took it to a car wash frequently, it may not be that rusty. Still, if you are going to spend time and money on mods in the future, I'd start with a rust-free car from the south. Look for bubbled paint around the rubber moldings at the top center and lower corners of the windshield, under the side-view mirror, lower spare tire well, and around the hinges of the rear glass (early signs of cancer). Look for oil under the car. Oil pan and valve cover gaskets, and rear main seals are cheap, but if you have them replaced at a shop plan on a thousand dollars or more in labor.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:46 pm

dmg4 wrote:
My experience in wagons from the rustbelt states is that you'll see gaping holes in body panels before the frame rusts through.  If it looks good from 10 ft, the frame is the least of you worries. If it was not driven a lot in the winter, and the owner took it to a car wash frequently, it may not be that rusty.   Still, if you are going to spend time and money on mods in the future, I'd start with a rust-free car from the south.  Look for bubbled paint around the rubber moldings at the top center and lower corners of the windshield, under the side-view mirror, lower spare tire well, and around the hinges of the rear glass (early signs of cancer).  Look for oil under the car.  Oil pan and valve cover gaskets, and rear main seals  are cheap, but if you have them replaced at a shop plan on a thousand dollars or more in labor.

Understandable. Sometime I'll need to sneak down and get a closer look to see what shape it's really in. Thinking back, I think he was trying to sell it for $3,000 or somewhere in that area. If it is in truly terrible shape but runs decebt I imagine I could "limp it" through HS and college then it'll become a project car/restomod project after I graduate. But we'll cross that bridge when we get there lol.

Regardless, with it being a first car I don't want to spend more than $5,000.


Edit: How can you tell if a tire is dry-rotted? Since the car has sat outside in the elements without moving for a year I'd imagine they are. If there is dry-rot I'd just slap on a cheap set of Walmart Dextero's and call it good. They're just rebadged Goodyears anyhow. What do you think?
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:08 am

I'd offer him 1800 or 2K. Then work up if he doesn't like the price. I bought mine when I was 15. I liked the color of mine. Also, DCM is a nice color!
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:09 am

Also, maintenance is the main struggle, mine didn't have much done to it, and it needed a lot!
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:02 am

I'd not mention any offer until you hear what the owner is asking, adn then only talk money after you've had a chance to check the car out, or better still: get it to a mechanic and have them check it out thoroughly. That shouldn't cost you more than $100, and it could save you thousands in repairs.

You might steal this car for $1000, and then find you have a 4700 lb lawn ornament. Unless you are reasonably skilled mechanic (I am NOT) and have access to a lift, you won't be able to perform some of the more expensive repair yourself.

But, if this thing checks out, a DCM wood delete 1996 Roadmaster with minimal rust, well-maintained, high mileage (say 150K) in good running condition would be a very good buy at $3000 in my area. If the interior is trashed, you might get it cheap, and you could get replacement interior bits over time. Sounds like you are going to make it a mobile ghetto blaster anyway (joke alert).

Ask the owner when the tires were purchased. I doubt they've dry rotted in the blazing Ohio sun unless they have been sitting there for 5 years. They might thump for a few miles from sitting for a year. Keep it under 40 for a while and both hands on the wheel. Don't try to make a new car out of it until you've owned it for a year and know what you have.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:10 am

You can determine whether it is a 95 or 96 by the hood ornament. The 96 will have a solid collector's edition hood ornament, and the 95 will have a tri-shield open ornament, like the prior years.

Before you ever mention price to the seller, make sure you have enough cash in your hand to back the offer up. Making an offer with no funds will frustrate the seller, and you will probably not get any further action on the car. The best way to make an offer is to state a price and flash the cash. It has turned many sellers heads, and you can often buy the car for 1/2 the asking price, or less, if you have the cash in front of him. I often have a wad of bills that contains my initial offer, and keep another couple bills in another pocket, or a couple of different pockets, in case the original offer does not get excepted. You can always go up a small increment at a time. Another technique is to make each successive offer a smaller increment...up $200 once, second time up another $100, third time $50, etc. Set a line of diminishing returns. Whatever you do, do not let the seller see that you are in love with the car. Be willing to walk away at your top dollar. Sellers will often call you back if you walk away. Do not make a standing offer. All offers are dead when you walk away. The last thing is, make your offer and shut up. The next person to speak looses.

You have just received "Negotiating 101", send money.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:16 am

Fred Kiehl wrote:
You can determine whether it is a 95 or 96 by the hood ornament. The 96 will have a solid collector's edition hood ornament, and the 95 will have a tri-shield open ornament, like the prior years.

Before you ever mention price to the seller, make sure you have enough cash in your hand to back the offer up. Making an offer with no funds will frustrate the seller, and you will probably not get any further action on the car. The best way to make an offer is to state a price and flash the cash. It has turned many sellers heads, and you can often buy the car for 1/2 the asking price, or less, if you have the cash in front of him. I often have a wad of bills that contains my initial offer, and keep another couple bills in another pocket, or a couple of different pockets, in case the original offer does not get excepted. You can always go up a small increment at a time. Another technique is to make each successive offer a smaller increment...up $200 once, second time up another $100, third time $50, etc. Set a line of diminishing returns. Whatever you do, do not let the seller see that you are in love with the car. Be willing to walk away at your top dollar. Sellers will often call you back if you walk away. Do not make a standing offer. All offers are dead when you walk away. The last thing is, make your offer and shut up. The next person to speak looses.

You have just received "Negotiating 101", send money.

Thanks Fred! I never knew about the hood ornament thing. Before I make the offer indeed I'm going to get a few paychecks under my belt and I'll start out at $1500 and work up from there. I go to garage sales a lot and I've got "wheeling and dealing" down to a science it seems. I'll take some notes from this thread into my phone now. Thanks everyone!! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:31 am

If you go to garage sales, and can turn a profit on the items you buy (ebay, craig's list, or some other outlet), you can enhance your financial position. I do ebay, and a little on Craig's List, and have paid for my cars as well as maintenance, and gas for the last 8 years.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:08 pm

Given your financial situation (which is normal for someone your age) and your intended usage for the car (DD you want to last through college), take a second to think whether or not you want to rely on a 22 year old car for transportation to college (exams, work, apts).

I don't know what age college starts at in the USA, but the car might realistically be 25 by then.  If you know how to work on cars, legitimately enjoy doing it, are ready to put the time into maintenance and have a garage by all means go ahead.  If you buy a rusty, hi-mile, old wagon, you might not like them as much when you need to replace brake lines, the opti, fuel pump or plug wires in february outside.

When I was about your age, I really wanted a Grand National.  I knew it would be stupid to try to use one as a DD.  I saved up for a while, looking for the perfect buy.  Got it the day I turned 20, as a 2nd car for the summer.  I'm 33 now (****) and back in medical school.  I don't have a real garage, I don't have downtime, and I can't afford to miss school or be late at the hospital.  If I didn't have my wife's 2010 vibe as a back-up I would not be using the caprice as a daily.   I wasn't particularly fond of changing the opti in my temporary garage the week before exams.   I'm definitely considering getting something 2012-ish as my DD.


Last edited by jasonlachapelle on Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:09 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : forum corrected my age)
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:26 pm

jasonlachapelle wrote:
Given your financial situation (which is normal for someone your age) and your intended usage for the car (DD you want to last through college), take a second to think whether or not you want to rely on a 22 year old car for transportation to college (exams, work, apts).

I don't know what age college starts at in the USA, but the car might realistically be 25 by then.  If you know how to work on cars, legitimately enjoy doing it, are ready to put the time into maintenance and have a garage by all means go ahead.  If you buy a rusty, hi-mile, old wagon, you might not like them as much when you need to replace brake lines, the opti, fuel pump or plug wires in february outside.

In USA college starts around age 18-20, I'm currently 15.5. I'd be graduating HS in 2020 so by the time I'm done with high school the wagon would already be 24. I know how to work on cars, we just got done re-building the front end of the family Honda (I installed new control arms, bushings, and tie rod ends, and CV axles) and I've done various engine mods in the past as well. Maintenance wouldn't be much of a hindrance for me.

That being said, I don't know if I'll even end up getting this wagon, and if I do I don't know how much maintenance it'll need.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:21 pm

Sounds like this is typical cart-before-the-horse scenario. Talk to him first. See what he wants, then report back. And for all that is good and holy, don't be the first one to mention a price. Let him do that, and assess from there.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:04 pm

RedandBlack wrote:
Sounds like this is typical cart-before-the-horse scenario. Talk to him first. See what he wants, then report back. And for all that is good and holy, don't be the first one to mention a price. Let him do that, and assess from there.
Sure thing Smile
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:57 pm

A dcm wb4.,,.
Wow,.
Take some pics and post them up,. If its a nice car and u can't afford it i'll maybe buy it and even slip you a C note,..
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:00 pm

phantom 309 wrote:
A dcm wb4.,,.
Wow,.
Take some pics and post them up,. If its a nice car and u can't afford it i'll maybe buy it and even slip you a C note,..
I'm trying to find a job so I can save up enough money to make the guy an offer. I know it's likely I can end up getting it because that wagon hasn't moved since he parked it and it's not going anywhere anytime soon either. I seriously hope I can pull this off.

Also what does WB4 mean??
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:06 pm

jasonlachapelle wrote:
definitely considering getting something 2012-ish as my DD.

I just bought a 2002 for a dd, 4 cyl 5 spd,. Some japanese thing, gets 38mpg
Has all popular options, like heated leather, sun roof, ac,power mirror
180,00 miles, it cost me 875 cdn on the road,..
It is grey
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:50 pm

I myself is getting ready for college. I've had mine for 3 years, broken down once but has been pretty reliable. I've had to fix it a couple times a year but it's been pretty good for the most part. 201,000 miles and still going strong! If you put work into it in the summers you should be good during they year. Check for rust, especially around the front window, and around the vista roof, also make sure the power steering pump and gearbox are ok. Also make sure it's properly aligned.
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TheRoadmasterKing

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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:19 pm

harrisons13 wrote:
I myself is getting ready for college. I've had mine for 3 years, broken down once but has been pretty reliable. I've had to fix it a couple times a year but it's been pretty good for the most part. 201,000 miles and still going strong! If you put work into it in the summers you should be good during they year. Check for rust, especially around the front window, and around the vista roof, also make sure the power steering pump and gearbox are ok. Also make sure it's properly aligned.

Nice. As I said before I have a lot of experience repairing the family cars, and I enjoy doing it so doing work on the wagon will be a breeze for me (hopefully).

After I get back from band camp I'll probably try to talk to the owner and get a closer look at the wagon. On the LT1 wagons, where is the PS pump located? I want to know what I'm looking for.,
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:23 pm

It is on the passenger's side below the alternator.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:25 pm

Fred Kiehl wrote:
It is on the passenger's side below the alternator.
Thank you. Besides the PS pump, gearbox, and oil seals are there any other specific items I should keep my eye on?
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:51 pm

Opti, ignition module, and fuel pressure regulator. Should you ever have to replace the ignition module, use white heat sink paste, not dielectric grease.

Other non-life threatening issues are wiper control module, and the antenna.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:56 pm

Fred Kiehl wrote:
Opti, ignition module, and fuel pressure regulator. Should you ever have to replace the ignition module, use white heat sink paste, not dielectric grease.

Other non-life threatening issues are wiper control module, and the antenna.
I do hope the antenna works at least because I can't live without my radio. I love listening to local broadcast.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:55 pm

I can sometimes fix antennas, if the mast is straight. I have a repaired one, and a usable used one right now.

I keep a contingency of spare parts, because I never can get the one I need when I need it.

Be careful with the interior door panels, they are prone to cracking and falling apart.

Most of the rest of the car is pretty bullet proof. If the car has over 100K on it, keep an eye on the transmission. some have failed as early as 100K. Most last to 150 or slightly more.

If you do not get this one, the TBI cars are a little cheaper to fix, but do not have the performance of the LT1 cars.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:05 pm

Fred Kiehl wrote:
I can sometimes fix antennas, if the mast is straight. I have a repaired one, and a usable used one right now.

I keep a contingency of spare parts, because I never can get the one I need when I need it.

Be careful with the interior door panels, they are prone to cracking and falling apart.

Most of the rest of the car is pretty bullet proof. If the car has over 100K on it, keep an eye on the transmission. some have failed as early as 100K. Most last to 150 or slightly more.

If you do not get this one, the TBI cars are a little cheaper to fix, but do not have the performance of the LT1 cars.
I'll be sure to be careful with the doors and I'll keep an eye on the transmission if I get it.

If I can't get this wagon I'm just going to get something from the local used lot. I like the L05 wagons, they're nice, but I'd rather have the LT1 because they're more powerful from the start plus they have a larger aftermarket.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:42 am

LT1 gets my vote

welcome to wagonhood!

be careful though, you may lose your mind like I have
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:05 am

BUICKNUTT wrote:
LT1 gets my vote

welcome to wagonhood!

be careful though, you may lose your mind like I have

Thank you. Hopefully I'm able to buy this one.

Also I was looking at your signature. Suspect At least there's "evidence" to back up the username BUICK NUT Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:18 pm

Another quick question, if I end up having to test-drive this wagon what should I expect in terms of handling? I've been driving the family car for temp hours and its a Honda Element... how much of a change would transitioning to the RMW be?
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:43 pm

They are like boat. You will take up a lot more space everywhere you go. I do not know what driving a Honda Element is like.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:44 pm

Fred Kiehl wrote:
They are like boat. You will take up a lot more space everywhere you go. I do not know what driving a Honda Element is like.
Yeah, that'll take some getting used to. The Element is like a giant go-kart.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:27 am

My question is simply why hasn't the car been driven for the past two years?

It may have ran in the past, but does it run now?


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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:30 am

lakeffect wrote:
My question is simply why hasn't the car been driven for the past two years?

It may have ran in the past, but does it run now?
I'm not sure. The guy has 4 other cars sitting out in his yard along with the wagon.


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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Sun Jun 25, 2017 10:14 am

If the wagon has been sitting more than it's been driven, I'd also be on the look out for leaks of any kind.  Anything with a seal is likely to go on a car that spends a lot of time sitting, especially after resuming a regular use.  When you go for your test drive, get the car good and hot (highway and city driving {with the AC on if it's working}).  Then park somewhere on a clean surface and while you continue to chat with the owner check under the car periodically.  This of course is assuming the owner endorses taking such a drive (safe to operate).  

Good luck with your pursuits!
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TheRoadmasterKing

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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:23 pm

Glide-Aways wrote:
If the wagon has been sitting more than it's been driven, I'd also be on the look out for leaks of any kind.  Anything with a seal is likely to go on a car that spends a lot of time sitting, especially after resuming a regular use.  When you go for your test drive, get the car good and hot (highway and city driving {with the AC on if it's working}).  Then park somewhere on a clean surface and while you continue to chat with the owner check under the car periodically.  This of course is assuming the owner endorses taking such a drive (safe to operate).  

Good luck with your pursuits!
Notes taken. Thank you!
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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:19 pm

You could even spend a couple of bucks and have a trusted mechanic put it on a lift to check the underside.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:20 pm

Fred Kiehl wrote:
You could even spend a couple of bucks and have a trusted mechanic put it on a lift to check the underside.
There's a local old guy whose a mechanic and all generations of my family take their cars to him for oil changes or any repairs really. I might just do that.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:20 am

Thank you to everyone who has given me advice on this topic. I hope one day that this wagon will indeed be mine.

Admins, if you want you can delete or lock this topic, and I'll be back with an update if I buy the car.
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lakeffect
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:50 am

It is unusual for us to lock threads here. For you sake, we'll keep it open, as it is likely that you might have additional questions as time goes on. They can be kept together better for for reference in one thread rather than be scattered about.
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TheRoadmasterKing

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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:54 am

lakeffect wrote:
It is unusual for us to lock threads here. For you sake, we'll keep it open, as it is likely that you might have additional questions as time goes on. They can be kept  together better for for reference in one thread rather than be scattered about.
Understandable, and good thing you did because come to think of it I do have one more question, and hopefully this'll be my last one.

How do you access the tachometer though the heater controls? The fact that the gauge cluster doesn't have a tach almost gives me OCD because I'm used to one being there on a car. As long as I have the tach on the hvac panel that'd satisfy me.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:41 pm

TheRoadmasterKing wrote:

How do you access the tachometer though the heater controls? The fact that the gauge cluster doesn't have a tach almost gives me OCD because I'm used to one being there on a car. As long as I have the tach on the hvac panel that'd satisfy me.

there are youtube videos. I'm at work or would look it up for you.

Also you can tell how old tires are as they have their manufacture date on the side wall. it's and oval cutout with 4 numbers raised in the center such as 3214 which would translate to 32nd week of 2014. First two week of the year (01-52) and the last two what year 14=2014. I would not run long distances on anything over 6-7 years old as they are prone to blow out. Rubber deteriorates over time and you can't stop it. Been there had the blow out the rubber dented up the rear quarter panel pretty good....new tires are cheaper than bodywork.

Google 'tire date code' or something like it for more info.....


Good luck.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:51 pm

Sprocket wrote:
TheRoadmasterKing wrote:

How do you access the tachometer though the heater controls? The fact that the gauge cluster doesn't have a tach almost gives me OCD because I'm used to one being there on a car. As long as I have the tach on the hvac panel that'd satisfy me.

there are youtube videos.   I'm at work or would look it up for you.  

Also you can tell how old tires are as they have their manufacture date on the side wall.   it's and oval cutout with 4 numbers raised in the center   such as 3214   which would translate to 32nd week of 2014.   First two week of the year (01-52) and the last two what year 14=2014.   I would not run long distances on anything over 6-7 years old as they are prone to blow out.   Rubber deteriorates over time and you can't stop it.    Been there had the blow out the rubber dented up the rear quarter panel pretty good....new tires are cheaper than bodywork.

Google 'tire date code' or something like it for more info.....


Good luck.
I found the video on MoldyMac's channel, thank you.

Also thank you for the info on the sidewall numbers. If it's over 6 years old, which I'm willing to bet they are because the wagon still has whitewalls on it, if needed I'll probably get new tires at Walmart.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:58 pm

I would talk to the guy and see where he's at with the car. I'd offer $500 right off the bat but that's the kinda guy I am. Being as it's been sitting for a couple years outside, that affects the price greatly. Plan on doing brakes, and complete fluid change at minimum. Sitting outside on grass in our rustbelt climate is hell on cars. Trans lines, brake lines all susceptible to this kind of neglect. If you do get it....don't make the classic teenager mistake of bodging the car to make it somewhat good and then blow money on mods. It'll just end in painful disappointment and a saveable car heading to the crusher. Get the car cleaned up, tuned up and running good. Then play with it.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:13 pm

I very well may just try the $500 thing to begin with. I'm already prepared to do any maintenance that may be needed (thank god for Duralast parts and Walmart). I will definitely look over everything very closely. If I do end up getting it the only real "mods" I'd be doing is wiring it up for my subwoofers for now. Thank you
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:25 pm

Do not forget Rock Auto. I rebuilt my whole AC system for about 15% less than the cost locally.
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:03 am

I also am concerned about the Vista roof. How can I check if it is leaking or not? I personally am not a huge fan of air conditioning and almost always cruise with the sunroof to my Honda open unless it's raining, and if I get the wagon it'd be the same.

If I get to do a test-drive should I put the wagon through a car wash and pray I don't get wet? Should I look at the weatherstripping?
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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:07 am

The Vista roof probably won't leak, but the gazzilion rivnuts on the roof strips might. It's not a big deal so long as it's not excessive salt water in winter. It drains to the wheel wells and out the bottom. Look at the headliner for stains.

The rear vent windows will probably leak in a high pressure car wash, especially if one of the hinges is detatched (easily fixed). Loose weather stripping at the top of the door corners will cause leaks and wind noise: also easily fixed by repositioning and door adjustments. Dripping water out the rear cargo lights often requires the rear quarter window to be sealed by R&R, or carefull application of sealant from the outside. Take it to an autoglass shop and look for a tech older than 50. He'll know what to do. It should cost about 50 to $100 if you must fix it. Otherwise, tolerate it.

Think carefully about this car. They are not all that uncommon if you are willing to travel and drive home, and if you buy one from the south you'll have a nice rust-free platform to spend money on. A $500 car is no bargain if you have to sink thousands into it to keep it on the road for a year.

Having said all that, if you have access to tools and a lift, and have the time and skills, you can do a lot with scrapyard parts, gaskets, seals, and sweat.


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Fred Kiehl

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PostSubject: Re: (possibly) buying a wagon - how much to offer?   Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:27 am

dmg4 wrote:
The Vista roof probably won't leak, but the gazzilion rivnuts on the roof strips might.  It's not a big deal so long as it's not excessive salt water in winter.  It drains to the wheel wells and out the bottom.  Look at the headliner for stains.

The rear vent windows will probably leak in a high pressure car wash, especially if one of the hinges is detatched (easily fixed). Loose weather stripping at the top of the door corners will cause leaks and wind noise: also easily fixed by repositioning and door adjustments.  Dripping water out the rear cargo lights often requires the rear quarter window to be sealed by R&R, or carefull application of sealant from the outside.  Take it to an autoglass shop and look for a tech older than 50.  He'll know what to do.  It should cost about 50 to $100 if you must fix it.  Otherwise, tolerate it.

The rivnuts on the roof rails can be tightened if the surrounding area is not too rusty. The center sliders have well nuts, and they are easy to replace from the top. Both are metric.

The rear vent window hinges can only be fixed with window urethane, it that even works. The only other option is to replace the whole vent window. Replacing the vent window is fairly simple. It has a rollpin in the end of the latch that you must remove first, and two hinge pins that are held in by silicone RTV. A long screw driver and small hammer will get the hinge pins out, but you need an extractor tool for the roll pin. Just hammering on the rollpin can break the glass.

Dripping water out of the cargo lights is either a loose quarter glass that will require removal and reattachment, or the body seam under the edge of the side roof rails. The roof rails must be removed to access the sealant for the seam. To remove the rack, you must remove the cross piece behind the vista glass as well as the sides. The nuts for the cross piece and rails are difficult to get to under the headliner. If water gets in, it will run down the headliner and out of the grab handles, but you will never see a stain on the headliner. The auto glass shops will not guarantee that they will not break the quarter glass when removing, and replacements can only be found at a junkyard. Caprice and RM quarter glass is different, so you can only use glass from an RM. You must remove most of the interior cargo bay and the headliner to access the nuts before cutting the quarter glass out from the inside (only). I removed and replaced both of mine on my 91 OCC, and it can take anywhere from 1/2 hour to 4 hours to get one off after removing the interior. You must deal with any rust on the mounting surface before you can reinstall the glass. The total down time can be 2-3 days. If you do not have the right tools, it is a RPITA, and even with the right tools, it is not easy. If there is rust on the mounting surface, it will require refinishing of the metal before installing the glass. The black outside reveal is part of the glass, and if you damage it while removing the glass, you will be buying a new piece of glass (that is true for the vista glass as well).

The only way you can check the vista glass for leaks is to remove the interior trim and use a flashlight. You may also need a mirror to see in some of the far corners. Check at the rear roof corner of the glass on the inside and outside. That is the most common place for them to rust and leak. The vista glass may be sealed with butyl on that year, and if it is, the glass is relatively easy to remove and replace, but it is extremely messy, with butyl strings floating everywhere. If you press on some of the exposed sealant from the inside with a finger, and it is soft to the touch, it is probably butyl. If it is hard to the touch, it is probably urethane.

The vista glass is fixed, and you will not be able to open it and ride around. I have never seen anyone make it operable, because it has no place to go for storage.


Last edited by Fred Kiehl on Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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