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 New member from Tennessee.... with a question!

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Bushwhacker



Posts : 9
Join date : 2019-02-01

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PostSubject: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeFri Feb 01, 2019 9:52 pm

Hi everyone - I'm not a wagon owner yet, but have always loved the '91-96 GM longroofs, and am in the market for my first one. Any recommendations for a newbie for what to look for, what to avoid, problem areas, etc? I'll be looking for something less than $3500, so I know I won't find perfection in that price range - but I want to make sure I don't end up with something needing major work. Good thing is, I live in the south, so rust won't be as big of an issue as in the North and Midwest. Any advice you can offer would be appreciated. Thanks in advance and I look forward to officially joining you soon with my own big-ass wagon!
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mythi



Posts : 39
Join date : 2019-01-22
Age : 28
Location : Colorado

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeSat Feb 02, 2019 2:12 am

welcome. i would look for something with low miles and you can test and make sure it runs well. watch for rust even in the south the car could have been a out of state car. rust problems to look at is the corner support rods under the hood, wheel wells where trim and mudflaps are. look for missing parts like passenger rear corner chrome molding. crashes and history of the car. if it is a 1 owner make sure the owner didn't die cas i did that and out of state and the lawyer signed the title instead of the owner which at that point would be the guys son. there are posts on the forum about more what to look for's and some finds good luck
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Bushwhacker



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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeThu Feb 07, 2019 10:49 am

Thanks mythi - I looked at one this past weekend and it did have rust in the areas you said to check. About 200K miles. Overall the car presents pretty well - interior is immaculate. I didn't get a chance to look at the frame, but the guy said he replaced the entire exhaust system because it was rusted out, so I assume there may be some rot down there too. I also didn't get a chance to test drive due to an ignition issue, but once it's fixed, I'll take it for a spin just to see how it runs out. He's asking $2800 for this, and if the frame isn't too bad, I might see if he'll let it go for about $2000. CarFax came back clean on it, but did reveal that it was a northern car most of it's life.
New member from Tennessee.... with a question! 50742011
New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Img_2011
New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Img_2010
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rauldelp

rauldelp

Posts : 140
Join date : 2015-05-27
Age : 35
Location : Hollywood, Florida, USA

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeThu Feb 07, 2019 10:57 am

2000 for that kinda rust and 200k? I shoulda held onto my Caprice longer!

That said, welcome!

I would think you could find something with less rust/less miles for the money your looking at. I know these cars are hot now (and this one already has the impala style grill) but that rust can only be indicative of what's underneath.
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Bushwhacker



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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeThu Feb 07, 2019 11:07 am

Thanks for the input rauldelp... I'll probably end up passing on this one, and keep scanning the for sale ads for something cleaner!
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JeffY

JeffY

Posts : 93
Join date : 2018-10-04
Age : 38
Location : Columbia MO

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeThu Feb 07, 2019 2:20 pm

Welcome, and just be patient. $3500 should get you a fairly clean wagon.
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Sprocket

Sprocket

Posts : 5573
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Location : Palm Beach County

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeThu Feb 07, 2019 3:01 pm

Run away! That's a northern car. look south TX and Oklahoma are good and not too far.
Think fly in, drive home.
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JeffY

JeffY

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeThu Feb 07, 2019 6:43 pm

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dmg4

dmg4

Posts : 873
Join date : 2014-08-13
Age : 65
Location : Geneva, New York

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeSun Feb 10, 2019 5:10 am

I'm in central NY and I've bought 5 wagons in the south and drove them home without an issue, so if you are in TN, I'd not hesitate to expand your search radius to 500 miles in any direction but north and look for a lifelong southern resident. You can always hire a local mechanic to look at the car to check it out before traveling. I've had good luck cold-calling nearby dealerships and speaking to the service manager to find out if one of their folks wants to make some cash on their lunch hour. Then you are a cheap one-way air fare and an Uber ride from picking up the car. It's fun too.
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sherlock9c1



Posts : 2095
Join date : 2009-05-28
Location : Huntsville, AL

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeSun Feb 10, 2019 9:27 am

Bushwhacker, Do you do any of your own mechanical or body work? Do you weld?
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94Woody

94Woody

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeSun Feb 10, 2019 12:16 pm

Yikes, only nice things on that blue one are the rally wheels and the ultra rare, basically impossible to find, LTZ hood ornament.

Welcome and keep on looking. Still a lot of these cars floating around out there. Low miles are trickier to find but they do exist. Sadly, even the southern cars can get attacked by the rust monster.
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mythi



Posts : 39
Join date : 2019-01-22
Age : 28
Location : Colorado

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeSun Feb 10, 2019 1:23 pm

if it helps this website is where i found mine. i just googled roadmasters for sale and this came up and i picked mine out. if you want a caprice you can change it but here is a listing of roadmasters in the country.

https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/inventorylisting/viewDetailsFilterViewInventoryListing.action?sourceContext=cargurus&newSearchFromOverviewPage=true&inventorySearchWidgetType=AUTO&entitySelectingHelper.selectedEntity=c5375&entitySelectingHelper.selectedEntity2=c5340&zip=80108&distance=50000&searchChanged=true&modelChanged=true&filtersModified=true&sortType=undefined&sortDirection=undefined

also look on craigslist and on the forums, here, stationwagon forum and GM/buick forums. always look for the best if you see rust through the body panels pass it. wire brushing the bottom is a lot easier than welding new panels. its all about starting with a good 1 and how much work you want to put into it. save the whales bud
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mythi



Posts : 39
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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeSun Feb 10, 2019 1:25 pm

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silverfox103
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silverfox103

Posts : 2953
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Location : Littleton, NH & St. Simons, GA

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeSun Feb 10, 2019 1:42 pm

94Woody wrote:
Sadly, even the southern cars can get attacked by the rust monster.

Sprocket always says northern cars rust from the bottom up and southern cars from the top down. After being down south FL / GA area for the winters and regularly hitting the JY's, I now understand what he's talking about. Although northern cars by far have worse rust issues.

Tom
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dmg4

dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeSun Feb 10, 2019 2:29 pm

Bushwhacker: the fastest way by far is to use a Craigslist aggregator like SearchTempest to run a nationwide search.  Here's one for "Buick Roadmaster Wagon" for all regions under "cars and trucks for sale" (excludes car parts).  Run this search, click on the "open all" button, and just page through all the open tabs.  It will find everything on craigslist and on auction sites like eBay.

See:  https://www.searchtempest.com/search?search_string=Buick%20Roadmaster%20Wagon&category=8&subcat=sss&hasPic=&maxAsk=&maxYear=&minAsk=&minYear=&srchType=&cityselect=zip&location=14456&maxDist=50000®ion_us=1®ion_can=1®ion_mex=1&Region=combined&addCities=&subCities=&q=Buick+Roadmaster+Wagon++%22for+sale%22
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Bushwhacker



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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeMon Feb 11, 2019 3:11 pm

sherlock9c1 wrote:
Bushwhacker, Do you do any of your own mechanical or body work?  Do you weld?

I do my own mechanical work, with the exception of rebuilding transmissions. My body work experience would be limited to minor repairs - not skilled enough to be cutting sections out and welding in patch panels or anything.
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Bushwhacker



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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeMon Feb 11, 2019 3:14 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone - will start expanding my search to other southern states... I've done the Greyhound bus into a city, bought the car, and drove it home. But I just worry that if I don't buy the car, I'll be out a few hundred dollars and have nothing to show for it. I guess that's the chance you take!
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dmg4

dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeMon Feb 11, 2019 3:25 pm

I just work out the price with the seller after the inspection by the on-site mechanic and I plan to drive the car home if I make the trip. Ask lots of questions and get lots of pictures of the outside, inside, topside and bottom. Figure out what you want to pay, and accept that any 20+ yr old car is going to require replacement parts and money infusions every year if you drive it (and sometimes even if you don't). If it is a lifelong southern car, looks like the owner cared for it, is a 94-96 and has a sound body, nice paint and interior, runs well, doesn't burn or leak a lot of oil, shifts well, exhaust system is sound, and the heat and AC work, and you can get it for less than 5 grand, you'll be laughing at what you paid for it in a few years.
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Bushwhacker



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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeTue Feb 19, 2019 8:28 pm

Hey all - just curious; is there a reason why the 94-96 are preferred, other than the LT1? I've found a '91 Caprice I really like; rust-free, less than 140K miles, well maintained, 5.0 L (I'm fine with less power... just want to cruise), rebuilt tranny, has some nice custom touches, and less than $3000. Thoughts?
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dmg4

dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeTue Feb 19, 2019 8:41 pm

If you don't think the power of the LT1 is a plus, then there's nothing wrong with the 5.0L. That's quite a few miles, but the engine will last more. The transmission is weaker, but you said it had been rebuilt. Do you have any documentation or other means to assure than it was "well maintained"? Did you run a search to insure that it was a lifelong southern car? How did you determine that it was rust free?
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Bushwhacker



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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeTue Feb 19, 2019 8:49 pm

dmg4 wrote:
If you don't think the power of the LT1 is a plus, then there's nothing wrong with the 5.0L.  That's quite a few miles, but the engine will last more.  The transmission is weaker, but you said it had been rebuilt.  Do you have any documentation or other means to assure than it was "well maintained"?  Did you run a search to insure that it was a lifelong southern car?  How did you determine that it was rust free?  

I think the LT1 power is a plus, definitely. But it's just not a requirement for me. As long as the 5.0 is essentially as reliable, durable, and easy to work on as an LT1, I can live with less power. The owner does have maintenance / repair documentation for the last 18 years, and I did run a CarFax which revealed it as a northern car for the first 3 years of it's life, but since then has been a So. California car. I'm having it checked out by a mechanic just to verify the seller's claims.

Just out of curiosity, is an LT1 or LS swap relatively easy in these? Very Happy
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dmg4

dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeTue Feb 19, 2019 8:57 pm

Quote :
Just out of curiosity, is an LT1 or LS swap relatively easy in these?

Depends on who you ask, whether they've actually done it, their skill level and facilities, and what you compare it to in determining relative difficulty.
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Sprocket

Sprocket

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeThu Feb 21, 2019 10:13 pm

Ok so I've owned 14 wagons since 2007, just bought #14 last Friday as you can see what happened to my last one in my profile pic. Anyway, I have had TBI 305, 350 and LT1 cars.

The TBI 305s will definitely be cheaper hands down as 'no one' wants them 170hp vs the LT1 260+ The TBI 350 is only 180 hp but the torque is not too far off the LT1 so it'll definitely launch and run better. That said, most of my DD of the 14 were 305 cars. I would say anywhere from 700-1000 less just cause its a 305. THey do however, make excellent candidates for LS swaps. I would swap an LS in over an LT1 as the LS can make more power per $ and the effort level is the same. even a stock LS will pull like an LT1 or better.

The achilles heel on the 305 is the Oil pump. Around 300K miles they wear out. I had two that got into the mid 280s and the oil pressure would just drop. Sold both of them and both spun bearings in the next 10K miles. Had the oil pump been replaced like I told the buyers to do, they'd been fine for another 200K or so.

I had 5 305 wagons and DDrove 4 of them. My son still has one of them.
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Bushwhacker



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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeSat Feb 23, 2019 11:03 am

Thank you again everyone for all the advice, and thanks to Sprocket, I'll be changing out the oil pump on my 305 at around 200K. I'm flying out to California next week to purchase this '91 Caprice - 135K miles, rust free, well maintained with records, had checked by mechanic and nothing but minor issues. Driving it home 1800 miles to Tennessee... Wish me luck!New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Photo_10
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rauldelp

rauldelp

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeSat Feb 23, 2019 11:13 am

Nice! Good find! Good luck with the trip!
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Bushwhacker



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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeSat Feb 23, 2019 11:19 am

Thanks Raul - It's not perfect, but it was well within my budget and owned by a guy who takes care of his cars like I do. That's a huge selling point for me - most of the affordable wagons I've looked at prior to this look like they were owned by the Tasmanian Devil or something.
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Sprocket

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeSun Feb 24, 2019 9:12 pm

Bushwhacker wrote:
Thanks Raul - It's not perfect, but it was well within my budget and owned by a guy who takes care of his cars like I do. That's a huge selling point for me - most of the affordable wagons I've looked at prior to this look like they were owned by the Tasmanian Devil or something.

Agreed. Knowing it's well sorted is a good thing. Sounds like a nice wagon, congrats! Enjoy the trip back and take some time to see some sights along the way!
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sherlock9c1



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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeMon Feb 25, 2019 9:09 am

Having good access to the previous owner can really help you with the car!

Enjoy the drive! Do yourself a huge favor and hit some of the national parks on the way home. I think every American should take a road trip across the country. It is an amazing and eye opening experience!
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dmg4

dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: New member from Tennessee.... with a question!   New member from Tennessee.... with a question! Icon_minitimeMon Feb 25, 2019 10:01 am

Quote :
Do yourself a huge favor and hit some of the national parks on the way home

Ditto. Death Valley National Park is vastly underrated because most people try to visit in summer. It is drop-dead gorgeous with beautiful weather in the winter. Titus Canyon Road would be a hoot in that wagon.
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