Finding a car sucks

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Finding a car sucks

Post by Nuke is Good on Mon 11 Jul 2011 - 11:30

Finally got to look at the 02' Pontiac Grand Prix GTP I'vebeen eyeing for a week or so at a local auto shop. Now I know why it's $5500 for a 62k mile car. I was thinking: "This is it, this is gonna be my car!"

As soon as I start up the car my dad smells burning oil mixed with coolant and the car is smoking.

The guy selling the car claim's its fixable due a recall notice somethingabout a valve gasket but I'm thinking to myself if the car has that issue for a while then there has to be some damage done already. Bah, I really like Pontiacs but I can't seem to find good ones in good condition anymore unless I look at Grand Ams. I had an '02 Grand Am and loved it to death but it got lost in an accident involving my car getting hit by a van moving 40mph while I was stopped in traffic

The reason why I like Pontiac especially is because for their FF offerings they actually offer some pretty good performance and they don't look blocky as shit as a lot of other American cars. I live in NJ so I can't buy an FR and use it all year, I'm no pro driver. . Right now I'm driving a '99 Chrysler Concorde LXi, thing handles like a boat, it has such a huge braking distance, and it doesn't even accept my burned CD-R's. But my dad loves the hell out of it so at least someone likes it haha.
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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by MP5 on Mon 11 Jul 2011 - 23:41

Where in NJ do you live, Nuke? There's a used car dealer across from the auto garage I work at with some okay offerings. My boss is also selling a Saab 900 SE Turbo (automatic transmission), but I think he's got someone looking to buy it. It's got some idiot lights still needing investigation and the A/C doesn't work at the moment and it needs a new battery, but otherwise, the car's a peach.

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by 0utf0xZer0 on Tue 12 Jul 2011 - 3:18

I'm sure you know this already, but for winter you want snow tires no matter what the layout. Although I'd stick to front drive, most of the "I was amazed at how good the snow performance was" involve a small, light front drive car with skinny snow tires.

The one potential issue with the Saab would be parts availability. Those aren't exactly common cars.
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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by Alfisti on Tue 12 Jul 2011 - 3:31

@0utf0xZer0 wrote: Although I'd stick to front drive, most of the "I was amazed at how good the snow performance was" involve a small, light front drive car with skinny snow tires.
Well there is good reason that the Lancia Fulvia, SAABs and proper Mini did so well in rallies.

As for the parts issue: there's always ways, plenty of specialists will mail-order parts out for you.

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by Nuke is Good on Tue 12 Jul 2011 - 8:35

@MP5 wrote:Where in NJ do you live, Nuke? There's a used car dealer across from the auto garage I work at with some okay offerings. My boss is also selling a Saab 900 SE Turbo (automatic transmission), but I think he's got someone looking to buy it. It's got some idiot lights still needing investigation and the A/C doesn't work at the moment and it needs a new battery, but otherwise, the car's a peach.

I live in Sayreville near the Brunswicks in Central Jersey.

I'm sure you know this already, but for winter you want snow tires no
matter what the layout. Although I'd stick to front drive, most of the
"I was amazed at how good the snow performance was" involve a small,
light front drive car with skinny snow tires.

The one potential issue with the Saab would be parts availability. Those aren't exactly common cars.

To be honest my dad doesn't use snow tires, he uses all season tires and just drives more cautiously. It also has to do with the fact we can't really afford the second set of tires most of the time.

I went through a few ads on some local GTP's and I've gotten frustrated. I've decided to just save up and just get the damn G6 GXP. I'll lose forced induction but I'll have a nicer/newer car. Went with my dad also to a bunch of dealerships in Hazlet and the surrounding area. I think my taste of cars is too picky, I couldn't find ANYTHING I liked.
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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by MP5 on Wed 13 Jul 2011 - 0:17

Hm... I'm probably out of the way for you then. I work on the outskirts of Camden, just off of the Ferry Avenue PATCO.
As far as I know, that Saab 900 SE I was talking about is still up for sale. And that Turbo is nice to have, even though it's an automatic.

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by maverick375 on Thu 21 Jul 2011 - 20:07

I drove a Fiero for 10 years, even in the snow. While I can understand reluctance, it's how you drive the car within it's performance envelope that matters.

I wouldn't pay 5500 for a car with a bad engine, but maybe 3K if the rest of it was in good shape. Engines are pretty easy to fix. Even then, it's often not hard to put something better under it.

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by ElfenMagix on Thu 21 Jul 2011 - 21:57

Before even starting it, did you give it a 12 point inspection?
In the least, dont buy it. NJ has a lemon law in effect and that car has to pass inspection when you buy it unless you are buying it 'As-Is' and then negotiate to $1200. A car with a bad engine and/or tranny is going to cost you more than than what you bought the car for unless you do your own work (like I do).

as for a 12 point inspection, here is part of mine:
- Open the hood. Check the fuilds.
Oil-as a drop at the end of the dipstick should be transparent brown. Black means its needs to be changed immediately, and might mean engine problems to be fixed. Sniff it- burn smell to it means problems with the oil pump, valve heads and pistons and has burned the oil which makes it useless. Runs it as is and you will seize that engine for good. Put the drop between your thumb and index finger and rub them together. Should be smoother than silk, a baby's ass or what other euphemisms you may have. Grit means filter has gone bad, check the grit. Black means carbon deposits coming from the combustion chambers (Not good). Metal means parts are grinding and the engine is falling apart (Never Good! unless its a rebuilt engine being broken in but how many rebuilt engines are you going to find on a lot? NONE!).

Oil that looks like Chocolate Cheese means a cracked head, cracked block. Looking into the radiator for its fluid will also show the same thing. Never a good sign. Sometimes you can have a radiator that has a tranny fluid chamber separate from the engine coolant. There is a seal between the two and that seal sometimes bursts. You will get that chocolate fluid again but not in the engine. The engine block needs to be flushed out but the tranny replaced (not good). Looking in the Oil Intake can give some signs of its condition.

Like I said, check the radiator fluid. Should be a 50/50 mix of coolant and water, often giving off a bright green colour. for Mercedes BMW and a couple of others, its bright Pink. Tranny fluid should be a dark red/green/blue (GM's should be red), and tested like Oil (see above).

Walk about the car with a toy magnet. Where is sticks and dont stick can indicate that the car was in an accident and that area replaced or repaired.

Steering should only give way a 1/4 of an inch before the wheels turn. Tires should be the same on both the left and right sides. Most cars have the same tires sizes front and back, so all 4 should be the same. All lights should be working. All electronics should be working.

Any mention of a recall older than 5 years old is bull crap. All recall repairs of a car (unless the owner is stupid and never sent it in) is done within the first 5 years. Furthermore all recall repairs are to be done by the sell of the vehicle. If he questions you on that then poke your stiff index finger to his chest and tell him point blank, "If I buy the car and get into an accident because it needed a recall repair that was never done, I'm suing you, your company and your bosses." Recall repairs are to be done by the dealership or by an authorized repaired center, and such costs are not to be 'adjusted' on the sale price of the car.

Test the shocks. Bounce the car until you got it going good and let go. The car should stop bouncing by 2 bounces, 3 the most. Anything more and the suspension needs to be repaired, which is expensive because you have to do both left and right sides even if the other side was good. This is to keep the car in balance and fixing only one side throws the car out of balance.

Brakes, more important than the engine or tranny itself. Emergency/Parking Park should be able to hold car while in gear and should be able to stop it when rolling. The brake pedal should only go 1/2 way down. Any more means it needs new brakes. If it falls to the floor it needs new brake lines/calpiers/pistons and that is an expensive repair. If it feels spongy then there is air in the system and needs to be bled.

The engine running should be smooth. Accelerating the engine while in park or neutral should also be smooth. There should be no back firing. There should be no smells or smoke coming from the engine compartment. The smell of exhaust should be clean. If it smell like gas, then its running rich and burning too much gas. If it smells like a dead animal or rotten eggs, than the cat as died and needs to be replaced. The cat being the Catalytic Converter, which is expensive depending on where you go.

There is more but I'll end it here.

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by Hondo Sackett on Thu 21 Jul 2011 - 22:16

that car has a blown headgasket. not usually an easy fix an' it can possibly meana warped head or block
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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by tsundere9kagami2 on Fri 22 Jul 2011 - 1:12

Buy a saturn.

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by Cherubino on Fri 22 Jul 2011 - 1:26

Hey Nuke I was just wondering, why don't you try to get a car in Connecticut? They're much cheaper out there. That's where a friend of mine in NJ gets her cars. She swears by it.

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by Nuke is Good on Tue 26 Jul 2011 - 21:50

Thanks for the input so far guys.

@Elfen the advice you gave is basically what my father says except the toy magnet part which he never has mentioned. But when it comes to my dad he can just LOOK at the car and see if something is wrong.

@Cheru yeah PA and CT are my other options when looking at a car. NY is a no go because well..NY driving is rather stressing to a car.

@Tsu, my sister drives a saturn Ion. Thing feels so tiny to me.
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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by tremec6speed on Wed 27 Jul 2011 - 0:45

I feel your woes Nuke Is Good. Selling a car sucks too, as I'm finding out trying to sell my old Fiat. Ugh. I wish thee the best of fortune in your en devours. Unfortunately, I can't add to anything that has been mentioned here in terms of advice for you see, I'm about as proficient in buying as I am selling.
(which is not at all, I have a collection of junky vehicles that makes me feel like I live in a salvage yard) Sad
Anyway, may your adventures in buying be more successful than mine! Good
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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by Alfisti on Wed 27 Jul 2011 - 3:53

Reading all this is making me start to think that money slated for possibly buying a new car would be better utilized doing up the existing one.

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by tremec6speed on Fri 29 Jul 2011 - 0:20

@Alfisti wrote:Reading all this is making me start to think that money slated for possibly buying a new car would be better utilized doing up the existing one.
That's what I had wanted to do on my Fiat Spider 2000. When I first bought it, I had planned to make it a Poor Man's Cobra,
but had I done my research before buying it, I would have realized that in order to accommodate four people, the space had to come from somewhere! Sure enough when I opened the hood, the firewall extended deep into the engine bay making it difficult to pop a v-6 much less a V-8! bang head Oh well, next time research, research, research!
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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by Professor Voodoo on Fri 29 Jul 2011 - 1:03

@tremec6speed wrote:That's what I had wanted to do on my Fiat Spider 2000. When I first bought it, I had planned to make it a Poor Man's Cobra,
but had I done my research before buying it, I would have realized that in order to accommodate four people, the space had to come from somewhere! Sure enough when I opened the hood, the firewall extended deep into the engine bay making it difficult to pop a v-6 much less a V-8! Oh well, next time research, research, research!
A first generation Mazda Miata is the right choice for that. It was designed from day one to accomodate a Ford 302.

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by Nuke is Good on Sat 6 Aug 2011 - 21:01

I finally got a car woo. I got an '01 GTP with 85k miles and all I need to do from what I can see is most likely change the supercharger oil. My first time buying a car and all I could do was negotiate $100 off the asking price but still manage to keep the 6 month warranty on it.

I could have knocked off 700 off the price but I lose the guarantee of it passing the state inspection along with the warranty. My dad told me its better not to risk it at this point and take the warranty so I value his opinion.
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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by MP5 on Sat 6 Aug 2011 - 21:08

congrats!

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 6 Aug 2011 - 21:19

w00t!

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 6 Aug 2011 - 22:22

Got a Car Fax?
You can from the website.

find out if the recall repairs have been one to it...
Wikipedia: Pontiac Grand Prix wrote:Recalls
In March 2008, GM announced a plan to recall all 1997-2003 Grand Prix GTP models (as well as sister car Buick Regal GS) due to a problem which causes fires in the engine compartments of these vehicles. Over 230 fires were reported. This recall affected over 200,000 vehicles equipped with the Supercharged 3800 Series II Engine. GM sent a letter to the owners of these vehicles on March 13, 2008, instructing them not to park in garages or carports until the problem was resolved. The recall for the Supercharged engine was to change the left (front) valve cover gasket, as GM says oil leaks onto the exhaust manifold cause the engine fires. However, many people in the Grand Prix community believe this recall did little to nothing to fix the fire problem, and instead the problem is likely faulty fuel rail quick disconnect o-rings. There have been reports of fires happening after the recall has been performed.

In April 2009, the recall already posted for the Supercharged iterations of the 3800 Series II was expanded to cover all 3800 Series II engine-equipped vehicles after many fires were reported with Grand Prix GT and 3.8 equipped SE versions, as well as the sister car Buick Regal LS. The recall for the non-supercharged V6 is to remove the front spark plug retainer only, and a valve cover gasket is not changed on non-supercharged 3.8 engines. At this point, the recall now covers nearly 1.5 million vehicles.

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by Nuke is Good on Sun 7 Aug 2011 - 4:29

@ElfenMagix wrote:Got a Car Fax?
You can from the website.

find out if the recall repairs have been one to it...
Wikipedia: Pontiac Grand Prix wrote:Recalls
In March 2008, GM announced a plan to recall all 1997-2003 Grand Prix GTP models (as well as sister car Buick Regal GS) due to a problem which causes fires in the engine compartments of these vehicles. Over 230 fires were reported. This recall affected over 200,000 vehicles equipped with the Supercharged 3800 Series II Engine. GM sent a letter to the owners of these vehicles on March 13, 2008, instructing them not to park in garages or carports until the problem was resolved. The recall for the Supercharged engine was to change the left (front) valve cover gasket, as GM says oil leaks onto the exhaust manifold cause the engine fires. However, many people in the Grand Prix community believe this recall did little to nothing to fix the fire problem, and instead the problem is likely faulty fuel rail quick disconnect o-rings. There have been reports of fires happening after the recall has been performed.

In April 2009, the recall already posted for the Supercharged iterations of the 3800 Series II was expanded to cover all 3800 Series II engine-equipped vehicles after many fires were reported with Grand Prix GT and 3.8 equipped SE versions, as well as the sister car Buick Regal LS. The recall for the non-supercharged V6 is to remove the front spark plug retainer only, and a valve cover gasket is not changed on non-supercharged 3.8 engines. At this point, the recall now covers nearly 1.5 million vehicles.

You know thats the strange thing, when I saw the '02 GTP the carfax actually had that mentioned in the carfax history. But the guy selling it never got it repaired which is why I backed out of it. But when I saw the carfax on the car, it seemed clean enough. Three owners (6 years, three years, a few months,and a fleet lease) then it went for auction.

When my dad went through the car he noticed some of the wires and gaskets were replaced, which could have meant that the car had work done on it. Worst comes to worse, when I go to the GM dealership anyway to get the copy of the keys (my dad wants a set so he can move the car out of the way in the mornings), I'll ask to have the recall repair done. I trust my father when it comes to cars, when we bought that Chrysler, it was awful with a faulty engine fan now its his favorite car.

I got paranoid and checked the Carfax Recall page (http://www.carfax.com/pontiac_recalls.cfx) and put the car's VIN and it said no open recalls. But I know the car is a Series 3800 2 Supercharged. But I've also read the carfaxes on my own cars before and it said they were in nonexistent accidents.
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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by Alfisti on Sat 1 Oct 2011 - 0:58

No point in starting a new thread...

So, real life finally caught up with me and I've had to buy a new car... you know: one with a warranty, airconditioning that works and that I can count on to start first time, every time. It's dealer used and two years old but covers all of the above.

The question here now though is: what to do about the Alfetta. Those who know me will know I'm quite fond of my current car, and really don't want to let it go. I don't need the money from selling or trading it (was careful about that when budgeting) and rego's resonably cheap so a non-issue. The problem is that I live in an apartment and really don't have anywhere to keep it. As to selling it, I'd like to make sure it goes somewhere where it will be appreciated, the previous owner was making noises about perhaps wanting it back but if he doesn't take it...

...thoughts?

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by boomer_gonz on Sat 1 Oct 2011 - 8:46

Awwz.

I feel for you Alfisti as some time ago I had to part with my pickup and Charger projects.

If the old owner is unable to buy it back, you can always try Alfa Romeo forums to see if there is a local enthusiast in your area.

Another option is seeing if your parents can hold onto it for you, but if either one of them also enjoy the Alfetta do not be surprised should you find the odometer elevated a bit.

I sold my Charger to my Dad who then promptly threw out the transmission after lighting up at every single stoplight he could find.

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by Nuke is Good on Sat 1 Oct 2011 - 9:22

I say try to find a friend with a driveway or something and give it to them they could either hold on to it for you or actually use it.
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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by Alfisti on Sat 1 Oct 2011 - 11:55

Cheers for the thoughts blokes... unfortunately the folks are out: they have no garage space left as it is. A friend is a thought, I just need to find one I'd trust with it.

Another option would be to keep it at our mechanic's, whom I know has looked after cars for customers before (including the bloke who bought a Ferrari... and didn't tell his wife... for 18 months), but I'm not sure how much that would cost.

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Re: Finding a car sucks

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 1 Oct 2011 - 21:12

Ask him.

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