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Buying a used TLC...

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by e9999, Nov 25, 2003.

  1. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    Well, been looking actively for a used newish 100 ('99 to '01 or so) for the last couple of months. It's a lot of $$ for us so we have to be pretty careful. Never bought a car or truck in this price range before.

    This is for my wife, so main consideration is no mechanical hassle for her to have to deal with. It's gotta be in great shape. It's for a DD, not a true wheeler. We want to see it and check it (no ebay). She wants peace of mind.

    Seen quite a few actually. Mostly at dealers. It's been a frustrating if interesting experience.

    First, all the stereotypes about used car salesmen were confirmed and then some. Most salesmen were obnoxious from the get go, especially if my wife was by herself. The very few that seemed (ah!) nice were quickly revealed otherwise after we called the first few of their bluffs. What is it with this business?

    Second, the vast majority of dealers have no clue nor apparently any interest in the mechanical condition of the rigs. They go strictly by appearance and Blue Book. Most appeared genuinely amazed that I would even bother to look under the car. They kept asking me "are you a Mechanic?"

    It appears that the vast majority of buyers have also no clue whatsoever. By now, I must be in the top 1% of "informed" buyers. Probably qualify as majorly anal-retentive to most dealers (and to BW <G>).

    Even by BB standards, most rigs had greatly exaggerated asking prices. It was relatively easy to get them to lower their prices by about 15%. After that it's tougher.

    Have not seen *a single* truck that lived up to the advertisement or dealer description, even being generous. Essentially, all the ones I checked had at least one or 2 significant problematic technical issues that need to be remedied right away and would have cost around $1K or more to fix. Nothing really ready to drive away and enjoy as is. Maybe the nature of used car buying, but in this price range, with certified cars from major dealers...?

    The certification process appears to be overblown. These cars are not any better than the others we have seen, and the inspections were sloppy. We have seen certified cars that had a completely bizarre exhaust system, one with mismatched tires, some with inoperative switches, and more. By now, I can do an inspection that will closely match or better that of the official "certifier".

    Most dealers had no records whatsoever or were very reluctant to try to get them.

    It is really a very time-consuming job if you want to get either a good deal or a good truck. It does not help if you are mechanically-inclined and into this sort of things. Maybe we will have to change our expectations and live with greater uncertainty and risk.

    I can now appreciate better why folks who can afford it will buy new.

    I look forward to this being over. (So I can concentrate on getting my own 80...?)

    E
     
  2. Scamper

    Scamper

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    E-

    Where do you live? Around central NJ, you can't swing the proverbial dead cat without hitting a LC. Didn't used to be like that 5-10 years ago, but man oh man how things have changed. Not too many 80's any more. Now it's mostly 100's.

    Since you say you're looking at 2 or 3yo trucks, it's hard to believe they could be in such bad shape. They're not likely to have more than 50-60K on average...

    As for the sales guys...you don't escape them by buying new either, though you can play with them like a cat plays with a mouse--most entertaining if you're in the mood! My last two car/truck purchases were with my local Toy dealer...oh what fun! as they say... :D

    Tom
     
  3. Brentbba

    Brentbba Former Golfer SILVER Star

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    Lots of mostly mall cruisers here in SoCal as well. No rust (outside of under the roof rack mounts - comment for Beo).

    Sounds like you are throwing it right back into the slimeball's faces pretty good. Keep it up and best of luck on your search! Sounds like they don't know how to handle an informed buyer very well. Perhaps they themselves aren't very informed. hehehe
     
  4. PHAEDRUS

    PHAEDRUS

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    let me just say that buying a new car only slightly minimizes the risk of having weird issues that you have to deal with. again let me state I work for a stealer and teh sales force knows sh!t about the vehicles they are selling. its not their job to know. 99% of car buyers don't want to know about mechanical history or any thing else just care about bottom line.
    you are right though certification is a peice of work! however I think new cars are jsut as bad. I can not tell you how many paint flaws alone I find in new f@rds. and I get to repaint them. maybe not the same in a yota dealer but her in Ford country new is just as scary as used.
    Dave
     
  5. yooper

    yooper SILVER Star

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    [quote author=lizardking100 link=board=2;threadid=8028;start=msg67932#msg67932 date=1069787649]
    I found a young guy (but a bonded dealer) who sold cars part time. He had sold over 150 cars all with positve feedback. [/quote]

    Would you mind sharing this jewel's eBay handle with us or do you want to keep him to yourself (which would be completely understandable)?
     
  6. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    you guys make me feel a little better. I was starting to think that we are going about this all wrong and I am just pig-headed. (And BW isn't helping (j/k).)
    Heck, we've even begun to talk about the possibility of buying a new *Pilot* (the horror!) just to get out of this used salesmen nightmare... ! (But then I could finally justify getting an 80 for fun in the desert...<G> since we can't really have 2 cruzers now, can we? Or can we???)
    Haven't given up yet. Will keep at it.
    thanks for the input.
    E
     
  7. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    From some of your threads, like the one where you took temp readings of the rear AC, you might be a little over the top in your evaluation process. If you look hard enough you'll find something wrong with everything. I suspect you have quite a few sleepless nights ahead of you and if you do buy something you'll be upset with yourself for not seeing some particular flaw you found later.

    This isn't to suggest you didn't find real problems with some of the trucks. But you have to expect some flaws as nothing is perfect.
     
  8. CDN_Cruiser

    CDN_Cruiser

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    Ah yes, I remember this process fondly as well. To find a LX450 I had ot go to many Lexu$ dealers (no TLCs here). I still remember one guy's shock as he opened the door for me to look inside and I was already on the ground under the truck with a flashlight!

    What I eventually did was to buy a truck with many known problems and then get it fixed to my specs. I had my mechanic give it a detailed review, including engine testing, buy I knew that I needed all new rotors, pads, tires, fluids + some extra $ for 'unknowns' ($1,000 in my case for an unanticipated repair). I was able to buy the type of truck I wanted for C$6,000 - $8,000 less than dealer prices. I probably spent C$5,000 getting it back to my specs. The nice thing is you get the truck YOU want (ie I could pick the type of tires I wanted rather than junking a set of tires the dealer had put on)

    Cheers, Hugh
     
  9. Hltoppr

    Hltoppr

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    I concur with Hugh. I picked mine up with 172K and some necessary repairs (front rotors/pads, u-joints, front axle service, rear brakes, springs/shocks, tires) for a great price (approx. $3K less than book).

    Since then I've built it up to my specs with aftermarket and OEM parts. There are still a couple of minor areas I want to hit, but I know the rig pretty well and it's the most reliable car I've owned!

    If there's someone close to you from the list, they might be able to tag along and give you a second opinion...

    -H-
     
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