Second thoughts on purchase (1 Viewer)

Buy or walk away?


  • Total voters
    18
  • Poll closed .
Joined
Jun 25, 2006
Messages
601
Location
Ridgefield, WA
I like to have my second thoughts before I buy rather than after, and that's where I am. I'd like to get your thoughts on this...

I have found a 100 with my wish list:
99 with factory locker,
clean exterior
all the expensive maintenance done recently, within 2000 miles in fact: Tbelt, water pump, new radiator (not sure why), brakes and rotors, shocks, tires
Drives great (doesn't feel remotely used up)
Front seats are still in decent serviceable shape
Even an upgraded stereo
All in my price range -- $12k is my price limit.

I took it down to my friend/mechanic to lend me some confidence before I pull the trigger. Looked great mechanically: tranny fluid looks and smells right, undercarriage checks out, engine does its thing smoothly, verified new looking water pump, so probably not BS on tbelt. Computer didn't show signs of recent clearings for undisclosed repairs. Check, check, check.

But here's where it gets fishy. 4 things:
1. Seller's story: selling for his uncle who bought in May but got transferred for work with long commute and doesn't want to pay for gas. (bad luck is reasonable enough) His family is Vietnamese and I can understand if his uncle doesn't speak English as a first language, but I'd rather deal directly with the owner. I can live with that, but first flag.

Second, tons of air fresheners. Smelled like the perfume counter in the mall. Yikes. Carpets were shampooed between first and second test drive, but even more fresheners on second ride. Previous PO used it as a camping rig with 3 dogs. Well, that can make for some stink and I was glad to have the carpets clean. Then I also hear with further questioning that the PPO parked it outside and the exterior was covered in pine sap and moss. (They did a great job cleaning it up.) But supposedly original PPO "was a rich guy that didn't care about his stuff." Car Fax doesn't show much maintenance history, so now I'm wondering how well it was maintained for those first 110k.

Third, is just weird: Above the drivers seat in the headliner, there is crystalized crusty something. Goes from visor, around the side of the sunroof to the top of the driver's seatbelt mount. It's also up in the sunroof mechanism. We spent some time speculating: maybe it's salt from the ocean (I got some on my finger and tasted it and it was salty, but no detectable rust in the sunroof mechanism just dust and a smidge of grease. (The sunroof doesn't open: motors try, but it is stuck for one reason or another. Perhaps from lack of use.) What is this crusty crud though? Maybe hair gel from a tall driver, or perhaps hair spray. That's where our ideas ran out. I wish I had taken a picture of it. We almost didn't notice it, but it certainly caught our attention when we did. If it is something that just needs to be cleaned, no biggie, but what the heck is it?

Last, there's some surface rust here and there in the interior: front seat tracks and cigarette lighter for example. The lighter doesn't look super rusty but there is some, enough that the plug and socket are rusted together. The power seats work fine, so if it got wet fording a stream, it was flooded high enough to get into the seat mechanism most likely. Bu there was moisture inside and enough of it to make the car stink and rust out some components. Dog pee vapor was speculated as good rusting agent.

Maybe all it needs is to pull the carpet and clean it proper, replace any gunky batting, and that will do it. If so, then I'm OK, but all together, I'm not sure how much of a basket case may be hiding under the surface of this "deal".

I had him at $11k before I took it to the mechanic and the seller is open to another offer, but he doesn't claim to be in a hurry to sell so I'm not going to knock too much off the price. Around here there are a few more 100s with less than 130k, but they are all listed around $14k and will need some stuff like brakes and tires. I think the most I can probably take off is the costs of the sunroof repair and having a detail shop do an out-of-vehicle deep carpet clean. I'd like to take care of these things myself, but the reality of my life is I don't have time to play mechanic or detail shop.

One of the main reasons I drive a Land Cruser is because they don't spend much time at the shop or apart in my garage. I can deal with the inconvenience of dropping the car with a couple pros in the next couple weeks to get this hundy dialed in. But what I really want is something that I can use on family adventures (forest service roads with a lifted camper) and have confidence in the machine for the next few years before I start building it up for more serious off road play. I'm looking for my next long term ride.

Thanks for reading this far. If you have an opinion, I'd be interested.
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2012
Messages
475
Location
South OC
Have you registered at Toyota owners site yet to check maintenance history? May be some good info there.

Get your nose down in the carpets to see if they smell.

Wipe down the headliner!
 
Joined
Jun 25, 2006
Messages
601
Location
Ridgefield, WA
Thanks for the tip on the toyota site. I didn't know that existed. Unfortunately there was only 1 service record for an air filter of all things.
 

hankinid

SILVER Star
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
1,620
Location
SW Idaho
Toyota's site will give you info on work done at a Toyota dealer. Better still, take the VIN number to a dealer and get a printout on services...that will tell you if any work was declined, as well as the name of the original owner.

Seller's story is just a little squirrely...crust along the top of the interior and a non-working sunroof might almost point to immersion or flooding at some point, as would the multitude of air fresheners.

I would be wary as hell.
 

fireball

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If you remove the four plastic sill plate at each of the doors you should be able to lift up and look under the carpet at the padding to see if there's anything funky going on down there.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
2,233
Location
SLC
Had the same thoughts as @hoser and @hankinid - I'm sure there are still vehicles floating around that were involved in Hurricane Sandy.

Looks like Carfax even has a URL specifically for checking on those vehicles, although the general site would have picked that up too.

See Flood.Carfax.com.
 
Joined
Jun 29, 2012
Messages
898
Location
Portland, OR
Do you have a craigslist ad, more pictures???? I looked at a local 100 that was flood damaged. And to clarify, does it have 110k miles??? :cheers:

I like to have my second thoughts before I buy rather than after, and that's where I am. I'd like to get your thoughts on this...

I have found a 100 with my wish list:
99 with factory locker,
clean exterior
all the expensive maintenance done recently, within 2000 miles in fact: Tbelt, water pump, new radiator (not sure why), brakes and rotors, shocks, tires
Drives great (doesn't feel remotely used up)
Front seats are still in decent serviceable shape
Even an upgraded stereo
All in my price range -- $12k is my price limit.

I took it down to my friend/mechanic to lend me some confidence before I pull the trigger. Looked great mechanically: tranny fluid looks and smells right, undercarriage checks out, engine does its thing smoothly, verified new looking water pump, so probably not BS on tbelt. Computer didn't show signs of recent clearings for undisclosed repairs. Check, check, check.

But here's where it gets fishy. 4 things:
1. Seller's story: selling for his uncle who bought in May but got transferred for work with long commute and doesn't want to pay for gas. (bad luck is reasonable enough) His family is Vietnamese and I can understand if his uncle doesn't speak English as a first language, but I'd rather deal directly with the owner. I can live with that, but first flag.

Second, tons of air fresheners. Smelled like the perfume counter in the mall. Yikes. Carpets were shampooed between first and second test drive, but even more fresheners on second ride. Previous PO used it as a camping rig with 3 dogs. Well, that can make for some stink and I was glad to have the carpets clean. Then I also hear with further questioning that the PPO parked it outside and the exterior was covered in pine sap and moss. (They did a great job cleaning it up.) But supposedly original PPO "was a rich guy that didn't care about his stuff." Car Fax doesn't show much maintenance history, so now I'm wondering how well it was maintained for those first 110k.

Third, is just weird: Above the drivers seat in the headliner, there is crystalized crusty something. Goes from visor, around the side of the sunroof to the top of the driver's seatbelt mount. It's also up in the sunroof mechanism. We spent some time speculating: maybe it's salt from the ocean (I got some on my finger and tasted it and it was salty, but no detectable rust in the sunroof mechanism just dust and a smidge of grease. (The sunroof doesn't open: motors try, but it is stuck for one reason or another. Perhaps from lack of use.) What is this crusty crud though? Maybe hair gel from a tall driver, or perhaps hair spray. That's where our ideas ran out. I wish I had taken a picture of it. We almost didn't notice it, but it certainly caught our attention when we did. If it is something that just needs to be cleaned, no biggie, but what the heck is it?

Last, there's some surface rust here and there in the interior: front seat tracks and cigarette lighter for example. The lighter doesn't look super rusty but there is some, enough that the plug and socket are rusted together. The power seats work fine, so if it got wet fording a stream, it was flooded high enough to get into the seat mechanism most likely. Bu there was moisture inside and enough of it to make the car stink and rust out some components. Dog pee vapor was speculated as good rusting agent.

Maybe all it needs is to pull the carpet and clean it proper, replace any gunky batting, and that will do it. If so, then I'm OK, but all together, I'm not sure how much of a basket case may be hiding under the surface of this "deal".

I had him at $11k before I took it to the mechanic and the seller is open to another offer, but he doesn't claim to be in a hurry to sell so I'm not going to knock too much off the price. Around here there are a few more 100s with less than 130k, but they are all listed around $14k and will need some stuff like brakes and tires. I think the most I can probably take off is the costs of the sunroof repair and having a detail shop do an out-of-vehicle deep carpet clean. I'd like to take care of these things myself, but the reality of my life is I don't have time to play mechanic or detail shop.

One of the main reasons I drive a Land Cruser is because they don't spend much time at the shop or apart in my garage. I can deal with the inconvenience of dropping the car with a couple pros in the next couple weeks to get this hundy dialed in. But what I really want is something that I can use on family adventures (forest service roads with a lifted camper) and have confidence in the machine for the next few years before I start building it up for more serious off road play. I'm looking for my next long term ride.

Thanks for reading this far. If you have an opinion, I'd be interested.
 
Joined
Jun 25, 2006
Messages
601
Location
Ridgefield, WA
@duiser, the CL ad has expired. It now has 111k and change. It is white with a black brush guard. Stock rims. Does that sound like the one you saw?

According to Carfax, this has only been registered in Oregon. I suppose it could have driven down to any hurricane zone. If it was ever swamped with salt water, I still can't figure how it only got on the drivers side ceiling.

I'm inclined to agree, there is probably a more sure deal. I got my hopes up with this one, slow to let it go.
 
Joined
Jun 25, 2006
Messages
601
Location
Ridgefield, WA
We did lift one of the door panels up. There was lots of sand and dog hair under there. Filthy. We didn't see anything under the carpet. Didn't lift it up high enough.

There was also surface rust in the center rear seat cleat well.
 
Joined
Jun 25, 2006
Messages
601
Location
Ridgefield, WA
So this little bit put the nail in the coffin: The guy's sales technique includes "my uncle will probably just keep it". Then I find that he relisted it on CL a few hours later. For anyone interested: http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/cto/4688801687.html

The tone of his ad put me off for a few weeks from the start. I think I'll follow that instinct now and keep looking. Thanks all for comments. I appreciate the sanity check.
 

hankinid

SILVER Star
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
1,620
Location
SW Idaho
So this little bit put the nail in the coffin: The guy's sales technique includes "my uncle will probably just keep it". Then I find that he relisted it on CL a few hours later. For anyone interested: http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/cto/4688801687.html
A cut-and-paste of the VIN number from the CL ad resulted in the message "Invalid VIN Number" on the Lexus owners' web site.

You made a good choice.

Also, based on the repairs shown on CL, I seriously doubt $2000 would have covered it. Unless maybe the work was done at ylexot and hankinid's hot dog stand and auto repair shop.
 
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Messages
294
Always go with your instinct in these situations. Wait for the right one to show up, it will be worth it.
 

hankinid

SILVER Star
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
1,620
Location
SW Idaho
Always go with your instinct in these situations. Wait for the right one to show up, it will be worth it.
I couldn't say it better. Have cash or your financing ready, sit back, and be patient.

I waited about a year and passed up several hundy's before I found a perfect one about 400 miles away.

Maintenance records, ownership history, and pre-purchase inspection are critical...especially for your sanity once you find one.

Though given Murphy's Law, you'll see one with half the mileage at half the price once you buy one. ;)
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 8, 2003
Messages
5,301
Location
Bozeman, MT
Buying cars has a lot to do with vibe for me. If you've got questions that can't be answered, walk. It's hard not getting emotionally involved in a new purchase, however, if you can't walk... you're screwed. That said I bet most of us have bought a questionable car at least once and now give this advice. ;)

Broaden your search, you should NEVER find rust inside on a vehicle this old... Never. And if you do, walk, every time.
 
Joined
Jun 25, 2006
Messages
601
Location
Ridgefield, WA
Thanks y'all. While my initial inspection and test drive were very positive, I feel pretty good about leaving this one behind.

I very much look forward to finding MY hundy. I had been ambivalent about selling my 80 for a 100, but now I am convinced the 100 is the right LC fit for our family.
 
Joined
May 26, 2012
Messages
170
Location
Austin - It's in Texas
I bought my no locker 99 for $9000 and he threw in a lift kit for another $1000 with 145k miles on it. I was patient, new what I wanted and trusted my gut. You sound like your no dummy so you probably know all this. Patience grasshopper. Patience.
 

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