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by Greg Hutchinson <[email protected]>
Look for any rust under the car, bottom of doors, tiny bubbles near
the bottom of any body panel. Look down the sides of the car, around
the battery area, and under the rear by the muffler to see if all
the metal looks straight. Look under the hood to see if all the relays
are the metal type or have been replaced with the newer plastic ones.
Are all the hoses looking good - or are they cracked or swollen? Are
the 2 sensors in the top right of the radiator white and red (stock)-
or gray and white (best)? Can you catch the date on the battery? Any
leaks or weeping? Did the hood try to hit you in the head or have
the hood shocks been replaced recently?
Does the care still have the 14" wheels or has it been upgraded
to 16" or larger? If larger wheels, and you can see through them,
does it have bigger rotors on the front than the back? Hit the brakes
at over 30mph. Any shimmy? When you do hit the brakes, do you feel
as though you need to throw out an anchor to stop for the first couple
seconds? (brake bomb).
Bounce on all 4 corners to check the shocks. Look at the front and
rear bumper shocks if appropriate...are they REAL close to the body-
If auto, when was the tranny rebuilt? What's the fluid smell like?
The 4HP22 averages about 100K or so before the pack goes. If manual,
can you make spaghetti with the shifter or is it tight and crisp?
Does the car jerk when you take off in first? (and it's not your technique!)
Go find a steep hill and nail the gas after starting up - any thumping
under the seat? If so, does it go away when the gas pedal is lifted
In the cockpit.. Does the temperature knob have a little resistance
or does it either spin merrily or not move at all. Does the heater
motor increase in speed when the motor knob is rotated CW with the
big blast coming when all the way to 3 o'clock. Does the AC motor
kick in when you push the AC button? Does the antenna go up and down
smoothly when radio is switched on/off? Fog lights work on low beam?
Emergency lights all flash?
Push the bottom left button on the OBC (On Board Computer) to the
right of the radio. Should tell the outside temp. Wait about 5 seconds
and the time should come back on; then hit the next button up: should
tell you what gas mileage its been getting lately. On the other side
of the steering wheel find the check panel. Touch the very bottom
button and see if all the lights light up. Any little red lights stare
at you after you've started the car and tapped the brakes?
Do a ll the windows and mirror buttons work and their motors whirl
properly? Window glass fit tight against the rubber? How about all
the seat buttons including the headrest? Seat backs go back the same
distance and angle at the same time? Seats go forward and backwards
Pull down on lever under steering wheel column. Can you move the wheel
in and out a few inches? (Put the lever back when finished!!)
How far up does the emergency brake handle go...more than 8 clicks?
Rear speaker covers still form- fitted or lifting at the edges? Front
dash have any cracks up front? Sunroof smoothly operates in both modes?
Does the middle top of the SR have any scratches from a bad adjustment?
With the temp knob all the way CCW and going down the road, any heat
coming from under dash? In the temp gauge, does the temp needle stay
around the middle or wander over to the way far right with the car
warmed up and at idle?
All three air levers move back and forth with only a little resistance.
At speed, air comes in strong with the levers all the way to the right?
Turn blower knob full CW, move middle lever to far left, and turn
the temp knob all the way CW, heat everywhere? Turn temp knob back
full CCW and hit AC button - freezing?
Drive through a clothless car wash or find a thunderstorm - any leaks
- glove box, sunroof, windows? With the windshield wipers on momentary
(lowest) do the wipers move smoothly or jerk. While your hand is down
at that lever - take hold of the next one down and see if the cruise
control lever is loose.
Central locking works all around the car - including the gas door?
Driver's door lock works in 2 positions CW while passenger in only
one. Any tools in the tool kit in the trunk lid? Got a spare tire
that matches the size of the 4 on the ground? Jack in the left side
Cold engine starts quickly - warms up with little hesitation, no smoke
of any color out the back. Normal small shaking at idle but goes away
immediately when the gas is applied with no hesitation all the way
to redline. Engine is bullet proof if you just change the oil once
a decade or so (5K actually).
Any hard clicking from the rear of the cam cover? Have mechanic check
for cam wear. Check front bushing wear, and O2..if O2 is good, then
most likely the engine is sound IF the cam is also quiet. Have a look
under the car. What's leaking/weeping? Any rust spots? What's the
number on the rear diff (look for LS) and model number of the tranny?
Motor and diff mounting rubber OK? See black gummy stuff in the bottom
That should get you started. Any price between a willing seller and
a willing buyer is a good price, just do your homework first. More
obvious parts are paint condition, tire life, and interior condition
cosmetics. Most is just money to repaint, replace, or recover. The
mechanics are what makes this car a pleasure to drive.