Whaddya Think, Joe ? 1989 Victoria


Old 09-19-03, 09:27 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Cool Whaddya Think, Joe ? 1989 Victoria

I'm looking at a 1989 Crown Vic that is a one owner (not counting the used car dealer that's selling it) and has approx. 118k on it. The only drawbacks that I can tell are these and I'd like to get your feedback on them if you wil !
The gearshift handle (probably not the proper term, heehee!) has got loose play in it. I mean, you can get the car to go into reverse, drive, etc., but how big of a deal would this be to fix? My cuz's friend has a Vic that had the same problem. His mechanic said that this was not uncommon in these cars.
Also, the a/c seems to work GREAT, but it smells !!! The dealer says that it's only been driven twice since he bought it at auction 6 weeks ago (he sells from his house and keeps his cars in a big metal warehouse) and he thinks that is probably why it smells. What do you think about this ? Do you feel that it is probably just a buildup of mustiness from sitting and in an enclosed building at that ?
I ran a Carfax on it and it is a local car and has no reported problems. I look forward to your thoughts !
Thank you !!!
Sponsored Links
Old 09-20-03, 07:01 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
What's the asking price?

What type of condition is the car in?

How much will you gain by basically buying the same car and having to do the same repairs you did on your current one all over again?

If you're hell bent on replacing your existing one, have this one professionally checked by a mechanic (independent of the seller) and get his estimation of what it needs to be safe and dependable.

Again, it is worth it to me to put that same 1000 to 1500 bucks you are going to spend on this car (if it's advertised for more than this, it's too much) into your current GM and just keep it going.

There's no reason to replace your current vehicle with the same problems again and again .
Old 09-20-03, 11:42 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a

Joe, Joe, Joe !!!!
I reckon that you and I see this a bit differently!!!
Yes, all cars are gonna eventually need the same repairs...BUT!
My car has over 180k on it.
And needs: Paint job (a good one costs lots of $$$$ here)
2 Catalytic Converters
A/C and Heater fixed (coil -more lotsa $$$$)
New Windshield
2 Rear Windows fixed (at least one needs motor)
Rear Coil Springs
Radio Antaenna (no big deal, true)
Has a slight oil leak
The transmission fluid is OLD and DARK. One tech says change it. My mechanic AND a well-respected transmission specialist here in town recommends that I leave it be and just top off the fluid as needed because as he explained (no, I don't recall the technical talk per se) that it could end up damaging the transmission. He said that he would gladly fix the trans for me if it tore it up, of course, but he felt that I shouldn't risk it. I respected his input as he would make money from that whereas he didn't make any money by telling me to let it be. He had nothing to gain in other words.
The car was in a collision and it busted up the grill and popped off the side , er, whaddya call 'em?, strips on the front passenger door.
Okay...the 1989 Vic has 118k.
The paint is perfect and original.
The a/c works.
It has no leaks.
Carfax indicates that it is a local
car with no negative history.
I would never buy a car without having it thoroughly checked out ! I do not take anyone's word as to a car...used car dealers have earned their bad reputations afterall !!! Yes, there are SOME good guys out there !
IF I buy the Vic, I would sell the Marquis. The Vic has 118k vs. 180k on the Marquis, thus less wear and tear and I can start out immediately on keeping the car maintained. I would have the oil, transmission fluid, air filter, fuel filter all changed right away. I'd have the radiator flushed and refilled. The car would be detailed inside and out with a good wax job to help protect the paint. I'd get the windows tinted too.

The Crown Vic is $1350. If I sell the Marquis for $700-$800, well it seems like it would be worth it when ALL factors are taken into consideration. Just a new a/c for the Mercury would nearly cost $400-$500. See where I'm coming from ?
Old 09-20-03, 01:43 PM
billys68ss's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 1,459

Sounds like pretty good math to me. The Crown Vic either has a 5.0 or a 5.8 liter engine and they are pretty reliable old school mills. Of course the old Marquis should be about the same as the platform is pretty much the same if not identical ( dont know much about Ford body codes) They are both big heavy beasts and gas drinkers, but the offset of the sale price from the old tired Marquis should put you well under $1000 for the Vic. and the money saved you can use to get started on a good maintenance schedule with the new car. I would strongly recommend getting it checked out thoroughly by a mechanic before you finalize the sale. There could be something small that you might be able to use as a bargaining chip. I recently did this for a guy and he got a couple hundred off the car for my diagnosis. Well worth it.
Old 09-20-03, 01:53 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a

Count on putting at least half of that amount into this "new" GM.

1) If your original car had these problems, this one will too. They come in pairs. Very rarely is one 'exempt' of these problems. A problem on one, a problem on all.
2) The A/C will be a problem down the road---those garter spring connectors on Fords leak, all the time, every time. Put that in your budget as well.
3) Have it checked out. If it passes muster, probably worth it.
4) If your GM is that rough, $800 as an asking price is about $300 too high. You might consider donating it, taking a tax writeoff for it and not unloading a heap onto someone else.
5) $1350 for something that "clean" sounds too good to be true..make sure it's checked out stem to stern or you could buy a bomb.
6) Carfax only tells you if there are REPORTED accidents or other problems. If the owner cracked it up and fixed it out of insurance, no record of that. But the repairs could have been done shoddily.

Point: A clean Carfax report DOES NOT equal a clean car. It's a START.

Just be careful and don't jump on the first one you see. I could trip over those cars here in NYC. Common as dog poo .

Bottom line: With all that trouble, your old car is really a $500 car at best.

Good luck with your choice.....
Old 09-20-03, 04:28 PM
billys68ss's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 1,459
JOE....... I dont understand you. This is Janets second post about her "MARQUIS" and you have insisted in calling it a GM ever since she posted her previous questions. Since when did GM make the Marquis?
Old 09-20-03, 05:13 PM
comtnman's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Colorado Springs,Colorado
Posts: 108
Billy I think he just doesn't want to type out Grand Marquis
Old 09-20-03, 05:45 PM
billys68ss's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 1,459
CoMtnMan... LOL.... I didnt catch that one..... OOPS:
Old 09-20-03, 07:58 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
GM=Grand Marquis. Ya, it's an abbreviation.


Well aware that the Grand Marquis (aka GM) is a Ford Motor Company product.

GM doesn't make such winners .
Old 09-20-03, 08:45 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Talking !!!!!!!! :)

Yup...I did it too....thought Joe was calling the Fords and Mercs GMs !!!! HAHAHAHAHA !!! But I still never doubted his mechanical ability and knowledge when it comes to cars!!!!
I'm aware that Carfax can't tell the whole story ! If Only !!!
I would honestly like a car that is just a bit smaller (not much though!), but I just don't know what car would be reliable that would be within my very tight budget. I do love the 1988-1991 Vics and G. Marqs and they have a good type engine and I figure that if the taxis and police use them, that is a good sign...
I'm afraid of a car that is too new (even if I could afford it) because of all the computer and electronic stuff....when those things need repair, well, WHOA MOMMA !!!!!
So can you think of a car in the $3000 and under range that fits these requirements----reliable, inexpensive, and reasonably safe?
I am honestly open to all suggestions. I live in Florida and a good a/c is a must for me. I am really sensitive to the heat, more so than most folks. I am not going to rush into buying, but I really do want a "better" car than I've got now.
Thanks to Joe and Biy for your comments and I welcome anyone else's too !
Old 09-20-03, 09:06 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Go the library and look up "Reliable Used cars for under $3000" in Consumer Reports.

Post what you like here and we'll give some pros and cons of the ones you choose.

Ya, I am not typing Grand Marquis when GM will do . Too much to type, too many posts to answer. LOL.
Old 09-21-03, 06:50 PM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: West-Central Illinois
Posts: 73
Are you a diehard Ford person, or are you open to other makes?

I've had great success with early-'90s Bonnevilles; other GM (that's General Motors, not Grand Marquis ) products on the same platform with the 3800 engine will probably give similar service.

Unit 1 is a 1992 SSE that we bought two years ago with 145,000 miles on it. We've put another 40,000 on it since then, and the only major repair has been a fuel pump.

Unit 2 was also a '92 model; this one was the base model SE. Still very nicely equipped, but without as many bells and whistles. The dealership I worked at was going to send it to the salvage yard because it had a bad water pump, so I bought it for $50. Drove it a year and put about 10,000 on it (it had 160,000 when I bought it) and spent about $100 total on repairs (water pump, "dog bone", and brake pads). Sold it for $1200 when we no longer needed it.

I've seen lots of nice examples of these cars for sale within your price range. There are plenty of low-mileage examples out there, but if you're savvy about looking for potential problems on a high-mileage car, a 100,000 mile car will have had lots of expected problems fixed before you buy it.

Also want to throw out that my Mom has an older Intrepid that has given her great service.
Old 09-21-03, 09:27 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Cool Other Makes of Cars

Hi !
No, I don't have a problem with other car makes per se, I've just always had great success with the Vics/G. Marq.s/and Colony Park LTD (sw).
I really appreciate your comments ! I was looking around at a few car lots today and saw a few cars of interest and I do look in the classifieds and the Thrifty Nickel and like papers for cars being sold by private parties.
There's a 1993 Nissan Altima for sale that might be worth looking at (private party). I know that Toyotas, Hondas, and Nissans all have good reliability records for the most part. And I don't doubt what you've said about the Bonnevilles either. I just have to think about the costs associated with a car when it needs repairing. Joe suggested that I should pass on a 1989 Buick Park Avenue (that's another post ) and my mechanic said the car seemed okay, but it would be more expensive to fix than the Marquis since the Marquis has rear-wheel drive and also, the Buick had lots of electric components (even the speedometer!)...that scared me big time !!!
There are sooooooooooo many cars out there for sale and I don't have the time to look everyday and it's getting frustrating ! HOWEVER, I am NOT going to be STUPID and buy a car just because I'm tired of looking !
WHAT DO YOU (and anyone else reading this that knows about such things) THINK ABOUT THE EARLY 90's Olds Cutlass and Cutlass Ciera...I've read that the Ciera isn;t too great, but I don't know...
Thanks !!!
Old 09-22-03, 02:22 AM
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 516
Janet, as long as your Merc is still running look around for another vehicle from a private party. Make sure that the car has service records and has been maintained. In Florida there are lots of old people who maintain their cars but must give up driving, go to a few old community complexes and ask around. When my father died down there his 7 year old Pontiac with 40,000 miles was sold for $1,000 because I wanted to leave Florida quickly. Go to some dealers and ask one of the salesmen to hook you up with a low mileage trade in that they will wholesale. The used cars that dealers have in your price range can be either a dealers wholesale car or an auctioned car. Some of these cars come from very poor people who didn't spend a dime on maintaince. In Manhattan where I live many people move here with very nice cars and find out it's going to cost 4/600 a month to garage them so they park them on the street for a while and find it's a hassle moving it every other day so they just want to get rid of them and will sell unusually cheap.
Old 09-22-03, 01:51 PM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: corona Ca.
Posts: 471
Personally I would go with the 89 crown vic. It is an absolutely wonderful car, and if it checks out, you should look no further. All the fine cars listed here would be ok, but I personally think that the vic in good shape will outlast all of them.

It likely has the 5.0. (stay away from it if it has a 6 cyl)

I used to own an 85 vic 5.0, most reliable car I ever owned. SOld it with almost 200k on the clock, wonderful car.

Between my brother and I we own 4 cars in that era with the 5.0 powerplant. Taken care of, I believe there are few engines that will last as long as a 5.0

The 89 vics should be still running the eec 4 computer with is a very simple and easy to work with computer.

Have the vic checked out, and if it looks good, go for it!!! AT 112K OR SO, it is just broken in!!
Old 09-22-03, 05:49 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a

All Crown Vics/GM's/Town Cars of this vintage are 5.0 MFI engines. No other choice but a 5.8 vin W carbureted 2 barrel Variable Venturi on some models (mostly police and fleet) through 1991.


Make sure whatever car you choose is checked out thoroughly by someone you trust, period. If they tell you it's bad, skip it. Cars are a dime a dozen. Opinions are like rear ends, everyone's got one. LOL. Get what works for you.

My vote is GM rear drive, bar none. But, that doesn't work for everyone .
Old 09-22-03, 07:49 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Talking GMs LOL !!!!

Hi Jeremy and Joe and all that have kindly replied to my post. I really appreciate everyone's feedback ! I saw a 1993 Nissan Altima for sale, but I reckon they'd be really expensive to fix...???
I saw a 1989 GM on a used car lot. The dealer says everything works and he had a new transmission put in it (or the transmission fixed-I can't recall the wording he used) and that the car has less than 100k on it. I am leery of a car that's had tranny trouble, especially since I don't know who fixed it !!!
And I think that $2500 is too much (and that's his "cash" price!)
No one commented on the 1989 Vic's gearshift stick having loose play in it...what's with that ? Is it an expensive thing to fix ?
There's a 1991 GM that is beautiful, but has some rust in 3 places.
I'm afraid that it would keep on spreading, even if those places were sanded and repainted...kind of like cancer....any thoughts ?
Well, I'm still going crazy here, but all the help is making it more bearable !
And Joe, any car that I am seriously interested in will most definitely be checked over THOROUGHLY !
Don't forget to give me some comments about the Altima I mentioned above ! Yes, I'll most likely go with a Vic or GM, but just in case.....!! Thanks ! janet
Old 09-22-03, 08:04 PM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: West-Central Illinois
Posts: 73
Re: Other Makes of Cars

Originally posted by janetlee
WHAT DO YOU (and anyone else reading this that knows about such things) THINK ABOUT THE EARLY 90's Olds Cutlass and Cutlass Ciera...I've read that the Ciera isn;t too great, but I don't know...
Thanks !!!
I've known some folks who got great service from the Ciera, and others who didn't. As usual, it pretty much comes down to how they were maintained. I would definitely stay away from the Quad-4 engine, though.

Cutlasses of that era are great cars for the most part; in fact, they're very similar to the Bonnevilles. I work with a lady who always drives 10-year-old Oldsmobiles, and trades about every two years. Sometimes she gets a Cutlass, sometimes a Delta 88; she doesn't care as long as it has the 3800 engine.

And I can't fault your affinity for fullsize Fords. RWD cars aren't real practical in my neck of the woods in winter, but if I were in Florida I'd probably drive one. Of course mine would be a '66 Galaxie 500, but that's just me.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes