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#4661082 - 02/09/18 02:59 PM 2003 Impala
Collingwood Offline


Registered: 01/28/18
Posts: 38
Loc: Eastern Seaboard
I am picking one of these up soon. It has high miles (north of 259,000) but it is a customer car sold by a shop.

What is your all opinion of these cars?

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#4661085 - 02/09/18 03:04 PM Re: 2003 Impala [Re: Collingwood]
zvm77us Offline


Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 171
Loc: USA
Had an '01 3.8L, it was in the shop every other week. The transmission is a weak point, BCM module, intake gaskets. But at 259,000 it could very well be it was all done already

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#4661091 - 02/09/18 03:09 PM Re: 2003 Impala [Re: Collingwood]
rooflessVW Offline


Registered: 12/24/11
Posts: 4018
Loc: North Carolina
Almost 300k miles on a FWD pre-bailout GM product?

I don't think so.
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#4661097 - 02/09/18 03:18 PM Re: 2003 Impala [Re: Collingwood]
skyactiv Offline


Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 4389
Loc: The Midwest
Plastic fantastic, dull, boring and over 50% of them were sold to rental fleets for the past 20 years.
But cheap and easy to fix. Autozone has every sensor, alternator, starter, water pump... and gasket you'd need for that thing in stock today
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#4661101 - 02/09/18 03:26 PM Re: 2003 Impala [Re: skyactiv]
Collingwood Offline


Registered: 01/28/18
Posts: 38
Loc: Eastern Seaboard
Originally Posted By: skyactiv
Plastic fantastic, dull, boring and over 50% of them were sold to rental fleets for the past 20 years.
But cheap and easy to fix. Autozone has every sensor, alternator, starter, water pump... and gasket you'd need for that thing in stock today


So you feel it's a money pot?

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#4661113 - 02/09/18 03:39 PM Re: 2003 Impala [Re: zvm77us]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 36416
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: zvm77us
Had an '01 3.8L, it was in the shop every other week. The transmission is a weak point, BCM module, intake gaskets. But at 259,000 it could very well be it was all done already


And depending on how much stuff; how much weight the OP plans on dragging around in the car, that transmission issue could be a more immediate concern or become one in short order.
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#4661114 - 02/09/18 03:39 PM Re: 2003 Impala [Re: Collingwood]
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3176
Loc: Chicago,IL,USA
Originally Posted By: Collingwood
Originally Posted By: skyactiv
Plastic fantastic, dull, boring and over 50% of them were sold to rental fleets for the past 20 years.
But cheap and easy to fix. Autozone has every sensor, alternator, starter, water pump... and gasket you'd need for that thing in stock today


So you feel it's a money pot?


Are you asking if it can carry large girls?
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#4661129 - 02/09/18 03:49 PM Re: 2003 Impala [Re: Collingwood]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32629
Loc: ME
Just about the most boring car out there.
Often seen by chain smoking poor white trash up my way.
So you'd want to find one that was at least taken care of.
Even if it's a $500 car.
Please look underneath where the subframe bolts to the firewall for rust.
Heaven knows most of these up my way are rotten out.

Cool if it has the 3800 but most have the 3.4.
Oil? 5w30 or 10w30 and your favorite PF 52 oversize filter.
Rental models with low miles *have* impressed me with power and economy.
But I wonder how they lose half their MSRP in two years.
Of course, if I needed a large car I'd look at the Fusion, Avalon, or Camry.
Some can be had for real cheap now that everyone wants SUVs.
I had a Grand Marquis once and didn't find it roomier than my current Camry.
Everyone's shaped differently. W-body Impalas are nice and square in the roofline.
Realistically, at 260k, you should pay $500 or less, and save money for inspection.
Of course if you're in a state like NJ that dumped safety inspection, the world's your oyster!

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#4661132 - 02/09/18 03:51 PM Re: 2003 Impala [Re: Collingwood]
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3176
Loc: Chicago,IL,USA
15 years old car with 250k+ miles...
how is the rust?

What is your mechanical aptitude?
tools hoarded?
access to good+reliable mechanic? (minus cheap)

couple alternatives cheap and fixable:
-chevy cavalier/pontiac sunfire
-toyota yaris (the hatchback)

couple better alternatives:
-ford fusion
-chevy 300m
_________________________
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#4661135 - 02/09/18 03:53 PM Re: 2003 Impala [Re: eljefino]
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3176
Loc: Chicago,IL,USA
Originally Posted By: eljefino
...
Cool if it has the 3800 but most have the 3.4.


maybe a buick may be better suited? better chance of being taken care of,..........
_________________________
16 Golf SportWagen
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08 Yaris
04 Elantra
95 accent
95 mystique
97 concorde

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#4661144 - 02/09/18 04:01 PM Re: 2003 Impala [Re: pandus13]
Collingwood Offline


Registered: 01/28/18
Posts: 38
Loc: Eastern Seaboard
Originally Posted By: pandus13
Originally Posted By: eljefino
...
Cool if it has the 3800 but most have the 3.4.


maybe a buick may be better suited? better chance of being taken care of,..........


I believe it has the 3400

No taxi use, Normal use is planned... whatever middle-aged retirees do with their vehicles. It's not even really for me, it's a gift for a family member that mentioned they like them.
It was presented as a car a customer had that is sold by a shop, maybe they did get a service done and couldn't pay. Inspection is current. Maybe it was a fleet car, who knows.

Faded paint on the hood, problems listed were:
- Sometimes the gas gauge doesn't work
- Sometimes the ABS/Trac light illuminates, but always does shut off. Yes, I asked.

Almost giveaway price so I'm going to do an inspection before finalizing the sale. Impala is a very vanilla car, seen fleet use often just like Taurus. Who wants to spend unnecessary money.

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#4661146 - 02/09/18 04:03 PM Re: 2003 Impala [Re: Collingwood]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32629
Loc: ME
The ABS/ trac light is usually a wiring pigtail at the ABS sensor. The copper strands break inside the insulation from metal fatigue. If you can get it scanned you should see which wheel.

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#4661158 - 02/09/18 04:15 PM Re: 2003 Impala [Re: eljefino]
Collingwood Offline


Registered: 01/28/18
Posts: 38
Loc: Eastern Seaboard
Originally Posted By: eljefino
The ABS/ trac light is usually a wiring pigtail at the ABS sensor. The copper strands break inside the insulation from metal fatigue. If you can get it scanned you should see which wheel.


Yes, I found a guide that would indicate to me that it's minor, especially if intermittent: https://www.google.com/amp/www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Fix-the-ABSTraction-control-light-on-a-04-I/%3famp_page=true

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#4661159 - 02/09/18 04:16 PM Re: 2003 Impala [Re: Collingwood]
JustN89 Offline


Registered: 06/27/17
Posts: 459
Loc: DFW
I have a 2005 with the 3.4L/4T65E and have 125k miles on it. In my opinion, I would not purchase this car.

The transmission is definitely a weak point, but to be honest, at that mileage I don't think that the transmission in the car suffered from the all-too-common issues that are notorious in these (PCS failure, overheating, etc). However, it's still not exactly a strong transmission and that's a LOT of miles.

The next thing you have to worry about is the Lower Intake Manifold gaskets. Unfortunately, the gaskets weren't redesigned until 2004, so the engine in this car should still have (unless they were replaced) the old gaskets prone to failure.

Another common failure in these is in the instrument panel. Failure of the panel is a pretty common occurrence, and it sounds like it might already be on the way out in this car. Replacing this can run $300+.

That said, there are pros to this car if you have your heart set on purchasing it. The GM 60 degree V6 are pretty stout and can go a long time. I have little doubt (assuming even the most basic of maintenance has been done) that this engine can go a good while longer. The interior is also very comfortable. My wife and I actually prefer to ride around in our Impala over our other car because of how comfortable it is. Also, as others have said, there are plenty of cheap parts and it's not exactly a difficult car to work on.

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#4661190 - 02/09/18 05:18 PM Re: 2003 Impala [Re: JustN89]
Collingwood Offline


Registered: 01/28/18
Posts: 38
Loc: Eastern Seaboard
Originally Posted By: JustN89
I have a 2005 with the 3.4L/4T65E and have 125k miles on it. In my opinion, I would not purchase this car.

The transmission is definitely a weak point, but to be honest, at that mileage I don't think that the transmission in the car suffered from the all-too-common issues that are notorious in these (PCS failure, overheating, etc). However, it's still not exactly a strong transmission and that's a LOT of miles.

The next thing you have to worry about is the Lower Intake Manifold gaskets. Unfortunately, the gaskets weren't redesigned until 2004, so the engine in this car should still have (unless they were replaced) the old gaskets prone to failure.

Another common failure in these is in the instrument panel. Failure of the panel is a pretty common occurrence, and it sounds like it might already be on the way out in this car. Replacing this can run $300+.

That said, there are pros to this car if you have your heart set on purchasing it. The GM 60 degree V6 are pretty stout and can go a long time. I have little doubt (assuming even the most basic of maintenance has been done) that this engine can go a good while longer. The interior is also very comfortable. My wife and I actually prefer to ride around in our Impala over our other car because of how comfortable it is. Also, as others have said, there are plenty of cheap parts and it's not exactly a difficult car to work on.


This is encouraging information.

I will attempt to find out what has and has not been done to this car tomorrow. Odd comments about use and suspension loads aside, I'm not dwelling on whatever that is, this is an inexpensive car that if it runs fantastic for what it is then it will be great for the person I'm gifting it to. And they always did like GM. Tomorrow I'll know more.

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