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Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs #4752046
05/09/18 01:50 PM
05/09/18 01:50 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,885
Connecticut
69GTX Offline OP
69GTX  Offline OP
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,885
Connecticut
I'm considering a 2000 Lincoln Continental 4.6L DOHC car with 43K miles that sat for the past 3 yrs when the owner was too sick to drive. With his passing the car is being sold. I'm very familiar with this model as I've owned 2 of them. The weaknesses are the tight clearances in the engine bay with the transverse engine + front wheel transaxle. The transmission is the weak link of the car.

My concern is what 3 yrs of sitting could have done to fuel systems, drive train bearings, AC seals, etc? 3 yr old engine oil is not a concern to me as the car was probably serviced annually at 2K-3K miles (short tripper). It would be bad if someone turned the engine over in the garage every so often...don't know. The battery was dead. I'm sure the car will drive fine today as it has to do that just to sell it. No idea if sitting could cause issues years down the road.

Tires look good...Michelins. They could be the originals.. If so, they'll have to go. But the tread looks deep so they might be the 2nd set. AC doesn't work so that will have to be corrected. After sitting for so long, every refrigerant seal could need replacing. And access to them in the engine bay requires removing a lot of other stuff. I think several quick oil changes with a quality detergent oil could help clean up a short tripper/sitter gunked up engine. Trans fluid changes are due by 30K miles on these. So 43K is pushing that out on a trans that is a weak link.

I know what the car is worth in this condition and the asking price in the $4K's is fair once tires/AC are corrected. So are there other big risks here that could come back to haunt me? Have others bought long term sitters and had no issues later on? Or should I just not bother?


----------------

2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 39K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs
Re: Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs [Re: 69GTX] #4752051
05/09/18 01:59 PM
05/09/18 01:59 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,131
New Jersey
JHZR2 Offline
JHZR2  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,131
New Jersey
Nothing. It's a boogeyman people want to create. Unless mice, rodents, moisture, etc got to it.

I have vehicles that sit for long periods and are older. Not an issue.

If there's one item that's actually affected, I'd say AC. If the AC still has charge and blows cold, I'd not be concerned.

I would change and re-baseline all fluids...

Edit, realized the AC is not operational. If the price is good, have a shop pressurize with a dry N2/refrigerant mix to see how bad the leaks are. Doubt every seal needs replacement.

Last edited by JHZR2; 05/09/18 02:01 PM.
Re: Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs [Re: 69GTX] #4752055
05/09/18 02:06 PM
05/09/18 02:06 PM
Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 281
Alberta
carviewsonic Offline
carviewsonic  Offline
Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 281
Alberta
My 2005 Park Ave got very little use by it's senior owner and sat for 2-3 years before I bought it 2.5 years ago with 14k miles on the odo. Garage kept which kept it cosmetically good. The only issues were an oil pan gasket seep which I stopped by re-torquing the fasteners (lucky), and a weak thermostat. Even the original Goodyear tires were fine after a half hour of driving slowly (to work out the flat spots) towards home.

The only concern I would have with the Lincoln is the coolant, I don't think Ford was using long-life yet.. was it changed a couple of times (hopefully) over the years?


'18 Impala
'03 Park Avenue
'05 Park Avenue
'07 Honda Accord
'09 VStar 1300
Re: Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs [Re: 69GTX] #4752058
05/09/18 02:10 PM
05/09/18 02:10 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,468
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Chris142 Offline
Chris142  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,468
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
AC will need a recharge


02 Wrangler durablend 10w40
87 F250 traveler 15w40
04 Tahoe super-s 10w30
Z400 castrol T 10w40
Can am maveric edge 5w40
57 case tractor 15w40
Re: Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs [Re: 69GTX] #4752059
05/09/18 02:11 PM
05/09/18 02:11 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,511
VW Fanboy Island
maxdustington Offline
maxdustington  Offline
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,511
VW Fanboy Island
The thing is, for an older low mileage car it is a lot more likely for it to have been put on a shelf for a few years than to find someone who drove it like 5k a year for a decade. It is not impossible, but I find those cars always go to a friend, family or mechanic first before they hit the public market.

I also think it might have been more a concern before all rubber components were made of EPDM. Hoses last the life of the car now pretty much, so I think the days of firing a barn find up and having it spring leaks everywhere are over.

I would not pay as much for a car that obviously has been sitting outside v one that is just super low milage
An old friend of mine's girlfriend has a 2012 or something lexus that was sitting in a parking garage for years, it is now in his parent's driveway. Things leaked on it and screwed the paint up, and the rotors are really rusty. Even indoor storage is not so nice.


03 Jetta AWP/09A 205k kms
Edge 0W40 + Mann 719/30
Re: Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs [Re: 69GTX] #4752060
05/09/18 02:12 PM
05/09/18 02:12 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 61
Missouri
Oily_Thing Offline
Oily_Thing  Offline
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 61
Missouri
I bought a 2013 Cadillac XTS with 5000 miles on it that sat for 3 years. The only trouble I had with it was buying a new battery shortly after buying the car. No other problems. I got one [censored] of a deal on it as the dealer was really wanting to move it. It had belonged to an elderly man who died, and after a long probate, it was sold back to the dealer.


2013 Cadillac XTS4 3.6
2015 Dodge Durango Limited 3.6
2011 Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager 1700
Re: Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs [Re: 69GTX] #4752063
05/09/18 02:17 PM
05/09/18 02:17 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 21,719
Orlando, FL
Mr Nice Offline
Mr Nice  Offline
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 21,719
Orlando, FL
OP,

Was this car in storage or out in the weather uncovered ?

Re: Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs [Re: Mr Nice] #4752080
05/09/18 02:47 PM
05/09/18 02:47 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,885
Connecticut
69GTX Offline OP
69GTX  Offline OP
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,885
Connecticut
Good to know most have had positive experiences with longer term "sitters."

Car was in the elderly owner's garage the past 3 yrs. So I also assumed it was garaged all its life. The paint/interior are nice. Mice still could have gotten in there though. Currently kept at the garage owner's business, no doubt outside for now.

True, Ford didn't switch to long life coolant to late in the 2002 model year. My old 2002 Continental was right on that line...and got "green." Hopefully this guy had his car serviced annually as needed. Multiple "green" coolant changes would have been needed over the past 18 years. If coolant was last done 3-5 yrs ago...would probably still be ok.

One of the AC leak points that costs dearly is a leaking seal on the compressor. That will run $500 for a new compressor. My 2002 Continental is now 16 years old and the AC system has never been serviced or touched....on borrowed time for sure.

The family put this car into the hands of their trusted mechanic/garage owner. So it will be looked over somewhatfor resale. He already offered to put the car up on a lift for me.

Since this would be an out of state sale, and in this case New Jersey, is there a way to not have to make 2 trips (NJ to CT) to get the vehicle registered? That seems so wasteful to run the title/registration back to CT. Then go back for the car with temp registration in hand. Can't NJ issue a 1-2 week temp plate? And will take a complete 2nd day for the 300 mile round trip. The garage owner doesn't have a resale license linked with DMV so they can't issue a temp registration.


----------------

2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 39K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs
Re: Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs [Re: 69GTX] #4752098
05/09/18 03:05 PM
05/09/18 03:05 PM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 11
USA
59Rod Offline
59Rod  Offline
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 11
USA
That price seems a little high. I see 2005 Buick Lesabres selling in Florida for $2000 with similar miles



2015 Mitsubishi Mirage 5 speed manual
Re: Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs [Re: 59Rod] #4752107
05/09/18 03:22 PM
05/09/18 03:22 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 9,992
Upper Midwest
kschachn Offline
kschachn  Offline
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 9,992
Upper Midwest
Is that the kind of car you typically look to buy?

Originally Posted By: 59Rod
That price seems a little high. I see 2005 Buick Lesabres selling in Florida for $2000 with similar miles



1994 BMW 530i, 231K
1996 Honda Accord, 263K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 402K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 272K
Re: Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs [Re: 59Rod] #4752114
05/09/18 03:28 PM
05/09/18 03:28 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 10,780
OH
SatinSilver Offline
SatinSilver  Offline
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 10,780
OH
Originally Posted By: 59Rod
That price seems a little high. I see 2005 Buick Lesabres selling in Florida for $2000 with similar miles


Where abouts in Florida did you see those? Very nice.

Re: Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs [Re: 69GTX] #4752115
05/09/18 03:28 PM
05/09/18 03:28 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,885
Connecticut
69GTX Offline OP
69GTX  Offline OP
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,885
Connecticut
I never thought of LeSabre's as luxury cars. What did they sell for new? Isn't the Park Avenue their high end model?

The Lincoln's had an MSRP of $38K/$39K. They have a full air ride system (which can be a pain when it doesn't work), multiple settings for driving mode (strong, medium, plush), 275 hp 4.6L DOHC engine that is pretty darn bullet proof. The gearing on the drive train is very strong too. 3.43 rear end iirc and a high first gear around 2.77....in fact...it has higher overall gearing than my 1999 Camaro SS 6 speed....about a 10-1 overall 1st gear ratio. Which is also a weak link for those with a heavy foot. You can beat up first gear in these cars pretty easily and create an early trans problem. I always feather 1st and 2nd gear unless I really need to move out for safety. My first one went 230k miles with the trans still very strong....did 25K mile fluid changes. My current one still shifting smooth as can be.

Front wheel drive which is great in New England snows...has bailed me out many times. The overall ride on these is very smooth and powerful at the same time. A little smaller and sportier than the beefy Town Cars...which many have more problematic engines. I can go after a Crown Vic or Mercury Grand Marquis too. They might run $1K-$2K less. Though from what I'm seeing on line...if they're clean and lower miles, they bring good money up here in New England. You won't find clean, large 4 door sedans (2002-2007) with 50K miles for $2K.....more like $3800-$7500 depending on how clean they are. The insurance company just paid me $4150 for my 2002 with 81K miles. That's their value up here. Clean, rust free used cars in New England are at a premium. Just called on a very clean, 1 owner 2004 Crown Victoria with 68K miles in Worcester MA for $4400. It already sold today to someone else.


----------------

2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 39K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs
Re: Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs [Re: 69GTX] #4752131
05/09/18 03:56 PM
05/09/18 03:56 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 11,402
Santa Barbara, CA
bdcardinal Offline
bdcardinal  Offline
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 11,402
Santa Barbara, CA
My 95 Mustang had "low miles" when I bought it. Under 100K in 2012. However it probably had more because the odometer gears were stripped. When I was replacing the blown out harmonic balancer I decided to yank the timing cover and put a FRPP E cam in it and made the mistake of looking at the cam bearings. Still need to make an expensive call to Summit since it isn't going back together stock.


2014 Ford Mustang GT Track Pack
1995 Ford Mustang GT

Ford/Mazda Parts Counter
NRA Benefactor Member
Opinions expressed are my own.
Re: Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs [Re: 69GTX] #4752225
05/09/18 05:45 PM
05/09/18 05:45 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,885
Connecticut
69GTX Offline OP
69GTX  Offline OP
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,885
Connecticut
What are people's experiences with the Caddy's DTS 4.6L Northstar engine? In reading around here the past 2 yrs a I got the impression it is much more problematic than the Ford/Lincoln 4.6L Intec DOHC engine.


----------------

2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 39K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs
Re: Risks in buying low mileage car that sat for 3 yrs [Re: 69GTX] #4752286
05/09/18 06:44 PM
05/09/18 06:44 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 8,393
Illinois
mrsilv04 Offline
mrsilv04  Offline
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 8,393
Illinois
I'd say your greatest risk is buying a 2000 Lincoln Continental... regardless of how long it has sat. That air suspension could become a huge issue in no time at all.


2004 Silverado - on its 3rd Jasper engine in less than one year.
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