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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I had been looking for a good used, older Taurus for months. Good used cars in the $3K - $4k range are rare in this area. The ones I looked at were a mess, with multiple problems and, imho, way over priced.

So, I found a dealer last week who was "wholesaling" off a trade-in at a reasonable price. What attracted me was the 116K miles on the 1995 Taurus GL. The dealer did not want to fool with the car. A lower cash price was negotiated and I drove the "beater" home.

Edit: This was not a true "wholesale" deal. I'm not a dealer. The car dealer I bought it from had moved the car off his lot and into a field behind his lot. He was planning on "wholesaling" it.

Here's what I found:

The Good.
Tires in good condition: 205R15-60's on the front. Air pressure 30 & 40 psi.
205R15-65's on the rear. Air pressure 30 & 25.
Almost new battery still under full replacement warranty.
The a/c works very well and compressor doesn't make any noise.
Does not leak any fluids anywhere. Dry and "clean" (dusty in parts...).
Came equipped with 4-wheel disk brakes and ABS (if that's good). Brakes work well.
The engine and trans both ran very smoothly and the oils were fairly clean.
The check-engine light is not on.
Came with a brand new radiator fan assembly. I saw the receipt for it. It was not even a week old.
CV's, outside tie rod ends, ball joints, struts and control arms all in good condition.
Paint is overall good and shiny (once all the mold and dirt were washed off).
The back seat and the trunk do not looked like they have ever been used.
The rest of the interior (after stickies, air fresheners, gummy things removed from the dash) is good.
All the power windows and power door locks work.
All the glass is good.
All the lights and turn siganls, wipers work. Headlight lenses are still 90% clear.

The Bad.
Battery is wrong group, has correct amps, but is too small to tighten in battery box.
Engine cooling system was filled with GM orange DEX anti-freeze.
Windshield washer reservoir was filled with GM orange DEX anti-freeze.
The water pump bearings were shot.
The idler pulley was shot.
The belt tensioner was frozen solid and in need of replacement.
The yellow airbag warning light blinks code "51" constantly.
The alternator bearings have a little buzz to them.
The plug wires were probably the OEM's, stiff and ancient looking.
The spark plugs were worn out and rusty.
Wheel nuts were torqued anywhere from loose to almost 200 foot/lbs., to being missing altogether.
One front disk brake rotor cracked. Pads 75% worn.
Power outside mirror control switch only works left and right, no up and down. Bad switch.
Remote radio contols are bad.
Clock does not light.

The Ugly.
Driver's side door panel is loose.
Passenger side outside mirror glass is broken.
Spilled coffee, cokes, and possibly chewing tobaccy on dash, door panels rear view mirror, and floor.
Door bumper strips are badly discolored.
Radio antenna bent and loose.
6" wide vee shaped dent in rear door.
Dust everywhere inside the car.
Gas filler door latch spring broken (remote release didn't work).
************************

What Has Been Done So Far.
New water pump, new idler pulley, new take-up pulley & tensioner, new lower radiator hose, thorough flush and rinse of cooling system, new green style anti-freeze, removed and cleaned out reservoirs, transmission fluid and filter change, plastic spacer to tightened battery in box, installed new plugs and plugwires, installed new front rotors and front disk pads, replaced many lugnuts with new ones, straightened and tightened antenna, removed door latch from gas fill door until a new spring is found,
aired tires to proper pressure (35 psi), good cleaning up inside and out, removing all the stick-on junk from inside, etc.. Edit: & new plugs and wires....

Total of parts above is $330. I provided all the labor.

Taurus was then taken on a 100 mile test drive and ran well. What I have now is a good running Taurus at half the price and in better mechanical condition than what I was looking at. The car seems to be doing well on fuel economy, too.

There are still a few issues to take care of, but I may have something worth driving.


Edit 27Mar2011: Bought a pack of door panel retainers from NAPA. Replaced bad retainers with new ones. Almost all interior squeaks and rattle are gone, now that the panels are tight again. Costs: $6.00 and (1) hour of my time.

Removed and sanded, cleaned and painted wheel covers with Rust-oleum Speckle Silver, (4) coats. Sanded, cleaned door strip moulding. Masked off and painted with Rust-oleum Brown Hammertone paint, (3) coats. Costs: $12.00 and (3) hours of my time.


I found a large key ring full of keys in a seat pocket. Called the PO and he identified the missing keys as his. For returning the keys, the PO gave me a new set of premium floor mats for the Taurus. The new mats look good in the car.


Checked the fuel mileage and found this Taurus is getting 23 mpg combination city/highway miles. This is good. I can tell it's doing fairly well on economy, for a Taurus.


This '95 GL has reponded well to these simple repairs. I don't see it needing any more mechanical repairs (still watching the alternator) for a couple of years, except regular maintenance.

Running Total: $350 (approx.)
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Here are a few pics.

I need to take some better ones. (The green towel is to keep the seat clean while working on it.)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Positive Features on a '95 Taurus:

-The dash style and design, imho, is better than earlier Gen 1's and later Gen 3 Taurii.

-4-wheel disc brakes on a GL are a positive. It is so much simpler to work on the rear than ones with drum brakes.

-Rear wheel bearings can be purchased with a hub for less than $50 each and so much faster and easier to service.

-Wheel covers are anchored to the rims with screws.

-Multi-control stalk is better designed than the earlier Gen 1's.

-The '95 still uses many Gen 1 components on the engine and elsewhere.

-For now, junkyards still keep the 95's for parts.
 

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Wow that doesn't look too terrible cosmetically inside and out...where are you located? I know on some southern Gen 2s that rubber molding tends to discolor like yours.
 

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i'm surprise a dealer "whole saled" you a car. I was told if a dealer sells it, they still have to warrant it and make sure it passes inspection.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Bull Geek,

I'm just to the north of you in the Upcountry of S.C.. That's an S.C. car.

I have owned several Gen 1's and none of them discoloured. You may have a point there.

It's going to get cleaned and painted.
 

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WOW, nice find and looks like you should get alot out of that one.

I have been told (here in Ohio) that a dealer can "wholesale" it to the public without any warranty for anything or if the buyer doesnt bring it into the deal the dealer is also off the hook for emission repairs but not for safety issues. When ever I buy a used car (all of them recently) I always tell the dealer to put it on the papers that they will fix anything to pass the first emission check.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
risoworker,

I paid just a few more bucks than an action or wholesale would have gotten. The dealer didn't have anything on his lot less than $7-8k. This old Taurus was not his market.

There is no state inspection in S.C.. He can sell as-is anytime, as far as I know.
 

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Cake monster
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In my area, a car requires an emissions test every few years and a safety when there's a transfer of ownership (if you want to put it on the road). It's totally legal for a dealer to sell a car as is, where is. Just as long as they disclose it.

I'm in Canada, Ontario.
 

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Rock on SC no emmisions or safety inspection! :lol:

Cool! I head up to Greenville and Rock Hill every once in awhile to get outa Columbia. A few of us are thinking of having a meetup in Spartanburg @ the Beacon inn, in April. You're welcome to join up if interested, can shoot you the details.
 

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With that list of stuff it needed/lacks, I hope you didn't pay more than $1k for it. $500 sounds about right to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
danhasenauer: "With that list of stuff it needed/lacks, I hope you didn't pay more than $1k for it. $500 sounds about right to me."

I did. If this car was from New York, Ohio, or Florida, you are correct: $500-$1,000 max.

This is an S.C. car. No rust. That alone gives the car more useful, longer life. My 1987 GL I've owned for (18) years, has no rust holes. Still solid and easy to work on.

Another factor is "Buy Here, Pay Here" car lots are everywhere. Usury inflates the price the older cars. These lots finance old cars in worse shape than this one. The market is different here than New York. The dealers take advantage of the poor and lower middle class here.

Another factor is inflation is going to hit everything we buy. This USA has just gone thru (2) years of inflationary "stimulus" and it's going to hit the middle class hard.

End of rant.
 

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danhasenauer: "With that list of stuff it needed/lacks, I hope you didn't pay more than $1k for it. $500 sounds about right to me."

I did. If this car was from New York, Ohio, or Florida, you are correct: $500-$1,000 max.

This is an S.C. car. No rust. That alone gives the car more useful, longer life. My 1987 GL I've owned for (18) years, has no rust holes. Still solid and easy to work on.

Another factor is "Buy Here, Pay Here" car lots are everywhere. Usury inflates the price the older cars. These lots finance old cars in worse shape than this one. The market is different here than New York. The dealers take advantage of the poor and lower middle class here.

Another factor is inflation is going to hit everything we buy. This USA has just gone thru (2) years of inflationary "stimulus" and it's going to hit the middle class hard.

End of rant.
No need to rant. The KBB for your car in "Excellent" shape (none of the probs. you listed) for SC is $1500 wholesale, $500 - $1000 for less than "Excellent", that's what my comment was based on. You got a good deal, just not a true wholesale. Buy Here, Pay Here explains a lot, true wholesale sales are cash up front, no financing. "The market is different here than New York. The dealers take advantage of the poor and lower middle class here." The market is exactly the same in NY, the cars don't survive as long, that's all. Actually it's worse here in NY cause our taxes a MUCH higher than in SC and there's less used cars available. People make good money here by transporting cars like yours up here from "down South" and selling them for a tidy profit. I have a family member that works the local dealers auction. Dealers only, no financing allowed; but I have gotten to know what wholesale numbers are first hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
danhasenhauer,

I do have the word, "Wholesale" in quotes. I'm not a dealer and your numbers on wholesale prices may well be correct, in which case I stand corrected. I have no access to wholesale dollar amounts.

You stated there are folks who bring northern cars down here for profit. That shows the market is different. Transporting cars is probably expensive and getting more so with fuel increases. I have found retail used cars here to be more expensive than those same ones up north. There is a profit incentive to bring cars down here or otherwise the cars would have been sold up there. Car prices are inflated here.

Searches in a 50 mile radius from 29602 yield no 1994 - 1995 Taurii right now. Have to go out to 200 miles to get (5). They are all in the $2,500 to $5,000 range. Most have over 100k miles. To go look at and inspect those cars would cost much in time and gas.

What is the best way to approach a dealer and get a price close to wholesale?
 

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Cake monster
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danhasenauer: "With that list of stuff it needed/lacks, I hope you didn't pay more than $1k for it. $500 sounds about right to me."

I did. If this car was from New York, Ohio, or Florida, you are correct: $500-$1,000 max.

This is an S.C. car. No rust. That alone gives the car more useful, longer life. My 1987 GL I've owned for (18) years, has no rust holes. Still solid and easy to work on.

Another factor is "Buy Here, Pay Here" car lots are everywhere. Usury inflates the price the older cars. These lots finance old cars in worse shape than this one. The market is different here than New York. The dealers take advantage of the poor and lower middle class here.

Another factor is inflation is going to hit everything we buy. This USA has just gone thru (2) years of inflationary "stimulus" and it's going to hit the middle class hard.

End of rant.
If you live in the rust belt, I would suggest you get an oil undercoating done on the car. It won't take long for the rust to start.
 

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One of the issues Barkentine mentioned, is what I kept running into when I tried to find a gen 4 to buy in 2008. Markup on them was crazy at dealers, versus what prices were for the very same car in the Northeast or out on the West coast. Finding a private owner or something on the back lot is the best way to make out it seems around here.
 
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