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Questions about a nice ‘75 I want to buy


JCG

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I looked at a car yesterday that I really like. The car has been preserved very well and is being sold by a straight forward honest guy, which seems like my ideal situation.

The car is a ’75. It was purchases in ’86 with around 70 k miles, currently has 80 something thousand. From what I could see its all origional. It has an exhaust leak and brakes need work, apparently an age issue.

The owner has regularly started it and let it warm up but obviously hasn’t put many miles on it, so there has probably been long periods of time where the car has not been driven.

The car starts right up but has a little trouble idling until warm, also tends to give a few misfires until warm (not a true loud backfire, more like a hiccup/fart). The underside of the oil fill was essentially normal when the car was cold, head internals are stained brown but don’t have lots of sludge buildup, in my opinion. I took the car around the block once (I wish I had done several times). Couldn’t take it on the highway due do the failed inspection sticker (tires, brakes, exhaust). The engine seems tired and hesitant, similar to what I would expect of an engine that has done way more sitting than running.

With the engine warm, or semi warm, I noticed the creamy oil on the underside of the oil fill cap. I assume this is from condensation and not coolant? The dipstick shows normal looking oil and no cream. We pulled the plugs out, each appeared similar; pretty carboned up and rough. We did a compression test but realize now that I did it wrong, at least not the way you guys recommend doing it. I only took out the plug for the cylinder I was testing and left the other 3 in. I also forgot to open the throttle. I cranked the engine while watching the needle go up; stopped cranking when the needle remained in the same spot, probably a total of 5 or so revolutions. I got essentially 95 psi on 3 and 100 on another. My limited experience tells me it’s good that they are relatively the same but not so good that they are below 120. Removing all the plugs and open throttle really make a difference? There is oil under the engine and tranny and rear end but didn’t seem atypical.

Questions. Anything to look for/worry about with an engine in this situation? How about my compression test? What do you think its worth; assume the body and interior are really nice and original, there isn’t any noticeable rust anywhere and the engine and drive is 100% original.

The seller is asking $6500

Sorry for the text book. Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks

Jim

'71 2002 Riviera adopted on 2/09

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Hard to say without pics.

Engine sounds very tired.

$6500 is way too much with a car with bad brakes, tired engine, and a leaky exhaust. When you start driving it again, other parts are going to need some attention.. wheel bearings, suspension bushings. Sitting around does not do them any good.

I question the actual mileage with those compression numbers.

$2000-$2500 tops if the body is as nice as you say it is. That includes rockers, floors, subframe mounts, trunk panel, nose panel, frame rails.

-Justin
--
'76 02 (USA), '05 Toyota Alphard (Tokyo) - http://www.bmw2002.net

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The price sounds a bit high to me, especially if you are going to have to do some engine work (even if just valves and valve guides...) exhaust, brakes and tires. If a low-mileage engine is worn, there's no reason to pay a low-mileage premimum.

For comparison, I bought a '74 Sahara 2002 last summer that had the OD 5-speed, 14" wheels and big brake upgrades, and webber 32/36 for $3,500. Interior is good but not all original and body is good from 10 feet.

I'll be interested to hear what others say about the compression test. I've always done them exactly as you describe.

Steve E.

www.theportabledad.com

1974 Sahara 2002

1974 R75/6 (Sold!) :(

This is a fertile land, and we will thrive. We will rule over all this land, and we will call it…This Land

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I have some pictures but they are rather large. I'll see if I can shrink a few.

I said there wasn't any "noticeable" rust. I should clarify; I couldn't find any rust in all of the typical places and there is none on the surface or under trim. Little surface rust in the tub area where the windshieldwasher motors are. Also here and there on a few areas under the car where rubberizing appeares to have never been. I didn't pull up the carpets but I think I would have noticed something else if the floors are bad. The paint is the nicest original I've seen, still uniform shine and only a few minor dings and scratches. I think this is the real deal when it comes to "rust free, hardly used and stored inside."

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post-2919-13667596968783_thumb.jpg

post-2919-13667596969703_thumb.jpg

'71 2002 Riviera adopted on 2/09

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the asking price is a bit steep considering brakes could be new calipers, MC and wheel cylinders ($3-500 depending on sources) and a new exhaust (another couple hundred depending on whether or not you go with OEM and/or do it yourself).

The engine's a whole 'nother matter--'75s have always had a reputation for needing rebuilds sooner than other years--several theories have been advanced, but none to my knowledge have been verified. But they do. So the relatively low compression vs indicated mileage may be accurate. I would do another compression check with all the plugs out--and do it wet and dry to get an accurate reading.

My '69 had (and still has) similar compression since the mid-80s and is still running fine (but a bit smoky on acceleration) at 219k, so this one may be OK for many more miles.

Bottom line--convince the seller he needs to sell it worse than you need to buy it...he needs to come down just a bit, or you need to satisfy yourself that you're not gonna have to sink several thou into the car right away.

Hope it works out for you, but don't get buck fever.

cheers

mike

'69 Nevada sunroof-Wolfgang-bought new
'73 Sahara sunroof-Ludwig-since '78
'91 Brillantrot 318is sunroof-Georg Friederich 
Fiat Topolini (Benito & Luigi), Renault 4CVs (Anatole, Lucky Pierre, Brigette) & Kermit, the Bugeye Sprite

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You know, the mechanical stuff is all repairable, as long as you have the time and money (it'll cost ya!) But I'll bet that engine will run for a while without a rebuild if you clean it up and replace the perishables (I couldn't believe the shape my 1974 was in when I tore it apart....and that's after I bought it in Fallon, NV and drove it to St Louis in March 06; BTW it ran fine). The hard questions are the details....how are the brakes, drivetrain (transmission, guibo, diff), and other items you NEED if it's gonna be a driver. That's the stuff you've got to sort out to have a safe 2002. And before you decide on a price, how are the little things that all cost a buttload (seats, carpet, paint, rust problems, etc). That's the shit that'll DESTROY your wallet if you're particular and have to have it all fixed. IMHO, $6500 is too pricey for a "unique fixer upper opportunity" unless you can get some driving value out of it out the door.

'74 2002

4224350

Ambulatory on 2/4/9!!!

Now the hard shit begins

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Jim,

I've been thinking about this some more and want to add something to my/our previous messages. We've all focused on the engine and mechanicals, stuff you will want or need to make better in short order. And clearly those do affect the value of the car, and $6,500 still sounds high.

However, if you searched this site on what it costs to get a really nice paint job, the number will astound you. It's high. ($10,000+ high...) If the paint and interior of the '75 you're looking at really are exceptional, (and that's important to you) then the car might be decent value even if you need a full engine rebuild ($4K -$5K). Just a thought. Let us know whay you decide...

Steve E.

www.theportabledad.com

1974 Sahara 2002

1974 R75/6 (Sold!) :(

This is a fertile land, and we will thrive. We will rule over all this land, and we will call it…This Land

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