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Thread: Brand new member - looking for advice on an upcoming purchase.

  1. #1
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    Default Brand new member - looking for advice on an upcoming purchase.

    First off, allow me to introduce myself. I'm Tim, and I build a LOT of different cars for people. To give you an idea, I just built a 400 HP Dodge pickup for a guy, and I built a sweet Chrysler Conquest for another guy. I'm not trying to impress anyone, or come off as an egotist....just letting you know, I'm pretty handy with a wrench!

    Point is, after building cars for other folks, I've decided that it's time I built something cool for me. After searching for about 6 months, I found Eric's Cool Cats website, and said, you know what....a Thunderbird or a Cougar is an outstanding idea. I've worked on a lot of Mustangs, and a few Aero Birds, but never owned one of either for myself.

    So, after more searching, I have an appointment next weekend to check out a very very clean 1987 Mercury Cougar XR7. I specifically picked this car, as it has the foundation for what I intend to do, which is a HO conversion with dual exhaust, and a manual transmission swap.

    So, here's the million dollar question, or rather, several of them. This car has 135,000 miles on it, and doesn't appear to have been driven in winter.

    1. I know to look at the torque boxes - what else should I be scoping out while I am under the car? Where do these typically begin rusting?

    2. I know to check the TV cable bushing on the throttle arm - anything else notable with the transmission apart from your regular AOD concerns that I should watch for?

    3. This is a factory power sunroof car - what should I be looking for there?

    4. I understand the '87 has a 7.5" axle....I'll presume this is true of the V8 cars?

    5. Anything notable on these cars for just outright falling apart?

    I have been lurking here as non-registered for about the last week, and going through the forum pages, page by page, and reading everything I can find. One thing I cannot really find.....what are these cars typically valued at for a clean and nice V8 model with the kind of mileage that the car I am looking at has?

    Folks, I look forward to talking with you, and I hope this car winds up being a winner, because it really looks sharp, and it's a one owner car.

    Thanks again, and a pleasure to be here!

    Tim
    2003 Mercury Grand Marquis LS - For now!

  2. #2
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    1. Gas tank hangers, quarters above well, front shock towers, rocker caps in the front wells.

    2. Been a long time since I've had an AOD, someone else will know better

    3. The drain hoses need to be clear, depending where it's been they can clog. Seals are available from sunroof doctor

    4. Everything but the 87-88TC has some flavor of 7.5" some with trac-loc

    5. Nothing outright, some will drop the door glass but it's a simple repair.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sancho View Post
    1. Gas tank hangers, quarters above well, front shock towers, rocker caps in the front wells.

    2. Been a long time since I've had an AOD, someone else will know better

    3. The drain hoses need to be clear, depending where it's been they can clog. Seals are available from sunroof doctor

    4. Everything but the 87-88TC has some flavor of 7.5" some with trac-loc

    5. Nothing outright, some will drop the door glass but it's a simple repair.
    Thanks, Sancho! Excellent to know!

    Tim
    2003 Mercury Grand Marquis LS - For now!

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    Value is tough, I see cars from 2-5k in that range. It's really depends on the local market.

    I hope she works out, they're nice cars. Quite a bit more spacious over a mustang or a conquest.

  5. #5
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    Cool, cool, that's also good to know! Let's see if I can do this.....

    Here's a picture of the car I'm considering.

    2003 Mercury Grand Marquis LS - For now!

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    Was it the maroon/grey 87 on KC craigslist?

    If so, it had been offered several times. My brother contacted the owner, and there was mention of needing an engine rebuild early in its life for a lower end knock or noise, he decided not to do it. Seemed strange, and he bowed out. Mention of some small amount of rust. Pics looked really good though. Good luck and let us know what you find out.

    Edit, I just saw you posted the pics.
    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcb82gt View Post
    Was it the maroon/grey 87 on KC craigslist?

    If so, it had been offered several times. My brother contacted the owner, and there was mention of needing an engine rebuild early in its life for a lower end knock or noise, he decided not to do it. Seemed strange, and he bowed out. Pics looked really good though. Good luck and let us know what you find out.

    Edit, I just saw you posted the pics.
    Mike,

    Yes, we may be talking about the same car. I'll have to take particular notice of that when I go to look at it. The car now has 135K on it, so I will definitely take my stethoscope and a few other goodies.

    Tim
    2003 Mercury Grand Marquis LS - For now!

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    Honestly about the only part that is hard to find are motor mounts, 5.0's are around every corner of you look hard enough. That's a sharp looking cougar.

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    To elaborate on the strut tower rust, if you lift the hood and look at the strut, follow you eyes down the inside of the strut tower and then rearward. That is the area the rust starts out and gets to be the worst. Also the back of the tower and 'frame rail'. The rear quarters will get rust like any older car. The door bottoms are also a bad spot that rust. I had one that literally had no structure in the bottom of the door. The paint and everything was nice and shiny on the outside, but the door skin would wiggly if you shut the door or kicked it.

    The motor mount isolators aren't hard to find at all, but the plates that bolt to the engine sometimes crack. We had a member who made badass mounts, but he stopped due to life events and doesn't have the time unfortunately. Most mechanical items for these cars are easy to find. The vehicle specific stuff can be tough. Lights are a prime example of that.
    It's Gumby's fault.

  10. #10
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    Welcome! I lived in Wichita for quite a while (currently live in Ohio) but I still have a house there.
    1986 Mercury Cougar - 2.3T/T5 swap, TC brakes and suspension and rearend, 3" exhaust, 255 lph fuel pump, Stinger BOV, Gillis MBC @ 18 psi
    2003 Chevy Suburban Z71 - Daily driver
    2015 Chevy Volt - Wife's daily driver

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