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buying a car that won't start to fix up? Advice?


lothos

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I'm looking at a couple of "no start" cadillacs on craigslist.

The first is a 1997 SLS, 150k miles, silver, good body, new coil packs, for $800. Car cranks but will not start. He states that a mechanic told him it was the crankshaft position sensors. I talked to him on the phone and told him how to pull the codes, but haven't gotten them from him yet, his phone is temporarily disconnected. He's posted about 4 ads now, I bet he would take a lower offer on it.

The second car is a 1995 Deville, green, light colored vinyl top, 206k miles, $595. It was an IMPOUND vehicle, the car has keys, and I can get a clear title. It is at a dealership. They state that the water pump is leaking, needs a water pump. Car turns over, will not start. It has aftermarket 18 inch chrome rims, and the tread on the tires looks good from the first photo. The wheels and tires alone might be worth most of the $595? http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/ram/ctd/1511546087.html

Both cars I would fix up and sell for a profit, but I would put the nice 18" rims from the Deville onto my 1995 STS. I'm leaning towards the 1997 SLS, it is worth more and hopefully would need less work.

I have a buddy that will tow the cars for me to a U Haul storage facility. My friend works there, and I can get an indoor unit for $50 for the first month. Unit has overhead lights and enough room to walk around the car and work on it. I believe the measurements are 11'x20' or 11'x30'.

AFAIK no start conditions can be: fuel pump, fuel filter, FPR, CPS, starter, blown/corroded fuses, bad positive battery cable, bad battery, bad gas or water in gas, bad PCM, engine problems. Anything else?

Does the 1997 have the fuel pump access panel in the trunk?? I understand the 1995 fuel pump requires the tank to be dropped, hoping the 1997 has the access panel?

Is there any way to determine that there is no internal engine damage or bad headgaskets before I buy the car? I'm pretty comfortable replacing parts but not engine internals or timeserting. I also have 2 buddies that work on cars and can help out for cheap if needed.

I've never done something like this before, any pitfalls to look out for? Any advice, suggestions, words of wisdom, or stories anyone would like to share?

WARNING: I'm a total car newbie, don't be surprised if I ask a stupid question! Just trying to learn.

Cheers!

5% discount code at RockAuto.com - click here for your discount!

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I don't have my mind set on either of these, just keeping an eye out for a deal that I can practice fixing up. Eventually (couple years from now) I would like to buy a 82-84 Eldorado and fix it up to show quality.

So, any advice? tips, pitfalls, words of wisdom? Stories to share?

Thanks guys! :-)

WARNING: I'm a total car newbie, don't be surprised if I ask a stupid question! Just trying to learn.

Cheers!

5% discount code at RockAuto.com - click here for your discount!

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That 1995 Deville doesn't seem very appealing at first. But I bet the rims and tires are worth almost 600 based on other craigslist postings.

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/ram/ctd/1511546087.html **Check out the car here

What I was thinking of doing: buying the car for 600, I would have to title it at the DMV and take my receipt to the lot to get the car, tow it to my storage unit, 1 month of storage. Total cost 750 or 800. Then I keep the rims off the car, and part out the vehicle. Would it be possible to make back the 800 bucks or a small profit?

WARNING: I'm a total car newbie, don't be surprised if I ask a stupid question! Just trying to learn.

Cheers!

5% discount code at RockAuto.com - click here for your discount!

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no start is probably fuel. i saw a pic of the backseat removed and a hole cut in the floor to reach the fuel pump. it is in the center of the seat bottom cushion. literally inches from your butt. i was at a boneyard in lakeland last week. they have 2 or 3 complete caddys. a seville and a few devilles. nice to see unmolested cars for a change. johns auto seems to always have picked over cars.

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Does the 1997 have the fuel pump access panel in the trunk?? I understand the 1995 fuel pump requires the tank to be dropped, hoping the 1997 has the access panel?

Is there any way to determine that there is no internal engine damage or bad headgaskets before I buy the car? I'm pretty comfortable replacing parts but not engine internals or timeserting. I also have 2 buddies that work on cars and can help out for cheap if needed.

I've never done something like this before, any pitfalls to look out for? Any advice, suggestions, words of wisdom, or stories anyone would like to share?

The '97 does not have the fuel pump access panel in the trunk. Dropping the tank is not that bad of a job. Make sure it is almost empty and have new hardware on hand to replace the bolts and nuts on the straps.

That 1995 Deville doesn't seem very appealing at first. But I bet the rims and tires are worth almost 600 based on other craigslist postings.

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/ram/ctd/1511546087.html **Check out the car here

What I was thinking of doing: buying the car for 600, I would have to title it at the DMV and take my receipt to the lot to get the car, tow it to my storage unit, 1 month of storage. Total cost 750 or 800. Then I keep the rims off the car, and part out the vehicle. Would it be possible to make back the 800 bucks or a small profit?

You'd make back the $800 by parting it out but it is a LOT of work parting out a vehicle. Eventually, you'll be left with a bunch of stuff nobody wants and then will need to get rid of it. You could find a deal on some factory rims for it with the money you make from selling the rims and then fix the no-start issue and sell the car for a profit.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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Run the codes before you buy them. A no-start condition not mentioned here is the theft prevention system. If it is stopping the car from starting, you may have a car with a title problem, or, at best, a difficult steering column and under-dash job with parts that are not so cheap, and possible dealer involvement to get things all working again.

Unless the coolant has been changed since the car was run, you can get a sample and have it tested for combustion by-products to rule out head gasket issues.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Keep your money and spend it on beer and babes - at least you'll feel better. Why set yourself up for a lot of work, p**sed away wasted money and heartburn on a couple of old junkers? I made the same mistakes when I was young and wasted a lot of my hard earned loot too. I'd just as soon stick my hooya in a meat grinder...

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Keep your money and spend it on beer and babes - at least you'll feel better. Why set yourself up for a lot of work, p**sed away wasted money and heartburn on a couple of old junkers? I made the same mistakes when I was young and wasted a lot of my hard earned loot too. I'd just as soon stick my hooya in a meat grinder...

Yeah, that's always a risk with buying a used car. I'm hoping for that 1997 SLS though, if he can pull the codes and verify the cranshaft position sensors I'd feel pretty confident about it.

WARNING: I'm a total car newbie, don't be surprised if I ask a stupid question! Just trying to learn.

Cheers!

5% discount code at RockAuto.com - click here for your discount!

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CPSs are fairly easy and inexpensive to replace otherwise...

Good luck.

Thanks! Still trying to get a hold of the guy to see if he pulled the codes, his phone is still off.

WARNING: I'm a total car newbie, don't be surprised if I ask a stupid question! Just trying to learn.

Cheers!

5% discount code at RockAuto.com - click here for your discount!

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I've not seen camshaft or crankshaft position sensor failures in the 1997 model year. I would see the car, and run the codes myself (turn key on, spin engine with starter, run codes and write them down, watching for CURRENT codes). Also, look under the hood, partciularly at the battery, wiring, and PCM to see if someone has been poking at the MAXIFUSE block or PCM lately (hazard: backward jumper cables or fast-charge that blows out a bunch of electronics).

I would offer parts-car prices. To me, won't-start is one step down from runs-but-overheats (and tailpipe smells like antifreeze). I would doubt that there is low-hanging fruit on that tree.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I would offer parts-car prices. To me, won't-start is one step down from runs-but-overheats (and tailpipe smells like antifreeze). I would doubt that there is low-hanging fruit on that tree.

Exactly! If it could be fixed easily, the owner would have done that or had it done.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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Okay so as to not go against the rest of the more knowledgeable folks here. I have to share a story however. I have a friend who bought a 1999 Pontiac Trans Am for $500.00 because the the original owner couldn't figure out what was wrong with the car. It wasn't getting fuel to the engine, so naturally we all thought it was the fuel fuel pump. Nope, that was replaced by the first owner and worked for about a day. So instead of setting out to fix the car he sold it to my buddy who replaced the cracked fuel line from the tank to the injectors, fixed it right up.... Not to say that this is the issue but if you can get it for the right price go with it fix it and drive it around for a while...

Sean M.

1997 Cadillac DeVille

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Yes, if the car has seen nothing but owners and shade-tree mechanics, you might have an Easter egg. Someone who thinks more of the car would have it looked at by a knowledgeable mechanic or a dealer, and that's more likely if the car is being offered at parts prices. The disconnected phone could mean a slippery customer, or it could mean someone who doesn't have the wherewithal to have it looked at by someone who can fix it.

I would drive out and look at the car, including spinning the motor and getting the codes, and get the VIN number and do a CarFAX, and get the owner's name and research his background before I bought the car. But, that's just me.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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The ad for the 1997 SLS that doesn't start states that he was told by a mechanic that the CPS needs replacement. He says all four coil packs were replaced. His ad says that he would like to fix it but doesn't know how, if someone would like to help him fix it or buy the car then give him a call. He also stated on the phone that he would prefer to fix it.

My guess is, he doesn't have the money to fix it, and I'm guessing he doesn't have the money for his phone bill with xmas right around the corner. I originally called him looking to give him some pointers on fixing it, but now I have some extra money and want to look at buying it.

I bet he would take a lower offer than $800, but I don't want to rip him off either. It's a 1997 SLS with 150k miles that doesn't start, is 800 fair? Or what would a good offer be?

WARNING: I'm a total car newbie, don't be surprised if I ask a stupid question! Just trying to learn.

Cheers!

5% discount code at RockAuto.com - click here for your discount!

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