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Old 05-29-2020, 03:05 AM
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leadcounsel leadcounsel is offline
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Default My "grayman" vehicle



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Well, I've been on a vehicle buying spree recently, scooping up really great deals due to the collapse of the auto sales industry. There's more great vehicles out there than I have money or time. If you are in the market for a good vehicle, and have liquidity, now is the time to buy.

I have a variety of vehicles. I wanted a "grayman" sedan with excellent power, comfort, and safety. I looked at many options and quickly ruled out anything German (cost, poor reliability, and parts/mechanic scarcity). Also eliminated any of this eco-boast nonsense, these puny turbo 4 cylinders that will die an early death, and layers of stupid electronics that nobody knows how to fix and they cripple a car when they break. I focused on 15-30 years old, V8, low miles, excellent condition, excellent safety and reliability records.

I zeroed in on the Ford Crown Vic platform shared with the Mercury Grand Marquis, Mercury Maurader, and Lincoln Town Car. The engines were 4.6 liter V8s with respectable numbers, albeit seemingly somewhat anemic for that size motor (they did have an poorly designed manifold head gasket that would leak, an issue from the 90s to early 2002 that has supposedly been resolved). The Vics were famously fleet cars for law enforcement and taxis, and have a good reputation. There's probably 10s of millions of them in service and in junk yards, and every town has Ford mechanics and parts for these. These also have excellent crash ratings, ABS, disc brakes, airbags, and great visibility. Fuel economy is ~25mpg on the hwy and high teens in town, which is sufficient for me.

Anyway, some online searching led me to a great local find, a 2005. It's in excellent condition with less than 100,000 miles. Drives great and surprisingly great acceleration for a 2 ton car. Very professional looking, low profile, very comfortable driver, blends in, and great for short or long trips. Huge trunk for storage. And from an era where it's not too complicated to work on and most shade tree mechanics can tear the car apart and fix it without too much problem and parts are widely available. I believe Ford used that 4.6L in a lot of vehicles.

I never thought I'd be a Mercury owner, as they seem to have a real negative association with old retirees. But here, that really is a benefit. See, the Crown Vics are commonly really abused because they attract a segment that abuses cars like Mustangs and Camaros. But the Marquis is more refined, and attracts a more mature owner who drives conservatively, garages it, washes it, and gets it maintained at the dealership.

Anyway, if you're in the market, you can get cars of this vintage in excellent condition for about 1/10th their original cost but with still about 75% of their useful life remaining... [Figuring the car originally retailed for ~$30,000 and can be found for around $3000 - I did better than that - and these will last say 40 years or 400,000 miles if well maintained and not abused, so if you get one at say 10-15 years old or 100,000 miles you're only about 25% into it's realistic life expectancy.]

I never thought I'd get so much joy from a Mercury boat of a car, but this is just a fantastic ride to blend in but still have great performance and safety at an absurdly low pricetag.

NOW is the time to get out there and get those useful vehicles you've been wanting.
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Old 05-29-2020, 03:36 AM
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Also, this car really intrigued me earlier this year. I think it was a subliminal messaging or subconscious thinking about it. As I mentioned the platform is really so bland and forgettable.

But several months ago, I saw the Joe Rogan interview with Dan Aykroyd. He apparently has a former State Department Grand Marquis. It's probably heavily modified, but regardless, he claims it's relatively stock. Sorta contradicts himself. Anyway, of course he can drive whatever he wants and he really likes the power and performance and comfort of the old G.M. He called it the 'ultimate sleeper.' I found that interesting back then, and must have subconsciously filed it away.

In seriousness it's not a car that's going to win any races. But it does feel more powerful and faster than the numbers on paper show... I've gotten on it a bit and it hauls tail...
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Old 05-29-2020, 03:53 AM
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http://www.welcomemotors.com/Inventory.html

Been looking at the awd Taurus or the 6.0 impala as a knock around.. seem pretty clean.
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Old 05-29-2020, 09:08 PM
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Dumped our VW Jetta - crawling into it was getting annoying plus it was too low for our rocky muddy road.

Picked this up:


It's gray but not gray man.

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Old 05-30-2020, 10:00 PM
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Don't steal my ride bro...LOL.

Of all the cruisers I drove over the years, the Crown vic was my favorite. Nice crusing car. Handled very well "at speed" No significant blind spots, decent ground clearance for those who "occasionally" have to cross dirt roads, washed out or not. Most importantly, it was comfortable with a huge trunk. The hood is quite long, and the corners (all four, don't ask me how I know) tend to get dinged until you get the hang of them if you know what I mean.

The plastic bumpers tend to rip out at the sides leaving the middle to flap in the wind. Weak spot in the structure which I think maybe they fixed post 2007? Dunno. Anyway, common problem. The anti-slip traction control is a PITA. I prefer to not use it. When you punch it and the tires "spin or, if you're driving and the tires lose traction the engine gets down-rpmm'ed. Sucks. Don't like it. The fuel safety cutoff switch is a PITA too, under load Like if you spin out or, lose it on a turn and overamp the thing, LOL, it can activate and then you have to go to the trunk to reset it. Last thing is there was a safety recall around 200-something? Rear end crash turned the thing into a tiki torch. Fuel tank redesign, protective plate to keep the axle suspension bolts from punching through the tank and a fire suppression system were added.

Police package versus "regular", personal choice. I like the anti-sway suspension system and dual exhaust/engine on the PP and if they were fleet cars, might already have wiring tunnels to the trunk/overheads for radio installation plus an extra fuze block. Yeah, those are keepers as long as they don't turn into money pits. But they are still solid rides and worth the effort.
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Old 05-31-2020, 04:24 PM
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Last of the full frame cars, can't go wrong. 2v 4.6 lacks balls but is reliable as they come. My dad's old '04 P71 'Vic went to 245k before the intake manifold cracked, was leaking coolant, and he just sold it off to a guy building an old hot rod that wanted the front suspension and brakes.

You can research what exactly, I believe it was a stamped component in the trans that can be replaced with a forged piece, but the 4th (OD) to 2nd gear downshift kills those transes. Notorious weak link, and best to turn the OD off before driving them hard.

If yours has air suspension, also another weak link, but plenty of cheap conversion kits out there to swap over to the traditional coils.

Be gentle with the ash tray/cup-holder pull out thingy. They WILL break if you man handle when opening and closing them.

2003 and up is the way to go for Panther platform cars. You'll enjoy it....
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Old 05-31-2020, 11:46 PM
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The 4.6L is one of the more reliable small blocks. I just dropped $3800 to fix that engine in one of mine at 143k for the intake manifold thing. Did all the ignition coils even though only two were shorting (not my first rodeo, LOL) and a couple other minor things. One of the heater hoses is pretty complicated and is only available OEM. When they get old, they get brittle.

For that size ride its decent enough for power but definitely not a big block. (don't go with a 5.0) I miss my old ford 1/2 ton with the 300/six cylinder. THat's one tough, reliable engine. Other than that screwy ignition module that liked to crap out at the worst times, its easy to change...if you bave a spare and the weird triangle socket wrench for it LOL.
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Old 06-01-2020, 07:49 AM
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My wife drove a '97 Marquis for a bunch of years, Got it at 40k miles, it ran well, great power and acceleration... plus it sounded like a cop car. Goose it around some homies on the street and they would invariably flinch. Cars on the parkways slowed down as they thought it may be an unmarked car.

The plastic intake did crack on the car. I did research and found it was a big problem. It ran me $1200 to have it fixed. I started a Yahoo group about the issue, had a lady lawyer from Alabama join in on it and the group got big fast. To make a long story short, my wife's car and a lot of others (in a range of years) wound up getting the cars fixed for free or get reimbursed from Ford for prior repairs.
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Old 06-01-2020, 08:09 PM
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My grey man vehicle is a 1999 Dodge Ram Van conversion. It was cheap, but I need to rebuild the auto trans.
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Old 06-01-2020, 08:23 PM
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I had a P71 Vic for a while. I had to trade it up for the town car. Little heavier but way way more comfortable. I dropped new gears in the rear, upped the intake to 80mm from a marauder and installed a tune for th 80mm upgrade. Does a little better than the vic because of the gearing. People tend to want to pass because they assume the grampa car is going to be slow. Not.

@Rockwell, you dropped $3800 for the intake job? I had the intake, starter, plugs and front main seal done for around $1600. They used the improved ford racing intake. The Dorman ones have a bad reputation of cracking as bad as the original.
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hound Dog View Post
I had a P71 Vic for a while. I had to trade it up for the town car. Little heavier but way way more comfortable. I dropped new gears in the rear, upped the intake to 80mm from a marauder and installed a tune for th 80mm upgrade. Does a little better than the vic because of the gearing. People tend to want to pass because they assume the grampa car is going to be slow. Not.

@Rockwell, you dropped $3800 for the intake job? I had the intake, starter, plugs and front main seal done for around $1600. They used the improved ford racing intake. The Dorman ones have a bad reputation of cracking as bad as the original.
It needed more stuff, that was just the main issue LOL.
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Old 06-02-2020, 12:02 AM
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There are more trucks than people where I live, so I drive a truck. It isn’t lifted, brightly painted, or anything else that makes it stand out. It’s just another truck that nobody would pay much attention to. Has the same 4.6 engine in it as your Crown Vic LC. Its is a great engine if properly maintained and has enough HP to haul whatever you can throw in the trunk without killing you at the pump.
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Old 06-02-2020, 01:52 PM
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I have a Chevy work van for when I need something that doesn't stand out like my "redneck edition" beater truck. It looks just like the other million of white Chevy vans made from 2003 to now.
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Old 06-02-2020, 03:15 PM
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A big comfortable car with nicer options than the Crown Vic. You scored big time!
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Old 06-02-2020, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ole Grunt View Post
There are more trucks than people where I live, so I drive a truck. It isnít lifted, brightly painted, or anything else that makes it stand out. Itís just another truck that nobody would pay much attention to. Has the same 4.6 engine in it as your Crown Vic LC. Its is a great engine if properly maintained and has enough HP to haul whatever you can throw in the trunk without killing you at the pump.
Same here in Texas. Drive a stock Ford F150 and you would blend in and disappear.

I always laugh when cops put out an alert to be on the lookout for a black F150... it's like, yeah good luck with that.
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:00 PM
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Actually kinda funny you mentioned that. I’m from Kentucky, and probably 60% of the trucks on the road are Chevy. The rest are F150s and Dodge Rams. When I lived in Texas, all I saw was F150s. Ford seemed VERY popular there and consequently when I started buying them. 20 years later, I still drive Ford trucks. Technically, just on my 2nd one. If you take care of a full size truck, they last a long time.
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:54 AM
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I still like my 02 4x4 YukonXL 2500. Enough room for the whole family, 2 dogs and all kinds of gear..before you even need to plug anything into the hitch. Also has about a 350mi range in the mountians.

My around town vehicle is a silver accord...I can go into any mall parking lot and find 3-4 of the same body style and color.
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Old 06-06-2020, 07:58 AM
Redlineshooter Redlineshooter is offline
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4x4 would be the only option in many cases and may be a purchase of tracks and rail add-ons .....
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Old 06-08-2020, 10:37 AM
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fix the cigarette lighter

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Old 06-08-2020, 02:18 PM
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Love my Town Car but the most common grey man vehicle around here would be a 4th-generation Toyota Camry.
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