I bought a 1995 Mustang for $1,000 and need some advice!

Jose Jalapeno

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Apr 22, 2012
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I was searching for a cheap car and lucked out (I think?) when I found a 1995 Mustang for sale for only $1,000 literally about three blocks away on Craigslist. The car runs (or did until Friday morning, anyway) but needs some TLC and so I could use the advice of people who know Mustangs. First, the car makes a lot of noise when it starts up, and there is a slight delay when turning the key, as if the car is struggling to start. So far it hasn't required me to turn the key more than once, it's just slow at starting and then noisy under the hood. I'm not really very mechanically inclined, so for all I know there could be a family of uncomfortable midgets living under the hood trying to get free. It's all beyond me. It did drive okay but obviously has some problems. The previous owner said it needed a transmission pan gasket and said that the Mustang needed the rocker arm or arms bolted back on. Something like that. Does that sound right to you? Or do you think the problem is something else?

And do you think that repairing this Mustang will be expensive? Are those specific repairs pricey, if the owner was correct?

I mentioned that the Mustang no longer runs, and the story to that is that while taking it off the truck that towed it over (purely to be on the safe side, it was still running at the time, just didn't want to chance it by driving it to the garage) one of the straps came off too abruptly when we were trying to take it down and it rolled off with a bump (nothing too severe) and it would no longer start. The battery appeared old, and the person who towed it for me had left the key turned in the ignition, which may have drained the last life out of the battery on the drive to the garage. It could also be that whatever was already wrong with the car, be it something loose or whatever, was shaken to the point that it simply couldn't turn over anymore. I don't know.

I'd like to hear what other people think. Did I make a wise choice buying this car?

I love Mustangs. I just don't know much about fixing cars. Help!

Thanks for your time and your advice, guys!

Jose
 
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Bullitt347

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There is an "inertia switch" in the trunk that trips if the car is bumped or hit hard enough. When this switch trips, it shuts off the fuel pump. This was a safety feature so that if the car gets in an accident and the fuel line is cut or damaged, the fuel pump will shut off and prevent further damage. It is a simple matter of re-setting the switch. The owners manual will show exactly where the switch is and how to reset it (just push button back down). As far as noises go................hard to diagnose over the internet. Does not sound like "rocker bolts being loose" previous owner does not know what he is talking about. You will have to have someone who actually knows something about engines to listen to it and give you his best guess.
 
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97veesicks

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Apr 4, 2012
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Definitely will have to have a mechanic/someone else that knows engines listen to the noise you are speaking of. As far as good buy or not really just depends on what you think about it. As soon as I get pics of my ride posted, you may think you got a better deal than I did a month ago lol
 
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Jose Jalapeno

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Apr 22, 2012
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Hello again. Thanks for your replies.

I thought I would update you all on the situation with my latest Mustang. Well, I took it to a garage and once they charged the battery up, it started, but there appears to be problems more severe than they were able to work on. It was nothing at all to do with the transmission pan gasket or rocker arms as the previous owner said, so he didn't have a clue apparently in this case. At the garage they told me it was probably a cracked flywheel or something with the torque converter, but they didn't do much in the ways of transmissions so they sent me to two different places that could handle the job. I was quickly getting the idea that this would be a fairly expensive repair, getting this Mustang into roadworthy condition.

So I tried the first place but the guy didn't want to schedule any transmission work without the big boss's approval, and since this place is famous for long waits (though good work), I decided to take it to the other place the first mechanic mentioned. No sooner did I pull in, than everyone seemed to take notice of the noises under my hood. They told me instantly, "Needs a new engine. Yep, I can tell that's the engine all right." The mechanic there took it for a drive and seemed pretty certain that it would be a lot more than the flywheel. But I'm just baffled that this would require a new engine. Again, I admit that I don't know much about cars. But I mean . . . I drove the car all the way from Point A to Point B, and then to Point C. Obviously something is wrong. But a new engine? Holy :poo:. What did I get myself into?

If anyone finds anything wrong with this, please speak now. As it stands, I am having a used V6 motor with 82,000 miles delivered on Thursday or Friday so the car should be up and running by Tuesday of next week, I figure.

Boy oh boy, I wish I had haggled a little more on the final price for this car. Does anyone think that maybe the shop might just be saying it needs a new motor so they can make a small fortune out of me on labor costs? Or do you think I probably did this to myself . . . buying a fixer-upper in general. Opinions, please!

In any case, I like driving the car. I can't wait to be done spending money on it. :p

After this, it probably will need another battery and a few other minor repairs (mostly inside, such as the stereo, the driver's seat, and it could use new locks on the doors) but I figure I may as well replace the engine if that's what it needs. I couldn't resell it to anyone for 1,000 with it needing another motor anyway. Once it has a motor I figure I could probably even make a small profit reselling it later. So either way, what the hell . . . may as well bring this Pony back to life, ya think?

Give me your thoughts. All input appreciated!

Your friendly neighborhood hot pepper,
Jose Jalapeno
 

97veesicks

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Apr 4, 2012
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Would it be at all possible to record the noise on a good quality camera? i.e no cell phone cam? Different items make very distinct noises, so a good quality recording could be pretty beneficial in internet diagnoses.

If you are already having a new engine shipped and slated to be installed, you have already committed your money to this correct? If it is possible to get a refund, very doubtful, then I would go ahead and try to diagnose the existing drive train. If there is no way to get out of the purchase, then I wouldn't worry too much about it and proceed as planned.
 
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Jose Jalapeno

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Apr 22, 2012
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No, I actually haven't committed any money yet. I am paying cash on delivery. I might be able to record the noise. I will see what I can do. Unfortunately, I don't have the car here as I figured I should leave it at the garage rather than continue driving it, flywheel or otherwise. I just thought it was weird that I was able to drive it all over creation while apparently needing a new motor. I sometimes wonder if any of these mechanics know what they are talking about. :-(

My trusted mechanic tells me it needs a flywheel or something, that it sounds like it's the transmission . . . then these people tell me I need a new motor after listening to it and taking it for a spin around the block. Who knows. Maybe it needs a heart transplant too! Lol.

I'll see if I can get a recording. I do know that my trusted mechanic took me under the car and showed me that the noise was coming from practically beneath the vehicle. I wish I knew more about cars . . . It was pretty loud down there, and I guess they don't really do that stuff either, so perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised to find out that it needs a whole new motor.

I will say that the noise it makes is basically a clunking sound that gives way to a rattling noise, that isn't really extremely loud, but you definitely hear the car coming. It can be on the quiet side too, though the noise never dies out completely. Just by the feel of things from behind the wheel, I could also tell that if I had put the pedal to the metal, something bad may have happened, like it might have just broken down altogether. I didn't let the RPMs go very high, keeping the speed around like 20 or 25 at most, and the car wasn't capable of giving too much power. It definitely would've lost the fight if I had pushed it too hard. Yeah, I know describing the sound isn't much when you're trying to diagnose possible engine problems.

Like I said, I'll see if I can get you guys some audio. It also seemed to give off a nice little cloud of smoke that you might have missed if you weren't paying attention when I pulled it into the place that wants to drop in a new motor. I could smell smoke after maybe five to ten minutes of driving it as well, or the equivalent of roughly one or two miles away from the first garage. The plan as it stands now is to go ahead and put in a new motor and raise this Mustang from the dead . . . just trying to make sure I'm not making a mistake. They may be right. The different stories from my trusted mechanic, that it's the transmission, and then these people who are so convinced in five minutes that it's the motor.

Meh, they are probably right. What a shame. I was hoping to spend no more than $400 at the very most to bring this car together. Unfortunately, with labor and a delivery fee (since the junk yard with the motor is a bit of a drive away, believe it or not there are no freakin' V6s anywhere close to my hometown!) the total to make this car roadworthy is just over $1,400. So, $2,400 (including purchase cost of car) later I will have a running '95 Mustang with good tires, new brakes and rotors, 82,000 miles on the motor, 122k on the body, and a good foundation to fix up the interior. That's not so bad, is it? I learned a valuable lesson about fixer-uppers. Lol.

Forever bungling things up,
Jose Jalapeno
 

Jose Jalapeno

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Apr 22, 2012
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UPDATE:

Okay, sorry I wasn't able to provide any audio, but I was busy with work and I felt like I might as well go ahead and put the new engine into the Mustang. I thought it would take care of everything. Unfortunately, this is where I now stand:

The engine I bought with slightly over 80,000 miles seems to have problems. While the car now runs, it also has a constant ticking sound (maybe it has been rigged with a bomb! Damn terrorists just don't know when to stop) and it shakes a lot. It also has very faint smoke that drifts off the engine when it is turned off, which may or may not be serious. I'm going to have the engine looked at again this week to see what is going on, but at this point I have sunk nearly $3,000 total into this car and I'm not willing to spend much more money on it. I doubt if I sell it I will get what I've spent, either. Whether the motor I bought is a piece of :poo: or the work was sloppy or whatever, I am getting fed up with this car. But anyway, anybody have any ideas what these problems could mean for the engine? Serious/minor?

It runs okay, but it ticks constantly. There is obviously something wrong. Once I turn the car off it continues to make that weird ticking noise for a few seconds before it dies down.

Other issues that still remain include the transmission leak, which I am told requires a cheap, easy fix involving a seal or something like that.

What do you people think? Cut my losses, or go all the way?

Me, I'm already debating on the price point. What would you sell this car for if it was yours and you'd done this much work already?

Any advice or opinions are welcome.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Hot Pepper,
Jose Jalapeno
 

Killian Korth

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Apr 2, 2012
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hmm......well originally I thought exhaust leak with the ticking, but since it still goes on when you turn the car off I would say it's just the cats, did you get a new exhaust system when you got the new motor put in?
 
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Jose Jalapeno

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Apr 22, 2012
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No I didn't get a new exhaust when I put in the motor. Actually my problems are solved now. Who'd have thunk it? Here is what happened:

It was ticking, shaking and smoking but the cause turned out to be that one of the plugs on the motor had been left hanging after the install so that was an easy fix. Then the smoking was caused by the transmission leak which was due to a cracked gasket. $3,200 or so (maybe a little less) later and I have finally been able to bring this Pony back from the dead. It now runs like a dream. Still needs a lot of minor work particularly in the interior but the big stuff is out of the way. Hallelujah!

Oh, and I like the Mustang in your signature. My first Mustang (and first car) was a black 1994 so I am always ogling black Mustangs. I currently have this silver '95 and I have a laser red '03 with a V6. All three Mustangs have been V6s. My black one was a five-speed like yours. Yep, I take a lot of crap over these V6 Mustangs. Two out of three have been automatics. I'm gonna get lynched one day, I know it.

:p

Take care, and thanks for your help everyone. The Pony is alive! ALIVE!

Your friendly neighborhood hot pepper,
Jose Jalapeno (on a steek!)
 

Killian Korth

Member
Apr 2, 2012
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Nebraska
sweet, glad to know everything's running fine now.

Jose Jalapeno said:
Oh, and I like the Mustang in your signature. My first Mustang (and first car) was a black 1994 so I am always ogling black Mustangs. I currently have this silver '95 and I have a laser red '03 with a V6. All three Mustangs have been V6s. My black one was a five-speed like yours. Yep, I take a lot of crap over these V6 Mustangs. Two out of three have been automatics. I'm gonna get lynched one day, I know it.
thanks, I'm about to bring her into the shot next week or so and rebuild the motor because it's basically dead haha but she'll be up and running again in no time. And taking crap for having a V6 'stang just comes with the territory, I've gotten used to it by now even though mine can outrun most V6 cars in my town, and it's even missing a cylinder haha