Looking to buy a Mustang

andrewm2211

Member
Oct 27, 2019
5
3
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LA
Hi all,

Looking to buy a used Mustang for a daily driver. We have a compact SUV for the kids/carseats. But I just need to car to get to work and back, and a used mustang seems to be a good intersection of economic and fun.

I'm not setup to do a lot of car work ,but I do have a garage and am not helpless if I have a youtube video. Example I changed my ignition coils on my BMW 328i , and that's about as adventurous as I think I'll get.

I'm looking to spend around 4k. Mostly looking at facebook marketplace, this usually yields 2006 ish mustangs with about 120k miles. However I found a 2003 with only 85k miles. I drove the car and it appears to have been taken care of really well. The paint is immaculate and the interior is in the best shape a 16 yr old interior could be in.

So question. Am I signing up for a project, do you think at this age/mileage I'll need to repair it often?
Would I be better off buying a slightly newer car at high milage?
Any particular issues to keep an eye out for? I plan on taking it to a mechanic to give it a once over before buying. I noticed the brakes were a little spongey.

Thanks!
 
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General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
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Welcome to stangnet
You said you are going to take it to a mechanic so I think you got it covered, he should be able to answer any questions. As for how reliable it will be :shrug: that is a gamble with any car.
good luck and keep us posted on what you find.
 

andrewm2211

Member
Oct 27, 2019
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LA
Thanks for the replies! Good question if he was the original owner. He's not, he said he bought it from 'an old guy'. But I don't know if said old guy was the original either. But I'm assuming. Cause it's in really good shape for an '03(cosmetically speaking).
 

Rdub6

Mustang Master
Dec 29, 2017
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Thanks for the replies! Good question if he was the original owner. He's not, he said he bought it from 'an old guy'. But I don't know if said old guy was the original either. But I'm assuming. Cause it's in really good shape for an '03(cosmetically speaking).
if you can tell it was well taken care of, i’d be more inclined to buy that than a newer one that I knew nothing about.

I own an ‘02 F150 as the original owner. I have (almost) every receipt, and I know every inch of this truck. I’d like to think that would be worth something when and if I may sell it.
I wouldn’t hesitate on that ‘03 if it looks good!
 

andrewm2211

Member
Oct 27, 2019
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LA
Ok well the mechanic said it need new struts, shocks, brakes, had some leaks. He also said I needed new tires(which I remember noting how much tread appeared to be left on the tires). also a coolant and power steering flush.

he said all of that was 3k which I thought was rich. The seller dropped it off so I'm going to pick up the paperwork tomorrow.
But he said the shocks and struts were about 2k. I called my favorite mechanic and he quoted me $780.

The way I see it, is that the shocks and struts are over my head, probably the leaks too.
But I could probably do the brakes and fluid changes myself. so I'm debating if it's worth it or not. He said the car was in good shape, just old which is why it needed the work.

So I'm torn. Seller will go down to 4k, will easily be 5k+after maintenance. If I can get a good few years out of it without any trouble I think it'd be worth it. But then i'm thinking 5k for a 16yr old car I dunno...
 

stormsedge

Active Member
Jun 17, 2018
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E. TN
In this neck of the woods, $4K is about right for a 80-90k mile 2000-2003 GT (with good body, paint, motor, trans and interior)...the other items you listed fall under items (one might call consumables) that likely need replacement due to normal wear between 60-90K miles on just about any car. You could run into the same repair requirements on a newer car if at or past the same mileage. It becomes a question of what can you do yourself to save some money. For comparison, I purchased my 2000 GT convertible (~88k miles) 3 years ago this month for $4500 including new wheels and tires. Since then, I've replaced struts, shocks, rear U and LCAs, intake manifold (coolant leak), shifter (manual), reupholstered driver seat, changed all the fluids, catback exhaust, and some other handling mods. I do my own work, so no labor costs and the mods/ upgrades skew the cost a bit, but have about $3.5k in it on top of the purchase price. I bought it knowing it was an old car with plans to upgrade and modify a bit. As far as reliability goes, it is as solid and reliable as the other Fords I've owned.
 
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Olivethefet

Slap me as well as point and laugh
May 17, 2018
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3K for the repairs, including tires, does seem high in my book, but I always think car repairs are high. That's why I try to do as much of my own work as I can. You said that you didn't want to get to deep into a major repair, but you weren't helpless. I would suggest watching some of those YouTube vids you mentioned earlier about changing the shocks and struts. I haven't worked on an 03, so I'm not speaking from experience. I did a quick check for parts on Rock Auto and you can get socks and struts for less than $200. Much lower is you went with the cheapest stuff, I'm not suggesting you do that. Middle of the road always worked well for me. If you do change the struts you will have to take it somewhere to get an alignment done. You should be able to get one done for less than $200. I can get a lifetime alignment done locally for less than $200. I'm in south Alabama though, so the market is a bit different.

As for the leaks. That could possibly be a little harder depending on where/what was leaking. Maybe the paperwork will indicate what they were planning on doing. That will give you a place to at least gauge what it might take. Changing a few hoses or fittings is no big deal.

You already indicated that you can do the flushes and the breaks as well. You're good there then.

You should be able to pick up a set of decent tires mounted and balanced for under a grand. As long as you don't try to get some crazy high performance Z rated thing! You don't need that anyway.

I'd say any car that you buy that is more than 10 years old has the potential to be a project. You just have to decide what you'er comfortable with. Taking the time to learn how to wrench on your own car can save you a lot of money sometimes. I also understand that a lot of people out there don't have the desire or means to work on their own cars though.

Is this car a 5 speed or auto?
 

andrewm2211

Member
Oct 27, 2019
5
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LA
It's an automatic.
Yeah that place was kind of a rip. I told my regular mechanic what it'd cost to take care of what the other guys found and their quote was about half of that. And considering all the issues were maintenance and it didn't have transmission or engine problems I decided to just pull the trigger and get the thing. The price was right...
As far as who was the original owner, there's something weird there I think. Cause I looked up the smog test history( CA thing) and the car got smog tested 4 times in the past year. You need to smog test the car every time you change owners(or every two years). So I feel like he was flipping it or something... I dunno don't really care since I have the peace of mind from the mechanic checking it out.

Anywho enough chat, here's a pic.

1572837182408.png


Just today I got a restore kit for the headlights. Was well worth $30, you attach sand paper to a drill attachment and sand down all the crusty yellow stuff and apply clear coat. Doesn't look brand new, by Wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy better!

Also had to replace some bulbs, already loving the simplicity compared to the BMW. Just unscrewed the lens and put bulbs in. When I had the BMW the tutorial started with taking off the tire(not joking).
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
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polk county florida
I hear ya on the bulb change, some cars have to have the bumper cover removed (so instructions say) to change a head lamp bulb!
i like that color and it's a convertible to boot! Good job!