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Old 06-10-2006, 08:19 PM   #1
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Default Buying low mileage '96 SSE. Anything I'm missing?

I put a deposit on a '96 SSE, 55K mi, the mintest (is that a word?) 96-99 I have seen in my search. The dealer got it as a trade-in from the only owner. A whole story comes with it, but what my guess is that it wouldn't pass emissions and the guy traded it in. It also sat in a garage for quite awhile with little use.

The dealer replaced UIM and LIM gaskets. They didn't do the intake plenum itself. if I read it right, it was made in '01. Replaced oil pan, and tranny pan gaskets because of leaks. Valve covers too. AND 4 new tires because of dry rot in tires.

I took it out for 2 hours. The idle is a little low, 850, but it'* all orignal wires plugs etc. Trans is smooth as silk. i tortured the steering and the brakes. Checked the rubber around the doors, it seems in good shape, and a 1 inch/hr downpour I was in, confirmed no leaks, After 50 miles checked around the intake gaskets for leaks. OK.

At cold start, it seems like the thermostat sticks, so they have to fix that. At cold start and subsequent running, I didn't see or smell any sweet white smoke. I did everything but stethoscope the block for bearing/ rods noise and heard none.

Scantool showed it passed emmisions, no codes, and showed nothing wierd in the limited performance parameters I have with the Acutron.

So my question is, is there anything i should be checking because it sat so long with little use? Cars that sit alot sometimes have some things that tend to crap out once you put it back into normal use. (There is an issue with an oil pressure check, but that'* for the 1992-1999 section)

I have to do a final checkout Monday before yea or nay, and wanted to check with you guys first.
Thanks.
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Old 06-10-2006, 08:38 PM   #2
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Charlie, It sounds like you covered just about everything, and it sounds like a good car. I know you checked for water leaks, did you check the spare tire well in the trunk for water? How did the coolant reservoir look? Power steering reservoir? Transmission fliud check? The 850 rpm idle doesn't seem to be too low. UIM date code is 01, still need to keep an eye on it. Let us know how you make out.
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Old 06-10-2006, 09:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by markwb
Charlie, It sounds like you covered just about everything, and it sounds like a good car. I know you checked for water leaks, did you check the spare tire well in the trunk for water? How did the coolant reservoir look? Power steering reservoir? Transmission fliud check? The 850 rpm idle doesn't seem to be too low. UIM date code is 01, still need to keep an eye on it. Let us know how you make out.
Didn't check under the tire, that goes on my list. They replaced the trans, coolant and engine oil and topped the others. So I had to rely more on performance cues. I really stressed the steering and brakes to check for pressure problems.

I was driving the salesman so nuts checking everything related to the intakes, he finally went and got a print out of the workorder to bring the car up to "certified". The gaskets don't have more than 100 miles on them, so they could still leak, or they may have made a bad call not replacing the intake plenum itself. The car must have been a leaky mess.

It'* a Saturn dealer and they included a 6 month warranty that covers 100% on everything except alignment, brakes shoes, spark plugs etc. So I have that as backup. I just don't want to get into some chronic bs, because they are an hour away.

Thanks, if I go on it, photos will follow.
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Old 06-10-2006, 09:28 PM   #4
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Hopefully, even if you don't hit it you'll take some pics and maybe I'll make the long drive
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Old 06-10-2006, 10:08 PM   #5
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Hopefully, even if you don't hit it you'll take some pics and maybe I'll make the long drive
If I pass I will definitely put it up, what you actually can get it from the dealer for, and what i found. It'* for my wife so she'll stop taking my car, and we can dump her Exploder..er Explorer. I want to be extremely stringent on reliability for her. Something we would put up with and eventually handle, i might consider unacceptable for her.
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