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'09 Dodge Challenger RT, '84 Cadillac CDV, '05 Ford Crown Vic Sport
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Discussion Starter #1
So I may be looking for a new (used) vehicle. I love my Oldsmobile, but the trans blew up on my way home from work Monday. I'm debating whether or not to fix it, and deal with any other problems it will have, or to jump ship and get something newer. The Olds has 216,XXX miles on it and is 14 years old.

There are two cars that I'm really looking at. The first of which is a 2004 Cadillac CTS with the 3.6L. It falls right in my price range (about 7-8 grand). What I'd like to know is if a 20 year old with a decent, full-time job can afford to own something like this. They seem to be pretty solid cars, but being a luxo/sporty sedan, parts (and labor for things I can't do at home) will be expensive. How reliable are these cars? Anything anybody can tell me about these would be greatly appreciated.

The second car type of car I'm looking at is a 2003-2005 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. I can find them all day long for 3-5 grand around here in VERY nice condition with about 120-150,XXX miles. They seem to be rock solid cars. I've never owned a Ford before, anybody have any experience with these? A luxury car with police spec everything? Yes please! My only hang-up about an Interceptor is that they spend so much time sitting there idling. Does this do any damage to the engines (i.e. wear them out more)? A counterpoint to that would be the fact that most police departments have their cars serviced regularly to keep them in good running condition. So I don't really know what to think.

I will be using this as a daily driver all year 'round in Michigan. The CTS has traction control, and the Interceptor has a limited slip. I commute about 40 miles every day round trip to work. Let me know what you think! Thanks guys! :thumbsup:
 

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Why do you have to have a PI? I would think you could get a regular CV or GM for $5-8K in those years with less mileage and probably less beat up...

How many miles on the CTS?
 

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'09 Dodge Challenger RT, '84 Cadillac CDV, '05 Ford Crown Vic Sport
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Discussion Starter #3
Most of the CTSs have about 100,000-120,000 on them. I want a PI 'Vic because they are heavy-duty, and they come with a limited slip, which would be useful in the winter. (It's hard to find a regular CV with limited slip.)
 

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I'd rather have a CV w/150K than a CTS at 120K -- especially when the price is factored in. You can have money for repairs, winter tires, wheels, stereo, etc.
 

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Past: 95 Fleetwood, 91 Brougham. Now: 92 Lexus SC300
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You do have to consider that gas is stupidly priced right now, and those Crown Vics are kind of rough on the gas, epa rates a 2003 police interceptor at 14 city/20 highway. I'd go for the Caddy CTS, those are great except for the wonky looking dashboard and cheap feeling interiors.
 

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1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
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In the past I would have told you that you are more than capable of caring for the CTS as it is a relatively simple and reliable car that will provide you way more enjoyment than a Police package Crown Vic. My only reservation right now is that the 3.6 has recently been identified as having a penchant for timing chains. I don't know if there is even a way to detect this before you buy a potential car, but if it's anything like the Q45s timing chain issues, you just take a chance. Also don't know if the older 3.6s are more or less likely to have this problem than the newer ones.

I agree with Mike that you should go for a non PI Crown Vic and just search for one with the limited slip diff. Too bad you aren't further south, as Austin found a PRISTINE 2001 CV LX with the lace wheels, 52000 miles, and EVERY FACTORY OPTION including leather, trunk mounted CD changer and deluxe audio system for 5500 bucks negotiable. Given the staggering number of options on that car, I have little doubt that it also had the limited slip diff. If you insist on a PI CV, then ultimately you need to seek out a detective car or a Sherriff's personal vehicle to have the optimal chance of finding a car that wasn't ragged out. Even then, it's no guarantee.

Hell, option 3 is just to buy a nice civilian CV with the most options and the lowest price, and use your savings over the CTS to have someone install the limited slip for you. A rear end swap certainly isn't that difficult.
 

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'14 ATS Premium with 3 pedals | Past: '13 ATS Performance & '99 Seville STS
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Well, I never have owned a CTS or CV. So I will not be able to say anything very specific about these cars. But what comes in my mind is these two cars are very different from each other! How come do they both sit simultaneously in your shopping list? If one of them suits your needs, the other should not, since they are from different breeds....
I guess you may need to take a look again to the list of your expectations from your new car.... It will help you to select one of these two cars!
 

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'08 DTS Lux III Blk Cherry, '89 Brougham d'Elegance Dip Blue
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When you break it down to basics, they're not all that different. They just go about their jobs in a different fashion. Both 4 door, comfortable, competent drivers, and cheap to own all costs factored in. All of that is why the '98-'02 Crown Vic and Grand Marquis are on my shopping list, thanks to a certain previously mentioned CV.

And sorry to hear about the Olds laying down on you Matt. Best of luck in whichever route you take.
 

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1992 Town Car Cartier & 2014 Accord LX MTX
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I'd personally steer clear of any Police Interceptors. They've all lived a hard life, aren't optioned that well (aside from the LSD), and most any other civilian CV or GM you'll find will be better optioned, cheaper and will have had an easier life.

With the 3.6L engine used in that CTS, the 3.6 is known for having timing chain issues, where the chains will stretch and cause all sorts of weird issues, and will ultimately need replacement, which is very expensive, but that's more of an issue on the FWD 3.6 engines, the ones used in the Lambdas and such. From what I understand, when the 3.6L first came out back in '04, GM used a steel timing chain that stood up great, but after a few years, in an effort to cut costs, they went to a composite timing chain and that's where the issues stemmed from.

At 20 years of age, the Panther platform would be more affordable and that's the one I'd go with...just no police interceptors.
 

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FWIW, the 4.6 had it's own set of timing chain issues for a number of years. Unlike the 3.6 where the chain is at fault, the nylon guides wear through, causing the chain to eventually ride on the aluminum hydraulic tensioner piston underneath. If the chain becomes loose enough, it actually breaks the tensioners into pieces, which you can find in the oil pan. Being a OCH like the 3.6, it's probably just as expensive to repair when taken in. There seems to be no consistency for age or mileage.

I'm sure a google search would net plenty of hits on the topic.
EDIT: sure enough, here's a brief writeup: http://www.agcoauto.com/content/news/p2_articleid/115

As far as the CV being just as comfy as the CTS...not even close, even in LX trim. In my experiences with the similar Grand Marquis, the sub-par interior really becomes apparent if you do any traveling. Dashboard and door panels creak, groan and rattle, feeling like they are made out of melted down bottle caps, and the very shallow seats are downright horrible on long drives. You don't notice it until an hour or two in, but if you have long legs, thigh support is non-existent. No amount of adjusting can compensate.

That's not to say that it's not comfortable AT ALL (ride quality is damn near unmatched), but far from being as comfy as a CTS.

You get what you pay for, though, as a CV/GM can be had fairly cheap if you shop around.
 

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2002 Seville STS F55, 2006 Mazda Miata
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The early CTS's interior is pretty hard to look at, but its functional. Most of the 3.6 timing chain issues happen early in the life of the car, before 50k, and 04-07 are officially affected, though some say the old chains were still used until supplies were depleted.

The CTS is still one of my favorites, but the resale value, to me, isn't low enough yet to justify the harsh interior. Matter of preference.
 

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I would think that any CTS for $7K was beat down pretty hard, or has a bazillion miles....they're not that old...

And as to the heavy duty PIs...Panthers are pretty heavy duty out of the box (especially compared to a CTS)... Unless you're going to be jumping creeks like the Dukes of Hazzard, you should be OK w/a civi version...
 

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When you break it down to basics, they're not all that different. They just go about their jobs in a different fashion. Both 4 door, comfortable, competent drivers, and cheap to own all costs factored in. All of that is why the '98-'02 Crown Vic and Grand Marquis are on my shopping list, thanks to a certain previously mentioned CV.

And sorry to hear about the Olds laying down on you Matt. Best of luck in whichever route you take.

I'm still sorry for you that you couldn't swing that black CV, Austin... That thing sounded great...and even tempted me for a little bit... However, I need to SELL, not BUY...
 

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'09 Dodge Challenger RT, '84 Cadillac CDV, '05 Ford Crown Vic Sport
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Discussion Starter #14
I actually talked to a guy that serviced the PI CVs today. Not going to be looking at those any more. I heard some horror stories about how badly they beat on them, and don't really maintain them that well. I'm gonna do some more searching, and see what else I can find. There's some cool stuff out there!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I actually forgot about the Marauder. They are awesome cars. And also, the CTSs I'm looking at have about 100,000-125,000 miles on them.
 

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'08 DTS Lux III Blk Cherry, '89 Brougham d'Elegance Dip Blue
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If you want a CV you should really come down here and buy that '01 Matt. Fly into Atlanta and I'll come pick you up. We could hang out and you could drive it home.

Thanks Mike. I have the Eldo on CL but who knows how that'll go. That CV had to be ordered. It even has the compass/auto dimming rear view mirror.
 

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'09 Dodge Challenger RT, '84 Cadillac CDV, '05 Ford Crown Vic Sport
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Discussion Starter #20
I'm taking a VERY serious look at the 2003-2004 Marauders. They are amazing cars, get "decent" mileage, would be a comfortable cruiser, and would be very fun and cheap for a 20 year old to own. The best part is that they fit my budget perfectly. I've e-mailed on a few. I'll keep you guys posted. :D


And Austin, send me a link, I'll take a look. :D
 
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