98 Crown Vic Interceptor Purchase Inquiries

I previously was going to buy a 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis for $500, but the seller sold it for $400 to a friend.
I am now looking at a 1998 Ford P71 Crown Victoria (police package,
used in service with Sarnia Police).
It has 396,000km...this is a bit high for a civilian car but aparently slightly low for a retired police car.
Engine and trans in perfect shape, needs minor body work (filler needed sparingly over driver front fender for slight rusting), and both bumpers are broken in one way or another, but nothing bondo can't fix in 45 minutes.
Interior is beat up, but in overall good shape. Recently, the driver floor had a plate welded over it (as there was significant wear, and soon it would have broken through). It is now structurally sound, and based on photographs and verbal descriptions, a mechanic I know says it will likely pass the safety inspection.
It passed emissions test 3 months ago, but unfortunately the check engine idiot light is on and does not turn off. There is no apparent cause for this, and both the seller and I agree that there is no apparent cause. The seller, who bought it from a reseller (who never drove it) who bought it from an auction, says it has always been on since they got it. My speculation is that when the police equipment was removed, some under-the-hood wiring was damaged. Other things that have been removed were a high-performance aftermarket stereo and an alarm system, but these were removed in preparation for this sale and the light was on before they were removed anyway.
By the way, what are some possible causes for the light to be on if the transmission and engine are in near-perfect condition?
Anyway, it's going for $1000 firm.
I've heard from a number of places that the 4.6L Crown Vics (including this one) are relatively good on fuel...the seller told me (though this may be innacurate) that it is comparable to a '97 Cavalier (the seller's second car).
Is this a reasonable purchase as a 16 year old's first car?
Thanks, Kevin
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it is a safe car, but it is also a very fast and powerful car. with low miles, it will get around 18-22 mpg with an older wiser person driving it. with the higher miles and a teenager driving it, it will get between 8 and 12 mpg. as far as the cel being on, there is something wrong if the light is on. it could be motor or trans.
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The best thing to do is get the code and figure out what is wrong from there.
Jeff
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I own a 2001 crown vic police interceptor, and i may never buy anything but p71's after this car. I have nothing but good to say about them. They do have thier drawbacks however.
First up, if it were my 16 year old, id put him in that thing in a heartbeat, they are tanks, they have alot thicker metal in the doors for side impacts, the sway bars and control arms are much much thicker than on the p74(civillian crown vic). theres a huge list of other things, including the best stock cooling system availible.
heres a breakdown of the differences:
http://www.crownvic.net/liquid/p7x.html
be sure to run the vin through this to make sure you know what you are buying: http://www.crownvic.net/liquid/data.html
As far as the check engine light goes, turn on the headlights, then disconnect the positive battery terminal for about 10 minutes, and hook it back up, if the light remains on then either the pcm didnt clear or theres a sensor triggering it.
I accidently started mine up without the o2 sensor plugged in and triggered it, even after i fixed it, the light remained on, i unplugged the battery and it reset it, so if you do that and its still on, that should raise a flag.
The floors are always worn out. they do not come with floormats because in a pursuit they could slide under the pedals, so 99% of police dept's remove them.
The engine is very easy to work on, everything is easy access, and if your kid has any interest in automechanics, this IS the car for him to learn on!
Now for the BIGGEST thing about driving one of these..... And the biggest saftey feature. Everybody thinks you are a cop! nobody EVER cuts you off, when you turn on your blinker in rush hour, a spot opens up, you get respect everywhere you go, and for a kid that is just learning to drive, its nice not to have all those jerks cutting him off.
However... in my search i went through about a dozen cars before i decided on mine. they get really beat up by cops. be sure to have a mechanic with no affiliation to the seller run a full check on the car, because for 1000$, something is wrong.
My 2001 came with 95,000 miles, and needed a little bit of work (new pitman arm, brakes and rotors on front, tires) and i paid USD $5700 for it. After taxes and all the work i did to it i walked away for 7000, and that car..... oh man, that is a strong reliable car, and no matter how much hell i put it through, it will not break!
if you have any other questions, feel free to email me snipped-for-privacy@nospam.gmail.com remove the nospam.
btw, if you want to let him have some fun, do what i did, put some antenna's on it, and the push bar back on, make sure the search light works. keep the stock wheels, and leave it solid white. then when a speeder goes past you, just pull in behind, watch them hit the brakes and panic 0:-)
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not sure about that people think you are a cop thing. here in new jersey, they see you coming up behind them and they step on the brake to slow you down, or intentionaly cut you off, or just give you the finger. and yes, i drive a P71, with blackout grill, strobes in the grill that are plainly visible from the front, strobes on the package tray that are planly visible, full window privacy tint, and a large state police sticker in the front window. it just shows the mentality of the transplanted new york buttheads
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Tom, You are correct, anyone that leaves the great state of NY to live in NJ is unquestionably a butthead.

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oh yea, and for milage, i do equaal highway and city, i get 17mpg, and by any means, im not nice to the car. when i road trip i get 22mpg, and if i treat it nicely i get 20 for city/hwy combo.
One time i drove the whole tank down, and went 58mph non stop to see how perfect i could get my milage. came to 25mpg, but that is completely unrealistic for daily driving
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just did the math, thats 246,000 miles. i am expecting to retire my car between 300,000 and 400,000. just like all the taxi cabs do. 246,000 miles though..... it is definately entering its golden years, but should make a good first car if its running well.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

overall it sounds like a beat up piece of junk but what do you want for a thousand bucks right? The only removed police equip that could cause the CEL to turn on would be the "black out" that kills the brake lights. Check to see if they are working, if not look under the dash above the brake pedal and see if the wires are cut going to the brake switch. (or if there are other wires added to them) Either way just reconnect them.
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At least some one else feels the same as I do.... this car is old, it has a lot of miles, it's history is undetermined.... I can't close my eyes and envision it in my driveway.....
My own preference is for vehicles I can depend on..... not for something that could beome a "hobby on the hoof"...
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Ok, no personal attacks on other states, if you don't mind...
By the way, I AM the 16 year old.
The brake lights work, as the seller moved it to where I could get a better picture of the front bumper crack. I saw that both the reverse and brake lights are in working order, and when I checked over the electrical system briefly (radio, headlights, turn, hazard, parking, blower motor, horn) they all worked. The special police dome light in the ceiling works. This car still has the interior blackout modification (no courtesy lights and no door panel control backlighting).
It runs so smooth you can't hear it...literally.
And as for fuel economy being worse with a teenage driver, that's a stereotype I don't appreciate. I'd be babying the thing, doing abnormally frequent maintenance and sticking to the speed limit.
Thanks for the responses...I'm thinking of asking the seller if they'd object to clearing the error code memory so I can see if the light comes back. Assuming the story I got is true, the light has never been off for as long as anyone has cared about it. And just for some clarity on my end...when you say CEL, you are referring to the same thing known as the MIL...no?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

CEL: yes, (C)heck (E)ngine (L)ight. Of course it would be better if you could get the code before the light was reset.
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and i said that stereotype coming from a 19 year old, i drive my p71, and i drive it hard. basing in on myself, not the stereotype of other young drivers. sorry about that.
you should expect them to at least clear the CEL. shouldnt all sellers do that? the thing of it all is that it has 246,000 miles, and should be checked over 100% by a pro. The taxi companies here in minnesota drive them until about 300-400,000 miles, so there really is a chance that its just fine. but make sure a pro tells you that.
Out here in minneapolis, everybody speeds and drives aggressivly, but as soon as they see my p71 behind them, they nearly always slow down and change to the right lane, and you can always see them panicing inside. Sounds like NY/NJ is just a place where people dont care about cops, or the cops dont do enough to scare people. cops around here will pull you over for going 6 over the limit. they dont mess around, and everybody is very cautious around them. sounds like its a matter of location rather than of human mentality. too bad for you though, its a lot of fun out here hehe
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Thanks again for the replies...this forum really is full of helpful people.
One of the people who read this thread emailed me an offer to run a history report on the VIN number, but before I was able to send the VIN the account expired...I didn't check my email in time.
I know there are two types of Carfax account...a car-by-car deal and an unlimited deal...if anyone has the unlimited plan where you can look up any car with no additional charge, and it's not too much trouble, could you please look up the car for me?
I don't know about you guys/girls...to me this seems almost unreasonable to ask...but it's worth a shot right? Email me if you can do it, I'll send the VIN. I'd post it here but unless it's my information to disclose it's not morally right (in my view) to pass it out to literally everyone who views this thread.
Thanks a bunch...geez I say thanks a lot...but as least I mean it, right?
Kevin
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