First Car Question: '89 Gr Marquis

Hi, I have a question about a potential first car:
Is a 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis a good choice of first car?
This is coming from a teenager with extensive automotive knowledge and
experience, notably repair but not actual diagnosis of problems.
The particular car in question has a driver's floorboard section that is rusted very heavily, and in this area there's a seemingly abnormal change in the height of the floor itself...would love comments from current 1988-1991 Grand Marquis or Crown Vic owners. Will send photos through email if desired.
Mechanical condition: fantastic, though it has nearly 200,000km on it!!! Another note: the oil consistency was a bit wonky, not solid dark or solid light, sort of mixed and not as full as it should be.
Any big red lights in the above that I should know about? I'll bet the main comment will be the oil part...but seeing as its $800 OBO I feel it's worth my time and money to do some bookwork before even considering buying it.
UVIP and all manuals present, but old service records are not. Two previous owners that are known of, there may be another. Only current owner (a mechanic) has maintenance records.
Any more info needed, feel free to ask and I'll post it.
-Kevin
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These are generally good, durable cars. Parts are plentiful and cheap. The oddity about the floorpan is absolutely normal. I've had several of those and they're all that way.
If you have a rusty floor, look for leaks around the door seals or the windshield seal itself.
The first thing I'd do is replace the pcv valve, grommet, and the metal screen that's under the grommet. 95% of those 302's develop leaky seals because no one seems to know that there's a screen under the pcv valve. What happens is it gets clogged with carbon and high pressure builds up in the crankcase blowing out the seals.
Be aware that you're dealing with a transmission that is controlled by a throttle valve cable. It's very sensitive. The TV cable runs from the throttle body to the transmission. If you have early or late shifts, overly strong or weak shifts, the TV cable is almost certainly out of adjustment. There was a recall on the grommet where the TV cable attached to the throttle body, IIRC. I know I had to replace a broken linkage on one of mine.
Have fun,
CJB

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

You have not described things well enough to tell. If the oil is milky looking, run away as it could have water in it. If it's just dipstick condensation, that's normal. Check that floorboard more darefully. Pull the carpet up a bit. You should not need to remove anything to do some inspecting. You can pull part of the carpet up from under the seat. Make sure the area around the seat mounts is solid. The sheet metel where your feet go can easily be replaced using pop rivets and metal. Mileage is good for a vehicle this age. This could be a great car. The price is just OK where I am from. There's always another one around the corner so don't hesitate to walk if something it too far gone.
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Thanks a lot, both of you.
A. Floor If I find it to be rusted through (I'll be checking it out with a small hammer and flashlight, as instructed by several apprenticeship students at my school), how much can I chop off the price? I have access to everything necessary to patch a hole in the floor.
B. Oil It was a mostly healthy looking coffee-ish brown, but the concern was with the occasional extremely dark area. Most noticeable on the tissue I used to wipe the dipstick before putting it back in and closing the hood, there are areas of a much darker shade. The texture was also a little thicker in those areas. Possible sludge problem? It ran absolutely amazing for the 10-20 minutes I had it running (I wanted to see the exhaust color, which was the best I've ever seen. Even little modern Saturns make a more noticable emission than this car. It also runs nearly silent, with minimal vibration. Started in less than one second of cranking (this may seem exaggerated but it isn't...it fired up amazingly fast). The smell was of a clean-burning gas engine, with no scent of burning oil or the smell of burning coolant. Next time I see the car I will also be checking the transmission fluid (embarrassing as it may be, I couldn't find the dipstick, but a car of this age should definitely have one).
C. Interior There are minor upholstery problems. On the deck behind the back seats (by the rear window) the fabric is pulled back from the window. The driver's seat is considerably darker than the others, presumably from oily coveralls (owner is mechanic). What kind of discount should I aim for with the interior problems? Personally, I'd say $50...these aren't things I'd probably end up fixing either.
D. Negotiations Taking into account the upholstery and rusted floor (assuming it's bad enough), what is the lowest I should aim for when making negotiations? He did say "OBO"...no offers yet and it's been for sale for nearly three weeks. I was told not to go higher than 500 and that I will probably be refused the sale if I aim for less than 400. This is Canadian currency, by the way.
Thanks Kevin
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