Author Topic: Guide to Buying a secondhand car  (Read 645211 times)

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Offline ClubCalibra

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Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« on: May 09, 2006, 21:21:21 PM »
Guide to buying a Secondhand Car

A lot of the time, when buying a car, we let our hearts rule our heads. We've all done it; ignored that nasty rust patch on the passenger door because the model was one of the rare special edition models of the time, or "...okay, so it's only got two months MOT - it's up at a bargain price!"  Use this page as a guide to what you should be looking out for.

a. Is it really the car you're after? Time and time again, people get bored with waiting for their dream motor to appear in Autotrader at a comfortable price, and end up taking second-best. If you really want that car - wait for it!  And if you're THAT desperate for transport, start taking the train or use taxis.

b. Make sure you can get insurance for the car before you buy. I had set my heart on getting a much more powerful car than I've got now, and came very close to buying one before every insurance company in the galaxy told me that they wouldn't insure me if I bought one (various reasons, but we won't go in to that now!).

c. Check the specification for the year and model so that you'll know what to expect.  People have been known to modify and butcher parts from other models to bring their own car up to scratch.

d. If you're buying from a paper (say, Autotrader) and arrange a time when you can view the vehicle, try and get there half an hour early, and stay within sight of the car without being seen by the seller. This way, you can check up on the seller if he does the old trick of warming the engine up beforehand so it'll start easier.

e. When sat in the vehicle, watch out for engine warning lights (management system, brake pad wear, etc) coming on, or oil lights not going out.

f. Suss-out the seller. A baseball-capped teenager who hops from foot to foot, calls you 'mate' after every sentence, and tries to convince you that the XR3i he's trying to sell you is the fastest in town has obviously thrashed the nuts out the car, and will probably need a new engine in a week or so. On the other hand, the elderly gentleman selling his D-reg metro (with only 30000 on the clock and one careful owner) probably never got out of second gear, and (innocently) put sawdust in the gearbox to "stop that awful grinding noise".

g. Avoid low-mileage cars. Initially a great idea, but chances are that the engine has been left to seize up and rust when higher-mileage cars have at least been driven.

h. When the seller drops the old 'I do have someone else interested in the car' chestnut, politely apologise for wasting the blokes's time and start walking away. If he gets flustered and calls you back with the "Well, they're not that interested" you've basically got him by the balls. There'll always be another (similar) car for sale elsewhere.

i. Make sure you get a test-drive of the car. If the seller refuses and insists that he drives instead, tell him to forget it. ... Drive for at least a quarter of an hour, and listen out for any strange sounds from the car (clunks from the suspension, etc), and just an overall feel of the drive (brakes, gearchanges, steering, etc).
Even better, if you can, try and drive a similar model car beforehand so you can compare the two.

and after you've bought the car...

1. Change the oil, oil filter, and air filter straight away unless it's got full service history. If in doubt, change it anyway.
2. If you can afford it or know how to do it yourself, get the cambelt changed. The last thing you need after buying a new car is to have to pay to have the engine repaired.
3. Check the tightness of the wheelnuts using a torque wrench. You don't want to be giving your new motor 'the once over' on a motorway and have a wheel come off.
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alloywheelsinternational

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2006, 03:10:39 AM »
nice wee review i found this helpfull so far.
am looking to buy in neext week or 2 can anyone point me in the right direction on a decent spec adn car.
insurace is not a problem i just came from a mitsibushi FTO so i had high premiums already.
i am looking at 1996 and 1997 cars but i want a nice car not a thrashed one. is there anything i should know before buying a calibra?
many thanks Terry.
PS. i am in belfast but prepared to travel to UK to collect car.
any help email me or pm me please.
many thanks terry.

merciless447

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2006, 18:35:05 PM »
Cheers for the guide dude, should be very useful to me. Im in australia and am looking for a calibra of the at the moment for my second car, hopefully a turbo if i can get insurance. They seem like great cars and in australia there are hardly any around so its a bit unique as compared to the S13 silvias, 180s and skylines you see everywhere.

DeepSnoozer

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2006, 02:57:59 AM »
This guide is very incomplete, it's more psicological than tecnical!

Here's a small guide, sorry about my bad english:


Check for suspension, open one door, climb into the car and shake it as hard as you can, look at it, the suspension should not trow the car the other way, but just compensate for the push you gave to it. it should also stop imediatly.
The lower the car the harder the suspension is, harder is good but, NOT that good for confort. Also, a hard suspension must be soft enough to absorv impact.

Check for RPM's at idle, it should be stable, not bouncing arround.
if the car is unstable at idle then there's a problem, it could be something easy to fix, or a big problem

to see if a car has been crashed, open the bonnet, start looking at the front. if you see that it' has been soldierd then forget it, there's no way to tell that car has been correctly fixed in the naked eye. but there's also the chance that the car has been fixed in their own brand, making it harder to look at.

if you suspect that some pannels have been fixed, bring a magnet with you, i usualy know when a pannel as been fix using my instinc and hearing the sound that it makes, but amagnet is the best way to be sure.

Check for lekages, keep the car parked in a clean spot, let it stay there for an hour or so, and then remove the car and look for any oil staind (or other fluids like brake fluids or steering wheel fluids)

To see if the clutch is okay there's many ways that most mecanics here at club calibra can tell, but one way is to pull the hand brake , give it a little gas, release the clutch gently, look at rpm's, try to keep them at 900rpm (idle rpm's), give it a little more gas as you release the clutch, when you release the clutch completly the car should stall
if it doesnt stall it's because the clutch is complety wear out.
Another wya is to make "um arranque

Offline ClubCalibra

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2006, 11:50:42 AM »
Thanks for your input, we could do with improving the buying guide, would someone fancy making a thoroughbred version of the post here that I can replace the original with?>
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DeepSnoozer

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2006, 12:11:13 PM »
yeah as someone who knows how to deal with a car so he can correct my general ideas about buying a car

Offline J A M E S

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2006, 12:32:57 PM »
If you can, not always possible, remove some of the plastic trimming to see how much rust is there

Places of rust, are,

1) Under the plastic in the arches
2) under the side skirts

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Apocalypse

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2006, 21:04:25 PM »
This is a good guide, nice work fellas

Calibra nut

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2006, 01:22:19 AM »
After owning several calibras, and stripping a fair few i do know where the rust spots are, here's a brief list:-

#1/ REAR ARCHES-   After a shoddy repair the rust is still going to be on the inside and ofcourse come back in the future. Even if it looks good on the outside trust me, it's behind all the pristeen paint work.
The way to check is to pull the boot carpets out and pull the boot boxes away from the sides.
Then using a torch (pocket size one preferably), shine it inside the rear quarter panel and have a look for rust on the inner arch and the inside of the rear quarter panel. Also have a good feel deep down inside the back of the rear quarter and check for rust/rotting.


#2/ THE BOOT FLOOR + TYRE WELL After removing the boot carpet to do the above check have a good look for  rust on the boot floor  if there is then you might be in for a shock when you remove the spare wheel. Take out the spare wheel and expanded polystyrene that contains the jack, wheel brace, tools etc.... and have a good look behind there for rust. Every calibra i've seen myself has had rust here and only three that i have seen have rotted all the way through to the point where you can see the rear bumper foam. These two places are easily hidden by carpets and not many people think to check there.


#3/ THE INSIDE OF THE SILLS Sitting in the back, remove the screw holding the rear interior card on and pull the card away slightly only unpopping some of the clips. Shine your torch in there and have a good look, can you see any rust spreading up the rear quarter like rising damp on walls in a run down old house? If so then it's quite likely that the "inner skin" (the part the rear card clips to and the rear speaker is screwed to) has rotted at the base and is no longer secured to the car. Also the sill is quite likely to have rotted through.


#4/ THE SUN ROOF A simple check for this, open the sun roof all the way and check for rust on the edges all around the roof edge where the sunroof sits when closed. If there's any there it isn't usually that bad and can be sorted out quite easily. Although i have seen some that have needed to repaired using fibreglass and filler as a result of of total neglect.


All these problems stem from two simple things..... "the drain off pipes from the sunroof and the drain off pipes just inside the rear quarter where the boot lid closes to. These become clogged up and block after time, as a result the sun roof collects water causing the following:-

-Rust around the edges of the sunroof,

-The sunroof cloth trim warps out of shape after absorbing water causing it to come free from the sunroof itself,

-The roof lining develops water stains after absorbing water and the steel clip securing it to the rear of the roof corrodes causing it to drop,

-The boot floor and tyre well fill with water because the drain off pipe from the sunroof fills with water when blocked and leaks into the boot

-The inner archs and sills corrode for the same reasons "blocked drain off pipes" allowing the water to gradually leak into the sills and rear quarters. There are holes in the sills for draining but these block too easily and as a result collect water causing all that horrid rust.


I hope the info here is of use to anybody!  :)

Offline Trigger

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2006, 07:55:24 AM »
Thanks for taking the time. Very useful. 8)

Andrew

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2006, 20:57:21 PM »
thanx for the guide it was very useful. Can any one give me a bit of feedback.

After selling my 3rd calibra in a moment of madness (then buying a diesel mondeo, yes thats what i said) ive now got the cravings for another one, the last 3 i had were all 8 valves and i now fancy a one with more go power, not really interested in the 16 valve, its a choice between a v6 and a turbo  Ive heard horror stories about both types, the v6 with oil in the water problems and the turbo for the transfer box, actuater and obviously the turbo, and last but not least the ecotec engines, ive been put of by them by my mate who had a cavvy that kept going into limp home mode and engine management problems, any advice on what to look out for????

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2006, 21:26:59 PM »
Turbo
 :) Pros:
the fastest of all the Calibras; lighter than the V6, with a lot more power; 4 wheel drive to get all that power down on the road; power comes in from much lower down the rev range.
 :'( Cons: the transfer box is notoriously fragile & expensive to replace; to 'protect' the transfer box, you need to ensure that the tyres don't have more than 1.5-2mm difference in tread depths (this can get expensive when you have to replace all 4 tyres at the same time, even if there is some 'meat' on two of them); turbos & actuators eventually go & have to be replaced/refurbished; to reduce the wear on the turbo more frequent oil changes are required - roughly 1/3rd of the recommended service interval; slight turbo-lag; good fuel consumption for size of engine, if driven sensibly i.e. high speed, but not too much 'foot-to-the-metal' acceleration.

V6
 :) Pros:
'de-tuned' & therefore very understressed engine; consequently engine very robust; 'leisurely' power for 'grand touring' cross-country drives; awesome power once you get it into the power band, above 3500 revs - it takes off like a 'scalded cat' (not as fast as a turbo, but power just keeps coming); great for relaxed, high speed cruising.
 :'( Cons: heavier engine & GVW, so slower acceleration than turbo (7.1s:6.4s); have to remove inlet manifold to get at rear bank of cylinders - even to change the 3 rear plugs; reliable, but more expensive to have serviced than 4-cyl models; step between 2nd & 3rd a bit too big; like on most Vxs, apart from SRis, top gear is really an 'over-drive' gear to give good fuel consumption on long runs;  can be thirsty if driven around town, or lots of rapid acceleration; changing cam belt is quite a big job.

Ecotec
 :) Pros:
More power than an 8v & an SRi 130, but less than a Redtop; performs well enough for a N/A 2.0L engine, nearly matching it's more powerful older sister - providing all the sensors are working properly; less to go wrong mechanically than a Turbo, or a V6; easier (therefore cheaper) to service than the Turbo or V6; cheaper to insure than the Turbo or V6, especially for younger drivers.
 :'( Cons: Notorious for sensor problems, which make it less reliable; otherwise similar engine & not a problem, providing that you change the cam belt about every three services.

Well that's my summary anyway.  I'm sure that others can add some more comments...

Andrew

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2006, 22:14:38 PM »
nice one cheers, think il go for a v6, unless i can find a turbo with a new or recon transfer box, is a red top turbo better than an ecotec one?

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2006, 23:43:03 PM »
nice one cheers, think il go for a v6, unless i can find a turbo with a new or recon transfer box, is a red top turbo better than an ecotec one?

You'll need to get an answer from a turbo expert - I've got a V6.  At a guess, there may be similar issues with ecotec sensors, but I don't know.

Andrew

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2006, 17:10:19 PM »
Ive decided on a V6, I get the impression the turbos need alot more tlc and i work long hours so i need peace of mind reliability and the V6 seems to fit the bill.
Whats the insurance quotes like on the V6? im 31 with 9 years no claims bonus
ive heard there we not many late plate V6's produced with a manual gearbox, is this correct?
Its an R reg im after preferably, I will have about

Offline Mr V

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2006, 17:13:30 PM »
Turbo's use the redtop engine  ;)

And you have plenty of dosh to buy a R reg V6  :)

CallyT

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2006, 18:01:08 PM »
nice one cheers, think il go for a v6, unless i can find a turbo with a new or recon transfer box, is a red top turbo better than an ecotec one?

Same engine mate.
If the box is working, why would it fail in 10 miles time?
Turbo is awesome on fuel, and can easilt and cheaply be upped to 100 bhp more than the juicier V6 - twice the torque too.

Offline J A M E S

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2006, 08:52:13 AM »
Turbo. Doesn't eat as much fuel as I was lead to believe.
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If you have to own a Calibra; make sure it's the 4x4 turbo. You dont want to fanny around with a FWD car.

CallyT

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2006, 16:10:36 PM »
Very frugal, saw 50 mpg average on computer on one journey - was seeing what it would do.
Overead by 4mpg, probably due to upped fuel pressure. Still, 46mpg from a 12 year old 280bhp odd heavy Turbo 4x4, not bad.

Andrew

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2006, 21:18:06 PM »
Im currently in the process of looking for the right V6 Calibra, however my missus has just informed me she is pregnant with our third child. I had no problems with getting my 2 children in the back of my last cally (the boot size is not an issue as you all know it has a good size boot anyway!) however im worried 3 will be a problem. Ive been told the later models have a strap belt in the middle of the rear seats, im not 100% sure this is true, if it is I can still go ahead and buy one.
can anyone shed some light on this please!!!!

CallyT

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2006, 21:20:21 PM »
3 is naughty, it's a 2+2 mate!

Andrew

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2006, 20:41:23 PM »
oh well, guess il have to get an old vectra or something aswell for the kids to go in. never mind

caly

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2006, 20:35:39 PM »
looking for a few pointers that are not already posted ???
going to look @ a 96 calibra turbo tommorow, a bit up on the miles but looks the part; any comments on what to look for would be appreciated !!!!!


Offline J A M E S

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2006, 17:15:53 PM »
How did the viewing go?
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If you have to own a Calibra; make sure it's the 4x4 turbo. You dont want to fanny around with a FWD car.

caly

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2006, 18:58:45 PM »
How did the viewing go?

thanks for asking mate, however didn't go as well as planned.
just a few problems that can cost more than cars worth.
= engine management light on
=4x4 warning light on
= sunroof was screwed/ leaking
=needed 4x tyres
=exhaust ready for renewal
to top it of the guy said take it for a test drive; i agreed as you do. started the car left it running 5min; blipped accelerator twice; then nothing; foot to the floor it wouldn't go past 2000rpm, engine and oil pressure erratic. i just gave him the keys back and said i will give you 500 quid.
the car in question is currently on auto trader (ARRAN MOTORS) techno violet, priced 2069 @ blackburn.

ill keep looking!!!!!!

caly

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #25 on: December 29, 2006, 19:13:51 PM »
thanks for asking mate, however didn't go as well as planned.
just a few problems that can cost more than cars worth.
= engine management light on
=4x4 warning light on
= sunroof was screwed/ leaking
=needed 4x tyres
=exhaust ready for renewal
to top it of the guy said take it for a test drive; i agreed as you do. started the car left it running 5min; blipped accelerator twice; then nothing; foot to the floor it wouldn't go past 2000rpm, engine and oil pressure erratic. i just gave him the keys back and said i will give you 500 quid.
the car in question is currently on auto trader (ARRAN MOTORS) techno violet, priced 2069 @ blackburn.

ill keep looking!!!!!!
james/ all please see: turbo on autotrader, under calibra chat for link if needed.
ive warned/ advised other members

bumbi

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2007, 22:40:56 PM »
Is the 8v more reliable than the 16v one as a friend of mine had some parts 'fly' out of his 16v Vectra?  :-\

Offline ings

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2007, 23:08:35 PM »
The 8v is considered to be a very strong '(QUOTE) Bullet proof' engine.
The 16v redtop is also a fairly strong engine, but does have its downsides.
The ecotec 16v engine, as fitted to later models, have a whole host of issues, the main one being constant sensor failures.
If reliability is your thing, then the 8 v is the weapon of choice.
However, just remember that its all down to how an engine has been treated. ;)

Offline m00k

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2007, 00:10:19 AM »
if ur buyin a red top u need to bear in mind the coscast versus gm head issue,

if u're unlucky and get gm, make sure its all properly torqued and heard that ensuring coolant levels are maintained properly and not jus water added, helps prevent corrosion on the oil ways?

if ur coscast ur pretty much sorted, very rare for one of these to mix the oil and water

applies to turbo (c20let) and n/a (c20xe)

also watch out for the accumulator bulb bein changed under recall on turbo models, the new item should have a white ring around it

prob other things, jus too tired to think at the mo :(

men look @ breasts like women look @ babies... hmmm aren't you lovely :D

bumbi

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2007, 11:07:58 AM »
Thanks for the info.
This would be my first car and it'll probably be one with around 100,000miles on it, so don't want it to give out on me for a few years. :P
Might upgrade to a V6 or Turbo in a few years if I like the car.  :)

SMURF42

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2007, 19:58:20 PM »
Ive had 5 callys 2 v6 and 3 8v all trouble free  not a 16v fan due to sensor probs as mentioned  ( also vectra owner ) .  my favorite cally was deffinatly my se6 8v very reliable and econonical  and now looking for another

Brian

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #31 on: March 10, 2007, 10:57:03 AM »
Great info everyone. I am going to lok at a v6 today. Its a 97 p reg with 116k on it. Anything else I should be looking for?

Uhrrtax

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2007, 18:11:10 PM »
um found this "little" guide on how to buy a car (probably the most professional guide there is)
(found it on toyota mr2 page couple of years ago but it should work just fine even now)
it includes everything you migh need and even example of a trade contract


here it is
http://www.mr2.com/TEXT/usedcarfaq.txt

hope it be usefull for someone

hacksawcats

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2008, 15:09:29 PM »
I'm thinking of buying a calibra, after reading the  very good post about bodywork, does anyone know of any inherent mechanical faults I should look out for?

Offline Trigger

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2008, 15:15:33 PM »
I'm thinking of buying a calibra, after reading the  very good post about bodywork, does anyone know of any inherent mechanical faults I should look out for?

Welcome to the site. It really depends if you are going for an 8V, 16V or a V6. There's absolutely loads of information on this site...ask some questions of the search engine, (top right) that will be a good start :)

barrachops

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2008, 16:11:04 PM »
Welcome to the site mate, good look in the calibra search :)

neneillo

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #36 on: May 02, 2008, 13:27:03 PM »
good, I have a nose problem and that if a car buying calibrates the turbo v6 or Catana, is by Hoby and what I want to play and nose which of the two is best for touching meterle Turbo ... etc. .... Turbo it can get ...

K30

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Re: Guide to Buying a secondhand car
« Reply #37 on: May 02, 2008, 13:28:07 PM »
good, I have a nose problem and that if a car buying calibrates the turbo v6 or Catana, is by Hoby and what I want to play and nose which of the two is best for touching meterle Turbo ... etc. .... Turbo it can get ...

Pardon?

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