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Posted: 12/2/2007 11:38:25 PM EDT
There was a thread not too long ago from someone who was considering buying a $2000 used cop car, a used CVPI.

I've never owned a used PI car before. I'm looking for something that will be a good, safe family ride (married, 2 kids and a baby that will be born any day now).

I don't want to get into a money pit, I just need some cheap wheels until we get past my wife's maternity leave.

I'm trying to find a way to get "excited" about a car, I have a truck and am more of a truck person. I'm thinking an old PI cruiser might be kinda fun...not that I'd go fast anyway. I'm actually pretty gentle on my wheels.

My driving is almost exclusively highway miles...to work. I need something that will be okay on bad roads, though = WI winters.
Link Posted: 12/2/2007 11:42:54 PM EDT
As far as cars go, there are only one type I will ever buy; panther platforms (Crown Vic/Grand Marquis/Town Car). Bought my first 4 years ago and never looked back.
Link Posted: 12/2/2007 11:47:40 PM EDT
I've driven many crown vics and grand marquis cars. I highly recommend spending your money on something else. I say get a Corolla.
Link Posted: 12/2/2007 11:48:40 PM EDT
It'll have a ton of miles on it, and you can expect the same from it as you can from any high mileage used car. You will have to replace some parts from time to time. On the whole, the Ford Crown Victora, Lincoln Towncar and Mercury Grand Marquis (all the same car) are some of the best cars on the road.

As I recall, the police package on the Crown Vic was a transmission cooler, oil cooler, spotlights, and beefed up suspension.

Keep in mind that these cars are rear wheel drive. If you live in an area with a lot of snow, you may have to get some good snow tires and a few sandbags.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 12:55:00 AM EDT
Thanks, guys
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 1:02:39 AM EDT
Uh no way in hell. Ever see how hard those cars get driven?


If it's a good size department that it came from chances are that cars gets driven by 2-3 shifts a day, all city driving by people who do not own the car and do not pay for the gas or the wear and tear of the car.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 1:09:54 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/3/2007 1:11:49 AM EDT by metroplex]
The Crown Vics suffer from:

Poor gas mileage
Poor handling
Poor ergonomics (unless you like 1970s cars)
Poor performance

The Police Cars with 3.55 rear axle ratios had EPA ratings of 16/21 and the latest ones are rated at 15/23. The engine is a 4.6L 2V SOHC V8 making 250 hp (only 04-up) and previously made 200-239 hp. Meanwhile, modern V6s are making 300-330 hp.
The Crown Vic handles like a pig with excessive body roll and understeer. Handling mods can reduce the roll slightly, but it tends to oversteer on slippery surfaces with shocks and anti-roll bars. The interior design is dreadful. The use of faux wood applique and the layout of the controls was taken directly from the 1979 LTD / Crown Victoria and it never changed. Front split bench seats and 6 passenger seating taken directly from the 70s as well. HORRIBLE front headlamps compared to modern VOR or projector designs.

The 2003-up Crown Vic gain about 200 lb of weight and never had a more powerful engine. The 250 hp engine of the 04-up CVPI has no extra torque because the only change they did was add a different airbox and MAF. It is available only with an automatic (4-speed), no dynamic stability control, no EBD, and the Traction Control is one of the earliest designs you can find.

The Police Cars are even more stripped down: no sound insulation or the other amenities found in a fully loaded LX Sport / LX model.

The only saving graces for the Crown Vic:
FAST depreciation rate, they will drop a few grand just sitting at a dealer lot. A used CVPI can be had for $1000-$5000 tops. They are generally reliable except for pigeon hole BS problems like misfires due to malfunctioning ignition coils or spark plugs that eject or heater cores that rupture.

Some police cars get retired at 100k due to insurance reasons, and the ones I've seen for auction have had at least 1 rebuilt transmission before retirement. They are not the "tanks" that people proclaim them to be.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 1:25:12 AM EDT
You'd be shocked at what a Police cruiser can do with someone who knows how to drive behind the wheel.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 1:29:37 AM EDT
I would advise against it if it were a patrol car. You might get lucky if it were a detective car, but a lot of them keep getting passed around. I don't see departments scrapping their cars with only 60K on the odometer...

The other con (no pun intended) is you will look like a poser... Especially if they still have the spotlight... All you need is your CHL badge on your on your way to the gunshow
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 1:33:00 AM EDT
Not a chance
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 1:33:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tekka:
I've driven many crown vics and grand marquis cars. I highly recommend spending your money on something else. I say get a Corolla.



Been driving one for the last 125,000 miles.

38 MPG rocks.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 1:54:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Chesh97:
The other con (no pun intended) is you will look like a poser... Especially if they still have the spotlight... All you need is your CHL badge on your on your way to the gunshow


Who the fuck sees a retired beater cop car and thinks a guy driving it is pretending to be anything other than a guy who bought a used cop car?

It's not an uparmored Humvee for fuck's sake, it's a beater cruiser.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 2:24:18 AM EDT
If you are a winter driver then skip a police car. Crown Victorias, Caprices, and Police package Tahoes are all rear wheel drive with low wheel bases. They suck in the winter.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 2:26:44 AM EDT
Gas mileage sucks. I would not want one and I drive one every day I'm at work. Also if you get snow / ice they suck in my opinion due to being RWD.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 2:33:18 AM EDT
Fix the cigarette lighter.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 2:34:48 AM EDT
I guess I'm in the minority... I actually like driving one at work.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 2:36:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AJE:
I guess I'm in the minority... I actually like driving one at work.


Clearly, you're a poser.

Link Posted: 12/3/2007 2:46:50 AM EDT
A friend of mine had one. He said that if he cut his hair short, put on a polo shirt he'd get waved through police checkpoints. I always thought that was kinda useful....
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 2:48:39 AM EDT
Prepare for a new transmission!

Every surplussed cop car I've known anyone to purchase has been on the edge of shitting its tranny (for possibly the second or third time) when it was bought.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 2:48:54 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/3/2007 2:49:04 AM EDT by mattimeo]
.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 3:07:47 AM EDT
If anything get an Impala with a police package. It's front wheel drive so it will handle better and won't understeer like a PI. It's a V6 so the gas mileage will be better, plus the 0-60 time on the Impala is marginally better than that of a Vic. Don't worry about it being front wheel drive as it was designed from the beginning to also be a police car, so it was built to take a beating, i.e. driving over a few curbs.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 3:18:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By mattimeo:
Prepare for a new transmission!

Every surplussed cop car I've known anyone to purchase has been on the edge of shitting its tranny (for possibly the second or third time) when it was bought.


Well, I suppose it would be a lot cheaper than FWD, right?
Back in the day, I used to change out my own RWD trannies...I'd just go to the junkyard and buy one for about $100 and get put it in myself in an hour or so on old GM cars.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 3:22:33 AM EDT
Buy an old PD cruiser as a PROJECT, not as a reliable means of transportation. You'd likely need suspension parts, engine/tranny rebuild, brakes, etc. before it's reliable enough to transport baby and mama around. Buy a Honda Accord and spend a couple thousand extra to be a reliable and safe car.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 3:25:01 AM EDT
I was an auto mechanic for a 1,300 member police department, and when we sold off those cars usually the good in them was gone. Some LEO's would drive over curbs on their way for coffee!
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 3:45:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/3/2007 3:47:05 AM EDT by metroplex]

Originally Posted By VTwin60:
You'd be shocked at what a Police cruiser can do with someone who knows how to drive behind the wheel.


Stock CVPIs run the 1/4 mile in 16-16.2, 0-60 in 8+ seconds. Top speed of 129 mph (or 120 mph for 05-up with 3.55s). If it weren't for the Motorola, backup units, speed cameras, helicopters/VASCAR, the CVPI wouldn't catch anything fast. The race ready curb weight is about 4000-4100 lb for 98-02 (215-239 hp), and 4100-4300 lb (239 - 250 hp) for 03-up (new hydroformed steel chassis with revised front suspension). Coupled with excessive understeer, this car doesn't handle well or run very fast in the straight line. It also gets horrible gas mileage with regular driving (16/21 - 15/23 EPA ratings). FYI, the Crown Victoria has been DISCONTINUED from new civilian purchases. They are only available to fleet buyers starting with the 2008 model year. My actual gas mileage ranges from 10 - 19 mpg in city, highway, or combined driving.

Basically, a stock 2.3L Mazda3 will give a stock CVPI a decent run in the 1/4 mile and on the track

It took Ford about 27 years to finally install a tachometer in the Crown Vic (06 model year).

The best Crown Vic to buy is a 1995-1997 model with the factory 2.73 rear axle ratio. You can get up to 30 mpg on the highway, and they are the MOST aerodynamic and the LIGHEST platforms: very low CD and have curb weights of about 3700-3800 lb. They had the highest quality interiors and the best overall build quality. You can upgrade them with:
PI 2V heads
PI intake manifold
PI cams
steeper rear axle ratio for better acceleration
98-02 front brakes
16" or larger wheels to accept the 12.4" front rotors

Modifications are very limited for the Crown Victorias. You will resort to mainly retrofitting Mustang/F-series parts or access a limited quantity of aftermarket performance replacements. The only vendor making T-304 SS aftermarket exhaust kits is Magnaflow and they make them only for 06-up Crown Vics.

The Michigan State Police testing showed the Dodge Hemi Charger 5.7L handed the Clown Brick's ass on a silver platter in all of the performance and handling tests. In fact, the 3.5L V6 Charger and Tahoe were competitive enough to hang with the 4.6L V8 Crown Vic in the same tests.

I know you asked about used CVPIs, but if you were looking for a new car that is used for livery/police duty, the Charger R/T is a technically superior car. Don't believe the Crown Vic apologists who think the stock Ford 4R70W 4-speed is 100% bulletproof because quite a lot of used CVPIs on the auctions have had at least 1 rebuilt transmission before reaching 100k miles.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 3:50:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By HKTackDriver:
Buy an old PD cruiser as a PROJECT, not as a reliable means of transportation. You'd likely need suspension parts, engine/tranny rebuild, brakes, etc. before it's reliable enough to transport baby and mama around. Buy a Honda Accord and spend a couple thousand extra to be a reliable and safe car.


+1

I completely agree. If you need something reliable enough and comfortable enough for mom and the baby, buy a new car. Any new car will last quite a long time with regular maintenance. Get something with modern safety features so you're comfortable and everyone stays safe:

factory side curtain airbags
Bi-Xenon HIDs
Dynamic Stability Control
ABS with EBD
Traction Control
Direct fuel injection
LED tail lights
Cabin air filter
MP3 CD player
Power adjustable seats
Remote keyless entry with perimeter anti-theft
Sound insulation

Oh, and FYI - none of the used CVPIs ever came with any of the features I just mentioned.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 3:55:07 AM EDT
It will most likely be worn out and any moiney you think you may have saved will go into parts and paint to make it road worthy.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 3:59:02 AM EDT
My dad is a police chief and told me that he had very few mechanical issues with the crown vics; much less so than the Impalas.

I bought a `95 PI for $2500 a few years ago and commuted around 50 miles a day in it.

I averaged 24mpg and it never broke down.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 4:00:56 AM EDT
Get used to everyone in front of you driving EXACTLY the speed limit. Maybe even a few mph under...

A buddy of mine used to have a plain gray Caprice, and that happened to us ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

Link Posted: 12/3/2007 4:18:56 AM EDT
Dam kids can't drive rwd in the snow.

Had an 86 or CV SW w/ Wood Sides. That sob would go anywhere in the snow w/ 200 pounds of sand on the rear axle.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 4:37:43 AM EDT
I heard about a problem with the gastanks blowing up in some rear end accidents.
Google this topic and see if the model has had the mods made.
Some cops got killed and others burned badly.
Tough on a guy in the back in cuffs too....
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 5:03:06 AM EDT
Nope. Do you have any idea how hard they are driven? Especially near the end of a car's career when it's about to be retired and auctioned/sold off.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 5:09:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/3/2007 5:12:06 AM EDT by southlak9cop]
As previously mentioned, you gotta take into account the department that owned it. Are the maintenance records available? Were these cars hot seated or were they take homes? My department has take home vehicles and we are tasked with making sure the maintenance is done as needed (bring it in to maint. shop and make sure they do it). My car only gets driven by me. I get on it when I have to, but I don't want to run around in a ragged out piece of shit either. Does stuff break? Of course, but rarely is it anything major. On some of the older cars, the non PI motors, there was an issue with the plastic intake manifold cracking wide open. This issue ended in the 02 model year if I remember right. Someone mentioned getting a used Impala? Run away from this idea. One of my previous units was an 01 Impala. I got it with 11k or so on the odometer. I switched out of it at 90k miles. That thing was in the shop all of the time and the front wheel drive kept falling apart. The stereo was really nice though!

This is going to be something that varies car to car and department to department. Hell, most of the time you can look at the car and tell whether or not you are going to have problems. If the car is a POS, it was treated as one by everyone that drove it. A POS pool/spare car is the beater you drive when your regular ride is in the shop. You always bang on those, and you can look at the car and see it. If the car is in good shape and physically looks good, most of the time it was taken care of. Why would you waste time on keeping a shitty running car looking good?

And the gas tank issue, there was a recall on that. Ford will do the recall/did the recall for CVPI's that were still registered to the departments that bought them. I think you would have to pay for that shield to be put in. There was also a recall on the 2003 model year wheels, apparently they had a tendency to just break up and fall off. I just got 4 shiny new wheels about 5 months ago.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 5:12:17 AM EDT
Just imagine all of the bodily fluids that have been all over the back seat and carpet.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 5:15:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Pita_146:
Not a chance


+1.

We hot seat our cars. They have LOTS of idle time on them compared to the miles on the odometer, and we're trying to reduce the miles to 60k when we trade them off (instead of the prior 100k)

At the 60k mark they have some worth. I wouldn't take a free one with 100k, as it'd need more maintenance and parts than it was worth.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 5:18:44 AM EDT
Do a ride along with the local PD and you'll never even consider a used cop car. We are HARD on our cars. That's just the way it is.

And on top of it... it seems most people who drive used cop cars have a Revoked license
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 5:34:08 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/3/2007 5:35:38 AM EDT by Noname]
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 5:35:22 AM EDT
Buy one if you already wrench on your own stuff. You can pick them up cheap, parts are readily available and inexpensive, and they aren't particularly difficult to work on.

Basically, a gear head will have no problem keeping one going. Other folks? Hmmm. If the thought of spending a few hours on your back in a pool of ATF makes you cringe, or you can't afford regular trips to the local mechanic, I'd look elsewhere.

All that said, I kind of want one. There's tons of room for my computer and video gear.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 9:48:37 AM EDT
I have had a good experience with a "beater" police car.

I have every service record from the day it left the dealer new, until my possession. Damn those oil analysis done every oil change were a total lack of fleet maintenance Yeah it needed some work. Fuel pump/sender. plugs, wires, tires ect. I did get at around 86k however.

With a used CVPI retired at the 100k mark you need to do the basics. Tune up, brakes ect. Basically inspect the entire car and replace parts as needed.

I would probally avoid a true patrol car. Try and find a park patrol or admin unit. Usually identifed with carpet, cruise, full paint and no spotlights.

Also if you cant get around the winter with a limited slip, snow tires and 150 pounds of sand in the trunk, they make plenty of FWD cars to compensate for your lack of skill.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 10:00:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Beltfedleadhead:
Get used to everyone in front of you driving EXACTLY the speed limit. Maybe even a few mph under...

A buddy of mine used to have a plain gray Caprice, and that happened to us ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

that's why i thought about getting one. no one tailgates you, no one cuts you off, people get out of your way. everybody just leaves you the fuck alone.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 10:17:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/3/2007 10:46:09 AM EDT by Wojo]
It depends on the department you buy it from and how it was used. Don't be surprised by multipe windshields that were installed, etc.

I had a 94 P71 that I did some mod's on and loved that car...then came the twins and I needed to get rid of the third car. 7 years later and kid number 4, I bought a 2000 Grand Marquis, put a C&L MAF, and some other things and love the shit out of it, My wife who mocked me, now loves taking it grocery shopping because of the trunk. Last year my Rover was in for repairs, so I took the monkey on the trip. Throwing a deer in the back was a pretty easy task. I now have a much better idea on how many bodies I can fit in there.

Snow, get the Blizzard tires on crappy rims and you will be set. They aren't speed tires but do great in the snow. A couple bags of salt in the trunk doesn't hurt either.

Hey Metro, I thought that might be you from the OLD days of CV.net.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 10:19:54 AM EDT
Beat to shit.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 10:26:13 AM EDT
If you know its history and have maintenance records, go for it.

Otherwise, why not get a civillian CV? Full frame, creature comforts, 25 mpg.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 10:28:31 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/3/2007 10:31:02 AM EDT by CavVet]
I hope you can separate the wheat from the chaff in this thread. SN ratio is high with opinions.


Having drove taxis for 5 years part time until a few years ago I have some experience with the CV series in their afterlife. All of the cars they buy, with no exception were former Seattle PD cars. Then when they got the magic yellow paint job they ran 24x7 for the next 5 years, then they get sold off to fresh immigrants who drive taxis for a living.

I turned one car out to pasture with i-forget-exactly-how-many but Im thinking almost 300k on it, and jumped in a "new" one with 140k. That same exact car is still on the streets.


Taking the abuse from a fleet of drivers who just got to America yesterday is a feat only the best of cars can rise up to. Living three separate lives with countless drivers takes even more stamina. These cars do all of the above. usually I could drive out a tank of gas in a 12 hour shift of hard driving, and I mean complete with Streets of San Francisco hilled street jumping.

My car I had for the longest never ha done mechanical breakdown while I had it. We kept having to jump it since the idiot day driver would leave everything electrical on and walk away, and they do complete brake jobs at every oil change as routine maintenance, but other than that, it never had a mechanical failure.


If I needed a spare car I would buy one without hesitation, provided I did all normal due diligence prior to purchase. Did I mention top speed I saw in mine?



forgot to add on snow driving. WA puts studs on early and keeps them on all winter. I didnt like them, but I had to play the hand I was dealt. We usually get one snow per year, usually fairly good one at that. I only had one situation where I could not do what I needed to do, and it was a steep ass hill with major fresh snow on it. The guy had to walk down to me. "Normal" snow driving was never an issue though.

Link Posted: 12/3/2007 5:30:45 PM EDT
Take a road trip down to this place in Missouri and have them help you pick out a nice one...

http://www.government-fleet-sales.com/

If you want to spend around $5k on a car, you can get some pretty clean examples:



Link Posted: 12/3/2007 5:53:34 PM EDT
MAYBE a true verifiable "take home" car...or a National Parks Services Crown Vic...others, look out...can be beat to S**t...nobody would buy a used NYC taxi now would they? Some are the exact same as Policed Interceptor...
I have a dealer in Upstate NY who usually has a couple of nice ones, or a Tahoe...im me if you need more info...
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 5:56:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Enigma102083:
A friend of mine had one. He said that if he cut his hair short, put on a polo shirt he'd get waved through police checkpoints. I always thought that was kinda useful....



Yeah a friend of mine had one too...never paid at a certain fast food drive thru.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 6:05:31 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 6:23:36 PM EDT
I was the guy who started the last CVPI thread. Here it is for reference.-

ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=643068

Still waiting on me getting one. I'll be home over winter break and if it happens it'll happen then. I think the one I'm looking at is still in use, but once their new Charger comes in the Crown Vic has got to go.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 6:37:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By swingset:

Originally Posted By Chesh97:
The other con (no pun intended) is you will look like a poser... Especially if they still have the spotlight... All you need is your CHL badge on your on your way to the gunshow


Who the fuck sees a retired beater cop car and thinks a guy driving it is pretending to be anything other than a guy who bought a used cop car?

It's not an uparmored Humvee for fuck's sake, it's a beater cruiser.


The funny thing is, around here, the gang bangers seem to think it is cool as as shit to buy an old cop cruiser. Just like drawers around the ass, an old cop car tells the world what you are.
Link Posted: 12/3/2007 6:38:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By glenn_r:

Originally Posted By Pita_146:
Not a chance


+1.

We hot seat our cars. They have LOTS of idle time on them compared to the miles on the odometer, and we're trying to reduce the miles to 60k when we trade them off (instead of the prior 100k)

At the 60k mark they have some worth. I wouldn't take a free one with 100k, as it'd need more maintenance and parts than it was worth.
We have take-homes and retire ours at 150,000 miles
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