buying a high mileage 1997 cobra any advice?

sn95cbr

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I've been looking at cobra's for a while now and I've finally stumbled upon one that's not over priced and in good condition. It's a 1997 cobra with 160k miles, I haven't seen it in person yet but I spoke with the owner for 30 minutes and he seems like a pretty chill dude. He's the second owner and from the sound of it the car hasn't been abused. It's never seen rain/snow and the original paint is immaculate. It's mostly stock besides the exhaust, short shifter, and aftermarket clutch. He mentioned that the only problem is you have to double clutch to get out of reverse. He's only looking to get $5000 for it, does this seem like a good deal? How reliable are cobras with 150k+ miles? I'm seriously considering this car since it seems like it's been taken care of very well and I've never seen a cobra for $5000 before.
 
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cbrown9064

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That mileage is throwing me off. It is a lot on a car, unless the seller has a pile of replacement part receipts. If the MX has not been kept up with, you could end up replacing a lot of parts. Right off the bat I am thinking...suspension bushings, ball joints, shocks, struts... Maybe even things like U joints and springs. And that does not even touch the motor which could be worn out or not, depending on use/abue and maintenance.

How far is the car from you? Go look and talk to the guy again (with $5k in your wallet...don't be time waster) and see if he has receipts and look through them. Talk about how he performed maintenance. You may have a good car or a pile of junk. Only a visual inspection will give you clues.
 

sn95cbr

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That mileage is throwing me off. It is a lot on a car, unless the seller has a pile of replacement part receipts. If the MX has not been kept up with, you could end up replacing a lot of parts. Right off the bat I am thinking...suspension bushings, ball joints, shocks, struts... Maybe even things like U joints and springs. And that does not even touch the motor which could be worn out or not, depending on use/abue and maintenance.

How far is the car from you? Go look and talk to the guy again (with $5k in your wallet...don't be time waster) and see if he has receipts and look through them. Talk about how he performed maintenance. You may have a good car or a pile of junk. Only a visual inspection will give you clues.

Sorry for not knowing but what do you mean by mx? and the guy swore that the engine didn't burn a single drop of oil. Again you're right only visual inspection will tell.
 

cbrown9064

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MX=maintenance. Aviation term...sorry. Also, WX=weather.

I would highly doubt the car does not use oil. On a stock 97, the PCV valve is in a weird place in the valve cover and when you let off at high RPMs, will suck oil into the intake. Over time it can add up... Technically it "burns" it. So, right off the bat, I am suspect this guy does not know much about Cobras. Check it out in person. Bring someone who knows mod motors (even a local guy who worked on 2v motors in police Crown Vics, Taxis or Town Cars.
 
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R.D.P.

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If the motor blows on the way home, would you have the skills + $$ or just the $$ on hand to have it completely rebuilt? If yes, it's worth considering. If a blown engine would equal you pissed off and looking at a sitting broke car for months, don't buy it.
 

cbrown9064

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If the motor blows on the way home, would you have the skills + $$ or just the $$ on hand to have it completely rebuilt? If yes, it's worth considering. If a blown engine would equal you pissed off and looking at a sitting broke car for months, don't buy it.

Wow...that is the best advice I have heard yet! Excellent way to look at it!
 

sn95cbr

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If the motor blows on the way home, would you have the skills + $$ or just the $$ on hand to have it completely rebuilt? If yes, it's worth considering. If a blown engine would equal you pissed off and looking at a sitting broke car for months, don't buy it.

I doubt the engine would blow but if it did how much would a rebuild cost? And if the engine did blow I'd probably do a termi swap or build it up with a vortech and make it a sweet track machine :)
 
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mustang3X

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Offer $3,500 I doubt he has many people wanting to buy it. Also check for rust, that is worse than almost any mechanical problem.

If you aren't the "do it yourself" type I wouldn't buy a car with high mileage.
 

clackamascowboy

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my 97' has almost 195k on it. Never rebuilt, runs strong. Motor depends on how it was taken care of. I bought mine with the intention of one day having to rebuild it. Hopefully not soon. I paid $6500 for mine, but my car had $1500 in new wheels/tires and a fresh paint job.
 

nomoretickets

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At 160k its definitely been abused at some point. Its just a matter of how much. 300 hp and you mean to tell me the guy has never jumped on it?

Anyway, with that mileage, I would start with the assumption that you will have some worn gaskets in the valve train and that it eats a bit of oil. Not the worst thing in the world, just something to keep an eye on going forward.

The tranny bit would throw me the greatest hesitation. These T-45's are known for sticking in reverse at times, but they are also known for bent shift forks so tranny maintenance would be something to really look over. Run it through all the gear changes to be sure there arent hidden gremlins there.
 

thetvirus

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The high mileage is fine if the oil was changed regularly, these motors can go 300k plus. The thing that kills them is running low on oil at high rpm, but they have a low oil light. Just keep the oil at full all the time. Also make sure the motor has no timing chain noises at idle, they do make noise on cold start-up because the tensioners are hydraulic. They can burn oil but should be only about 1/2 quart every 3000 miles. Also the T-45 tranny can grind in 2nd gear, make gear noise etc, but make sure it overall feels good. $5000 is a fair price it the rest of the car is good, paint, interior, etc. If the car is crystal white paint, that color does have problems with flaking off as the factory primer had problems with this color. Any car with this mileage will probably need something but these cars are easy to work on.
 

1BD9D7

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The trans is no big deal compared to potential engine problems, I happen to be replacing my original 50k mile t45 that is excellent with no issues and I'll be lucky to get $300-400 I would guess. The work of changing the trans is quite a job though. I would base the whole decision on your impressions when you see it in person. I have gone and looked at some junk... The miles are not that high considering the cars age, just get it bought right and it won't hurt you too bad.
 

Tantrix

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Just like any other vehicle, inspect the engine and just see how it was maintained. If it has been taken care of, there's no reason you won't go over 200k with no issues...the 4.6L is a good dependable engine. Some people (actually most) here will hesitate to even touch these cars if they have even near 100k miles on them, but it's all about how the car has been treated. If you need to, bring another person/friend along that knows cars so you have a better chance of spotting something wrong or something that will need repairing soon.


As far as the double clutch thing in reverse, that isn't a big surprise as it is a known fact they have weak spots from the factory which is why a lot of people do T56 swaps. Personally, I'd rather have a built one from the T45 source...they are absolutely bulletproof once they are done with it.
 

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