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  1. #1
    Bigdaddy1 is offline Officer First Class
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    Question about cruisers

    I am looking for a safe car for my son, something with some metal around it and that he can fit into (he's over 6'5" and 300lbs) but I dont have much money. You guys (and gals) are in them and know how they are treated. Would a retired cruiser be a good choice for the money? If yes are there any signs to watch out for and anything to avoid?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    cntryboy0531 is offline THE five-oh
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    I personally wouldn't want one. Those are a lot of hard miles on those cars. But some like them, and swear by them. Honestly, review crash test results. They will tell you a lot. Just because it's a tank, doesn't mean it'll keep you alive during a crash. You want the car to absorb as much of the energy as possible in the crash by crumpling, seatbelt usage, and airbag deployments, instead of your body taking the brunt of it.

    Find out what budget you're willing to work with, and go look through crash test results.

    As for crash survivability, I think the crown vic will do ok. Again, read crash test results.

  3. #3
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    IMGreat101 is offline The Butcher
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    (he's over 6'5" and 300lbs)
    and you're worried about putting metal around him?

    I say get something practical like a heavy duty pickup.
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  4. #4
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    I would go along with what IMG was saying, there are used SUVs out there also. I think they would accomodate someone larger easier. A used Expedition or Tahoe would work.
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  5. #5
    Interceptor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigdaddy1 View Post
    I am looking for a safe car for my son, something with some metal around it and that he can fit into (he's over 6'5" and 300lbs) but I dont have much money. You guys (and gals) are in them and know how they are treated. Would a retired cruiser be a good choice for the money? If yes are there any signs to watch out for and anything to avoid?
    I have owned several Crown Vics and Grand Marquis over the years. I have put alot of miles on them. I have owned samples of about the whole spectrum from the maxed out option Grand Marquis to the bare bones cruisers. When I went shopping for my current daily driver, I was not looking for a cruiser. I just wanted a reasonably priced car in good general condition with plenty of miles and years left to go on it.
    Long story short, I ended up with a State Patrol car in better shape than the "luxury" cars with the same mileage. The watch-outs are leaky head gaskets, cracked plastic intakes and slipping transmissions. I have noticed that normally the cruisers get the service bulletin updates more so than many grocery getters.
    Pass on the cars with all of the paint rusted off of the rims as the bottoms are likely just as bad or worse. Try to find one that did not have a back seat divider and plastic seat in it. If the bumper covers are all ripped up, it likely did not have an easy life. 2001 got an improved engine. 2002 and newer models had some really nice general updates.
    Some steel wheels developed cracks at the welds to the center disc. There was a recall on this. There was a recall on some 2003 axle shafts in Police and taxi service for bearing failure and shaft breakage.

  6. #6
    Bigdaddy1 is offline Officer First Class
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    Quote Originally Posted by IMGreat101 View Post
    and you're worried about putting metal around him?

    I say get something practical like a heavy duty pickup.

    I did think about that option, but my son also has to maintain and gas up the vehicle so I need something a little more economical. I used to drive my brothers squad to the repair shop I worked at and one thing I remember is that people always slow down when one is around, makes it a bit harder to zip around. (my hidden plan for him)

    Interceptor, what can I expect for a price range?

  7. #7
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    Twan007 is offline The People
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    easy answer - if you're looking for a retired cruiser... retired late model detective's vehicle (unmarked)

    because uniform patrol is rough on our cars - period...


    or pick up something from another state agency - the way Louisiana does it all state agencies have to buy the same vehicles - so Health and Hospitals, Social Services, Dept. of Labor are all using Crown Vics, Tahoes, Durangos, Malibu, etc...

    they don't run nearly as hard as State Police, DPS Police, and Wildlife and Fisheries... but they contract the same exact vehicles...

    but they auction them off just the same - think about that for a bit
    -=Twan007


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  8. #8
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigdaddy1 View Post
    I am looking for a safe car for my son, something with some metal around it and that he can fit into (he's over 6'5" and 300lbs) but I dont have much money. You guys (and gals) are in them and know how they are treated. Would a retired cruiser be a good choice for the money? If yes are there any signs to watch out for and anything to avoid?

    Thanks in advance
    No. Cruisers, as a rule, get ridden hard, put away wet, and generally majorly catch a lot of abuse. Even in a quiet agency, there's a lot "invisible miles" put on the engine while the cruiser isn't going anywhere. While they do generally receive regular maintenance -- you can't deny the abuse they take. And I wouldn't go for a rental company sale, either. Same concerns... How well did you treat your last rental? Do you really think they get proper maintenance.
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  9. #9
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    Twan007 is offline The People
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    good point JKS - one of our maintenance guys told me that the "invisible miles" of our UP cars winds up about tripling the mileage shown -

    my unit is an 06 Impala with 63k miles on it - that would put a grocery getter with 190k miles on it...

    that's a lot of miles in 4 years...
    -=Twan007


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  10. #10
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    I'd double the mileage of any cruisers put on the market in my area. The best maintained are the State Patrol squads, as they are assigned to individual troopers. I'd look for "off-color" vehicles, as they are usually supervisor vehicles and the miles on the odometer are a more accurate reflection. (less time idleing.)
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  11. #11
    Bigdaddy1 is offline Officer First Class
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    Good advice, I heard that some squads have performance chips and some other mods that are removed prior to sale to the public, so they don't have the same power as a squad. Even so I like the idea of another department vehicle. They probably wont have that stuff to begin with.

  12. #12
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    gopherpuckfan is offline I'm from the government and I'm here to help
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigdaddy1 View Post
    Good advice, I heard that some squads have performance chips and some other mods that are removed prior to sale to the public, so they don't have the same power as a squad. Even so I like the idea of another department vehicle. They probably wont have that stuff to begin with.
    There is no such thing as a performance or "cop chip" in any Crown Vic. They have the same engine as a Grand Marquis or Lincoln Town Car. The difference is the shift patterns in the ECM. The Police Interceptor models have a more aggressive shift pattern programmed in. There is a slight difference with the drive shaft length, too.
    The views expressed in the above post are the sole opinion of the author and do not reflect any official position by the author's employer and/or municipality.

  13. #13
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    I have a buddy that bought nothing but crown vics from police auctions for quite some time. They were cheap, and solid cars. They weren't pretty, and didn't always purr, but they always ran for him (they also normally only lasted 3-4 years...but then again, he drove them probably just as hard).

    If you're set on getting one, I'd suggest getting one from a dept. that has "take home" cars, like a state or county agency. If a LEO has a vehicle assigned to them (take home) they tend to take better care of it.
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  14. #14
    Bigdaddy1 is offline Officer First Class
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    I am thinking about it, haven't sold myself on the idea just yet. I will try to get the biggest bang for the buck. I will let you folks know what the final product is when it happens. If the financial state of affairs doesn't improve real soon it may be a pedal car.

  15. #15
    berserk is offline The reason they do psych evals
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    We beat the crap out of our cars. By the time we're done with them, you don't want them. Think of them like giant paperweights.

  16. #16
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    Interceptor is offline Rifleman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigdaddy1 View Post
    I did think about that option, but my son also has to maintain and gas up the vehicle so I need something a little more economical. I used to drive my brothers squad to the repair shop I worked at and one thing I remember is that people always slow down when one is around, makes it a bit harder to zip around. (my hidden plan for him)

    Interceptor, what can I expect for a price range?
    $3000-5000 for something which looks decent depending on miles and $2000-3000 for something with very high miles or more visible wear and tear. The even cheaper ones are going to be in considerably worse condition. Some of these look like they were used for a hole drilling contest in the interior, were parked in a salt pile on weekends and never had the oil changed.
    The ones with the Street Appearance Package are normally in nicer shape. Keith270 described them as "off color". They were not painted in traditional squad colors. They often said "Crown Victoria" on the rear emblem instead of "Police Interceptor". Most small town cars will look worse and have the most hidden mileage. I found mine on cars.com.
    The only down side I have found is that your fuel mileage will be lower with a cruiser. I get 2-3MPG less highway with mine than I did with my last Grand Marquis, and the Grand Marquis had 3.55 gears where this cruiser has 3.27. Both are dual exhaust. The difference is the computer calibration. I like the higher idle and the shift points that I get with this computer so I have no plans on switching it out. They are factory rated at 22 for the cruiser and 25 for the other highway

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Interceptor View Post
    $3000-5000 for something which looks decent depending on miles and $2000-3000 for something with very high miles or more visible wear and tear. The even cheaper ones are going to be in considerably worse condition. Some of these look like they were used for a hole drilling contest in the interior, were parked in a salt pile on weekends and never had the oil changed.
    The ones with the Street Appearance Package are normally in nicer shape. Keith270 described them as "off color". They were not painted in traditional squad colors. They often said "Crown Victoria" on the rear emblem instead of "Police Interceptor". Most small town cars will look worse and have the most hidden mileage. I found mine on cars.com.
    The only down side I have found is that your fuel mileage will be lower with a cruiser. I get 2-3MPG less highway with mine than I did with my last Grand Marquis, and the Grand Marquis had 3.55 gears where this cruiser has 3.27. Both are dual exhaust. The difference is the computer calibration. I like the higher idle and the shift points that I get with this computer so I have no plans on switching it out. They are factory rated at 22 for the cruiser and 25 for the other highway
    I recently put about 1000 miles on my patrol car going to trainin across the state, I averaged close to 20mpg doing around 90mph with a good wind
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  18. #18
    Interceptor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgg View Post
    I recently put about 1000 miles on my patrol car going to trainin across the state, I averaged close to 20mpg doing around 90mph with a good wind
    My Grand Marquis got between 22 and 23 going from WI to FL and back twice fully loaded with the family gear through the mountains of KY and TN with plenty of miles going above 75MPH. My Dad has a '01 GS base model and gets at least 24.

  19. #19
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigdaddy1 View Post
    I am thinking about it, haven't sold myself on the idea just yet. I will try to get the biggest bang for the buck. I will let you folks know what the final product is when it happens. If the financial state of affairs doesn't improve real soon it may be a pedal car.
    Get a fairly recent model used car. Make sure to get things like ABS and side airbags. I wouldn't go too big; parking and handling a bigger vehicle can be tricky. And it invites having lots of people riding in the car... I'd suggest a mid to full size car, from one of the dealerships that offer certification and warranties.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by gopherpuckfan View Post
    There is a slight difference with the drive shaft length, too.
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