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Questions from potential buyer


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Hello! I am new to your forum and really impressed with all the information I have learned so far.

I am going to look at a 1990 Chrysler Maserati TC. The exterior and interior is in pretty good shape. The porthole windows are delaminated but I hear it is not impossible to fix that!

I'm more concerned about it's driving condition as it has been stored for several years and I'll need to drive it home. Supposedly it is in good running condition. Don't worry, my brother will be following me in an Explorer so if it dies we can tow it home!

The good news is that it is stored next to a repair shop with a car lift so I'll be able to look at it underneath very easily.

I'd love to hear some advice about what problems I should look for -- specific to this model. Thanks in advance guys, hope to join the ranks of owners!

Sincerely, Barbara

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http://forums.aaca.org/f144/interested-tc-but-dont-know-much-196913.html

Look at the above post, it contains a lot of info for someone else's questions about the TC. My 91 TC had windshield header to top leaks until I accidentally found that getting the top seal wet before putting the soft top up or hardtop on would solve that problem for me. A car that has been stored for a while will need to have the fuel hoses replaced and the brake system flushed before driving. Also have the rear wheel bearings repacked with grease so the cages that hold the roller bearings can be inspected, my 91 had PLASTIC cages that were deteriorated at only 38,000 miles. I was about to do a cross country trip and had them checked on a whim and my mechanic replaced the bearings with proper metal caged ones.

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You didn't mention where the car is...

Is rust a problem there? I nothing nothing of the orange stuff where I live (SoCal) but my back east freinds say it tends to start at body seams and where the parking brake cable pentrates thru the floor pan and travel from there.

Brakes can be problematic with TC's if they weren't serviced a few times in the last 20 years. Any service records with the car? Anything that says they've been flushed, is the fluid in the master cylinder very dark? Clear is ideal, weak coffee is likely and still OK, exspresso color and it's probably the original fluid which probably means the original accumulator. Are there any warning lights that stay lit to the left of the inst cluster more than a couple seconds after strating it.

TC's that sit for years tend to need a new fuel pump within a few hundred miles of being brought back inot service. Some even need the fuel tank removed and 'boiled out' or replaced. Not a deal breaker IMO.

What's the engine oil like, dark and stinky? Look like a chocolate milkshake (very bad sign!)Or clear and fresh? Peak down into the valve cover with a flashlight after removing the oil filler cap. Light brown residue (fine) or blck sludge buiildup that you can see. Peek inside the radiator while you're at it. Green and clean or rustly water?

Motor mounts, original and they are shot, shake the motor hard while standing in front of the car, does it rock a little (fine) or a lot (oops).

Belts and hoses. clunk when you put it in gear ?(it's a V6 Auto right? It *could* be a 4 cylinder 5 spd car but pretty unlikely you've found one of those;))

Interior accompanyments are a HUGE part of the appeal to me on TC's, second only to the motor (everyone around here knows which one I like best:cool:) so what's the condition of the leather and carpets? Dash pad over instrument cluster have spots where the leather has pulled back. Is the panel that the defrost vents under the windshield twisted and warped? Leather soft or hard and cracked?

Mostly it comes down to three things on used cars. Condition, condition and condition:D

Good luck, let us know what you find, and maybe the color combonation.

Alan

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Thanks guys this is great stuff!

Ghosymosty -- you wet the rubber seal with water and it sealed better??? I'm amazed.

This car appears to have been stored ALOT during its life. It was originally sold as a lease vehicle (yuck) and has lived in the Midwest all its life.

The seller gave me a copy of an inspection report from last fall that was very detailed, lots of pictures, CARFAX is fine. Since it's a drive for me, I'm having him give it a good tune-up PLUS whatever you guys suggest before I leave SC. Rotten fuel lines and hoses are supposed to be replaced.

A good friend recommended test driving the SNOT out of the car, get it good and hot and then put it up on the lift and look underneath for leaks.

I'm not sure what maintenance records I'm going to see, but the seller said he replaced the brake accumulator thingee but I guess it's a good idea to flush the brakes.

Ghostymosty, thanks so much for recommending having the rear wheel bearings repacked with grease and the plastic cages inspected and possibly changed out with metal cages. My test drive will be on the original dry rotted tires but the seller agrees to adjust the price by the price of tires. If he doesn't flush the brakes, I can have all that done at once.

So, what is the absolute best (15 inch, right?) tires to put on this baby?

I've seen fuel pumps and gas tanks for the TC advertised on ebay -- are these fairly standard Chrysler parts? What engine parts are the hardest to find?

TwinCamFan -- The oil is supposed to be changed and the radiator flushed, but I like your idea of peeping down those holes to look for yucky residue.

Yes, here in the beautiful lowcountry of SC, salt is a major problem. There's salt in the air, salt in the dust, salt water on the roads twice a month at high tide. Everything rusts! Stainless steel knives, razors, etc. won't stay sharp for more than a couple of days at the beach. I hose off the underneath of my cars on a weekly basis and this seems to work for newer models.

The pictures of the car show some rust underneath but it appears superficial. No significant rust shown on the inspection report. I plan to touch every single inch of this car to feel for any weak spots that have rusted through. The bottom and sides of the door panels, the floor under the carpet, the hood, and all around the hood are all places that I've seen rust eat thru. With a convertible I guess I should check all the way around the top edges and drains.

Also if there is any sign of a high water mark on the car (don't laugh, I've seen it before), I will run for my life!!!

My first car was a NOVA that leaked so bad, I had to take a nail and punch holes where the water was accumulating!

So if I do buy this car or another TC I will be asking you guys what to do about rustproofing underneath which probably won't work anyway in SC.

Leather looks pretty good, dash is slightly warped, a few nicks here and there in the leather, no rips or tears. I just hope he never ruined it with cheap cleaners or reconditioners. Thanks TwinCamFan for letting me know where the leather usually ages.

I'll be listening for the clunk when changing gears (automatic V-6) -- usually just 1st or reverse or will it potentially do it in all gears? When I'm shaking the front of the car to check the motor mounts, do I stand to one side or in the middle?

You guys are great, thanks again, Barbara

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Barbara----An issue I have found with both of my cars (and occurs on Lebarons as well) is upper rocker panel rust. If the car was stored inside quite a bit, this probably won't be a problem---but check it anyway. When you open either door, there is a chrome and rubber rocker panel trim piece on the top of both rocker panels. Check for rust/corrosion at the front of each of those trim pieces. You may have to unscrew each one (about 4-6 short sheet metal screws) to get an accurate picture but it usually begins at the front. It's not a deal breaker but it could be a negotiation point.

Bear in mind that this car is a modified Chrysler K car. For basic mechanical info, you can use Allpar.com to help you re: engine and transaxle.

Good luck and have fun.

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Minor Hijack warning:

Hey Studedude, I'm flying into Baltimore today, the Turbo Mopar/Shelby Dodge national convention starts tomorrow in Hagerstown MD, host hotel is the Clarion. over 100 cars, come check us out. Look me up, ask just about anyone who the crazy guy is with all the TC's and they'll point me out;)

Alan

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Alan----thanks for the invite but I'm not back in town until Monday---down near Ocean City MD on vacation. Hagerstown is an interesting venue for that group----lots of hard-core car guys in that neck of the woods. Have a safe trip and a good time.

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Lots of good info here. If the car works to your liking, I hope you enjoy it. The TC gets a lot of lookers wherever you take it. There aren't too many left. I found mine about a mile from the house and I didn't know what it was until I researched. I'm real happy with the find. What few things I needed to correct/fix were all cosmetic.

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These are nice cars and fundamentally well engineered but I would recommend one only if your a car enthusiast and:

a. You're mechanically knowledgeable and handy, a Do It Yourselfer.

b. You have GOOD friends with the above if you do not.

c. You have a mechanic who is experienced and is truly "Chrysler knowlegable"

d. You have at least a couple of thousand extra dollars available for "contingencies"

e. The car appears to be well cared for inside and out.

f. You are not discouraged by small niggling things that may need replacement and repair.

g. You really like the uniqueness of the Italian-American nature of the TC

h. You have money to burn.

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Thanks George! I bought the car Tuesday and drove it 1000 miles home trouble-free! My new little yellow cream puff is so pristine in condition that the multiplude of hand-manufactured defects in the body and irregular stitching in the interior really pops out at you. I can almost hear the people laughing at this car in the dealership in 1990. I'll post a new thread with pictures soon. As for your list, I'm still working on all of the above except for the last one. Barbara

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Good luck and happy motoring with your new aquisition. You'll want to look into joining the TC America Club if for no other reason than to get the newsletter and develop a personal knowledge base of this very unique car.

Yes, TC bodies and interiors are basically hand made and each one is a little bit different and reflects their hand made nature. That very much puts the TC much closer to bespoke vehicles like Ferrari's, Bentley and Rolls Royce than it does to most production cars of that era. It's a good 'ol American car in an Italian suit !

The best part is that the mechanicals are all basic Chrysler stuff, and while not very sophisticated, are readilly available just about everywhere and at the low end of the pricing spectrum.

The interiors are all leather, everywhere. No vinyl at all. All the stitching is real and the materials were very well done, though all the leather needs to be cared for and treated regularly. These cars have personality and CARisma.

I hope you have some fun with it. It really is a special little car.

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Thanks George! I bought the car Tuesday and drove it 1000 miles home trouble-free! My new little yellow cream puff is so pristine in condition that the multiplude of hand-manufactured defects in the body and irregular stitching in the interior really pops out at you. I can almost hear the people laughing at this car in the dealership in 1990. I'll post a new thread with pictures soon. As for your list, I'm still working on all of the above except for the last one. Barbara

I had the 'Fastest TC in the World' at a gathering of sorts a couple weeks ago. The guys house it was at invited all of his 'car friends' He is an editor of a well know internet site (anyone heard of Edmunds.com ;)) and past editor of Sport Compact Car. An editor of Road and Track Magazine was there as well as countless other 'informed' car enthusiasts. I had my TC proudly displayed in a prominent spot. As the guys rolled thru I heard lots of "Oh Man, is this a TC??" and "I didn't know any of these were still on the road" I took plenty of ribbing from these automotive industry guys but after they spent a few minutes looking and poking around. I had a few converts that begrudgingly agreed that it was a nice car that got the short end from the mainstream press back in the day. After two particularly critical guys went for a ride, I had two more converts. The highlight of the evening was a planned burnout contest in the host's Cul De Sac street under semi controlled conditions. Burnouts were measred for length and quality as well as 'smokiness' and other subjective factors. I chose a second gear start exhibition because the clutch in that car is a six-puck sintered iron (it is unpleasant on easy starts but it *does* have it's benefits;)) and the wheelspeed would be much higher than first gear.:cool: Guess which car won the contest?:D There was a 2010 Viper there, a 455 Ponitac Trans Am, late model Camaro's, and plenty of heavy hitters.

Moral here, at first blush the TC Maserati will not impress everyone and may take some shots:o. If they spend a few minutes and get past their bias generated by the press 20 years ago, most of those folks will see the beauty that we do:cool:

Alan

PS. Congrats on your 'new' car Barbara, enjoy!

Edited by TwinCamFan (see edit history)
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