Seeking a roadmaster estate wagon, need hints, tips and what to look for and where to find a good one for a fair price..

billmorrow

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hello..
newbie, obviously, but not new to buick as i drove my mothers '50 super sedan when she was not looking in the early '50's.. :)
now tired of mercedes cars that always seem to have some sort of an issiue with 'something', 'somewhere' that requires immediate expenditure of many thousands of dollars.. :(

so, to the points..
1. what should i look at when buying a used roadmaster wagon..? what goes pfftt on those cars..? :)
what should i ask anyone who has one for sale..?
2. Where can i find some offerings aside from cargurus.com, cars.com, hemmings, et al..
i don't see a marketplace for cars here on this forum..

thanks,
bill morrow
 

92Buick

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1992 Roadmaster
hello..
newbie, obviously, but not new to buick as i drove my mothers '50 super sedan when she was not looking in the early '50's.. :)
now tired of mercedes cars that always seem to have some sort of an issiue with 'something', 'somewhere' that requires immediate expenditure of many thousands of dollars.. :(

so, to the points..
1. what should i look at when buying a used roadmaster wagon..? what goes pfftt on those cars..? :)
what should i ask anyone who has one for sale..?
2. Where can i find some offerings aside from cargurus.com, cars.com, hemmings, et al..
i don't see a marketplace for cars here on this forum..

thanks,
bill morrow
The problem is no one ever sells these damn things, it took me 10 years to find one! If you do, be on the lookout for transmissions issues. Depending on if it’s the 700. I got lucky and had 15 good years before I had to rebuild mine this summer and it was around $3300, mind you she doesn’t owe me a thing. They all have the typical GM front end issues so expect to replace ball joints, tie rod ends and the idler arm, etc. The nice thing is all those parts are cheap. I would also see when the rear brakes were done last as replacing drums on these is a headache even for seasoned mechanics. I have had no issues other than regular items like a radiator, starter... and the heat and A/C quirks that from what I hear are common. They are big heavy cars with not many vents so if you live in Canada the winter can be pretty crappy when the defrost shits the bed. But all is forgiven when she gets in highway gears and sips fuel cruising at 120 in luxury:)
 

92Buick

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The problem is no one ever sells these damn things, it took me 10 years to find one! If you do, be on the lookout for transmissions issues. Depending on if it’s the 700. I got lucky and had 15 good years before I had to rebuild mine this summer and it was around $3300, mind you she doesn’t owe me a thing. They all have the typical GM front end issues so expect to replace ball joints, tie rod ends and the idler arm, etc. The nice thing is all those parts are cheap. I would also see when the rear brakes were done last as replacing drums on these is a headache even for seasoned mechanics. I have had no issues other than regular items like a radiator, starter... and the heat and A/C quirks that from what I hear are common. They are big heavy cars with not many vents so if you live in Canada the winter can be pretty crappy when the defrost shits the bed. But all is forgiven when she gets in highway gears and sips fuel cruising at 120 in luxury:)
This sounds terrible, but maybe checking out retirement homes? Or estate sales?
 

billmorrow

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hello 92buick..
thanks for the hints.. these are hard to find BUT i have managed to find about 10 all over the country.. and several nice chevy caprice wagons which are stripped down versions of the buick..
my big concern is rust.. one is in miami and was owned by a surfer, supposedly of some repute.. has some rust i can see but not much, another is closer but has more rust.. both are used car dealers..
another is in the hills of SC and comes with a parts car that is reputed to have run until the fuel pump quit.. now relagated to a parts car life..
not sure but from what i can learn the trannys are either a 4T60E or a hydraulically controlled 4T60.. not sure which would be a better bet but my gut says, simple is better..
there are more than a few distressed roadmaster estate wagons scattered about, my same gut says it is better to but quality than a fixer-upper.. ?!
thanks for the hints so far..
FWIW i always consider spending some $$ to get things right..
and from what i see on the 'net these pretty good cars..
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92Buick

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1992 Roadmaster
hello 92buick..
thanks for the hints.. these are hard to find BUT i have managed to find about 10 all over the country.. and several nice chevy caprice wagons which are stripped down versions of the buick..
my big concern is rust.. one is in miami and was owned by a surfer, supposedly of some repute.. has some rust i can see but not much, another is closer but has more rust.. both are used car dealers..
another is in the hills of SC and comes with a parts car that is reputed to have run until the fuel pump quit.. now relagated to a parts car life..
not sure but from what i can learn the trannys are either a 4T60E or a hydraulically controlled 4T60.. not sure which would be a better bet but my gut says, simple is better..
there are more than a few distressed roadmaster estate wagons scattered about, my same gut says it is better to but quality than a fixer-upper.. ?!
thanks for the hints so far..
FWIW i always consider spending some $$ to get things right..
and from what i see on the 'net these pretty good cars..
I am in British Columbia but nowhere near the ocean so I don’t know much about the condition the cars might be in near salt water. First check absolutely every part, under the carpet in the truck, the Frame rails, the exhaust, and under the floor mats. Rust on wheel wheels can be fixed but BE CAREFUL! Body work is usually way more than DIY mechanical and with such a big car you can get in over your head pretty quick. I would even try to loosen a random screw or bolt just to see how far that rust is down the threads. Check the wheels and lugnuts too, salt is the enemy. The Caprice is easier to repair in some ways, but if you are getting a b-body I would advise either the Buick or the 96 Impala or not at all lol. Keep me posted I have been working on cars for almost 20 years and I still love my Monster more every year. In the world of plastic and Fiat junk, it’s nice to drive real Detroit steel👍
 

92Buick

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I am in British Columbia but nowhere near the ocean so I don’t know much about the condition the cars might be in near salt water. First check absolutely every part, under the carpet in the truck, the Frame rails, the exhaust, and under the floor mats. Rust on wheel wheels can be fixed but BE CAREFUL! Body work is usually way more than DIY mechanical and with such a big car you can get in over your head pretty quick. I would even try to loosen a random screw or bolt just to see how far that rust is down the threads. Check the wheels and lugnuts too, salt is the enemy. The Caprice is easier to repair in some ways, but if you are getting a b-body I would advise either the Buick or the 96 Impala or not at all lol. Keep me posted I have been working on cars for almost 20 years and I still love my Monster more every year. In the world of plastic and Fiat junk, it’s nice to drive real Detroit steel👍
Also the 4T60E is a good transmission as long as it’s been taken care of. First priority would be to drive it and make sure all the gears are working, and the condition of the fluid. My transmission guru was shocked mine lasted till 273,000 km but I flushed it and changed the filter every 3 years since I bought it. The fuel pump went last year and I bought it on Amazon and we did it at home, only $49 CAD but man is it a big tank. The parts are not expensive it how much time do you have? Find the one you love that speaks to you and then it will be worth putting money into! Keep in touch, I am super excited:)
 

billmorrow

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hello again..
and thanks for the ideas..
i DO drive real detroit steel.. my '59 caddy convertible and my '70 eldorado.. the hoods are so heavy i could not lift either the first time i tried.. had to build up to it..
either of these cars would plow through most any current car..
got tired of mercedes.. my SL600 had the top hydraulic cylinders leak.. huge job i did myself.. had to, the cost for a dealer would have been $10k..
my current SL55 had the top latch cylinder leak.. fluid all over the car.. did that one myself too.. left me with a bad taste for these cars..
i have an '01 S600 V12, wonderful car when it all works.. near as i can tell there is a leak between 10 & 12.. either head gasket, stretched head bolts (common on these V12's i am told), cracked head or block.. most likely the gasket or bolts.. car is worth, running, $3500.. repairs on the engine would go $3k or more..
THEN a rear strut started leaking.. those are $600 parts, several hours labor.. so that car is probably going to the crusher..
not even worth parting it out since there are so many of that series with similar issues..

can't do all the inspection you mention long distance..
the wife likes the buicks, she had one in the '60's she drove from texas to the SF bay area.. it was an easy sell..
the rust comes on cars from the rust belt.. i.e. any northern state that uses salt on their roads in the winter..
i don't think these sellers will lift the carpets.. it looks to be screwed in place by the door trim plates..
but i have a lot of pix on my iphone that shows SOME surface rust.. but for $5k to $6k for a 110k mile car thats what you get..
if she really loves this car there ARE others around.. can't check the trunk.. there is no trunk in the wagon but i guess you might have meant under the rear facing seat carpeting..?!
there is a car in washington state i think.. see link..

miles are higher than some closer to me and the shipping would be about $1500..

so the search continues.. :)
 
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92Buick

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1992 Roadmaster
hello again..
and thanks for the ideas..
i DO drive real detroit steel.. my '59 caddy convertible and my '70 eldorado.. the hoods are so heavy i could not lift either thefirst time i tried.. had to build up to it..
either of these cars would plow through most any current car..
can't do all the inspection you mention long distance..
the wife likes the buicks, she had one in the '60's she drove from texas to the SF bay area.. it was an easy sell..
the rust comes on cars from the rust belt.. i.e. any northern state that uses salt on their roads in the winter..
i don't think these sellers will lift the carpets.. it looks to be screwed in place by the door trim plates..
but i have a lot of pix on my iphone that shows SOME surface rust.. but for $5k to $6k for a 110k mile car thats what you get..
if she really loves this car there ARE others around.. can't check the trunk.. there is no trunk in the wagon but i guess you might have meant under the rear facing seat carpeting..?!
there is a car in washington state i think.. see link..

miles are higher than some closer to me and the shipping would be about $1500..

so the search continues.. :)
What? 5k American? Jesus. I hope they are In pristine condition as I bought mine with no rust original owner at 263,000 km 15 years ago for $2500. In Canada:(
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92Buick

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What? 5k American? Jesus. I hope they are In pristine condition as I bought mine with no rust original owner at 263,000 km 15 years ago for $2500. In Canada:(
Get underneath it and check the Frame at least. And smell the transmission fluid and look at the coolant, any rust or sludge? Even the inside of the oil cap for buildup or pull a spark plug. I may be a woman but being in the auto industry for almost 2 decades has Taught me buyer beware with used car shysters. And the exhaust, too, leaks of any sort, and especially the grease fittings, are the firm or look like they are busted and covered in 20 years of muck? This shit all cost money. The weather stripping, inside the door, the hinges, do the windows go up smooth, does it idle normally, how clean is the engine, does it smell musty or mouldy?
 

92Buick

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What? 5k American? Jesus. I hope they are In pristine condition as I bought mine with no rust original owner at 263,000 km 15 years ago for $2500. In Canada:(
Ok, that wagon is pretty cool especially on impala wheels but wow! That’s a lot of money. I wish I was there and could check it out with you. See if they have service records for brakes etc....
 

billmorrow

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too far away from all of the examples to do any of the usual checks.. note: i am OLD so smelling the tranny oil is basic.. women don't usually know much about car mechanics.. my wife does not know what that red knob is on the end of a yellow pencil.. :( but she's a honey in so many other ways i live with it..
there are several with good carfax reports..
the money seems to go up with really low miles.. i guess carfax is a must.. i guess i'll take my chances..
 

Griswold

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RMW specific things I would watch for (I owned 2-96 RMWs):
- Water leaks (then rust) in the rear pillars. I never figured out how water was getting in.
- Opti-spark: I never had a problem but they cause a lot of grief
- On tow package cars, changing the serpentine belt is absolute murder because it is threaded behind a hard pipe for the cooling system. Even worse, if the tensioner goes on the other belt, you are screwed because replacements aren't available anywhere. Only option is to convert to electric fans which isn't as easy as it sounds.
- GM says Dexcool coolant is good for 10 years, then change it every 5 years. Follow it to the letter, otherwise the heater core will plug up, then no heat. No fun to flush out in a deep freeze!

Otherwise, they are very reliable.
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billmorrow

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committed to buying two.. a '91, one owner, florida car, 110k miles, full service records..
great carfax, it hit a deer, i imagine it went badly for the deer.. needs a few cosmetic items like the wood grain vinyl siding..
a '95, 150k miles, has had all the electrical items replaced and full service.. also florida car..
now the fun begins..
 
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HotZ28

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I suppose you also know that the drive-train & many other parts are not compatible between the '91 & '95. Vinyl siding pre-cut is nearly impossible to find with the OEM look. You may find some alternatives, but they will not match unless you replace the whole vinyl siding/front to rear on both sides.
 

billmorrow

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did not intend for either to be a parts car for the other..
upon looking at the carfax the '91 is really a '92 if that makes much difference..

if, after my wife gets some experience piloting these big boats, i will look to replacing what needs to be replaced to make the car(s) more presentable..

IRT the vinyl siding, no plans on making a concours car, only having some made in the USA iron in the driveway..

if siding sources are known, please share.. :)
 

HotZ28

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IIRC, the 92 came with the 350-cu-in LO5 (Chevy truck engine) and the '91 had the old 305-cu-in engine, which was a lazy dog! You may be lucky if that is actually an '92. I have not looked, or found any pre-cut vinyl siding for those RMW. It may be available, but you need to do some searching. Good Luck!
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billmorrow

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where would i seek that vinyl siding.. when i search on duckduckgo.com i get house siding.. :(
though i might look for something more interesting, like basket weaving siding, like in the bottom of chinese restaurant bentwood chairs, last seen by me in chinatown, SF in the '60's..
it has to be weather resistant or weather proof..
carfax says, from the vin i suppose, that the engine is: 5.7L V8 F OHV 16V so that sounds like the chevy engine, yes.. no..??
 

HotZ28

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where would i seek that vinyl siding.. when i search on duckduckgo.com i get house siding.. :(
though i might look for something more interesting, like basket weaving siding, like in the bottom of chinese restaurant bentwood chairs, last seen by me in chinatown, SF in the '60's..
it has to be weather resistant or weather proof..
carfax says, from the vin i suppose, that the engine is: 5.7L V8 F OHV 16V so that sounds like the chevy engine, yes.. no..??
Like I said, you will have to do some searching, SF China Town is not the place to go for vinyl siding! I think you may be correct on the VIN & engine.
 

Griswold

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IIRC, the 92 came with the 350-cu-in LO5 (Chevy truck engine) and the '91 had the old 305-cu-in engine, which was a lazy dog!
Right. The 91 came out part way through the model year as a wagon only, and they didn't make that many. The 92 came with the 350, and the sedan became available.
 

billmorrow

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well, the '92 is paid for assuming fedex gets the check to the seller.. :bur:🤬 you guys have some neat 'smilies'.. :)
and transport is, i think, paid for and arranged..
 
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