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Old 08-14-2015, 01:37 PM   #1
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The "Help me buy an S-Chassis" Thread

This is the place to post all of the "is it worth it?", "what do you think of this car?, "should I buy this car?" questions. Anyone that is currently stand I will let it stay. All future posts of this nature will go here.

EDIT: posted Kingtal0n's guide, all credit to him.
-----


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingtal0n View Post
This is a rough draft, I made it to help folks find the right car, hope it helps

You can download software I made, for 97/98 240sx, to generate an estimate of it's value:
http://www.megafileupload.com/91o0/240sxestimation.zip



It was written from the perspective of a poor college student who desires a reliable daily driver that will maintain its value in the long-term, and also provide a solid foundation for a future project


Unofficial 240sx diagnosis for purchase flowchart
For all Original Parts
240sx Chassis, generally 1997-1998 USA

Body:
-Garage kept status (Good dashboard, unfaded interior, should also have original paint and no unacceptable rust)
Original paint
-Car sat in the sun, paint is original but faded (still a very good thing, because wherever you see original paint, you can bet there has been no body work and thus no accidents.)
-Car sat in the sun, but was repainted (paint job should be a few years old and holding up well. Beware of anything freshly painted)
-Paint job is a few years old but does not seem to be holding up well. Also, paint job was done around the same time the car switched owners. (bad sign. Car might have been wrecked, fixed, painted, sold.

Original engine
-Are you sure ?
All vin tags in place
Missing vintags in order of importance: (Hood, front support, trunk , fenders, doors, bumpers)

Leaking anything besides oil (Transmission, differential; power steering does not count they all should leaking PS or you will be suspicious)
-Frame rails are good (you can live with it )
-Frame rails are excellent (better than you would hope for or expect DESIRED)
-Frame rails are mint (nearly perfect, no malicious jacking no dents RARE)
Doesn’t leak water into the sides of the trunk (good sign it was never hit in the rear, lights not removed)
-Basically Accident free
-Accident free

Engine and underhood:
All original clips and wiring no modifications
missing some clips that hold down the air intake tube AND more than 100,000 miles
Oil looks clean after an oil change.
-Under valvecover fairly clean (oil is not super bright and clear but there is no oil sludge buildup visible)
-Under valvecover extra clean (no sludge, camshafts clean, no black oil sitting on top of the cam caps)
-No oil leaks (a little from the valvecover is ok)
-No obvious obnoxious silicone protruding from anything (no repairs, original parts)
Original bumper hardware, nothing missing
*Original headlight hardware, original headlight “cut-off” and proper alignment of lights




Engine has:
Under 150,000 miles (2-3 more years of service)
Under 120,000 miles (4-5 more years of service)
Under 75,000 miles (6-7 more years)
Under 50,000 miles (7+ years of service left)

An OEM KA24DE engine should go at least 150,000 miles or more (sometimes 180,000+) without needing any major repair. You should expect to replace it around 180,000-220,000 miles, but some can go even farther.
Minor repairs include: valvecover gasket, water pump/thermo, radiator & hoses, vacuum lines, clutch fan, a/c gas refill)

Chassis has:
200,000-220,000 miles (look for replaced suspension components, check the inner tie rods and shocks)
150,000-200,000 miles (shocks, also check the differential if there is oil in it, and what does it look like)
100,000-150,000 miles: (TC-rods are bad between 60k-120k)
Under 100,000 miles: mostly original suspension parts. Tie rod ends could be halfway shot by 40K.
Under 50,000 miles: very unlikely. Rare.
For all chassis, you would like the inner tie rods to be original and unbent.


Interior
Original carpet is nearly mint (drivers side is almost like new, RARE)
Original carpet in excellent condition (drivers side especially is in good condition with no holes)
Original carpet in good condition (drivers side has a tear from use but overall carpet is nice
Original floormats clean (somewhat rare)
Original uncracked dash (valuable and rare)
Uncracked but somebody changed the dash (original one may have sat in the sun, or the airbag went off)

All visible electronic components (such as relays and wiring under the dash clearly visible) is OEM/clean
Dash is cracked from the sun or any other reason
Cluster is original and works (carfax verified)
Door locks work
Windows work
Windows seal up nearly completely (drive at 80mph and check for rustling) rare


What generally doesn’t matter:
Interior: Switches, buttons, plastic panels, center console, radio, plastic trim, door panels, speakers, seats, carpet (most of these things are available and affordable)

Exterior: everything matters
Original “Mud Flaps” (flimsy plastic panels around the tires) are intact and all plastic clips are in place (describe) rare


Drivetrain inspection points assuming original parts, check for maintenance of:
steering rack condition (describe)



power steering lines (describe)



sway bar, control arms, all end link rubbers, check for accident / curb contact (describe)



dirt and filth under the hood? Condition of chassis underhood paint including hood and insulation? (describe)



signs of pressure washing or strong solvent use under the hood to remove filth? (describe)



State of “everything else”:
Items such as driveshaft, engine mounts, most brackets, should hold up until you would normally replace them anyways such as during an engine swap. Most OEM 240sx components last as long as the engine. The catalytic converter may be ruined inside due to age and often needs to be replaced.

Rust anywhere? Describe


What often rusts that is not a big deal: exhaust parts and brackets close to the heat of the exhaust. Original Brake master cylinder often rusts. Subframe may develop a very slight surface rust that should appear minimal and slight, especially around the output shafts of the differential. Many bolts and nuts under the hood will develop a slight rust as well. Sunroofs in many 240sx have rust also.


You should restore a protective coat to anything that appears to be actively rusting away. WD-40 is a temporary fix but a permanent solution should be found. If it is a bolt, replace the bolt. If it is a washer or bracket, replace that. The subframe and differential can be changed easily as well.

Trunk area:
Check the corners of the trunk for water. Check under the spare tire for water.
Water In the trunk is often due to leaking rear lights, which often indicates that they have been removed at some point. Sometimes for paint, but other times for accident repair.
Look carefully at the seam glues, they are the best indicator for repairs. Clean factory glues all the way around is desirable.

Look at the insides of the body panels (quarter panels) for accidents and body work. A quarter panel is very difficult to replace and as such many accidents require body work in that area as opposed to replacement of whole quarter panels. Often the factory will make small seemingly pointless spot welds on the inside near the center, this is normal. (include picture)

Check the rear light wiring and make sure all of the clips and loom is intact. The 240sx rear light wiring should not ever be removed and it should survive just fine for 20+ years. Any signs that someone has tampered with the wiring indicate that there was a reason to remove or re-wire the rear lights which may have to do with an accident. Painting the vehicle should not require removal of that wiring.

Remember, we can change the seats, dash(debatable), carpet, door panels, plastic trim, transmission, engine, engine wiring harness, differential, rear subframe, outer tie rods, steering rack bushings, Tension control rods, hubs, windshield, hood, trunk, spoiler, exhaust, most plastic clips, (add more) EASILY.

What we cannot change easily or cheaply (would not want to have to change):
Inner tie rods (preferable), Lower Control arms, headlights, body panels, core support, steering rack (debatable), frame rails, any under car damage and dents, firewall, under dash components, mounting supports/locations for headlights, original bumpers and bumper hardware (debatable), steering shaft, A/C related hardware (besides lines off the compressor), rust or accident damage,

If any of that is damaged or ruined chances are the car is permanently ruined (with respect to original-ness , daily driver status, or high dollar minimal modification builds *clarify). Once its been wrecked or hit, yes bodywork can be done, but rarely will anything line up the way it used to, and even if it does, there is no way to truly hide body work from a professional eye unless its all done exactly like the factory does it- Which is possible, but very expensive and rare, which is not likely for a 240sx as the cost of a repair like that would often be more than the car is worth.







4-lug / Base (will be lighter and faster in the long run) personal preference
5-lug / SE (heavier, spoiler, options) personal preference

How to approach the 5-lug conversion on a 4-lug 240sx:
Many people are selling “5-lug conversions” that cost around $200-$500, but NOT all conversions are equal. You do not want the spindle/bearing from 240sx here in the USA for your conversion due to mileage concerns and brake size. The ideal 5-lug for the front comes from a Japanese S14/S15 Silvia because it will often have low miles and large brakes and the cost is similar to the high mileage tiny brake conversions you find here in the USA.
As to the rear, when the time comes to upgrade the engine, a great option is use an S15 sr20det and get the complete subframe from the Japanese S15 silvia to get the 5-lug, low mileage wheel bearings/axles/control arms, and low ratio differential for the six speed transmission. You also get fresh subframe bushings usually.
The idea is to use low mileage OEM components to push the 240sx chassis to 350,000+ miles reliably.
Keep in mind:
Even if the car is already 5-lug, you will usually still desire to change the spindles/brakes/subframe anyways due to mileage related wear and tear.






Unofficial 240sx diagnosis for purchase flowchart
For swaps, 240sx Chassis


Attention to details during the swap:
Wiring first. It was done somewhere, look at it. Can you find it? Is there a lump in the harness at one of the ends? Heatshrink was used, right? Does it look professional?

Intercooler plumbing. Was it custom or a kit, if so what kit? What brand is the intercooler?

Most kits do not fit perfect, but some are surprising. Any custom work should be obvious and adds value if it is done right. A name brand intercooler adds value as well.

“The Hole for the cold pipe” where is it? How was it cut? Is it protected with rubber and against rust? Is it symmetrical?
Is the battery still in the stock location? Battery relocations are usually not a good sign, completely un-necessary and often done poorly. If it has been relocated, can it be moved back?
Are any ugly holes cut? Look carefully at the firewall, and in the trunk area for “custom” holes.

Is the factory wiring harness grommet intact and complete? If anything was run through the firewall, it should be done in a manner that allows for an easy 100% reversible removal.

Check the air filter. Is it name brand? Is there is a clean mounting bracket? Is the filter being kept in a proper position by something (even napkins work and absorb vibration- the point is does the air filter flop around and vibrate on the chassis or is it stationary and secure and straight somewhere)

You want the original clutch fan, you want it clean and there is no oil or grease on the fan or the front of the engine. You want a clean fan shroud with a small space cut out for the a/c dryer. Check for relocated dryers and if so, the quality of the relocation (how are the lines bent?)
If the radiator is an aluminum unit, name brands add value. OEM Is desirable but not necessary. Electric fans are ok if they are controlled by a non-invasive high quality controller with redundant fusing and multiple relays (one for each fan).

check the engine for knock off parts. Knock off bypass valve, oil pan, intake manifold, remove value from the engine. OEM parts are preferable for stock engines. OEM T-28 turbochargers are desirable and add value if the compressor wheel appears to be in great condition (looks great and little shaft play)
Original T-25 turbochargers in great condition are rare, and should be left at 7psi to preserve their life.

Is the bypass recirculated? If not, an HKS ssqv authentic bypass should be used on the hot-pipe of most stock engines to provide adjustment-free operation that is acceptable but not optimal. An optimal bypass will be open during idle, recirculated well after the maf, allowing the compressor wheel to freely spin.

Check the oil color, look under the valve cover for black oil sitting on the cam caps. Check the cam lobes for scratches. Watch that oil comes out of every orifice that it should. Low mileage sr20det engines have very clean oil, even after 2000-3000 miles of operation. Every 25,000 miles a little black oil will accumulate on the camshaft caps and could be cleaned when you change the valvecover gasket to reset the “service interval”.

Look for oil leaking at the front main, and for oil dripping out of the transmission bellhousing. While the front main is fairly easy to change if you have experience and tools, the rear main is not as easy.

Is the ECU properly mounted? A properly mounted ECU is rare, and a sign that whoever did the swap is probably taking the time to do it right (pride in ownership)

Is the Igniter properly mounted (if applicable)? Same thing here, it isn’t necessary but it indicates that somebody is paying more attention to detail and adds potential value to the entire swap.

Is the clutch damper intact? And if not, how was it removed? Often if it is removed, somebody will bend the line in an ugly fashion, this is undesirable and removes value. You would like to see the damper installed and un-touched, because it gives you the clean factory lines to work with, and the option to remove it yourself in a clean fashion at a later date.

Is the transmission to exhaust hanger installed? This critical piece is absolutely necessary; all four 12mm bolts should be installed with the tension pulled away from the rear (keeping the turbocharger from any strain due to the exhaust system). Seeing this intact is just like seeing the ECU properly mounted; it means whoever did the swap knew better than to leave it off.

Does the car have Z32 rears? If so, follow the E-brake cable carefully to see how it was run/mounted (is it safe?) You don’t want a car with no e-brake, or half of an e-brake.

Look at the power steering hardlines behind the crossmember to see if they are bent up. When you install an engine into a 240sx it is common for these lines to get bent up. This is another indicator about the quality of the install, and helps to decide if this is the right car or not; If you see a floating ecu, a zip-tied igniter, a flopping around air filter, questionable wiring, bent PS lines, a missing trans-exhaust mount, the swap was done cheaply/poorly and I would walk away.
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Old 08-14-2015, 01:49 PM   #2
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Finally this thread was made. When I first joined there was no such thread so I just posted mine in chat lol.
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Old 08-14-2015, 02:27 PM   #3
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to all future posters;

-be patient, a better one will pop up.
-is that "cons" list really worth it once you pay to fix all that shit?
-you can't budget any 240 for 2k.
-chances are, if you have to post it here to get advice about issues the car has and you can't take care of said issues yourself, it's not worth it.
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Old 08-14-2015, 03:51 PM   #4
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Keep in mind:

You are dealing with a 20+ year old car. Most of the rubber bushings will be shot unless the car was properly cared for (rare).

An all original S13/S14 is worth more than a poorly modified one.
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Old 08-16-2015, 02:56 PM   #5
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Hello Zilvia, I am looking to buy an S13 so I can have something to drive to school and also learn to drift. I know that using a daily to drift isn't a very good idea but I am still in highschool so I can take the bus to school when something goes wrong and I'm not able to drive the car. I like the look of a coupe better but I found this hatch with a blown motor and thought it may be a good fit for me. It needs a paint job but it's pretty clean on the inside and it doesn't have much rust. For now, I would swap in a good ka24de, install some bolt ons, and have the car painted. Do you guys think this would be a good base to build on? Thank you in advance for any help.

http://chicago.craigslist.org/sox/cto/5169444507.html
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Old 08-16-2015, 04:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by japierdole View Post
Hello Zilvia, I am looking to buy an S13 so I can have something to drive to school and also learn to drift. I know that using a daily to drift isn't a very good idea but I am still in highschool so I can take the bus to school when something goes wrong and I'm not able to drive the car. I like the look of a coupe better but I found this hatch with a blown motor and thought it may be a good fit for me. It needs a paint job but it's pretty clean on the inside and it doesn't have much rust. For now, I would swap in a good ka24de, install some bolt ons, and have the car painted. Do you guys think this would be a good base to build on? Thank you in advance for any help.

http://chicago.craigslist.org/sox/cto/5169444507.html
That actually looks like a great base platform, especially considering your location.

The body looks good aside from the fact that it was sanded down.

Engine bay looks mostly original which will make swapping in a fresh KA a bit easier.
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Old 08-16-2015, 04:45 PM   #7
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I second Crimson. It's rough, and has no paint but with a bit of work it would be a great car. It looks bone stock too.

I'd say jump on it!
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Old 08-16-2015, 04:55 PM   #8
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Sad thing is, that's a completely normal price for a roller in Chicago.
Again, if you can handle the swap by yourself or with friends, might be worth it.
And for the sake of being local, at least rattle can it black or something haha
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonRockett View Post
That actually looks like a great base platform, especially considering your location.

The body looks good aside from the fact that it was sanded down.

Engine bay looks mostly original which will make swapping in a fresh KA a bit easier.
Most S13's around here for a similar price have a lot more rust and yes, the engine bay looks pretty clean.

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I second Crimson. It's rough, and has no paint but with a bit of work it would be a great car. It looks bone stock too.

I'd say jump on it!
I was thinking a paint job is all the car needs to look decent since the engine bay and interior are already pretty clean. Different rims would help too.

Quote:
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Sad thing is, that's a completely normal price for a roller in Chicago.
Again, if you can handle the swap by yourself or with friends, might be worth it.
And for the sake of being local, at least rattle can it black or something haha
I feel like it's a good deal for what it is. The difference between this car and this one is only an engine and rattle can paint job, but the price difference is almost $2000. I think I should be able to handle doing the swap with a friend or two.
Or just finish the front end to match the rest of the car, haha


I was hoping to take a look at the car today but I texted the owner almost 3 hours ago and have yet to receive a response.
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:48 PM   #10
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save yourself some time..
http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/cto/5171790074.html
or
http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwi/cto/5167826369.html
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:50 PM   #11
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If OP can afford $3500, those are good cars. Good finds though. Would have bought the first one if I was closer to Chicago haha
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:55 PM   #12
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I would prefer an S13, but I'll consider that Zenki.

Back in March I had a WTB post up on Craigslist for an S13 and I was emailed by the owner of that coupe. We emailed back and forth for about a week and I was ready to go look at the car but he stopped replying after I asked when I could go look at it. He said he drove it from Tennessee last year, it had no rust, and was owned by an elderly woman. When I asked him in March how many miles it had, he said 135k. The Craigslist ad states that it has 155k miles. That's quite a bit of miles the past 5 months if it really only had 135k. I decided to give it another go so I texted the number in the ad, but the number in the ad turns out to be the seller's buddy. So I was given the number to the seller and finally contacted him. Lots of weird things.

Last edited by japierdole; 08-16-2015 at 09:25 PM.. Reason: Other double post got deleted
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Old 08-17-2015, 12:48 PM   #13
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Also this should possibly be edited into the OP but user kingtal0n made a guide in essentially what to look for when attempting to purchase a 240sx.
can be found here.

A lot of that stuff seems like common sense but I think a lot of first time 240 owners get overwhelmed with excitement when they are looking at an s-chassis that they have the chance to buy.
love will make you blind.
try to shake the heart eyes, go in prepared and decide if it's really worth it.
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:27 PM   #14
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s13 what about this s13

Me and this guy have been talking about his s13 for a two weeks now, he wants 3k and I want to know, is it worth it?
Here are the specs:
92 240sx s13 hatch 5 speed (210k on the body)
Ka24de 110k on the motor and trans
Egr delete
No ac/ps
Greddy rs exhaust 80mm
Nismo test pipe
B&m short shifter
Weighted shift knob
Tein springs with k&w shocks
50 mm over fenders
4 good tires
Front and rear strut bars
S14 drivers seat ( and I have a recaro rep to go with it for extra $$)
Also have a brand new clutch in box
It also has a new master cyl and a Isis clutch line
A new pig noes front end off a coupe



here's the car
Video.MOV
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5b...p=docslist_api

The power steering line is kinked, and there is an exhaust leak, he undercoated the frame and replaced the shark nose with a pignose, if any more questions respond quickly

I want to check it out then buy it, but he said don't come with out cash in hand. He works quite a bit so he doesn't want to waste time, he also told me to come Friday and that he doesn't want to meet twice.

What are your thought
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:32 PM   #15
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sounds like he doesn't want to waste anymore time on the car whether that be repairing it or dealing with a sale. sounds like he will take the first legitimate cash offer from the first person to go look at it.
the perfect scenario for a price beat down if you know what you're talking about after you look at it.
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:39 PM   #16
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sounds like he doesn't want to waste anymore time on the car whether that be repairing it or dealing with a sale. sounds like he will take the first legitimate cash offer from the first person to go look at it.
the perfect scenario for a price beat down if you know what you're talking about after you look at it.
There is a quarter size rust hole that he put undercoating on, should I go broke on this or just let it go
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:44 PM   #17
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you should go look at it in person with some cash in hand.
if it's worth $xxxx to you, offer that to him.
if it's not worth anything, leave.
he cant force you to buy the car upon meeting up with him. You can pass on a vehicle after inspecting it if it's not what you were expecting.
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:54 PM   #18
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That's just he thing, he doesn't want me coming unless I am buying so I'm in a jumble
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Old 08-20-2015, 04:20 AM   #19
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:59 AM   #20
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Let it go .

I seen a red one in lake bluff no reverse "100k" on motor

I offered him 1300 and he seemed willing waiting to hear back if he gets other offers
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:02 AM   #21
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https://racine.craigslist.org/cto/5178950245.html
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:58 AM   #22
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so uh.. did you have a actual question or just posting for good times?

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reverse dont work. interior is stripped. rust on drivers side floor panel. also under passenger side door. has a gay ass wing on the back. need this whore gone.
seems totally worth it.. lol.
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:59 AM   #23
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The only good thing on that car is the wheels. If you are serious, keep looking.
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:47 AM   #24
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It's for dude not for me I'm in the middle of a build
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:50 AM   #25
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Oh right, might as well travel 9 hours from PA to buy a way shittier 240 with more rust and transmission problems. Totally makes sense.
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:52 AM   #26
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Do what I did and get a Cali car drive it or ship it back just don't do what I did and try to race every "worthy" car on the road looking back on it I was an idiot . It's not as simple as it sounds tho
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:53 AM   #27
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Uhh wasn't he posting chicago 240 shit?
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Old 08-20-2015, 03:27 PM   #28
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http://cleveland.craigslist.org/cto/5179143183.html Thinking about buying this is it worth it? 9000 seems a little low with all the mods.
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Old 08-20-2015, 03:40 PM   #29
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Good Christ why does everyone suck at comprehension lately?!

Edit: @joel: shell looks nice but in reality it's a ka24 s14 with a body kit, coils, and half a brake swap.
9k could get you something way nicer and overall worth more. He says it comes with no wheels and "spare bumpers". So you know he was sliding it and the aero is all likely beat to shit which explains the two photos from the rear and one of the front with a new bumper.
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Old 08-20-2015, 04:30 PM   #30
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http://cleveland.craigslist.org/cto/5179143183.html Thinking about buying this is it worth it? 9000 seems a little low with all the mods.
maybe the joke's just over my head but 9k seems low to you? granted that Zenki has a bunch of legit parts exterior-wise and the suspension/diff are a nice plus, but the KA has minimal modifications and you don't get any of the Works or other nice wheels he has on in the pictures.

then again the dude probably knows any hoonibro who wants a 240 is gonna lowball so he could be expecting 6-7k which might explain a $9000 asking price
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