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92 SC400 money pit, bought a buy here pay here lemon.

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Old 02-04-12, 12:32 PM   #1
SpecialK47
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Default 92 SC400 money pit, bought a buy here pay here lemon.

Alright, a bit of background.

Awhile back I bought a 1992 SC 400 off of a local buy here pay here lot with a, lets say, less than stellar reputation. In addition to the lot's reputation, the car was rough. The body, while most straight, had some paint fade, chips on the hood, and the front bumper had been scraped a few times. The interior was a lot worse off. The rear leather seats were trashed, the front seats were cracking. The driver side door trim was coming off above the window. The heat/AC and radio windows were burned out. The blower motor didn't work either. The speedometer wasn't functioning, and the needles were burned out on the tachometer and other gauges. The heated seats didn't work, neither did the electronic seat controls. Same with the steering wheel/console, its controls didn't function either. Essentially, the only power that worked was the locks, windows, and sunroof.

But, being young and stupid, and a bit desperate, I bought the car. $4,000 total after $1,000 down, $300 a month. Within a month, the driver side window collapsed, and wouldn't come back up. Awhile latter, I wrecked the car. I spun out, the driver side rear tire slammed into a curb and then up on top. I busted the axle on that side, along with the controls arms and practically everything else in there. Turns out my insurance was lapsed due to a billing mistake with my bank. Even after paying them and getting current, they refused to pay.

So, I payed an acquaintance from work to come fix it. We went to a local junkyard, pulled the necessary rear end parts off of a compatible car, and headed back to the house. He got started, and got everything replaced except for the lower control arm. He couldn't get the old one off, it was stuck. With the job mostly done, I went ahead and paid him. Big mistake. He came back a couple times, over the course of two months, but never finished the job.

The car ended up sitting for almost 6 months. After getting it paid off, I decided I HAD to have it up and running. I called some local shops, got a good quote at a reputable shop, and had it towed. After getting it to the shop, I find out the guy I paid to repair it tried to steal my catalytic converters. Turns out he was too stupid to even know where they were, he had cut around the first resonator, right past the Y in the exhaust pipe.

So now the car sits at the shop, and should be done by the middle of next week. I've decided that since I'm so heavily invested now, I may as well keep putting money into it and get it to near as like new condition.

Problems that need solved.

Gauge cluster needs replaced. Non-function speedo and burned out tach needle.
Seats need redone or replaced. Electronic controls and the like need fixed.
Driver side door trim needs replaced. Hanging and broken above window.
Radio and AC controls need replaced. Screens burned out.
Steering column needs repaired or replaced. Electronic controls non-functioning.

One rim is badly curbed and probably not good, and the tires other than the spare are pretty bad, so they'll need replaced. I'm currently considering after market options.

Stuff that I'd like to do, but will have to wait.

Body kit. Mine is pretty rough, front bumper has been scraped, and the tow driver bent it up with the cable.

Fresh paint. Faded and chipped, it needs done.

New exhaust. Since mine has been cut, it sounds reminiscent of my 92 Camaro. While not a bad sound, the obnoxiously loud rubble from the V8 isn't fit for a Lexus. A throaty growl though would be nice.


So, I come here looking for help. For advice. For guidance. Where can I find these interior parts I seek. I found a thread on here, someone parting out a 93 SC, that had everything I needed. Shame is, it was from March of last year. So, I'm looking again.

Thanks to everyone, and sorry for the book.
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Old 02-04-12, 12:52 PM   #2
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I've decided that since I'm so heavily invested now, I may as well keep putting money into it and get it to near as like new condition.
Or just take the hit and consider it as a loss. More money you dump into it the less you'll be happy with. If I were you I would just sell it out for parts its not worth rebuilding. I'm not sure why you thought 4k for a 92 sc400 that was in not so good condition was worth it.

But if you DO decide to keep it, do the work yourself if you have time so you know that you're not getting scammed. Plus it saves a lot of money.
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Old 02-04-12, 01:06 PM   #3
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^^^ good advice.. sorry to hear about the lemon.
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Old 02-04-12, 01:19 PM   #4
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Or just take the hit and consider it as a loss. More money you dump into it the less you'll be happy with. If I were you I would just sell it out for parts its not worth rebuilding. I'm not sure why you thought 4k for a 92 sc400 that was in not so good condition was worth it.

But if you DO decide to keep it, do the work yourself if you have time so you know that you're not getting scammed. Plus it saves a lot of money.
Because I can't afford to sell it and get another car. I'm currently working a low wage factory job, until I can finish my degree. I bought the car planning to drive it as is for a couple years. Since I've already invested this much though, I won't be happy selling it ever. So, may as well make it nice and keep it for a good long while.

And I'm not mechanically inclined in the least, hence my hiring someone from work to do the repairs in the first place. If I could do them myself I would have.
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Old 02-04-12, 01:55 PM   #5
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i feel your pain. i paid $4200 for my 94 sc400 with 195k on the clock last year not knowing that the condition i bought it in was really in the $3000 and under price range. i do regret not researching anything about these cars before hand or even looking on craigslist, i now hate all car site as i thought they only let reputable dealerships post on there(cars.com, autotrader.com)...anyway, drove 6 hours to get the car from a used lot in florida after putting a nonrefundable deposit on it(worst idea ever, live and you learn) even though only seeing the car in detailed pictures that were VERY VERY well taken because boy he got me!!!.... bought the car with door panels in horrible condition, cracked sunroof that didnt leak, purple faded tint, perfect looking trunk though!, bad hood struts, burnt needles and climate ctrl, no window regulator on the passs side, and was wrecked but never reported according to the carfax i got before putting the deposit on it in the right rear QP (looks fine no blemishes or odd shapes but after rolling my fenders noticed a lot of bondo was used), ecu went out the 1st time i tried driving it home, had to leave it on I-75 2 hours away from my house until i came back for it with a trailer, than i spent the next 4-5 month trying to fix it since it would run than break than run than break again. spent around $1300 doing tune ups and buying temporary fixes and getting diagnostics from shops when all i needed to do was bring it to lexus to have them run a diagnostic which told me upfront the ecu was bad and it would cost $300 to rebuild. well i did immediately and it ran like a beaut!!!! so I was finally able to start buying things for it afterwards. such as pbm coilovers, wheels, ls400 brakes, fixed all the interior lights, few other aesthetically pleasing items such as a manual shift bezel, had a shop clean my headlights amazingly than bam the engine blew up on me but it was purely my own fault. so another "wasted" $1800 is going into it which i was gonna use to redo my whole exhaust with my ST. may mufflers and buy new seats, door panels, and re-tint.... but oh well! i like the car enough im willing to stick with it and turn it into something rather than just pass it on and it get worse.

i'd like to think many people start bad and one day end good esp on a 20yr old budget
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Old 02-04-12, 02:22 PM   #6
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Yeah dont feel bad.. I overpaid for mine too. Got anxious and jumped on a car I should have checked out more than I did. Now it's biting me in the ****. Oh well live and learn. May as well turn it into what I really want now because I cant afford to take the hit.
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Old 02-04-12, 03:20 PM   #7
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Thats my point. We have these cars, we want to make something of them. Don't tell me/us to sell them and cut our losses. Help us fix them.
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Old 02-04-12, 03:21 PM   #8
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i got a great deal on mine however still being 20 yrs old im putting quite a bit into it..and have a lot more planned for it..yet i keep looking at this 98 thats local with all black interior for a decent price but they want 3k down and every time i get a 1000+ i end up dumping it back into my car cause i just love it.....but yet hate it..err cars got ahold of me
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Old 02-04-12, 03:33 PM   #9
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Wow dude
Im sorry to hear your misfortunes
I too wondered why you paid so much
Not trying to rub it in I paid half of that for my 98

But listen, i easily doubled that amount in new suspenison, alignment, new control arms, battery, fog lights, new tires and black interior.

Im about to dump another 1.5K into this weekend with a new paint job.

I can honestly say from what needs to be done is to part the car out and buy a new one
Regardless of the paint job and body kit which is moot, you ve probably got another 2-3K to dump into the car to get those issues resolved.

Youve got a big laundry list that will cost more dollars, yes youve spent a lot of money already but your going to spend even more money on a car that is not gaining in value. At the end of the day you;ll have 10K dumped into the car

With the money you could easily buy a car that has way less issues that what you bought.
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Old 02-04-12, 04:03 PM   #10
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took the words right out of my mouth^
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Old 02-04-12, 04:22 PM   #11
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yikes that's a tough situation! If you're really dedicated to rebuilding car start with just the bare essentials and work your way up. I would start with the wheel and tire situation, then the gauge needles, then the exhaust as long as nothing else major doesn't happen. If i was in your shoes i would keep the car together until you get through college. Once college is done and over with you'll have more time to work at a better job and more time to get what you want. Keep the car and save up for a car in better condition than what you have and then pick that up. Don't get too attached to a car that is too far gone (which in all honesty sounds like what you have). Be patient and just keep piling money up on the side for a period of time and find a project worth diving into.

For parts keep an eye on the classifieds here on CL, on SupraForums, Supramania, and on local Indiana forums for stuff to pop up. Don't give up hope just because you bought a bad car, just work with what you have and wait for good things to pop up. Good luck!
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Old 02-04-12, 05:10 PM   #12
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^ I can definitely agree with that. Sometimes in life we all have to take a loss for the bigger gain in the future.
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Old 02-04-12, 06:54 PM   #13
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I went out that day determined I was going to buy a car, that day. I was tired of not having one, and really, I needed one. The SC400 just blew me away. It looked great, and ran like a bat out of hell. I booked it, it came in at $3-4,000. I knew when financing I'd pay more than it was worth off of the bat.


Mechanically, the car is sound. The exterior looks like that of a 20 year old car. The interior is the money sink, yes. As I stand now though, with approximately $5000 into it after repairs, I would rather fix it up. Yes, in the long run, it will cost me more money than if I were to cut my losses. I accept that, and would like to move forward with fixing THIS car.
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Old 02-04-12, 07:10 PM   #14
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^ def understand that and thats what i do every day...the thing about sc's not much changes from 92 to 2000 and anything can be installed or made to look however you want which is what keeps me with the 92 i originally have..
No sc will hold its value, they are a dime a dozen so either way i look at it i wont see my return on my investment, like any car thats not rare or antique.
So i keep moving forward with no payment and dump the money i have into when i do, when i dont oh well at least its my car
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Old 02-04-12, 07:14 PM   #15
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That is another big thing. Its paid off. While it'll cost me more money to fix it up, that money is required week after week. If other bills come up, and I can't afford to dump money into the car, I don't have to. If I get a new one, that is yet another bill I must make. After just purchasing my first home with my fiancee, another bill is the last thing I need.
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Old 02-04-12, 07:14 PM
 
 
 
 
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