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Anyone do a Fly, buy and drive for a car?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Black, May 14, 2019.

  1. Black

    Black

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    So me and wife have decided to invest in a 4th gen 4runner(03-09), ideally v8.
    However here in New England dealing with 10 yo frames I'd rather pas after too many experiences with seized bolts etc
    Thus I'd like to buy a more virgin frame/ underside, tentatively south of Philadelphia

    Point is has anyone ever bought a car unseen? ID it thru Craigslist or FB or a used car dealer, Fly and drive it home?
    Any hints or "beware of"?
    I'd get it inspected independently (local shop or lemonsquad.com or yourmechanic.com) as chances of a friend to look at it for me are slim with such a wide search net.

    I'd have to get a $300 ticket(train or flight), travel with 8-12k in cash on me and drive it back.

    Whats to say keep the fellow from selling it out from under me? Are there any other Hints/ best practices to share when doing a purchase like this?

    I'm searching ebay ( seems more "safe") and a used car dealer is seems more trustworthy than your standard Craigs list poster.

    Thanks for any pointers

    If someone has a 4runner for sale in very good frame condition i'm open :)
     
  2. Stape

    Stape

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    I've heard of people driving the car to the buyer in exchange for gas and a plane ticket back home.
     
  3. Greg

    Greg

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    I understand buying out of the rust pit known as New England,but PA doesn't use salt on their roads ?

    Definitely carry a bank receipt for the cash,cops love to seize that and make you prove its yours. Talk to the seller and get a feel if you can trust him as far as not selling it from underneath you. Although you flying out there negates any lower price offer you might make because he knows you are looking at buying another plane ticket if you walk away.

    Seller holds all the cards in this scenario.

    Good luck on the V8,its a great truck.
     
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  4. VetteGirlMA

    VetteGirlMA NES Member

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    I've bought cars at a distance but always checked out what I was buying before sending off a pile of my money. Sometimes it's possible to glean other things from a seller that they might not be willing to say upfront in a craigslist ad.
     
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  5. mgrick02

    mgrick02

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    For me it would have to be something special to go through all the trouble of travel and purchase sight unseen. Also to have some sort of warranty or protection in case of repair a couple days after purchasing.
    What if doesn’t pass inspection will you have to fix it?
    How lucky are you?
     
  6. Black

    Black

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    all good points..... so far. there is a level of trust here. the normal CL bozo i wouldn't trust
     
  7. Black

    Black

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    good point on the cash bank receipt heard too much of law enforcement seizure just based on suspicion.
     
  8. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    A buddy of mine flips 4Runners out in CO. Buys them, pulls the motor and rebuilds them, cleans them up and lists them. But I'm pretty sure they have the same environment.
     
  9. silversquirrel

    silversquirrel NES Member

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    Other than the possible risks with the car itself, look into the title paperwork involved from state to state, and what you will need.
    My experience with buying a Maryland titled car and getting it titled in MA was complicated and unpleasant.
    10 yrs ago, dont remember the specifics, sorry.
     
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  10. Greg

    Greg

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    Definitely make sure you get all the paperwork in order,triple check it to make sure you cover every possible scenario where MA will hassle you.

    If you don't get everything you need,you will need to fly back there.
     
  11. ScottS

    ScottS NES Member

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    I've purchased two cars "sight unseen," other than pictures. One car I flew down (Charlotte NC) and drove back; one car I had shipped on a truck from Chicago.

    Both times I dealt with a same-brand dealer as the car (Audi and Volvo), and both cars were Certified Pre-Owned, so there was little downside risk if there was a problem. Any problems that developed would have been covered under the warranty. In both cases, I had the salesman take some additional pictures of specific areas of the car I was interested in; I didn't want to just rely on the "glamor shots" posted on the site, although in both cases the dealer posted dozens of photos (I hate ads that have like 5 pictures of a car). I was a lot more confident dealing with a dealer than I would have been dealing with a "private citizen" from Craigslist. I would have wanted a lot more assurance from a private seller, especially in terms of not selling the car out from under me as I was traveling. Maybe you can get that from phonecalls. Maybe not. I would also try for Skype or Facetime. I'd want to see the guy's face. Harder to lie and hide if you're looking at his face, IMO.
     
  12. Nhusa

    Nhusa

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    Look at Carvana! They have fly and buy deals but also deliver.
    I am in the process of getting a California 2017 with tons of documentation thru them and so-far can say that it has been a good experience with lots of communication on their part.
     
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  13. Black

    Black

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    interested... actually. have his info i'm sure he'd be straightforward about frame issues etc
     
  14. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    I'll talk to him later this week to see if that is OK.
     
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  15. Asaltweapon

    Asaltweapon NES Member

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    I know there are buyers agents but again there has to be a huge amount of faith.
    With all the flooding that has gone on down south I think I'd be a bit nervous about buying anything.
    PA is a far cry from salt free.
    How do you drive a car back to MA without a MA tag on it? This state does not have temporary plates. (stupid)
    Personally on such a small expense I'd be hard pressed to go thru the BS but that's me.
     
  16. Tooth

    Tooth NES Member

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    I've purchased a car site unseen. Had it shipped up from long island for a couple hundred bucks. It was pretty much what the seller told me it was. He was more suspicious of the idea than I was, which I thought was a good thing.
     
  17. caboose84

    caboose84 NES Member

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    Colorado doesn't use salt, mostly sand on the roads. Mag chloride on the worst areas. And a lot of times they just wait for the sun to melt it.

    When I moved out here in 2014 needed brake work on my 2005 F250 I drove from NH- the mechanics were amazed at the rust underneath.
     
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  18. mgrick02

    mgrick02

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    Fluid Film is your friend.:)
     
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  19. blindfire

    blindfire NES Member

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    Also, make sure the title is in order. Not sure if you can call the state DMV/RMV where the car is to see if there are any mechanic liens against it that would prevent you from registering in your state.
     
  20. mu2bdriver

    mu2bdriver NES Member

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    I’m sure there’s a 4 runner forum. Make friends there and I’m sure there are some local folks to where you’re looking who would check a car out for you. I travel extensively and have looked at cars for forum members several times. Every time it’s ended up in a sale.
     
  21. greencobra

    greencobra NES Member

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    well, how many times here have we seen posts of someone crying they bought a gun sight unseen and it sucked? and we're only talkin' a few hundred bucks, not thousands. big chance for an un-seized bolt.
     
  22. mwalsh9152

    mwalsh9152 NES Member

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    I was actually going to suggest checking the classified sections in 4runner forums. Often you will be able to find fanatical owners who take great care of their vehicles, and you can actually see vehicle history in the forum, so you know if it's a pos or not. Those people will be much more likely to not be shady compared to playing Craigslist roulette.

    I sold my 08 Acura TL-S on Acurazine to a guy in NY. For a complicated sale, it was the easiest of all.
     
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  23. allen-1

    allen-1 NES Member

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    Two years ago I had to find a replacement for my 1998 F150. One of the rear shock mounts had rusted out, and I was finished dealing with it. The body panels were already rusted out; I'd replaced the brake lines the month before; the AC was shot; this was the final straw. This was about a week before I was due to head up to CT for the summer, so I was pressed for time just to make things interesting.

    My wife went shopping for me. Simple specs - find me the newest F150 you can find, lowest mileage, 2WD, fewest options, 30K. She spent two days looking around the Savannah area and the best she could find was a 2014 with 40,000 miles on it. She stopped at a CarMax dealer on a whim - we'd never done any business with one.

    She found a 2016 F150 in Texas with 1008 miles on it for 26K. Put $500 down on it with a credit card. I flew out the next day, inspected it, took it for a test drive, wrote a check and drove it back to Georgia. Drove it up to CT a couple days later. I've got 26,000 miles on it now and couldn't be happier. The entire deal worked out quite well.
     
  24. Cabinetman

    Cabinetman

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    11 years ago my wife and I finally bought the Jag we've always wanted. It was online on eBay and in a showroom in Kansas City, Kansas. On the 11th of December I bought the car, then bought two one-way tickets to Kansas City and finally purchased the best AAA insurance money could buy. I had a briefcase with me with certified checks. We arrived at the airport in the middle of a sub-zero cold snap, picked up by the owner of the dealership in a Mercedes something-or-other and driven to the front door of the showroom where we could see the car. It was a beautiful 1997 XJ6L, only 2700 made world wide. I had told them certain things that had to be done before we paid including oil changes, checks on all belts and hoses and good tires. In an hour we were on the road to a great rib place with the owners and, after a sumptuous meal, we headed back home on the highway driving about 75 all the way. We stopped by two friends; one in Indiana and one in PA before making our way home finally. Nary a hiccup or any issue. We drove that car for 11 years having to put in some suspension work as anticipated but the car was perfect. In the 12th year, however, the cats failed. I ordered new ones from a Jag distributor and took them to a local garage with which I had years of experience with, and they installed them for me with no issues. No issues, anyway, until I discovered that I had been ripped off by bad-guys down stream of the supplier. Turns out some of these cats which sit on shelves because they don't move quickly into the market are subject to having their beads stolen. My cats, after inspection by a Jag dealer, were empty and therefore worthless and the car could never, ever make emissions. To boot, to replace them again would cost me $2500 in labor and parts........that was almost as much as the car (Even perfect) would be worth. I sold it for literlly nothing but never looked back. I'd do it again. Too bad Jaguar just abandoned the entire XJ series of cars..

    That's my story.
     

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  25. appraiser

    appraiser NES Member

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    I am part of a rather large motorcycle community dedicated to a particular Kawasaki motorcycle.

    When we have an interest in bike ( that is not a members bike, those are always pristine) we put the word out on the forum that we need a set of eyes to go look at a potential buy.

    Depending on where the car is, you could try that with your friends or even here.

    Even if you have to go yourself, a plane ticket is cheap insurance compared to having some multiple wreck beat up car show up on your doorstep.
     
  26. cockpitbob

    cockpitbob NES Member

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    Besides the usual CarFax or whatever, have the seller bring it to a mechanic close to them, that you choose, and you pay for an inspection report.

    My frugal and self-sacrificing wife needed a replacement for the 2001 Honda van we raised the kids with. She tends to keep a car for 10-20 years, but her usual procedure is to research and agonize for months. You see, there needs to be a minimum amount of suffering before a big purchase[rolleyes]. I couldn't put up with watching that again so this time I basically ordered her to buy a used "fun" car, even if it's totally impractical, enjoy it for a few years then sell it. "Dear, you're not marrying the damned thing." For the first time in years she did what I told her to do [wink]. Near Seattle she found a 2010 convertible VW Beetle in great shape and the goofy green she wanted. The dealer was quite accommodating and gave her a selection of shops he could take it to for an inspection with written report. She flew to Seattle, visited with her sister for several days then took almost 3 weeks to drive it back to MA, checking off a few little bucket list items along the way. 10 months later she still grins when she walks into the garage.
     
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  27. Rick1987

    Rick1987

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    I was looking for a 3rd gen 4runner years ago.
    I found someone on a forum who lived in Florida and he offered to check out a couple for me.

    The seller wasn't completely honest. Even after telling him I would be flying there and driving it back 1200 miles.

    My forum buddy took it for a ride and it was in bad shape, misfiring.

    I gave that guy a few hundred bucks to cover gas and time.

    I ended up buying a 05 high mileage 4runner.

    Get the v8. Avoid 05 and under v6s. Mine had the V6 and the headgasket went. It's a huge job. Like 20hrs huge.

    06 and up the headgaskets should be good.
     
  28. millbilly

    millbilly NES Member

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    I was amazed at how clean older vehicles were in CO. I don't think they treat rds the same. Lots of clean older jeeps, Cjs, land cruisers, etc
     
  29. TurdFerguson

    TurdFerguson

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    Flying down to Knoxville to pick up a rust free truck this way. It's hit or miss. Have an independent shop check it out for you. I usually offer them $100 if they're within 10 mins and have them send pics as proof.
     
  30. Rob Boudrie

    Rob Boudrie NES Member

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    No good enough. The cops don't make you prove it is yours but make you prove it is not the result of prior criminal activity or intended for future criminal activity.

    Best to tell the seller "Provide me with you SWIFT wire instructions, and I will have things set up at my bank so one phone call or fax will get that money in your account within the hour".
     
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