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2004 Impala LS
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tman
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:18 pm    Post subject:  2004 Impala LS Reply with quote

Hi everybody.
I just registered at the forum and am looking at buying an Impala as my first car. I like the styling and the 3800 will run forever, so they seem like a decent car. Today my dad and I went and test drove an '04 Impala. He (a Honda guy) was pretty impressed with the car, and especially the 3800. It came from an glass shop that also sells used cars (30ish).

Here is a pic:


It has 144,000 miles. Here's what we found:
-the car smells like it was smoked in, then ionized. The ashtray and cigarette lighter are missing. This isn't a deal breaker by any means.
-it has maybe 6 rock chips on the hood that are rusting and bubbling (I'm in Minnesota).
-it has a quarter-sized rust spot behind each front wheel well
-there is a small cigarette burn/melt on the passenger door armrest
-the underbody is rusty, but not terribly so
-the biggie: I think the wheel bearing (passenger front) is going. The car makes noise from over there when driven over ~25 MPH.
-it HAS had the intake manifold replaced (by the glass shop/oil change place)
-it has leather, but isn't heated. What a dumb way to option a car in MN!!
-there is the optional moonroof, that works.
-there is some weird brown stain all along the steering wheel, or maybe it's wearing off. Just kind of odd.
-there is a crack in the instrument panel plexi-glass about 1 inch long.
The impy has been sitting there for about 8 months. The guy said only one or two people have test-driven it.
It started right up, even after probably not having run in a while.
They want $4500 for it. Would you buy it, with them taking off some money for the wheel bearing? Offer them $3500? It sure rode and drove nice, other than the wheel noise. What would that cost to replace? Also, it has winter tires on it, which I don't think you want in the spring/summer/fall. Should I ask for multi-season tires if I do buy it?


Thanks for all the help and replies! I appreciate it!
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overlordspock
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2005 Chevrolet Impala
1998 Chevrolet Silverado
2008 Chevrolet Impala
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:29 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Welcome to NAIOA from a fellow Minnesotan!

I don't see a picture in your post, but based on your description, I might look around a bit more. I'm not sure what your budget is (I'm assuming around $4,000 based on the numbers you were talking about), but there are cars out there in that price range that might be in better shape than what you are describing.

I know you say it's not a deal-breaker for you, but I would not buy a car that had been smoked in. Getting that smell out can be next to impossible. That's just my opinion. Also, although it's hard to tell from your description, it sounds like the interior might have a few issues from being a smoker car. Again, that would bug me, but it might not you.

The W-Body Impala, especially those with the 3800, is a decent car. It's not a great car, but it's a decent car. For a first car, it can serve you well for what it is (a big car that is comfortable, solid and fairly easy to work on yourself, if you are so inclined).

However, be aware that they do have their issues, especially with higher miles:
    Open up the coolant reservoir and make sure it looks clean and nothing that looks like chocolate milk. That's a sign of a bad intake manifold gasket. Pricey.
    The transmissions can be fragile. When you drive it, if there is any lurching into gear or any slipping, walk away.
    Hubs. They will need replacing.


Not specific to the W-Body Impala, but with a car of that mileage, make sure the tires are decent and the suspension is in good shape.

Lastly, you mention rust. Any car in the snow belt that uses any sort of treatment on the roads (like Minnesota) is going to have some rust on the underside. Surface rust is one thing. Anything more than that is a potential sign of trouble. But, the body rust worries me a bit more. Quarter-sized areas of rust will grow bigger as the car ages and is exposed to more salt/brine/whatever they use to treat your roads. I'm always wary of rust. You may not be as concerned (which is okay).

I'm sure others will chime in as well with tidbits I completely don't know to mention.

Good luck and I hope your search ends well!

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tman
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 2:12 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Thanks for the welcome to the forum, there is tons of information on it that will be really helpful if I end up with an Impala. The smoke smell isn't obvious or even really noticeable, we just pieced that together since there was the burn on the armrest. Does that make sense that noise from the wheel would be a bearing? And how much would that cost? It has had the intake manifold done recently. overlordspock, I noticed you have a 2014 Impala, I really love the bodystyle- I never really liked the 2006-2013 Impys- they looked like a total rental car. Do you think the cost of repairs (we have an independent mechanic who is fairly cheap) on the W-body impalas is fairly reasonable? Thanks. Also, I can't upload the photo, but here is the link to them. http://www.findcars.com/a.php?.....enlarge=fx In the interior picture, do you know what that brown on the steering wheel is?
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Pitch Black SS
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:01 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Welcome!!!

The crud on the steering wheel is probably just grime. It may come off with some good cleaning.

Could be a front hub. Its a sealed unit and has to be replaced in 1 shot. Its something a lot of people do in their driveway. They fail sometimes. Theres a lot going on with the front of these cars. Suspension movement, steering, engine weight etc

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:01 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Wheel bearings are common on these cars. If you do get it, they run around $200-$300 to do one. I recommend replacing them with Timken's.
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overlordspock
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:15 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I guess I didn't really make clear in my post: I would agree that it might be a front hub going bad. But, I suppose it's possible its bearings.

I like the 06-13 body style in certain applications. I really like the way later LTZs and the 06-09 SS look. Something understated about them that appeals to me. I loved my SS and kinda wish I could still have one, but I love my G8 a lot more.

My wife's 2014 Impala is an awesome car and is quite the looker, I would agree, but it is a totally different vehicle than the W-body Impalas with a totally different personality.

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2008 Impala SS - Precision Red, Magnaflow, Cold Air Inductions CAI, Overkill Tune, Front/Rear STBs w/ Don Rome Brackets SOLD
2005 Impala LS - Summit White, Front/Rear STBs w/ Don Rome Brackets, BBE Monte SS Cluster SOLD
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tman
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:34 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

thanks for all the replies guys! I really appreciate it! So, knowing what it probably needs (wheel bearing or hub), would you buy the car? Lowball them? Also does that mean it will need more bearings for the other wheels? Since my dad is expecting the few repairs of Hondas, I don't want him to be too surprised. But Accords are just so EXPENSIVE! (So are their parts and repairs- he got a $650 estimate to replace his blower fan). A V-6 accord that compares to that Impala will run you $6500-7500. That money you saved will buy you a LOT of parts for the Impala (not that it's a less good car) and I'd rather have an Impala anyways. I looked on edmunds.com at the '04 impala and accord and they both get about 4.5 stars- the impala only has 1-1-star review (from somebody withe the 3.4). Also: what's the difference between the hub and bearing?? And overlordspock, how do you like the 3.6? Is it a lot more powerful than the 3800?
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Pitch Black SS
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:17 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

the bearing is part of the hub, its replaced as an assembly. A bit more money than traditional bearings, but the hub contains the tone ring for the ABS and other sensors.

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Grape
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:35 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I wouldn't pay that much for that car. 2 Cents

just a quick look in MN and I found half a dozen cars within a 1.5hr drive from the center of the state. I don't know where you're at exactly, but I would keep searching the internet.

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of pluses on that specific Imp but I'm sure there's a better deal than that....Especially if you're paying cash. $$ talks

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:09 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Totally pass on that thing. List is way too long.....

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 5:49 pm    Post subject:  Re: 2004 Impala LS Reply with quote

tman wrote:
Hi everybody.
I just registered at the forum and am looking at buying an Impala as my first car. I like the styling and the 3800 will run forever, so they seem like a decent car. Today my dad and I went and test drove an '04 Impala. He (a Honda guy) was pretty impressed with the car, and especially the 3800. It came from an glass shop that also sells used cars (30ish).

Here is a pic:


It has 144,000 miles. Here's what we found:
-the car smells like it was smoked in, then ionized. The ashtray and cigarette lighter are missing. This isn't a deal breaker by any means.
-it has maybe 6 rock chips on the hood that are rusting and bubbling (I'm in Minnesota).
-it has a quarter-sized rust spot behind each front wheel well
-there is a small cigarette burn/melt on the passenger door armrest
-the underbody is rusty, but not terribly so
-the biggie: I think the wheel bearing (passenger front) is going. The car makes noise from over there when driven over ~25 MPH.
-it HAS had the intake manifold replaced (by the glass shop/oil change place)
-it has leather, but isn't heated. What a dumb way to option a car in MN!!
-there is the optional moonroof, that works.
-there is some weird brown stain all along the steering wheel, or maybe it's wearing off. Just kind of odd.
-there is a crack in the instrument panel plexi-glass about 1 inch long.
The impy has been sitting there for about 8 months. The guy said only one or two people have test-driven it.
It started right up, even after probably not having run in a while.
They want $4500 for it. Would you buy it, with them taking off some money for the wheel bearing? Offer them $3500? It sure rode and drove nice, other than the wheel noise. What would that cost to replace? Also, it has winter tires on it, which I don't think you want in the spring/summer/fall. Should I ask for multi-season tires if I do buy it?


Thanks for all the help and replies! I appreciate it!
you have to replace them in a pair this way braking is equal since one will have more wear then the other

about 100-120 ea

400 total including labor


also check and see if it's leaking coolant and oil around the value covers and intake


check and make sure the A/c works the actuators tend to go out
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98ss
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:26 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I would think 4500 is a bit much for an 11 year old car with 144k on it.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:54 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

98ss wrote:
I would think 4500 is a bit much for an 11 year old car with 144k on it.
around here a SS goes for 3k to 4k depending on the miles I would not even pay 4500 for a rust bucket.

around here 4500 would get you a great condition with 90k mileage
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Pitch Black SS
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:30 am    Post subject:  Re: 2004 Impala LS Reply with quote

Impala_03 wrote:
you have to replace them in a pair this way braking is equal since one will have more wear then the other


Are you referring to the hub assemblies? If so, then you do not have to replace them in pairs. The second you make your first turn, 1 hub will have more wear than the other.

Rotors, pads and tires should be replaced in pairs.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:39 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I really don't know why used cars are apparently so expensive here. Here's a comparable one on craigslist. http://minneapolis.craigslist......25317.html that they want $4350 for. So would the wheel bearing/hub stop you from buying a car?
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