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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our local sheriff's office is selling their surplus & out of service vehicles soon. I'm thinking about buying a 2015+ Charger from them. Basically, buyers will have only 2 hours to preview cars before the auction starts. I want to be well prepared. So, what should I look for to make sure I bid/buy the best of the bunch? So far, I've been told to consider the following:
  • Hemi tick (of course)
  • Control arms worn out
  • Radiator issues (??)
  • Cut wiring rather than removed
  • Avoid if 100k+ miles
  • Idle hours <5000
I plan to use my OBD Reader to check for codes. Use my phone to check VIN for wrecks and recalls. And, a magnet to check for metal shavings in the oil.

I currently have a 2014 V6, so I'm not very familiar with the 2015+ Pursuit models. Any other things I should look for or absolutely avoid? TIA for your help!
 

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Looks like a clean list. See if they have the maintenance records available also.
 
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I always go by the normal used car stuff- What the engine sounds like and the transmission when you shift gears. Then the overall condition. Wear, Dents, scrapes, any damage underneath or signs of accidents, is anything missing.
Wiring wise It doesn't matter how they removed stuff and from the same department it would have been done the same anyway. Whats more important is that the horn and hi/lo headlights and everything else works because it can be a pain to try to track down what they did.
Control arms and suspension you can't tell on an auction lot unless it's real obvious. But those repairs aren't a big deal if the rest of the car is nice.
Higher idle hours vs better overall condition is also something to decide on your own when you look at them.
 

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Pretty sure you can't test drive an auction vehicle, so the drivetrain is a gamble you're willing to take.
The lack of creature comforts inherent in police cars and the above-normal abuse they take should weigh on your decision as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good information gents.

I went by and took a quick looksee, before being run off by a deputy, yesterday. All but one of the cars being auctioned are marked deputy cars. All have the rear partition, column shifter, etc. The radios have not been removed from most - though I'm sure they will be removed before the auction. As such, IDK if the center consoles will be there at auction time. The one unmarked car also has a single seat partition in the back. No searchlight. It has front end damage, but is not torn up. I think that's the one I'll go after IF it checks out that morning. Otherwise, I might just go for the lowest mileage, newest model deputy car IF I can get it cheap.
 

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Pretty sure you can't test drive an auction vehicle, so the drivetrain is a gamble you're willing to take.
The lack of creature comforts inherent in police cars and the above-normal abuse they take should weigh on your decision as well.
Charger ones are pretty much an RT but with the plain seats, rubber floor and basic heater controls and radio. But between that and the extra wear and abuse they see there definitely has to be a cost savings to make it worthwhile getting one. Unless of course you're after a V8 AWD one, then you're a bit limited.
 

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Alright, I just “finished” fixing my 2011 charger from the police department (still have a bunch of things I want done…so I’m not sure if it’ll ever be finished). Here’s what I had to fix.

1) cylinder 4 misfire (this only has 55k miles but a TON of idle time). I bought a $20 scope and looked at the cylinder wall…no damage… so the problem was two failed lifters and cam shaft was ATE up in the 2 and 4 cylinders.

2) ac compressor was completely shot (didn’t know this when I first bought it because it was February). Found out it was very common when there’sa ton of idle time.

3) finding a civilian console was a pain . Accidentally bought a 2015 console for my 2011 car. Had to learn how to do electrical work and I made all new connectors. It all works now (except no rear A/C…yet)

4) minor…but I don’t think they EVER CHANGED the cabin filter… very nasty.

that’s what I had to do…what I choose to do was: upgrade to a a performance cam shaft, installed shorty headers, installed CAI, got tuned, added dash/rear camera, wired a qi wireless charger under the flat shifter bezel.

The thing that the town messed up with was that they changed the oil every 5000 miles religiously…well they should have changed it about every 1500-2000 miles due to the idle time. So that’s what killed the cam shaft.

But now that it’s running…. I’M so happy I took on this project. Side note, I am a YouTube mechanic…the most I’ve ever done before was change a wheel hub assembly. So this project was well beyond “my comfort level”. This forum was invaluable in helping (and reignited YouTube channel)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Alright, I just “finished” fixing my 2011 charger from the police department (still have a bunch of things I want done…so I’m not sure if it’ll ever be finished). Here’s what I had to fix.
[snip]
But now that it’s running…. I’M so happy I took on this project. Side note, I am a YouTube mechanic…the most I’ve ever done before was change a wheel hub assembly. So this project was well beyond “my comfort level”. This forum was invaluable in helping (and reignited YouTube channel)
This is both scary and encouraging to read. Scary bc I'd definitely be in the class of "YouTube mechanic" or novice. Encouraging bc you got it all done; mostly by yourself. I just hope you saved money and ended up with a fine car to drive.

BTW, what was the idle time on your car?
 

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Don't rule out a clean one because of idle time. Don't forget that a lot of normal chargers and rams have cam failure from defective lifters and they only have a small fraction of idle time compared to police cars.
 

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All I can say is I kind of love my Auction Police Charger buy (got stuck with the winning bid), got real lucky with it probably.
The Carfax report looked real bad when I pulled it up, though the pics were not too bad...all minor damage. At least you are looking at it beforehand following the basic used car rules. I like Wolfraiders replies.
Go for it Sir!
 

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I just got my 2nd pursuit this year, it's a 2017, and I still have my 2012. Love em both.
Most of the advice listed so far is pretty good, some of it is maybe just a little bit anal but to each his own.

My advise for auction cars is this:

1) Don't expect the 'Carvanna' experience. The car you get is going to be dirty and filled with lots of little micro-damages. Dings, dents, scratches, etc. If you are the type of person who is going to be obsessive over these types of things then I'd recommend you go elsewhere. Seriously. If you can manage to love the car with some 'perp' marks on it you will be fine.

2) Make sure they sealed up the wiring holes. Particularly on the roof. Otherwise water leaks in and gets in-between the inner/outer body panels, then you are going to get rust in weird spots. Front of the rear wheel wells (inside the rear door area) is a popular spot.

3) Finding a rear door lock and inner handle kit can be challenging. My 2nd one came with the kit, found in the trunk under the spare tire. Had to hunt one down for the 2012. They get hard to find with each passing year. Another thing is the spare tires are usually full size and they do not fit in the sculpted out spot in the trunk, that is intended for a mini donut style spare tire. I personally prefer to have the full size tire and rim, which then has to sit on the top level of the trunk, leaving the spare tire well open. Get used to having one of the most awkward trunk spaces you can imagine.

4) Removing the glue form the old decals can also remove the paint. See how much this bothers you. In particular look at the plastic parts like the bumper covers. When they pull off the old stickers it will sometimes remove the paint right down to the black plastic. Removing the old glue residue can also be a challenge. Most commercially available adhesive removers (Goo-Gone) just end up just smearing it around. I have a pretty good process for this but it is going to be labor intensive. better get your 'Wax on Wax off' arms in shape.

5) Replacement spotlight bulbs are surprisingly expensive. (from what I was expecting) Most have a plastic front lens and they get funky after awhile. Yellowed and small cracks, dried out seal, etc. Water gets inside them and ruins em from the inside out. Look for bubbling and peeling of the chrome backing inside the bulb. You can sometimes find used ones at swap meets but still it's a gamble. Them newer LED ones are pretty bad ass but kinda pricy ($100+) I do like them but the LED bulbs are notably lighter so when you are pushing it getting on the freeway or racing for whatever reason, the light will randomly flip back from the air pressure. I've tightened up the bolt on the shaft by the the handle and now it only does it when I get up over 95. Doesn't happen nearly as often now but still causes a little minor distraction when you are ripping along. Actually may make you jump the first time it happens.

6) Center console and the related wiring are a pain but well worth it. My 2nd one was far easier than the first. When you purchase the console, make sure they include the air tub for the rear vents. Sometimes if you ask, they will also cut the wires to include both sides of the connectors. Those will really comes in handy when you try to put things together. Seems the civilian models will use the same plugs with completely different wiring pinouts so you can't just click mating connectors together. I got help here in the forums and it wasn't too horrible to deal with. Look for wiring diagrams in a book called the 'Upfitters Guide' they helped alot!

7) 100K+ mileage isn't anything to worry about. (I've got over 200K on the 2012 and it's rolling strong) Remember that you are buying a used car but to the prior owners it was a tool, you have to expect some use. If anything I would be extra suspicious of the lower mileage ones because it probably means that 'tool' wasn't used as much, probably because of accident damage or maybe the car had a weird problem and no body wanted to use it. Maybe someone puked in the back seat and the thing stinks. I can't say for your particular instance. Buying a car by looking at pictures you can only use one of your senses.

8) Resolve yourself to the fact that you are going to need some front end parts. It happens, especially in city driving. Ball joints and idler arms are pretty common.

Oh yeah, getting a trailer hitch installed will cost you extra on a pursuit model because they have to remove the exhaust system to install the hitch. It's not just a random up charge, this is an issue most experienced trailer places will know about but others find out the hard way.

I can probably give you lots more info but these were just off the top of my head. Sounds like you already know all the basic regular stuff to look for. Most auction places will disclose any known serious problems up front. Check engine light light is a pretty common one, and it's usually just the Evap code, reset it and your good for awhile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I just got my 2nd pursuit this year, it's a 2017, and I still have my 2012. Love em both.
Most of the advice listed so far is pretty good, some of it is maybe just a little bit anal but to each his own.
[snip]
WOW! Thanks for the comprehensive advice. I appreciate your help.
 

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Decals come off with a bit of heat without damaging paint and they have decal remover for the glue or you can carefully use alcohol, paint thinner or other similar chemical.
New spot light bulbs are around $25, or crazy if they are LED. The factory LED bulbs are or were heavier because the whole back of them is a big metal heat sink so I guess it depends on what bulb is being used.
 
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