Ethical private sales practices

I inherited a 1991 Ford Escort Wagon a few years ago when my 88 year old grandmother passed away. When I got it, it want running properly because it sat for a few years in a garage, It wasn’t too hard to get running again, really just changed out fluids, flushed the tank and cleaned up the engine bay. The engine will turn over but I noticed something strange coming from the rear axle.

I put it on my four point lift and took a light to the back. Something must have happened to the rear diverside axle because there is an apparent spot weld of metal along the axle but before the differential. It doesn’t look professional but it also seems to function.

So out of curoiousity I took a closer look at the subframe and found similar spot welding or maybe tact welding along the inner part of the chassis. Also, while the muffler appears ok, like there is no rust, when you take the car over 50 there is a grey smoke eminating from the rear so my guess is the engine is burning something somehow. It doesnt smell like gas and I don’t it is water and carbon monoxide is invisible so I’m not sure what the problem is.

I had a buyer come out today saying it is for his daughter to put around town in and take to her high school and job. He noticed traight away that the tires were bald but I told him I’d thrown in s set of used tires I have for an extra 50 bucks for a grand total of $1550.

Obviously I am selling this as-is but do you think I could get in to legal troubles selling a car with obvious frame and axle damage and a possible engine danger? Like, would I be liable for negligent manslaughter if the girl is killed in the car?

First off, you misplaced the decimal point.


If those are your concerns, you should ask a lawyer.

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I can’t answer your legal question because this is Car Talk not ’ We be Lawyer’s '. I do know that when he said it was for his child I would have said this is not something I would put a child in.


A 4-wheel drive 1991 Escort? I didn’t know they made those in 4WD.

Legal issues aside let your conscience be your guide.

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they didnt. I guess i should have clearer. My uncle took care of my grandmother for the two decades or so before she died. He passed away not long before her, so I’m not sure how or why this escrt obtained a 4WD train and you wouldn’t know it unless you stuck your head under the damn thing. There not even any indication of a means to lock the differential or a transfer case actuaror in the cabin. I don’t how why this came about nor do i know what happened to the leaf spring rear. Its too much work for me to swap it out so I figured I would just go with it,

Since I live on a farm perhaps I can lift it and add a small trailer for hauling equipment. I have a lift kit from an old ford ranger but i doubt that would fit.

There is a 1991 Ford Tempo on Craigslist here, for $2650 “firm”. The seller posted it about 6 months ago for $3500 “firm” and has been slowly lowering the price. As long as your $1500 car is in reasonable condition, I don’t see a problem.

I can’t see calling this thing in reasonable condition . Coverted to 4 wheel drive ? Bald tires or used ones of questionable condition ? Welds in places there should not be ?

Providing this whole thread is not a work of fiction .


Is this something you read in a book? Use the correct car this time.

Yeah, it’s called “Grandma Oakly and the FrankenWagon”. Seriously forget about my crazy family. Is there a legal implication to me personally if I sell registered car to someone which I know is a death trap?

Good grief; with as much concern as you have about the safety of this vehicle either just junk it or have a professional give it a thorough look over … before still likely junking it.


I see the OP is still spreading the FECAL matter from the male of the bovine species.


I am wondering if the invisible snowman the wonderful90s and thundabutt are the one and the same.


I dunno, if you are concerned about a girl getting killed in the thing and your legal liability, maybe just suck the $1500 up and junk it instead. I don’t think legal liability is the issue to be concerned about.


Exactly what @bing says!


I’m remembering what @cdaquila said awhile back

I think op is intentionally being provocative again

I’m not taking the bait



Agree i do think you are right.


So the grandmother was driving a death trap? Get an inspection to see if it is roadworthy or not.

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Put the used tires on it and see how much fun you can have for $1550 in a 4wd Ford Escort on a farm before it breaks. Probably going to run a little over $100/minute, but YOLO, as they say, Mr. Schwaggins!

Thouist mayist be correct. I rarely look at the OP names.

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