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Discussion Starter #1
So how do you guys do a PPI from a long distance away?

Say you are interested in buying an Elise that's 600 or more miles away. Do you arrange and pay for the PPI and travel to buy the car after the car comes back all clear or do you take a chance and fly out and do the whole thing in person?

Thank you.
 

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Scott M
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I'd really prefer to arrange a PPI remotely, but I'm not the skilled mechanic a lot of the LT guys are so I'd essentially be forced to go that route for a mechanical assessment.

Buying my Esprit from 1000 miles away involved hiring The Lemon Squad to assess what they could ( which wasn't much, but at least it was *something*) before I bought a plane ticket and rented a car.

Any distance purchase I've made (total of 4 now; 3 private party, 1 dealer) meant getting comfortable with the seller via phone + moderately aggressive online research on them.

Good luck!
 

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If you put out the city, I'm sure someone would be willing to give it a check to make sure it is at least as advertised.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If you put out the city, I'm sure someone would be willing to give it a check to make sure it is at least as advertised.

My question arose when I was perusing the for sale posts here at the Lotus Talk Forum marketplace. I just wonder how people handle these sales. Most of them are 600 or more miles from my home and I'm not sure how I'd even begin to start the process. A PPI seems mandatory and flying out to 2-3 potential sales gets expensive very fast. So I'm looking for advice from the experienced here.
 

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My question arose when I was perusing the for sale posts here at the Lotus Talk Forum marketplace. I just wonder how people handle these sales. Most of them are 600 or more miles from my home and I'm not sure how I'd even begin to start the process. A PPI seems mandatory and flying out to 2-3 potential sales gets expensive very fast. So I'm looking for advice from the experienced here.
Yeah, I am saying have someone local to a potential car look at it first since, as you said, doing it yourself can get pricey. They can make sure the car is as advertised and not some Nigerian prince situation. Then, if it passes that muster, you go to the next step which would be a PPI. If it is in a region though that doesn't have a competent Lotus dealer (very few are actually decent) then a LotusTalk member who knows the cars well will offer better insight than a random dealer.
 

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When I bought mine (from 600+ miles away), I made arrangements with a local Lotus specialist to do a PPI, and paid the (then) current owner some money for his time to run it over there.

Now, if the guy selling it says "A PPI is *your* problem" then I guess my method wouldn't work for you. But, if you're going through the trouble of getting a PPI for it, you're probably a serious buyer, and if he's that much against you getting a PPI on it, he's possibly hiding something.

Oh, and I just remembered - the arrangement I made with the current owner was AFTER I paid him a deposit. Basically, we agreed that I'd pay him a deposit, and pay him for his time to get the car over for the PPI. If the PPI found nothing, I was committed to buy the car. If the PPI turned up something, we'd either renegotiate, or he'd refund me the deposit.

But, all of that requires a motivated and willing buyer, and you having TRUST in the buyer.
 

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Plural of Lotus is Lotus
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I had the owner bring it to a Lotus dealer for PPI (car was 300 miles away). If owner isn't willing to do it, I would wonder why.................... Make sure the PPI includes inspecting the intake camshaft. Lots of info on why here on the forum.
 

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If you put out the city, I'm sure someone would be willing to give it a check to make sure it is at least as advertised.
yeah this is nice alternative if you can establish a trust with another owner/community member in an area close to where a car is being sold (obviously not always an option though)

for example, I would be more than willing to PPI any elise/exige in my surrounding area for another member/potential owner of lotustalk/facebook community/ect... & when dealing with these kind of niche cars, getting involved in a community is highly recommended.
 

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2005 Elise LSS Saffron Yellow
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This isn't my first weird vehicle. Being a member of a community related to your weird vehicle of choice is a really good idea. The weirder (rarer/more atypical) the vehicle is, the more you get a tight community feeling, and the more members will help look out for each other.

You don't really need a tight community for, say early '60s Mercury Comet owners, because, for all that the car is relatively rare, it's also very typical of its era, being a close sibling of both the Ford Falcon and the first generation Ford Mustang and of a conventional design for the time.

A Lotus outside of Britain is automatically atypical - Everything until the S2 Elise has a drivetrain not commonly available in anything but a Lotus (outside of Britain) and even the Lotus/Toyota cars have lots of structural and methodology differences from just about any other road car.

a PPI from a nearby community member is an extremely common thing in the weird vehicle community. I think it's rarer with shiny, new, (my '05 Elise is easily the newest rare car I've ever owned at merely 14 years old at purchase) expensive sports cars than some other things just because the shiny new cars have a dealer network of some sort nearby. The rarer and more orphaned things get, the more you pitch in and help to make sure that your peers get a fair deal.

I've done valuations for inheritors (in one case, I bought the car - a very nice '65 Corvair Corsa coupe), I've ridden along with friends to give an expert opinion when they were shopping out of their comfort zone, I've done PPIs for email requests that sometimes did and sometimes did not result in a purchase and ship, and I've given a lot of 'mechanics 101 for your weird car' lessons.

With Lotuses continuing to become rarer in the US over time, expect to need and give more of this sort of help. Even if Geely makes it big with the forthcoming Lotus hybrid sport-ute, that's not going to make an '05 Elise, or a '65 Elan any better supported by the dealer network than it is now.
 

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when i am selling a car, especially on-line, i take it to a local shop, preferably one that is known for working on those cars, and pay them for a PPI. then i make this one PPI available to all buyers. every seller should do this - it's the most efficient transparent thing for all involved.

can't say they all do it though. i have had cases where the sellers only agree to a PPI after we verbally agree that i want to otherwise buy the car, and for what price, if nothing is found to be wrong with it, which works ok for (relatively) local buys, but less so for far away ones where you can bit out the trip money if you don't buy the car.
 

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When I bought my 2006 Elise from the East Coast, and I’m in the Rocky Mountains, the seller was willing to take it to a Lotus Dealer for a PPI that I arranged and paid for.

I think this arrangement is beneficial to both parties, the seller is accommodating and the buyer demonstrates interest by paying for the inspection.

It worked out great and I’d do it that way again.
 

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Less is Better
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I'd really prefer to arrange a PPI remotely, but I'm not the skilled mechanic a lot of the LT guys are so I'd essentially be forced to go that route for a mechanical assessment.

Buying my Esprit from 1000 miles away involved hiring The Lemon Squad to assess what they could ( which wasn't much, but at least it was *something*) before I bought a plane ticket and rented a car.

Any distance purchase I've made (total of 4 now; 3 private party, 1 dealer) meant getting comfortable with the seller via phone + moderately aggressive online research on them.

Good luck!
I used the Lemon Squad for an Infiniti that I bought. They ran a vehicle check (not carfax) that missed a rear end accident that carfax had in their report and marked that the car had a torn front CV joint with slung grease that wasn't there at all???

I don't have any issue with a remote PPI before committing to buy the car but I suggest, especially for these cars, an expert local to the car.
 

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I had the owner bring it to a Lotus dealer for PPI (car was 300 miles away). If owner isn't willing to do it, I would wonder why.................... Make sure the PPI includes inspecting the intake camshaft. Lots of info on why here on the forum.
Hmmm, just reading this and thinking, would I let someone take all that stuff apart on my Exige S?

I think not.

If it has a CEL, then it is either devalued or you have to figure out why, which may mean checking the cam. But absent a CEL......

Granted it is simpler on a regular Elise, but are they paying for new gaskets, is it the dealer doing this work......

There are narrow circumstances where 'taking things apart' might be advised and allowable, but absent really good reasons a PPI would mostly be a no wrenches type deal.

If defects are found, one may want to investigate further. You know, a headlight is wonky, can we take the wheel arch liner out to see why, that sort of thing.

As you get towards a 100k miles, compression test might be in order.

When buying as used car, it is impossible to mitigate all risks

Hell, I got a good deal on my Exige, so I never even drove my car until I backed it off my trailer.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I bought my Elise sight unseen via an auction so no chance to do a PPI. Some minor things have needed fixing and I have some hellacious rattles as seen in another thread, but mechanically the car runs pretty well. It was also $5000 cheaper than the Elise that got sold out from underneath me so I have plenty of budget to fix things that may turn up. I bought it with 8k miles and it already has almost 10.5k miles! I AM enjoying this car very much.
 

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Flower Power
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I've bought several specialty cars long distance from private party, and one from bring a trailer. I always research the car and the seller. If you're lucky enough to have a prospective target car from a forum I read every previous post, and cross check the other forums. This gives me a pretty good read on the car and seller. On the idea of a PPI, it never hurts, although I have bought with and without, depending on my comfort level after researching.

I always request many more photos, and all of the available paperwork as part of my research.
 

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2005 Elise LSS Saffron Yellow
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If you're lucky enough to have a prospective target car from a forum I read every previous post, and cross check the other forums. This gives me a pretty good read on the car and seller.
I managed this retroactively. I saw and inspected the car myself and checked the carfax for it (which was provided by the dealer). Once I got it home, I put the VIN into a google search and found the car's online history, which in turn led me to its history here on LT. That, in combination with doing an ECU dump got me a pretty good idea of what I had bought.
 

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Definitely get a check list from the shop - not all PPI's are the same. You'll want them to at least pull the valve cover and check the cams, check for fiberglass damage under and around the car, and check the suspension components for tightness. I'd also want them to drive the car and check the syncros on all the gears at various RPMs as well.
 
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