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Please pardon the newbie questions.

I'm buying a 1999 Cabrio 2.0 GL this week. It has 86k miles which is pretty good for the age, but car needs some work as below. This is my checklist & my thoughts - would you challenge any of them?

I read up on the MK3 threads for each issue before posting.

Car issues:
1. Tear in the seam on convertible top. I read this can be replaced, looks like $500-$1000 to replace.

2. Cam shaft sensor problem - typical issue requiring replacement of distributor, part alone is $100-$200 plus labor.

3. Exhaust is not connected to catalytic converter, needs fixing before it will pass state inspection. Suspicious of this - parts range from sub-$100 to >$250.

4. Scratch on body- just a flesh wound. Ignoring for now.

5. Check for rust all around per MK3 "watch out" thread

I'm assuming I need to budget $2000 to get this baby purring in the short term.

Any faulty assumptions here?
 

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You should find someone that knows about cars to look at the car and tell you the best/cheapest/easiest way to get it fixed.

Does the entire rear muffler need to be replaced or just the connection? A shop can charge you $1k for labor and parts on a whole exhaust system. A distributor is really cheap at a junkyard and a skilled person can easily replace a distributor in under 15 minutes. A shop will charge you at least $200 for a distributor then hit you steep for labor.

It sounds like you can get the car rolling and past inspection for way less than $2000, but in some states you have to pass a serious safety inspection where they check your brakes, steering components and alignment, all lights have to work, etc. If you're not careful it can be a expensive problem.

It sounds like its in great shape, 86k miles is excellent mileage for a 99. You should get an experienced mechanic to look at the car and you should get some good advice from someone who can actually get a look at the car.
 
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