Definitely head gaskets are the big issue. Even if they aren't blown now, if they have never been done, you need to figure that they could go at any minute. Also, if they were done, you want to make sure they were done with ARP studs, and if they used MLS gaskets that they had both the heads and the block resurfaced to the right RA for the gaskets.
Even if you find any problems here, that is not necessarily a reason to not buy the car, but just make sure you pay accordingly. SCs are very sensitive to vacuum leaks, so if it is running poorly at all, look for old dry-rotted hoses. If possible, drive the car and make sure all the synchros in the trans are good. The ground effects do a great job of hiding rocker panel rust, so look closely for that. If the seller will let you, the rear pieces are not hard to take off and re-install to make sure the rockers are solid.
Test the seat bolsters to make sure they move, and hold position. Also while there, check to make sure the power seats move freely. Check for a broken odometer! Tell-tale signs of this are the trip odometer reading all zeros or if there is an oil change sticker, look to see if it is due in exactly 3000 miles. Check for broken motor mounts. If the mounts break, it lets the cast aluminum oil pan make contact with the K-member, so look for signs of it having rubbed there, and possible oil leaks due to the pan rubbing through.
Aside from the coolant leak he mentioned, also look at where the thermostat housing bolts to the intake manifold. These are known to warp and leak, and if they do, they are very difficult to get them to seal again. Check the handbrake to make sure it holds the car, releases properly, and is adjusted properly. Check for ARC operation by turning the key on and listening for any clicking, and then start the car and see if the firm ride light is blinking. Beyond that, just the typical MN12 suspension issues to look for, and that should pretty much cover it.
Even if the car needs a lot of work, a 94 5-speed is one of only 722 made, so if you are capable of working on it yourself, it is definitely a cool and fun car to have, but the more you can spot off the bat, the better you will be able to negotiate. If everything checks out, and the car doesn't have any major issues, and no rust, and a clean interior, and good paint, and it really only has 88K miles with a working odometer, with the other minor issues you already listed, figure $3,000-3,500 would be a fair price. Any more than that, I say walk away and keep looking, and then let the price drop from there depending what else you find. Good luck!
-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul
with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
-90 SC Automatic rustbucket winter beater
-97 Tbird Sport 4.6 Nice weather daily driver
-"Your buddy Mike is INSANE!" -ClintD's dad
Last edited by Trunk Monkey; 10-07-2013 at 04:31 PM.
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