Good ol’ Craigslist Scammers

I’ve been keeping my eye open for a cheap ATV that I can use around the property, so yesterday I notice this ad pop up on Craigslist:

2000 YAMAHA GRIZZLY 600 4 stroke ATV. 1048 on the meter. It needs a motor if you’re mechanically inclined or part it out. The motor blew one day while riding so I’m not sure whether the motor can be rebuilt. $1700

I have the title and bill of sale from when I purchased it. Contact me with ??’s


Here are some more pictures with the ad:

I figured since these people are close by, I wouldn’t ask many questions about it and just go look at it.  From the ad it’s obvious the title is a mess (the way its worded points to him never having transferred it over when he bought it), but I wasn’t too worried about that since I won’t be driving it around on public land.  The bluebook on this ATV is around $1900, so obviously the price was way too high right from the start.  I do like this one though because it has a winch and tow ball, and a big motor.  I’ve almost rolled my tractor way too many times.  Something with a suspension that can move things around would be nice.

When I show up to look at it, it’s pretty much exactly what I was expecting (a basket case).  Also the posted pictures look to be very old, as it’s not shiny/clean as shown.   As I pull up, the owner (skinny older hippy/meth head) comes out:

Him: “Good afternoon, are you Mark?”

Me: “Matt.  Thanks for meeting me”

Him:”Right, well here she is.  I’m an artist and not good with machines, so i don’t know exactly what happened to it.  Was just riding it around and it started smoking”

Me: “So who took the engine apart then?”

Him:  “Oh that was a friend of ours, he took it all apart and then moved away before he could finish it, he bagged up everything though and labeled it”

Me, looking over at a single ziploc bag full of bolts and springs: “Oh, so it’s been sitting out in the rain for a couple years then”  (The entire engine is garbage and can’t be rebuilt).

Since they pulled the cylinder head and cylinder, I look down to see if I can find out why the motor failed.  One side of the piston is completely fused to the rings.  Probably ran it without oil or the oil pump died (poor maintenance).  Rust all over it.  Almost definitely would need a new motor.  Lots of interesting things too.  Somehow they pulled the cylinder without the cylinder head.  Did they cut the cam chain?  Seems to be a suspicious lack of bolts too.

Him:  Yeah it’s a shame.  I had just rebuilt the transmission with my buddy too” (Mr. artist who doesn’t know anything about machines).

Me, looking down to see the transmission cover slightly open, the hose on top full of leaves:  “Yeah, a shame”

I note a few other things:

  • Missing exhaust pipe.  I’m guessing this is expensive.  These were only made for a few years, so there aren’t a lot of parts like that floating around
  • Missing fender flare, minor
  • Missing parts on carb, probably minor
  • Missing screws for plastics, annoying
  • 1.5″ hose in and out of the transmission case.  Not sure what these are for, but whatever they plug into is missing, and lots of dirt down in there, probably not good
  • Brakes work
  • 2 tires are cracked and dry rotted, probably the side facing the sun how it was parked
  • Fuel gauge on top is completely rotted
  • Front plastics cut open showing a bunch of breather tubes “previous owner did a lot of spray” the owner says
  • Wiring looks ok
  • Rodent nest where the battery used to be
  • Too scared to open the air box for fear of finding more rodents/bees
  • On second though, engine might be salvageable, but would need new crank, pistons, etc.  These are aluminum engines with steel sleeves that can be replaced.


At this point, his wife/partner comes down and he introduces us.

Him:  “Honey, this is Mark looking at the ATV”

Me:  “Matt.  Nice to meet you”

Her: “So what do you think, are you interested?”

Me:  “Yes, but I’m not going to lie, this is going to take alot of work and money in parts to get driveable.  I know you have it listed for $1500, but frankly I think it’s worth $200”

Her:  “I see, well we had a guy here last week offer us $500, so that’s going to be the going rate”

Me, thinking “so why didn’t you take the offer then?”:  “Oh I see.  Well I don’t want to waste your time.  If you change your mind and want it out of here, you have my phone #”.


At this point I walk back to my truck, and I hear her talking it over with her artist boyfriend/husband.  I can tell they are arguing, I think he wants the money.  He looks like he could be a druggie, but either way he seems like the kind of guy that just wants cash.  I smile as I leave.  There is a good chance they will be calling.


I checked the add the next morning (Saturday, today) and they have updated it with the following:

See the pictures of the motor/parts. The right fender and exhaust pipe are missing Has a windshield and a winch. $1500

I’m going to predict if they can’t find a sucker to ripoff this weekend, they will be giving me a call.  Unfortunately I’m out of town on vacation for the next week.  Oh well.  It’s almost liberating walking away from something like this.  Yes, I could fix it and it would be exactly what I wanted in an ATV.  At the same time, it feels good to come out on top in a negotiation with obvious scammers/dishonest people.


Update:  They dropped the price two more times this Saturday.  $1200, and now $999.

Good ol’ Craigslist Scammers

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