I've been idly looking at a few used vehicle models for the purpose of towing a glider (and glider trailer, obviously). Recently I've been checking out Toyota 4runners and Jeep Cherokees. A few weeks ago it was Nissan Pathfinders. Trying to gauge availability and pricing is a tricky business and one that I really didn't want to spent a lot of time on.

Since the used car ads on craigslist are quite active, I figured that was a good place to look. The trouble is that in the South Bay, East Bay, and Peninsula listings, they go by pretty quickly. I don't have time to track all that.

So I wrote a script that uses the RSS feeds. This is both good and bad.

The good points:

  1. I can run it from cron every 20-30 minutes and get e-mail.
  2. It's very lightweight.
  3. It took 5 minutes to write and another 5 to test and tweak.

On the negative side:

  1. Some false positives. People aren't always sure how to represent, say, a Toyota 4runner. Should it be 4-runner, 4runner, 4 runner, four runner, or something else? So I have to be a little more liberal in the regex I use. And sometimes they're selling a 4 runner service manual or something.
  2. There's currently no logic to notice that I've already seen a particular listing before, so I see duplicates sometimes.
  3. Craigslist, for some stupid reason, strips prices from the titles in their RSS feeds. So I have to look at every listing by hand. Or I may have to automate the process--fetch every page that looks interesting and try to find the price.

That last one really pisses me off, but it's a free service, so I can't complain too much I guess. All in all the script has saved me a couple hours of time so far.

What's that? You'd like the code? Oh, okay. I suppose I can share: cl-carfind.pl (921 bytes)

Share and enjoy. But don't mis-use it.

Posted by jzawodn at January 17, 2004 07:52 PM

Reader Comments
# milk said:

yeah, nice blog man (time to append the blacklist? ;) have you contacted craigslist about the last complaint? maybe they're unaware of the potential benefits of the extra info.

on January 18, 2004 04:20 AM
# B said:

Regarding Cherokees as tow vehicles: I've owned five different Cherokees, varying in age from '84 to '93, two of them with 4.0L. They're great vehicles, and I still kind of miss my last one. The 4.0L is prone to overheating, however. It has a fairly small single-core radiator that barely keeps up with the engine when you're *not* pulling something. When mine started leaking, I replaced it with one I bought from www.radiator.com; I bought a three core "heavy duty" replacement that dropped right in. After that, the temperature gauge never went over half-way, no matter what I did. Good luck on the hunt!

on January 18, 2004 05:24 AM
# Asa Bour said:


I am on my second Cherokee and I would recommend one for you to tow a glider. You probably want to upgrade the radiator to a 3 core and add a transmission cooler. Then you can tow thru the mountains with your air conditioner on high and your engine will be ice cold.

Cherokees are reliable and the inline six (I6) engine has been around forever. Just remember that any SUV won't stop as well as your Acura. My boat trailer has surge brakes that are disc. If you are towing > 2000 lbs I would recommend trailer brakes. How heavy is your glider / trailer combo? My Cherokee easily pulls my 3500+ lb boat / trailer combo around.

You can buy a late 1990s Cherokee with ~60-70k miles for $7-9k depending on condition (in Ohio). I think if you get a 1998 or later Cherokee you get disc brakes on all four wheels making it stop much better.

Take pride in a Toledo Ohio built product, get a Cherokee! You will love it! Give me a call if you have any questions about Cherokees.

Good luck in your SUV search,

on January 18, 2004 08:54 AM
# jrconlin said:

Maybe they'll put you in the movie.

on January 18, 2004 10:10 AM
# Donny said:

Just contact the overture group at yahoo and have them get you a list of all misspellings for toyota 4 runner. They pretty much return toyota 4runner which is the same way that Toyota.com lists the 4runner. But if you use Overtures, inventory tool and put in 4-runner it returns 4runner. I still remember reading about all of the misspellings of britney spears searched on google for a 3 month period, it was something like 600 different variations.

Have fun.


on January 18, 2004 06:02 PM
# Eric said:

Hi Jeremey,

What! cant complain about CL? Sure you can (everybody else does :-) ): href=http://forums.craigslist.org/?forumID=8

and it helps us out.

We do our best to keep folks happy. We currently do not have a lot of folks using the RSS feeds, so we haven't gotten much feedback. I'll see about getting that pricing problem fixed for ya.

I'm actually more excited about providing rss feeds for our search engine. So you can just subscribe to exactly the info you want. This is a little bit down the road however, but it will be cool when it gets done.


Eric, cto craigslist

PS. Thanks for all the mysql writings.

on January 19, 2004 11:17 AM
# JB said:

I was trying to get the cl-carfind perl script to run on my hosting server, but when I goto www.mysite.com/cl-carfind.pl I get a 500 internal server error.

Do you know what could cause this, because I thought all I would have to do is edit the script to find what I wanted to search, save the file, and place it in my cgi-bin?

Greatly Appreciate the help

on May 23, 2005 01:53 PM
# Eric Lozag said:

i really like your script.. ive also created a RSS type site for CL searches. http://www.crxsearch.com check it out and give me an email if you have any comments/suggests.

eventually id like to get a user area where they can have their searches emailed to them on a set # of hours or days..

on June 11, 2005 03:48 PM
# Jeff anderson said:


on July 28, 2005 08:46 AM
# Craig said:

I love craigslist and anything to make using it easier is great. I wrote a tool that does will notify you by email when something you are searching for is posted on craigslist. Take a look at: http://www.craig2mail.com/craigs.html

Craig (another Craig)

on May 12, 2006 06:52 PM
# Brian said:

I found this, and it's saver for my email box. It's not free, but worth every cent.


on April 3, 2007 11:44 PM
# George said:

Brian (I assume the owner of CraigsPal) so far my experience with the CraigsPal program is horrible. I honeslty wish I have never bought it. What is the problem? It does not work at all! No Im not saying it works poorly, Im saying it does not work at all. You can't even setup your searches. The search setup window won't open.

WARNING to readers: never purchase something if the only way to contact the company is via a computer message. NO PHONENO BUY. At this point in time CraigsPal account sign in feature is not working so members can't contact them directly anyway.

I can't get ahold of these folk!

on April 16, 2007 09:52 AM
# Jane said:


Did you try emailing them? info@craigspal.com

Also, do you see phone number for CraigsList.org website?

on April 16, 2007 02:05 PM
# George said:

Thanks Jane, I did not see that info@ email address anywhere on craigspal but I may have missed it. I did actually look for other ways to contact the company.

You mention a phone number for craigslist.... the two companies (craigspal and craigslist) are not associated so calling craigslist would be of no value.

CraigsPal has now gotten ahold of me. We are working together on a solution. I belive actualy they got my email from here so thanks Jeremy.

on April 16, 2007 08:07 PM
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