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Old 11-16-2012, 03:26 AM   #26
angminas
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She should hold off as long as possible and look for a really good deal. I bought a 1993 Toyota Tercel with 77k for less than 2k and drove it into the ground. It took me a month to find the deal, and I had to take a bus 400 miles to pick it up, but it saved me thousands. BTW, I found it on Ebay.

I also bought a 1985 Grand Am with 51k on it for...oh, how much was it...I think like $1200...anyway, it was cheap and in great condition with a stack of receipts and brand new tires. Old couple's car.

In used cars, holding your horses is the difference between garbage and gold.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:18 AM   #27
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I got a 97 Maxima GLE I'd sell her for 2 grand if you are willing to come to north florida to pick it up. It was top of the line and everything works (power seats, sunroof, power windows, power door locks, cruise control, power antenna, bose stereo ). 208k miles. Engine and auto tranny seem stong. Timing chain changed once. Just did a bunch of maintenance on it and fixed several PITA oil leaks. Paint is not faded at all, but lots of scratches. Leather seat on driver side is pretty torn up. Needs new struts, but tires are new.
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:40 AM   #28
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look for a ranger pickup
an old subie with maitenance history
could def find a blue haired domestic in that area, in pretty solid shape
i know she cant prolly up it but getting into the 3 range will get her a better ride for sure
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:16 AM   #29
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i know she cant prolly up it but getting into the 3 range will get her a better ride for sure
That's true for EVERY $1k increase in budget when you're at the low end of the market.

You can get a perfectly reliable car for $2k. It will just be old and high-mileage.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:23 AM   #30
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I'm stuck with her 2k limit, it's a hard one, and time is of the essence. She's a woman, and doesn't understand why everything she wants can't magically happen tomorrow (I exaggerate, but you get the general drift), and also, she really does need wheels soon. Also, there's only so much time and energy I'm willing to devote to this.

This is suburbia verging on the rural as you go North. You're not a functioning American without a working vehicle.

Anyway, the latest, best possiblity is a 2001 Geo Prizm (NUMMI Toyota Corolla) with only 108,000 miles and inspected until 8/2013. Owner wanted 2,000, but I already got him down to 1,800 on the phone. Photos, especially of the engine compartment, look real clean, and the engine has a timing chain, not a belt!

It's a fair trek North, in Allentown. I'm waiting on the guy to e-mail me the VIN so I can carfax this sucker before I waste my time and gas motoring up there, also with a buddy to drive it home if it turns out as good as these metrics promise.

. . . Which reminds me, I have to look into how much carfax charges, and their turn around time. Anyone with experience know offhand?

The guy sounds Mexican, and lost his license. The car is not slammed at all. Looks bone stock (which is good).

This could turn out to be yet another "too good to be true" deal, which is usually the damn case, but I've had to increase my search radius given the 2K she has to work with.

The other present possibility is 97 Honda Civic with 200,000 miles that's had everything major replaced and has a brand new inspection. Yet another Mexican, lol, this time in Reading. He's willing to meet me half way, which is still a trek. $1,500 down to $1,300 on the phone.

Why did I volunteer to do this? I always end up as the white knight for daffy damsels in distress, usually with 'puters. I'm not even looking to get laid!

Ugh. No good deed goes unpunished.

Wanted to add that if I were doing this for myself and had that 2K limit, I'd take my damn time and budget 2-3 months. Deals are out there, but if you don't have the cash, you need to increase your time limit. Fuck, when I was a PI and drove 40,000 -- 50,000 miles a year and often into the worst neighborhoods imaginable where I didn't want to get jacked just for my car, I used to find a series of metal timing chain Toyota Corolla/Corona and Datsun 510 and 210 station wagons for $300 -500 that were perfectly damn fine except they just rusted out under you.

And I'm old enough to remember the days of $50 cars that ran, too!
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:06 AM   #31
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^^^ Pic of engine compartment on 2001 Geo Prizm (Corolla), with 108,000 mi. Still waiting for guy to WAKE UP and send me the Vin.

And, CHRIST, carfax is pricey. For some reason, I thought it was $7.95, but it's $39.95 for one.
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:24 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Perknose View Post


^^^ Pic of engine compartment on 2001 Geo Prizm (Corolla), with 108,000 mi. Still waiting for guy to WAKE UP and send me the Vin.

And, CHRIST, carfax is pricey. For some reason, I thought it was $7.95, but it's $39.95 for one.
OMFG is that ever clean. A bit too clean but hey w/e. Do the standard checks, make sure no alarm bells go off in your head i.e. guy is in a super rush to sell and other bullshit (title in somebody else's name).

Hope it works out, I am suddenly in a similar situation.
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:37 AM   #33
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20 hours? Seriously? On what?

I've never seen one that took more than 4, regardless of what it actually paid.
A '94 Escort, to get to the heater core requires the removal of, center console, steering wheel, pedal mounts, drop steering column, radio, heater control system, every single electrical connector, unbolt and remove entire dashboard, remove heater box, remove core from box and replace, now replace and hook up everything you took off. Now I'm not a mechanic of course so it took longer, the Ford dealer quoted me $500 to do it, $425 was labor, told me it would tie up one of his guys for an entire day, I split it into 2 days, 8-10hrs each. You probably have more tools and experience than I possess but you are not getting this much done in 4 hours. Oh, I did check with two independents besides the dealer, both were around $425-450, I did take my time and took many breaks some of the electrical connectors had just enough room to get your hand in there and remove them, this was more difficult job than replacing a bad piston and re-ring, sounds crazy but it's true..
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:41 PM   #34
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^^^ Pic of engine compartment on 2001 Geo Prizm (Corolla), with 108,000 mi. Still waiting for guy to WAKE UP and send me the Vin.

And, CHRIST, carfax is pricey. For some reason, I thought it was $7.95, but it's $39.95 for one.
If that one's not stolen, it's a winner for sure.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:58 PM   #35
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Of the options that you have listed, only the Honda is viable, however, with it's really high mileage, unless it's been meticulously maintained, will undoubtedly need repairs sooner rather than later.

The Contour, also known as a Mercury Mystique (dubbed the Mercury Mistake in the technician world), is rather hit or miss. I've seen a lot of them with A LOT of problems, and then others that have had very few. However, this is a crap shoot.

The Tauruses are pretty good cars. The base 3.0 (Vulcan engine) is a VERY reliable engine, however, they have big time problems with transmissions. They also consistently break rear springs. They wear balljoints, tie rods and wheel bearings like crazy.

My best advice to you, as someone that works in the automotive field, is definitely take your time. It may also be a better idea to buy a slightly older, like early/mid 90's vehicle than a newer one.

Earlier this year I helped a lady friend find a good used vehicle. She too only had _$2000 to spend. After scouring CL, I narrowed it down to a couple of vehicles. A '94 Camry and a '99 Mazda 626.
Then after inspecting both vehicles, I determined that the Camry was a better buy. It only had 135k miles on it and it was from California (no rust). IT wasn't perfect, but it didn't need much either. SO far she's driven it approximately 30k miles with no more than oil changes. The only thing it needs right now is rear sway bar links and a couple of tires.

For $2000 she got a great vehicle.

Rule of thumb when buying a car, for every dollar you spend, you should get 10x the amount of miles out of it.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:04 PM   #36
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^^^ Pic of engine compartment on 2001 Geo Prizm (Corolla), with 108,000 mi. Still waiting for guy to WAKE UP and send me the Vin.

And, CHRIST, carfax is pricey. For some reason, I thought it was $7.95, but it's $39.95 for one.
Ok, that's in suspiciously good visual shape......
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:15 PM   #37
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Ok, that's in suspiciously good visual shape......
Hehe, well, maybe it's a car detailer guy who is selling his vehicle, and he cleaned it up to try to get more $ out of it. I actually helped a buddy buy a 3G Prelude that looked that clean, and it was about 15 years old at the time with 105k or so on the clock. Haha my current '12 TC has 7k on it now, and it doesn't look as clean as that pic.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:55 PM   #38
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Hehe, well, maybe it's a car detailer guy who is selling his vehicle, and he cleaned it up to try to get more $ out of it. I actually helped a buddy buy a 3G Prelude that looked that clean, and it was about 15 years old at the time with 105k or so on the clock. Haha my current '12 TC has 7k on it now, and it doesn't look as clean as that pic.
Turned out to be straight up no BS, not steam cleaned, the real deal. The whole thing is quite the mini saga, which I will recount -- no doubt in excruciating detail -- soon enough. But the Perknose has landed!
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:39 PM   #39
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Today is you lucky day; my cream puff is still for sale! She can live in it should things get worse and she'll still have money left over to take you to dinner. 278k loving miles.



Don't worry about the heater core bypass this winter. There's plenty of room for a fire pit in the third row footwell.
Haha... Those things are damn nice/comfy when restored properly though. A friend of mine restored an 83 Caprice estate similar to that one...
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:06 AM   #40
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Haha... Those things are damn nice/comfy when restored properly though. A friend of mine restored an 83 Caprice estate similar to that one...
I want one. That or a nice Buick Roadmaster.
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:21 AM   #41
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I'd say the Honda, but really a 1997 Honda with that many miles in a piece of sh*t anyway. I can't believe what they are asking for cars now.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:18 AM   #42
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I want one. That or a nice Buick Roadmaster.
Stick with an early '90's Roadmaster, early 80's cars did not have fuel injection, they used "feedback carbs", there was an O2 sensor, a crude PCM that electrically moved the metering rods in the carb, they were prone to problems, when mine on my '82 Cutlass acted up it was $500 for a rebuilt!, I got a kit and did it myself but it never ran right, I wound up unplugging the carb and it ran OK. As soon as FI became doable every car maker went to it ASAP..
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:52 AM   #43
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Turned out to be straight up no BS, not steam cleaned, the real deal. The whole thing is quite the mini saga, which I will recount -- no doubt in excruciating detail -- soon enough. But the Perknose has landed!
Not soon enough! Spill it!
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:55 AM   #44
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Stick with an early '90's Roadmaster, early 80's cars did not have fuel injection, they used "feedback carbs", there was an O2 sensor, a crude PCM that electrically moved the metering rods in the carb, they were prone to problems, when mine on my '82 Cutlass acted up it was $500 for a rebuilt!, I got a kit and did it myself but it never ran right, I wound up unplugging the carb and it ran OK. As soon as FI became doable every car maker went to it ASAP..
The Olds Custom Cruiser shown above was the last carborated car built in America, possibly the world. Getting it through emissions was a pain in the butt. It would run clean as a whistle for 99% of the time and then throw up a hairball, screwing up the test results. I used to leave it with the mechanic who would run the car through the emissions station, tweak it, and then run it through again until it passed. On the other hand, this car has never left me stranded and it is the best car on earth for long road trips, so comfy.
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:49 PM   #45
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The Olds Custom Cruiser shown above was the last carborated car built in America, possibly the world. Getting it through emissions was a pain in the butt. It would run clean as a whistle for 99% of the time and then throw up a hairball, screwing up the test results. I used to leave it with the mechanic who would run the car through the emissions station, tweak it, and then run it through again until it passed. On the other hand, this car has never left me stranded and it is the best car on earth for long road trips, so comfy.
Nope. Subaru Justy.
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:46 PM   #46
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Nope. Subaru Justy.
A friend had one. Man, what a beater. The most positive description that I've read about the Justy was that it was a slightly upmarket Geo Metro.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:13 PM   #47
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The Olds Custom Cruiser shown above was the last carborated car built in America, possibly the world. Getting it through emissions was a pain in the butt. It would run clean as a whistle for 99% of the time and then throw up a hairball, screwing up the test results. I used to leave it with the mechanic who would run the car through the emissions station, tweak it, and then run it through again until it passed. On the other hand, this car has never left me stranded and it is the best car on earth for long road trips, so comfy.
What year is that wagon? I know Ford was still using carburetors on certain engines in Crown Vics through 1991.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:25 PM   #48
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What year is that wagon? I know Ford was still using carburetors on certain engines in Crown Vics through 1991.
1988. Olds changed styless and went to FI in 1991. Looks like I was wrong.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:48 PM   #49
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1988. Olds changed styless and went to FI in 1991. Looks like I was wrong.
Not by much.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:34 AM   #50
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I was bored so here is what wiki says about the last carbs in the US


1990 (General public) : Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, Buick Estate Wagon, Honda Prelude (2.0 S Base Model)
1991 (Police) : Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor with the 5.8 L (351 cu in) engine.
1991 (SUV) : Jeep Grand Wagoneer with the AMC 360 engine.
1993 Mazda B2200 (Light Truck)
1994 (Light truck) : Isuzu[7]
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