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Old 05-21-2008, 01:35 AM   #1
npoe1
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Default Cheap and easy to fix car.

I want to learn auto mechanics and I?m considering buying a cheap old car to start learning. Eventually I will install a turbo if it doesn?t have one. What car do you guys recommend to begging?

BTW I barely know how to change a tire, but you need to start some place.
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Old 05-21-2008, 02:06 AM   #2
coldmeat
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Default Cheap and easy to fix car.

I imagine a truck would be easier to learn with.
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:35 AM   #3
thedarkwolf
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Default Cheap and easy to fix car.

You want something cheap, easy to work on, and turbo charged? The answer is turbo dodge. http://www.thedodgegarage.com/ looks like their sever is down at the moment but thats the best source for info. One of several forums Anyway everything about them is cheap. Cheap to buy, cheap parts, junkyards are full of them, cheap insurance, many body styles to choose from, and about as simple to work on as modern cars get and plenty of good info on how to do everything. You will get plenty of reason to work on it too . More because they are worthless and people treat them like shit then them being unreliable.
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:38 AM   #4
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Default Cheap and easy to fix car.

chevy II.
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Old 05-21-2008, 06:51 AM   #5
bruceb
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Default Cheap and easy to fix car.

I agree .. An old Chevy II / Nova or its siblings are excellent
for new mechanics to learn. Simple powertrains, no computers
or crazy wiring harnesses to deal with. Engines are almost
bulletproof. You will even get to learn how to set points dwell
and ignition timing. Just don't expect to find the body in good
shape, unless the car is from down south or the west.
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:50 AM   #6
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Default Cheap and easy to fix car.

Cheap and easy to fix...

Insert Old Chevy model


/Thread


If you want easy but kinda newwer then look at the Chevy/GMC trucks made from 1989 to 1995. they had Throttle body injection. So looks like a carb but was a F/I system. Easy to work on and lot of options for upgrades.
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:00 AM   #7
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Default Cheap and easy to fix car.

Old air-cooled VW. Just the bare necessities, no power anything, no water cooling, everything is right there in front of you.
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:19 AM   #8
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Default Cheap and easy to fix car.

An old Jeep. There are tons of cheap parts, the engine is simple and fairly solid (inline six)
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:19 AM   #9
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air cooled bugs... engine swap in a matter of minutes...
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:22 AM   #10
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Default Cheap and easy to fix car.

Getting old Novas is kinda hard these days because of collectors, same with VW bugs. Expect to do more maintenance than you're used to, but don't be surprised if you get in a routine and have fun with it though.
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by: Demon-Xanth
Getting old Novas is kinda hard these days because of collectors, same with VW bugs. Expect to do more maintenance than you're used to, but don't be surprised if you get in a routine and have fun with it though.
1970+ Beetles are usually still pretty cheap, collectors are generally only interested in 1967 and earlier. Super Beetles get no love from the collector market.
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:33 AM   #12
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Default Cheap and easy to fix car.

A 5.0 mustang or something with a 350 chevy small block.

Cheap and abundant and universal; availability of parts and info to do whatever your heart desires are second to none; anything you can think of, at least 100 people have already done it. And it's nice to have something that is common knowledge when you're first learning so you don't get stuck on some obscure thing that nobody knows anything about.

And once you do start learning, you have a platform that in stock form has plenty of untapped potential for rewarding returns in the seat of the pants for your effort.

Did I mention cheap cost of entry and size of after market?

I'd suggest something even older, predating emissions standards so you can learn the basics and not be impeded or intimidated by the emissions control devices and vacuum lines that are completely unnecessary for the fundamental operation of the vehicle and occupy 90% of a modern vehicles engine bay. You know... pop the hood and the only thing connected to the engine are the radiator hoses and fuel lines..., but old school muscle isn't exactly cheap anymore.

You could also do well with rebuilding an old 4 stroke motorcycle or something, as those are pretty fundamental and don't have all the auxiliary systems that a car does.
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Old 05-21-2008, 02:14 PM   #13
npoe1
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Default Cheap and easy to fix car.

Thanks for answering.

I think that my choice will be between a Dodge or a Chevy.
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Old 05-21-2008, 02:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by: npoe1
Thanks for answering.

I think that my choice will be between a Dodge or a Chevy.
An old Dart or Duster with a slant six is the type of car that if you run it into the ground that means you need to replace the tire that blew out.
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Old 05-21-2008, 02:46 PM   #15
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Default Cheap and easy to fix car.

Quote:
Originally posted by: Demon-Xanth
Quote:
Originally posted by: npoe1
Thanks for answering.

I think that my choice will be between a Dodge or a Chevy.
An old Dart or Duster with a slant six is the type of car that if you run it into the ground that means you need to replace the tire that blew out.
LOL... Yeah no kidding. The slant 6 is a great old engine. It will require tons of tinkering if you have the single barrel carb and the lean burn system. The 318 is also another indestructible engine.

But due to gas prices, I recommend learning cars on something a bit more modern. The k-cars were good reliable cars if you get one that has throttle body injection (most K's were fuel injected by 1986, although the Omni didn't get fuel injection until 1989). The Dodge Shadow/Plymouth Sundance are great starter cars if you find them with the 2.2 or 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engines.

Personally, I think that the Saturn S-series cars are good learning tools too. They are pretty easy to work on, and they have a handful of common problems that are well documented on the web, and you can find detailed info on how to fix them.
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:52 PM   #16
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Default Cheap and easy to fix car.

3rd gen F-body (82 - 92 Camaro or Firebird) with 305 or 350 (350 preferred)
Fox body Mustang (79 - 93) with the 302
Turbo Dodge (late '80s - early '90s)
90 - 94 DSM (Mitsubishi Eclipse, Eagle Talon, Chrysler / Plymouth Laser) preferably one w/ AWD / turbo

Any of the above choices would be a great project for someone on a budget, with enough seat-of-the-pants rewards to make it worth it. All are common and can be had very cheaply, parts are everywhere and cheap as dirt, there are a hundred online forums dedicated to them that you can turn to for advice if you get stuck on something, and the sky is the limit as far as upgrades are concerned. Any of the above cars can be made to run in the 12s or beyond with relatively little effort.

Everyone is saying to get an old carb'd car, but I disagree. Yes, they are much simpler and easier to work on... but if you are serious about this, you will probably want to get to know computer controls and ECMs right off the bat, rather than be stuck scratching your head when it does come up later. I don't think any car has been sold in the US with a carburetor since the '80s although I know there were still a couple carb'd trucks.

Your gas mileage and reliability will be much better with FI as well.


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Old 05-21-2008, 11:59 PM   #17
thedarkwolf
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Default Cheap and easy to fix car.

Quote:
Originally posted by: radioouman
Quote:
Originally posted by: Demon-Xanth
Quote:
Originally posted by: npoe1
Thanks for answering.

I think that my choice will be between a Dodge or a Chevy.
An old Dart or Duster with a slant six is the type of car that if you run it into the ground that means you need to replace the tire that blew out.
LOL... Yeah no kidding. The slant 6 is a great old engine. It will require tons of tinkering if you have the single barrel carb and the lean burn system. The 318 is also another indestructible engine.

But due to gas prices, I recommend learning cars on something a bit more modern. The k-cars were good reliable cars if you get one that has throttle body injection (most K's were fuel injected by 1986, although the Omni didn't get fuel injection until 1989). The Dodge Shadow/Plymouth Sundance are great starter cars if you find them with the 2.2 or 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engines.

Personally, I think that the Saturn S-series cars are good learning tools too. They are pretty easy to work on, and they have a handful of common problems that are well documented on the web, and you can find detailed info on how to fix them.
all the turbo dodges are multi port fuel injected so another plus in their favor. I'm an idiot and have managed to rebuild or replace pretty much everything under the hood of mine and still don't have much money in it including buying it. They don't have to be as ugly as mine..

Another option are the 80s nissan 300z turbos. They aren't easy to find and when you do they are usually a total pile around here but they are RWD and the engine bay doesn't look to hard to deal with. The MKIII toyota supra turbos are huge fat pigs but again rwd and turbo is nice if you can find one. Then there are the turbo fords. Not as easy to find as the dodges but the thunderbird turbo coupe is rwd and the 87/88s do look damn nice. Still pretty cheap and easy to get parts for.
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Old 05-22-2008, 09:15 AM   #18
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I'd suggest a miata, ultra cheap to maintain, lots of people putting turbos in them, plus they're fun to drive... but since the car needs to break down often in order for you to learn how to fix it, a dodge or chevy might be a better choice for your instance

second choice would be a mustang
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Old 05-22-2008, 10:03 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by: thedarkwolf
Another option are the 80s nissan 300z turbos. They aren't easy to find and when you do they are usually a total pile around here but they are RWD and the engine bay doesn't look to hard to deal with.
I've heard the parts on these get pretty expensive.
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