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Old 03-05-2010, 11:25 AM   #1
nanette1985
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Default Replace engine in 95 Geo Prizm?

I have a 95 Geo Prizm for my college son. It started making a funny noise - click, click, click only when it was moving. He took it to the local mechanic who said it was low on oil, if he'd put some oil in, the noise would go away, everything would be okay.

Well, the noise got worse instead. He was driving on the highway, the noise got really bad, he started to pull over, there was a big thump, the engine died.

So, how much does it cost to replace the engine, and could it possibly be worth it? The car's not worth much. But it's been reliable transportation up until now. Bought it 3 years ago with 80,000 miles on it.

From my point of view, it's the cost of a replacement car vs the cost of the repair.

Thoughts? Advice? Anyone have a really inexpensive car to sell me?
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:28 AM   #2
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Probable not worth it. Even a junkyard motor plus labor would cost more than another car.

Its a cheap 15 year old car.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:32 AM   #3
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Here's the thing: The Prisim is just a Toyota Corolla with different badges. It tends to be an incredibly solid and reliable car.

To have a mechanic swap in a used engine will probably be at least $1,000, but if the rest of the car is in good shape, that's not a bad option since you know the car.

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Old 03-05-2010, 11:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
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Probable not worth it. Even a junkyard motor plus labor would cost more than another car.

Its a cheap 15 year old car.
Yes, but the question is not whether it's more than the car is worth, but whether it's more than what it would cost to buy a comparably reliable car. If the car is in great shape everywhere else, then it would make sense to fix it because the chances of another car in the $1,000 to $1,500 range being equally reliable are small.

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Old 03-05-2010, 11:36 AM   #5
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what exactly did the mechanic say died on the engine?
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:41 AM   #6
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I agree with Zenmervolt. Another option is just to replace with an old Toyota Corolla.

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Old 03-05-2010, 11:45 AM   #7
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Yes, but the question is not whether it's more than the car is worth, but whether it's more than what it would cost to buy a comparably reliable car. If the car is in great shape everywhere else, then it would make sense to fix it because the chances of another car in the $1,000 to $1,500 range being equally reliable are small.

ZV

I am guessing if the kid does not even check the oil I doubt he kept up the rest of the car.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:46 AM   #8
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Can you really get a junked engine in there for $1k? That seems cheap...
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:58 AM   #9
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I am guessing if the kid does not even check the oil I doubt he kept up the rest of the car.
Yea, I think you should buy him a 1960's VW Beetle. Cheap, reliable, but they make you appreciate the other vehicles you've driven because they don't have AC. Make sure it has a crappy paint job as well. Tell him he has to keep it alive on his own for the next 3 years or he isn't getting anything else and will have to walk. I'd be a cruel dad that way.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:12 PM   #10
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I am guessing if the kid does not even check the oil I doubt he kept up the rest of the car.
How many drivers today really check their oil? Yes, most of us gearheads do, but the average driver never bothers with it. Most people just drive until the little sticker in the window says to get an oil change and then they start to consider having the oil changed. A couple thousand miles later they make the appointment. The average driver never even opens the hood.

This doesn't mean that the rest of the car isn't taken care of.

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Old 03-05-2010, 12:35 PM   #11
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I got a junked engine with 56k in my car for $300.

But I did it myself :p
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:55 PM   #12
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Were all Prizms rebadged Corolals? I'm surprised the engine died. Sounds like it spun a rod bearing, and eventually threw a rod. Even a Toyota can't take abuse like not checking the oil.....
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:56 PM   #13
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Were all Prizms rebadged Corolals? I'm surprised the engine died. Sounds like it spun a rod bearing, and eventually threw a rod. Even a Toyota can't take abuse like not checking the oil.....
Yes, they were built on the same line and they all came out of the now defunct NUMMI.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geo/Chevrolet_Prizm
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:16 PM   #14
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Ah, cool. Wasn't sure if it was just some model years.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:03 PM   #15
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That is a very low mileage car for its age. As a driver of a 1993 Toyota Corolla with a lot of mechanical similarity to that Prizm I'd get another engine for that car. My car's at 216k miles so I'll bet your son's car has a lot of life in it still, engine excluded.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:53 PM   #16
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Woooohooooo for '95 Prizms!!!!

I've got one myself as my daily driver. I got pissed & bought it back in '05 ($2K) when gas first went to $3/gal and told myself I'd park my F-150 & drive it for a couple years. Well........almost 5 years later and I'm still drivin' it. I've done a little stuff here & there but it's more than paid for itself.

I'd first confirm the motor's truly dead. Then, I'd try to do the swap myself. I think you'd even have some fun with it. The dang motor's so tiny and it'd be a great learning experience for both of you.

If not.........I'd say go buy a new sub-$10K car & call it a day.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:03 PM   #17
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How many drivers today really check their oil? Yes, most of us gearheads do, but the average driver never bothers with it. Most people just drive until the little sticker in the window says to get an oil change and then they start to consider having the oil changed. A couple thousand miles later they make the appointment. The average driver never even opens the hood.

This doesn't mean that the rest of the car isn't taken care of.

ZV
I actually have to agree with Marlin. If the engine oil wasn't changed, then the likelihood of tranny fluid, brake fluid, coolant and everything wasn't quite kept up either. If the automatic transmission fails it'll cost an arm and a leg to fix.

Just buy a police cruiser for your son, OP. Those things have bulletproof motors plus parts are dirt cheap. They just use a lot more gas that's all
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Old 03-06-2010, 01:25 AM   #18
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Can you really get a junked engine in there for $1k? That seems cheap...
Got a 3.1L Buick V6 (original: oil pump failure and engine sieze) and a 97 Sentra 4 cyl (original: owner drove 500 miles with a blown auto tranny and fried the engine until it threw a rod through the block). Both for around $500 each.

Used complete engines for mass produced economy cars are dirt cheap.

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Old 03-06-2010, 01:46 PM   #19
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Thanks for the replies!

Kid may not have been the greatest at maintenance but he didn't ignore it completely. I know he did an oil change last fall because I had a free coupon. So it wasn't 3 years of no oil.

I bought the car 3 years ago from a neighbor, it was his mom's who died and she hadn't driven it for years. We replaced the belts/hoses/fluids etc when I got it and the car checked out okay. Could an engine death be related to sitting unused back then?
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:05 PM   #20
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Last fall? So a year on the same oil?
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:08 PM   #21
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Last fall? So a year on the same oil?
last fall would be like 4 months ago, lol
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Old 03-06-2010, 03:31 PM   #22
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Thanks for the replies!

Kid may not have been the greatest at maintenance but he didn't ignore it completely. I know he did an oil change last fall because I had a free coupon. So it wasn't 3 years of no oil.

I bought the car 3 years ago from a neighbor, it was his mom's who died and she hadn't driven it for years. We replaced the belts/hoses/fluids etc when I got it and the car checked out okay. Could an engine death be related to sitting unused back then?
Hmm.. I can't think of anything that would cause engine death specifically. Usually the thing that happens with sitting cars is the seals dry out and start to leak. It was either a lemon, or was run with no oil at some point, or something.
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Old 03-07-2010, 08:08 AM   #23
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no way
engine swap in a '95 prizm
god no that makes no sense
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