Cheap and easy to fix car.

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by npoe1, May 21, 2008.

  1. npoe1

    npoe1 Senior member

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    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.
     
  2. coldmeat

    coldmeat Diamond Member

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    I imagine a truck would be easier to learn with.
     
  3. thedarkwolf

    thedarkwolf Diamond Member

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    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.
     
  4. Colt45

    Colt45 Lifer

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    chevy II.
     
  5. bruceb

    bruceb Diamond Member

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    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.
     
  6. Vette73

    Vette73 Lifer

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    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.
     
  7. nakedfrog

    nakedfrog Lifer

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    Old air-cooled VW. Just the bare necessities, no power anything, no water cooling, everything is right there in front of you.
     
  8. PricklyPete

    PricklyPete Lifer

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    An old Jeep. There are tons of cheap parts, the engine is simple and fairly solid (inline six)
     
  9. T2urtle

    T2urtle Diamond Member

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    air cooled bugs... engine swap in a matter of minutes...
     
  10. Demon-Xanth

    Demon-Xanth Lifer

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    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. :)
     
  11. nakedfrog

    nakedfrog Lifer

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    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.
    Mine was free :p
     
  12. exdeath

    exdeath Lifer

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    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.
     
  13. npoe1

    npoe1 Senior member

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    Thanks for answering.

    I think that my choice will be between a Dodge or a Chevy.
     
  14. Demon-Xanth

    Demon-Xanth Lifer

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    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.
     
  15. radioouman

    radioouman Diamond Member

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    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.
     
  16. Black88GTA

    Black88GTA Diamond Member

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    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.


     
  17. thedarkwolf

    thedarkwolf Diamond Member

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    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.
     
  18. daveymark

    daveymark Lifer

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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
     
  19. nakedfrog

    nakedfrog Lifer

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    I've heard the parts on these get pretty expensive.