Replace engine in 95 Geo Prizm?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by nanette1985, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. nanette1985

    nanette1985 Diamond Member

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    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?
     
  2. Vette73

    Vette73 Lifer

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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.
     
  3. Zenmervolt

    Zenmervolt Supermoderator<br>The Garage<br>Elite member
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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.

    ZV
     
  4. Zenmervolt

    Zenmervolt Supermoderator<br>The Garage<br>Elite member
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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
     
  5. PottedMeat

    PottedMeat Lifer

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    what exactly did the mechanic say died on the engine?
     
  6. Cepak

    Cepak Golden Member

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  7. Vette73

    Vette73 Lifer

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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.
     
  8. StageLeft

    StageLeft No Lifer

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    Can you really get a junked engine in there for $1k? That seems cheap...
     
  9. Cepak

    Cepak Golden Member

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    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.
     
  10. Zenmervolt

    Zenmervolt Supermoderator<br>The Garage<br>Elite member
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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
     
  11. BlackTigers

    BlackTigers Diamond Member

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    I got a junked engine with 56k in my car for $300.

    But I did it myself :p
     
  12. Eli

    Eli Super Moderator<br>Elite Member
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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.....
     
  13. Lotheron

    Lotheron Platinum Member

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    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
     
  14. Eli

    Eli Super Moderator<br>Elite Member
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    Ah, cool. Wasn't sure if it was just some model years.
     
  15. FeuerFrei

    FeuerFrei Diamond Member

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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.
     
  16. redgtxdi

    redgtxdi Diamond Member

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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.
     
  17. alphatarget1

    alphatarget1 Diamond Member

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    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 :)
     
  18. exdeath

    exdeath Lifer

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    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.
     
    #18 exdeath, Mar 6, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010
  19. nanette1985

    nanette1985 Diamond Member

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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?
     
  20. PhoKingGuy

    PhoKingGuy Diamond Member

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    Last fall? So a year on the same oil?
     
  21. BlackTigers

    BlackTigers Diamond Member

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    last fall would be like 4 months ago, lol
     
  22. Eli

    Eli Super Moderator<br>Elite Member
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    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.
     
  23. spaceman

    spaceman Lifer

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    no way
    engine swap in a '95 prizm
    god no that makes no sense