Author Topic: Old cars and repairs  (Read 11044 times)

b4u2

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 627
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Old cars and repairs
« on: January 11, 2016, 10:20:29 AM »
Where do you start drawing a line on fixing your old, paid off, vehicles? Lately it seems like I spend more time in the garage trying to fix vehicles and keep them running than it's worth. I am getting tired of crap breaking down. It's wearing me out and causing me a lot of stress to keep them going. I'm sick of stuff breaking. I have a 1996 Toyota Camry that I paid $1500 for like 5+ years ago. 187 miles on it and it has various problems that can be overlooked. It's my wifes daily driver and she has to have a car. It's been a great little car but now it has a starting issue that I can't seem to nail down. Yes I am on that Toyota forums and the people have been great but I can't narrow down the issue. Plus right now it's winter but thankfully my garage is heated.
My school kid has a 2001 Saturn Lw300 with 130k miles that is basically junk but now I have to replace an ignition coil in it that will require 3-4 hours of my time. I will not allow the kids to drive it on the interstate because the suspension is terrible and not worth fixing. They really only need it to drive back and forth to school. But once again another old vehicle that I have to fix.
Then my 1999.5 F250 SuperDuty 7.3l for hauling our camper that needs some modifications to haul that beast.

I'm thinking of getting my wife a newer car but I am finally getting monthly payments under control and hate to get another one. I need some motivational input to help keep me on the narrow path. I am slowly losing my mind trying to keep vehicles running. It eats up my spare time when I need to either be relaxing and enjoying time with family or getting my exercise done. A new vehicle with a warranty sure would be nice.

Do I buy another cheap vehicle so that I have something to rotate out when I am working on one of the other vehicles? I want my free time back!

Uturn

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 666
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Holly Springs, NC
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2016, 10:54:21 AM »
If the vehicle is dangerous to drive, it needs to go.  Other than that, it depends on what your goal is.  It sounds to me like you are in the unfortunate place where you have to choose between save money or save time.  We can't answer that for you. 

Can you change how you view it?  If the kids are old enough to drive, they are old enough to learn about spinning wrenches and help dad out.  You both might like the dad/kid time.

Last Night

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2016, 11:06:39 AM »
You are experiencing fixing fatigue, been there, done that.  Just hang in there and don't make any rash decisions, at least sleep on it for a while and if you decide to buy a new car don't make it a reactionary decision.

Back to the cars, it sucks and I feel your pain.  As far as the Camry is concerned have you thought about taking it to an indy shop that specializes in imports?  Forums are great and I've learned everything from them over the past 15 years when it comes to car repair, but you have to draw a line in the sand where it simply isn't worth combing through hundreds of threads, page by page, of mostly stupid suggestions and guesses of what may or may not be wrong by people who are for the most part clueless and only confusing the situation (had they not posted or given a full disclaimer that they have no idea what they are saying it would make searching much easier/faster - sorry for the rant).  That to me is the most frustrating part.  If the camry is in good shape other this issue have a tech look at it and decide what to do from there.

As far as the Saturn, I would scrap it.  No need to throw good money at a heap like that.

Lastly, you don't need to buy a brand new car either.  You can pick up new(ish) camry/accord/whatever less than a decade old and decent clicks for less than 10k.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 11:08:37 AM by Last Night »

AZDude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1298
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2016, 11:08:27 AM »
There is a middle ground to owning some complete hunk of crap and buying a brand new car. Something with 50K miles on it that is an economy class car is going to be ~$8K, but would be reliable for the forseeable future.

How much cash do you have on hand? How fast can you save up(or pay off the loan)?

b4u2

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 627
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2016, 11:49:07 AM »
I have cash on hand but it's a safety back up for credit card that is 0% but has 4k on it. I am making large payments on that balance to pay it off since I have 15 months. Not willing to spend that savings though in case something happens and we need to pay the card off before the interest might be due on it.
I am always willing to buy used but tired of used and then I have to spend a bunch of time fixing it. The Saturn I don't mind quite as much because it's a kids car and he only has a school permit for now. It has enough problems that I am not dumping a lot of money into it but I am also not spending a bunch of money for a car he doesn't really need. It a convenience for us as parents because he does a lot of sports, wrestling, football, track, and it's easier if we don't have to do a ton of running around for his practices. 
My wife has to have her car daily and when the kids car is down then it has even more of a job to do. I love the camry and ease of normal repairs but this starting issue is dragging me down. It's really cold here in Iowa now and if it doesn't start I'll have to worry about her and leave work to help.

DollarBill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 902
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Austin TX
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2016, 02:36:26 PM »
I vote for selling the camper and superduty...then pay off the CC and buying a used car. How many times do you really use it in a year?

Erica

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 473
  • Married
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2016, 02:56:20 PM »
Where do you start drawing a line on fixing your old, paid off, vehicles? Lately it seems like I spend more time in the garage trying to fix vehicles and keep them running than it's worth. I am getting tired of crap breaking down. It's wearing me out and causing me a lot of stress to keep them going. I'm sick of stuff breaking. I have a 1996 Toyota Camry that I paid $1500 for like 5+ years ago. 187 miles on it and it has various problems that can be overlooked. It's my wifes daily driver and she has to have a car. It's been a great little car but now it has a starting issue that I can't seem to nail down. Yes I am on that Toyota forums and the people have been great but I can't narrow down the issue. Plus right now it's winter but thankfully my garage is heated.
My school kid has a 2001 Saturn Lw300 with 130k miles that is basically junk but now I have to replace an ignition coil in it that will require 3-4 hours of my time. I will not allow the kids to drive it on the interstate because the suspension is terrible and not worth fixing. They really only need it to drive back and forth to school. But once again another old vehicle that I have to fix.
Then my 1999.5 F250 SuperDuty 7.3l for hauling our camper that needs some modifications to haul that beast.

I'm thinking of getting my wife a newer car but I am finally getting monthly payments under control and hate to get another one. I need some motivational input to help keep me on the narrow path. I am slowly losing my mind trying to keep vehicles running. It eats up my spare time when I need to either be relaxing and enjoying time with family or getting my exercise done. A new vehicle with a warranty sure would be nice.

Do I buy another cheap vehicle so that I have something to rotate out when I am working on one of the other vehicles? I want my free time back!
This could be a way to save money. My husband buys our vehicles from some Auto Wrecking place in Sacramento. It might be called an Auto Recyclers. They take cash. But the cars all have salvage titles so you have to contact insurance companies first to ensure they accept it, and if so, is there an additional cost for insuring a salvage title. We've never had a problem but carry the bare minimum level of insurance. These salvage places/auto recyclers get cars which had full coverage by their owners but were totaled by the insurance company. Generally we've had only good luck with the cars. Even sold them for the same amount as we bought them for, like 2-3 years later.  My husband says it's because people who can afford full coverage probably kept the maintenance up on the vehicles so it's just the damage to the car due to the crash that occured is why it was totaled by insurance co. He fixes this himself. He's paid a guy in the past to paint the vehicle afterwards too if needed. But painted a few himself also since he has the machine and is a painting contractor. He doesn't do as well of a job I've noticed but oh well.

He buys BMW's now because the parts are the same cost as for Saturn's. He bought one Saturn for our son and it was ran into the ground last year. A great car. He can fix the vehicles without a code scanner but a code scanner really makes it easier he says not to buy this or that auto part, wondering which one is the problem exactly. Fixing it then finding out the other possible cause one was the issue. Dunno if this helps or even makes sense, hope so.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 03:14:58 PM by Outdoorsygal »

scottish

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1435
  • Location: Ottawa
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2016, 03:47:13 PM »
I usually keep them until they stop being reliable, start to fail structurally due to excessive rust, or get hit by a bus.   (It was my DW's car that was hit by a bus.)

If I have to spent $1K on repairs or new tires in a year, well that's just 2 car payments for my of my co-workers.   Seems like a reasonable trade-off to me.

use2betrix

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1779
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2016, 04:35:22 PM »
I have a 99 Camry with about 110k on the clock. We bought it with 90k on the clock in great shape 2 years ago. I've put probably $2600 into it over the past two years. $2000 of it has been routine maintenance. Timing belt.. Struts... Etc. I often wonder if I should just dump it and get something newer in the 10-15k range. It's tempting. The math is still making out ok "so far" but not by a ton. If I can keep maintenance/repairs at $1000-$2000/yr I'm still coming out ahead I think vs payments. Maybe?

As for the starting issue, our Camry had that. My wife, being the badass she is, went and bought new battery terminals and installed them herself. Fixed the issue! That's super cheap and I'd suggest trying it first. Her car kinda started doing it again last weekend, hoping they just need to be cleaned. She only puts 10k/yr on the car or so, so we'd like it to last another 4-5 years. Miles wise could go much longer, but I think many people underestimate the age issue as well. It's already 17 years old.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2016, 05:14:08 PM »
For me: It's when the fix costs more than the car is worth.


BarkyardBQ

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 667
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2016, 05:17:15 PM »
For me: It's when the fix costs more than the car is worth.

This.

We are driving a car that's worth less that 2k. It needs new struts, shocks, fluid flush, a serpentine belt. We just did a $31 oil change, get's us to work. When it dies, we can take it off the insurance and stop the registration!
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 05:20:36 PM by BackyarBQ »

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2016, 05:31:02 PM »
For what it's worth: I just hit this wall with one of mine.  It was an old piece of shit pickup that I literally traded for a large pizza.  Seriously.  Not kidding.

I drove it as a farm truck from 2007 until about 3 months ago.   When the day came, I called one of those "donate your car to charity" places and they towed it away for free.  I get $500 off my taxes... but I don't have enough deductions for that to make a difference.  It was a free tow and disposal as far as I am concerned.

Philip Marlowe

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2016, 05:34:13 PM »
Agree with Spork.

In my case, my wife has a "newer" car with 50K miles on it and we'll try to keep it that way (I'll take her car at 100K).  I know it's safe and will run and we take it on road trips.  I continually drive beaters because: 1) I drive into a city that's like the set from Mad Max; and 2) don't care if I break-down, need to change a tire, etc.

Clausen

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Age: 44
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2016, 05:35:33 PM »
For me: It's when the fix costs more than the car is worth.

This or if the car is starting to show a pattern of needing even small repairs on a regular basis. I got rid of my last car after 17 years because of the little problems every month or two. Should of got rid of it sooner and saved money in the long run.

lbmustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 930
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2016, 06:06:48 PM »
I replace a vehicle when it can no longer reliably get me to work and is costing me more in time, money, and stress, that I would like. I do not have PTO or anything so if I miss time @ work thanks to my car breaking down, now I am out the money I get paid (I earn about $60/hr, so this is not a small amount) and have to figure out when I can take my car to get fixed (when I'm short on time as it is).

I don't think you have to go BRAND NEW to get a reliable car. Someone just posted asking about reliable cars. Perhaps a car around $10-$12k? A Nissan Versa, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, etc. can be slightly used for that price and will still have the factory warranty. Maybe give this car to your wife and fix up the Toyota to give to the kid.

I also agree on maybe selling the truck and camper.


MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4019
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2016, 06:21:18 PM »
I will ditto that for this particular issue, take it to a shop and take a break from fixing it. In 2-3 months things might look different.

sisto

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 976
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2016, 06:44:54 PM »
I agree with what others have already said. Sell the camper and the Truck, as well as the Saturn. Use that money to buy a newer Toyota Camry or Corolla or something similar for the wife. Take the current Toyota to a shop and have them fix it and give that car to the teenager. Better peace of mind all the way around and hopefully no money out of pocket. The cost to fix the Toyota can't be that much money.

b4u2

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 627
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2016, 08:37:15 PM »
The camper and truck is a non issue that I will not debate. That is a life choice that we make and is also our retirement plan. I'll consider other options and look around but I am trying to avoid getting another loan right now. We have made awesome progress over the years killing monthly payments. 5.5 more years and child support will end and that has been a HUGE burden. Plus not having overtime the last 10 months has hurt as well. It's been a nice break but really missing the money when my normal hourly rate is $30+.

FiftyIsTheNewTwenty

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 244
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2016, 09:33:57 PM »
Add up your yearly costs to compare with what you think a newer/better car will cost.  Most people never get a good overview in order to make a good decision.

I drove old BMWs for many years, working on them myself.  As a BMW club member, I bought "known good" cars to begin with, and drove them into the ground (350k miles on one).  Yearly costs outside gas and insurance were about $1200-1500, which included routine maintenance plus the occasional larger item like radiator, driveshaft, etc.  Any more than this and it would have made sense to buy something newer/better/cheaper.

Not included was my time spent doing maintenance.  For larger jobs, I thought hard about the time off vs. spending a day working and paying a mechanic, not just the cash value of my time and theirs, but keeping my business running and customers happy.  Some things are hard to quantify, but your gut can tell you.

I'm definitely onboard with buying cars 5-10 years old for cash, paying less insurance because of their lower value, and driving them as long as possible.  But there is a point where they should go!

Use the savings from the current dip in gas prices to get ahead by upgrading.

vern

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 575

richyf

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2016, 07:47:12 AM »
Does the kid really need the car to get to-from school? if not and he/she isn't in a position to get it fixed themselves, consider getting rid.... that's 1/3 of your car worries taken care of.

As for the Camry, $1500 for 5 years of motoring is good going... well done for keeping it on the road so long!
Is it time to take it into the garage for a 2nd opinion?... I like to maintain my own car but sometimes have to swallow my pride. If it costs you an hour labor to get a better idea of what's wrong and how much it will cost to put right then it might be money well spent. With this information, you can decide if it's worth fixing or swapping for another $1500 car which will hopefully last you another 5 years :-)
Failing that, how long would it take you to save up the $1500 (minus whatever you can get for the Camry) for another? you could then sell on the car to someone with more time/enthusiasm for it and at least if you get another Camry, you know what to look for.

captainawesome

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 151
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2016, 08:28:23 AM »
I'd say ditch the Saturn, pass the yota down to the kid. Scour Craigslist for a suitable replacement in the mean time.  I'm currently helping a friend search for a "new" used car on CL and helping him sort through the BS.  In the past few weeks alone I have found numerous deals that I would consider great.  So much so, I almost picked up a work truck that I could have easily sat on and sold it for more than the guy was listing it for. But it was gone by the time I went to look at it.

Yaris' tend to get undervalued, but can be relatively cheap, reliable, and easy to maintain. I found a 2008 yaris 4d with 102k for around 4.5k? There are deals to be had, just have to have the cash in place to make them happen, because the good deals go quick.

And FWIW, I tend to get the the "older" cars (because I can deal with it).  My wife on the other hand would prefer little to no thought on whether her car will get her from A to B.  We tend to pay for a late model pre-owned and drive it for a longggggg time. When we get to the point where we need to upgrade (to something like a minivan) most likely my hyundai will get sold and I will drive her car until it gets to the point where the costs to maintain exceed the value of the car. 

b4u2

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 627
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2016, 12:14:40 PM »
I'm partial to Toyota because of how easy it's been to work on. The 1996 Camry has been easy to work on so far and I know I'll eventually figure out the hard start issue. It's not a battery or cranking problem it's that it doesn't always "fire" when it's cranked. It turns fine just takes a little bit to get it to fire right up. Once it's running it's just fine.

So my list of potential cars would be Toyota Camry, Ford Taurus, Nissan Altima. The Camry I obviously have experience with but no idea on the Ford or Nissan. Are they easy to work on? I've found a 2005 Taurus at a transmission shop that looks promising. 140k miles, clean, $2000.

tobitonic

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 549
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2016, 07:24:58 PM »
For me: It's when the fix costs more than the car is worth.

This or when it costs more than 1-2k a year in shop repairs.

b4u2

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 627
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2016, 09:01:36 AM »
I bought a 2003 Toyota Matrix XR AWD that is in awesome condition. 168k miles and super clean. The guy did a lot of repairs (most not needed IMO) because the dealer told him they needed done. So the car is great and his loss is my gain! $3800 for it.
My goal now is to get the Saturn running again, hopefully tonight so that the kid can use it. The Camry I may take it to a repair shop but still thinking I know where the problem is and just might replace the whole part. There are a couple of salvage yards here in town so I will call around and see if I can find the parts I need. The working Matrix takes some of the time pressure off of me to get another car running now so I can take my time doing this next repair.

Greenback Reproduction Specialist

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 475
  • Location: Running barefoot thru Idaho mountains
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2016, 11:17:30 AM »
I totally understand your frustration, I'm in the same boat. Mostly mine is due to the miles I put on my vehicle(3k per month), and its running at 270k miles.

I look at it like this, I'm glad to spend $300 to fix my car this month(which is really every 6 months or so), instead of having $300/mo in car loan payments.

HipGnosis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1593
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2016, 01:00:50 PM »
Use google maps and search for auto repair.
Find the 5 non-auto-dealers with the highest rating.
Call them each and tell them about your Camry.  Explain that you work on it yourself so just need a diagnosis of the issue.
Money well spent.

thurston howell iv

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 415
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2016, 01:30:46 PM »
OP: Just curious about a few things.

1. Does the Toyota have OBDII? (They swapped from OBDI in 96/97)
2. Do you have a scanner? (They're very cheap and even available on ebay)  Maybe, you have a bad sensor causing the starting issue. (IAC, IAT, MAF, MAP, vacuum leak?)

3. Why is it going to take 3-4 hours to swap the coil on the Saturn. It does not appear to be very difficult to reach.

4. I think you might be selling yourself short on the Saturn suspension. I just did a complete suspension on a BMW and it was around $500. I think the saturn might be a little cheaper.

If, however, you don't like or don't want to DIY, I'd dump both cars and buy some cheap older Honda's. You can find a decent car for under $3k if you shop around. Ideally, you'd keep what you have--- the devil you know...

Additionally, if you simply don't want to ever worry about repairs you could buy/lease a new Hyundai/kia for under $200 per month... (like other mustachains I can't recommend it, obviously, as you'd be into a payment again, but it's relatively cheap peace of mind)

b4u2

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 627
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2016, 02:19:50 PM »
I'm not sure about ODBII on the camry. I'll run to Advance Auto and see if they can pull any codes. The CEL does not come on at all.
I priced the Saturn suspension in the past and it was expensive. Since it's a school car for the kids and it really only goes two miles one way it's not a huge concern. Plus it uses antifreeze which I believe is being sucked into the motor as it doesn't leak it. I figure it's just a matter of time before the engine finally dies.

I did buy a Toyota Matrix will help with some of my stress. I still need to get one of the two cars running decently but at least my wife can get to and from work without me having to worry....for now.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10813
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2016, 02:23:43 PM »
For what it's worth: I just hit this wall with one of mine.  It was an old piece of shit pickup that I literally traded for a large pizza.  Seriously.  Not kidding.

I drove it as a farm truck from 2007 until about 3 months ago.   When the day came, I called one of those "donate your car to charity" places and they towed it away for free.  I get $500 off my taxes... but I don't have enough deductions for that to make a difference.  It was a free tow and disposal as far as I am concerned.
Wait...so where did the large Pizza come in??  I donated my last car but never got a pizza :-(

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #31 on: January 14, 2016, 02:38:40 PM »
For what it's worth: I just hit this wall with one of mine.  It was an old piece of shit pickup that I literally traded for a large pizza.  Seriously.  Not kidding.

I drove it as a farm truck from 2007 until about 3 months ago.   When the day came, I called one of those "donate your car to charity" places and they towed it away for free.  I get $500 off my taxes... but I don't have enough deductions for that to make a difference.  It was a free tow and disposal as far as I am concerned.
Wait...so where did the large Pizza come in??  I donated my last car but never got a pizza :-(

I bought it in 2007 with the large pizza. (That was the price of the truck: large pizza with everything on it. Non negotiable.)

BlueMR2

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2008
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #32 on: January 17, 2016, 05:46:29 AM »
"Can I get a better car elsewhere for the same money I'm spending?"

I'm perfectly willing to drop more money in the car than it's "worth" (quoties because that's just market value, not the actual value to you).   I've got one now that's "worth" $1500 due to age and has rod knock.  The rest of the car is in good shape, so yeah, I'm going to spend a few thousand dropping a new engine in because I can't expect to find a used car at that price that will be "better".

Johnez

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1088
  • Location: Southern California
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #33 on: January 18, 2016, 11:30:18 PM »
Get a bike!

Just kiddin'! ;-)

I was in a similar situation.  Bought a car at an dealer auction.  Basically a place for new car dealers to dump their unsellable cars onto those used car lots.  Friend had a dealer license, I got in.  $2200 for a 2001 Volvo in 2010.  Went for it, was a pretty decent lookin car.  Turbo was toast.  Got it fixed for a cool $1000.  Oil Breather Box went, $800.  Was feeling pretty bummed, but then for the next 5 years the thing had zero problems.  Ever.  Best damn car ever after those two fixes.  I got lucky there, figured I'd have to keep my mechanic on speed dial.  Car ended up totalled a few months ago by a drunk driver.  Drunk was uninsured, thankfully my "liability" insurance included "uninsured motorist" insurance.  $3800 check in the mail, car shopping currently.

It sounds like you're fairly handy with a wrench, but you're suffering the death by a thousand cuts syndrome in regards to car trouble.  I'd sell it and buy something newer, but it depends on your situation.  You plan on driving it in the ground for 15-20 years?  Well, heck doesn't matter what you get, cheaper the better though.  If you want to keep a perpetually semi-nice car, trade every 4-5 years-cost doesn't matter so much if you're patient enough to wait for a deal and sell at your price.  Spending $10,000 and selling at $7,000 costs just as much as buying at $7,000 and selling at $4,000.

Doesn't have to be a gem, just make sure the make/model/year is fairly trouble free.  Honda and Toyota are the standouts in terms of reliability, but check out the forums and google search for common problems.  An example off the top of my head, the automatic transmissions of certain Accords are known failed designs in certain years (believe it's 2001-2007, don't hold me to it tho!). 


b4u2

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 627
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #34 on: January 19, 2016, 07:13:11 AM »
I dumped the Saturn for $50 plus I'll get the $50 back on registration. My kid will get the Camry which I have decided to take to a mechanic and have an appointment on the 26th. If it was something other than a Toyota I would probably not fix it but at 187k miles it should last much longer so once the starting issue is sorted out it will be a good car for them. The money from the Saturn will help cover taxes and registration on the Matrix.
This still doesn't fix my driving the big diesel in the winter problem but I can at least get everyone else to work and school a little easier now. I did change to synthetic oil and replaced the oil filter last week when temps got back in the 30s. Yesterday was the first cold start test and it started at 2 degrees after sitting for 9 hours in the parking lot at work. So the oil change paid off. The change to Rotella T6 5W-40 was based on advice from the Ford forums for the 7.3l engine.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3875
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #35 on: January 20, 2016, 12:50:34 PM »
For me: It's when the fix costs more than the car is worth.

Heh.  I'd never have fixed a car in college with that view.  Cheap cars were great.  It was that or walk.  I biked most of the time, though.

The camper and truck is a non issue that I will not debate. That is a life choice that we make and is also our retirement plan.

You've got a good truck for that. :)

I'm not sure about ODBII on the camry. I'll run to Advance Auto and see if they can pull any codes. The CEL does not come on at all.

The CEL is not a "I'm unhappy with a sensor light."  It's an "I think I'm in violation of emissions regulations" light.  A car can have plenty of codes stored, run like crap, but still not throw a CEL if it doesn't detect an emissions problem.

It's nice when you're tracking down an intermittent problem and the car says, "Misfire, cylinder 3."  Or something.

If you're having starting issues, but not running issues, it's probably one of a few things:
- Plugs, wires, cap, and rotor (if relevant for the last two).  If you don't know when they were last done, do them.
- Engine temperature sensor.  The starting fuel is based on this, and if the sensor is wrong, the car won't start well.
- Fuel pressure leakdown.  Some cars won't run the fuel pump until the engine is turning, and if there's a slow leak in a check valve back to the tank, it won't light off well.

What exactly is it doing when it has trouble starting?

This still doesn't fix my driving the big diesel in the winter problem but I can at least get everyone else to work and school a little easier now. I did change to synthetic oil and replaced the oil filter last week when temps got back in the 30s. Yesterday was the first cold start test and it started at 2 degrees after sitting for 9 hours in the parking lot at work. So the oil change paid off. The change to Rotella T6 5W-40 was based on advice from the Ford forums for the 7.3l engine.

Those 7.3s are awesome engines.  I quite like mine.  '97 F350, CCLB, 4x4, 98k miles (!!!), and I intend to keep the thing on the road pretty much forever.  My wife's family does antique cars, and those things are heavy to tow (3500-4k lbs of iron car, plus a 2k lb trailer, more if it's enclosed).

If your glow plugs and glow plug relay are good, it'll start down pretty damned cold without the block heater.  They're picky about oil though, as you've learned.  As far as I'm concerned, it's a feature.  If you have an oil leak, the high pressure system will drain and the engine will quit before you're low enough on oil to starve the bottom end and trash the bearings.

Another thing to consider is that starters get weak as they get old.  You don't notice the slower cranking since it's gradual, but a newer geared starter (or just the SuperDuty starter from the 99+ 7.3s) can make a huge difference in starting.  They're cold blooded, but pretty simple engines.

b4u2

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 627
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #36 on: January 21, 2016, 06:57:34 AM »
This cold is killing batteries. I have replaced two this week alone. Granted they were both over 5 years old but the timing doesn't help when I'm having other issues. The Metro I bought for my daughter needed a new battery Monday then the Camry needed a new battery on Tuesday.
I checked and cleaned a few things on the Camry but the starting issue is still there. It cranks but does not fire. You have to press the gas peddle and then, maybe, it will start. Once it's running it's fine. I am taking it to a shop on the 26th.
The truck has been a problem since the first trip in it. I have been working on it and have had it up for sale at the same time. I kinda figured I was stuck with it...until last night. I sold it for what I wanted. The amount I got will basically pay  off my Harley and will open up other options for a better long term truck to pull our camper. Our camper and the travel life is our eventual goal. I am hoping to retire and/or be FI by 50. I will be 38 end of this month. So if I buy a newer truck my hope is to take care of, like always, and drive it into retirement. With a diesel I know this is possible with good maintenance from the beginning. So now I am off on a search for a good to vehicle.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3875
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #37 on: January 21, 2016, 09:36:58 AM »
How much did you get for it, if you don't mind me asking?  And what were it's problems?

I'm a bit younger than you, but plan to drive my 7.3 about forever as my hauling & towing vehicle.

b4u2

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 627
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #38 on: January 25, 2016, 01:39:04 PM »
I sold mine for $9,500. It had quite a bit of rust and 197k miles. It showed well and it drove well. I just got tired of working on it. Plus to get it to tow better I was going to have to keep working on it. The guy that bought it has a smaller fifth wheel than mine so he will tow easily with it. His is a 28ft 7k camper and mine was 39ft 15k.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3875
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #39 on: January 25, 2016, 06:57:56 PM »
Ah, yeah, 15k is pushing it for those.  You can make them do it, but it's up towards their limit, even with a few upgrades.

Nearly $10k for a bunch of rust and 200k miles?  Man, they are going up in value!

bzzzt

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 302
  • Location: Chicago
  • 5v to Lightning Bolts...
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #40 on: January 25, 2016, 08:31:00 PM »
I sold mine for $9,500. It had quite a bit of rust and 197k miles. It showed well and it drove well. I just got tired of working on it. Plus to get it to tow better I was going to have to keep working on it. The guy that bought it has a smaller fifth wheel than mine so he will tow easily with it. His is a 28ft 7k camper and mine was 39ft 15k.

That's crazy. Makes me have hope that whenever I decide to sell my 2wd CCSB DRW 6.0L/6spd diesel that I'll get the same money I paid for it almost 4 years ago. ($10k)

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3875
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #41 on: January 25, 2016, 09:10:51 PM »
I don't think the 6.0 will hold value as well as the 7.3 - the 7.3 is the last of the pre-emissions-crap diesels, and is an utterly bulletproof engine if you don't get stupid with it and try to make too much power.

I paid $15k for mine a couple years ago, but it's yet to hit 100k miles, and was seriously modded for towing by the previous owner.  Double receiver, 5th wheel hitch, intercooler, rebuilt transmission with heavy duty torque converter, TransCommand, Banks Quick Turbo, a programmer, trailer brake controller, full gauge set, and a bunch of other crap.  I intend to tow a 5th wheel all around the country as my daughter gets a bit older, and I should be able to keep this thing running basically forever since we're moving to a very low rust part of the country.

The low mileage ones (and apparently 200k is low miles now) seem to be going up in value lately.  No real complaints here...

bzzzt

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 302
  • Location: Chicago
  • 5v to Lightning Bolts...
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #42 on: January 29, 2016, 08:42:09 PM »
I don't think the 6.0 will hold value as well as the 7.3 - the 7.3 is the last of the pre-emissions-crap diesels, and is an utterly bulletproof engine if you don't get stupid with it and try to make too much power.

I think it has more to do with the fact that most people can't afford $55-70k for a new one.

Just ran it through kbb.com and, supposedly, mine is worth $2k more than I bought it. Doesn't really matter since I'm not in the market to sell it, but it sure makes the $100 oil changes easier to swallow. ;)

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3875
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #43 on: January 29, 2016, 08:58:06 PM »
Mine is a pretty darn loaded truck.  CCLB 4x4, 7.3L - $25,200 in 1997.  Which is about $37k today, based on official inflation numbers.

A new one, similarly configured for towing & such, is about $53k.  It's more, but not "holy crap insane" more.  And, to be fair, that's a more capable truck than mine by a good bit.

The problem is the high end - the F350 Platinum is a $67k truck.  *eep*

But, yes, it's worth taking good care of your truck.  A lower mileage, well maintained used truck is worth a lot.  It turns out, "Not driving your truck as a commuter car" is a great way of keeping them low on the mileage numbers! :D

GetItRight

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 629
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #44 on: January 31, 2016, 06:19:51 PM »
I don't own a vehicle under 30 yrs old, and oldest is about 50. So... Never. There is noting new or newer than the 80s that I would ever want to that settles it pretty easy.

If you do everyhting yourself it will always be cheaper to keep an old vehicle than buy something new(er). Once you get into electronics, fuel inejction, etc. it can get cost prohibitive to keep a new vehicle indefinitely. Simple line to draw... New= Electronic fuel injection Old=Cab or mechanical fuel injection

Body work is the big one. Once you have a welder and some basic metla working skill to replace quarter panels, rockers, floor pans, etc. it's cake. People who won't lift a finger to fix anything view these as major expensive repairs but metal and body panels are cheap. After you do a few repairs it's really not that difficult and you're not likely do have to do it more than a few times in your lifetime.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3875
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #45 on: January 31, 2016, 08:16:54 PM »
I think fuel systems are what you grew up with.

I don't mind fuel injection.  The late 80s stuff is basically just a carburetor with some transistors, and the newer stuff is pretty damned reliable.  I've never had to mess with points and I don't miss it a bit.

BlueMR2

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2008
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #46 on: February 01, 2016, 09:53:21 AM »
I'm seriously thinking about converting my carb'd bike to EFI.  Dealing with carbs all the time gets really old in a hurry.  The pain of the EFI conversion would be a one time deal.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3875
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #47 on: February 01, 2016, 10:18:21 AM »
Oddly, I'd considered doing that on one of my older carbureted motorcycles as well. :)

I still have one carbureted bike, but it's a thumper, and it's pretty much impossible for a carburetor to be out of sync with itsself.  Combine that with an automatic electric choke, and the thing runs like a fuel injected bike for the most part.  You can get it into a weird state when it's partially warmed up, but it starts reliably when cold (unless it's too high up in the mountains and really cold, then... ugh), runs fine when warm, and generally doesn't need to be fiddled with.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5640
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #48 on: February 01, 2016, 10:29:39 AM »
I think fuel systems are what you grew up with.

I don't mind fuel injection.  The late 80s stuff is basically just a carburetor with some transistors, and the newer stuff is pretty damned reliable.  I've never had to mess with points and I don't miss it a bit.

I love fuel injection. People are pushing well over 400k miles on the Toyota V8 in the Landcruiser/Tundra (2UZ-FE 4.7l). Carburetors can be fussy and they don't handle drastic environmental changes as well as EFI.

I also love OBDII. I had a CEL in my Subaru a few years ago - the engine bucked a bit on the highway and the light came on. I fixed it in a parking lot based on the CEL info (vacuum line failure).

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3875
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Old cars and repairs
« Reply #49 on: February 01, 2016, 11:49:47 AM »
I also love OBDII. I had a CEL in my Subaru a few years ago - the engine bucked a bit on the highway and the light came on. I fixed it in a parking lot based on the CEL info (vacuum line failure).

Seriously.  Having a computer tell you exactly what's wrong is a nice shortcut.  It's not always right, but it usually gets you to the right area.

I guess I just don't see computer failures as happening very often at all.  Automotive computers are pretty damned reliable, and failures are either the rare edge case, or caused by something else.