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Old 19th May 2012, 20:49   #10
rockouthippie
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 11,002
This is the way I buy cars. Usually to get one of these "free" (or $2000) cars going takes several hundred dollars to make it back into a driver.

But you gotta be careful of what candidate you choose to fix up. It's a Toyota. It doesn't get any better than that. It's pretty long in the tooth. 150,000 would make me nervous. I'd like to see 100,000.

Still, if it passes inspection.... and it isn't making any big loud clanging noises.. and the struts aren't bent... if you do the maintenance... you might get a few more years out of her. And if (and they never are) the timing belt wasn't replaced at 120,000, you're driving a bomb. Likely it was replaced once around 80,000 when it broke.

Before you start polishing, you better make sure you aren't shining a turd.

Been there... done that...

It almost certainly needs a coolant and transmission service. Get that tranny oil changed. I've never seen a tranny with new fluid in it fail. When they do fail, it's usually full of 10 year old sludge. At this age... end of tranny... end of car....

I looked. You got a u-pull-it in Austin. That's a good thing.

Pick the right car and you can be bombing down the road happy. Pick the wrong car and you pissed away $40 on door handles.

I get cars for about $4000, put $1000 in them and they look as good and drive as good as anything anyone else is driving. Maybe better.

But ya gotta watch it. If a car is too far south you can get yourself into a money pit in a hurry.

One problem you have with this vintage. Wrecking yards will start just tossing these in the crusher after they are 12 years old. Used parts get harder to come by.

I've actually bought a whole car for the bumper.

I had a 83 Chevy Cavalier that got mangled in a parking lot. It was really clean and nice even though it was old. I couldn't find a bumper, so I bought a piece of shit one with a good bumper for $300, swapped the bumpers and resold the POS for $300.

That car died at 235,000... but I had it from 68,000 on.....

Keep the greasy side down...
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