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Worth fixing?

I have a 1998 Legacy 2.5 GT with under 100K miles and the engine just seized up on me. For the past few months it was misfiring regularly, lighting the check engine light constantly with the code saying misfire on 3 and 4 (I replaced the coil). Then it started making a grinding noise and three minutes later it was dead. I'm finding the decision to fix it or not difficult because there aren't rebuilt engines available and a used engine seems the only reasonable option but they're around $1,500 to $2,000 for an engine with about 100K miles on it, plus labor. A new short block only with my existing head may be an option, but still very expensive. I'd spend $3,000 total on a rebuilt or low mileage engine, but is it worth $3,000 to install some random used engine with over 100K miles on it? Do I have other options? I'd hate to be so wasteful and junk a car with less than 100K on it. Thanks.

Comments

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,657
    I guess the first thing I'd find out is what is the worth, as is; and if it were fixed. Then go from there. My gut feeling is it probably is not worth fixing.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Misfires send unburned fumes in to the exhaust and can wear out the catalytic converter, another expensive repair.

    Given the grinding noises who knows how much damage was done to the engine. It's gotta be toast. It is an interference-type engine so if the belt broke the valves and pistons would collide.

    I think it depends on the condition of the rest of the car. It may only be worth saving if it's very clean. Otherwise it may be worth more as a salvage.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    edited April 2010
    .....sorry for endlessly whining about this, but must vent, if for no other reason than catharsis. Got a without-anyone-even-looking-at-it estimate on the 528e.....I am going to make sure it definitely needs a replacement transmission, but if it does, I was quoted $495 plus shipping (the place is in CA) for a reman with a one-year warranty, for the part, and about $800 to install it (from a highly-recommended BMW-only repair shop). So, I'm looking down the barrel of $1500+ to repair a 22 year-old car that would doubtfully fetch that once it's fixed--OR--finding a replacement which may not, or more likely, be also needy--not counting the $300 I'd have to shell out for taxes, tags and (one of the many banes of living in Chicago) city sticker (this really isn't a viable option)--OR--dump the thing for probably $200-300 as it sits and go back to no-car living, which is feeling like a better option all the time, especially in nice weather (I work two days a week now, at a bar with a bus stop directly across the street). Next winter, this won't feel as reasonable a decision, though. So now it's sitting decoratively in the garage. Fortunately, we have the space so it's not festering on the street, at least, thus no urgency either way. Strangely, I have the $$ for the repair, and fear if I don't do it, I'll just whittle the money away. That's kinda how I tend to operate.

    Guess I don't really need advice, though feel free if you'd like; as I said earlier, I'm just whining. Cars are such a PITA.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Seems surprisingly cheap for a transmission repair, to be honest. I'd fix it if you think the car will last through next winter.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,267
    edited April 2010
    Yeah, that's my thought as well. Even if you do not use the car heavily or regularly, having it available when you need it, even once, can pay for that repair all by itself. $1500 is pretty cheap for a year's worth of maintenance (aside from an oil change or two!). So, if the car is a known quantity and deemed reliable with a new transmission, put the tranny in it!

    It is a rare car that is going to net you a profit during your ownership; if you're not looking to sell it, does it really matter how much it is worth to someone else?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I wanted to rent a car for a recent trip to Miami and $1500 would not have covered 2 weeks' worth of renting.

    Easily worthwhile to fix it if the rest of the car is OK.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I don't know about 'rare', xwesx, and 528e's are typically worth about half to a third that of an otherwise similar-condition 535i. Either way, I get your points; there's no way I could replace this car for $1500, and the brakes, tires, engine and suspension are all fine, as far as I know (I have some recent receipts from previous owners, and this thing wears 14" tires, so it's not like they're expensive), which isn't necessarily (or even likely) to happen with another hoopty. If this were day-in-day-out primary get to work/haul kids around transportation, I'd replace it with something newer, but it's not. Essentially it's a city grocery getter, occasional trip to the burbs, second car, so for that, it's fine.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    edited April 2010
    wow.....last time I rented a car (granted, ten years ago!!!), I got a full-sizer (Buick Regal on the way there, which got a flat and was traded for a Bonneville) from National (on a super internet deal), drove it from Chicago to Tucson and back. Thing is, gas was about a dollar a gallon back then (it's hovering @$3 in Chicago currently), and this was, of course, an unlimited-mileage deal. But, still, I think it was a little over $300 for ten days.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,267
    Oh, sorry! I did not mean that your car is a rare car, I said, it is a rare car that is going to net you a profit during your ownership, as in meaning that very few cars will ever net an owner a profit so there is no sense in worrying about that unless the plan is to sell the car soon.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Figures I'm seeing better prices now, $340 a week for a minivan to be picked up tomorrow. It was more than twice that last week. I think there was a music industry convention and they had a massive shortage of cars. So what I saw was a bit of an anomaly.

    I'd still keep the Bimmer.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ....you're both right, it's going in the shop tomorrow. No guarantee, of course, that something else won't go wrong, but since I paid $800 for the car almost nine months ago (and have put ~$200 into the car, including two tire repairs), I guess I shouldn't feel too bad.

    And, yes, xwesx, I don't know about making a profit per se, but I can't lose too much on this thing, especially not compared to a new anything, given the money I didn't spend.
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