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To Fix Up or Trade Up, That is the Question

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    It seems to me that a Lexus E300 (which is basically a fancy Camry V6) with 72,000 should have a lot of life left ifit's been properly maintained mechanically and driven with reasonable care, once you make the required repairs. Do you know how it's been maintained and driven? I'd want to know why it needs a catalytic converter.
  • casino2casino2 Posts: 23
    Have your ever tried Lucas Stop Leaks? Just change the oil and add a quart into your crankcase. I hear that it is very effective in curing this headache.

    Good Luck.
  • dgaldgal Posts: 24
    It needs a new timing belt, catalytic converter, engine mount torn, hood support pads, and a new seatbelt buckle. It might also need sway bar bushings and possibly have an engine leak (dealer saw it, mechanic didn't). The dealer said I also need a power steering flush.

    The mechanic said it was the catalytic converter that turned on the engine light. I guess I can call him and ask why. I really don't know anything about cars. I had thought my Grandfather was maintaining it, but I don't think he new it needed any problems. He didn't drive it to often.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    Well the trouble code for the catalytic would show up even with a simple misfire. I certainly wouldn't replace it without a good deal of further testing, based merely on an engine light.

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  • dgaldgal Posts: 24
    I will make sure further testing is done before the catalytic is fixed. Thank you for the advice!!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    And if the mechanic says he doesn't know "how" to test the catalytic, well then, you have your answer....

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  • dgaldgal Posts: 24
    edited November 2012
    In the end I would be buying the car for $1500 ($1,000 + $500 for freight). Repairs Needed are: Left Inner Tire Rod, Alignment, Sway Bar Bushings, Seat belt Buckle, Engine Mount, Timing Belt, Hood Support Rods, Power Steering Flush, Valve Cover Gasket, and Catalytic Converter.
    The total Repair Costs would be $2,223. Without getting the Steering Flush, Valve Cover and Catalytic Converter (not serious) would be $1,148.

    Now that I have all the estimates, I would greatly appreciate opinions on whether it is worth it to put all the money into car. Thanks in advance!!

    It's a '97 Lexus ES300 with 72,000 miles, in average condition.
    Edmunds.com Appraises trade in value as $2,636 and private party $3,095
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    Yeah, that's okay, but I'd get second opinions on some of these repairs---things like hood struts, you can do that yourself for cheap, and the sway bar bushings sounds to be of dubious necessity.

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  • dgaldgal Posts: 24
    It won't pass MD state inspection without the Sway Bar Bushings. What else can I do besides the hood struts myself?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,432
    edited November 2012
    well, hell, you can easily replace the swaybar endlinks, too. I find it hard to believe it would have anything to do with inspection, but they are easy and cheap.

    Valve cover gasket is an easy job, too.

    The catalytic is definitely the most expensive. You might call around for other estimates on that from muffler shops. Another place might weld in a universal replacement for you that would be significantly cheaper.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • dgaldgal Posts: 24
    The mechanic said it's not the links that need replacing it's the the actual bar bushings. I'm a girl and don't know too much about cars. So unless it's really easy to fix myself, I would probably need to take it in. I will definitely call other muffler shops for estimates.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    "It won't pass MD state inspection without the Sway Bar Bushings"...

    I find this a bit hard to believe...you could take that bar and throw it away and the car would drive fine.

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  • dgaldgal Posts: 24
    You're funny :). That's what the inspector told me. They go by a whole list of things.
  • dgaldgal Posts: 24
    Do you know where I can find video tutorials on fixing those things myself?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    you might browse YouTube...sometimes there are very good videos on various car repair subjects. They might not be completely specific to your make and model, but a sway bar is a sway bar is a sway bar.

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  • dgaldgal Posts: 24
    I will, thanks!
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,730
    If the end links are shot, you get a banging noise from the suspension and it feels like something is loose in the front.
    One of my kids had had this happen on 2 different cars they have driven.
    After it was fixed, I knew what to look for and could see they were bent on vehicle #2.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,432
    The mechanic said it's not the links that need replacing it's the the actual bar bushings.

    Ya know, I thought that's what you were saying, but that's so odd I assumed you really meant the endlinks, which commonly fail.

    In any case, the bushings are easy, too. 2 brackets with 2 bolts each and the new bushings will be split, so you lube them up and slip them over the bar and bolt the brackets back on.

    Here is a writeup with pics. OF course, if you don't have any tools, its probably not cost effective to do yourself.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • dgaldgal Posts: 24
    I had the mechanic do the bushings. Too complicated a fix for me.
  • dgaldgal Posts: 24
    I also need an alignment to pass inspection. I think I'm going to get the lifetime alignment at Firestone for $160.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    don't do the alignment if you're planning on getting new tires however---do the tires first.

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  • dgaldgal Posts: 24
    Thanks, but the tires are in good condition. Anyone know if I really have to buy the premium gas, or will regular work just fine?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    whatever it says on the gas door is what you use.

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  • if you do end up fixing up your car- you may want to check out Advance Auto Parts. My Dad recently used this coupon: $20 Off @ Advance Auto Parts :)
  • vagarvagar Posts: 1
    I am considering a 2009 Accord LX, with about 87k miles. Carfax shows following two unusual repairs around 40-45k miles. Any suggestions on what might have happened. Could this be a problem car that I should stay away from. I do plan to take this car to a honda dealership for full inspection before purchase.

    Pls reply asap, as I meet the seller on wednesday (EST).
    The agreed price is ~$10.5k. Any suggestions on whether its a good or bad price.

    06/04/2010 40,717 Phillipsburg Easton Honda Phillipsburg, NJ
    Front axle(s) replaced/repaired
    Recommended maintenance performed
    Drivability/performance checked

    08/17/2010 45,474 Phillipsburg Easton Honda Phillipsburg, NJ
    Drivability/performance checked
    Left axle replaced
    Steering/suspension checked
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Maybe and accident?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    Might have just been torn axle boots. On some cars it is actually easier and cheaper to install a rebuilt axle than to take it down, cut off the old boots, clean the CV joint and inspect it and re-install a new boot, etc.

    It is also possible that the rebuilt axle was itself defective and needed to be done again.

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  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    It cost me $245 the last time I replaced one of the half shafts (parts only) and boot. Biggest issue was breaking loose the nut on the end of the axel. Only cost a little bit more when I had an indy shop do it the first time.
  • I have a '97 Saturn SC2. It has 155K miles. I have been living with an engine knock that presents itself during acceleration (around 2k rpms) and goes away but will reappear constantly at speeds above 45mph. I have taken the car to both a Chevrolet dealer as well as a well known independent shop. Both are of the opinion that the knock is 'deep', a rod bearing being the common response. Another local Chevrolet dealership says no problem regarding getting a re-manufactured engine. The first mentioned Chevrolet dealership originally declined the work saying that it couldn't get one, but later said they could. The independent repair shop says that none of their rebuilders will do it due to lack of Saturn parts.

    First question:
    Do you agree that Saturn parts is an issue in the short term and will only get worse? I know things like oil filters will be around for awhile, but I wonder why the independent shop didn't want to take it on.
    Although Saturn itself has been out of business for several years now, the one Chevrolet dealer that didn't hesitate to quote a price and availability for the engine and its parts seem to indicate that parts aren't a problem.

    Second question: I am of the opinion that replacing the engine (5K+) is money that would be better spent toward a replacement. The same money could for example buy a 7-8 year newer Honda Civic Hybrid, a manufacturer that isn't out of business or will be any time soon. I have a family member whom has offered to help me financially but insists on getting estimates on the engine replacement and anything else the car needs. I have been disagreeing saying the money would be better spent replacing the car. A friend at the Chevrolet dealer, he is their fleet manager, agrees with me. What is/are your opinion(s)?

    Thanks very much for your time and attention.
    Mark
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