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To Fix Up or Trade Up, That is the Question

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Comments

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,336
    I pick option C. No way you should put $4k into it, but you shouldn't junk it, either. If the car is nice otherwise, put it up for sale and a mechanically inclined person will give you more for it than a junkyard.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • rmsarmarmsarma Posts: 8
    edited July 2012
    the dealer diagnosis

    # replace cylinder head (leaking combustion at spark plug hole bank 2)
    # replace valve cover gasket - i guess this is default when you replace a head

    Posted image of the top

    link title
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    So if it blew a spark plug why not just remove that one head and helicoil it at a machine shop?
  • rmsarmarmsarma Posts: 8
    any suggestions to find someone reliable in the bay area to do this job, i polled a few shops they would like to work with a new head rather than recondition the old one.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well how 'bout Japan Auto Repair in San Rafael?

    I think a new head is like $700 bucks but then you have to do a valve job--that's just a bare head. But still, if you can get in under $2K, that's cheaper than buying some crapola used car for $2K.

    This presumes your car is otherwise in pretty nice shape. If your crate also needs tires, a windshield, bodywork, paint, etc.---then nah, let 'er go.
  • rmsarmarmsarma Posts: 8
    Couldn't get these guys to respond... any other places that you recommend Mr.Shiftright... i thought this was going to be easy to find someone outside to fix the car apparently there are challenges, i was thinking should i try diy buy two heads and gasket and replace it without bringing the engine down... any thoughts...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Try Askim's Auto Works in San Rafael. Jim Askim is an ace of a guy--he usually works on Subarus but will often take other makes if his work load isn't too heavy. Very trustworthy man. He pulled and overhauled the engine on my former car--blown head gaskets.
  • rmsarmarmsarma Posts: 8
    Just left a msg thx anybody from southbay would need to tow the car from san jose area
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Jim would easily save you the $100 tow fee.
  • Hello, I own a 93 chrysler lebaron with 31000 miles. However one day it overheated and will no longer start. The waterpump also seems to be bad as all of the car's antifreeze is leaking in the location of the waterpump. I took the car to the dealer and a chain repair place and the only thing they will tell me is that the motor has no compression. Both places state that if the motor is bad I will have to pay them $5-8 thousand dollars to replace the motor with a remanufactured one. Both places refuse to prove a firm estimate on the motor replacement as they both say that the final cost will be based on how many items or other parts that they break during the installation. The cheapest junk yard motor I could find will cost $2000 to have install. The local junkyards are also unwilling to give any amount of money or even accept the car. So what should I do with this car.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,054
    Does the vehicle have any sentimental value? If not from a economics point of view to invest up to $8K in a 19 year old vehicle probably wouldn't be your best option. That is of course if you can find someone to do it for $8K. No one can give you a firm amount due to the risks involved on this type of installation. If you could get any referrals from friends or relatives on an independent mechanic shop in your area you could try calling them for a better or firm price on a remove and replacement of a motor.

    If it were me I'd junk the car and use the $8K I would've spent on repairing it on a new or newer used vehicle, course YMMV.
  • jprocjproc Posts: 135
    Spending 8k on a 19 year old car is insanity.Donate the car to charity if you can't sell it and spend the 8k on a newer car
  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    My grandfather has a '97 Lexus ES300 with 72,000 miles on it. It needs $1600 worth of work done to it. After the work done, the car will drive well. He has been the only owner and it has a clean history. He would sell it to me and I would put in the money for the repairs. I don't know what to do. Is it worth it to put more money into this car than it is worth?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well what's the total? selling price + 1600 = ???

    And who quoted the $1600---the shop or is this grandpa's best guess?

    You should figure that the actual market value for this car is about $4000, so he'd have to sell it to you for less than $2400 to make this worthwhile. A "family price" might be more like $1500.

    All this presumes the car is basically clean with no body damage, rust or ripped interior or broken glass, etc.
  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    Thank you very much for replying, Shiftright. I would say the car is in Average condition and according to Edmund's the TMV would be $2,732 for a trade in.

    I brought it into the dealer and the mechanic for quotes. I'm not even going to bother mentioning the ridiculous quote from the dealer. The mechanic quoted $1,642 in repairs. 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.

    There is a big scratch on the front bumper, peeling paint on the back bumper and the paint is off by the side mirrors. The driver seat has a rip in it and the back seat is scuffed. Otherwise, the mechanic and dealer both thought the car was in good condition to drive.

    I'm unsure what to do. It wouldn't be worth it to buy the car for $3,000+ repairs. But, I also don't have the money to get something better. With $3,000, possibly $4,000 for a car, I would end up with a clunker no matter what. On the other hand, gas is a lot more expensive on a Lexus.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well I don't know...for 72,000, it certainly didn't have the best of care. I guess it all depends on what you have to pay for it, Quite honestly, from what you describe, unless you got the car dirt cheap I think you'd be better off shopping for one in nicer condition---you can always bring the car you're thinking of buying to the mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection---that's money well spent.

    But again, a timing belt and catalytic converted at 72,000 miles seems unusual to me.

    From my limited point of view, I'm not liking this deal very much at the moment.
  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    I agree. What if my grandfather decides to give it to me for free? Do you think I should put in the repairs?
    Thanks.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,336
    edited October 2012
    For free? So only $1600 in the end for a Lexus with 72k miles? absolutely! I think that's a steal if the mechanic feels its a good car other than the needed repairs.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,336
    edited October 2012
    But again, a timing belt and catalytic converted at 72,000 miles seems unusual to me.

    T-belt is definitely appropriate. It is rubber and should have been changed long ago just based on age. It is a ticking bomb at the moment.

    Cat is a bit odd, though, I agree. Wonder if that's for real.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    qbrozen, do you think I should make repairs if have to pay $3,000 for the car?
  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    why do you wonder if the cat is for real?
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    why do you wonder if the cat is for real?

    IMM, that would depend on how they determined that the cat was bad. If was just throwing the "catalytic converter efficiency low", or whatever that OBD code is (P0420?), could just be the downstream O2 sensor. Of course, that would depend on whether a '96 Lexus had an OBD2 system in it in the first place.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,867
    Inside Line has a very similar car, if not the same one as a long term tester.
    Maybe dgal can get some answers over there.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    What's Inside Line?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 134,565
    Inside Line

    Also, a link at the top right hand of the forum page..

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,336
    No. I wouldn't want to be in that car for $4600. It has had a very rough life. If I could be certain it would be reliable for me after the $1650 in repairs, I'd be a buyer at no more than $1500 for the car as is.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    Thanks for the reply. I just don't think I would like spending anymore money on it than it's worth, ($2,700) but financially I don't think I have a choice.
  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    What do I do once I'm on the site. Sorry, I don't exactly now what you mean. Thanks.
  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    I think I found what you meant http://blogs.insideline.com/roadtests/Vehicles/1996-lexus-es-300/ ?? This is a blog about a car 1 year older than mine. I'm going to read through it for some more insight! THANK YOU!!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    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: 26
    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: 25
    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 Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    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.
  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    I will make sure further testing is done before the catalytic is fixed. Thank you for the advice!!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    And if the mechanic says he doesn't know "how" to test the catalytic, well then, you have your answer....
  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    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 Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    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.
  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    It won't pass MD state inspection without the Sway Bar Bushings. What else can I do besides the hood struts myself?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,336
    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.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    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 Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    "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.
  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    You're funny :). That's what the inspector told me. They go by a whole list of things.
  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    Do you know where I can find video tutorials on fixing those things myself?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    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.
  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    I will, thanks!
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,867
    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.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,336
    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.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    I had the mechanic do the bushings. Too complicated a fix for me.
  • dgaldgal Posts: 25
    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 Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    don't do the alignment if you're planning on getting new tires however---do the tires first.
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