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Old 12-20-2013, 04:07 PM   #1
jules083 OP
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Richmond, Ohio
Oddometer: 4,042
Cheap car/truck challenge

We have one of these threads in old's cool for bikes, how about one here for cars? Anyone in?

Here's my submission. 1989 Ford ranger. 4 cylinder, 5 speed, 4x4. The kid went mudding and broke some stuff, I bought it for $150. Needed the timing belt put back on, ($0) a rear leaf spring ($50) a rear differential cover ($0, had one here) and some odds and ends.

Body is rusty, frame isn't too bad. Lucky Ohio doesn't have inspection though, most states wouldn't allow this many rust holes.

Total price was on the road for $260 plus tax and tags. Mostly everything works, I'm changing front U-joints now. Put about 6,000 miles on it so far, it's solid enough to depend on.

At 'work'

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Old 12-20-2013, 04:50 PM   #2
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Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Forest Lake, mn
Oddometer: 752
I'll play

88 VW jetta
Paid $400 needed exhaust welded $0
I think I put a thermostat in $20
Changed the oil once $20
Put a CD player in that I had and bolted artificial gutters on for roof racks $75

Drove it 45k
Sold to a buddy who bought new tires for it and resold it to a guy without a license.
Got it back from impound for $250
Drove it another 5k
Gave it to another buddy.
Towed said buddy to my place when the trans went out.
Finally sold it to some kid for $100

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Old 12-20-2013, 05:59 PM   #3
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Joined: May 2004
Location: NE Oregon
Oddometer: 10,119
Bought this '82 Chevy Luv in 2000 for $400. Did not start or run. Oil looked old and soot black. Replaced the glow plugs and battery to get it running.

I had 168K on the odo when it quit working in 1996 (based on a oil change sticker in the window).

Body was fair. Some rust in the bed and in the quarter panels.

Had a 2.2L Isuzu diesel engine. Used it to haul pigs, bikes, junk, etc. Probably put another 80k on it. It always ran fine. 38mpg.

Sold it in for $450 to a guy from Idaho that collected them.

I have a much better truck now, but I kinda miss that thing.
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Old 12-20-2013, 06:03 PM   #4
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Charleston SC USA
Oddometer: 490
1980 Datsun 210 wagon. Bought it from in front of a Kmart in 2003 for $300. Put maybe another $500 into repairing it as I drove it over the years. Finally had to part with it this year due to the drivers side floor being totally gone. Was a great car. Put over 150k miles on it over 10 years. Sold it to LKQ for, wait for it, $300. I'll always miss this car.

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Old 12-20-2013, 06:21 PM   #5
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Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Baking in AZ
Oddometer: 1,779
'93 Escort wagon 5-speed. $700 (too much but helping a friend)
2 years, 40,000 miles, sold for $500. Stripper, bought in Florida and taken to New York or New Jersey. Best I can tell it was an hurricane Andrew purchase. Cheap, holds lots of stuff to move out of state. Somehow got to Arizona. By the time I got it the only straight corner was the left front, only because it had been fixed once.

In that 2 years it got a battery (to get it home), timing belt (after it broke) a set of brake pads, set of tires (mostly due to my abuse). A/C compressor (used $65). Head light and tail light. I kept burning out the same headlight and fixing it. Shake the bulb to stretch the broken filament. rotate the bulb until it is touching the post if broke off of. Apply power to weld it back together. After the third time it was too broken to fix. Coil pack died but thought it was plugs. Bad plugs probably took out the coil pack as the gap could be measured with a ruler. Of course the plug wires destroyed as they came off. Generic copper wire is only good for about 20 miles of continuous use as a plug wire before the insulation breaks down.

When I sold it the transmission was having an issue of sticking in 5th gear when cold. Clutch was going away. CV boot was gone, greased the CV with a needle adaptor on a grease gun every 3 months. Rear main leaked (probably part of the clutch issue). Compressor blew multiple pistons. I had drilled out the debris from the orfice tube that was several inches thick of packed black stuff and just tossed another orfice tube in. That patch was done multiple times. When I was finally done it may have had 2 or 3 of the 10 pistons still moving Freon. I sold it in the winter and it was asked if the A/C still worked. I turned it on, you could hear the clutch kick in, but told them it just didn't get very cold anymore. They probably though I was some idiot who didn't know what low Freon was, they had no idea how screwed that A/C was.

I got 2 years for $200 and a few parts. Did multiple rockfords. hauled transmissions and axles. Raced at top speed against a firebird as he kept playing with me (co-worker). Rammed dumpsters, apartment complex gates. Generally treated it as the disposable POS that it was. But that thing proved to be a good solid car returning nearly 40 MPG all the time. I could tell how low the engine oil was (rear main leak) by how hard of a right turn I could make before the oil light came on. The low fuel could be checked by how hard of a left turn you could make before the car stalled in mid-turn.

Then I got a company car, that was the first engine I ever killed.

That was my best cheap car.
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Old 12-20-2013, 07:10 PM   #6
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Joined: Oct 2009
Location: personal hell
Oddometer: 5,770
I'll play. 87 GMC S-15, bought for 500 with a bad knock in the little 2.8.

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pulled the motor and rebuilt it. drove it for a few months as I gave it a Rustolium rattle can paint job.

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and then a set of new tires when the kid started driveing it.

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I'm in it around $1400 I know it's not as cheap as some but it's cheap by todays prices.
When I die bury me upside down so the whole world can kiss my ass.

"My mind jumped off the high dive into the deep end of the gutter and took scuba gear with it" Me.
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Old 12-21-2013, 04:35 AM   #7
trailer Rails
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Joined: Jun 2008
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Oddometer: 4,555

93 Ford ranger. 110,000 miles, $500. The rear spring shackles and hangers were rusted and broken. Replaced them and have been driving it for a few years. It has needed other old vehicle maintenance items since then: brake lines, radiator, tranny lines, JB weld on rusty oil pan, etc... It has been a good truck

92 GMC vandura 3500. 190,000 miles. Free. Needed drivers side rocker welded in, fuel pump, and a throttle cable to get going. Since then, many of the front end joints have been replaced, rear brakes were a head ache until I put premium drums on there. It has a leaky radiator end tank now and the frame is starting to dissolve, gonna retire it in the next 6 months or so.
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Old 12-21-2013, 05:12 AM   #8
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: In the TARDIS
Oddometer: 3,032
1993 Suzuki Swift 1.3L 5spd 112,000 miles, $800. Had to replace transmission input shaft bearing and piston rings that were stuck, both done by me. This little car has saved me a bunch of money in the 60,000 miles I've put on it. Averages 49 mpg on the highway, 39 in town. I've driven just over 500 miles on a single 10.6 gallon tank of fuel.
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Old 12-21-2013, 05:24 AM   #9
Thrifty not cheap
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Joined: May 2009
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Oddometer: 1,208
I've had a few.

1984 Subaru GL 4x4. Paid $400 for it because it needed a windshield. Had that done for under $200. Brush painted the rusty wheels white and fixed a hole in the floor with a motorcycle plate. Drove it for about a year and sold it for $800.

1984 Nissan 4x4. Bought it wrecked (front end) from the body shop where it was abandoned. Paid the $300 tow bill they had on it. Found all the parts used on another one (in a different tow yard) for, I think, $125. A guy I worked with painted if for free with a gallon of paint on closeout ($25). I did have to put 4 new tires on it, and replace the rusted out fuel tank as it had sat for 3 years with no gas cap. Drove it for awhile but never really liked it. Sold it to some Mexican migrant workers for $1300.

78 Ford Fiesta (NOT a Festiva!). This thing was beige and covered in black tree filth after sitting behind a car lot for several years. I paid $65 for it, stuck a battery in it, and drove it home. This was the 4th Fiesta I'd bought over the years. Drove it from PA to Atlanta and back on a trip with no problems, so decided to keep it. $400 repaint and a set of 13" alloys from my parts stash and it started to look good. I think I drove it for about 3 years before selling it to buy something with air conditioning. Sold it to a young guy who autocrossed it until the rust finally killed it at around 180,000 miles. Loved this car and still have fond memories of it (and the Ford shop manual) and would love to find another some day.
'04 Wee Strom
'89 KLR 650 (sold)

I write books!
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:06 AM   #10
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Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Maryville, TN
Oddometer: 1,715

I hate all you guys that live in salt free areas.

Bought this 01 focus for 425 bucks. Broken strut, bad wheel bearing and RUSTY. Nice daily, and i love having a car that i give absolutely no shit about.

Paid for itself many times over in gas alone, and it's saving my other vehicles from the salt.

Did i mention rust? The passenger side window lift cables rusted out, so that's held up with a cam lock strap.

The car runs like a top and gets awesome gas mileage. I'm gonna run this thing till it breaks in half.
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Old 12-21-2013, 08:40 AM   #11
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Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Arkansas
Oddometer: 13,880
$75 Chrysler 5th Avenue... drove it until the water pump broke, and then sold it for $125.
Learn to ride. Ride to learn.
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Old 12-21-2013, 10:59 AM   #12
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Joined: May 2004
Location: NE Oregon
Oddometer: 10,119
and i love having a car that i give absolutely no shit about.

That is the Zen of this thread.
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Old 12-21-2013, 11:07 AM   #13
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Joined: Oct 2008
Location: people's republic of, CA
Oddometer: 290
1991 chevy g30 van. Ripped out the seats and welded chocks to the floor. Buddy and I used it for track days and general bike hauling, including delivery of a bike that paid for a pair of tires. Sold for $380 to a Nigerian college student.

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Old 12-21-2013, 11:23 AM   #14
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Joined: May 2010
Location: Pacific Northwet
Oddometer: 153
$60 1975 Oldsmobile Omega sedan- beautiful brown with vinyl roof. Basically paid for license/title transfer and drove for 6 months and sold to a guy at work for $350. Funny thing about the whole thing was the car originally belonged to my parents until the early 80's when they sold it. In high school it turned up belonging to a buddy's older sister then it changed hands a couple more times before I had it.
'09 Kawasaki KLR 685 -Black
'09 Suzuki DR 200se -Black- Mommas
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Old 12-21-2013, 01:23 PM   #15
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Joined: Jul 2009
Oddometer: 3,760
Oft repeated story. friend and I came across a guy with his non-running 1.5 year old Fiat 128. Friend told him it was the timing belt and the engine was trashed. He sold it to my friend (us, we split the cost) for $50. Towed it away with our shared '48 Chevy PU (another fast talking deal by my friend). Bought a new distributor cap to replace the cracked one and we had a great runner. Decided to celebrate shortly thereafter with a surf trip into Baja. I told my friend driving there at night is not a good idea. He insisted of course. Hit a cow at about 50' totaled the car, not sure about the cow. We had to flee and leave the car, hitchhiking north with our boards. Still, it was a cheap vacation. That was the score of the '70's.

Same friend later scored two Fiat 600's at an early visit to a upcoming estate sale. Both ran and one was an Abarth. They came with an extra crated new spare engine, all for $300. Included was Vespa 125 and a Lambretta 175, which I kept for a number of years. Score for the 80's.

I say craigslist and eBay have ruined the astounding bargains one used to be able to find.
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