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#4565367 - 11/05/17 09:35 PM Keep beater or upgrade?
Kurtatron Offline


Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 166
Loc: Detroit
Hey Everyone! So I am at an impasse. I donít like my current car. It is a 1999 Toyota Solara that just hit 200k miles. I have had the thing for 2 years now. I Spent $1700 on it. I havenít had any real problems with it, but I have been anxious to get rid of it because:
1) It vibrates on the freeway and
2) The manual tranny is going out. The synchros are failing, and the thing grinds if I shift anything more than granny level.
Hereís the problem. I have sunk of $3000 in this car over the last 2 years.
Water pump, timing belt, axle, motor mount, all 4 shocks, plugs, gaskets, etc.
But the dying tranny really hurts my confidence in the car. So I have been having wandering eyes.

I spotted a 2004 Pontiac Vibe with 40,000 miles for 4K. I know those things are just rebadged Toyota Matrixís. I havenít looked over it yet because it is at the dealer and they are closed on Sundayís. But I just donít know whether to pull the trigger. I have thrown so much money into the Solara.

Hereís the main consideration: Finances. I am kinda broke. I have just enough to buy the car outright, but I would have maybe $200 leftover.

If finances were you primary consideration, what would you do in my case? Should I stick with the Solara? Or could the Vibe be a great investment long term? Would the 4K be enough to compensate for the shorter lifespan of the Solara? I just donít know if the Solara will last 1 more year, or 5 more. If the vibe could go for 10 years, it may be a good deal, but should I let this deal go?


Edited by Kurtatron (11/05/17 09:37 PM)

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#4565370 - 11/05/17 09:38 PM Re: Keep beater or upgrade? [Re: Kurtatron]
BrocLuno Offline


Registered: 09/06/15
Posts: 5516
Loc: Kalifornia Kollective
Drain the tranny and put Redline MTL (manual transmission lube) in and try it out. See if the shifting gets better. That'll be like $20 smile

Then find the source of freeway vibration. Maybe it's just tires ...

You don't need to deplete your $$ going into winter ...


Edited by BrocLuno (11/05/17 09:38 PM)
_________________________
Formerly in marine engineering. In an earlier life I owned my own petroleum tank truck, and hauled for the majors and independent's.

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#4565374 - 11/05/17 09:41 PM Re: Keep beater or upgrade? [Re: Kurtatron]
Kurtatron Offline


Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 166
Loc: Detroit
I already put redline in it. It helped significantly. It was grinding all the time before. Now it doesnít grind unless I push hard.

I hear you about winter though. Donít want a battery dying when I have no money.

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#4565375 - 11/05/17 09:41 PM Re: Keep beater or upgrade? [Re: Kurtatron]
JohnnyJohnson Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 2741
Loc: Wet side WA
Well maybe a test drive will help you decide. I know a woman friend that has one of these its been a good car for Marilyn she still isn't ready to sell it. Test drives cost you nothing. Go figure it out before its gone. Don't be kicking yourself for hesitation.


Edited by JohnnyJohnson (11/05/17 09:42 PM)
_________________________
2004 Toyota Corolla 121682
Out: QSUD 5W-30 Purolator One 5030
In: Valvoline ML 5w-30 TG4967 117530 2-8-18
2006 Duramax 74047
Out: T6 5W-40 M1-303
In: T6 5W-40 XG9100 73752 4-22-18

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#4565378 - 11/05/17 09:45 PM Re: Keep beater or upgrade? [Re: Kurtatron]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32635
Loc: ME
Those year vibes blow manual tranmsissions all the time. Of course you can argue that yours is on its way out.

THe camry/ solara is a more solid platform. I had an 02 corolla briefly-- lightweight trash. Rocking my 02 camry now.

Remember you're looking at a 13-14 year old car with the rust to go with that. $4k is pretty high.

Freeway vibration could be bent rims which could be investigated easily enough. Jack up one of the rear wheels with the ebrake off and spin away while watching the bead lip. Rotate the pack around. Your rims will be cheap enough at a junkyard or on craigslist. I got three dodge caravan rims for $20 (total!) that fit my camry just fine.

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#4565380 - 11/05/17 09:51 PM Re: Keep beater or upgrade? [Re: Kurtatron]
dishdude Offline


Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 8741
Loc: Phoenix
Maybe it's time to look at something other than a Toyota...doesn't sound like they've treated you that great.
_________________________
2018 Challenger SRT

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#4565383 - 11/05/17 09:53 PM Re: Keep beater or upgrade? [Re: Kurtatron]
HoosierJeeper Offline


Registered: 11/23/16
Posts: 1276
Loc: WI
$200 isn't a lot of cush to have for something that could easily be just as bad of a money pit. Any car that old is a gamble and you can count on it's up for sale because it needs work. Most people don't maintain anything. So with the Vibe you'll probably be doing lots of the same repairs you just did on the Solara. The 40k miles means it sat a lot which can actually be worse.

I'd sell the Solara and get something for maybe 2-3 grand that trips your fancy. Maybe something more simple like an older truck or Jeep, easy to do work on.
_________________________
15 Jeep KL Limited V6: Formula Shell 5W20
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#4565386 - 11/05/17 09:54 PM Re: Keep beater or upgrade? [Re: Kurtatron]
Nick1994 Offline


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10108
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I'd take a look at the Vibe and crunch the numbers, see if you can talk them down. Being a dealer you're going to get dealer doc fees and taxes to pay. If the car really is in great shape, then consider buying it. Check the dates on the tires, they might be old.

But I'd try to milk the Solara out for another winter, and keep saving until you can find something that really catches your eye when you've got the extra cash as a buffer.
_________________________
2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 79k PU 5w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 228k M1 AFE 0w30 & Wix
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 146k M1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra

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#4565395 - 11/05/17 10:00 PM Re: Keep beater or upgrade? [Re: Kurtatron]
barkingspider Offline


Registered: 12/22/13
Posts: 2048
Loc: socal

I had an 04 Vibe, yes itís a rebadged matrix and yes it was super reliable and cheap to own / maintain. I say go ahead and get the Vibe, it should last you over 200k miles. Only reason I sold it was i wanted something that was quiet on the interior because i do a lot of driving for work and Iím on the phone all the time.
_________________________
06 Cadillac Escalade Ext
17 Cadillac ATS (wife)
05 Toyota Camry (daughter)
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#4565396 - 11/05/17 10:02 PM Re: Keep beater or upgrade? [Re: Kurtatron]
69GTX Offline


Registered: 09/23/15
Posts: 3815
Loc: Connecticut
Double de-clutch and rev match when shifting into any of the gears that are causing trouble, that should help minimize or eliminate the grinding. You don't need synchro's if rpms are nearly perfectly matched. You might be able to get many months or even years by doing this. I don't know what the recommended MTL/ATF is for this vehicle, but the wrong stuff can lead to grinding shifts. If ATF is specced, sometimes conventional fluids will give easier shifts.

I'd be tempted to go with a low mileage car next time around....and one that was proven to be well maintained + fluids changed as required....not one that sat a lot, for weeks or months at a time....or was heavily short tripped. Buying high mileage manual (or even automatic) transmission cars ( orig trans) can be risky.
_________________________
----------------

2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 39K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs

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#4565400 - 11/05/17 10:06 PM Re: Keep beater or upgrade? [Re: Kurtatron]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
Buy the Vibe...

Sell the Solara for the best price you can get
_________________________
"The evidence demands a verdict".
(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."

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#4565416 - 11/05/17 10:19 PM Re: Keep beater or upgrade? [Re: Kurtatron]
Kuato Offline


Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 7094
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Kurtatron
Hey Everyone! So I am at an impasse. I donít like my current car. It is a 1999 Toyota Solara that just hit 200k miles. I have had the thing for 2 years now. I Spent $1700 on it. I havenít had any real problems with it, but I have been anxious to get rid of it because:
1) It vibrates on the freeway and
2) The manual tranny is going out. The synchros are failing, and the thing grinds if I shift anything more than granny level.
Hereís the problem. I have sunk of $3000 in this car over the last 2 years.
Water pump, timing belt, axle, motor mount, all 4 shocks, plugs, gaskets, etc.
But the dying tranny really hurts my confidence in the car. So I have been having wandering eyes.

I spotted a 2004 Pontiac Vibe with 40,000 miles for 4K. I know those things are just rebadged Toyota Matrixís. I havenít looked over it yet because it is at the dealer and they are closed on Sundayís. But I just donít know whether to pull the trigger. I have thrown so much money into the Solara.

Hereís the main consideration: Finances. I am kinda broke. I have just enough to buy the car outright, but I would have maybe $200 leftover.

If finances were you primary consideration, what would you do in my case? Should I stick with the Solara? Or could the Vibe be a great investment long term? Would the 4K be enough to compensate for the shorter lifespan of the Solara? I just donít know if the Solara will last 1 more year, or 5 more. If the vibe could go for 10 years, it may be a good deal, but should I let this deal go?


Broke? Shift like granny so it doesn't grind. You've put 3 grand into it, keep it and get some return on your investment. Save your $4000, and build it up for the day the Solara dies.
_________________________
Thick vs Thin test: 15k / 43k miles complete

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#4565418 - 11/05/17 10:21 PM Re: Keep beater or upgrade? [Re: Kurtatron]
Wolf359 Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4750
Loc: MA
Go further upmarket and get a small loan. The numbers don't make sense for what you did. Spent basically 4000-4700 on a 17 year old car and only got 2 years out of it. If you get something that's in the 10-12 year range, maybe 2006-2008, it might actually last you 5-10 years. At least repairs that you do early on will get amortized over a longer ownership period and you may have periods where you don't have many repairs. The key to saving money is not to buy a cheap car and get rid of it every couple years, it's to buy one that you keep a long time. Greatest deprecation is typically in the first 3-4 years of ownership, then it slowly trails off and near the end of it's life, while depreciation is low, repair costs are high so it ends up costing more at the end of the car's life than something in the middle to 2/3's range.

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#4565455 - 11/05/17 11:28 PM Re: Keep beater or upgrade? [Re: Kurtatron]
dareo Offline


Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 1448
Loc: utah
If you like driving the Solara i'm sure you could get a newer transmission for cheap. Do the clutch and possibly rear main seal while you are there and it should be good to go. Balance your wheels, replace any bent wheels or messed up tires and it should drive smooth.

However, the Vibe sounds like a good deal, assuming the actual condition pans out.
_________________________
2016 Golf Wagon 5MT, 2014 Accord Sport 6MT, 2005 GMC 2500 SLT 6.0 2WD, T100 Sold

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#4565464 - 11/05/17 11:48 PM Re: Keep beater or upgrade? [Re: Kurtatron]
Merkava_4 Offline


Registered: 01/30/07
Posts: 17501
Loc: Clovis, CA
I looked at both of them on Google Images. I like the Solara WAY more better ! smile

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