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$500 beater, Oil suggestions? #5466349 06/30/20 01:02 PM
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Normac Offline OP
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I picked up this '02 Cavalier from a family member, 1 owner, 203,000 miles. All it needed to pass inspection was a set of front brake pads - easy enough. Standard 2.2L, new clutch and serpentine belt at 198,000 miles, slight oil leak at valve cover gasket, and another at the drain pan gasket. Interior is rough, but for the price I'll just add oil occasionally, drive it, and not complain. LOL

Standard clear-coat peeling from that era, and this one is no exception. haha

It's had a diet of whatever 5w30 and Fram filters the local auto/tire shop uses, so I see no reason to change anything.
Any oil suggestions would be appreciated, but I have never read where these things are picky.

I'm planning on using it for an 80-mile commute - 40 each way, 4-days a week.
Of course I'll use the Yamaha Maxim when the weather permits.
It was getting around 30-mpg on the highway, so I can't complain about that either.

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Last edited by Normac; 06/30/20 01:24 PM.

True victory does not come from defeating an enemy, true victory comes from giving love and changing an enemies heart.
Re: $500 beater, what do you think? [Re: Normac] #5466350 06/30/20 01:05 PM
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dareo Offline
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Nice car! Thats one payment on our TourX but you get to keep it forever.


2019 VW Golf Alltrack, 2018 Regal TourX, 2016 GMC 1500 SLT 6.2, 2007 GMC Savana 6.6 Duramax
Re: $500 beater, what do you think? [Re: Normac] #5466354 06/30/20 01:10 PM
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gathermewool Offline
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Great get!

It looks like the tires have a good amount of meat on them, and there’s only that one spot of rust I see on the passenger side rear.

I would check the alignment of the passenger-side headlight, though. It looks like it’s cocked.

I would run the cheapest oil and filter and figure out what the consumption/leak-rate is before considering more expensive oils. With that said, synthetic oils are on sale from time to time and oil is relatively cheap, so do what makes you feel good.


14 Forester XT Touring FA20DIT (Cobb Stage 1)
Castrol Magnatec 5W-30 D1G2 + FU filter (2nd OFI) (77,760mi, 3/7/20)
15 Legacy Premium FB25
Magnatec 0W-20 D1G2+ FU filter (2nd OFI) (54,621mi, 3/4/20)
Re: $500 beater, what do you think? [Re: Normac] #5466355 06/30/20 01:10 PM
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Char Baby Offline
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Use cheap oil & filters.


Retired 6 yrs now & lovin' it
-----------------------------------

'80 Firebird FORMULA V8/4bbl-purchased "NEW"
'15 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV
'15 Honda Civic 1.8 LX
Re: $500 beater, what do you think? [Re: dareo] #5466356 06/30/20 01:12 PM
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Normac Offline OP
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Originally Posted by dareo
Nice car! Thats one payment on our TourX but you get to keep it forever.

Some rust in front of passenger side rear wheel, light scrapes behind rear wheel, dash cracked in multiple places, carpeting under rear window is coming up - it's a little rough. But it runs, it's paid for, and Liability Insurance is dirt cheap!


True victory does not come from defeating an enemy, true victory comes from giving love and changing an enemies heart.
Re: $500 beater, what do you think? [Re: Normac] #5466357 06/30/20 01:12 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
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nwjones18 Online Content
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Nice score for $500 and a manual trans is just icing on the cake.


2016 Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi 30k QSUD 5w-20 Mopar filter
2008 Honda CRV 125K QSUD 5w-20 Fram ultra
2007 Mazda 3 2.3 130k 5w-30 syn-blend Denso filter
1988 F-150. 4.9 I6 251k. 10w-40 QSHM Motorcraft FL1A

Re: $500 beater, what do you think? [Re: gathermewool] #5466360 06/30/20 01:15 PM
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Normac Offline OP
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Originally Posted by gathermewool
Great get!

It looks like the tires have a good amount of meat on them, and there’s only that one spot of rust I see on the passenger side rear.

I would check the alignment of the passenger-side headlight, though. It looks like it’s cocked.

I would run the cheapest oil and filter and figure out what the consumption/leak-rate is before considering more expensive oils. With that said, synthetic oils are on sale from time to time and oil is relatively cheap, so do what makes you feel good.

Yes Sir. Tires aren't bad at all, and the passenger side headlight has been lowered and adjusted since the pic was taken yesterday. Surprisingly, it looked a lot worse than it actually was - light was shining almost parallel to the driver's side. lol

It's probably going to get whatever oil is cheap. Not worth putting much money into.


True victory does not come from defeating an enemy, true victory comes from giving love and changing an enemies heart.
Re: $500 beater, what do you think? [Re: Normac] #5466364 06/30/20 01:17 PM
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Normac Offline OP
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I 100% agree, Char Baby.

nwjones18 - The advantage for me is that on one else in the family will drive it, being a manual. grin

I added an 'under the hood' pic to the original post. I've seen worse.......

Last edited by Normac; 06/30/20 01:23 PM.

True victory does not come from defeating an enemy, true victory comes from giving love and changing an enemies heart.
Re: $500 beater, what do you think? [Re: Normac] #5466366 06/30/20 01:19 PM
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JEL01 Online Content
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Cheap supertech (Or whatever is even cheaper) 5w30 HM and AC Delco filters from wallyworld and drive on


Cars I maintain:
02 Mercedes CLK430
09 Honda Accord V6
13 Lexus RX350 AWD
02 Toyota Tundra 4x4
18 Lexus GX460
Re: $500 beater, what do you think? [Re: Normac] #5466372 06/30/20 01:25 PM
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Barkleymut Offline
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Love that kind of car - cheap and runs


09 Vue 2.4L 4spd AT/ 09 Flex 3.5L / 96 F150 5.0 5speed / 07 Mustang GT auto
Re: $500 beater, what do you think? [Re: Normac] #5466376 06/30/20 01:28 PM
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Jackson_Slugger Offline
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I'd use Mobil 1 5W-30 HM (with the rebate), like less than $13...

Re: $500 beater, what do you think? [Re: Normac] #5466383 06/30/20 01:35 PM
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eyeofthetiger Offline
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That LN2 engine is a good beater engine. By good, I mean better than the Ecotec that replaced it. Just keep oil in it, and it probably won't care what kind it is.

Re: $500 beater, what do you think? [Re: Normac] #5466392 06/30/20 01:42 PM
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gfh77665 Online Content
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Originally Posted by Normac

I'm planning on using it for an 80-mile commute - 40 each way, 4-days a week.


Man that is a PERFECT car for that long commute. Real good MPG, and no issue racking up miles on it. Keep the mileage off of your good rides.

For oil I would use cheap 10w-30 in summer and cheap in 5w-30 winter, and change at 10K intervals. With almost all highway mileage, it can easily make a 10K interval.

If you want, toss a DashMat over the dash to hide the cracks. Just $50 for a custom fit.

https://www.covercraft.com/us/en/pr...UpJmq6gIVAdbACh3A_AKiEAAYASAAEgKbEvD_BwE

Re: $500 beater, what do you think? [Re: Normac] #5466393 06/30/20 01:44 PM
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brages Offline
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Costco has a special on Chevron oil if you want to go super cheap. I don't go super cheap on old cars if they are running well.

Re: $500 beater, what do you think? [Re: Normac] #5466399 06/30/20 02:01 PM
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IndyIan Offline
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I have a similar commute, in my beater I run on sale synthetic with a fram ultra for a reasonably long distance, 8-9k miles on the oil and double that on the filter. Probably overkill but I'd like the engine to outlive the rest of it.


06 Focus ZXW, 5spd manual, 220km
18 Outback 2.5 CVT 35km 0W20
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