Classifieds Horror Stories

The fun thing about car shopping on the low end is you find all sorts of really incredible stuff.

So far I’ve found:

  1. An ice cream truck. I almost bought it but then I couldn’t figure out how to lure a bear into it.
  2. Old postal service jeeps. There’s a ton of these out there.
  3. Incredibly overpriced old crap. I’m talking $2000 for a Toyota Corolla from 1985. Yeah it’s the AWD wagon version, but the dealership is smoking drugs if they think anyone is going to buy it.
  4. Really bad DIY projects.

The first point is the best – Things like old motorhomes, hippy vans with flowers on the side you want to turn into A-Team specials, all types of equipment adapted to electrical systems for automobiles. Old ambulances are the best for this, they have outlets, fridges, all sorts of wacky stuff. For a used car for fuel economy, which is what this whole project is about, not so hot. For a real laugh to consider driving around, awesome. There’s even old police cars on the block they didn’t bother to even take the stickers off. The last category is by far the worst. There’s a lot of shade tree mechanics who just don’t have a clue. Take this ebay auction. Looks good, right? The guy did all this work to it and the thing probably has a simple problem, right? It would be a good buy, the 2L jeep engines are small, good on gas, and fun to drive. I asked the guy “What’s wrong with it? Can you be more specific than blown engine?”

The motor that was in it when I bought it had serious issues with oil so I got a used motor from someone.  That is whats in it now.  Befor I put the used one in I changed all the gaskets but the head gasket and I changed the rod bearings.  New thermostat.  New plugs, wires, cap and rotor.  I drove it about 15 miles after putting it back in and it sat for a week or so.  I picked it up and drove it home and about half way home it started to rattle and lost pretty much all power.  It got really loud and I had to keep my foot pinned on the gas to keep it moving. It would go over 3500 rpms i think.  I was was frustrated with it and parked it in my parking lot and left it.  That was a couple of weeks ago.  I wanted to fix it because I love it but I just don’t have time.  Working alot and other projects that take first priority.  It susks!

Here’s a hint buddy: Don’t re-use headstuds.

Share your horror stories.


I drive a 1991 Turbocharged Toyota MR2. According to the government, it gets about 18 and 24 MPG. This is all well and good, but the maintenance interval is incredibly short. You will change the oil every 3000 miles and it will take all four and some change quarts. The timing belt itself needs changing every 60,000. The problem is, I care way too much about the car to continue fielding it as a daily driver. I would much rather hang it up for weekends at my parents place, and this has the added happy fun time of letting me take all that EPA crap off the car and finally do some serious autocrossing. For the record, it wouldn’t be eligible for the gas guzzler tax. However at an estimated cost of $4 to drive 25 miles, you can figure out it really adds up.

It’s also really hard on your ass.

I was considering a motorcycle, but after the accident six months ago where I was rear ended and PA’s finest State Police dispatched Captain Knuckledragger who did nothing to investigate, I decided this was a bad idea. I’ve always wanted a Subaru wagon, but Travis says they’re hell to work on. I considered one of Toyotas four doors, but I haven’t found anything I like in a price I like. The advantage here is that I already have Toyota parts coming out of the woodwork, and to also quote Travis, “I’m comfortable with their bullshit”. The third option is diesel, but the prices fluctuate wildly. But by that I mean station-to-station, diesel is usually on par with premium gasoline but you get 40mpg out of it. However, Subaru’s 2.2 liter engine fuel economy pegs it at 29mpg highway, and it has AWD. Almost diesel performance on straight pump gas.