Car Blew Up Mid Boat Build... Ideas?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by CatBuilder, Mar 3, 2012.

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  1. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    This is related to boating in that I have to conserve money to make it to the end of the build, while still having a way for my wife to get to work.

    Our trusty 2001 model year car died this week.

    The timing belt blew out while she was driving highway speeds and by all accounts, has bent the valves and possible holed pistons. This type of engine allows valves and pistons to come into contact when the timing belt breaks. :(

    So, I am now faced with a difficult decision...

    What do I do?

    We need a car for 24 months or so. Then, we need no cars, including selling the RV I am in during the build.

    What is the lowest cost way to get a car that will run for 24 months? I'm talking total cost of ownership here, including depreciation, fees, maintenance, mileage, insurance (if any), etc...

    I know a lot of you guys have a lot of experience with cars, so any ideas? :confused:
  2. Tim B
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    Tim B Senior Member

    Buy an old, but not excessively cheap car. I.e. market price for a 10 to 12 year old car. Don't know what the difference between old US and European cars is, but I'd go for European personally (but I'm biased). You should be able to pick up something decent for a few thousand dollars, and if you pick carefully you should be able to sell it again without much depreciation.

    Tim B.
  3. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Thanks, Tim.

    That is exactly what I would normally, do, except we have a pesky problem with used cars in the States right now.

    Since the recession began (and even now), new cars are not very popular. Everyone wants to save money and buy a used car.

    Let me share an example... our car that just broke.

    I purchased it in 2004 for $5000. It is a 2001 model year. The car (the 2001) is currently worth $3060 (if in working order) in 2012.

    By all normal reasoning, the car should have been worth about $500 at this point, however the inflated used car market is pushing its price way up. This makes it very difficult to find the same type of vehicle you and I are accustomed to buying used.

    To further the example, the 2009 model of our car (3 yrs old from present), is going for $8000. That is the same model 3 year old car I bought for $5000 back in 2004.

    This also makes me want to look at dropping a used engine into the 2001 we currently own, but... there is so much rust from it being parked at the harbor for all these years. We have replaced part of the frame ($1000), a $700 piece of the emissions system that does absolutely nothing but capture gas/petrol fumes in a carbon filter and a few other smaller repairs due to rust.

    The market has changed so much, I have wondered if leasing a new one at $150/mo with $2000 down is a better deal (better mileage, no breakdowns, etc...) The lease will require expensive insurance though. We have absolutely no insurance on the old 2001 (not required in the state where I'm from), so that is another factor if buying new.

    Either way, this is a very painful thing to happen mid boat build. We will surely have to skimp on something with the boat. That car was supposed to last us until we finished the build.

    It is proving to be difficult to find the best situation for 24 months of needed car.
  4. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    get an old chev cavalier

    easy to work on

    great mileage

    you should be able to pick on up for about 1k and have a descent car, not spectacular, nothing worth bragging about, but transportation
  5. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    The politic thing to do would be to suggest she pick out any car she likes. It's her money and that's what she's going to do anyway so why fight it?

    Don't mess with your golden goose, Cat.:p
  6. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    Hi CatBuilder,

    We have engine recondition shops here. When your old motor is stuffed you can exchange the old for a reconditioned one. You get some kind of a guarantee as well.

    One of the spares shops here also sell engines from the East somewhere.

    Perhaps you have similar ? In both options the prices are not too bad.

    You can even find a car that was scrapped due to an accident but the engine was not damaged.

    Will hiring a car be expensive ?

    Good luck.
  7. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: OREGON

    rasorinc Senior Member

    car problems

    CatBuilder, sent you 2 PMs. Also have a 1992 Subaru SVX their grand touring car and don't really want to get rid of it but eyes have to be higher.
    Google Subaru SVX--everything the other has. Fab car.
  8. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    I lost about 6k on a reconditioned engine once. Never ever ever buy a reconditioned engine from anyone but the original manufacturer. I'm OK with crate engines, but only from the factory. Damn did I ever get screwed on a reconditioned engine.

    Keep the old girl happy and let her get whatever she wants. Make it work. Put in your two cents and then just leave it up to her. She knows your trying to get back to the water

    I give any notion of buying anything other than a factory engine a two thumbs down. And I work on cars all the time. Been doing it since grade school, I've seen this before, don't do it. For god sakes son, don't do it. ;-)
  9. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    Location: Florida

    mydauphin Senior Member

    Funny bought one of those 10 years ago for $500 when my truck was stolen and was waiting for my insurance money. Car was a disaster, AC didn't work, passenger window would not go down, it look like hell, it leak water. However it ran really well, my intentions was to only run it for a couple of months, it ran so well I kept it for a year. Finally gave it to my dad who ran for a year when he came to visit. He taught several family members to drive in it and then gave to a cousin. The car lasted 2 or 3 more years until it finally completely fell apart.

    The moral of the story is; if you priority is building the boat, buy the best crappy car for the least money. Secondly, I have yet to know of a boat build that ends on time or cheaper than you thought. So save your pennies and don't sweat it.
  10. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    What kind of car is it? Used engines are not that expensive.
  11. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Thanks for the ideas, folks. It's good to hear all the different input, despite them all being opposite of each other. :) Helps me remember all the angles.

    A couple of follow on points:

    1) We are over 1000 miles apart during the build. I can't get a car for her that requires maintenance, or we pay $75-$100/hr for it since I'm not there to do it. She also loses income if she fails to get to work. She's not on salary, so we need her to be able to get in instead of sitting in a shop paying $75-$100/hr. So, reliability is a factor... a major factor.

    2) We have a good marriage. All of our money is our money. There is no "hers" or "mine." We share everything equally. Her wants of a car are small, fuel efficient and not flashy. She really liked the old car - Asian import, 2001 model year, silver. Couldn't find it in a parking lot with a homing device! :)

    3) Putting in a new engine. Thought about this a lot. There is one big issue and that's the rust. Everything on this car is rusted out. The frame was replaced due to rusting through and failing, the emissions system was replaced due to rusting, I jury rigged the power steering "manifold" from rust ($1000 to buy replacement). The car, other than the body, is literally rusted out. I'm not sure it would be worth it with the rest of the car in such bad condition- although we have replaced most of the damn thing already.

    4) Rasorinc: Will take a look...

    Ran some numbers this afternoon and it looks like taking over a lease from someone in distress might be the most economical way to do this. Buying a used $8000 car is more expensive, even after you resell it, in this current market.
  12. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Just for internet security, I don't put that stuff up.

    But, a used engine for it is $500, tops. Cheap.

    The labor to put it in while I'm 1000 miles away? Probably $2000.
  13. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    Depending on the make it might be cheaper to drop in a new engine. I did that once and saved a ton of money.
  14. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    Location: North of Cuba

    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    Langston's Used Auto Parts in Tampa put an engine in my car for $500 complete including removing the old one but of course that was 30 years ago and it was a Mercury Monarch. $2000 labor seems way out of line.

  15. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    HA HA HA HA! :D

    Or course, 30 years ago. :D

    So, if it takes 20 hours to put the engine in at $100/hr, you're at $2000 right there.

    I think it takes that long, right?

    You have to disconnect the world in that engine compartment, replace a billion sensors, hook all the electronics back up, transmission coolers, new radiator (because you broke the transmission cooler line fitting of because it's rusted), new power steering system (that $1000 1 piece manifold), etc...

    I think leasing a new car would cost less. :D
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