Sajeev and Steve – A close friend’s 2001 V6 Galant developed a death rattle and two reputable shops said the engine is toast. She’s currently driving my Volvo 940 Wagon I just got until she figures out what to do (paying it forward). She doesn’t have much free cash flow at the current time.My knowledge of cars is pretty extensive, but my mechanical knowledge of DIY fixing and repair is in its infancy, thus I’m a bit stumped and I hate to give bad advice. She’s been quoted ~$2500 for a running junkyard motor with <100k mi, and in excess of $3000 if she replaces key wear items on the new motor while its out of the car.
I’ve been trolling craigslist for 1992-1997 Camrys and Avalons, Accords of similar vintage, GM W-Bodies with the 3.8L V6, and Vulcan Tauri* and have found a few worth looking into.
I’m leaning towards advising fixing the Galant – but today’s Piston Slap made me re-consider. I don’t know what the Galant would fetch in its current state, either – I’m thinking at least $750 due to its part-out ability (the body/wheels/interior/tires/
battery are in decent shape). Is that crazy-talk?
Obviously I want to get this as right as possible given the facts as I know them and was just wondering if you’d have a second to give this a sanity check. My friend fully understands that nothing is certain and that this is just a best guess.
Thanks and I apologize for the bother. All the best for you and your families in the new year.
*Fun fact: I was a financial analyst at Ford in a former life. When the Atlanta Assembly UAW would get angry, they’d make “Ta-bles” (a random smattering of Ford and Mercury trim bits all on one car) of which my plant had a few as corporate cars. These are probably worth something to the Taurus Club of America members.
So you were in charge of making numbers dance on a computer for 40+ hours a week while your college dropout buddies got all the fun and perks?
I know whence you came. I had friends on both sides of the Atlanta Ford plant fence way back in the day. As for this Galant, I would strongly suggest the following.
Run that crappy car until it dies a gruesome horrible death. There are folks who will swear by Seafoam when it comes to oil sludge. Or synthetic oil. Or some elixir sold in the snake oil section of the auto parts store. None of them work, ever, when it comes to stopping the sludge monster.
If driving a car that sounds like a cement mixer is a non-starter for your friend, I would eventually look at trading in the Galant at Carmax or some other place that is just interested in getting the car. Normally I would suggest replacing the engine. But that would be based on finding another 2.7 Liter at a junkyard in excellent condition and the rest of her car being in perfect working order.
If that’s not the case right now, then just ditch this ride and start searching for a new one.
Let her follow our little car buying series here, here, here and here. Go and visit a few enthusiast forums for that car so you know what to look for in the future. Find a few good candidates with good histories, get an independent inspection, and let the car buying process take care of itself.
See the photo above: Galants, much like Oldsmobile Auroras have charm in their design and fully-depreciated old car appeal. The only problem? They must be killed with fire when a significant mechanical problem arises. Which is sad, but true…unless you are a fanboi. Which you are not.
Your lady friend needs to sell that heap to a junkyard, buy one of the craigslist cars you’ve mentioned, and hope it will be reliable enough for her to work through her cash flow problem. Move to the quickest path that gets her safely to her job. With a little luck and positive thinking, it will work out. Just make sure the replacement is fairly clean and all the trouble spots (model specific or just age related) are addressed in some manner. Which might involve extra cash spent on reconditioning. By you, I assume.
Which goes back to your “pay it forward” comment. This isn’t the first time the B&B’s heard a story of a dude trying to help out a lady friend. One instance resulted in an enlightening email conversation between me and the OP: a true gentleman who is older, wiser and far smarter than I. He taught me why it’s okay to give money/time away: you hope it will actually make a difference in their lives.
So if the replacement car needs new tires, buy them for her. If she ever repays you, great. If not…whatever. Kudos to you, sir.
For Me? I’m selfish: I want one of those “Ta-bles” that you speak of. Even if it isn’t this one.