New or Used? – It's Hard To Be Galant When You're Full Of Mud Edition

new or used 8211 its hard to be galant when youre full of mud edition

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

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.

Steve Says:

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.

Sajeev Says:

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.

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  • Nick 2012 Nick 2012 on Jan 04, 2013

    Thank you all for the excellent, detailed and timely advice. It is very much appreciated. My friend - assuming all goes well in the financing department - probably will get a 2011 Mazda6 with 19k miles from Carmax for a hair under $14,000 and live with the payments. I am going to hound her to get an oil change done right away with a high-quality synthetic and change at 7,500mi regardless of what the maintenance minder says. Pep Boys is selling 5 qts of Valvoline SynPower for $22 (if you buy 10 quarts) with a PureOne filter.

    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jan 04, 2013

      Know nothing about Mazdas but 14K for an 2011 MY seems too good to be true, esp for what is considered a mid-size these days. Factory warranty still apply?

  • Nick 2012 Nick 2012 on Jan 04, 2013

    Warranty still does apply, and Carmax is the seller. With Carmax selling the car, I feel as comfortable as is possible that the car hasn't been for a saltwater swim (sight unseen at this point). She read all of Steve Lang's used car buying advice columns too. Prior history indicates fleet usage, but probably was a Ford employee leased car as it was only titled in Dearborn and not to a rental agency. Its a base model (whatever that means now) but comes with power everything but seat, keyless entry, steering wheel controls, etc.

  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.
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