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    Thread: Car repair conundrum: need advice

    1. Member chuckster1's Avatar
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      Me: 2016 Nissan Frontier Desert Runner, Brilliant Silver. Wife: 2019 Honda Civic Sport Sonic Grey
      02-12-2020 03:29 PM #1
      Okay TFL. Here's the scenario:

      My daughter bought a 2004 Civic EX coupe in Sept. 227K miles but the guy who sold it to us is a "Master Mechanic" at our local Ohio Dept. of Transportation. Seemed like a good guy. He likes to flip cars on the side. I looked over the car before she bought it. Almost no rust, just a few minor scratches. Said the motor is from another Civic and the transmission is rebuilt. I took it for a spin (5-speed manual) and it drove great. And the interior is a 9/10. Everything works. She paid $2500 for it which I thought was fair.

      Four months later, the engine is seized. I even checked the oil in October. No idea where all of oil went. Now we don't know what to do. Maybe it's my daughter's age and that she didn't see the oil light come on. I don't know. I called the guy who sold it to me and asked if he would consider looking at it and even offered to pay for his time. He's busy until the end of March. The shop it is currently at wants $2600 for a warrantied engine and installation.

      I have considered buying a used engine on Ebay or through an engine refurbishment company and pulling the old one and installing a new one. That's going to take me several weeks and on a scale of 1-10 I'm about a 5 when it comes to wrenching. A newish engine is $800. On top of that for tools and a hoist, jacks, etc it's going to push $1200 easily. Plus, she borrowed $1000 to buy the car after she sold her '96 Jeep GC that was starting to have issues so she's on the hook for around $800 (which she will pay back regardless. One rule in my house: kids pay for their own cars, insurance and phones). So in the end she will have to borrow the funds for this project from the wife and I.

      The other option is to sell the car as-is. I figure we could get $1500 for it? That takes care of the car loan and puts $700 in her pocket towards a new one.

      What would TFL do?

      TL;DR Daughter has a broken car with a seized engine. Car body, transmission and interior seem to be worth saving.
      Quote Originally Posted by GoHomePossum View Post
      See? You have to relax before you can completely take in all of TCL's magic.

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    3. Senior Member VarianceVQ's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 03:37 PM #2
      As someone who regretted buying an old, mileage Honda, my course of action was to sell it off with the quickness.

      I suggest you do the same. Someone will buy it.
      Nirvana.

    4. Member Stromaluski's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 04:44 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by chuckster1 View Post
      My daughter bought a 2004 Civic EX coupe in Sept. 227K miles but the guy who sold it to us is a "Master Mechanic" at our local Ohio Dept. of Transportation. Seemed like a good guy. He likes to flip cars on the side. I looked over the car before she bought it. Almost no rust, just a few minor scratches. Said the motor is from another Civic and the transmission is rebuilt. I took it for a spin (5-speed manual) and it drove great. And the interior is a 9/10. Everything works. She paid $2500 for it which I thought was fair.

      The other option is to sell the car as-is. I figure we could get $1500 for it? That takes care of the car loan and puts $700 in her pocket towards a new one.
      $1500 for a 16 year old Civic with almost a quarter million miles and a seized engine?

    5. Member cockerpunk's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 04:46 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by Stromaluski View Post
      $1500 for a 16 year old Civic with almost a quarter million miles and a seized engine?
      this. why the hell would anyone pay 1500 dollars for it?

      ebay a motor, barrow a hoist from a friend, change it out as a weekend project, and run it.
      Quote Originally Posted by ice4life View Post
      Sounds great. Maybe I'm just a fascist and didn't know it.. I don't know if I even care anymore.

    6. Member whalemingo's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 04:46 PM #5
      This wouldn't have ever happened if you had the foresight to push her toward buying a Nissan Frontier. You live you learn I suppose.
      All Hail Andy?

    7. Member Stangy's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 04:57 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by whalemingo View Post
      This wouldn't have ever happened if you had the foresight to push her toward buying a Nissan Frontier. You live you learn I suppose.
      Quote Originally Posted by StressStrain View Post
      Cheapest way to 9s is to buy someone else's 8 second car, then drive it yourself.
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    8. Member nyexx's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 05:02 PM #7
      $2500 was too much for a 2004 Civic with 227,000 miles in the first place.

      Cut losses, sell for $1,000.

    9. Member t_white's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 05:37 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by nyexx View Post
      $2500 was too much for a 2004 Civic with 227,000 miles in the first place.

      Cut losses, sell for $1,000.
      I agree with NYEXX

      If it's still at the shop, offer to sell it to them for $1k, or see what they would offer. Otherwise, maybe try to sell it back to the guy you originally bought it from? Or just CL it and see what you can get for it. Either way, I would recommend cutting your losses and starting again with a different car for her.
      Last edited by t_white; 02-12-2020 at 05:39 PM.

    10. Member 4.OMG's Avatar
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      It varies.
      02-12-2020 05:47 PM #9
      $1000 feels like the high end of what the car is worth as-is. If the engine is seized, it can't even be started much less test driven so buyers have no way of knowing whether the other major systems (transmission, suspension, brakes, fuel, electrical etc.) are any good.

      My guess is if you sell it as-is, you'll lose more than the cost of a junkyard engine.
      Now this was a superior machine. Ten grand worth of gimmicks and high-priced special effects. The rear windows lit up with a touch like frogs in a dynamite pond. The dashboard was full of esoteric lights and dials and meters that I would never understand.

    11. Member TurboREX's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 07:54 PM #10
      I agree with everyone else so far. Just sell it and cut her loses. Assuming she has a job take the mo eh from the sale and lease something cheap but new for like $200 a month.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    12. Member 2.0_Mazda's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 08:03 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by nyexx View Post
      $2500 was too much for a 2004 Civic with 227,000 miles in the first place.

      Cut losses, sell for $1,000.
      Agree! Cut your losses short, run and buy something with less mileage and no engine swap.

    13. Member pontiac's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 08:12 PM #12
      If the rest of the car is clean and you don't forsee any other major repairs in the near future I'd fix it and keep it. Assuming your going to get another cheap car to replace it, all cheap cars have problems and the devil you know > the devil you don't know.

    14. Member 2000JettaGLXVR6's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 08:24 PM #13
      All I want to know is how the hell was there a loan on the car? I get teens don't have $2500 on hand, but was that a family loan or something?

      I'm with the others on cut your losses. I would look into something much newer and consider carrying a $7500 loan if that's in the cards. You'll have a relatively new, safe, reliable used car and won't have to worry about your daughter.

      I watch my non mechanically inclined neighbors struggle with their daughter's $1500 Corolla and I just ask myself "why".

    15. Senior Member dunhamjr's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 08:27 PM #14
      Based on where you are now, I am feeling like DIY putting in a newer engine is the only way to salvage the situation.
      Having a shop put it in is a huge labor sink.

      To me, the initial price was too high, even with a 'motor from another civic'. But you are stuck there.

      Selling the car as is for even $1k seems optimistic. On my local CL a similar car, running... but fewer miles... the 2 examples are $1800 and $1350.

    16. Member burn_your_money's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 08:49 PM #15
      From what I've seen Ohio cars are hit and miss in regards to rust so I would give it a very good assessment of how rusty the undercarriage is, specifically all the bolts you will need to remove to get the engine out. If you need to remove any bolts that go through a sleeved bushing (like the control arm bushings), try and remove them before committing any money towards a replacement engine. It's common on Hondas for them to seize in place.

      If the above checks out, I would definitely go the DIY used engine route assuming you have space to do it in. Otherwise, assuming the rest of the car is good I would pony up and pay a shop (or a friend) to do the swap for me.

      Actually, IIRC the 04 era Accords had serious oil burning issues. If the Civics do as well I might consider cutting my losses and hoping for $1000 on craigs.


      Probably worth the drive or get it shipped to the border
      Last edited by burn_your_money; 02-12-2020 at 08:57 PM.

    17. Geriatric Member @McMike's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 09:09 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Stromaluski View Post
      $1500 for a 16 year old Civic with almost a quarter million miles and a seized engine?
      $1500 is what I would pay for a running 16 year old Civic with a quarter million miles.

      Cut your losses OP. See if the shop wants to buy it for a stack, or put in CL as a mechanic's special.

    18. Planters (fasciitis) peanuts. Dang dogg Sold Over Sticker's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 09:17 PM #17
      Fool me once Honda.
      Driving While Awesome Podcast. Give it a listen. #TeamAkane. Donate to help a wonderful family kick cancers ass
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    19. I’m not a loser. I’m a winnah!! patrikman's Avatar
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      02-13-2020 02:17 AM #18
      dump it and buy a Ridgeline
      this signature kills fascists.

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    20. Member BlackMiata's Avatar
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      02-13-2020 04:04 AM #19
      Some lessons, it would seem, can only be learned the hard way. Old cars with high mileage you need to be checking fluids frequently until you understand the cars behavior.

      Yes, you could double down and put $2600 into it, and now you have a 16 yo car with 227K miles on it that is worth $1500 on the open market.

      If you were comfortable wrenching it, cost would be much lower, and it may be worth the time and effort. If you plan to pay a shop to do it; solution is simple, dump it and move on.

      She got 4 months out of it, hopefully learned a thing of two, time to move on.

    21. Just Milking my Carrot in the Honda break room. Metallitubby's Avatar
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      02-13-2020 07:29 AM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by patrikman View Post
      dump it and buy a Ridgeline
      No way. Buy a real truck.
      * My contributions are not representative of American Honda

    22. Member
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      02-13-2020 08:29 AM #21
      I'd try to move over to a Camry or Corolla. Honda has produced some rather delicate models that seem to destroy people financially. I'd check the oil and coolant weekly on any car purchased.

    23. Just Milking my Carrot in the Honda break room. Metallitubby's Avatar
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      02-13-2020 08:54 AM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by driveareliablecar View Post
      Honda has produced some rather delicate models that seem to destroy people financially.
      This. Avoid Honda products.
      * My contributions are not representative of American Honda

    24. Member chuckster1's Avatar
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      02-13-2020 08:59 AM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by 2000JettaGLXVR6 View Post
      All I want to know is how the hell was there a loan on the car? I get teens don't have $2500 on hand, but was that a family loan or something?

      I'm with the others on cut your losses. I would look into something much newer and consider carrying a $7500 loan if that's in the cards. You'll have a relatively new, safe, reliable used car and won't have to worry about your daughter.

      I watch my non mechanically inclined neighbors struggle with their daughter's $1500 Corolla and I just ask myself "why".
      Yes, a family friend loaned her $1000 to buy it. She sold her GC for $1600 and needed $900 for the Honda.
      Quote Originally Posted by GoHomePossum View Post
      See? You have to relax before you can completely take in all of TCL's magic.

    25. Member chuckster1's Avatar
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      02-13-2020 09:04 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by whalemingo View Post
      This wouldn't have ever happened if you had the foresight to push her toward buying a Nissan Frontier. You live you learn I suppose.
      True, but what 17-year-old can afford a $12-15K vehicle on their own? With no credit? At $100 a month she'd be paying on it for...ten years. Excluding interest.

      Oh,...that was a joke.
      Quote Originally Posted by GoHomePossum View Post
      See? You have to relax before you can completely take in all of TCL's magic.

    26. Member rich!'s Avatar
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      02-13-2020 09:05 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by Metallitubby View Post
      No way. Buy a real truck.
      submitted my plate application for NOTRUCK seems fitting.

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