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Need Help ASAP - What Should I Do?? 1997 Geo Metro; Scrap or pour money into?
Topic Started: May 31 2017, 06:39 PM (821 Views)
Phoenix
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Hey guys. I came across this forum when I was looking at a 1997 Geo Metro. So two issues.

First off, I bought the 80K 1997 Geo Metro from a guy who purchased at auction. Got it from him for $350, which he purchased at auction. I was planning on using it for FT food delivery instead of running my 2011 Dodge Avenger (which I'm going to start using for Lyft) into the ground. But just realized...its an automatic and this version only gets 28 MPG combined, not the 40-45 of the manual!!

That's the first issue. The second issue is...had the vehicle towed for $100 to a auto shop I use for my main car. They've estimated it out so far at $2700...new brakes, rear rotors, spark plug, water pump and a host of other things. That doesn't include figuring out the oil leak, the guy said he won't figure out until brakes get installed. I'm no mechanic, but I'm sure the quote could be lower...he said that the parts would be difficult to get. Cross-country for mirrors?? 3-5 days.

So I have a dilemma. I've already paid for new tabs and placed on insurance. With the crap MPG and extensive repair costs (which would have been understandable if not for crap MPG), I don't know if I should move forward or just take a loss and scrap it. I need to make a decision by tomorrow...can't let it just sit at their shop.

What should be done?? If I'm going to have to spend $3K should I just scrap and get a car with better MPG? Any and all help would be much appreciated. Seems I made a bad gamble.
Edited by Phoenix, May 31 2017, 06:57 PM.
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suzukitom
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Tom

First off, gas mileage costs. At $2/gallon, the difference between 45 MPG and 28 MPG is $27 per month based on 1,000 miles driven per month.
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Phoenix
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Gas is $2.45 here right now. 40 - 110 miles per day depending on length of shift (short to long). Any way to increase MPG on this automatic??
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suzukitom
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Tom

A used mirror is around $10 at Pic n Pull.

Quote:
 
new brakes, rear rotors, spark plug, water pump and a host of other things. That doesn't include figuring out the oil leak, the guy said he won't figure out until brakes get installed


Routine replacement of front brakes: rotors and pads, rebuilt calipers. $150-$200 in parts plus 1-2 hours labor to replace pads, rotors, calipers and bleed brake lines.

Replace rear brake drums and install new shoes / brake hardware kit. $100-$150 in parts plus 1-2 hours labor for installation.

Water pump/gasket $50+2 hours labor if not changing timing belt at the same time.

Estimate total $700 to $1,000: parts and labor if shop rate = $100/hour. Some repair shops mark up their part prices a lot; dealer parts prices can be considerably more expensive.

Maybe you can consider getting a repair quote from a GMF member near you in the Services Offered/Wanted section of this forum?


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suzukitom
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Tom

Phoenix
May 31 2017, 07:21 PM
Gas is $2.45 here right now. 40 - 110 miles per day depending on length of shift (short to long). Any way to increase MPG on this automatic??
Okay, using your numbers, if you drive the max 110 miles/day, and work 30 days per month, :scared

That's $109 difference per month between the automatic and manual.

If your driving is mostly in congested city traffic, the fuel economy advantage of the manual over the automatic won't make that much difference, especially if you don't get much opportunity to get into 4th or 5th gear.

If the automatic is shifting fine and is not the source of leaking fluids, an 80K Metro would seem like a good candidate for a delivery vehicle. It does seem to have a lot of pressing maintenance issues though, especially for a car that has travelled so few miles.
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Phoenix
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Yeah, I think these guys mark up a ton. The guy that sold me the car just referred me to a mechanic he uses. Really cheap, so will probably get the car towed from the current place to over there. Just working on payment options. He only does check or cash; old school guy...no experience with Paypal or anything, so trying to get him on-board.

These are really cheap quotes! And gotcha on the difference in MPG. Would still be nice to get higher. Wanted a cheap Prius! Haha.

Would be a good bit of highway. According to the owner, it shifts fine. I haven't been able to test it due to lack of brakes though. The oil leak needs to get addressed though.

So ultimately I should probably just try and find a cheap mechanic (which I seem to have now) instead of scraping and going elsewhere for a better MPG car?
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Mythstae
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Or, if you're able, consider doing the work yourself.
:dunno
You may not have an area in which you can work on a car. (Strict HOAs, apartment complex, etc.)
You may not be physically capable of working on a car.
You may not posses the technical knowledge of HOW to work on a car.

Now, we can't do much about those first two, but the last one?
Well, fixing that is kind of our thing, here at GMF.
With enough questions, you can learn to do most simple repairs yourself.
And the Metro is pretty forgiving to newcomers.

:)
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1DCGUY
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Don't be a "Richard"

What part of Minnesota are you from??
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Phoenix
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@Mythstae

Certainly able, but I need to be out working and getting stuff done. Too much debt to be sitting around tinkering with a car that could take me ages to figure out.

@1DCGUY

Minneapolis.
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Cobrajet25
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I'd handle the repair/maintenance stuff gradually. There is no real need to have the car fully restored by a shop all in one go. These cars are VERY hardy...I had one back in the day we called "La Cucaracha" (the cockroach). We called it that because no matter how we abused it the car wouldn't die.

Fix the safety/driveability stuff first, like the brakes and water pump, then fix the other stuff as needed later on. Brake pads are like $15, and we can help you change them yourself.

I know you stated you are no mechanic, but these cars are incredibly easy to work on. If you are going to work in a field which requires you to use and maintain your own car I suggest you learn to do it yourself NOW rather than later. And the Metro is a perfect car to learn on.
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Woodie
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Good point from Cobrajet25. If you're doing food deliver and Lyft, you're going to be using up some cars. You'd better learn to fix things yourself quickly, or all of your income is going down that black hole they call Dodge Corporation.

You should be able to get 35 mpg out of that Metro. How you drive it can change the mileage from 20 mpg to 35 mpg.
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Murf 59
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Welcome to the forum.
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cwatkin


I don't know if you have the 3 cylinder or the 4 but am assuming the 3. If so, you have TONS of room to work on the car. It may be a small car but there is plenty of room to work and these are quite easy to work on.

One hint for several issues you mention.... The water pump, timing seals (COMMON source of oil leaks on these), and timing belt are all on the right side of the engine. If you do one, do them ALL. Buy the water pump tensioner idler at the same time as they can wear out too. Odds are the oil leak is on that side of the engine but you didn't say. Other things can leak as well but they are all pretty easy to handle except for the rear main seal which requires transmission removal. Luckily that isn't a real common failure but it does happen. The cam seals have been leaking on all the ones I ever bought when they were new to me.

You can do this yourself in your spare time of pay someone else. Basically, if you tear into the right side of the engine, do EVERYTHING or you will be going right back in. The parts are cheap and NOT hard to get. You may just have to wait a few days. My water pump was $35 from AZ with a lifetime warranty. The seals were a few bucks each, the timing belt kit was another $35 or so. That is it. A lot of the labor is duplicated for all these jobs so do them all at once. The only thing tricky is getting the cam sprockets off.

Also, this is a NON-INTERFERENCE engine in stock form. You can mess up all you want trying to get the timing belt right and not bend the valves. Many manuals state that it is interference but it is not. The only one that is interference is the DOHC variant used in some Swifts. The Geo Metro is basically the same car as the Suzuki Swift if you weren't aware of this yet.

I have a a couple other things to look for before you spend time and money on this. Look at RUST. I see you are from Minnesota and the road salt is known for really rotting these things out. Look around underneath. Are the floor pans about gone? Are the rockers full of holes? The front subframe or frame horns are really bad about rotting out sometimes. You don't want ones that look like this. Posted Image
If the car is really rotted out, it won't last long and will never be safe without lots of costly repairs. Sell it to a forum member for parts or rebuild and be done with it.

The other issue with these is neglect of the oil change. You get stuck rings and burned valves if you neglect these engines. They will run forever in poor condition but burn oil and get poor mileage. Look under the oil fill cap. If you see silver metal, you are good. If a slight brown tinge, that isn't the end of the world. If tar-like sludge, be aware that major work may be in the future. The cam lobes will always be silver but I am talking about the top of the head and camshaft that doesn't touch anything else.
Does the car appear to be burning oil as well as leaking or not?

If you choose to repair the car, it won't be too hard unless you have any deal breakers like excess rust or engine issues. You CAN do this yourself but it might be more than you can handle.

Conor
Edited by Metromightymouse, Jun 1 2017, 01:07 PM.
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Stubby79
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$2700? :rofl
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cwatkin


The other thing is that a fixed up Geo is probably more reliable than a Dodge Avenger and most other Chrysler products. I have seen many late model MOPARs broken down on the road. If you go for a long drive, categorize the cars sitting on the side of the road by maker. I bet at least half will be MOPARs. These are simple little cars and tough. Of course you came to a biased forum.

As for the high repair quote, maybe the shop doesn't want the job because they don't like the car or something. I quote high with my services to run off jobs I don't want to deal with when they come around. Lots of people make fun of these cars so maybe that is the reason.

Conor
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