Best car in the $300-$500 price range - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 07-19-2007, 08:23 PM   #1
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Default Best car in the $300-$500 price range

What is the best car for $500 to buy. A local dealership in a VERY poor town near here advertises "100 cars for under $500" I plan to head to this place and see what they have.

I'm thinking some sort of import. Or just go something 3800 based?

Or maybe just go with whatever as long as it runs and the AC is cold?

We dont have emissions/inspections or any of that nonsense to worry about here.
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Old 07-19-2007, 08:35 PM   #2
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I dont know where to start there could be hundreds of old models in that price range...hmmm Why dont you go there FIRST and see what they have then ask us about a few different models makes more sense.
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Old 07-19-2007, 08:39 PM   #3
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If your budget is that low, you should be a little less discriminatory on make and model and pick more based on the actual condition that these cars are in.

My car (sig) was $500, ask the guys at ONBF '07 how it (just) kept up during the cruise segment of the meet and the rest of the day

I'm also going to agree with Shadow. Have a look at the inventory...
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Old 07-19-2007, 08:58 PM   #4
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I would definitely say go with something 3800 based, LN3 or above, otherwise the 3.1 was a good engine, so berettas, luminas, etc would be good. Otherwise an old honda can't hurt

Definitely check the inventory and pick a few out and narrow it down.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:06 PM   #5
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any cars to avoid?
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:08 PM   #6
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Might be better to ask which engines to avoid. Dodge/Audi 2.7 would be one.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:15 PM   #7
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Toyota 7M-GE / 7M-GTE: 3.0L, 24-valve inline six (RWD) as seen in 1989-1992 Cressida and 1986.5-1992 Supra. Head gasket eating monsters - a permanently fixable problem with the proper information and tech info (akin to LIM/UIM on our cars), but for $500 I'd rather not see you contend with this problem.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:29 PM   #8
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GM engines to avoid/may need repairs more often -

Quad 4 - Head gasket eater/Head cracker, bottom end doesn't get as much oil as it should

3.4 DOHC - Head gasket eater, dist blockoff leaks badly, and requires head removal to fix.

3100/3400 - LIM gaskets LOVE to fail at random, keep a watch on them, as it will destroy the lifters VERY easily, also keep a CLOSE watch on the water pump, if it fails, you overheat, heads warp = you lose. 2.8 and 3.1 MPFIs experience the water pump problem also, but seem to be a tougher engine than the 3100/3400.

3.0 DOHC in Catera - Avoid at all costs. Very expensive to repair, and a all around nightmare to work on.

Early 80s V8 Diesels - Problems with intake manifold warpage, which leads to massive coolant leaks, and leads to bottom end damage. Also heads love to lift off the block and snap the head bolts.

Cavalier/Sunfire/S10/Malibu 2.2 OHV - Fairly good engine, but watch for the waterpump on these, if it overheats, the head WILL crack. Other than that, great engine on MPGs, but no torque monster, very slow and slow revving.

That'* all I have for now.


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Old 07-19-2007, 09:31 PM   #9
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Stay away from the ford 3.8 too as they are all prone to headgasket failure.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:41 PM   #10
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Chrysler engines to avoid -

98-01 2.7 DOHCs had problems with the PCV ports and certain oil sludge problems which led to engine lockups. Also the timing chain tensioners on them would screw up and the chain would be loose, making excessive noise.

93-98? 3.5 SOHCs had a problem with head gaskets, water pumps, and I believe that is it on those.

87-? 3.0 SOHC 6G72 V6s had problems with valve stem seals. They will sometimes burn excessive oil, which really won't hurt anything, but you will need to check the oil every once in a while. Other than that, a pretty reliable engine.

Neon 2.0 SOHC and DOHC - Problems with head gaskets blowing, also a pretty good engine

Early 2.4 4 cyls same head gasket problems

2.5 SOHC V6 - I believe these have the same problems as the 3.0 SOHC with the valve stem seals.

All I can think of at the time

Also yes, avoid the ford 3.8 at all costs. They like to eat head gaskets, and I have seen quite a few burn valves. Also compared to the 3800, the Ford 3.8 is severely underpowered.
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