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Old 06-04-2007, 02:37 PM   #21
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I would have a hard time doing it.

Me too. I cant think of a $2000 domestic car you wouldnt have to chase down the street with a roll of duct tape...
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Old 06-04-2007, 03:14 PM   #22
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Trust me, you're not going 1/2 way with Nissan. Definitely not with the 4th generation Maxima, 1995-1998. The Maxima is the most reliable car I know of, bar none.
My wife had one, I can't concur..........

I'll see your Nissan and raise you a Honda Accord.........
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Old 06-04-2007, 03:17 PM   #23
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My wife had one, I can't concur..........
OK, not a problem.
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Old 06-04-2007, 03:18 PM   #24
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A few thoughts:

For $3000-$3500, you're not getting to get very much. You will get MORE CAR with a used doemestic than a used import.

Cars have a couple of "ages".......metal fatigue age, obsolescence age, chronological age........that 14 year old car may have a new starter, but the rest of the car is STILL 14 years old.............
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Old 06-04-2007, 03:19 PM   #25
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Me too. I cant think of a $2000 domestic car you wouldnt have to chase down the street with a roll of duct tape...
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Old 06-04-2007, 03:20 PM   #26
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A local dealer recently sold a 1996 Camry LE that only had 99,000 miles on it, and was super clean, for $5900............
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Old 06-04-2007, 03:41 PM   #27
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You might also look at the toyota rav4's. In the 3200-3600 range theres a pretty good selection of older models with decent mileage. Shorter but taller than a camry, decent seating for 4, and with the rear seats folded you can throw a couple of bikes right in the back.

Based on the corolla, so reliability is good, gas mileage is in the low to mid 20's.

You might find a honda CRV that dips under $4000...but it'll be tougher to find. Same opinion of that vehicle.
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:16 PM   #28
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For $1900 on a 19-year-old car I'd hope to get a year or two out of it and leave it by the side of the road when I run out of duct tape. As long as there wasn't a risk of stranding spouse & kids then it'd be kinda fun to see how long it'd last. "Do you feel lucky, punk? Do ya?"

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One test that I find very important is to watch for bubble in the radiator after the engine has reached operating temperature.
I don't know that one and I'm curious-- how is that done, other than popping off the radiator cap and risking a faceful of backsplash? And as the fluid heats up I'd expect to see a bunch of tiny champagne bubbles. How big a bubble would there be if there was a leak?
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:19 PM   #29
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For $1900 on a 19-year-old car I'd hope to get a year or two out of it and leave it by the side of the road when I run out of duct tape. As long as there wasn't a risk of stranding spouse & kids then it'd be kinda fun to see how long it'd last. "Do you feel lucky, punk? Do ya?"
If I put my wife and/or kids into one of those I wouldn't have to wait long to get a subpoena from a divorce attorney...........
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:24 PM   #30
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Ok, I will raise the price limits
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:38 PM   #31
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Ok, I will raise the price limits
Not telling you what to do........... Just trying to look after your safety..........

I am a big Honda fan, Toyota is good too. 100K on either is about 1/3 of their usable life, but SO MUCH has to do with HOW they are MAINTAINED.........

You didn't mention a specific time frame of when you need one. Is there a local independent mechanic car shop that is well thought of? I know two guys that are such, and if I needed a car like that, they know about them..........

Good luck........
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:57 PM   #32
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I don't know that one and I'm curious-- how is that done, other than popping off the radiator cap and risking a faceful of backsplash? And as the fluid heats up I'd expect to see a bunch of tiny champagne bubbles. How big a bubble would there be if there was a leak?
The operating temperature of the water/coolant is way below 212F. However the pressure in the radiator could be up to 15psi. So, use a big towel to totally cover the radiator cap while slowly unscrewing it to neutralize the pressure. Then just remove the cap completely.

I look for good size bubbles (~1/4 in diameter). They usually comes in series of 3 or more in regular interval, 1/2 to 2 seconds, depending on the engine speed. The faster the engine speed, the shorter the interval. Head gasket are very time consuming to replace, and is usually an indication of previous overheating problems. Very few head gaskets fails because of inferior material (except for a few domestic cars).

Tiny champagnes bubbles: I have heard that these are ok, but my experience and understanding tell me otherwise. Since the operating temperature is way below boiling point, I don't see how bubble are formed. The cooling system is a closed system and is designed to sustain no more that 15psi of pressure. If bubbles, however small, are formed continuously, the pressure must rise and the pressure sensitive radiator cap must release some of that pressure, resulting in small loss of coolant. But in today's modern car, coolant loss is almost non-existent. You could go for years without adding water to the radiotor. So, I don't know, but none of my car shows champagnes bubbles, and if I see champagnes bubbles in a used car, I think I'd pass, just to be on the safe side.
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Old 06-04-2007, 06:06 PM   #33
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[don ho] Tinnnnyyy bubbles.....in the radiator.... [/ho]
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Old 06-04-2007, 06:34 PM   #34
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The operating temperature of the water/coolant is way below 212F. However the pressure in the radiator could be up to 15psi. So, use a big towel to totally cover the radiator cap while slowly unscrewing it to neutralize the pressure. Then just remove the cap completely.

I look for good size bubbles (~1/4 in diameter). They usually comes in series of 3 or more in regular interval, 1/2 to 2 seconds, depending on the engine speed. The faster the engine speed, the shorter the interval. Head gasket are very time consuming to replace, and is usually an indication of previous overheating problems. Very few head gaskets fails because of inferior material (except for a few domestic cars).
All my experience with radiators comes from having them break on me and blow steam from under the hood, at which point I'm usually stopping the engine before it stops itself, so this must seem like a blissfully ignorant question.

But if the engine is running then the water pump is running. And if the water pump is running then there's some sort of pressure in the system. And if the radiator cap is removed while the engine is running, what keeps the water pump from spewing water (of any temperature) everywhere until it pumps down the entire cooling system? I never knew a radiator cap could be safely removed when the engine was running.

I have to be wrong somewhere. If the water pump really had a lot of pressure in the system then the coolant reservoir would overflow every time the engine was running. So what keeps pressure down and lets us remove radiator caps?
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Old 06-04-2007, 06:46 PM   #35
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Sams comment about the big towel wasn't quite accurate. The big towel does not neutralize the pressure when the cap is removed. The big towel catches all of the very hot radiator coolant so that you don't get burned.

When the radiator cap is removed you get the volcano effect/soda bottle effect where gas (now under much less pressure) suddenly comes out of solution, bubbles up very vigorously, and pushes lots of hot water out of the cap area. If you don't have a big towel there then you get badly burned.

By the way, most of the pressure in the system is from the heated water and dissolved gas being in a confined system. The water pump has only a marginal effect on the pressure.
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Old 06-04-2007, 06:47 PM   #36
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You can actually just open the radiator cap when the motor is cold and run it until it warms up. The thermostat will open and you'll see the fluid being recirculated through the radiator at that point. I never thought about it but I think the pressure is more of a byproduct of hot liquid than part of the mechanics of cooling the motor.


While i'm sure someone well skilled with the big towel can safely get away with a hot cap removal (and i've done so), I wouldnt recommend that anyone that hasnt done it before tries it. Yes, i know what that implies

You could really get the hoohah burned off of ya.
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Old 06-04-2007, 06:53 PM   #37
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Sams comment about the big towel wasn't quite accurate. The big towel does not neutralize the pressure when the cap is removed. The big towel catches all of the very hot radiator coolant so that you don't get burned.
I think I said the slow unscrewing of the radiator cap neutralizes the pressure. And yes, the big towel catches the hot coolant if any. If you're very careful and very slowly unscrewing the cap, you will only lose a few ounces of coolant.
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Old 06-04-2007, 06:59 PM   #38
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I think the pressure is more of a byproduct of hot liquid than part of the mechanics of cooling the motor.
I'll be darned. I used to feel bad that Ford's water pumps kept leaking under the awesome pressure they must've been developing. From now on I'll use duct tape & RTV.

I think the next time we go car shopping I'll show up with an OBD-II cable and a big towel just to see the look on the seller's face...

Thanks, guys, whenever I wonder if I'm spending too much time on the board I end up picking up a new bag of tricks!
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:08 PM   #39
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But if the engine is running then the water pump is running. And if the water pump is running then there's some sort of pressure in the system. And if the radiator cap is removed while the engine is running, what keeps the water pump from spewing water (of any temperature) everywhere until it pumps down the entire cooling system? I never knew a radiator cap could be safely removed when the engine was running.

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You can actually just open the radiator cap when the motor is cold and run it until it warms up. The thermostat will open and you'll see the fluid being recirculated through the radiator at that point. I never thought about it but I think the pressure is more of a byproduct of hot liquid than part of the mechanics of cooling the motor.
Yes, CFB said it. The pressure is the product of the hot liquid.


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I have to be wrong somewhere. If the water pump really had a lot of pressure in the system then the coolant reservoir would overflow every time the engine was running. So what keeps pressure down and lets us remove radiator caps?
Since the coolant is kept at a constant (relatively speaking) temperature by the radiator, the pressure is also constant. So, yeah, you can remove the radiator cap and have the engine running as long as you want. You will lose coolant only through evaporation.

In developing countries, most buses are modified to run on "open cooling system". These buses usually carry much more weight than was designed for, so the cooling system is not adequate when going through a mountain pass. These buses usually load up on water at the beginning of the pass. The water is stored on the roof and is gravity fed to the radiator is a slow flow flexible hose. The hot coolant (water) is discarded to using a same size hose. Whithout this modification, overheating is almost guarranteed on mountain passes.
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Old 06-04-2007, 08:12 PM   #40
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The operating temperature of the water/coolant is way below 212F. However the pressure in the radiator could be up to 15psi. So, use a big towel to totally cover the radiator cap while slowly unscrewing it to neutralize the pressure. Then just remove the cap completely.
I've used a broom handle to tap the radiator cap open to the stop. Frankly, though, I don't recommend this or any other method...
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