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  #1  
Old 02-09-2018, 10:42 AM
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Ideas for a cheap to maintain car with great aftermarket support?

So my brother and I decided to let the 300SDL rest while we restore it. Having it as a daily is not ideal. Going through a bunch of potential candidates, I realized a lot of older 90's and early 2000's cars are losing aftermarket support.

Which brand of cars of older cars (besides Mercedes) in your experience have the most solid and robust oem/oem equivalent aftermarket support?

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  #2  
Old 02-09-2018, 11:05 AM
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Just about anything made in the last 20 years will have readily available parts.

For a daily, it's really difficult to beat a Japanese 4 cylinder something. It almost doesn't matter which flavor you choose. 8k mile oil changes for $15, 30mpg on regular gas(Edit: My Forester not included, that AWD sucks some fuel........). That and tires/brakes will likely be all the maintenance it needs the entire time you own it. If you cross the ~100k mile mark with it, expect to do a timing belt. Couple hundred bucks if you buy the parts and do it yourself, couple grand if you pay a shop to do it.

In the last few years, the American marques have really stepped it up, too.

We're at a really fantastic time for cars, lots of really great options.
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  #3  
Old 02-09-2018, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OM617YOTA View Post
Just about anything made in the last 20 years will have readily available parts.

For a daily, it's really difficult to beat a Japanese 4 cylinder something. It almost doesn't matter which flavor you choose. 8k mile oil changes for $15, 30mpg on regular gas(Edit: My Forester not included, that AWD sucks some fuel........). That and tires/brakes will likely be all the maintenance it needs the entire time you own it. If you cross the ~100k mile mark with it, expect to do a timing belt. Couple hundred bucks if you buy the parts and do it yourself, couple grand if you pay a shop to do it.

In the last few years, the American marques have really stepped it up, too.

We're at a really fantastic time for cars, lots of really great options.
I'm very partial towards Japanese cars in general of that era. The domestic equivalent seems less refined and lower quality, however they seem to cost less to acquiret han their Japanese counter parts.


Hopefully I get lucky with a cheap Honda or Toyota.
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1986 Mercedes 300SDL Black - 320,000 miles. Out of retirement

1997 E300 Captain Slow - 218,000 miles my daily

2000 Mercedes E320 Black - 136,000 miles - New daily driver.

Don't forget to grease the screw and threads on the spring compressor.
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  #4  
Old 02-09-2018, 11:42 AM
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On hard body parts.. Salvage yards typically are crushing cars at 10-12 years old....a real shame...
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  #5  
Old 02-09-2018, 11:53 AM
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I'd buy a used older honda without a fart can and all stock. they're great to own. I've had them and never really change the oil just whenever I feel like it, just keep up with it to pass inspection and be safe. I also never paid over $400 for one and it's nice to be able to run it on regular with no worries.
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Old 02-09-2018, 12:35 PM
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I have had wonderful luck with Toyotas and Hondas..
but before buying any used car one should research the Recall list...
my Uncle bought one Honda new... and had to replace the transmission with couple of years.. I later saw on a spread sheet that primarily THAT year had lots of problems with the transmission.. but the factory did not cover it... good information on general designs and reliability are available now which was not a short while back...
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  #7  
Old 02-09-2018, 12:50 PM
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It's also hard to beat a VW MKIV ALH TDI. Parts are plentiful. The interiors tend to be ragged out though.

Around here, it can be difficult to find an early 2000's Toyota or Honda that hasn't gotten the FnF treatment.
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  #8  
Old 02-09-2018, 01:56 PM
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the problem with buying a used old japanese 4 cylinder sedan/wagon is that its usually been handed to students who dont have 2 pennies to rub together.

for brands - toyota and mazda have served me best (the mazda aichelles heel is the ford transmission but they have been fixed up very well now)

e.g. the old mazda 6 despite its stupid turn radius drives really amazing, its literally glued to the road at speed - sound deadening was forgotten at the assembly line so you might want to do that yourself as well as replace the cheap light bulbs that ford used at the assembly line. Repairing the engine for anything, is best done if you pull it out complete and redo everything at once and shove it back in (its removed very easily if you undo the front clip)

the old camry are really good appliances but for some oddball reason even junkyard engines etc are priced as gold - and not to forget that the early 2AZ-FE engines have a serious design defect in the block which causes the cylinder head bolt threading to pull out just like the chevy northstar. You can repair that for about 400 or 500 and get a reliable as hammer engine despite it being gutless, but it will go on as long you change the oil.

the older nissan altimas (first whale sized one) have a similar problem in the engine but its not as severe as toyota, in nissan the headgasket design was bad and the aftermarket already has a fixed up version for a permanent repair. Other than that its a pretty decent car to rack up miles. - the second one which has CVT has a plethora of failures as the cat breaks and kills the engine dead by being sucked into the cylinders on the EGR cycle.
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  #9  
Old 02-09-2018, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Father Of Giants View Post
So my brother and I decided to let the 300SDL rest while we restore it. Having it as a daily is not ideal. Going through a bunch of potential candidates, I realized a lot of older 90's and early 2000's cars are losing aftermarket support.

Which brand of cars of older cars (besides Mercedes) in your experience have the most solid and robust oem/oem equivalent aftermarket support?
BMW and VW both have huge aftermarkets and a large enthusiast base. If you intend to DIY, you want something with a serious enthusiast base, as that will equate to an active and knowledgeable internet forum. If you like diesels, the VW TDI's have a cult following. www.tdiclub.com I owned one years ago and I can tell you the TDI pulls an honest 45+ mpg and also responds really well to tuning, huge hp and torque gains with simple bolt-on mods.

Japanese cars of the same era, not so much, aside from a few specific sport models. I have a buddy who had the unfortunate experience of working on a early 00's Nissan Maxima - he said the dealer was the only place to get parts (no aftermarket) and that the parts cost more than new BMW parts! He also said the Maxima forums are full of dumb kids who care only about subwoofers and chrome rims, nobody there has any mechanical knowledge.
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  #10  
Old 02-10-2018, 12:53 AM
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Maybe ~$2K is out of the budget but...

Toyota Prius, just clean the battery terminals. Low voltage from the 12V battery causes them not to start sometimes = good deals used.

Aside from the electric transmission (there's no starter), parts are cheap and they're easy to work on for basic stuff. Good internet support. Brakes last a long time. Junk yards also have parts.

Owners of those cars generally don't abuse them and the electronic throttle doesn't allow gunning the engine in park so it idiot-proofs startups. Engines last a long time.
Generation 2 is better than the 1st gen, but after that they start getting $


Of course, used cars today are becoming a real Crap shoot as nobody fixes anything. Prius's, however, don't really need a lot of maintenance, that's why so many are still around. Some of those things hit 500K miles.

Personally, I think anything built after 1992 is lame but I had a 2006 prius for a little while (and worked on it), that's how I know so much. Oh yea, also it's 50 mpg in a roomy hatchback...
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  #11  
Old 02-10-2018, 01:02 AM
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I'm not sure what you'd consider paying. I've been giving some thought to a mid-90's Lexus SC 400. Basically the Supra platform, but more luxurious and a fraction of the price. Treat it well, and you'll have a driver that appreciates.
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  #12  
Old 02-10-2018, 08:12 AM
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You want a brand and model that has the best after market support hands down?

Buy a jeep wrangler.
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  #13  
Old 02-10-2018, 08:44 AM
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Honda Accord with four cylinder. No matter which one just steer clear of anything with cvt transmission. Jury is still out on their longevity.
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  #14  
Old 02-10-2018, 09:33 AM
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I’ll put a 2x up for Jeep. If you’re into the suv thing. We got a ‘05 Cherokee last year. It’s been ez pz so far. I’ve enjoyed being able to walk into any mcauto parts store and get what I need in stock. Which hasn’t been much. Oxygen sensor, Pcv valve, filters. Not great on gas. Only about 20mpg on it’s best day.
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  #15  
Old 02-10-2018, 02:13 PM
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For the past few years, my beater of choice has been the old Volvo P80 chassis - the 850, S70, and V70 through 1998 (1999+ had some issues). Great aftermarket support, pretty easy to work on, tough as nails, pretty reliable, very comfortable. A very nice highway cruiser in a very similar way to the old Mercedes. Also, very cheap to acquire if you don't mind turning a few wrenches on your own.

My wife's daily driver is a 1998 V70 (wagon) I picked up in late 2013 with 170K on it. It now has in the range of 255-260K miles on it and is still going strong. We expect it'll be in service with us past 300K miles.

My current daily driver is a 1998 S70 (sedan) I bought in fall 2016 with 199K on it. As of now, it has 216K on it and once again, I expect a good number more years and miles out of it.


Bonus, these cars are INCREDIBLY rust resistant.

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