$5,100 to Repair? Really? Help!! I don't want to lose my Car!

Discussion in 'SN95 V6 Mustang Tech' started by AustinGJordan, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. To begin, I own a 1997 Automatic Ford Mustang Convertible (If you need to know anything specific, let me know). I absolutely love my car.

    About a month and a half ago, my coolant tube broke while I was driving. Had to get it towed to a shop which then replaced the tube and cleaned up my engine a bit.

    About a week after that, I noticed I was having some heating problems. I then took it in and I was told that the coolant leaked into this area and a certain seal needed to be replaced. Being a cheap part, and a pain in the ass to install it, that cost 800 dollars for mostly labor.

    Currently I'm having even more issues with this car.

    First issue:
    When I drive, I notice that my heating gauge on my dashboard will go up towards the red "danger" bar, then will go back down to the "M" in "Normal." It will repeat this when I am driving, and will go slowly towards that red bar even when idling (very slow, but it does). After running a test, however, I found that when I am going ~80MPH on the highway that it will be on the "N" in "Normal" on the heating gauge - so it stays very cool. But as soon as I'm going ~50MPH on the street, it starts to have the same issue.

    Second issue:
    Upon starting up the car these past two weeks after I haven't driven it for a while, it makes a very odd sound. When I'm inside the car, the best way to describe it is that it sounds like a Semi-Truck. You know that very loud noise that Semi-Trucks make when they are parked? It's like that, but mini-version. My car never has made this noise in the past 6 months that I have owned this car, but now it is.

    Third issue:
    You should know that I have a very small leak in my oil gasket. I do mean very small. The car places want ~400 Dollars to replace this, but it has been running fine with me just filling up the oil every 3-4 months. I've known about this issue since I bought the car. Once I have the money means to fix it, this is on my to-do list.

    Fourth (very small) issue:
    When I open the door, it makes the sounds as if my keys are in the ignition. I believe this is just a small spring inside the key insertion spot that isn't working right or something. Very minor - will have it fixed next time I take it in.

    Fifth Problem(?):
    My car gets 13-15MPG. I believe it's a 3.6L Car with a V6. I looked up what my car should get, and it's 18-27. I drive on the highway a lot to get places, so it shouldn't be at the 18 mark. And I don't speed or race excessively either. I sometimes accelerate a little fast, but not a lot. I baby the car. What would cause this issue?

    After they inspected my car, the car place told me I had a blown head gasket along with some problem with my radiator. They named some other things, but they spoke fast and I forgot to ask for the information again.

    They told me that I should just get a new engine along with a new radiator. They called back with the estimate.

    The price they want is 5,100 Dollars!!

    You should know this about me - I am an 18 year old college student with no extra money as all of it goes towards my apartment bill, wireless bill, and my 17 credit hours that I am enrolled in. My parents are probably OK to cover around 2k, but I wish this problem could be resolved for less than that.

    My parents said that this car is becoming a money dump, and that we cannot pay the 5,100 Dollars.

    So far, here is what has been paid for it:
    -Car Itself: 2,900 (Not a bad deal, if you ask me).
    -New Top: 1,400 (It needed it for sure).
    -Coolant Tube Replaced: 200.
    -Seal Replaced: 800.
    -New Tires + New Bar: 1000.

    Total Spent so Far: 6,300

    As you can see, I'm not happy with spending 5k more.

    So, my final question, is what is causing the issues I described? Would it really cost that much to fix? Any suggestions will be accepted. Please help me out, as my parents said I will be getting a 1999 Jeep (Mom's Car) or a 2000 Mazda (Dad's Car) if this 5,000 dollar price is correct.

    I live in an apartment. Fixing these things by myself would be impossible as I have no tools, no garage, etc.

    After they inspected my car, the car place told me I had/wanted to do:
    -They think there is a blockage in the Cooling System (They are guessing it’s in the heater core. Want to replace heating core).
    -Flush radiator.
    -Head Gasket has a leak.
    -Something wrong with the lifters. Hitting the pistons when they come up.
    -They said they want to replace the engine because of the cost of fixing lifters/gasket.
  2. Based on your symptoms, I would agree that an engine replacement is justified. You have a blown head gasket along with possible valvetrain damage, and the age of the vehicle just doesn't justify repair.

    You could price an engine swap with a junkyard engine if you are in love with the car, but personally I would junk it and take the Mazda. They're great cars and last forever. At this stage in your life, you want a reliable vehicle that gets good MPG and doesn't break a lot. If you have the space, put the Mustang in storage and rebuild it in 10 years when you have the $!
  3. I agree with the above statement. Price an engine at a local junkyard or check craigslist.com and see if anyone is parting one out. You can usually pick them up relativily cheap on there. Maybe its just me but i couldnt ever junk a Mustang. Just wouldnt feel right. :( I do agree that Mazdas are good reliable cars. My wife drives one.
  4. 2nd Opinion

    You stated in your post " then they started talking fast"- it sounds like they were talking too fast. I think I would want somebody else looking at my car. If it's just a head gasket, you don't need a new motor. A head gasket replacement is expensive [ labor ], but not 5100 dollars. Maybe it's me,but i'm getting bad vibes from the people looking at your car. Good Luck.
  5. Everything that you talked about in your list are easy fixes with space to work and some hand tools. I'm gonna go with the idea of storing it until you have a chance to get in there and replace the head gaskets and clean up the oil and cooling system.

    The problems you describe do not equal engine replacement.

    They equal two knuckle draggers, a case of beer, and a saturday plus a couple pizzas.

    Drive the Mazda for now. Fix the Stang when you have time, space, and tools.