What year to buy - General Forum

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What year to buy
Thursday, August 08, 2013 3:12 PM
Hey guys I'm in the market for a good gas mileage car. I'm personally a Chevy guy so a Cavalier makes sense. I had a 2000 cavalier that got totaled but I fixed it a sold it to a friend. I'm going to have to get a 4 door because I have kids but also may have to start carpooling to work.

My question is what years are the best? I don't want to have problems but I also don't want to invest a lot of money into a car that's going to get a lot of miles put on it.
What is better for mileage manual or automatic?

I've been reading through the forum and there is a lot of good information on here. Thanks in advance.

Re: What year to buy
Thursday, August 08, 2013 3:17 PM
Oh and forgot to add. What engine for mileage and durability? 2.2 or 2.4
I seem to find a lot of Z24's around here? Is that a coincidence? Did GM sell more of the Z24 than the standard? Or is it a reliability issue?
Re: What year to buy
Thursday, August 08, 2013 4:52 PM
I AM NO MEANS AN EXPERT, these are just my 2 cents. These engines are all from third gens. If you aren't going to mod or anything (which it sounds like that's not in your mind) my thoughts are this: 03-05 ecotec as number 1. Number 2 is 2.2 non ecotec from a 98-02 (pre 98 2200 had head gasket issues) and number 3 choice is the 2.4 from the z24. Why are these my reasons? Well while the best drivable (power/response) engine, I feel the 2.4l (LD9) engine as last because quite frankly I feel its the engine you most have to "trust" the person who drove it before you, and the frequency of the oil changes and such, and the fact the waterpump is internal but harder to change than the ecotec. Also, if @!#$ goes wrong in the bottom end of it, an you aren't mechanically inclined (like myself) then you could just have bad news. (Not knocking the LD9, I miss mine very much) I had the 2200 as number 2 because honestly, these things are everywhere where I live, and they just don't stop driving. Waterpumps on the exterior, and I feel things are just more "simple" with this motor. However, this motor is relatively weaker than the other two. I've come to know the 2200 as a bulletproof engine. It's what I currently ride and its a perfect a-b car. Number 1 choice for me is the ecotec. Why? It just seems to be that perfect mix of "just right" best of both worlds type deal. little more power than the 2200 to get merge faster/easier, all while still having some decent mileage. I only drove one for a short time, (borrowed from a friend while looking for a new vehicle) and I feel its the best choice. You can go into further detail and I'm sure people are going to judge my thoughts, but hey. We all different.

Now, some argue about it, but if you drive conservatively, then a manual transmission is better mileage wise.
And if you are going to go manual consider a 2000+ j, as the trannies were far superior (in terms of longevity)

But hey, that's my 2 cents, its your choice. It's awesome to see people buying cavaliers/sunfires still.
Re: What year to buy
Thursday, August 08, 2013 5:44 PM
Agreed with the LN2 (2200 OHV). It's by far the simplest and easiest design to work with. Hell I did the water pump with just a few tools in the driveway. What they lack in power is far outweighed by their bulletproof longevity. If you keep up with the oil and cooling in those motors you'll have a damn hard time blowing it up. I know that's true about most modern motors but man I beat the ever living piss out of an ln2 for years and it refused to give up even after 160k hard miles.



"In Oldskool we trust"
Re: What year to buy
Thursday, August 08, 2013 8:30 PM
Y3llowCav wrote:

Agreed with the LN2 (2200 OHV). It's by far the simplest and easiest design to work with. Hell I did the water pump with just a few tools in the driveway. What they lack in power is far outweighed by their bulletproof longevity. If you keep up with the oil and cooling in those motors you'll have a damn hard time blowing it up. I know that's true about most modern motors but man I beat the ever living piss out of an ln2 for years and it refused to give up even after 160k hard miles.


Definite x2 on this. I got my LN2 Sunfire with 107k on it. Beat the @!#$ out of it from the day I turned 16 until I sold it last summer with 156k on it. The only thing I ever did to it was oil changes.



Re: What year to buy
Friday, August 09, 2013 2:43 AM
Andrew Cramer wrote:

(pre 98 2200 had head gasket issues)


News to me. And I've owned 4 of them.

I +3 the LN2 (any year). I wouldn't waste my time with any LD9. And you probably aren't going to find too many ECOs in the "economy" price range, since they're still too new.

You're going to get better mileage with a 5 spd, as long as you drive it correctly.
.



Re: What year to buy
Friday, August 09, 2013 4:19 AM
Buy the 3500 swapped coupe off v6z24 lol. I know it's not a sadan but it's nice (;




On the inside my car looks like a fighter jet.
Re: What year to buy
Friday, August 09, 2013 9:02 AM
I have only had Ecotecs ( 2 to be precise, 2004, & my current '03 ) but the '04 was an auto, and the '03 is 5spd. So far I love the 5spd over my '04. A little bit better of shape, but I paid $6k for it.

'04 auto got about 28/29 avg mpg, about 260 miles until I hit the 1/4 tank line, driving with economy in mind.

'03 5spd, what a great car, 300/310 miles on the 1/4 line with the same commutes, 31 avg. Here are my Fuelly.com pages to compare the two.

'04 automatic Fuelly account overview

'03 manual Fuelly account overview

If you don't mind shifting, grab a 5spd!


'03 LS Sport 5spd, Amsoil fluids, Vibrant cat-back, 5% 3M color stable tint, Z24 trunk lid

Re: What year to buy
Saturday, August 10, 2013 6:42 PM
Ok thanks guys. I guess I'm going to look for a 98-02 4 door with a manual. I like the 03-05 body style better but they are kinda out of my price range. If I found one that was really nice and for the right price I'd probably drop the extra cash on it. There's tons of automatics for sale around me. All the manuals seem to be z24s.
Re: What year to buy
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 10:40 AM
I picked up a 2005 Sunfire sedan last year for $1,200... so the deals can be had out there. You just have to find them..
Re: What year to buy
Sunday, August 18, 2013 5:07 PM
You won't be too bad off with a 4t40e automatic. The 3 speed will give you terrible mileage. My first 4t40e lasted 150k with no problems until I swapped it to a 60k mile one out of an '03 Malibu.

I still see 30mpg highway/city driving. Don't expect any sort of power, I have full intake/exhaust and a ported/polished head and the only thing that saves me at the track is my little shot of nitrous lol.

The best thing about the 2200 is it's simplicity. I rebuilt mine with no prior experience and barely ran into any problems.




Re: What year to buy
Thursday, August 22, 2013 1:04 PM
I just purchased a BMW 335 and I'm thinking of going back and buying a 01-02 ish cavalier as a get around car so I dont rack up miles on the Bimmer. I had two back in the day and they were very reliable. I had zero issues with both and right now I'm pretty sure I could find one with decent miles and on the cheap.



Re: What year to buy
Friday, August 23, 2013 6:56 AM
This sounds a bit bizarre to me. A 335 isn't a weekend fun car. It's a very nice daily driver. Enjoy every minute in it.

If you have a sports car or some other car that's not practical for everyday use, then getting a beater for the rest of the time is a great idea. The Cavalier won't do anything the 335 won't do though. So what's the point?




Re: What year to buy
Friday, August 23, 2013 2:26 PM
Wild Weasel wrote:

This sounds a bit bizarre to me. A 335 isn't a weekend fun car. It's a very nice daily driver. Enjoy every minute in it.

If you have a sports car or some other car that's not practical for everyday use, then getting a beater for the rest of the time is a great idea. The Cavalier won't do anything the 335 won't do though. So what's the point?


I should have clarified. The 335 is very touchy and from what I understand I might have to put it in the shop more often than I'd like. So, I'd like to go and pick up a cav during times when its in the shop or when my wife wants to drive it locally and I have to drive my 40 miles to work. I'd rather keep the miles low on this car.



Re: What year to buy
Saturday, August 31, 2013 8:17 PM
dude

just get a used toyota

or better yet, save some more money, and get some car, that actually looks decent, especially the interior

if you have survived so far without a sedan, then you can survive a few more months of saving money for a decent car

i wish someone else gave me this advice years ago
Re: What year to buy
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 7:41 AM
grgegre grgegr wrote:

dude

just get a used toyota

or better yet, save some more money, and get some car, that actually looks decent, especially the interior

if you have survived so far without a sedan, then you can survive a few more months of saving money for a decent car

i wish someone else gave me this advice years ago
LOL. Please DIAF troll.





Re: What year to buy
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 1:37 PM
x 237325644ygf2rf256g42 for the 98-02 LN2. cheapest of the 3, and probably the most reliable. Not to mention almost EVERYTHING is easy to change on it. Even the head gasket.



"If I'm not back in 5 minutes...just wait longer"
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