May Buy a '98 Corolla 1.8L 5 Spd - Feedback Please

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Would like to know what you all think of this car, engine, etc. Found a 1998 Toyota Corolla 1.8L with a 5 speed (I want a 5 speed) with 90,000 miles for $2,900. I drive 100 highway miles a day commuting and want to save my '03 GMC Sierra with 165,000 miles from being over used. He said the oil was changed every 3,000 miles, did not have to add in between and does not use oil. Is this a sludger? Anything special I should look at when I see it tomorrow? I will of course test drive it. Thanks! Here's the ad off Craigslist: 1998 TOYOTA COROLLA VE 90,000K 1.8 Litre Engine TAN COLOR 4-DOOR SEDAN 5-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION BRAND NEW CLUTCH & PRESSURE PLATE BRAND NEW SPARK PLUGS BRAND NEW BRAKES & ROTORS (MAINTENANCE RECORD AVAILABLE) EXCELLENT AC & HEAT POWER STEERING REAR DEFROST MANUAL WINDOWS TIRES HAVE ONLY ABOUT 60% THREAD LEFT, BUT CAR RUNS AND DRIVES VERY SMOOTH & TIGHT HUGE GAS SAVER CAR IS CLEAN IN AND OUT NO RUST OR DENTS! NEVER SMOKED IN! CLEAN TITLE IN HAND! THE KELLEY BLUE BOOK VALUE RATES THIS CAR AT $3250 FOR PRIVATE PARTY IN GOOD CONFITION, BUT I'D SAY THIS CAR IS EXCELLENT EXCEPT THAT THE TIRES ARE NOT NEW. THAT'S WHY I'M ONLY ASKING $2900 PRICE IS NOT NEGOTIABLE!
 

Turk

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He said he's selling it only because he needs the money. I'll have him start it and I'll look at the exhaust, then I'll rev it up and look at the rear view mirror for smoke. I'll look under the oil cap, look at the oil, listen, etc. What else for an initial look?
 

Turk

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Oh, he had it for a year, and said when the oil is new, he gets 39 MPG. When the oil is near 3,000, he gets about 33 MPG. He didn't know what a PCV valve was, so I suspect he's a get it done only if it needs it guy... I'll ask about the timing belt tomorrow - about how much is it to have a shop replace it?
 
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pretty sure 98 is 1st year for 1zz-fe which has a timing chain (and the weak oil burning rings mentioned above)
 
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Had a 98 Corolla also. They are chain timed engines. Mine was also a "oil user" but not a sludger. Bought it at 30K and until the time it got totaled by my daughter at 189K, it went through on average of 1qt per 1K miles. Thick 10W-30 help slowed oil use.
 

Turk

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Wow - a quart per 1,000 miles is quite a bit on a small sump. He said he doesn't add oil and it is full when it is due for a change.
 
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Hi, I own a couple of airport cars. One is a 94 Corrola 1.6/5spd, the other is a 98 Escort 2.0/5spd. After initial purchase price and needed repairs, I have about $2000 in the Corolla and $1600 in the Escort. Both had about 160k miles at purchase. I'll say this, the Escort is twice the car my Corolla is. Rides better, better built, quieter, more solid. Gets the exact same gas mileage. Point of all this, although it isn't the answer to your question, for that money you might be able to get more value for your dollars.
 
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yup , '97 > '02 ESCORT ( Mazda Protege' ) is a fine car . We had a '99 sedan with a 5 speed manual that was used and I thought it rode as well ( if not better ) than the '99 COROLLA with 4 speed auto . Had more pep on hills and got 37 m.p.g. or better . Liked the big trunk too . Handled well in snow as well . Would buy another one if needed . \:\!
 

Turk

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Update! An engineer at work will sell me a '94 Grand AM with a 2.3 High Output Quad 4 & a 5 speed with a new clutch. He runs 15w-40 Rotella in it. It is in positively excellent condition and am getting a deal. will post awesome pics in a different thread.
 
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I dunno.....1994 Grand-Am vs. a 1998 Corolla..... I like GM products, but for a lot of commuting, I'd take the Corolla....good luck!
 
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+1 , thought that year for GRAND AMs' was a bad one for engine . Would choose COROLLA as well .
 
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 Originally Posted By: tpitcher
Wow - a quart per 1,000 miles is quite a bit on a small sump. He said he doesn't add oil and it is full when it is due for a change.
Not unusual for that year. Had something to do with the piston oil rings installed incorrect order or upside down. Depending on your driving habit, you get a cycle down of when to throw a quart in it. Still was a very good car and got great gas mileage. You need to go with the Corolla over that Grand Am. The Grand Am is a pig in a poke and will cost you more in the long run, no matter what the condition is now. Among other things, it is the last year for R12 freon AC systems and that will cost a premium to service. Also, that 1994 Grand Am is not the current OBDII compliant as the 1998 will be. Those GM 2.4 Quad 4 engines are a pain to work on, especially if you have to change a water pump.
 

Turk

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Saw (drove by) the corolla today. Both driver side doors were previously rusted bad or in an accident and had cheap paint overspray over all of it. Called him before he got home and said it was mis-leading and said it should have been in the ad or let me know over the phone. He was from India or nearby. Jerk. The '94 Grand Am will be driven in tomorrow. Saw lots of close-up pictures. It has been garaged for a year with monthly drives in the country. THIS one is mint.
 
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Get a good used Crown Victoria. The Crown Victoria will take you to 300K miles and beyond. It might burn a little more gas then the Corolla but the maintenance is very low. I get around 25 mpg on the highway. That is with the a/c on all the time. It will make the 100 mile a day trip allot more enjoyable.
 
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wonder if you could find a '98 > 2002 ESCORT ( Mazda Protege' ) for a nice price . Would pick that third to a COROLLA . Second would be a '99 > 2002 PRIZM . GOOD LUCK .
 

Turk

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Thanks everyone! The Grand Am will be checked out thoroughly; he'd replace the clutch & struts. The Grand Am burns about 1/2 Qt. oil in 3,000 miles, everything else is about perfect as can be.
 
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