Need advice on an '88 Toyota Celica GT

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I was checking through the classifieds again today and I came across an ad for a 1988 Toyota Celica GT. $500, 200,000 kms and 2 sets of tires. I phoned the person, an old couple actually, and wrote down their address so I could look at the car. I was in town this afternoon and I figured I'd go take a look at, fully expecting to find the car with grass growing up to the fenders and a whole lot of rust. I drove up to their house and got out to take a look. Looked pretty nice at first glance, so I figured the floor is swiss cheese. I had my dad get down and take a look at it, and the floor is ok, but one small hole under the passenger seat. I went in and talked for a bit to the old guy, and got the key. I started it up and listened for engine noise, and I couldn't hear any. I was talking to the old guy, and he told me that he's the original owner. How often do you find a 17 year old car still on the original owner? His wife made a quip "It's his middle-age crisis car!" We got a laugh out of that one. The only reason he's selling it is because it's old, and they have a 2005 Focus so I guess they don't need the Celica. The clutch was replace about 3 years ago, but the car has only been driven 6000 kms or so since then so it's basically brand new. It's got a brand new alternator, maybe 6 months old. 2 new fenders within the last 2 years, and a paint job. It's got 4 decent winter tires on it, with 4 good all season tires in the trunk. No A/C, but it does have cruise although I didn't have a chance to try it. The only things wrong with the car are a noisy fuel pump, 1 maybe 2 struts in the rear, that small bit of rust on the floor and the cable that controls the heater is stuck or broke or something. I talked them down to $400, and paid them just a few hours ago. It's only been in the paper maybe 2 days, and this guy's wife told me she's had 8 calls about it. I knew this car would go pretty fast (be purchased, that is) so I had to pay them as soon as I could. If all goes well that the motor vehicle office tomorrow, it'll be in my driveway tomorrow afternoon, and I'll take some pics then. Anyone here own or know someone who's owned one of these cars? I'm wondering what kind of reliability and fuel mileage I can expect to get from this.
 
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Well if you wanted our advice why not ask before you paid the guy? [Big Grin] So you're gonna cut loose the cutlass? Here's hoping your next car works out good for you. Reliability of a 17 year old car is what the previous owner made of it.
 

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quote:
Originally posted by eljefino: Well if you wanted our advice why not ask before you paid the guy? [Big Grin] So you're gonna cut loose the cutlass? Here's hoping your next car works out good for you. Reliability of a 17 year old car is what the previous owner made of it.
Yeah, I'm cutting the Cutlass loose. To tell you the truth, I really did want an import, 5 speed car but I figured I wouldn't be able to find one in my price range so that's why I was going to go with the Cutlass, I'm really glad I happened to pick up a newspaper on the way home last night. I highly suspect if I hadn't paid for the car when I did, it would have been gone within a few hours. I'm assuming that these people kept up on the maintainence but I guess I've got no way of knowing for sure.
 
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Sometimes when you find (what looks like) a creampuff you just gotta pull the trigger and buy it. My dodge sounded good on the phone, by interviewing the lady that owned it. I asked her what color (so I could find it in the parking lot), and she said, "it doesn't matter, it's in a snow drift." And she was right! I bought it without seeing the undercarriage or more than one tire, and it (knock wood) has worked out.
 
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DO not try to force the heater control. It is probably not the cable! If you try forceing it you can break the pot metal and plastic controls in the HVAC ccontrol head. When you are looking under the hood you will see the two heater core hose's going into the fire wall. One of them is going to have a flow control bypass valve. It will look like an acorn with a set of oxidized stamped steel wings with a spring on it! The cable will be attached to this upper most wing or linkage arm. This is what controls howmuch coolant enters the heater core. If you replace this valve with a new one and rehook the cable up it should function just fine! This is a common problem on 17 year old Toyota's! You can mechanicly force the valve opena nd close but they will often fail shortly after doing that any you can lose your coolant rather quickly. I would change the gear lube's out and check the coolant!
 
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