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      11-22-2011, 01:29 PM   #1
AllBlackBimmer
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Beater car recomendations?

Live in central PA... and of course it is THAT time of the year - yes, winter.

This will be the first winter my BMW has seen (is an '08 but I bought it in FL)

I will be driving my car throughout the winter, but not daily and pretty much never in snow. (unless i get caught in it - still getting snow tires tho, since I have RWD)

So, now I am looking for a winter beater/daily driver - even after winter I want to be able to have another car to put miles on instead of using my bmw.

I want something that:

1) less than $3,000
2) good in snow - AWD/4x4 - not opposed to FWD either really
3) decent on gas - my bmw gets about 24 mpg so atleast something as good as that.
4) reliable - no one wants to be stuck on the highway at 10pm in 12" of snow
5) easy to fix - easy to find parts from junkyards or cheaply - lost cost to fix due to "everyone" knowing how to fix them


What I am leanings towards are an older Subaru sedan/wagon that is AWD. Or possibly a small SUV such as a jeep or explorer.

Thoughts?!?
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      11-22-2011, 02:01 PM   #2
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E30 325ix



I picked up an E30 for $1,200 that runs well, has full leather interior in good condition, a brilliant 5-speed (getrag 260 - bulletproof), and looks great on the outside too. Has 160K miles with nothing major needing fixing and maintenance is pretty simple even if you're not the most experienced person with tools. Plus it's a classic.
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      11-22-2011, 11:32 PM   #3
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It may not meet your mpg requirement, but a Jeep Wrangler would be perfect.
I had a 1988 Wrangler years ago as my main source of transportation. It worked great in the snow and was a blast in the summer with the top off.
It never let me down either. The nice thing is they are pretty simplistic.
A buddy if mine was an engineer at Chrysler and said they're designed to run for 300k miles.
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      11-23-2011, 01:44 AM   #4
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Ford ranger all the way.

Cheaper than snot to buy, platform hasn't changed since half of these members have been alive ( ) so the parts are dirt cheap. Any despite being potentially rusty, they run forever.

2wd + 4cyl gets mid 20's easily. Plus in the summer, you now have a small toy hauler.

I bought a 1990 ranger off a guy once for $150. Best beater I've ever had.
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      11-23-2011, 07:44 AM   #5
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Ford ranger all the way.

Cheaper than snot to buy, platform hasn't changed since half of these members have been alive ( ) so the parts are dirt cheap. Any despite being potentially rusty, they run forever.

2wd + 4cyl gets mid 20's easily. Plus in the summer, you now have a small toy hauler.

I bought a 1990 ranger off a guy once for $150. Best beater I've ever had.
actually have looked at 2 different rangers now... one 4x4, one 2wd - It is somewhat "hard" to find the 4x4 versions... everything you said about the ranger is the same thinking i have with the chevy s-10.

I have looked at Jeeps wranglers, they are nice, but they run kind of expensive so I would have to buy an older one - not a problem or anything - but i think i could get something a little nicer - however if I found one for the right price


No way would I buy an '80s BMW as a beater - would be awesome - but not practical haha.
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      11-23-2011, 02:26 PM   #6
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^^ I am a chevy guy for the most part, so take this with a grain of salt. I had a 94 S-10 2wd/5-speed/4-cyl.

It is with great sadness that I must admit, it was the most unreliable truck I've ever owned. I kid you not, I fixed the timing chain (Sounded like a diesel). A week later, I replaced the alternator. I fixed that, and the u-joint failed. I fixed that, and the ball joint broke on the freeway (That was fun).

Meanwhile, earlier in life, I bought a 1990 ford ranger for $150 (Seriously). I did a bunch of work to it -- It didn't need it (Other than a clutch) but I did it to make it nicer. The thing was a tank. I actually sold it two years later for over $1000.

I am also a huge fan of the Dodge Dakota (I've had two - both with 318 engines) but I didn't recommend them because their tranny's are junk and they don't get great gas mileage...but man, a small truck with a V-8....lots of fun!
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      11-23-2011, 02:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
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^^ I am a chevy guy for the most part, so take this with a grain of salt. I had a 94 S-10 2wd/5-speed/4-cyl.

It is with great sadness that I must admit, it was the most unreliable truck I've ever owned. I kid you not, I fixed the timing chain (Sounded like a diesel). A week later, I replaced the alternator. I fixed that, and the u-joint failed. I fixed that, and the ball joint broke on the freeway (That was fun).

Meanwhile, earlier in life, I bought a 1990 ford ranger for $150 (Seriously). I did a bunch of work to it -- It didn't need it (Other than a clutch) but I did it to make it nicer. The thing was a tank. I actually sold it two years later for over $1000.

I am also a huge fan of the Dodge Dakota (I've had two - both with 318 engines) but I didn't recommend them because their tranny's are junk and they don't get great gas mileage...but man, a small truck with a V-8....lots of fun!
I would NEVER buy a dodge truck for just that reason.

Surpising to hear that about your S-10. I am going to just rule out that truck right now. Done. No more s-10s. odd since they are very popular domestic brand.



What about other than a small truck? ... is the subaru a good car? I know they get pretty good reviews and a few of my friends have owned them without any major problems.

Also leaning towards a "jeep" of some kind - not really the wrangler though, those things are a dime a dozen on craigslist. (the cherokees, etc not the wranglers)
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      11-23-2011, 09:13 PM   #8
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-Any Subaru will be perfect...just make sure the headgaskets have been done (issue on earlier 2.5L's).

-Any Toyota 4X4 truck that hasn't rusted out yet.

http://lancaster.craigslist.org/ctd/2682577935.html
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      11-25-2011, 01:05 AM   #9
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Keep the suggestions coming!!
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      01-02-2012, 02:51 AM   #10
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I second a Ford Ranger idea and propose a...94-98 Cummins Ram. Super tough motor that requires little to no maintenance. Few mods (some major mods are free for 12V motors) and 20+ MPG can be achieved.
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      01-02-2012, 01:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I second a Ford Ranger idea and propose a...94-98 Cummins Ram. Super tough motor that requires little to no maintenance. Few mods (some major mods are free for 12V motors) and 20+ MPG can be achieved.


Bought a late '93/early '94 Ford ranger, ext cab, 5 spd. No rust, runs good.

$1200 bucks. Just need to buy some new tires and I;ll be good. Could use some small things but the truck itself is in good shape, only 115,000 miles.
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      01-02-2012, 02:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Bought a late '93/early '94 Ford ranger, ext cab, 5 spd. No rust, runs good.

$1200 bucks. Just need to buy some new tires and I;ll be good. Could use some small things but the truck itself is in good shape, only 115,000 miles.
Congrats brosef! Solid little rig thats for sure. I run Terra Grapplers all year around with no issues, grippy and quiet. Is yours a 4x4?
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      01-02-2012, 06:00 PM   #13
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Congrats brosef! Solid little rig thats for sure. I run Terra Grapplers all year around with no issues, grippy and quiet. Is yours a 4x4?


oh yes, of course 4x4, the most important part about the whole thing! ha



The clutch is new but really tight? Anyone have thoguhts?

Need to get the shift level tightened up, looked into a shift kit and its like 30 bucks.
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      01-03-2012, 11:50 AM   #14
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      01-03-2012, 01:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbolader View Post
^^ I am a chevy guy for the most part, so take this with a grain of salt. I had a 94 S-10 2wd/5-speed/4-cyl.

It is with great sadness that I must admit, it was the most unreliable truck I've ever owned. I kid you not, I fixed the timing chain (Sounded like a diesel). A week later, I replaced the alternator. I fixed that, and the u-joint failed. I fixed that, and the ball joint broke on the freeway (That was fun).

Meanwhile, earlier in life, I bought a 1990 ford ranger for $150 (Seriously). I did a bunch of work to it -- It didn't need it (Other than a clutch) but I did it to make it nicer. The thing was a tank. I actually sold it two years later for over $1000.

I am also a huge fan of the Dodge Dakota (I've had two - both with 318 engines) but I didn't recommend them because their tranny's are junk and they don't get great gas mileage...but man, a small truck with a V-8....lots of fun!
I have a '94 Dakota 4x4 ext cab right now with the 318. That motor is awesome. Like you said, the mpg's aren't great but the thing hauls. 222k miles, and the thing is in great condition with very little rust. I painted everything matte black and it looks decent.

My last beater was a '91 S-10 4x4. Bought it with 235k miles for $350, and sold it 2 years later with 250k miles for $650. It was very reliable for me.

Congrats on the Ranger OP. Sounds like you got a good deal.
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