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Old 05-07-2008, 02:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
Veggiedynamics
 
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Good cheap project cars

I have a been doing veggie oil for a while and now want to do a mod to a high MPG gas car, I'm looking for very cheap donor vehicles.. I want cheap because I'm going to go extreme on these mods... don't want any reason to not go hog wild

So I was looking at older high MPG cars.. surprisingly one that came on my radar was one of the boxiest cars ever made with a larger motor, 4 door Dodge/Plymouth omni/horizon's.. many reports of there bullet proof 2.2 L motors doing highway at 41mpg... and I found one cheap, there pre ODB2, but fuel injected, so a mpg computer isn't going to be as simple.

I also run across older, say 88 era escorts etc... a few saturns in the early 90's etc.. .. all the older first gen metros up here are rusted to death.. salt rust there front suspension and they fall in half ..

So my question is should I invest in a ODB2 car or just go cheap, and use the per tank average as my gauge..

Again I'm going to do big mods, full suspension drop, raising the hood line to smooth it out and cowl the wipers, full wheel skirts all around, total nose mods and tail etc.

In my area civics are hard to come by and usually expensive for anything drivable.. Any recommendations for what to look for that usually can be had cheap and already is fairly efficient from the get go.

Also any particular cars that had ODB2 before 96' to keep a eye out for?

Any suggestions welcome.

Ebacherville

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Old 05-07-2008, 02:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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For any given year, the cheapest car will probably be a Metro. You could probably pick up a donor car for around $500.

If you want to maximize mileage, I would consider buying a second generation CRX HF. You can pick one up for around $1500 and drop in a d15z1 for an easy 60mpg.

If you buy a Honda, I would stay away from OBDII as you lose control over the ECU. Instrumentation exists for pre-OBDII cars and an opensource version is being designed as we speak, so that shouldn't be a long-term concern.

You'll save yourself the most trouble by buying a worthwhile car from the start. An overweight, aerodynamic abomination will only let you go so far. A Metro is a good choice if you spend most of your time in the city, otherwise a CRX + d15z1 or a Civic VX will be your best platform for a highway cruiser.

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Old 05-07-2008, 02:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Well yes, like i said most metros are so rusted there not worth it and crx's are about the same up here in the land of 10,000 salt types on the roads.. civics are super hard to come by and many you do come by a re RICED to death..

Thanks for the info on the OBD2 stuff.. good to know.

Ebacherville
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The Omni/Horizon were awesome cars with good MPG. I had a 2.2 Charger that got 40+ miles per gallon. Another good, older car is a Tempo/Topaz 2.3L with a manual. The auto only got 25 where the manual would get 45.
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Where do you live? I'm in the salt belt in Ontario, and there are still later Metros to be found. The pickings are getting slim - the last generation body style is about all that's worth looking at because of rust, but they're around & available.

My experience buying a specific type of car that you want is: if you're patient and persistent, you'll find one in your price range.
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm in west central Mn, yeah rust belt for sure..

Yeah i had a "turismo" kind of the charger of the Plymouth family, great mileage even though I was 17 and not driving it like I could to get MPG.

How those 4 door horizons got any MPG being as boxy as they are is beyond me.. but they pull down a solid 40mpg, wonder what would happen if you redid the front and made a boat tail for them... there light cars.. and had the out of the box fuel mileage going for them..

Ebacherville
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd would also recommend holding out for something newer. Can you define cheap?
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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define cheap... under a grand.. Im very good at finding good quality used vehicals , so im not woried about buying a junker.. I know what to look for and also research anything for lemon status before purchasing anything..

Yeah id like something newer too.. Harder tto come by however.
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Old 05-07-2008, 04:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You should be able to find a nice saturn(or any other car) for under 1k. I'd say 3-6 months shopping should net you something. I'd hold out for OBD2 unless you go honda.

My parents bought a rust free 93 civic dx/auto with 150k for $300. Its been reliable and looks like a $1500 car.
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i found a rust free 87 Honda CRX HF.. with relitivly low miles .. well see if it's a stick.. said to run really well but needs some work on the nose.. Well perfect.. I was going to mod the nose anyway

So what do you think a CRX HF with mods similar to what aerocivic has would plunk down for MPG.. do you think I could break a 80 mpg average?

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