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Old 02-07-2013, 10:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Mod my offroading truck or buy a commuter?

Hello everybody! Long time lurker that decided to register and post up.

Financial situations have changed and I had to sell my 2011 Ford Fiesta 5speed, which has returned excellent mileage by the way. 50ish mpg tank averages in the summer in ideal conditions, unmodded, simply using things like dwb and dwl.

My only other vehicle is a 1989 Toyota pickup that is my rock crawling 4x4 hobby truck. It has a lot of mods like a solid axle swap, 35" tires on heavy ass bead-locked rims, and a '99 gm 4.3 v6 I swapped in. Not the most comfortable ride, and it returns about 15-16 mpg for a tank average.

If I were to daily drive it, I've been doing research on aeromods I could possibly do. Things like an air dam to cover that solid axle, and deflect air from the horrible aero of a body on frame. Removable wheel covers. Grille blocks, and an aeroshell. I already have an mpguino in it. One problem is it would ALL have to be easily removable as I go wheelin' a few times a month.

So really I'm leaning towards buying a cheap commuter car, I have $2k or so to spend on one. Have been watching craigslist like a hawk for a month now on the lookout for a civic vx/hx or a geo metro. Secondary cars I have on my list are a Saturn SC1, Ford Aspire, or the right Civic dx/lx. Only manual transmissions of course. I'm still pissed at barely missing a $2100 140k '98 hx by minutes... I was on my way when he told me he sold it

Any opinions on what to do, or any other promising cars I should watch for?

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Old 02-07-2013, 10:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Forget daily driving that truck.

CL can come through wonderfully, if you widen the scope of models you'd consider. There are fantastic bargains out there.

You're in Takesass- wouldn't a small motorcycle work?
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've had numerous motorcycles, and yeah... you can ride here all year long if dedicated.

I'm too much of a wuss to daily ride a bike in 50 straight days of 100+ degree heat. Gotta have that A/C, even if it hurts FE!
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Old 02-08-2013, 01:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It's a solid idea, buy a $2,000 car that will save you $2,000 per year in fuel.
You might even think about spending 2 years worth of fuel savings on a car, seeing as how it should last you more then two years and those 35" tires are not cheap to replace if you put many miles on them nor is anything else on your truck I suspect.
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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1995-1999 Nissan Sentra or 200SX (same car as a coupe).

They are not very exciting cars (I presume that's not an issue since Aspire is on the list) but they are rated at 29/39mpg and pretty reliable. I regularly see them on CL for <$2000, often closer to $1000. Avoid the 2.0L of course.
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Would be better if you could do both, modding the offroad truck and getting a commuter. You could consider a Diesel engine swap for the truck.


Quote:
Originally Posted by northroad View Post
Gotta have that A/C, even if it hurts FE!
Try a swamp-cooler. They're extremely popular among Brazilian truck drivers because don't take so much power from the engine like an A/C compressor does
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If you are going to buy a commuter be sure you will actually save money.. Look at it realistically. If you are only going to drive your smaller car during certain months you might have to break up the mileage between the two.

You also have to insure it, fix it, maintain it, etc... It would add up to a LOT of fuel for your truck.


I'm just speaking from experience... It will be almost 2 years before my tracker pays for itself over my Jeep. That is if I drive it every day! I guess my point is... Payoff may be longer than you expect.
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cRiPpLe_rOoStEr View Post
You could consider a Diesel engine swap for the truck.
Pretty sure that engine swaps are a huge pain in the ass (based on experience!), and would take the vehicle out of commission until it was completed. It would also put tremendous pressure on you to finish the project before you needed it again. Plus the vehicle would still be an aerodynamic nightmare.

I vote for continuing to look for a cheap car. My buddy has a Saturn ION that he hates, but it returns solid 30's all the time, and believe me, he is NOT an eco-driver.

EDIT: Other vehicles to look at; Toyota Paseo and Tercel, also the Echo.
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If you plan to keep whatever smaller car you buy until it falls apart and are not worried about resale, a Saturn may be a good choice. Plus they will be a lot cheaper than an equivalent Honda. I had an SC2 coupe and an SW1 wagon with a 5 speed. For inexpensive cars they drive well and parts are fairly cheap.
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razor02097 View Post
If you are going to buy a commuter be sure you will actually save money.. Look at it realistically. If you are only going to drive your smaller car during certain months you might have to break up the mileage between the two.

You also have to insure it, fix it, maintain it, etc... It would add up to a LOT of fuel for your truck.
He also has tires on his truck that could very well cost $1,000 for a set and if they are anything like the truck tires we have at work, you replace them twice as often as car tires.
It's not just the fuel that makes trucks expensive to drive, but as it is, 15,000 miles per year at 15mpg is $3,500 in fuel, even 40mpg is $1,300 or a $2,200 savings just in fuel!

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