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Old 12-30-2009, 02:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Should I fix this XFI?

Hi everyone.

My brother is a college student (= he has no money...) and will be commuting from one University campus to another this coming semester. It's about 32 miles each way.

He currently drives a Chevy AstroVan AWD. It gets around 20 mpg on the freeway. He is in a snowy part of the state, so all-wheel-drive is nice, he needs front-wheel drive as a minimum.

What he really needs is a one-person economy car to get back and forth.
I have been checking online classifieds for 3 cylinder Metros, and stumbled on an XFI for sale. Of course the problem with it is that it has the dreaded control arm mount rust - fairly bad too.

Daox and I fixed that problem on the Electro-Metro while we had the engine out, but it wasn't as bad on my car, and there was plenty of workspace without the engine and transmission in there.

I went and looked at the car in person and took plenty of photos to share with you guys.
See the entire photo album HERE

Overall, there is more rust than I would like on the car. The backside of the passenger fender is bent up. The interior panel of the hatch and the driver door have been removed (although the owner does still have them.)
The rocker panels have a fair amount of rust.

However, the car has been sitting in the guys backyard, parked, for over a year. We moved the battery from the guys daily driver into the XFI and it fired right up! Like instantly! It seemed to sound pretty good to me too. (Although I haven't regularly worked on 3 cylinder cars, and they do sound different than 4 cylinders.)

The car has 134,000 miles on it. The guy is only asking $350 for it, and would prefer to sell it to someone who would fix it, rather than part it out.

So, my question is - Do you think it is worth buying this car, fixing the control arm mount, and using as an eco-beater commuter car?
The main thing that would be a challenge is that there has already been a little deformation of that bit of the frame where the swing arm mounts up. In the one photo of the side view of the front passenger tire, you can see how the wheel is no longer in the middle of the wheel well. I am not sure exactly how I would re-align the wheel back exactly right to do the welding job.

I love the idea of getting an XFI, and the engine sounded really good, but the body leaves much to be desired.....











Maybe Johnny Mullet or one of you other Metro Guru's could weigh in on this one.

Thanks,

-Ben

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Old 12-30-2009, 08:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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So he commutes 3x a week for 65 mi for a 15 week semester

At 20 mpg and $2.50/gal his fuel cost is about 360 dollars


Not to mention the Metro needs some fixing and at 50 mpg will also consume about 120 dollars of gas.

if the time horizon is only one semester it looks marginal.

Probably better to go after the van with cardboard aeromods and adjust the driving nut somewhat.
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Old 12-30-2009, 09:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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He has more than one semester to go, it's just that this semester will be the most driving.

Also, it's 300 miles every time he wants to come visit home (each way).
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Ouch, ouch, and ouch. But no, I wouldn't touch it unless you can get it for $200 and use it for parts.

The alignment, as you said, is going to be the killer. It's touch and go getting proper alignment without true equipment. While it can be done with careful measurement and string, it's probably not something you'll want to really be working on in your garage.

Anyway, if you insist on it, you can take measurements from your Electro-Metro as to the installed dimensions of the control arm mount and transfer them to your project.

You'll be able to make a jig that supports the control arms in the proper place and bolts onto the car somewhere (to eliminate variability) and weld in gussets and new support pieces around the supported control arms. When you're done like that, as long as your Electro-Metro has correct control arm alignment, the new project will as well.

The jig can be simple wood, or complex made from any number of materials, but needs to be strong enough to hold/support the control arms from moving in any direction, and hold their orientation both to each other and to the chassis of the car (hence the reason the jig needs to bolt to the car).

Hopefully, that was helpful moreso than a bunch of useless typing.

EDIT: Don't 3 cylinders sound funny with a fart can? LOL
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well the more you drive the more important FE becomes.
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I would buy it and use it for parts. You can get 100 for the cam alone.
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Old 12-31-2009, 05:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Looks the car got good tires or at least front right one. Some mods are done to the muffler, kinda huge one for XFi. Lots of rust, boy - o - boy. Tell him $150, get one of ebay.com for $200 with bad engine swap them and you good to go, even you can make a new thread we can all enjoy.
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Old 12-31-2009, 09:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I bought an XFi like that once... It's a can of worms. Those cars rust EVERYWHERE, and unless you're Johnny Mullet, you can't really fix em up so nice. At our latitude, it's hard to find a metro that doesn't look like that one for a reasonable price, so unless you can get this one for 150-200, and source a cleaner one from more southern climes, then I'd advise against undertaking this project for a usable car in a reasonable amount of time. Like others have said, however, buying it for parts seems like a wise idea. People are gonna be after them sooner than later.
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Old 12-31-2009, 10:04 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Offer $250, get it for $300. Should be easy if you point out the number of repairs needed. Rebuild the engine, regardless of what it sounds like, you never know what the previous owner did to it (I mean, a Fart-Can on a Metro? Sheesh.). Sell the non-engine/transmission parts. Scrap the chassis. Put the engine/tranny into another metro in better shape with a seized engine. Sell it to your brother for cheap, or make him work on it with you.
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If you are good at welding and have metal to patch it with I would say get it. I have pictures of the factory dimensions on my site so you can get it square again. It really isn't hard to square these cars back up after the control arms are moved out of alignment.

You will probably need to fix the front control arms then take the back seat and side panels out and check the rear control arm mounts as well. They might need a bit of metal added to make them strong. They are much easier to fix than the front. Take the asphalt stuff off the floor and patch any holes there and you are ready for the road.

For the body maybe a bit of fiberglass patching and throw a cheap rustoleum paint job on it. It is not like you are trying to win any car shows with it so just spray it with whatever you can find.

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