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Discussion Starter #1
My E (Aug 2004) has gone through her 6th winter and is a little worse for wear. Horrible thunk noise from the rear (bushings?), terrible grinding noise also from the rear (rear dif), miserable control while driving at interstate speeds (shocks leaking), and an engine problem from last November (car would not go above 3k rpm).

The dilemma: sinking money into the E and not having a car payment or using what value is left in the E to purchase a new car.

Most of my issues are related to comfort and driving stability/handling. Since I know nothing about cars I figured I should ask whether it is thought that the benefits outweigh the costs in fixing up the car. Can I make her drive like new again?
 

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In my opinion i would fix the e which in turn would save you money, unless for some reason you are really wanting something new. what you should do is figure out how much it would cost to fix, and then look at the cost of new.
For something new you will have at least 2-3k in fees for tax license, plus you will lose a little by the time you drive off, and your insurance and license fees will go back up.
If you just fix it, you can make some nice improvements to the motor, and handling by doing it yourself or even having a good shop do it.
Well there's my little info, thats what i would do. hope this helps somewhat.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
youre right. i guess i was wondering if it would cost more than the car is worth to fix it. at $5k to make her 'drive like new' and a value of $6k in a cash trade, it maoes more sense to me to use her as cash value.

thanks for the reply.
 

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forget it....it's well past junk.

Don't put another penny or bit of effort into it....

I'll trade ya for dinner and a case of beer. I'll even come get it. ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
tell you what, i hit the next powerball and ill take you up on that offer. :)

i went down to meineke to ask what it would cost for a wholly new suspension. my words were 'take all of the old out and put all new in.' the quote came to $1500 for struts, rotors, brakes and labor.

honda quoted me $150 to replace the fluid in the rear dif (which is the grinding noise) and my tires are $125/ea mounted and balanced, leaving me to figure out the 'clunk' noise.

i suppose looking at $2k in repairs is a shade better than $30k for a new car.
 

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tell you what, i hit the next powerball and ill take you up on that offer. :)

i went down to meineke to ask what it would cost for a wholly new suspension. my words were 'take all of the old out and put all new in.' the quote came to $1500 for struts, rotors, brakes and labor.

honda quoted me $150 to replace the fluid in the rear dif (which is the grinding noise) and my tires are $125/ea mounted and balanced, leaving me to figure out the 'clunk' noise.

i suppose looking at $2k in repairs is a shade better than $30k for a new car.
I thought meineke was a muffler shop? do you want trained muffler monkees working on your suspension..thats a sure recipe for disaster.
 

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honda quoted me $150 to replace the fluid in the rear dif (which is the grinding noise) and my tires are $125/ea mounted and balanced, leaving me to figure out the 'clunk' noise.
ok...so my attempt at grabbing another E failed again. :-(

the rear diff fluid is a simple DIY. $25 total...that includes the tools! (see the rear diff thread)

a little shopping around I bet you could save $25/tire. Have you checked out the General Grabber HTS? (search Grabber HT-S) Hey...$100 is a nice chuck of $ !

The clunk is likely the rear sway bar bushings. Something like $25-$30 for the pair. They are simple (hopefully the fasteners ain't too rusted) to replace. see the "disapointed with rear suspension" thread.

The engine rev problem thing has VTEC written all over it. Check the oil level. Change the oil if its dirty/old. search for "vtech" and "vtec" for all kinds of posts that say what I just said.....and a little more.

See what all that does for ya. Use it for a while more while ya shop around for a nice simple independent type place that'll make you a deal on the suspension and brake work. Maybe even do 'em in stages...struts one month, brakes another....kinda like making payments on a new car! ;-)

Where are you located? Maybe someone here can recomend a good local shop to help save you some money. By the way....if you walk into a shop and say "how much to just replace everything?" their answer is gonna be "how much money do ya got?"

good luck.
 

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Agree- where are you located (profile)? I live in one of the most expensive places in the lower 48 and my dealer only charged 50 bucks for a rear diff fluid change.

Also, how many miles on your E, how old/new are your tires?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I live in Morgantown, WV (as of Jan '10) and my E has 87K on her.

An update: my brake pads came from Monro and are warranted for life, so apparently that means that I should never have to pay for brake pads again. Monro put new pads on for free and rotors came in at $60 per for the fronts (which I thought was pretty good). Rear rotors were turned down (for what is probably the final time). All of the work here done at Monro cost a hair under $200. *now that I write this, I am thinking that I should have done all 4 rotors at the same time. Thoughts?

Seeing as how I never really wanted to DIY anything on the auto because of the warranty, I never paid any attention to how big my garage actually is. My driveway is slanted so I don't feel comfortable placing the E on jacks, but my garage must have a 9' ceiling, so I have plenty of room to jack her up. What do you DIYers recommend if I want to lift the entire car up? Ramps?

After reading through the threads here, I think I will make a pass at the rear diff fluid and bushings myself. And if I feel comfortable under there, perhaps I can take to doing my own fluid changes and tire rotations as well.
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FYI, the issue with my engine from last year was a VTEC problem. It was a computer issue and it took the techs over three weeks to figure out the solution. I am disappointed because I was told the next step was to be a new engine. Total cost to me was $0 and I was provided a car for the duration of the work. :)

My front tires were put on last Nov and are General Grabber HTS; the rears are Dueler Revo's and well beyond their replacement age. This time around I plan to bite the bullet and put all 4 on at the same time, hoping that whatever tire place I choose gives some $$ off for taking the new-ish fronts.

If I can do some of the work myself, it will leave the suspension as the final piece to be worked on, and for that I need some serious recommendations. If I am looking at $1k, should I research aftermarket, go with OEM, or go from a place like Monro or Meineke?

I want a smooth, comfortable ride, 90% interstate and in city, 10% gravel/dirt/loose/fire roads (maybe 80/20 since the weather is getting nice).

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
aye cap'n!

i've been a member here since 2004 and have never filled out my profile. maybe i was just waiting to pay off the car. :)
 

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So, to answer one of your questions... I think ramps are not that safe. I'd rather use a jack and stands when I need all 4 corners in the air. Now, having said that, you want some pretty decently rated stands. I've got a pair of 2 ton and 3 ton stands. I put the 3 ton stands in the front and the 2 ton stands in the back. You put the stands under the jack points for the screw jack you could use if you have a flat.

As far as floor jack goes, your gonna need more than the $30 special at Auto Zone. Those are great if you want to oil change a civic but don't have enough lift to get the E in the air to rotate tires. If you have a Harbor Freight in your area, here's what I got for Christmas a couple years ago:http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=34271 That should be able to get your tires at least 2" off the ground.

As far as where to put the jack, when lifting the front, look under the bumper for an arrow, use the frame cross member by that arrow as your lift point. For the rear, I think I lift just under the center where there would normally be a differential, so maybe that's where you can lift. Just make sure it's a really strong spot. You don't want to make a big dent in the under carriage. Once you find the spots, you'll get this down to a science. The other week, I had the car up in the air, oil drained and 2 tires removed in about 2 minutes. Then my son woke from his nap and it took about 2 hrs to get the rest of the work done.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I am currently searching for jack stands and a floor jack so I can get the E off the ground. I went to Sears and took a look at their Craftsman tools to get a feel for the cost of DIY, and started to think that by the time I invest in the tools I could pay to have most of the work done! I never realized how expensive tools are, but at least they will (should) stay with me for life.

I read a few threads about tools and figured I will go with Craftsman since they are lifetime and Sears is everywhere.
 

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The project

When you are finished you will have a great E. Can you borrow any tools from friends?
 

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I read a few threads about tools and figured I will go with Craftsman since they are lifetime and Sears is everywhere.
Yeah, Craftsman tools are a little more pricey but you can hand them down to your grand kids when you're through with them. Harbor Freight stuff tends to be "good enough."
 

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for jacks and stands.

whenever i needed to get my cars or motorcycle off the ground i rented jacks and stands. a good jack is expensive and decent stands can be too, yet lots of tool/equipment rental stores rent them really cheep. if you plan on working on your car a lot it makes sense to buy your own, but if you only plan on doing one or two times then you're probably better off renting.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I think its time to get the suspension taken care of.

I want a smooth, comfortable ride, 90% interstate and in city, 10% gravel/dirt/loose/fire roads (maybe 80/20 since the weather is getting nice).

Any recommendations on what to ask for?

Thanks!

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good advice on renting. i wish you had posted a little sooner. ;)

edit: i forgot to mention this, but the tech doing my brakes mentioned something about vertical movement in the CV joint(?). it moves up and down about 1/4" in each direction (1/2" of total travel) and I was told that it could affect my inspection. what are these parts, how are they important, and is this travel normal?

thanks!
 
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