Friday, January 25, 2013

The daily driver search and Mercedes project update

As is to be expected, it's been a busy month for me, in terms of my automotive life. I've been going back and forth on whether I should fix the Subaru (this would require, at bare minimum, a used engine), or replace it with something else.

Logically, the easiest thing to do would be to find a better EJ22 Subaru. I kept this one around so long because they're generally very easy to work on and because I know them in and out. But, this second one, which I've had for almost two years now, has been trouble since day 1. Here's the list of stuff I REMEMBER replacing since buying it two years and 45,000 miles ago:

  • muffler
  • front CV axles
  • radio
  • rear portion of the steel brake lines
  • rear brake rubber lines
  • tires
  • spark plugs
  • wires
  • alternator belt
  • alternator (several times, due to defective rebuilt units)
  • rear brake pads and rotors
  • timing belt
  • water pump
  • driver's side cylinder head and head gasket
  • valve cover gaskets
  • intake manifold gaskets
  • ignition coil
...and that's just what I can remember off the top of my head. I'm sure the list is longer - MUCH longer.
So, I'm not really keen on trying to fix the car again. Seeing as how even damaged Subarus tend to have surprisingly high retail values around here, I'm leaning towards selling it and getting something different, especially as my cylinder 2 misfire returned yesterday.

I've looked at a Toyota Camry. I liked it, but found the seller was a dealer posing as a private seller on Craigslist. I walked away on principle. My search has shown that most local Toyotas (and Hondas) on Craigslist follow this pattern. So, there's not much for me to choose from in the way of cars genuinely for sale by private owner.

I looked at a 1999 VW Jetta, but it wouldn't even start. Last, but certainly not least, I've been looking at Volvo 850s and V70s. The ones I've found in my price range so far have been a bit lacking in terms of condition. I may go back for a second look at one of them. 

Basically, my second choice after a Subaru is a FWD car with a reputation for reliability. I know the Jetta doesn't quite have THAT, but at least I know VWs. Bottom line, the search has been occupying my time, and keeping me away from the Mercedes.

But, I did get a lot done this past weekend. I finally started in on welding and closed up the rivet holes left by the previous owner:

I did most of my work outside, to minimize the risk of fire and because of some fumes from the welding.

Hopefully, if I'm not too occupied with the car search, I can get back to the Mercedes this weekend and continue with repairing the passenger side bodywork. Here's some video from this weekend:


  1. FYI about the Volvos there are not many of them in manual transmission I know that's something you generally prefer to have, and I heard they do have interference engines with the timing belts so you'll have to watch out for that. But they are great cars, and should run pretty good provided you take care of them which I know you do.

    1. Michael - I found a new car today, and it's not a Volvo. Details to come in the near future, but it's a Subaru Outback.

  2. Are you still in Worcester? I live right over by Worcester State, and I've been thinking about getting a W123 Diesel. What you're doing with everything sounds really cool.

    1. I am. I'm on the far east side of town, near Grafton and Millbury. If you ever need help/info on W123 diesels, let me know.

  3. Thank you, I appreciate that. I'll definitely let you know if I end up with one.