Keep the '87 Celebrity wagon, or replace with a '94 Ciera wagon?

Hi folks, My dad and I are trying to figure out whether to keep or sell our current car; all input appreciated:
We have an '87 Chevy Celebrity wagon. 2.8 MFI, 113k miles. Runs very
strong, never left us stranded, perfectly reliable, the A/C has always worked. Quite rusty though-- the doors are starting to rust through.
I checked out an '94 Ciera wagon tonight. 3.1 SFI? (I don't think the block had MFI stamped on it). 95k miles. Runs smooth and strong. Power windows/power locks/airbag/ABS. $1800. The owner is a very honest guy and mentioned: 1. A/C hasn't worked for a couple years 2. gas tank got replaced years ago; the fuel gauge is unreliable, and swings wildly when there's only 1/4 tank left 3. minimal rust spots, which I saw.
My questions for you folks: 1. how hard is it to locate and fix a leak in the A/C system? The seller will try to get the coolant recharged (is this car R12?), but my dad is worried that most likely, the freon/freon equivalent will be gone in a few weeks/months. 2. how troublesome might the ABS and power accessories get later on down the road? We usually run our cars into the ground and fix 'em ourselves, but we're no expert mechanics, and the newest car we have is from 1990. 3. might the Ciera be less reliable than the Celebrity? I don't know much about the 3.1 in this model; I don't think it's a 3.1 MFI.
I don't want to kick myself for getting rid of the Celebrity and buying a car that develops problems; on the other hand, $1500 (b/c we can sell the Celebrity) seems like a good deal for getting a car 7 years newer. The A/C issue on the Ciera is bugging me though...
Any input greatly appreciated, John snipped-for-privacy@bidmc.harvard.edu
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I'd pass on both. Too old in both cases to be reliable as far as computers and electrical and so on goes.
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No legitimate repair facility will put ANY R-12 in a system without repairing it first. That could easily run you $500.00 . Keep the one that works. GW
"John Yang, MD" wrote:

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You know I'm going through the same issue with the same cars right now. I've got an 88 Celebrity 2.8 wagon that's rusty, but dependable, and needs motor mounts, and I've got a 95 Ciera sedan that my buddy gave me, that needs some sort of sensor replaced (it's got the OBD 1.5 so I can't get the codes myself) and struts and stuff, so it'd be the same to get either of them running correctly. And, my Celebrity's AC works, and the Old's doesn't.. so.. it's a crapshoot. Honestly, I like my Chevy a hell of a lot better than the Olds, but it is 7 years older.. so.. Who knows? If I didn't get the Olds for free, I wouldn't have this dillema right now, it would've been off to the junkyard.
-Sasm
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snipped-for-privacy@caregroup.harvard.edu says...

If the rust is only on the doors, keep the celebrity. Pick up some rust free doors at your local junk yard and put them on. I would stick with a car I am familiar with before I jumped on a similar car that I was not familiar with. AC problems require special tools to fix and if you need R12, will cost quite a bit of cash.
----------------- Alex __O _-\<,_ (_)/ (_)
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I agree, stay with the 'beater' you know. The known machine is generally the better choice unless you know something is seriously wrong with it.
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snipped-for-privacy@caregroup.harvard.edu (John Yang, MD) wrote in message
I'd vote for keeping what you have. You save $1500 plus the several hundred more to fix the broken AC. The mileages are not that much different and you know your car. You should have worked on rustproofing the old 87 more. Try to catch up a little now if possible.
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I'd keep the Celebrity, better to go with a known quantity. Before I buy a car I always look at the cost of the new car + depriciation + any insurance increases versus the reliability of the old car and the cost of maintaining the old car. Obviously, I don't buy a car unless I really need one
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John Yang, MD wrote:

The 3.1 and the 2.8 are basically the same engine, so the drivetrain in the Olds should be every bit as reliable as the Chevy. Some later-year 3.1 and 3.4 engines are prone to get coolant in the oil due to an intake manifold sealing problem, and that could lead to disastrous engine failur. I think that was much later engines though.
As for the A/C, 94 is on the end of the change-over era. Some cars started getting R-134a in 92, and most had it by 94. If you look at the refrigerant connections, R-134a connectors are a "quick connect" design whereas R-12 connectors are thread-on. Most likely leak spot is the compressor shaft seal.
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