'89 Corolla SR5 major woes today...

Hi all, Thanks for your help recently on my '89 Corolla SR5 (147k miles). As you recall I broke the windshield and was looking for advice on where
to go. Long story short, after soliciting about 50 bids, Safelite was willing to match the lowest, so I drove to Safelite today to get it done for $186 out the door. The workmanship looks a little sloppy but I think it'll be ok.
It was a 20-mile roundtrip. The last mile I thought I heard some noise from under the engine. Got home, popped the hood, heard the waterpump squeaking (has never squeaked before), and saw it seize up within 60 seconds and the engine died. I bought the car in '99 with 94k miles. The previous owner had the timing belt, but not the water pump, changed in September 1997 at 90k miles .
Went inside, couldn't believe what I just saw, felt awful, briefly contemplated trying the job myself (very little tools or experience though) to save money, decided it'll take me 100 hours to do it properly if at all. So, called AAA for the first time in my life and had the car towed to my mechanic's shop.
Long story short, $392 bill for new water pump, timing belt; he also replaced the drive belts though they were recently changed (possibly damaged when the water pump seized up though). I asked the mechanic who did the job how long it took, and he said about 3.5 hours. He showed me old the timing belt, which was slightly to somewhat worn on one side.
I can't believe the car broke down within a minute after I got home from getting a new windshield...
I asked him where the parts were from--he didn't know--he said wherever the boss orders them from (probably Autozone next door). Aware that OEM parts are much better, I used to always order OEM Toyota parts online myself, but this time didn't have the time or luxury to do this. The new waterpump won't last 18 years like the old one, but the car probably won't last another 18 years either... If the car were newer and I had more $$$ I'd have taken it ot the dealership instead.
What is a typical price for a waterpump/timing belt job? For those of you who are expert home mechanics, how time consuing a task is it? I suspect $392 was probably average. It's a lotta $$$ but the mechanics need to make a living too.
The mechanic said that water pumps usually leak before they die, and said mine maybe used to be noisy. Now I realize that the quiet rumbling sound (sounded just like an exhaust leak) that I heard from under the hood at idle for the past 3 years/15 miles was probably the water pump. With the new water pump the sound is gone. I'm surprised it could've been noisy for 15k miles. It sounded just like an exhaust leak, and when I had the muffler changed last time (by another shop, I should not have gone there), they heard the sound from the front of the car, said it must be a front exhaust pipe leaking too, and they had even replaced that pipe ($$$). Has any of you ever seen a water pump that sounds like an exhaust leak?
Ok... so now I have on my hands an '89 Corolla SR5 with a perfect body, perfect paint, no rust (California car), perfect interior, that runs like new, has a new windshield/water pump/timing belt, and also has a brand new exhaust system from front-to-back too (I suspect the shop that did the exhaust screwed up last time and swapped more parts than needed, it was big $$$ for that job). I don't really need the car technically, since my wife has a 2000 Honda CIvic with 43k miles that she never drives. What do I do long-term with this car? Keep fixing it under the engine, transmission, or carburetor fails? With enough $$$ it will keep going forever but I feel like it's eating up too much $$$ after 125k miles. I like the Corolla so have always kept it going but now the repairs are really adding up. I take the subway to work, and only drive the car 4-5k miles per year so am not getting a lot of usage out of it. My only experience with how cars die has been growing up when I saw with my dad's cars: '76 Olds Cutlass Supreme-- bad transmission around 12 years/100k miles '75 Buick Regal-- starting/choke problems after 15 years/110 miles-- sold it-- engine was still strong actually '82 Buick Regal-- transmission died, possibly head gasket too, after 14 years/110k miles '87 Chevy Celebrity--flawless engine and transmission after 17 years/ 115k miles, but rusted away so was donated.
Any thoughts are appreciated, John
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Hey, you know how you double the value of this car?
You got it: Fill the tank with gas.
Jeff
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On Fri, 23 Feb 2007 14:12:34 -0800, johnyang97 wrote:

I think you ought to drive it out to Western Mass and park it in my driveway... ;)
Nah, I think you ought to keep it, if you can. You've done a lot of the 'grunt' work; any miles from here on in are gravy. Since it is in such good shape, do you have a place to park it? NE winters are TOUGH on Toyotas.
If I didn't have enough 'projects' already I'd offer to buy it, but I have an '85 Corolla GTS in need of a LOT of rust work, a 1988 Supra (right there ought to tell you what I have ahead of me...), a 1989 Mazda 626 from Florida for a Winter 'Beater', and a 2005 Scion tC that I've barely driven. I have enough cars 'parked' for now! Once the weather turns good, the Supra will come out and I'll drive that for most of the summer.
Oh, and $390 isn't bad for a belt, pump and belts.
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I've had it parked in a driveway for the past 2 years. It's not driven to work and I try not to drive when there's salt or snow on the road. Before it was parked outdoors, I had it garaged the previous 5 years. So, the car has only been minimally exposed to "the elements" in New England. The paint still looks new, believe it or not.

Wow, that's a lotta cars. Just curious what you do for work--are you a full-time mechanic? From your posts on the group it looks like you've done a lot of everything car-related before.
John
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Ray isn't the only one. I'm also Asian but not the same as Ray. I'm in the group that's about 1/5 of the world population. Chinese!
To be a little ON Topic, I no longer have a Toyota ('05 Accord now) but loved my '86 Celica. For the limited maintenance I did myself, the Celica was the easiest on the 2SE engine. (Still have the Chilton's!)
-Dave
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On Sat, 24 Feb 2007 21:45:24 -0500, Dave L wrote:

Dang! Youse guys with American names throw us off!
Just to give you an idea, my wife's name was Toumngeun...no mistaking there!

Hondas are cool too. Had One Never Did Again...
I almost bought a Civic V-TEC instead of the Scion tC. I wish I had...I like the seating position better. Can't really get comfortable in the Scion, and I feel like I'm sitting at the kitchen table...
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American names? I thought the name "David" was used before America came to be! LoL My last name should give a good clue although that's no guarantee.

Hmm.... not familiar with your wife's name, although it certainly does not look English!

This is actually my 2nd Honda. I'll admit I prefer the Honda manual trannies but the Toyota autos I've tried are smoother.

I've driven the older Civic Si but not the new generation. The Scion tC has a few blind spots and for me, a high door sill. I'm short to begin with so it's not comfortable trying to rest my elbow on the door sill. It's a sportier car with a sweet panoramic sun roof. Feel the torque pulling, when taking off. I believe it shares the same engine as the Camry with sportier gearing? Car would tempt me to have a spirited driving style and I would go through those Z rated tires quicker than normal, and snow/ice would be a pain!
-Dave
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On Sun, 25 Feb 2007 21:49:17 -0500, Dave L wrote:

With me it's the leg position. I like being stretched out, like in my Supra, Celica and GTS. The Scion is too upright for me!

Yeah, and I wish they had toned the gearing down just a little!!! The engine tops out too quickly. A little more rev and a lower final gear would be cool, or a 6-speed! In 5th at 75, you just press the gas and 100 comes up QUICK!

LOL!...TEMPT!!! You can't avoid it! 40 comes up in second gear in no time flat!

What mean...drive in snow? I bought an '89 Mazda 626 from a friend for $150 for winter driving...I've had the Scion out 3 times since Christmas! It sits in the back yard covered up.
And the tires are actually firly durable...this is a major comaplaint among tC owners, that they're too hard and not quite grippy enough. Fine for me...I'm sure I could get a raft of tickets in No Time Flat if I didn't pay enough attention! It's so smooth 60 in a 40 is not difficult at all...you FEEL like you're doing 40.
I like EVERYTHING about the car except the driving position and the too-tall gearing!
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Can't remember much about the seating position, just the door sill being high. I used to stretch out in the Celica and a bit in the Prelude. The Accord I'm a little in between. I sometimes see people crunched up to the wheel, and looks like they only have a couple inches between their body and wheel. Wonder how they do that?!

I'm sure it does! I didn't take it up there during the test drive but definately went on the highway for a short trip.

So you know what I mean! Sounds like the older Sentra SE-Rs, around '92. THOSE were pocket rockets! Less horses but lighter car. Also not the same build quality as the Toyotas and Scions.

Really? Hmm.... Wonder if it could be the weight of the tC contributing to that. It's around 3000 lbs right? I know what you mean about feeling how fast a car is going, vs. reality. First time I drove my brother's Acura TL-S - hit over 90mph and it felt more like 55! Also think I made the salesman sitting in the car nervous when I test drove the '05 Civic Si. lol

Much to like about the car - I didn't care for the blind spot and high window sill (I'm short - 5'4"). Still would have been much more "fun" to drive than the Accord. Sometimes I still wish I went for the tC instead of the Accord, but so sense trying to over analyze the decision. I'll just have to pick up a tC in the future for a fun car!
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