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
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 $$$ I'd have taken it ot the
What is a typical price for a waterpump/timing belt job?
For those of you who are expert home mechanics, how time consuing
a task is it?
I suspect $392 was probably average. It's a lotta $$$ but the
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
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,