'89 Corolla SR5 woes and disaster 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...
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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The car is worth $1000 tops. I would change the insurance and drop collision. I would keep fixing it until one glorious day when you know it is time to have it towed to the junkyard. And I would smile and wave at the car as tow trucks goes away. Until then, I would drive it.
In other words drive it into the ground.
Jeff
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On Fri, 23 Feb 2007 22:20:53 +0000, Jeff wrote:

I'm going to cry when I finally give up my GTS to the Recycler's...
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I agree. Keep driving it until something really major gives out like the transmission or something really, really expensive. I think of it this way: $186, $392 - compare these to car payments. These are once in while things while the car payments are every month for years.
Also - you are comparing car deaths to American GM cars. The Toyotas are meant to run much longer then they are. Tomes (who still uses his 98 Sienna with 188K miles)
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Sell it before something else goes wrong! Actually it's your decision to make not ours. I'd figure the cost of what it takes to keep it year, and then decide for yourself. Me?, I live alone and don't have a ride if I have only one vehicle, so I always keep two vehicles, it's just to unhandy to be on foot for me. When one goes down at least I have a way to get around until I get the other one running. With an older car there is usually something to repair. I figure roughly about 2K a year to have the cars standing, that's purchase price, depreciation figured in, batteries, mufflers, tires, whatever. Maybe more like 1.5K a year each. I don't really know I don't track it that close, all I know is I have vehicle to go in when I need it, one is a mazda pickup (ford) the other toyota. For a second vehicle the pickup is good, I use it a lot in the summer.
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On 2007-02-23 15:08:26 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com said:

Hey John, are you getting paid by the word!!! ha ha I think your post is inappropriately named. If your car breaks down in your driveway, that's not a disaster - it's a merciful act of God! Be thankful. Regarding your long term plan, I would keep the car. Your repairs don't even add up to a few car payments! Keep on truckin' or carin'. jor
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