I don't think that there is a large vocabulary in Japanese for situations
when things don't go quite right when working on cars, or if there is, I
never learned it.
On the other hand, my American vocabulary got lots of use when trying to get
the rusty bolts off of the transmission pan on a '97 Escort - there is no
transmission pan drain plug, all of the bolts were pretty corroded, most
were obstructed by a cross member, you have to unbolt the transmission mount
and raise the engine and transmission, and then try to remove the pan while
it is full of fluid without dumping it all over the place. What I thought
was a half hour job turned out to be around 6 hours, and I'm not really done
because I probably should do someting about the pan bolt that snapped off.
I purchased a transmission filter at the same time I got the ATF before I
crawled under the car to see the setup and didn't realize what I was up
against. I figured "how hard can it be?" Besides, I don't have a fluid
sucker outer because I've never had a reason to get one, but I will the next
time the fluid needs changing! Now that I know that the filter is just a
screen and there is no real reason to change it unless the transmission is
toast, I'll probably just drain and refill through the fill tube. BTW,
changing the ATF fixed the slippage and shift shock.
We've only had the Escort for a couple of months, but it is the same model
year and has about the same mileage (135K) as our Avalon. I don't know that
much about the Escort's maintenance and repair history, but we got it from a
Here's what I've noticed so far:
Paint and upholstery in the Escort and Avalon are in roughly the same
Both front doors on the Escort sag slightly when open; the rear doors are
fine. There is no door sag on the Avalon.
The rear strut mount bushings on the Escort are making a groaning noise when
going over bumps and will need replacement to fix the noise. The front
strut mount bushings on the Avalon made a rattling noise that was fixed by
When we got new tires for the Escort, the tire place said it needed ball
joints. I have not checked to see if this is true or not. Other than the
struts, the Avalon's steering and suspension is all original and in good
There were 7 bulbs out in the Escort when we got it - both license plate
bulbs, the CHMSL bulb, a backup light bulb, the dome light bulb, the shift
console bulb, and a dashboard bulb. The only bulb I have replaced in the
Avalon is one of the CHMSL bulbs.
Changing the transmission fluid in the Avalon is a LOT easier than in the
Escort. The Avalon's 4 speed transmission shifts more smoothly than the
Escort 3 speed, but that may be more because the Avalon is more upscale than
the entry level Escort than due to age.
The shift lever on the Avalon is a lot easier to move than in the Escort. I
don't know if the Escort's shifter is difficult to move because of age or if
that is normal.
Changing the oil and filter is easy on both cars.
According to Gates web site, the Escort has a timing chain, while the Avalon
has a belt.
My son told me today that the AC doesn't work very well in the Escort - I'll
have to see what's up with that. It may need a charge or he may just be
used to the frigid air from the Avalon's AC.
For the 2 months or so that we have had it, the Escort has been OK, and the
price was right.
Most of the theoretical advice I dish out here is based on past experience -
I was getting a little rusty under the hood. If the Escort turns out to be
repair-intensive, I'll at least keep in practice :-)
Well, they could pick up a Corolla if they want to pay for it, all I've
invested in the Escort so far are tires, a battery, a bunch of bulbs, a
transmission screen, and some ATF.
By the way, I tried starting the Escort 5 times, caught every time.
I was considering that, but there are couple of catches. The car was a gift
to my sons from a fellow Scout leader so I hate to insult them by implying
that the car isn't "good enough" for my boys when the husband drove the car
every day until his wife's father passed away and he got his father-in-law's
car. The deal is that I'm going to make a donation to our local council in
her father's name for the value of the car.
The other catch is that KBB lists the private party sale price for the
Escort as $1,500, while a 97 Corolla with the exact same equipment and
mileage in the same condition is $2,875. To get a Corolla for roughly the
same price as what the Escort is worth, it would have to be 5 years older -
1992, with 100,000 more miles at 235,000 miles in good condition is worth
$1,435 private party sale.
I think I'll just take my chances with the Escort, wait for the kids to
finish college, and then they can buy their own ride ;-)
Ray, Ray, Ray...we know that Real World, the Corolla with 135,000 is worth
about $4,000, and the Escort is worth about $350...
And the Corolla with 235,000 is worth about $200. That's what scrap cars
are going for now. (I don't think I'd buy a Corolla with 235,000 for
anywhere near what you listed. $600 tops, but it would have to be in
really good shape! I paid $250 for the Celica with 225,000, and got the
Tercel wagon with 210,000 for free. I sent the Tercel to the
YunkJard...bad move on my part. It was a good car. The Celica...I got
almost 4 years out of it...)
Based on your figures, It would appear the Escort has better resale value
than a similar Corolla when one considers the Corolla cost nearly $2,000
MORE when new. In fact as a percentage of retained value, based on the cost
of acquisition, the Escort has far great percentage of return on the
original investment than does a similar Corolla ;)
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