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Old 02-16-2013, 11:25 PM   #1
bp944
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Do I buy? 290k miles.

When I graduated from college my parents sold me their 200k mile dodge caravan awd. Its old and gets horrible gas mileage and has no potential to be fun. (Other than doughnuts in snow). It runs quite reliably but I'm afraid for the day it brakes and I have to try and find awd minivan parts. $$$$$

I have been in search of a hatch to trade for on craigslist. Civic hatch, crx, mx3, cougars, etc. I was recently called by a guy interested in trading. It is a 290k mile zetec zx3. It has the original engine and transmission but the clutch has been changed. I have yet to see the car but what should I look out for. I'll be doing a compression test, look at the oil, check the suspension and such. Between my porsche 944 and this minivan, I've done my fair share of car work (head gaskets, axles, cv's, hub, bearings. etc) so I'm fairly wrench savvy.

Is a near 300k zx3 in need of a complete rebuild? What am I walking into? How hard is it to find parts for zx3's and are they expensive.


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Old 02-16-2013, 11:35 PM   #2
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Well I don't about Minneapolis, but here in KS Zetecs are everywere. Would be hard at all to pick up a cheep one with low miles. I would say do anything to get away from that van. ha ha.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:41 PM   #3
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Sold my last ZETEC at 386k miles. Still ran like a short tale cat (summoning my inner red neck)

If its not black and gooey under the filler cap, has decent compression, and isn't rusted out, go for it.

A drive will tell you everything you need to know.

I wouldn't pay more than $1500-2k for it MAX!

Matter of fact, about to add a SC to my 207k focus and have no worries.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:06 AM   #4
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I wouldnt
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:56 AM   #5
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Neighbor had 265,000 miles on his 01 wagon.The fuel pump went and he had the engine light on with issues with the egr.So he got rid of it I think he still regrets that decision.He timing belt went at 190,000.I wouldn't be afraid if it looks cared for.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:07 AM   #6
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Yes, the cheaper you get it, the better off you are.

You can also check out our Buy, Sell, Trade forum for people selling cars, but IDK if there are any selling near you. Where you live- I'm surprised you're interested in high mileage cars, especially beaters. Don't suspension parts decay and rust out? That's what I'd be more aware of than the engine.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:24 AM   #7
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You can pick up a engine if it goes for under 1000 easily and suspension on these cars are reativly cheap unless its a svt...my first zx3 kona edition I got with 190xxx but drove it in til I sold it to a family member with 230xxx they drove it another 50xxx then sold to one of their friends and he is still driving it to this day with original engine and I think the same clutch that I had installed..I would still have this car but came across a 98 gtp for 2000 so I couldn't pass that up...so if its mechanically sound and is token care of then do it..

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Old 02-17-2013, 01:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by gurkpimpin View Post
You can pick up a engine if it goes for under 1000 easily and suspension on these cars are reativly cheap unless its a svt.

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It costs $350 to replace SVT suspension with OEM parts. Labour will be the same no matter what. How is that not cheap?

There are a few Foci on here with 300,000+ miles. I'm at 265,000mi on my 01 ZX3. The alternator has gone out. Other than that it has all been simple R&R on small parts here and there.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:04 PM   #9
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A dodge caravan with 200k is a miracle in its own right! Congrats on that! lol. But seriously I wouldn't stay with that caravan much longer. 290k on a Focus might be pushing it, however if the price is right and it runs halfway decently you might just luck out.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:56 PM   #10
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He wants to trade it outright for my minivan. I figure both of them have about the same probability of breaking and the zx3 seems cheaper to fix. It's hard to find the awd parts for the minivan. I also want a more gas efficient car. I have to admit the drag coefficient of the zx3 is absolutely pathetic. I was reading that its somewhere around .36. Is that true?


If the engine or transmission went out, I think I'd just rebuild it up. I'd live a high compression turbo. Just a small one.

Has anyone tuned the engine to run a leaner burn to get higher mpg?
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