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Old 11-25-2007, 10:00 PM   #1
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Best $100 to spend on a 1980's amarican full sized car.

A friend of mine has a 1982 Buick LaSaber station wagon, the full sized deal that gets about 12mpg (really), and they are of course a poor collage student who try to leave it sit unused most of the week but when they do use it it just drinks gas, the other truble is is that they really like it, and that it has around 80,000 miles on it and is in reasonably great shape.
I offered to take a look at it in an effert to help boost the gas mileage, and figure that $100 is a reasonable goal to convince someone to spend in order to save money, now assuming that it has new air cleaner and spark plugs, what else should be checked?
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Old 11-25-2007, 10:23 PM   #2
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Sell it!
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Old 11-25-2007, 10:30 PM   #3
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best $100 to increase mileage...advertising to sell itsure you can get maybe another 5 mpg by putting in tuned carb, manifold, headers, open the exhaust, new tires (fully inflated), air dam, belly tray, rebuild the engine with high-comp pistons, etc but....you've got a full sized old school GM. it aint gonna get good mileage...even for $10k
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Old 11-25-2007, 10:35 PM   #4
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They don't really want to sell it because it's a station wagon! it will easly seat 6, or if you fold down the rear seat the back fits a 4x8 sheat of plywood or simaler sized objects, and that is what they use it for, hauling both people, and stuff, if it's not doing that, then it's not being driven.
And lets say that it does get sold, is the world better off by having a vehicle like this in the hands of someone who only drives 50 miles a week, or someone who is going to put on 20,000 miles a year?
So what would be the recomendations for replacing it with? they are an art student and they often haul stuff that can be as big as 2'x4'x8', we've fit stuff in the back of this station wagon that wouldn't fit in the back of our ford ranger pickup, nor in the back of a friends chevy S-10, so I'm all for sugesting they get another vehicle, but unless I can sugest something that they can buy for about what this vehicle would sell for ($1,500?) then I might as well just tell them to teleport them self.
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Old 11-26-2007, 03:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryland View Post
They don't really want to sell it because it's a station wagon! it will easly seat 6, or if you fold down the rear seat the back fits a 4x8 sheat of plywood or simaler sized objects, and that is what they use it for, hauling both people, and stuff, if it's not doing that, then it's not being driven.
And lets say that it does get sold, is the world better off by having a vehicle like this in the hands of someone who only drives 50 miles a week, or someone who is going to put on 20,000 miles a year?
So what would be the recomendations for replacing it with? they are an art student and they often haul stuff that can be as big as 2'x4'x8', we've fit stuff in the back of this station wagon that wouldn't fit in the back of our ford ranger pickup, nor in the back of a friends chevy S-10, so I'm all for sugesting they get another vehicle, but unless I can sugest something that they can buy for about what this vehicle would sell for ($1,500?) then I might as well just tell them to teleport them self.
The best $100 is for bus tickets and buy a second mini-beater.

Pretend your a farmer for a minute: the tractor gets horrible mileage, but are you going to trade it for a Metro? Of course not, the Metro can't do the work the tractor is designed to do. But even here in rural vermont, people don't drive the tractor (or plow truck, you get the idea) to the grocery store. Ok, a few do, but they get razzed. Even here.

Put the $100 toward another more FE form of transportation and keep the LaSabre as a "work" vehicle, used on an as-need basis. Like maybe a small motorcycle?

Plus, I bet the LaSabre is wicked cool, in the vein of "I got me a Chrysler it's as big as a whale and it's about to set sail..." Perfect party/tailgate car.
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Old 11-26-2007, 04:40 AM   #6
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Volvo 240 wagon, made '75 - '93. Get '88 or later.
Will hold huge amounts of stuff.
I think 4x8 plywood will need to go on the roof rack but they are huge inside. Washer or dryer, no problem. 1200 lb. total payload. Can tow a trailer.

Easy to work on.
If you're not a driveway mechanic you need a decent shop that will fix what's broke without breaking you. But that's true for nearly any car.

Driven normally, low 20's mpg highway and ~25 mpg highway.
I'm getting 25-32 highway depending on the season.
If you can find a stick that will be about 5 mpg better.
This car will save your life if you get hit.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:44 AM   #7
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Remove as much weight as possible...air up...grill block...ALL FREE

$100.00? maybe a smaller rebuilt carb?
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Old 11-26-2007, 07:37 AM   #8
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Along the vein of the tractor metaphor, also think of MPG times people. If you have a CRX that gets 50 mpg, it can only do so with 2 people. In people per mpg you're getting 100mpg, where with 6 passengers in this wagon, you're getting 72mpg. It's not fantastic, but if you're keeping six people from driving separate cars - there is value in that. If you were to spread those 6 people across 3 CRXs, you'd need to divide each of those 100mpgs by 3 (simultaneously running cars), giving you a total of only 33mpg. 72mpg vs 33mpg? Not a hard choice. I freely admit that I chose a two seater to further my point, so please don't attack me on that. I personally hate a Suburban, but more specifically I hate the concept of one person driving a Suburban. If you fill all 8 seats in it, it's not as uneconomical as we'd like to attack it for.
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:52 AM   #9
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What's the engine and is it carbed?
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:31 AM   #10
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According to wikipedia the station wagon came with a standard 307ci V8 made by Oldsmobile. There was an option for a GM made 350 though...

According to this site it looks like you could swap over to the 85+ roller heads (and intake manifold, and whatever) and see some mileage gain if you have the 307.

If you have the 350 then the possibilities are truly endless. There are so many old junked cars with 350s in them just laying around, undoubtedly with "performance" parts that you could use to get a bit more MPG out of the beast.

Oh, and most drastically there was the option for the Oldsmobile Diesel V8 engine. I'm sure this would need a tranny swap too. The Olds diesel has a bad reputation, they apparently didn't put as many head bolts on as they should have, but apparently if you can find one still in good shape and keep it well maintained they'll last a very long time, again wikipedia.
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