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Old 10-05-2007, 02:16 AM   #1
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I just found a Ford '92 Fiesta... for $750

Is this a buy or no buy?

I really need some advice here... it's beat but seems mechanically sound... about as aerodynamic as a tissue box. Has some cosmetic rust but very inspectable (he'll do the sticker himself, pretty much forever too, he has also maintained the car for 6 years with the previous owner)

I may be able to talk him down to $500-$600 since his lot never seems to turn over vehicles (he has a location that is beautiful, if you never want anyone to drive by. Great fly fishing and twisty road though...)

What do I need to look for?

I really want:
a) much better mileage than the Subu
b) a hypermiler hot rod. Y'know, the hypermiling equivalent of a mustang or camaro or something.

Should I hold my guns and look for an equivalently priced metro of civic?


"If you want to save gas I suggest you permanently remove the drivers seat and steering wheel. That seems to help." -Oscar Halverson

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Old 10-05-2007, 02:47 AM   #2
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my girlfriend drives a 97 (i believe) fiesta. pretty much the same car with a bit rounder nose and an updated interior. the engine is an old diesel that get over 40mpg with her driving it (she does coast in neutral and switches of the engine at long stops) also the engine is rather heavy and not really lively (common with older diesels... also she only drives relatively short distances these days so it's probably never getter propperly warmed up) but it's a fun car to drive with really nice handling caracteristics. i owned a 97 opel cosa wich is a comparable car and handling wasn't nearly as good as the fiesta. also it can coast surprisingly long .

drag quoefficient is't spectacular but small frontal area makes up a bit for that , and aeromods could get you a long way. i think a kammback might be worth something on this car.

here are some links i dug up when she was about to get hers.

rust is something to keep an eye on... these cars have some known rustprone areas that could become problematic if left unattended.

i'm not sure how far you can push this car as an extreme hypermiler, but it's a solid economic car and a good startingpoint imho.


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Old 10-05-2007, 08:01 AM   #3
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750 sounds pretty reasonable. But then again if its beat up, who knows. The fiesta should be a bit quicker than a 3cyl metro. Maybe XFI will chime in he's had a few. how bout a b6t swap.
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Old 10-05-2007, 11:47 AM   #4
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Oh well, this isn't the one.

Test drove it today... I really wanted to like it, but it just doesn't add up.

Needs tires, brakes, valve cover gasket, rust work, interior is shot.
And worst of all I took it down my normal route to work... coasting down hills where I would normally accelerate from 40 to 65-70 and then back down to 40 (always within 100 feet of the same old bump spot) in the fiesta I went 40 to 35 and then had to get back on the gas while I was still going downhill.

I went back and aired up the tires. It made a 10 foot difference. Tried it again and popped the shifter into neutral, ah ha, 20 feet further. Still over a mile short of normal. Yeeesh.

So it also needs suspension work and transaxle work, maybe fluids would do most of it, but it really seems like a bad choice all around.


"If you want to save gas I suggest you permanently remove the drivers seat and steering wheel. That seems to help." -Oscar Halverson

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Old 10-05-2007, 12:12 PM   #5
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It could have been far worse if it would have been debatable on whether or not you should take it. This way, you lose no sleep...
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Old 10-05-2007, 02:04 PM   #6
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Watch Rust, Wheel Bearings, Axles, Usual Maintanance Items and Rust. OOOPS! Said that twice, I guess you better watch out for that twice as much as everything else. Good Cars. I wouldn't be afraid of these cars even with 150k on it. Mazda did a nice job with the drivetrain. 40mpg out of the box is pretty standard (with a 5spd manual trans). Interiors are almost always ratty (Kia did pretty lousy job with them), but lots of room inside for a small car.

Sorry that one didn't work out for you (probably a good choice to walk away from it)...not all of them roll poorly. My Festiva Rolls Great. Why don't you make me an offer for mine

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Old 10-15-2007, 05:35 AM   #7
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My 89 Festiva

Had an 89 Festiva till 2006, it was a family car past from my uncle, to my mother, to my father, to me, and to a family friend. It was the automatic, got 34 mpg reguardless of driving technique, wish I had the 5 speed, I'd probably still have it. A used engine from a Japanese importer will set you back $450. The car is a Mazda 323 mechanically, this car is also the basis for whai I understand grew into the Ford Focus. The little engine is very relaible, I could run the A/C all day, it would never overheat. The over head cam shaft is hydraulic and will rattle and make the engine idle rough. I called Ford on a price to replace the lifters, they are sold as a set for $430. So I always said, I'll just replace the engine for $110 more.

These cars eat exhaust pipes and are real tough on spark plugs. You'll know when its time to replace plugs, the engine will start to miss. Stock plug last about 3 or 4000 miles, the electrodes are litlerally burned off. I found the best plug for that engine was the U-Groove style plugs, they would make it almost 10,000 miles before a miss. Every 2 years I put a muffler on that car, it would just rust right through. Dont go to Midas they cut off the old pipe and crimp on a new one, this lowers you exhaust pipe diameter by almost a third. I wound up nibbling off an inch or so of the tail pipe every 2 years fitting on a new muffler.

Oh yes they do leak oil, mine leaked from the head gasket and the head, to get the valve cover off required you to remove the intake butterfly assembly.

Having had 1969 Mini Cooper for 8 months while I was a used car dealer, these little boxes are very reminiscent of the delightfull little mini. Park anywhere, turn in a tight circle, a barell of laughs.

Mine made it almost 200,000 miles, the thing that killed it was the automatic, it had no lock up torque converter and the engine reved super high on freeway commutes. Its a very straight foreward car, easy to work on, charming little box. Definetly get it in a 5 speed.
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Old 10-15-2007, 01:17 PM   #8
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theres always the ford aspire... same thing just slightly bigger i belive.

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