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Curtis
Curtis PowerDork
1/1/18 6:38 p.m.

I think I've decided how I want to re-do my stable.  There is only one part of it I don't like, but I think I'll be better off in the long run.

I'm going to ditch the F150 in favor of an AWD chevy van; either start with a passenger van and take out all but the second row seat, or start with a cargo van and add a second row seat.  My normal M.O. here would be to buy a conversion van since they like to depreciate quicker, but AWD Savannahs/Express don't seem to follow that trend quite like the others do.

Then I think I'll dump the Impala SS and get a sensible something.  Truth is, I drive the F150 every day, everywhere, but I only NEED it for work or personal truck use about twice a week.  I do tow a large boat and (ocassionally a rather large travel trailer, hence the need to replace it with another truck-y thing)

If I could replace the Impala with a hatchback or wagon I could still have something with a fair amount of cargo space that gets better than 14mpg and doesn't ride like a 4x4 truck.

Wants for a hatch/wagon:
-Not too picky on RWD/FWD.  AWD wouldn't be necessary with an AWD van or a 4x4 truck in the stable.  When the going gets tough I can just take the appropriate vehicle.
-Doesn't need to be a powerhouse, but it is replacing a V8, so not a dog either. I always threaten to try autocrossing, so a nod in that direction wouldn't be a terrible thing... but its very low on the list
-Manual trans a must
-Reliable, Tardis-like (bigger on the inside, smallish on the outside), bang for buck
-Out of the box fun.  Don't have the time, space, or motivation right now to modify it into what I want, so whatever I get has to be ready to go with minimal modification.  Saaburu + Konis + BBS basketweaves = good idea.  89 Tercel + turbo kit + a month of suspension fabrication = not a good idea.
-Main use would be work commute, light stuff-hauling, and road trips and vacations with Baltimore Girl, her 4-year-old son, and up to two medium sized dogs.
-Some creature comforts would be nice; power windows/locks, maybe heated seats, but it doesn't need to be fully loaded.  Safety with a 4-year-old is also a strong consideration point.

Budget:  Not entirely sure what I can get for the SS.  Its one of those that KBB says $6000, but I think they're smoking crack.  NADA says Low Retail of $7400, so they're apparently on Meth.  I think if I get $3500 it would be a small miracle.  I can throw in another $2000, so let's call the budget at $5000 to be safe.

captdownshift
captdownshift PowerDork
1/1/18 6:59 p.m.

V50 T5 manual AWD 

captdownshift
captdownshift PowerDork
1/1/18 7:03 p.m.
MrChaos
MrChaos Dork
1/1/18 7:15 p.m.

 pre 09 Matrix XRS or Vibe GT 180hp 2zz powered, 5 door hatchback, toyota reliability and the vibe gt is cheaper since its a dead brand car.

 

captdownshift
captdownshift PowerDork
1/1/18 7:19 p.m.

FWD M/T Element should be considered as well, it won't be as much fun or comfortable as the V50, but it will last forever, holds the world and is very pleasant to drive on long trips and even to camp out of. 

Curtis
Curtis PowerDork
1/2/18 4:38 p.m.

I'm digging the Volvo.  The Matrix/Vibe is a bit less...um... cool than I was thinking?  Like on the coolness scale of 1-10 it rates about a negative 4 for me.  But I didn't include that qualification in my original post.  Your suggestion of Matrix is an excellent one, I just didn't think about the... uh... uncoolness of what some of the answers might invoke.

What do I look for in those T5s?  Good/bad years, problems to address, etc?

MrChaos
MrChaos Dork
1/2/18 7:10 p.m.

Volvo 850 R, v70 R, Audi S4 Avant?  

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
1/2/18 8:11 p.m.

I thought the 850 R was only available as fwd?

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
1/2/18 8:26 p.m.

Saab 9-5 wagon, focus svt (or wagon with svt suspension), jaguar x type wagon, any number of BMWs, wrx wagon, sooo many excellent choices!

MrChaos
MrChaos Dork
1/2/18 8:38 p.m.

In reply to mad_machine :

he says fwd is ok.

NGTD
NGTD UberDork
1/2/18 8:43 p.m.

In reply to mad_machine :

The 850R is only FWD. Also I don't believe the US ever got any with a M/T. Canada did but not the US.

For a limited time in 1996 only, Volvo offered a new heavy duty manual transmission designed specifically for the 850 R (excluding US market), called the M59, which featured a viscous coupling limited slip differential.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
1/2/18 10:44 p.m.
NGTD said:

In reply to mad_machine :

The 850R is only FWD. Also I don't believe the US ever got any with a M/T. Canada did but not the US.

For a limited time in 1996 only, Volvo offered a new heavy duty manual transmission designed specifically for the 850 R (excluding US market), called the M59, which featured a viscous coupling limited slip differential.

before I bought my Rover I had an 850 manual sedan. I almost bought an 850 turbo wagon with a blown (automatic) transmission and was going to swap out my manual to the wagon, but life got in the way

The0retical
The0retical SuperDork
1/2/18 11:00 p.m.

I thought working in theater had a prerequisite of owning a Volvo.

Also V70R if you can find one.

 

jay8s
jay8s New Reader
1/2/18 11:52 p.m.

E39 540 wagon.  Manuals are few and far, but they rock a V8. Alternatively, the 528 wagons are much easier to find in manual flavor.  

lnlds
lnlds Reader
1/3/18 3:21 a.m.

Aside from the usual suspects mazda 3/5/6, focus variants

Not sure if this is big enough but is somewhat interesting +tune?

https://york.craigslist.org/ctd/d/2013-sonic-lt-turbo-1-owner/6425712891.html

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
1/3/18 6:42 a.m.
jay8s said:

E39 540 wagon.  Manuals are few and far, but they rock a V8. Alternatively, the 528 wagons are much easier to find in manual flavor.  

wasn't there still a 535 in manual?

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo Dork
1/3/18 10:02 a.m.

I have an 03 WRX Wagon I could be tempted to part with.  

2 owners (me and the original), 150k, all documentation from new, interior is perfect and clean and not smoked in, lifted 2", General Grabbers, 5 speed, new Exedy clutch and ACT flywheel, fresh rebuild on center diff, 15k miles on all new brakes (pads, rotors, etc)Cobb tune, full exhaust from manifolds (up pipe and 3" turbo back), some other suspension work due to the lift, fully tinted including windshield, a few nice other odds n ends, slight rust, every panel has at least 1 small scratch or dent.  $5k?  Seems about what running ones go for around here.  

smokindav
smokindav Reader
1/3/18 12:02 p.m.

The only 2-dr hatch in which actual people fit is a GTI. 2006 or newer. I’m 6’1” and completely comfy in the back seat.

Strangely, the 4-door version has less room in the back seat.

 

An S197 Mustang would be fun. But small back seat and dogs don’t like, fit.

3-series wagon? Wrx?

 

 

 

 

Furious_E
Furious_E SuperDork
1/3/18 12:16 p.m.
mad_machine said:
NGTD said:

In reply to mad_machine :

The 850R is only FWD. Also I don't believe the US ever got any with a M/T. Canada did but not the US.

For a limited time in 1996 only, Volvo offered a new heavy duty manual transmission designed specifically for the 850 R (excluding US market), called the M59, which featured a viscous coupling limited slip differential.

before I bought my Rover I had an 850 manual sedan. I almost bought an 850 turbo wagon with a blown (automatic) transmission and was going to swap out my manual to the wagon, but life got in the way

My first car was a manual, N/A 850 sedan. I later owned a turbo 850 sedan, and prior to either of those my dad had an auto N/A wagon. The only regrettable thing was not owning all three at the same time so I could make a turbo 5 speed wagon. 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
1/3/18 12:25 p.m.

I want a T50, but I commented only because I haven't been following your life closely and I am glad to hear you've found someone, hope you're happy and all is well!

Curtis
Curtis PowerDork
1/3/18 9:46 p.m.

You guys are great.  Thanks for all the ideas.

Curtis
Curtis PowerDork
1/24/18 1:56 p.m.

Reviving the zombie.  I did find some V50s.  What do I look for?  Problem spots?

I also found some BWM 3-series wagons in that range.  I read the e46 buyer's guide from a few months ago.  Thoughts?  x-drive or rwd?  Surprisingly I found several of both with manual transmission within 100 miles of me.  I don't really need the awd in the wagon but they seem to be plentiful.  Are the awd parts reliable or will I just be chasing maintenance and repairs all the time?  Only 5-series wagons I'm finding are automatic or really old and clapped out, unless I go newer and $10k

low mileage e46 that is advertised as rwd, but says xi on the tailgate

V50 T5 6 speed that might do well

e46 wagon with sport package but 166k kinda scares me

 

FuzzWuzzy
FuzzWuzzy Reader
1/24/18 2:25 p.m.

Personally, I suggest RWD when it comes to the Bimmers.  Just one less possible future headache. Not sure if the wagons had the issue, but the earlier E46 would have cracked subframes. Didn't start getting factory reinforced until I believe 2003.

And when it comes to actually knowing what the car has/came with from the factory, BMWVin.com and it'll give you every package that that specific car was ordered with.

dannyzabolotny
dannyzabolotny Reader
1/24/18 2:26 p.m.

I'd get the E46 wagon with 166k miles. It sounds like it's had a lot of the maintenance work already done, and it has a relatively new clutch too. These M54 engines are quite robust as long as you don't overheat them— they'll easily go past 200k miles without too much fuss. I haven't heard too many complaining about the older xDrive systems, they're pretty simple and tend to work pretty well. Plus a RWD conversion isn't hard either if that's something you would be interested in. You definitely want the sport package, the non-sport seats and steering wheel suck.

dannyzabolotny
dannyzabolotny Reader
1/24/18 2:28 p.m.
FuzzWuzzy said:

Personally, I suggest RWD when it comes to the Bimmers.  Just one less possible future headache. Not sure if the wagons had the issue, but the earlier E46 would have cracked subframes. Didn't start getting factory reinforced until I believe 2003.

And when it comes to actually knowing what the car has/came with from the factory, BMWVin.com and it'll give you every package that that specific car was ordered with.

The cracked subframes were only a big issue with the higher-powered variants like the 330i and M3. A 325xi wagon is probably fine, though a PPI would certainly be wise just to be sure (and to knock some more money off the sale price).

My favorite BMW VIN tool is bimmer.work

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