captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/15/21 12:27 p.m.

A friend has picked up a 270,000 mile 1998 camry from his brother in law for free (he paid to have it shipped from just outside of chicago to Maryland, sight unseen for the past 18 months at least. The vehicle was offered to the next door neighbor, who is a tech, and he declined to take it. I believe, but I'm not certain and will get confirmation, that the vehicle was going to be donated if the friend didn't want it and he was forewarned that the vehicle probably wasn't worth the shipping cost. However, due to the unicorn aspect, he did what many of us would have done and had it shipped east. 


The Good:

V6, manual transmission (the legendary E153 at that) impressively clean interior (which will likely end up being disgarded) and shockingly no Camry corner. 

The bad:

The vehicle had been sitting for six plus months due to needing a power steering rack that pukes out fluid as quickly as you can pour it in. During that time frame the battery also went dead. The windshield is cracked in multiple locations and has been previously replaced and there's a significant section of rust along the top of the windshield. Speaking of rust, I don't know how you midwesterners do it. Top hats, suspension arms, rockers, radiator brackets, exhaust, every bolt, nut and fastener. The alternator also needed replacement and shredded the belt, power steering pump is questionable (due to being run dry long enough, there's a whine), the ac compressor is seized and the driver's side outer cv boot is torn and enough grease has been flung out that it's pretty dry in there's I'd opt for an axle instead of repack and reboot. 

So in itemized form:

Power steering rack

Ac compressor



Driver's side axle

Midwest rust with a bonus of the section above the windshield in need of immediate attention.

Possible power steering pump.

What does the hive proclaim this neglected piece of japanese engineering is worth? 

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/15/21 1:09 p.m.

In reply to captdownshift (Forum Supporter) :

What do yall think it's worth and maybe we'll agree?

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/15/21 1:12 p.m.

Scrap value would be an awesome starting point. $400 MAX. And i sure as hell wouldn't pay it.

Yeah, I'm saying $200 or whatever the scrap yard would give you.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/15/21 1:30 p.m.

In reply to Stampie (FS) :

My opinion on that is skewed, I've purchased vehicles for $350 solely for the E153 then scrapped the rest. 


I wouldn't have paid to shipped it east, though I would've considered grabbing junkyard parts, shipping them west, thrashing on it and making for an adventure of a fly in drive if I weren't inpatient. If it had been for sale locally, I would've thought about it at $400, but likely only pulled the trigger to grab the transmission then scrap it. The amount of labor needed to replace nearly every accessory that a belt touches would've had me not wanting to put in the labor to repair and not biting, in all honesty at any price. 

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/15/21 2:13 p.m.

(trailing arm)

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/15/21 2:52 p.m.

I put it in my junkyard online quote and it came to $403 so I'm good with $400.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
2/15/21 2:58 p.m.

Idk, between the Covid tax on used cars, it being tax refund season, new stimulus checks, and the fact it's a Camry, that looks like at least a $1000 car to me.

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/15/21 3:06 p.m.

I'd vote for scrap value, the rust on there is significant (as someone who owned a '98 Camry for several years).  With the car having 270k on it, there's not guarantee that the other components are in any better shape.

RacetruckRon GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/15/21 3:19 p.m.

I'm with Tom, rinse that salt off and that's a $1000 car easily this time of year in Milwaukee regardless of pandemic.  COVID has really berked up the cheap car market.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
2/15/21 3:31 p.m.

Here's one example. And don't forget: There's an easier method in the rulebook to establish FMV. wink

ProDarwin MegaDork
2/15/21 3:34 p.m.

270k, and rust like that?  Scrap value.

wvumtnbkr PowerDork
2/15/21 4:00 p.m.

Absolutely worthless to me....

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/16/21 8:36 a.m.

Counterpoint to "it's junk": I'm doing a 2GR + E153 swap into a project car. These transmissions are becoming incredibly hard to find thanks to MR2 swappers. I'm hunting for a flywheel and simply cannot find one. The only option is an aftermarket $400 unit. So this car is worth $400 to me just for the flywheel. You could sell the whole transmission + flywheel + shifter linkage for $1000 easy. 

Let me know if you part it out...

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/16/21 8:56 a.m.

yeah I was gonna say I don't think its junk at all. presumably a running driving camry with a battery? If you put that on CL here in Chicago for $1000 people would be banging down your door to come take it. 

Let's just say "there's a reason" your buddy paid close to a grand probably to have it shipped 1000 miles. 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/16/21 9:01 a.m.

Also, I'm with Stampie and Tom. If you want to FMV this, come up with your own interpretation of fair value first. Find some similar comps, and maybe you can prove the FMV without even having to get us to agree!

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/16/21 10:37 a.m.

I've been searching for comps for him.

The difficulty regarding comps is finding one that isn't such similar state of disrepair. There are several with rod knocks, but I'm yet to find a rod knock one for sale with equivalent rust. Replacing an engine isn't too far off for the amount of labor he'll be putting in. Other then draining coolant, doing a clutch, disconnecting the harnesses, sensors, and 2 more motor mounts, he's doing everything else with regards to all the accessory driven things. 

He shipped it east for three reasons. His girlfriend and I had both been hounding him to look into lemons platforms. What he brought up this vehicle, I noted that consumables are cheap, Power is adequate, they are dead nuts reliable and that if you were to add some resemblance to steering feel via a rear sway bar, rear tie bar and coilovers, that if you stay out of trouble you could have a good time and theoretically run in the top third. 

Second is that I told him if he ever stuffs it or grew tired of it and didn't want to mess with it that I would buy the transmission and axles from him, as they play with the BG chassis. (So those were dibs before it ever got loaded onto a trailer).  

Finally there was opportunity, initially he had been quoted roughly $800 for shipping and then I reminded him to check with friends at Frisby tire, and TPC. It got from Chicagoland to Maryland via Sebring hitching rides for much less than fuel cost. He paid basically to have in inop vehicle loaded and unloaded. 


In looking for comps I have noticed a surprising and interesting trend regarding parting out camrys. Apparently people ask in the 600 to $1,000 range, regardless of spec. (Now these are rust free cars at least) I know that there's millions of them out there but I find it hard to believe that someone is going to pay $400 for back seats or $200 each for doors. But I've never dipped my toe into the Camry market. I would have expected the undented bumper covers to be where the real value is laugh wink

I'll be honest, I doubt that he ever takes the car to Gainesville, he'd mentioned possibly doing so following me and the escort, but my counter was that splitting driving duties down and back would make the trek more enjoyable (then cut the break down potential by 50%) 

The motivation and encouragement to get him to consider the challenge at least is a thought exercise is to prompt him to start removing interior bits and things that he doesn't need carpeting sound deadening headliner rear seats, etc. And to commit budget to coilovers a rear sway bar and rear tie bar to give it some assemblance of steering feel and composure




No Time
No Time SuperDork
2/16/21 10:59 a.m.

Do you have state safety inspections?

Here in Mass rust holes through body panels will lead to a failed safety inspection. If you can't pass safety, then the used value drops due to repairs needed to actually put it in  the road. 

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/16/21 11:27 a.m.

In reply to No Time :

MD does when registering, unless you register it as a historic or street rod, the model year must be 25 years old to register it as an historic so it has one more year. Once it's operational and he gets the tags for it he'll have to get it inspected so there will be an update then. 


Correction, it's 20 years so it's good for historic tags without inspection in MD now. 

nocones GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/16/21 11:59 a.m.

Friend + BIL = not to late to make a receipt? 

Clearly the BIL let the car go for free.  He had offered it to multiple parties.  Maybe it wasn't "openly for sale" so its a bit of an inside deal but it can be easily argued it's the same anytime someone buys something challenge related for a deal not available equally across the country.    

The BIL set the value of the car at below scrap and let it go for that.  I have no issue with this car being used at scrap value.  EVEN THOUGH IT'S WORTH MORE. 

Every year there are cars that have parts or the cars that are worth SUBSTANTIALLY more then the people paid for it.  That's part of it.  That's fine.   This is not a complaint about that. 

But why should this guy get penalized because the deal he literally got falls under FMV?  This wasn't a race shop giving him a cast off Toyota Camry race car.  This is a person you know with a Rusty old car wanting it out of their yard.  I got a rough 2001 Miata the same way.  I acquired an 1989 civic sedan and a 1988 S10 the same way.    

It's sort of like Lemon's.  There is not a lot of chance that that Camry wins the whole thing.  Even if the engine/trans was swapped into something at $0 after they recoup $400 for the shell it's unlikely.  But I'm guessing it's equally unlikely that that car will even show up if the guy is saddled with an extra $600 FMV because junk Camry's happen to have an unusual amount of value.    

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/16/21 12:19 p.m.

In reply to nocones :

I fully agree. But FMV is supposed to be fair market value, not 'a really good deal'. 

For the challenge, it's much better to get good deals and document them than it is to try and FMV your stuff. 

nocones GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/16/21 12:32 p.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

That is why I said make a reciept  laugh

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