Beater SportCross worth it, or can of worms? - Lexus IS Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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Beater SportCross worth it, or can of worms?

I'm looking for a SportCross to serve as my daily driver, and I just saw this vehicle posted on Craigslist:
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/cto...916124264.html

There's clearly a lot wrong with it. Some substantial body damage, bad cat, broken headlight leveling motor... You get the picture. And the seller refers to the engine as a "V4", which doesn't reflect well on his knowledge of the car.

I have about a month of nothing but spare time to whip a car into shape before driving it across the country. I bought my current DD on non-op, and I've replaced pretty much everything, so I can fix most stuff myself (and I know how expensive a "deal" can be).

I'm ultimately looking for a fairly nice daily, so I wouldn't want to buy it and just sit on non-essential issues. Is this car worth a look, or should I stay away?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 05:34 AM
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id give the dude like 1000-1200 bucks. Worst case you can part it out and get your money back. Any more than that and the money you spend on fixing it will get you one in better shape.

2004 Absolutely Red 5 speed
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 06:31 AM
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I would drive it and see if I like it. The ad seems to be really honest and if the car drives way better than it looks, I would throw an offer at them.

finding a used fender and bumper cover wouldn't be difficult. If you were patient, could prolly find both in the right color...
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 06:49 AM
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Looks to me like it might be worth that. $1500-2000 if it's a running and driving car. Body work is damn expensive even painting is expensive so if the plan it to fix it back up, you have to factor that back in. If you just want to drive it around as a beater, it's probably not bad.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys.

I'm a bit nervous about that rocker panel damage - unlike the other issues, it looks like that's not easily replaced. According to this post, which is I think talking about a similar situation:
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Originally Posted by Ek9B18 View Post
That's not the side skirt, that's the sill. It's the part of the car that gives it most of it's stiffness. I'd expect the worst, that looks like it's been rusting from the inside out.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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I'm running the numbers on what it would cost to whip this car back into shape, and it's not seeming worth it compared to some of the $6-7k 200k-mile examples I'm seeing in the area. Doing the work myself would bring the numbers down a bit, but then again there are probably unforeseen costs as well.

https://i.imgur.com/o2imr2t.png

Is this a realistic analysis?
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 08:32 PM
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I'm seeing used level sensors on ebay for $18 each.

https://www.lexussouthatlantaparts.c...&searchString=

I'd get parts here if you're buying new. It's still highway robbery but cheaper than from a dealer.

If you spend that kind of money to fix up your $2000 beater, you're still looking at a car only worth $6K on a good day. If you goal is to really fix it back up, I'd probably start with a nicer one.

I think a good body shop could pull that sill back out without having to replace it.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ek9B18 View Post
I'm seeing used level sensors on ebay for $18 each.

https://www.lexussouthatlantaparts.c...&searchString=

I'd get parts here if you're buying new. It's still highway robbery but cheaper than from a dealer.

If you spend that kind of money to fix up your $2000 beater, you're still looking at a car only worth $6K on a good day. If you goal is to really fix it back up, I'd probably start with a nicer one.

I think a good body shop could pull that sill back out without having to replace it.
Thanks! How would you say $4000 invested into that car (say I could get it for $1500) would compare to the one I describe in this thread? As mentioned there, it looks very clean, but the front left fender isn't a great paint match. I'm not sure how big of a consideration mileage is with the IS, but the beater is a good 50k under the one linked above. (I'm guessing based on your above advice you'd suggest the $5500 one, but a direct comparison is helpful.)
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 05:37 AM
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How would you say $4000 invested into that car (say I could get it for $1500) would compare to the one I describe in this thread?
"Invest" is probably a poor way to put it. "Wasted" is probably closer to the truth. I've wasted a bunch of money on my IS too but it's a hobby so throwing money away is expected.

The problem is, I'm not clear what your goal is. If I just wanted a cheap car to drive, I'd make sure the engine and transmission aren't worn out as much as I could, then I'd buy the beater, spend a $1000 on maintenance (timing belt, suspension bushings) and just drive it. In my mind there's no problem with driving an ugly beater as long as it's reliable and the IS can be a reliable car.

On the other hand if your goal is to drive a nice car then you should probably buy a nicer car. These cars aren't going to appreciate any time soon so the values are always decreasing. That $5500 dollar one with 200k miles might be a good choice.

If your goal is to have a car to play with and drive, then a beater might be a good start. You could learn to do body work and replace all the broken parts yourself.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ek9B18 View Post
"Invest" is probably a poor way to put it. "Wasted" is probably closer to the truth. I've wasted a bunch of money on my IS too but it's a hobby so throwing money away is expected.

The problem is, I'm not clear what your goal is. If I just wanted a cheap car to drive, I'd make sure the engine and transmission aren't worn out as much as I could, then I'd buy the beater, spend a $1000 on maintenance (timing belt, suspension bushings) and just drive it. In my mind there's no problem with driving an ugly beater as long as it's reliable and the IS can be a reliable car.

On the other hand if your goal is to drive a nice car then you should probably buy a nicer car. These cars aren't going to appreciate any time soon so the values are always decreasing. That $5500 dollar one with 200k miles might be a good choice.

If your goal is to have a car to play with and drive, then a beater might be a good start. You could learn to do body work and replace all the broken parts yourself.
Thanks. My current daily ('90 Corvette) is a little bit of a beater that I want to do some more engine work on, so I'm looking for a nicer, more practical daily that I can eventually mod. I'm okay with starting with a car that needs a little work, but I want to be able to affordably end up with a reliable car in nice condition.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 01:34 PM
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Not convincing you one way or another, but I bought a cheap catalytic converter on ebay that has worked so far for 13k miles for ~$300. Evan Fischer Catalytic Converter for Lexus 99-00 SC300/98-05 GS300/01-05 IS300 is the type. I also picked up bumpers (front and rear) from Certifit for ~$250/each, and a passenger fender for $150 shipped from a company online. So only ~$1000 to fix the CEL and body damage.

I just saw you are from CA so it may be a bit more for the CARB certified header.

It's a little strange that someone that works on cars a bunch lists the motor as a V4 and not an I6 or V6 though.
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