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  #1  
Old 07-04-2011, 10:38 PM
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david_12121 david_12121 is offline
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should i buy the SVX?

hey guys
i might be posting this the wrong way so i'm sorry
i'm 17 years old and i've been in love with the SVX for quite some time
i found a few and tried to buy but each had some problems
and i'm really pushing my parents to let me buy an SVX therefore if something happens to it, it's gonna be real bad for me
how reliable are they compared to...say a lexus SC 400?
i've heard that the tranny is their biggest issue
i found one for $1500 and it had a few problems: sway bar bushing was broken(10 dollar fix?), the paint and interior was rough, and for some reason you had to press the little button on the center console to put it in gear
160,000miles
engine and tranny seemed nice to me and it pulled real hard
should i buy it?
any further explanation is much appreciated(you know how nice it is to have such a car as your first:P)
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  #2  
Old 07-04-2011, 11:16 PM
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Re: should i buy the SVX?

Can't comment on the technical nature of the question but I can tell you that the SVX is my first car (I'm 16) and it is absolutely awesome to own. Be sure to take time to find the right one and take care of it.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 07-04-2011, 11:50 PM
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Re: should i buy the SVX?

As with most cars, when you buy used you truly cannot be sure of what you are getting into. Many of these cars get parted out or sent to the junker because people give up when they see the repair estimates. If you plan on buying one, be sure it is the car you want. To properly maintain it is not cheap, and can sometimes be downright expensive. If you learn to work on it yourself there is less money involved, but you must be very deliberate, as to avoid making a costly mistake.

The issues listed above are not huge deterrants. Sway bar bushings are cheap and easy to replace. Not sure about the shift lock button needing to be pressed in, but it is most likely not a HUGE deal. Expect the seats to be worn out (drivers side especially). Make sure the tranny does not clunk when going into gear (including reverse). Listen to the idle, it should be smooth and regular, no hiccups, and the less ticking the better. Valve tick is very common on our motors, but an untrained ear can mistake that for the beginning stages of bottom end failure.

Good luck with buying your first car. I had an '86 accord I beat the hell out of for my first car. Most people tend to do that with their first car, no matter what it is. Keep that in mind when looking for the car that is right for you.
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  #4  
Old 07-05-2011, 03:40 AM
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Re: should i buy the SVX?

As said previously, with the cars being older and more expensive than usual for parts/labor, it can add up. I'm not trying to deter you from getting the SVX either, it's great.. but if you (your parents) don't have pockets to fix unexpected issues, you'll be walking.

I got my 94 with 163k miles and over the course of the past 40k miles (3 years, lot of sitting time) I've had to replace quite a bit but no transmission, thankfully.

First issue was a busted radiator around 168k. That was like $150 and I put it in myself. (shop was going to charge like $100 to do it.)

Then a coil pack went... that was almost another $100, I installed that myself as well. New spark plugs (reg maintenance) about $60ish... done myself.

You can't cheap out on tires either... well, you can I guess.. but even cheap tires will end up being like $400. (not like the cheap 13 or 14s most cars have) I had replaced those around 168k too and are ready for another set for sure (I'm at 201k now)

Other things I had to replace:

Battery - $130
A/C Pulley - $48
Idler Tensioner - $37ish?
Belts - $40
Alternator - $198
Power Steering Pump - $100ish

None of that includes labor as I did most of it myself (mechanics tend to hear AWD and SVX and equate that to BMW somehow...) I just roll my eyes and insist on trying to do it myself... except for the timing belt replacement.

Water Pump - $100
Timing Belt Labor - $300

Oh yea, one of the rims cracked so I lucked out and got a new set for $200 on craigslist.

But, if you're the OCD kind and super passionate about the car, nothing will stop you from keeping it on the road... except for money. That and if you never plan to resale it, you're good. (Because you will NEVER get back what you paid/put in for it).
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  #5  
Old 07-05-2011, 06:55 AM
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Re: should i buy the SVX?

They're great cars, just don't expect to have the same ownership costs as your friend with a Civic that cost the same to buy. Parts are relatively expensive and not the easiest to find, but it's not a hard car to work on if you have some wrench time under your belt. I've done every bit of work on my car since I bought it, from oil changes to alignments to replacing the head gaskets last summer. I average $3000/year spent on the car, but I do a lot of modifications and work that isn't required.

The shift lock thing is a simple fix, there's a little module in the center console that needs to be replaced. I found one in a junk yard for free. Or you can just live with it.

Reliability wise... The engine is bullet-proof, but not idiot-proof. With good care and maintenance it will go a long distance, but it's no Chevy 350 that can live for 25 years without an oil change and rocks in the valve covers.
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  #6  
Old 07-05-2011, 07:05 AM
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Re: should i buy the SVX?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy_pilot View Post
I average $3000/year spent on the car, but I do a lot of modifications and work that isn't required.
I'd say that is a reasonable budget for annual expenses. If that gives you concern then I'd say the SVX is not for you.
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  #7  
Old 07-05-2011, 08:00 AM
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Re: should i buy the SVX?

Hindsight being 20/20, being a college-bound teen all over again (or the same age, regardless), I'd do exactly what I did:

Buy an inexpensive (and inexpensive to repair and fill with gas) hatchback.

The hatch is great for cramming all your era-specific goods into.

The inexpensive is because ($paycheck - $car) = $rentfunandgirls and there's not a lot of $paycheck at 17. Having a cool car that's only running half the time due to budget constraints and having to tell your buddies you can't go cos "no cash" isn't worth it.

Get a 5-speed and keep tires and brakes on it.

Naturally, YMMV, and it may seem like a drag at the time, but it's really a smart decision.
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  #8  
Old 07-05-2011, 08:34 AM
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Re: should i buy the SVX?

Honestly, I'd probably listen to LetItSnow!

Although I love SVXi (on my fourth) I probably would still own a REALLY cheap car in my teens and work my way up. The SVX is expensive on gas relative to a lot of other good imports like a Honda Civic, so quite apart from maintenance just the cost of keeping it going is going to get significant. Figure a Honda Civic with a stick might net you 30-35mpg with cheap gas... the SVX is going to be more like 20, on premium. Take that into account when figuring the cost of ownership.

I was lucky in a sense; I purchased a pretty damned nice SVX all things considered with an almost flawless interior (one, half-inch tear in the drivers seat, that's all... and I repaired it) and a good exterior (fading red paint and lots of tiny rock chips)... but even I'm dealing with repair issues. The front wheel bearings are pretty much gone... as are the brakes. Just waiting for the last few parts to hit (seals, rotors, pads, shims) and then I'll spend a weekend in my garage swearing at it before I'm really happy with the car... but I also paid a lot more than you're looking to pay.

As much as I'd love to recommend the SVX to you (I do to anyone who will listen as it's a damned fine car), I'm not sure that it's the right car for you at the moment. Besides, for ~$2000 you can pick up a decent Civic that has plenty of life left.

I also agree; get a stick if you can. They get better fuel mileage and will outlast an auto every time. I also think it's valuable for any young person to drive a stick as it makes one appreciate how a car puts the power to the road.

HTH
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  #9  
Old 07-05-2011, 09:36 AM
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Re: should i buy the SVX?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LetItSnow View Post
Buy an inexpensive (and inexpensive to repair and fill with gas) hatchback.
Nissan 240SX. Cheap to buy, cheap to insure, really cheap to fix (and never breaks to begin with), gets 27+ MPG like clockwork, can hold more stuff than you'd expect, and sooo much fun to beat on.
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  #10  
Old 07-05-2011, 03:21 PM
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Re: should i buy the SVX?

thank you all for the replies
so as Subix said, it had cost him ~1000 in 3 years...mine won't be sitting so 1000 in 1 year for maintenance...i can work with that but transmission failure? that will cost like 2000 and to be honest that's the only reason that i just don't go and buy it right now
if i get a civic or something like that, i know i'm gonna sell in in less than a year because car needs love
and about the nissan 240SX, is it more reliable and cheaper to fix? can it be turbo/super charged? you know that 150bhp doesn't move! (i'm young but not inexperienced, i've driven many cars)
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  #11  
Old 07-05-2011, 05:45 PM
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Re: should i buy the SVX?

With the stock KA motor the 240 is slow as balls, but will still spin up the rear tires and get sideways with a little encouragement. The KA can be turbocharged, but the more popular route is to swap in the already turbo'd SR20DET engine. It's an amazingly fun, well balanced, great handling car (weighs about 2800 lbs). Mine has required maybe $100 worth of work in the 18 months I've owned it, and it's an '89 with 307,000 KM on it.

The main thing to watch out for with 240's is rust, they were made from cheap metal and most are is rough shape.

Don't get me wrong, I love my SVX. It's my baby and I have zero intention of ever parting with it. But for sheer fun and not caring it just can't compare to the Nissan. I beat on the car daily and it always puts a grin on my face.
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Last edited by Crazy_pilot; 07-05-2011 at 05:49 PM.
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  #12  
Old 07-05-2011, 07:09 PM
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Re: should i buy the SVX?

Yea 240s are great cars. My brother had one, now sold, with a SR20 swap. Really fast with the SR20. Really rusty though, just chunks coming off the underneath of the car.
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  #13  
Old 07-06-2011, 09:56 AM
Ron Mummert Ron Mummert is offline
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Cool Re: should i buy the SVX?

With the stock KA motor the 240 is slow as balls, but will still spin up the rear tires and get sideways with a little encouragement.
The main thing to watch out for with 240's is rust, they were made from cheap metal and most are is rough shape.



Why does everyone expect a production line 155HP vehicle to keep up with a Ferrari? The base model '93 hatchback that I had for about 4 years provided plenty of fun at the autocross, & would hit 60 in under 8 seconds. It had 275,000 miles on it at time of sale last year, with the original clutch, suspension, & engine. It had NO rust whatsoever.

Geezer Editorial - Take a light rear wheel drive car, drop a turbo in it, & give to a "first time driver" 17 year old. Instant disaster.

Ron.
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  #14  
Old 07-06-2011, 10:06 AM
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Re: should i buy the SVX?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Mummert View Post
Why does everyone expect a production line 155HP vehicle to keep up with a Ferrari?

Because most can't drive well enough to enjoy handling, all they can manage is stomping down hard and look for something that provides easy thrills. That's why I spent half my post talking about the car's amazing cornering mannerisms, you won't find anything for the price of a 240 that will handle like that.
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  #15  
Old 07-06-2011, 10:24 AM
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Re: should i buy the SVX?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Mummert View Post
With the stock KA motor the 240 is slow as balls, but will still spin up the rear tires and get sideways with a little encouragement.
The main thing to watch out for with 240's is rust, they were made from cheap metal and most are is rough shape.



Why does everyone expect a production line 155HP vehicle to keep up with a Ferrari? The base model '93 hatchback that I had for about 4 years provided plenty of fun at the autocross, & would hit 60 in under 8 seconds. It had 275,000 miles on it at time of sale last year, with the original clutch, suspension, & engine. It had NO rust whatsoever.

Geezer Editorial - Take a light rear wheel drive car, drop a turbo in it, & give to a "first time driver" 17 year old. Instant disaster.

Ron.
+1 to what Ron said for first time driver......My first car I started driving at 16 was a 1985 Subaru Brat with a "well-worn-in" clutch. Nothing is cheap with this car. Maybe you should think about a backup daily driver car if you really want this car.
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