1994 Lexus SC300 w/ 2JZ engine...should I buy?

Today I went to look at a FOAF’s used car. As above, with 157K mi on it, and an AT. Poorly-maintained, but relatively rust-free underneath. Car had been sitting a while, and was totally dead. I charged it for ~5 minutes and it turned over and “coughed” but didn’t run.

Fella is leaving town in 48 hrs and wants $400 for it. I was going to offer $300 and let him work me to $350, if necessary. Has title in hand. My thinking is mostly that the I-6 engine is desirable and probably could be sold for what I paid or more, then I profit on the scrap value of everything else. (Of course, I might mess around with it and get it running–it could happen!)

What say you?

Buy it. If nothing else…it will bring more than that at the scrapyard after you’ve salvaged the best parts.

A 21 year old poorly maintained car?
Unless you plan to sell it to the scrapman by the pound, forget it.

Are you going to make the time to work on it? If so, why not? Do you have an inside place to work on it? It will we cold and wet in Pittsburg,before you know it. As for,rust, I guess rust on the top side must be minimal,too otherwise you would have mentioned it. Is the interior a wreck and do you care? I know you might part it out, but it sounds like you want to get it running and use it. If it really was poorly maintained, you might want to check compression to see if you need another engine or to rebuild this one.

I agree with above. If everything else seems okay and by fixing the engine the car would be usable, then it might be worth the time. Otherwise, it is going to be a time consuming hobby and it is all up to you whether your time is worth it or not.

You have been here a lot, and you seem to be familiar with machinery, so what’s the issue? I do this sort of thing from time to time, but only on motorcycles and scooters. They are small, easy to work on and get rid of. This is a great engine that might be OK. A 1994 car that has been neglected can have lots of electrical and electronic issues that are far beyond my knowledge. If you can start the engine, and if it runs without knocks and smoke, the engine alone is worth the price.

Just how would you go about maintaining electrical and electronic systems?

I might take a shot at it and seeing as how the guy is leaving town in 48 hours my feeling is 300 bucks, take it or leave it.

Sitting for a while and coughing could be stale gas. If it’s coughing then it oughta run. At least that means the timing belt hasn’t given up on it.

Thanks everybody for your input! To close out the story, he texted me today and let me know the car had been sold the night before. Apparently, my charging the battery and tightening the terminals resulted in getting the car to fire up, which convinced the buyer.

All in all, the best possible outcome, IMO. As I said before, his family is friends with my family, so I felt some pressure to do the deal–and while I thought there was potential there, I was already ruing the time I was about to lose chasing meager profits. Now, the buyer is (presumably) happy, the FOAF’s happy (and grateful to me for helping him make more money on the sale), and I’m free to waste my time in the usual manner!