My Dodge is Dead


Why don’t you verify WITH YOUR OWN EYES what actually did happen

If someone told me my camshaft snapped, I’d want to see that for myself

FWIW if the camshaft did break, the car is realistically a goner, unless you can get a used head from the pick your own parts junkyard at a rock bottom price, I’m talking less than $100, and do the work yourself.

On second thought, if the cam broke it’s probably not worth fixing if you’ve got money for a newer car.

Check this out.

It seems to me that even a newer V6 midsize car would get better fuel economy than yours.

Plus, that newer car would have airbags, ABS, better crash ratings, etc.

All good points. The same mountainbike, the cam cover that blew off was on the right side of the engine, and so was most of the oil. The timing belt is on the left side of the engine. But I suppose, like you say, the oil could have come out of the camshaft itself, depending where it broke, onto the timing belt, causing it to slip.

The car was having a few issues. The power steering fluid had been leaking during the winter, but I filled it up several times, and that issue seemed to have resolved. Maybe the leak hole patched over with some gook? I had fixed the power steering fluid pump about 4 years ago for $500.00 - 6 month warranty - and was surprised it had started to leak again.

The tires are nearly new. I suppose I can sell them and put the car on ‘garaged’ with my insurance and keep it until the registration expires in September. I can use it as a nice dry storage place for chicken feed and cat food, I guess. I wish I could siphon out the gas. Maybe I will try. I had bought gas right before I had taken off.

What sort of a small car would everyone buy for peak fuel economy and low maintenance cost? I need a nice small car for towing behind my old motor home for sightseeing purposes. Easy parking would be a plus. Looks unimportant. All ideas will be appreciated.

I always start with a fresh copy of the Consumer Reports New Car Preview from the local bookstore. There are so many choices out there that it can be hard to choose without some kind of comparative summary in front of me.

It does sound like it’s time to move on.

I am kind of impressed with Nissan Versa. I saw one today. I hear they are a great value for the money. Thoughts, anyone?

I suspect you might be unhappy with a car of that size . . .

What, does everybody else know what a Flapper party is? I’m over 60 now and never heard of it. We had a governor in Minnesota that wore a boa though so I know what that is. Always have a change of clothes along.

I guess anything can be fixed but I can’t imagine you’ll get a camshaft and timing belt and all the other parts replaced for under $1000. An then what about the other one? You can always investigate further but might be best just to move on. I did have a timing chain problem once and the guy it was towed to said the engine was shot. I had it towed 50 miles home and spent a weekend and a $120 putting a new chain and sprockets on it and got another 150K out of it, but if you aren’t doing it yourself and have to pay $80 an hour, and all the parts, etc. changes the scenereo.

“I am kind of impressed with Nissan Versa. I saw one today. I hear they are a great value for the money. Thoughts, anyone?”

My thoughts are that you should keep looking.
The key words that Consumer Reports used to describe the Versa include:
“disappointing…noisy and cheap interior…drones as it gathers speed…transmission accentuates engine noise…handling lacks agility…ride is compliant but jumpy…first year reliability of the Versa sedan has been well below average”

On a positive note, the rear seat is relatively roomy, and it is economical, with a rating of 32 mpg overall.

In the Versa’s size & price class, the better choices would be the Kia Rio/Hyundai Accent twins, the Chevy Sonic, the Honda Fit, the Mazda 2, and the Ford Fiesta. The Versa is the lowest-priced of the lot, but a low price is apparently the only advantage to buying a Versa.

CR also notes that the Versa had the lowest level of owner satisfaction of any of the cars in that class.

@Bing a flapper was a lady of the 1920s era who dressed a certain way and liked a good party

Check out these pictures. I’m sure you’ve seen actresses dressed this way in classic gangster movies.

Boy, that is interesting about the misdiagnosed problem and that you were able to fix the timing chain for $120.00 and got much more mileage out of your car! I must figure out how to take off the valve cover and post photos. Can one post photos here? In the other forum you must have a certain number of posts before you can do so.

Interesting info on the Versa. The stuff I had read about it made it sound like the Kia, not the Versa, was the ickiest to drive and most poorly designed, and, since it was more expensive than the Versa, I thought the Versa sounded pretty good. But you have changed my mind.


Why are you replacing your old broken car with one that is smaller and nearly as old?

I’m not implying anything about you, but the Ford Fiesta wasn’t marketed to well heeled individuals. As such, I wouldn’t expect one to have been well maintained.

No disrespect to your neighbor, but you should buy your own cars. How can you be sure the neighbor will recognize an abused POS if he sees one? For that matter, take a mechanic along with you to check out any prospective cars.

A 1990 Fiesta is not worth a plane ticket.

With my car being so old (1987), I think I definitely appeared to be an apparition of another era. And when I couldn’t figure out how to use strangers’ cell phones (I shy away from those things due to fear of getting brain cancer from them and have used the older types, only), I think those people wondered whether I was surreal?

I agree with you, db4690.

I just looked at used cars on Craigs’ List for Salt Lake City. It seems so overwhelming, deciding what to buy. At least with a new car, you might not have as many repair headaches/problems, right off the bat? But you could get a new lemon… I hate this shopping for a car. It’s wholly horrible. I e-mailed all my local friends to see whether anyone knew of someone reputable selling a good-running car, but I didn’t get a single response! One friend did respond, but all he said was to highly consider foreign over US made, as foreign cars tend to hold up better.

I talked a man into looking at my car today. He said the cam plug does look a bit damaged, and he pointed out a fleck of metal inside it that might have come from an engine bearing.

He wanted me to try starting the car but the battery is dead. I think when we towed it over to the field we left the key in the on position. I am going to try charging it this afternoon.

One new piece of info is that the car continued to start on the freeway, even after it had set for an hour while I waited for the towing company. The first time it failed to start, but did turn over, was at the towing company, when we tried starting it about 2 hours later. I wonder whether the battery might have been partially dead then? I could have left the key in the on position before we towed it away, also?

The friend who looked at the car says the timing belt looks fine-- good tension, so it probably wasn’t a bad tensioner.