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Old 05-27-2009, 11:45 PM
Jonathan Murphy Jonathan Murphy is offline
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The Catera

Milage: 75k
Cost: $4,800

The Galant

Milage: 106K
Cost: $4,495

From what I have read on Edmunds, looks like it should be the Galant
Old 05-28-2009, 12:26 AM
Josh Horton Josh Horton is offline
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I had a friend that worked as a mechanic at a Chevrolet dealership. He said the Catera had a timing belt problem as in it would destroy the engine at 100,000 miles. Here is a Catera forum talking about it,
I can't vouch for the Galant, as I have only been around one and it was not a good experience.
Old 05-28-2009, 12:49 PM
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Bill Marcy Bill Marcy is online now
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Personally, I don't think either car is a good choice. I can tell you Catera and Mitsubishi horror stories. Furthermore, almost all cars with timing belts are in need of new belts between 60 and 80K miles. In many cases, failure to replace the belt before it brakes will result in a major job, in some cases you have to replace the engine completely.
Old 05-28-2009, 04:36 PM
Mike Stevens Mike Stevens is offline
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Default more on belts

We just had the timing belt replaced in my wife's PT Cruiser. The original lasted through 100,000 miles. When she asked the question I had no idea what a job it was. Recommendations were from 60K to 90K miles. So at 100K she was on borrowed time was the thought. Prices ranged from $640 to $1,400. Why the big difference we will never know. Only two shops were cheaper than the Chrysler dealer. The dealer was third in price and was sure it was a one day job. Some shops said it would be hard to promise a one day job. Its done and no problems. I like chains and gears...they make noise when they are getting bad. Maybe its an age thing.
Horror stories abound about belts not getting changed in time. So I am thinking make and model have nothing to do with it. If its got a belt and lots of miles know you will have to change it or get it changed. This is not a job for the timid. And some of the tools you will have to buy or rent from the parts stores. After some serious consideration we opted for the shop job with a warranty on the work. Some of these cars require that you drop the engine off the mounts and then jack it up or drop it to get enough clearance to get your parts and hands in to do the work.
Catera or Gallant? What else will fit your needs?
Old 05-28-2009, 10:49 PM
Jonathan Murphy Jonathan Murphy is offline
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Default Been there, done that

I've been there when it came to belts breaking. The belt on the Honda broke about 3 years ago (at about 140k miles) and when it did, some major damage was done. While I don't recall exactly what the damage was, it did involve having to have the heads re-worked. And to make matters worse, the heads had to be worked again after they were re-installed. Prior to that, when I spoke to a Honda dealer about changing the timing belt, they also suggested changing the water pump while they had the car torn down. I (stupidly) passed as money was tight and I assumed that I had more time left on the belt. Not long after the timing belt deal, the water pump went out. So if I get another Honda, that is going to be the first thing I do prior to using it daily.

As far as belts and chains are concerned, I was told years ago that if they break on Japanese cars, major damage will occur (see above!), but that there is usually no damage on American made cars. My first car, a 1985 Pontiac Sunbird, had the timing chain break after only 40K miles and there was no damage. Mind you, I cannot speak for todays engines, but I am assuming the same holds true.

What are my needs? I am looking for a small to mid-size sedan about 5-7 years old in the $6k price range that gets about 28mpg or so. I am not too concerned with the milage, but I would like to stay in the 100k mile range. I have looked at a Volkswagon Passat, Cadillac Fleetwood, Honda Accord and Mitsubishi Galant. The car I get will either be passed on to my daughter when she begins driving in the next 3 years (if I cannot find her a 1968 Chrysler) or to my girlfriend for her to drive to work once we get married (no date set).

Finally, I want to thank the moderator for allowing this off topic discussion to flourish. And I want to thank all you have offered advice. This just goes to show that this is one of the best car clubs around. THANKS!!!
Old 05-28-2009, 11:37 PM
Rick Franklin Rick Franklin is online now
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The Catera is a German import made by Opel. My experience in talking to the guys at the local Cadillac dealership that i to for is that they are not good cars. I dont know much about the Galant. Check with your mechanic and see if it has a "zero tolerance engine" If it does, then its big trouble if the timing belt breaks. My personal preference would be a 03 Chevy Impala. Just as good as the accord and equal gas mileage
Old 05-29-2009, 12:11 AM
Paul Steinberg Paul Steinberg is offline
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If the timing belt or the timing chain breaks when the engine is in a higher RPM range, there will be lots of damage. At low RPM, the damage is usually minimal. The timing chain/belt is what operates the camshaft, and is run off the crankshaft. The camshaft is what makes the valves open and close. The valves stop moving when the belt/chain breaks or jumps a few teeth, and then the pistons will be hitting the valves and damaging them. This is an over simplified explanation. Older Pontiac V-8's should have the timing chains replaced at 60,000 miles. At 70,000 miles, you are living on borrowed time, with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Always follow the manufacturers suggest service intervals, and you won't go wrong. Who else knows the product better than the manufacturer?
Send me your address and I will send you a copy of "How it Works" from the Best of Hot Rod magazine.
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