DIY home repair with a small car

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wide.
Oh I remember the Pacer. My first car was a Gremlin.....
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net says...

Mine too. *THE* most appropriately named car in the world. What a POS!
--
Keith

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Actually mine ran for 250,000 miles. It was wonderful. It also beat most off of the line as it had that straight 6 with little mass to move out. Sure the door panels fell apart, and such, but I just fixed those, being a kid and all. We also found that you can fit 23 people in one and still move it a foot. Tomes
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net says...

I had the same engine (232CID, three on the tree). Yeah it was fast as hell, when it ran. The clutch went with less than 30K on it (stupid Auburn clutch - the auto parts guy said he hadn't seen one for 20 years before that). An extra nut somehow got in the right front wheel drum (~4K miles). The alternator ate a set of brushes, taking out the entire electrical system (again ~4K miles). The door window posts cracked off. The dash came warped from the factory, enough that the glove-box light wouldn't shut off. Oh, and got to teach my wife how to hold the butterfly down with a screwdriver and I got real good at push starting it all by myself; quite handy skills when owning a hunk-o-junk like that.
After three years and less than 50K miles the thing was shot. I traded it for $500 off *sticker* on a '74 Rustang II, which was just slightly less of a POS (rusted out at about four years and 70kMi.). I thought that was a good deal too, since the Rustang at least got me to my first real job (1kMi move).
--
Keith

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I've done a lot with the Honda Accord because of the drop down opening in the rear seat arm rest. By the time I weave the 8 footers in to the passengers front seat (layed the whole way back) I can get a lot of stuff in there. The wife is less happy when I forget the truck and do this. Your Neon is just not gonnna cooperate in this respect. I think is was Ed who said that using the passengers window and the rear deck do well. I did did that for a lot of years a scratched up a fewwindow ledges and mirrors when I was too shortsighted to bring along a towel to wrap around the load and tape in place (lost a few towels before learning ot tape). Keep a towel, some masking tape and some cord or bungees in the car at all times. You never know when you'll find a deal that you just can't pass up!
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On 11 Dec 2005 05:14:33 -0800, "Joseph O'Brien"

==============Been in my current home for almost 40 years... and I bet that a pickup truck has been parked in the driveway or garage for 39 years and 10 months ..... downsized to an El Camino for a few years but it could not haul enough "stuff"... Honestly I still drive a small Pickup even though I am long past doing major improvements on my house but I STILL NEED the vehicle..
Bob G.
Bob G.
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You can haul most of what you may want with a small trailer. Harbor Freight sells several for not much with various weight ranges. Foldable trailer lets you use it then store out of the way with not too much room needed
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber154
Do a keyword search for trailer to show their selections. Chuck

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Joseph O'Brien wrote:

Sure - if you have the right car.
Nothing is more useless than a sedan (with the exception of a few, like BMWs that have folding rear seats - oddly enough, I never see one with a 2x12 sticking out the trunk!).
I transported all the framing lumber needed to completely remodel 2 houses using a 20 yr old Volvo wagon and occasionally a Saab hatchback.
On my third house I broke down and added a $1200 rusty Grand Caravan to the fleet just for drywall & plywood.
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I personally use my 92 Sentra to haul lots of stuff back and forth from Home Depot.
Sad part is that my back seat doesnt fold down. I removed it and now have a great pass through.
You can put through 8' 2x4's no problem. Most any car can do it.
Tom
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On 11 Dec 2005 05:14:33 -0800, "Joseph O'Brien"

I drive a Chrysler LeBaron convertible.
Everything you list fits in my car.
There is no limit to how high I can go.
With no extra preparation: I can carry a 4'x8' sheet of 3/8" plywood in the back seat. Or 6 strips of sod, probably more. The inside is about 3 feet 11 or 11 1/2 inches, so the 4x8 sheet has to bend a trifle. I don't drive too fast because I don't want to sail away. :)
With no extra prep: I carried a 4 foot mitred piece of formica/particle board counter top, and the 8 foot piece at the same time.
With no extra prep: I carried home a 52 gallon water heater, on the back of the lebaron.
I always carry a full-size moving pad and two old blankets in the trunk. I carry a red rag for times the load hangs out over my trunk. If I expect to carry something, I may put another moving pad or two in the car. Lately I've been taking down illegally posted advertising signs, and I find the plastic rectangles are good for protecting my seat covers. 4 big ones cover the whole back seat, with overlap.
I have a lightest-class trailer hitch, and I bought a cargo carrier to which I welded a spare tongue that fits the hitch recever. I can carry 8 or so strips of sod on that, but the first time I tried it was with 12 strps., I left the front door open, and the car bent so much I couldn't close the front door. I got a quality cargo carrier, but I wish I had gotten the cheap one. The metal bottom makes it too heavy to take on and off, and with my car at least, I can't actually carry 500 pounds on the cargo carrier. I use it for things that are bulky or dirty, not for thinks that are heavy.
But with the top down, and the seats, and interior sides and trim protected, I can carry most of fhis stuff in the car also. I've been doing this sort of thing for 37 years over 6 convertibles and never damaged the interior.
With this setup, I carried two 2-drawer file cabinets on the cargo carrier, and one more in the car at the same time.
A couple times a year the stuff in the back seat and passenger seat goes above the roof line. I usually put on the flashers and drive slow.
When used for a bike rack (JCWhitney sells this, as well as the trailer hitch for the LeBaron) , the tongue holds a vertical square pipe about 4 inches high. I've made a couple other accessories to fit in the hole. One is higher than the bike rack, about the height of the windshield, and is shaped like a two tined fork. It has more than one setting and is meant to hold an extension ladder, the front of which will go onthe windshield, on heavy foam rubber. I think I can carry a canoe this way also. Haven't done either of these yet. (a friend insisted on delivering and picking up his ladder. He has a pickup.)
When I had a full-size '67 Pontiac Catalina cconvertible, on 2 occasions, I carried a spinet piano on top of my trunk, one for about 20 miles. You're not supposed to move a piano unless the soundboard is vertical (a grand piano on its side, and an upright piano upright) but I put a double bed mattress on the trunk and where the top went, and laid the spinets, one at a time, on top of all that. Tied each in place with 100 foot of clothes line. Then drove about 5 to 30 miles an hour, depending on how smooth the road was. They were only 300 dollars each, but neither piano was damaged.
Also carried a full room of furniture, bed, desk, dresser, plus some boxes, kn that car, from the Bronx down the FDR drive to Brooklyn.
BTW, I would rather have a big car, but big convertibles are either Rolls Royces, or made before 1976. And having a converitble comes first.

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wrote:

I should have said that I would like a luggage rack on my trunk lid also. I bought one, but had doubts that I coudl align each piece perfectly (and if I didn't, it would look terrible) and had thoughts that the trunk lid might leak if I put in so many holes (14?).
So I bought a temporary roof rack. The kind that is just 2 square poles that go from one side of the car to the other. They will have to be shortened to use them on my trunk, and so far I haven't needed them.
These are intended not for carrying contstruction materials but for carrying luggage if I take a long trip or when I go camping, because the LeBaron has a tiny trunk. So does the Mustang I think. And other convertibles are too cheap, crummy interiors etc.
But so far, I've just filled the trunk and put the rest in the back seat. This would be a problem if I intended to park someplace unsafe with the top down, or even with the top up, so I got a burglar alarm and avoid parking there.
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Joseph O'Brien wrote:

I drove a Ford Escort hatchback for ten years, seldom had any difficulty hauling anything. Mulch, pre-hung doors, lots of trim, 2x4s, 2x10s, 300 ft of round rail post & rail fence, 800 lbs of ceramic or porcelain tile, you name it...
On the cheap you would do better with an Escort wagon, however, but I finally upgraded to an F150 and ain't looking back.
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I've never seen home repair done with a small car, but I have seen demolition. They're xcellent for quickly creating an opening where there wasn't one. Second most useful implement in my tool garage.
R
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I would think that older cars, say, out of the 60's might work best. I had an old 71 Chevy Nova that would run through almost anything.
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Thanks for all the suggestions. That was quite a response!
For now, it sounds like a roof rack might be the best option. When the Neon dies (it's only a matter of time before the head gasket needs to be replaced), I'll probably look into getting a hatchback. I have no business working on a project that requires a truckload of material; if that ever becomes necessary, I'll just hire a professional.
Thanks again for your help.
Joseph
Joseph O'Brien wrote:

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Joseph O'Brien wrote:

Or maybe a wagon? Wagons were so popular when I was a kid, and so versatile...without the dangeriously high center of gravity of SUVs.
A friend of mine recently got a used VW Quantum wagon. He loves it. If only we could do away with road salt I'd have my Golf forever.
Mike
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Joseph O'Brien wrote:

Here's another tip for tying stuff on top. To make it easier to tie stuff on, take a couple scraps of insulated copper wire, say maybe a foot long. Make them into loops around your hood hinges (twisting the ends together to make a loop) so that the ends of the loops sticks up an inch or two with the hood closed. Just leave them there. When you put somthing on the roof these serve as 'handles' to tie onto to. You can do the same thing with the trunk lid hinges, of course, but tying onto the hinges themselves has the advantage of tightening everything up when you close the trunk. -- H
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Joseph O'Brien wrote:

I have a Saturn which will hold a amazing good number of 2x4x8' without them sticking out of the trunk. I can fit about 20 of them in there comfortably.
For 4x8' sheet goods, I rent the HD truck. I just make sure I buy enough for future projects to make the truck worthwhile.
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Joseph,

Absolutely! I have an old 1976 VW Rabbit. Because it's a hatchback, I can easily carry the occasional 8 foot long lumber (between the front seats), and still close the hatch. Or, I can fold up the back seat and carry bulkier items (up to 3'x3' or so). Larger items like pipes or plywood can often be purchased in smaller sections (at a higher price), making them easier to cart home.
However, I occasionally need to carry a sheet of plywood or something, and don't always want to get my car dirty inside.
I looked into buying a truck, but didn't necessarily want to drive a truck on a daily basis, or pay insurance/licensing for a third vehicle. So, I picked up a small trailer (4'x8') at our local Fred Meyer (department store) for a couple hundred dollars (You can find these from many sources, like Northern Tools, or even Harbour Freight). Then I built 2 foot high sides out of plywood, and added a simple hitch to my Rabbit.
I've owned the trailer about 15 years now, and it sees a LOT of use. I only pay $30 a year for licensing ($10 before the license law changed), and it is covered by my car insurance at no additional cost.
I routinely haul loads of bark dust (1 yard easy), plywood, sheetrock, plumbing pipes, take loads of garbage to the dump, help friends move, bring plants home from the nursery, etc. Eight foot long plywood and lumber can fit right down in the trailer bed. 10-12 foot lumber or pipes sit down in the bed on one end and sits up on the sides on the other. In a few rare cases, I've even carried 16 foot lumber by setting it up on the sides, hanging 3' or so over the tongue and the remaining 5' out the back (red flag the tail end sticking out).
It's the best of both worlds. Drive the car you want to drive, and haul stuff that many trucks can't even carry. My trailer is rated for 900 pounds, and I've carried darn near that a few different times (weighed at the dump). We live up on a mountain and I've had no problem towing the trailer up our hill with my Rabbit, even when fully loaded. In any case, most loads are more about "size" than the overall "weight". I can even haul a load of lumber while my whole family comes along for the ride! No need for a King Cab... :)
Of course, there are items that are beyond the capability of my little trailer. I usually have big lumber loads delivered. There's no additional cost for most loads. Large tool rentals can usually be delivered for a fee as well. For example, I had a bobcat delivered earlier this year. Cost something like $70 each way ($140 total), but even with the rental fee the end cost was cheaper than hiring an excavator. A couple of years back I had to haul a large load of lumber from a supplier a few hundred miles up north. I rented a "Budget" truck online, we drove up north to pick up the truck, got my load of lumber, and we drove home. I just dropped the truck off at the local Budget office, total cost around $100 or so. Half the cost of delivery, and no waiting...
Anthony
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