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14k miles since purchase, the Mirage ran over the winter and the Echo got a break (no tags or insurance sitting in the garage, covered by homeowners policy if house falls on car). Now it's back on the road for this spring-summer then back to the Mirage for winter again. In the last month I have done a few things which might be interesting for the information they provide.
Wheels balanced. Costco refused to balance them since they were on the Echo instead of in the Mirages trunk when they were first installed. My response, "refund me the tire lifetime balance $40, we compromised and they rebalanced but no more (won't need it in my experience)
I set the toe with a tape measure before but I wanted to confirm it was where it needed to be, 1/ 32nd in on the left side got it 1/16th total and right where it needs to be. Not even half a turn on the inner tie rod. This car handles amazing with the 15X5 inch wheels and 185/60/15 tires. Few can keep up with me through a cloverleaf and my engine is not even running LOL (EOC). Tires are 6% taller than originals so odometer readings are adjusted for mileage (1.06). Speedometer reads perfect which is nice.
I've had the tires and 12 pound Mini Cooper wheels on 3 different cars, they are where they will stay for now, but have developed a lot of tire noise due to cupping on the inner and outer edges of the tires, but the rolling resistance and mileage are great, so I fixed the noise.
Took my Makita belt sander and some fresh 36 grit paper and sanding at a 45 degree angle to the rolling direction of the tire I removed the raised portions of the outside treads on the outer and inner of all 4 tires. Dropped the noise levels about 80%, never did this before and I was surprised at how well it worked. 51 MPG average for the last tank of fuel, right at 5 cents a mile for gas. 19 years old this July with 162 k miles.
Replaced the front and rear shocks (loaded struts in the front tubes in back) $225 TOTAL AT ROCK AUTO. I was actually startled at how little difference it made in the ride quality. I probably could have just done all the rubber parts and left the shocks-struts alone. The rears still extend themselves which tells you the gas charge is still working. I DOUBT YOU WILL EVER BUY ANOTHER NEW CAR THAT LAST 19 YEARS AND 162K MILES ON THE ORIGINAL SHOCKS.
I had some motorcycle foam air filter oil and sprayed a very fine coat of that on all of the rubber surfaces, no more creaking and squeaking. Put the old ones on my 2001 4 dr Echo and that car is getting nice. Craig's List now charges $5 to post a for sale ad which has slashed their car ads by at least 80%, the frauds are gone, but they still try to get you to do something dumb like take their "bank" check LOL. I tell them cash it and meet me at my bank to have your cash checked to make sure it is real and we have a deal, never happens.
Replaced the transmission fluid, it didn't look that bad, clutch still seems fine, might even be original, Shifted better.
Rear brakes replaced. Wouldn't pass inspection, no symptoms. The rear brakes were the only thing that HAD to be done, the rest is upgrading AND that provides parts for the car I'm selling to recover the cost of the new parts.