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Learn how you can buy a project car for less than the cost of a new cell phone! Project cars are great for learning how to fix a car and when you are "done" (project cars are never done), you can be proud to drive the car you fixed up!
In this series eBay Motors challenged me to buy a 24hr endurance race car for the 24hrs of Lemons race series. The car I chose had to be fast, reliable, and under $500!
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Hey guys chris fix here and today, i'm going to show you how to buy a project car on an affordable budget like an actual, affordable budget. Now i work on tons of project cars, probably because a project car is never done, but you guys always ask me. Chris, how do i get started? What project car should i buy, and the answer is actually really easy. It's a car that you're passionate about it's a car that you want to drive.

You want to fix up something that you don't worry about. What other people think you actually like it, and you actually want to work on it? That's the project car. You should buy and buy affordable. What does that mean? Well, if you can afford a new cell phone, you could afford any of these project cars, including the new one that i have underneath this cover.

For example, my first project car ever the drift sting. I got this car for right around a thousand dollars and my goal from the start was to turn this car into a drift car and learn how to drift, and she went from a non-running car that was about to go to the scrap yard to a track. Car that's been super reliable and fun to learn to drift with, and don't you guys worry for those of you who followed the drift staying build. You know there are two major things left to do this car one of them is installing a supercharger.

I have a used celine root style supercharger, which is not made to go on that engine. It just doesn't fit, but i think i have a couple ideas to make it work and if it does we'll double the horsepower output on a budget reliably for this car and then the second thing is to install a roll cage. That way, i could hopefully move from group b to group a and learn how to tandem. Now.

The whole point is this: car has been the perfect project car, it was affordable and i didn't put a ton of money into it and i did it over time and it's been great, it's been reliable, it's been fun, i've learned a ton and that's what project Cars are all about. Another example is the 300 del sol that had a head gasket leak and a worn out suspension. So i unbolted and removed the head, replaced the head gasket and rebuilt the entire front suspension and finally, i cut out a rust hole underneath the passenger seat and i welded in a new piece of sheet metal. So it was safe to drive.

And now i have a perfect working running and driving del sol for under a thousand dollars and next up for this car is a budget turbo kit install with common hand, tools at home in your driveway, it's gon na be a blast. It's supposed to double the output of this car so already a light car, a lot of fun to drive and now we're doubling the power. So these two cars give you really good examples of what a budget project car can be, and i have a lot of stuff to do them so you're, probably wondering to yourself chris. Why did you get yourself another project car? Well, because i was challenged by ebay motors to do the 24 hours of lemons race, yes, lemons, not le mans, if you've never heard of the 24 hours of lemons, it's a budget endurance race that anybody could join.

You only have 500 to buy your piece of junk car, then you're gon na have to fix it up and race it all of that for 500 bucks and they have judges to inspect your car and hear your story to make sure the car is really 500 Check this out, so what are you saying you paid for the car 300 and uh wilson motorsports wilson? What's wilson motorsports my brother, your brother, we did the cage, so your brother gave you a car. Is that what you're saying no, i bought it for 300 bucks. Yeah, that's like giving you a car except you pretended to give them 300 and, as you can see, they don't fool around, but the whole idea is to keep it affordable. So anybody could race, instead of buying parts to make your car go faster and then whoever has the biggest wallet is pretty much gon na have the fastest car you're buying a piece of junk, and you need to maintain it.

You need to keep it as reliable as possible, so you can finish the race and not get towed off the track. So keeping old unreliable cars running is my specialty, so this race is right up my alley. The hardest part is finding a car in this expensive state that is less than 500 that's halfway, decent, that's somewhat quick! So, while searching ebay motors, i found something that is local to me and below my budget, so i jumped on it right away and it was a non-running v8 mercedes, clk 430 and i paid 300. The problem is this: car is a basket case like really really bad the worst car i've ever bought.

The story goes that the battery cables were crossed and that's why it's not running, but i'm pretty sure this thing was flooded: the entire interior, the seats, the door panels. Everything was covered in mold, which wasn't a big deal because it was going to get gutted. The problem was, after diagnosing the issue, the car needed a couple of computer modules and unfortunately, you need to go to mercedes to code them and there's no way. I could do all that for two hundred dollars, so i realized this wasn't the car i sold it for four hundred dollars to a scrap yard made a hundred dollar profit and i had to find a new budget race car.

So, since shipping the car doesn't count towards the 500 bucks, i found this car in maine and it is a 2004 bmw. 330 xi. You guys wanted a european car on the channel. Well, here you go and i'm super excited about this car.

Not only is it a good car for the endurance race, but it's a really good car for the channel because they are coming down in price a lot and the platform is great for drifting for autocross and it's becoming more and more affordable. So this one has a three liter m54 engine in it and it has unfortunately all-wheel drive, but the good thing is: if we look inside here we have a six-speed manual which is perfect, so real, quick. Let me show you the listing and how much i got this car for so here's, the listing on ebay motors, you can see he's asking two thousand dollars and he has a make and offer button which i love to see. If we scroll down the history check comes out pretty good, he does have an accident on here.

I spoke to him about that. It was a light. Fender bender nothing bad and we do have a low, auto check score, but he did a great job showing the pros and cons in his description. He also did a good job with the pictures, so he lists the pros as it's a solid running car.

He says it runs and shifts great. Apparently it has a zhp camshaft installed, but he said he doesn't have any proof of that. That's what the previous owner said. He also said it's been lowered, but it really doesn't look that low.

It's a six-speed, it's all-wheel drive, but i personally see that as a negative. I rather have rear-wheel drive and it has an aero package. Now the cons you can see it has tons of dents and scratches and dings, and he said it's been keyed. There's no power steering and he said it definitely needs to be replaced because you can't steer without it there's a rear, end clunk, there's some rips in the seats the oil light turns on the sunroof is jammed open.

It leaks oil, but that's all bmws, and one thing i want to include is it has 230 000 miles, which is a lot. So this car seemed like the perfect car to fit the bill to turn into a lemons car. I made him an offer. It was a little low, a thousand dollars and i knew he'd come back, so he came back at 17.50.

I told him, hey needs a lot of stuff. I am a real buyer. I will get a tow truck tomorrow to pick it up. I will paypal you all the money tonight and uh.

We met halfway at 1100 and i'm super excited about this challenge. I want to thank ebay motors for supporting the video and challenging me to do this, because this is gon na be a lot of fun, and that is how he became the owner of a bmw e46 for eleven hundred dollars and there's a reason why it was Sold to me for eleven hundred dollars, this is a tough sell, because the exterior of this car is an absolute mess. It has dents, it has dings cracks. It's scratched.

It's keyed along the entire side. Look at the size that dent right there keyed along the entire side, all the way back, not only on this side but the other side as well, and we also have some rust issues. But that's okay, because we aren't looking for a car that is perfect on the outside. We want a car, that's perfect on the inside, or at least as close as perfect as we could get.

We need something: that's reliable! It's a race car. We don't care about. The looks we care about reliability, it being able to start every time, the suspension being good, the engine and transmission being good, and this car fits the bill pretty good with all that, except maybe reliability we'll find out. But that leads me to my next point, and this is something very important - that anybody who's getting a project car should completely understand.

This is called the project car triangle pick two: if you want something cheap and reliable, it's not going to be fast. If you want something cheap and fast, it's not going to be reliable. And, finally, if you want something reliable and fast, it is not going to be cheap. Now the interesting thing about the lemons race is they kind of pick the first one for you.

It has to be cheap, so that means you only have one left. Do you want it to be reliable, or do you want to be fast, and the reason why i picked a bmw is because we're going to try to walk that fine line between reliable and kind of fast, especially for such a cheap car. So that is something very important to understand. If you are interested in getting a project, car and speaking of reliability, there is one major reliability issue.

We need to solve right now, and that is when the car gets turned on. She wants to stall or idle poorly. Let me show you and you can see how that idle, just dropped down almost stalled, but now it's kind of i mean the car is vibrating a lot. It's shaking it's almost like it's misfiring that idol is not staying steady, so that is not good.

That is not what a race car should be doing, so, let's figure that out. So what we're gon na do is we're gon na scan the computer using a bluetooth, obd2 scanner, and this will give us any check engine light codes that we might have to give us a pinpoint on where the problem is now. Typically, the obd2 port is under the driver's side of the dash, in this case, on the bmw pop this off and the scanner plugs right in here. Just like that, good now grab your phone open up the app.

Let's hit read codes. It connects automatically good now this scanner will do advanced code, so you could check the abs. You could check airbags, you could check transmission codes. All those system modules we're gon na just do a check engine light check.

It's gon na scan the computer and pull up any codes. There are perfect. We have two codes now the two codes it's giving us is a system to lean and a coolant thermostat, i'm more concerned with the system to lean. Let's start with that, apparently this code is very common for this car and it gives you a list of possible causes.

But what i want to see is the frequently reported fixes it says: replace mass airflow sensor. So that's the most frequent reported fix. Let's start there and let's go check out the mass airflow sensor, i'll show you how to test it. Let's go pop the hood and then now your mass airflow sensor is going to be behind your air box.

So our air box is right here and you can see right. There is the mass airflow sensor and we're going to want to unplug this and leave it unplugged all right. So now we're going to start the car with the mass airflow sensor disconnected and what that's going to do is the computer is going to go off of built-in air fuel ratio tables and not use the mass airflow sensor. So we're going to basically remove the mass airflow sensor from the equation.

If it runs right, then we know the mass airflow sensor is bad. Let's check her out perfect. Just what we wanted to see. You can see the idle has leveled out.

It started right up perfectly so now we know the mass airflow sensor is bad. Let's go replace it start by loosening up this hose clamp with a flathead screwdriver, just like so, and then pop off the retaining clip on this side and on the other side. And then this could come right out out with the old and in with the new. Well kind of new we're doing this on a budget, so this sensor is from the junkyard and you want to make sure that you have the airflow arrow in the correct direction.

That's very important snap on the clips and make sure to seat the intake tube. All the way onto the sensor and tighten it down, so it's snug good. Finally, reconnect the wiring harness to the sensor like so all right moment of truth. Let's go start her up and see if we fix the problem.

Okay, that's a good thing. Our idol isn't going low where it's trying to stall looks like the idol is leveling out it's nice and consistent. So it looks like we fixed our first problem, getting this car more reliable by the second. Now, let's go for a ride and let me show you our second major problem.

All right me and coop are going for a test drive here and the next major issue. Huge issue. Is this steering so there's? No, i can't even turn the steering wheel. Oh man, this is just so difficult to turn.

There's no way we're gon na be able to use this for an endurance race without this power steering pump fixed all right coop. So now let's go for a ride and do my favorite thing test this car out on an entrance ramp to see how much pep it has. Apparently this goes zero to 60 in seven seconds and this could do the quarter mile in about 15 seconds. So it's not fast, but it's not really that slow and it has some pep getting onto the highway and if we can keep it reliable, i think we have a competitive car now you can probably hear some wind noise and that's not because of an open window.

It's because the sunroof does not close, it's jammed open. So let's go head home and i'll show you how to fix that right. Coop! All right! We are back at the house. Let me show you what's going on with the sunroof and how we're gon na fix it.

So if we go to try to close the sunroof for whatever reason it gets jammed up and backs back out - and this is definitely not good, because if it starts raining, we have a problem. So how do you fix this? Well, it's actually pretty easy on a bmw start by carefully slipping a screwdriver behind the panel to pop the panel down like that and right. There is the sunroof motor so grab a t25 torx on a ratchet and we could spin the motor until the sunroof is closed. All the way good.

Now we can push the panel back in place, making sure it snaps in and that's all there is to it now. We don't have to worry about this getting water inside the car, because it was stuck open and all the wind, noise and stuff. I think i'm going to delete this for the race and put a piece of carbon fiber or fiberglass. It's driver safety.

So it's a free modification, uh it'll, take weight from the roof and also make it safer so that we'd have glass above our heads just in case you roll over or something so now. Okay! Well, that doesn't close! Maybe that's what jammed it up! Well, i'll! Leave that for now, but that is how you fix your sunroof if it gets stuck open like that beautiful, so that is sealed up. I hope that helps some people out there, because if your sunroof is open, you get water in there. It just makes a mess of your interior and that's never good, so the sunroof is fixed.

The mass airflow sensor is fixed, so the car runs and drives perfectly right now, except for that power steering pump. Don't worry, we'll have an entire video on how to replace the power steering pump and get that all fixed up. That'll apply to many different makes and models, but the next thing i want to do is introduce you guys to the race team. Yes, i said race team, because this is an endurance race, it could be 14 hours, it could be 18., it could be 24 hours.

You can't race and do all this by yourself. You need a team, and this is another reason why i really wanted to do this race, because i get to invite my friends bring them on and we get to have a blast together and that's what it's all about. So, there's no better way to introduce my race team than this right here. I hope you guys enjoy it.

Choose your race car driver. Chris, hey guys chris fix here america gary. If i'm not flying i'm fishing, so i bought a bmw. Don't worry guys! I got it on video all right: let's hit him with the soapy water, let's race, common hand, tools and some thread.

Locker are all we need to win and if you can't tell we're having a blast already, i hope you guys enjoyed that we're having a ton of fun but real quick. I should tell you guys a little bit more about the other drivers. My buddy ari he's great with cars. He swapped a 600 horsepower supercharged engine with a manual transmission into his crown vic, so he has a ton of diy experience.

My buddy gary also has a lot of diy experience in this case. He's done a lot of suspension. Work with his raptor and he brings it to events to jump, sometimes sending it a little too hard. My buddy aaron same thing works on cars.

He actually drifts a bmw and he has a bmw car buying problem. Basically, every time i talk to him, he has a new project. Bmw and finally, my buddy pierce. His first car is a bmw he's, just learning he's tearing everything apart and he's still learning how to drive stick, but he's gon na be very valuable in the pits for when things go wrong and break he's also great at filming.

So that's gon na be helpful. So that's our racing team. Those are my friends. We actually have really good chemistry together, which is great, win or lose we're going to have a blast doing this race.

I cannot wait now. These are my good friends and i want to make sure everybody in the race team is extra safe, so we got the top of the line safety equipment. I showed you guys some of the safety equipment real quick, but i want to show you in a little bit more detail, because this is very very important, so we have fire retardant socks. We have one piece, multi-layer fire retardant racing suit.

This is a really good racing suit. We have our head and neck restraint. We have our helmet fire retardant gloves and fire retardant balacava. Think of this, as like a ski mask, except it's fire retardant and made for racing, so that will protect us in case of a fire.

Now, if there is a fire, we don't want to rely just on the suits, so we're going to be installing a 10 pound fire suppression system that'll, be routed into the engine bay and into the cabin to keep the driver, nice and safe. This is a real race. This is serious. This is multiple cars, full roll cage and full racing.

I mean we're gon na be going 120 miles per hour on the streets, so it can be very dangerous. It's not something to fool around with now. I'm curious. Are you guys interested in seeing a video on how to install the fire suppression system or how to install the battery isolator? So if there's an accident, you could cut your battery and all your electrics, quick and cut your engine quick or how to install.

I don't even have to ask this one. I know you guys want to see this, how to install a quick release. Steering wheel that'll happen, so we have all that stuff. We have our front and rear tow hooks.

We have a full six point: race, harness and a full containment seat with the side pieces here, so that your head doesn't get whiplash. If there is an accident now you're going to be bolted in you're, going to be strapped in you're, not going to be able to see behind you very easily, so i did end up getting one of these mirrors. That way, you could see around you, and that is all the safety stuff now konig hooked us up, because we want our pit stops to be as quick as possible and in an endurance race. The tires are gon na wear down.

I don't know how many tires we're gon na go through, but i would guess one or two sets so we're gon na have wheels ready to go with tires almost like uh, think of it like nascar or formula one, except probably not as fast, but we're gon Na have brand new wheels check these babies out. These are counter gram wheels. They are so nice, they're gon na look so good on there, and this is where i need your help. So what tires? Do you guys recommend for this type of endurance racing? If you have any experience, that would be greatly appreciated, we have to use 190, tread, wear or higher and we're trying to look for something that has good life but, more importantly, good grip and will hold the heat.

Well, we want to make sure we stay nice and grippy so that we have good grip around all the turns. So thank you, koenig for hooking us up with three sets of wheels. That's just some of the wheels. We have three entire sets, which is insane now.

Safety equipment gets expensive quickly. All this gear here costs about two thousand dollars per person. That is a lot of money. Five person race team.

I think you could do the math. It's a 500 car. We put 10 grand into the safety equipment, so that's where it gets expensive. The safety equipment doesn't count towards the 500 budget, but we want to be extra safe.

So we got all the top-of-the-line stuff now, you're, probably thinking that's not very affordable, but the one good thing is go to your local speed shop, for example stable energies. That's my local speed shop. They are awesome. They hooked us up big time.

I said: hey, let's get your decal on the side of the car. Let's do a really cool livery, we'll have ebay motors, we'll have stable energies, we'll have konig wheels of all these brands that helped out with the build on the side of the car in a livery like a real race, car and uh, for that they gave us A good discount to save us some money don't be afraid to ask even if you're a first time racer. Even if you're, not a big youtuber, you don't have to be stable, energies, sponsors most of the club loose guys and they're grassroots drifters, so don't be afraid to ask if they have some type of deal going on, where you could help promote their shop and the Local shops are the best. Those are the small businesses you want to help out.

So thank you very much, stable energies i'll be sure to include a link in my description to these guys. They have a lot of great equipment, they have the best prices and they will help you out. That's the one good thing i know i'm going to pass tech and we'll have the best top of the line stuff, and i want to keep my race team safe. So that's what we did right there now you're, probably wondering to yourself.

Chris. You said it's a 500 card, but you paid 1100. How are you gon na pull that one off? Well, let me show you now for every ten dollars that you're over that 500 limit. You get one penalty lap and at 600 over our limit, we have 60 penalty laps and that makes us not competitive, but the rules allow you to sell non-safety items.

So what are considered safety items? Well we're going to have to get a quick release steering wheel. So that's a safety item, so we can't sell our steering wheel. We have to have a racing seat, that's a safety item, so we can't sell our old seat anything that doesn't have to do with safety. Well, that's fair game.

So we need to get 600 out of our race car. Let me show you how i attempt to do this. First off we're gon na sell this ashtray and radio bezel. I found a bunch of listings on ebay they're around 60 70 and ours is in decent shape the springs, work and it could use a good cleaning, so we'll have no problem getting 50 bucks for it right above that we have our radio.

These are going for about a hundred fifty hundred sixty dollars on ebay. I figured ours is in pretty good shape. We can make a quick sale at a hundred and thirty dollars along with the radio. This car comes with the upgraded harman kardon system on ebay.

They go for 270 plus dollars, so i figured our system sounds great. We could probably get about 250 no problem. Next up, we could sell all the wood trim in our car and we have a four-door. So we have a bunch of good wood trim and this is in great shape.

I could wet sand it and polish it and make it look literally brand new, there's no cracks or anything right now on ebay, they're going for 150, so i figured for our set. We could charge 130 and that brings us down to 540 40 over budget or four penalty laps and i could live with that. There might be some other stuff we could sell in here. If you could think of anything, let me know that's pretty much all i could think of and i'm going to go get those things listed on ebay.

And finally, if you want to create a livery for this car, here's a side profile take a screenshot. You could dm it to me or email it to me. Every team in lemons has a theme, so we need a cool theme for this car. Let me know what you got.

That's the new project car super excited. I hope you guys are excited as well. Budget e46 european car for the channel, if you enjoyed the video, give it a thumbs up if you're not a subscriber, consider hitting that subscribe button and, as always, all the tools and products i used in this video are linked in the description, including all the safety Gear, so you can easily find it.

18 thoughts on “How to buy a budget friendly project car”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Fennexx says:

    My 1990 mx5 idles pretty badly in the morning or even during the day sometimes and is pretty shaky after 5 minutes, i even had it stall once, unfortunately it is an old car with no OBD port and i haven't much of a clue of what it could be.. this car has so much issues and i have no idea why i got it for £770 (around $1000) lmao

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ai Dan says:

    Hey Chris, I just wanted to say I broke your triangle. I bought an 06 Pontiac solstice with everything working, all OEM with 102k on the odo for less than 4.4k
    Seeing as they go on the market for a Normal of at least 12k, I'm in the green.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Purple Badger says:

    My friends and I just bought a 1990 Geo Metro as are first project car and your videos have been unimaginably helpful

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars SHADOW SOS says:

    Imagine the guy who sold this car watches this and sees how ez it was to fix these things

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars JunkyJuice gamer says:

    Chris I just bought a 2004 bmw 325xi for the winter hopefully I can keep it reliable and cheap I have a 95 mustang gt for the speed and bad gas mileage

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars REDF00Q says:

    door insides are going for some cash also… backseats are not safety for the main driver? right so … eeet with them… spare tire is not safety … is a precaution … so eeet it …

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mr-_-BiGMaC2419 Games says:

    Chris u can remove and sell the rear and Passager seat to make more room for the roll cage right

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Abiely Flores says:

    this made me feel better for having bought a manual 2000 camry, it’s a bucket of a car but it works

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars kylee says:

    “if you can afford a new cell phone, you can afford any of these project cars”
    me: proceeds to watch on my iphone 6s with the worst battery life, absolutely no storage, and a home button that doesn’t work what so ever

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Hola! Joshua Probably says:

    His buddies cheap cars n stuff as expected and I'm impressed by crown vic man. But I have got to know how Raptor man got such a nice truck if he's the… same age?

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ainslee Brandt says:

    I found it so funny when you said that it leaks the oil but also that's all BMW's

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jacob Dash says:

    Bruh these bots are all over youtube right now and it is getting on my damn nerves, it would be great if everyone could start mass reporting these bots to get them hopefully banned.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Nimesh Prabath says:

    I want to buy a car but i don't have money to do so. Anyone out there to help me out.

    Can some send me $500 to buy a car… im serious…..

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Genre Police says:

    Hi Chris, not sure if you are able to do something about it… but every comment on this video seems to have a comment of an inappropriate chanel. They all have copied a top comment of this video.

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mr0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0 says:

    Damn Chris you got super hard hit by those click bots in the comment section xD

  16. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Roland Ong says:

    Can you try
    Michelin Tires?
    For example, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup Tires.

  17. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars SkullBone GAMING says:

    Not here in Brazil. A old national car in really bad conditions with document here costs R$6,000, and you probabily spend the doble to fix, and the triple to do a cool project.


    A 91' Chevy Chevette costs R$5,700. To do the mecanic, it's R$4,000 and R$3,000 to do the esthetic part. Two racing seats with installation costs around R$3,400. Cool wheels with tires costs around R$6,000.

    Yep. Brazil not for amateurs.

  18. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Sean S says:

    Dudeeee love your videos this one was awesome been watching forever you’re awesome keep up the hard work appreciate your time and effort!! I think I’m finally going to start a project 😈

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