Some of you may remember the story of my preachers kid who blew not one, but two 5sfe’s within the same month. This is how the story ends.

It started last summer when Chariot posted up that his parents were getting rid of their old 92 Celica GT convertible. It wasn’t running right, the shop couldn’t figure it out, and when I inquired about a price Chariot quoted me $200. Yes, $200 for a running driving car from my youth. It just so happens that my preachers son (who happens to be dating my best friends daughter) had laid down his motorcycle a few weeks prior and needed a set of wheels.

We knew it had an oil leak, and told him to keep an eye on the oil level while I researched the stumble. Fast forward six months, I get a call letting me know it stranded him on the highway, but he got it restarted and back home but it’s got no power. I made plans to go check it out.

Clearly run without oil causing oil starvation resulting in rod knock. Posted for $1000, sold for $650 within 24 hours.


Fast forward. After a few weeks of looking for cars they realize his brother is moving away soon and is leaving his Camry behind. Only 236k miles. He gets about two weeks behind the wheel before I get the call that it’s died and left him stranded. It just happened to be during the cold streak, and it was a balmy -10 with four inches of snow on the ground. Awesome.

Try to start it. Clearly dead battery. Try to jump it, battery is half the size of stock and the cable ends are corroded. New battery and some marine terminals later I fire it up... to hear the same damn knock. Not as bad, but how the hell do you kill two Toyotas in one month. I limp it home, they say just sell it for whatever you can get.


Posted for $1000. Offers of $500. Counter at $750. No sale.

Drop to 800. Offers of $500. Counter at $650. No sale.

Drop to $700. Offers of $300. Counter at $500. No sale.

Drop to $500 FIRM. Offers of, no shit, $100. No sale.

Delete ad.

Repost at $750, include less information in the add. “rod knock in cyl 1, common issue with 5sfe” becomes “engine makes noise”. I get offers at $600, no-show. Another offer at $500, I accept.


Teenagers show up talking about rod knock in his piece of shit G35. I tell them everything I know. I let them take it for a spin. It won’t shift into third and stalled on them a few times. I ask what they would be willing to offer. They say $375. I countered at $300. This thing sounded BAD. They accepted.

30 minutes later I went to head back into work, they made it less than a mile, flashers on, crawling down the street. Damn. It barely left the neighborhood. I feel bad. I shouldn’t, but I do.


And that’s how this story ends.


TLDR: check your fucking oil. Craigslist people are stupid. 5sfe’s are shit. Careful driving sub-$500 cars.