Q: Is replacing the transmission on a 1988 Toyota Corolla fx hatchback worth it? And can I replace transmission with a 1990 corolla?

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I'm interested in buying a 1988 Toyota Corolla hatchback fx for $500 and it needs transmission replaced. Is this worth it and about how much would this cost? Can I take transmission from a 1990 corolla and replace it? There's also the option of fixing the head gasket on a 1990 corolla which i could buy for $250. Which is the better deal?

My car has 186000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there. As long as the engines in the two Toyota’s are identical in size and configuration, the compatibility of the two transmissions should work, however there are some risks with swapping out a transmission on an older vehicle like your 88 Corolla. The correct way to complete this service is also installing new drive axles and supporting hardware within the driveline. However, the head gasket repair is often a trap, as the reason most head gaskets fail is due to an overheating issue, which typically damaged the cylinder head itself, internal components like pistons, connecting rods and more. If finding a newer car is not in the cards as the moment, the best investment would be the transmission swap.

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