Project Beat(er) Box, getting a better look.

In my first installment of the $1000 Scion xB, we’d driven driven 5 hours round trip and bought Project Beat(er) Box in the dark & rain. Saturday I got a chance to really get a good look at it. Fortunately the harsh light of day didn’t reveal and new horrors I wasn’t aware of.

The car was owned by a college kid in New Hampshire who was into skate & snow boarding, and you can definitely tell, especially from the back. In addition to a lot of sticker removal, the lower bumper lip is missing, fortunately I have a spare set in silver. But the big deal back here is the hatch handle.


These are prone to breaking, so the whole handle area is covered in fossilized duct tape residue from trying to keep it on. Their final fix was to badly epoxy it together before being re-attached with sheetrock screws randomly punched through the handle & hatch. The Goo-Gone is going to get a workout here before I do a better job of fixing the handle & finding a nicer way to re-attach it.

The front bumper is missing most of the lower lip, the lower grill and all the underbody plastic. I have a ratty lip that will work, and a spare grill, so that should be a simple fix. The underbody plastics will likely get replaced with some sheet chloroplast.



Both front fenders have some significant dents, I’m hoping I can pop most of this out so it’ll look better until I can do some serious bodywork.


The wheels are nasty, and are going to be a whole project in themselves. I will probably just wire-brush the loose paint and hit them with some silver to hold them until spring when I can do a proper job.


The driver’s rocker molding is torn off and the rocker is crunched near the front. Fortunately nearly all of this is hidden when the molding is on. It came wit the molding, but the mount holes are a mess. I may try and fix it, or I may just throw on the spares I have. The passenger side is partially loose, but looks to be a quick fix.┬áThere are a bunch of other minor dents & dings, and a lot of deep paint scratches. But no rot and no sign of any major accident damage.


Aside from a half-assed radio install & worn driver’s floor mat, the interior is in decent shape and only needs a good cleaning.

Next step will be getting it in the garage and getting dug into the brakes & drivetrain, but that will have to wait for temps above freezing.

Introducing project Beat(er) Box, the $1000 Scion xB

The ever-patient girlfriend recently decided she wanted to sell her two cars and get one all-around car. She likes my xB, so I decided to start looking there. I immediately lucked into a 2004 5-speed model about 2.5 hours away going for $1200. The ad said the check engine light was on and it needed some work, but since xBs book for around $4500 I figured it was worth a look.

Drove up through sleet & rain to find a somewhat ratty looking xB that a college kid was selling as he bought a newer Golf. Despite having 237K miles and having sat all summer, it started & ran fine. I pulled the code, which turned out to be an evap leak code that usually results from not tightening the gas cap all the way.

Took it for a test drive and other than slightly mushy brakes and noise from the front pads having rusted to the rotors it drove & handled fine. The body was rough, but didn’t have any real rust, and everything seemed to work as it should.

Talked him down to $1000, cleared the check engine light(hasn’t come back on), and headed home in a 2 xB convoy. The weather had shifted to combined rain & thick wet snow, but our new box trucked home without missing a beat.

The plan is to do some maintenance & clean it up some so she can start using it. Then over time make some aesthetic & mechanical improvements.