Tuesday, August 25, 2009

From One Extreme to the Other

Not a food related post this time, except for one minor detail. Read on..

For the past five years, I've been driving a very nice 2001 Miata SE.

It has been trouble free and has all the nice bits and bobs, like leather seats and Nardi wood steering wheel. This doesn't haul much except me and one passenger. So we have a 1994 Ford Ranger pickup with no mod cons at all. But it has a long bed and hauls stuff to the dump and from Home Depot with no problem. However, like the Miata, it has no back seat.

This has proved to be a problem when trying to move one offspring's stuff from her student accommodation to a new post graduation apartment. We had to drive up two cars to get around.

So a truck with back seats was called for. The ranger has been spending most of its time with another offspring at a different college so isn't available when we need it. However you can't just go out and buy another vehicle without getting rid of one first. For one thing, it gets expensive. For another, it is the start of a slippery slope at the end of which is rusty Buicks up on bricks on the front lawn.

So the Miata went up on Craig's list and by Friday it was gone in exchange for $10,000.

I had been thinking of a nice, newish, second hand truck with back seats. Say a Toyota Tundra or an F150. I could get one of them for $10,000 and I would be no worse off.

This is where wifey got involved and somewhat carelessly suggested that we wouldn't want to have to replace the truck if we wanted to pull a fifth wheel or a horse trailer or something in the future. We have neither of these, but could hypothetically have one or the other in the future, given a long string of unlikely events all falling into place. So the requirements went from a normal pickup to a 1 ton, diesel behemoth. By the end of Saturday we were home in a 2004, Lariat, 6.0L diesel, F350 with crew cab, long bed and a 4" suspension lift.

So I had gone from driving one of the smallest cars on the road to the largest pickup on the road, skipping over all the normal sized vehicles in between.

These trucks are not cheap. The new price would be about $50,000. The Kelly Blue Book price for this model is $21,000. We paid $15000. So something was up with it and whatever it was, it better had not cost more than $6000 to fix, or we would be out of the money. The randomly selected target was for the fixes to cost less than $3000. This is what is commonly known as a gamble. We will see if it pays off.

After driving it around for a bit and poking around, the problems started to emerge. The batteries won't charge, the tow bar connector was missing, one window didn't work, it smelled of cigarette smoke, the tires were bald and the sunroof wasn't there, the glass was broken. The trip computer was a brick.

So the challenge is on. The charging problem turned out to be corrosion on the terminals and so neither new batteries nor alternator were required. Just a good terminal cleaning and some anti corrosion goop. Score 1 for the gamble.

However tires (or tyres) are going to be next. That should be $800 ish.
$150 was spent getting a replacement trip computer off ebay, which came, was fitted and now works fine.
$400 was spent getting new glass for the sunroof. Again off ebay. But it has yet to arrive.

But for now, the beast is driving. This gets on to the important bit. There is very little evidence to suggest that if I tried to drive the thing through a McDonalds or Starbucks drivethrough, I would be able to come out the other side without serious damage to either the vehicle or the vendor.

So from now on I park and walk.

1 comment:

Tina said...

yeah-need to avoid the cars on lawn problem....I lived next to one of those as a child. Not pretty.