Saturday, February 6, 2016

An Auto Repair Tsunami

It all started, I think, this fall, when I was elk hunting late in the season.

I went up high into the Big Horns, high enough that I really couldn't get any higher without chaining up, and as I didn't want to do that, I decided to hike from there.

Now, as luck would have it, last year I blew a tire coming down out of the Big Horns, doing the very same thing, so I knew my tires were a bit iffy.  But tires are expensive, and therefore I didn't buy new ones.  I could get more miles on the tires of the 07 D3500, I was pretty sure.  I don't drive it as much as I used to, since I bought the Jeep.  And I did keep those tires for a year.

 The Jeep has frankly seen a lot more use than I originally thought it was.  A 1997, and one that had been in a wreck when it was nearly new, it became my daily driver when I hadn't planned on that.

Well, a second blow out coming down out of the Big Horns ended that, and I had to replace a tire.  And you can't replace just one tire. So, rather than get all four, I got two.  This past fall.

Well, a couple of months ago I went to Cody.  And while I do drive my Jeep around here everyday, I don't drive it on the highway for trips.  I use the D3500 for that.  It's newer, and it has fewer miles on it.

It's also diesel.

And, given its 07 vintage, it has a diesel particulate filter.

Now, diesel particulate filters are a bit of a pain, as they clog up. And when I bought this Jeep the Cummins engine it features was in the first year of production. For a year or two I had problems with the filter.  But after a couple recalls and some work at the dealership on the lines, that stopped being a problem entirely.

Until the trip to Cody.

Now, the check engine light had been on since I came back out of the hills a week or so from elk hunting.  But usually a few miles on the highway stops that.  Not this time.  And on my last day in Cody, I got the warning form the system that the filter was 80% blocked and I should go to the dealership immediately.  A call to a really good diesel shop here in Casper revealed that I could, however, make it home if I didn't idle, and I didn't stop.  Indeed, while driving that old familiar smell of the system burning off the gunk was there, and the message stopped.

So it went to the shop.

Where it developed that, after 130,000 miles and a decade of use, it's filter system and exhaust was completely shot, and had to be replaced. 

Which isn't cheap.

But it sure added the power to it, I have to say.

So, about a month goes by and my son announces that the door of the 1997 D1500 will no longer close.  It's always been problematic.  So I went out and looked at it and found this:

Not good.

I think this truck had something happen to it before we owned it, and the kind attention its given in our hands wasn't always the case.  Anyhow, I took it down to the body shop and they welded it up and fixed it.  This is a lot cheaper than replacing the door, but it isn't free.

And that meant my son had to drive my Jeep to school, and I drove the D3500 to work.

I'd noticed when I had driven it the day prior ti seemed to drive a little funny.  But yesterday on the way to work the ABS light went on.  At noon, I had to drive to the DOT and I was loosing my brakes. When I came out of the DOT it was so bad that I knew I had to get it into the shop.  I debated the topic and clearly couldn't make it to my regular mechanics, so I limped it in to another shop I sometimes use that's close to my office, by which time, taking the back streets, it was really driving in crisis mode and making terrible sounds.

When I got out, I saw this.

Wheel should not be sitting at that angle.

Wheel bearings.

But it gets better, turns out that there was a problem with the front axle and my tie rod is having issues also.


Well, it has 130,000 miles on it. So, even though the engines keep on keeping on beyond that now, not everything does, of course. So, I guess I'm at the rebuilding a few things stage, which is cheaper than buying something new, but not cheap.

And I don't like to replace my vehicles much.  My does, and would keep up with new ones all the time but for my huge disinclination to do that.  Indeed, I don't ever see myself replacing any of the vehicles I have and use right now, which of course doesn't mean that everything on them will work forever.  But the unexpected ways the repairs arrive is really the pits.

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