Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Have I Mentioned That I Hate My Van?

Our previous vehicle was a 1987 Cavalier. This car was a hunk of shit. Everything rattled on it and I was constantly afraid that it was going to fall apart right in the middle of the road. But do you know what? That car never left us stranded once in four years. Even when the antifreeze was leaking out and it was 30 below. It always started and it always got us home.

In June 2006 we finally got rid of the Cavalier and bought our van. We loved the van. It was great. It didn't rattle when you drove it. It wasn't noisy. It had tons of space and lots of seats. It was like a new vehicle.

This love didn't last long.

The first thing that we noticed was that the odd time you would turn the key and nothing would happen. A couple of more turns and it would start right up. It didn't happen very often but, really, it doesn't have to happen many times to cause concern.

Then one frigid January evening Jules was using the van on a break from work and it died on her. This turned out to be the fuel pump. We then replaced the fuel pump and serpentine belt. This bill got bigger and bigger as the work got done and I think we ended up paying around $750. They also told us that the starter would need to be replaced, but since my ass was already sore from being bent over for the fuel pump we decided that the starter would have to wait.

As the winter turned to spring we noticed a little antifreeze spot developing where we park the van. Eventually this became a big leak and we needed to replace a hose. Not just any hose a very special, 5 inch, hose that was ended up costing us around $400 when all was said and done.

At the beginning of the summer we made the last payment on the van. It was finally all ours!

Not more that a week after that last payment was made, the van died in the drive way. The starter had finally given up the ghost. We got that replaced.

Two days later the van died in the middle of a busy intersection. This turned into a month long problem. We got a new battery and ended up getting the alternator rebuilt before this problem was taken care of.

A couple of weeks later I noticed that the serpentine belt was squealing. Likely a result of my alternator repair. Then a sickening, low rumbling, rattle started coming out of the van. I was thinking the transmission was about to crap out. Luckily it's just the water pump. Yet another repair to be made today, (at least they will be removing the serpentine belt, so they will likely adjust it properly while they're at it).

Is it to much to ask for a little reliability in a van? Do we always have to be worrying about something? In the last year we've spent more on repairs than we payed for the van. For some reason we didn't realize we were going to have to build a whole new van one part at a time, when we bought it.

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