Thursday, November 20, 2008

More on Hammie

Got 3 out of 4 studded snow tires on, Angie forgot to stop at Wal-Mart to get the last one put on today. I'm actually pretty impressed with Wal-Mart putting the tires on the rims, yeah its not that hard but their price is competative and they seem to do good work. Hopefully this will fix much of the horrible highway speed vibration.
The rear shocks showed up yesterday but not the upper control arms. Talked to Hursty and apparently his supplier screwed up so they're being next day shipped at the supplier's expense. We'll see...
Interestingly it turns out to do the shocks I have to remove the back seat, that surprised me! The hole to get the top bolts out is behind the seatback (so the whole seat doesn't come out just the seatback). Doesn't sound like that hard a job, just have to be a little careful because if I don't support the lower control arm the spring will come out which can be dangerous...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hammie rides again!

A quick update, got the brakes done on the 240D (Hammie) done yesterday. The parking brake still needs a little sorting but its pretty much there. I took him out for his first drive of any distance (Angie and I did take him around the block Friday night) to go get some fresh fuel. The brakes seem spot on (except of course the parking brake) but the suspension seems squishy and I'm concerned about the front upper ball joints and upper control arms. The ball joint boots are cracked open and the UCA bushings look poor. Interestingly though to my somewhat untrained butt the worst of the squishyness is coming from the rear, I'm thinking I need shocks. Of course the problem could also be a soft tire or two. The snows on the car are really pretty terrible. They were cheap tires when I bought them 4 years ago and although they don't have a ton of miles they need replacing. I've got 4 studded snows Dwight gave me, just need to put them on.

So I think Saturday I'm going to take him for inspection and see what the inspector thinks. I don't want to go replacing stuff I don't need. I just sat down and figured and the whole of the brake job cost me just about $360. Thats pretty cheap when you consider thats all 4 rotors and pads and 2 new calipers (ouch!) plus I'll be keeping the old calipers to rebuild, the caliper repair kit is a mere $15.
I priced all 4 shocks and the upper control arms and its $310 (shipping is free at that point). Add the two rear parking brake cables (the likely culprits) and we're up to $370 or thereabouts.

I've resigned myself to not ever getting my money back out of this car. If I make this purchase (I'm thinking I will) I'll have over $1000 into a $400 car that is now worth approximately $1000...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


The problem with driving an old car is that crap happens. Well okay crap happens to everybody and everything, the problem is that crap happens to older cars with greater regularity. Don't get me wrong my 190D has been a great car but the rear diff is getting really noisy and needs replacement bad. I've got a couple options for getting a replacement but none of them is working the way I'd like.
So my plan right now is to get my butt in gear and get the 240D (Hammie) back on the road. The thing thats keeping that car off the road right now is brakes. Specifically the front brakes and the stuck parking brake cable. I think the parking brake cable will free up with some solvent and a hammer. The front brakes however get us into the scary world of bearings. On this particular car the brake rotors are super rusty. I've already replaced the rear rotors which is a really easy job. The fronts however are bolted to the wheel hub which is supported by the wheel bearings, you can't remove the rotor without removing the hub and you can't remove the hub without disturbing the bearing.

I have this image of my screwing this up, the bearing chewing a channel through the spindle and the wheel falling off while I'm cruising down the highway. I have this other image of the rear diff on the 190D failing and catapulting me into oncoming traffic. Neither is an image I'm real excited about. It must be really nice to be ignorant... Anyway I'm reasonably sure neither of those situations is going to happen, what would probably happen in both cases is the noise would get so bad I'll pull over and get the car towed...

So I'm just terrified of this job and I don't know why, millions of idiots replace wheel bearings all the time and I've made a point of pride in myself of not being afraid of anything, I'm a teacher for God's sake, I hang it out there in front of people every day!
Okay good, I've built my dander up, in fact I really wish I could just do the stupid bearings right now.. Alas that isn't going to happen. I don't have the correct grease and what really makes me nervous is that while I'm sure Mobil 1 wheel bearing grease is just fine I don't know how much to use. Part of me says "hell just use some, the correct grease is on its way, just do it again later". Legions of rednecks are screaming "USE WHATS IN YOUR GREASE GUN"...

Sigh, I blame this all on my parents, my Dad somehow lost some of his redneck roots at some point and I never got to learn any of this from him. I'm not a redneck but for some reason I have the desire...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Talking to a car dealer

Just got a call back from the dealership where I test drove the Colorado last week. He was sort of beating around the bushes as it were and I came out with that I thought his price on the Colorado was kind of high, remember I'd checked the blue book and all. Turns out its already sold and he commented that he didn't like people calling his prices high, acted kind of upset with the whole thing. He also told me the Colorado is sold and delivered so their price couldn't have been that bad.

I'm a lousy negotiator. I bought my Dakota for list price and then bought the two Mercedes on eBay so I didn't have to negotiate on them. The best I've ever done is at Meineke getting brakes and exhaust and all and thats just me saying "you can do better than that" and taking whatever he says for his next price. I doubt I've really hurt Rick's (the salesman) feelings but I bet he knows that I won't push as hard if we enter into negotiation on some other vehicle...

I hate this, I love getting a new vehicle I just don't love BUYING a new vehicle. If one could just magically appear that'd be awesome... Rick did say they have an '05 Dakota for considerably less money than the Colorado. I consider the Dakota to be more truck too... Thats 9 years newer than my Dakota, it has 180,000 fewer miles too. I may have to go check it out.

I just checked, the '07 Colorado is still on their website. Do you suppose they have 2 '07 blue Chevy Colorado's with 40,000 miles and the Z71 package? Or maybe they're just slow to update the website.

Make sure you VOTE tomorrow!