Two weeks ago the 1985 S-10 4WD Blazer, Dr. Phil's Winter Blazer, died on the side of the road
. The actual failure was caused by the timing chain skipping some broken teeth on the timing gear, some $800 estimated repair. Plus an oil leak for another $200. But the corroded oil pan also needed replacing and there was $900 of labor just on that because you can't do the job without yanking the engine out -- damn that four-wheel-drive. (grin)
So, put $2000+ into a 21-year-old vehicle with 307,000 miles? Or find a new ride? I asked Dave Hekhuis, my "used car guy" at Lemmen-Grand Chevrolet in Coopersville MI, if he had a 4WD S-10 Blazer 1989-1994. He hadn't seen anything like that in four months, but would look at the other Grand dealers. Then I got an e-mail from him saying he had just taken a 1996 4WD S-10 Blazer in trade with 110,000 miles. Mrs. Dr. Phil asked, "What color?" Turns out it's teal.
In the long run it really wasn't much of a choice. As good and solid a performer as the 1985 had been, it had a number of defects which only a long-term owner could "appreciate", such as intermittent radio, no defroster (though you could fake it with AC Bi-Level), tailgate lock not working right, two long cracks in the windshield and heavy rust around the windshield frame which makes replacing it something more than a glass guy can do without screwing it all up. And despite having a 2.8L V6 instead of the 4.3L V6 engines on the 1989 and 1994 Blazers, the 1985 had the worst gas mileage of the lot. Starting over with a "new" vehicle, even a ten-year-old one, is something one has to do from time to time and the 1996 really is in nice shape. I ended up offering the 1985 to the mechanics, and one of them is taking it -- the guys were really touched that I offered it. Hell, they know its guts better than I do. (double-barreled-carburetor-grin)Changeover Day
Today (Saturday) plates got changed, checks and keys handed around -- and I spent an hour taking a couple of years of crap out of the 1985. I think I found five quarts of Dextron III from back when the transmission was leaking like a sieve.
I need to keep the 1996 cleaner than that, since it will be interchangeable with the 1994 Mrs. Dr. Phil Blazer. There's this slot in the center console that must've been for cassette tapes -- it now holds packages of Dentene Ice Arctic Chill gum, which I chew on the long commutes. Hey, the stuff opens up my sinuses! The house came with two remotes for the garage door, but with three Blazers (so that one or two can be running on any given day) I always had to swap a remote when changing between the Winter and Summer Blazers. So I stopped by True Value Hardware in Allendale and found an aftermarket remote. Yay. Only took thirteen years or so.
Anyway, I hadn't planned on buying a "new to us" vehicle this weekend, but overall it came at a reasonable time and it'll be nice.I'm No April Fool
There are sometimes NPR news stories for April 1st, but alas, we didn't get up early enough to hear any this morning. I did hear a report the other day that with the "Spring Ahead" time change coming up in just a few hours this weekend, that too many people are yet set with even a one hour change in their circadian rhythm, such that there are many more car accidents on Monday morning after the switch to Daylight Savings Time.
I told this to my students, while reminding them to change their clocks.
I also told them I would not
be driving the new 1996 Blazer to Kalamazoo on Monday.
I mean, wouldn't that be horrible? To go through all this only to be rammed by some idiot who didn't get enough sleep this weekend?
Be safe out there!