Author Topic: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old  (Read 9368 times)

rpr

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Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« on: May 14, 2014, 05:12:46 PM »
We have a 16 year old Toyota Camry (1998) with about 150K miles. They say the engine will last forever but we have all kinds of other niggling issues. Brakes, Radiator, Tires, Timing Belt, Struts etc. We seem to be averaging close to $1500+ per year in repairs. We drive very little (less than 5K per year) and are extremely "un"-handy when it comes to vehicles. I understand the theory but do NOT want to get my hards dirty. The latest seems to be a speed sensor problem. With parts and labor, the auto shop wants close to $450 including tax. So far this year we have spent $1100 on brakes + struts.

Should I pay the $450 to fix it? And continue driving it?

Should I buy a new car? Leaning towards the Honda Fit. Have cash.

Should I buy another used car? We live on an island and availability of used cars is limited. Thus prices for used cars can be high due to lower supply.

Any other ideas?

CarDude

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2014, 05:55:43 PM »
Over the next 5 years, if the Camry costs you $1500 per year in maintenance, that's $7500 + insurance.

Over the next 5 years, a 2015 Fit costs you $15,425 MSRP, plus probably $1000 based on $500/yr maintenance after the 3-year warranty expires + much higher insurance.

$7500 vs. $16,425, not even looking at the difference in insurance.

It doesn't make sense. Keep the Camry.

CarDude

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2014, 06:06:08 PM »
Something else to keep in mind, too, is that if you don't do any maintenance yourself, you're going to have to expect at least $500-1000 minimum in repairs for any vehicle each year. Every vehicle needs brakes. Every vehicle with a timing belt needs to have that changed sooner or later. Every vehicle needs tires. And that's before looking at the random things that break or wear out now and then, like the radiator, struts, and speed sensor. Switching cars will only bring you a new set of things that need fixing or maintaining.

ketchup

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2014, 06:09:40 PM »
I agree with CarSafetyGuy.

Brakes, tires, timing belt, and struts are all routine maintenance.  You'll be paying for that sort of thing no matter what you drive.  Radiator issues, and that speed sensor issue, are what I would call a handful of "old car problems", and as far as old car problems go, they are rather benign.  And like you said, the engine in a '98 Camry will last you as long as you want it to.

Keep it.  A 1998 Camry with 150k miles is a great car.

rpr

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2014, 09:05:15 PM »
Thanks CarSafetyGuy and ketchup:

I hate it every time I fork over a few hundred bucks to the shop. Too bad I live in an area with horrible public transport. My workplace is walkable but from the grocery stores, it is a 300 foot uphill bike ride.

Luckily I work less than a mile from work. So does DW. I try to convince DW to walk to work but received threats when I suggested that ;)

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2014, 09:18:14 PM »
Gee, if that was my car, I'd by rubbing my hands, chuckling at all the money I was going to save on repairs by doing them myself. :)

You may look around and see if you can find any friends or friends-of-friends who do car repair on the side.  My brother knows a guy who fixes cars out of his garage (and driveway, and about 5 parking spots on the street by his house!) for FAR less than a traditional mechanic.

rpr

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2014, 09:42:35 PM »
Zolotiyeruki,
I wish I was like you. I am good at reading about stuff. I saw youtube videos on changing the sensor cable. I have some engineering background and can easily understand how it all works. But when it comes to actually do it myself, I have no confidence in my skills. I have always been good at theory and not in practice.
Thanks again. I will look to see if I can find this friend who will do it on the cheap. Right now, I have a reliable mechanic but he charges an arm and a leg. I get mad, but I pay up. :(

shotgunwilly

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2014, 07:42:00 AM »
Youtube is your friend.  You can do most of these repairs, and you'd be amazed at the money you save when you do something like replace the brakes yourself.  Don't be afraid to try.

RapmasterD

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2014, 09:33:36 PM »
rpr -- Drive that mother fucker until it is dust. $1500/year is fine, particularly when you factor in expected repairs like tires and brakes.

DollarBill

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2014, 03:52:40 AM »
Zolotiyeruki,
I wish I was like you. I am good at reading about stuff. I saw youtube videos on changing the sensor cable. I have some engineering background and can easily understand how it all works. But when it comes to actually do it myself, I have no confidence in my skills. I have always been good at theory and not in practice.
Thanks again. I will look to see if I can find this friend who will do it on the cheap. Right now, I have a reliable mechanic but he charges an arm and a leg. I get mad, but I pay up. :(

I think all engineers should have a mechanics back ground. It would make all of our lives better. I hate it when I smash things in my garage because of bad engineering.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUfd5h5baNs

Looks easy...if not remember ABS is not necessary. I had an older bronco and had an ABS light come on so I sniped the wire to the light (problem solved) or could use a piece of electrical tape over the dash light. :)

Cassie

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2014, 01:33:14 PM »
We had a Volvo that we spent about the same on every year so kept driving it.  Then in NOv it needed $900 repair-no big deal but 2 months later a $4000 repair. that is when we got rid of it & bought a 2010 Honda Accord. Personally I do not want to be in a car as small as a Fit in case of an accident. 

bobmarley9993

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2014, 01:50:49 PM »
I think your repairs are too high given the miles you are driving.  I have a used car and have averaged $300 per yr  for the past 15 years.  At a certain point old cars are not worth it, i would wait for it to die and then upgrade.

Saw the rest of your post, when you upgrade don't buy a new car, go the used car route.    It is hard to say where the ideal age is, but with toyota/honda you should be okay with 6-8 years old.  Just make sure the person selling you the vehicle has owned it for awhile.  Don't buy if it was purchased out of an auction and is being resold.  Look for someone older, living in a nice area (preferably dinks) who just wants to upgrade to a newer car.  If they have oil change/repair receipts that would be ideal.   
« Last Edit: May 17, 2014, 02:00:44 PM by bobmarley9993 »

rpr

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2014, 03:44:34 PM »
Dollarbill: thanks for that youtube link. I talked with some of my co workers. One of them said that he always works on his cars. I'm going to ask for his help on this.

Cassie: I would say that so far the repairs have been averaging $1500 yearly. I think that I would strongly reconsider if the bills exceeded $2000.

Bobmarley9993: what do you mean when you say, wait for it to die? Right now, it works fine but I can see that if I don't fix it then it could become a potential safety hazard. There is always a cutoff in the repair estimate that will determine what "dead" means. Thanks for your ideas on buying a used car. I have always been buying older Toyotas and Hondas exclusively in that age range -- a little closer to 8 than 6. Where we live, used cars tend to go for a premium due to supply constraints.

bobmarley9993

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2014, 04:11:53 PM »
I dont know exactly what i was trying to say, but basically you just need to maximize your current repairs considered against the cars value and future repairs.  If you have to do 1 more repair i would be tempted to try to try to get at least a few months more use out of the vehicle and hope nothing else goes wrong.  Its a judgement call and i dont have enough info but at some point in the next year upgrade.

PeteD01

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2014, 04:39:39 PM »
We have a 16 year old Toyota Camry (1998) with about 150K miles. They say the engine will last forever but we have all kinds of other niggling issues. Brakes, Radiator, Tires, Timing Belt, Struts etc. We seem to be averaging close to $1500+ per year in repairs. We drive very little (less than 5K per year) and are extremely "un"-handy when it comes to vehicles. I understand the theory but do NOT want to get my hards dirty. The latest seems to be a speed sensor problem. With parts and labor, the auto shop wants close to $450 including tax. So far this year we have spent $1100 on brakes + struts.

Should I pay the $450 to fix it? And continue driving it?

Should I buy a new car? Leaning towards the Honda Fit. Have cash.

Should I buy another used car? We live on an island and availability of used cars is limited. Thus prices for used cars can be high due to lower supply.

Any other ideas?

Yes, I got another idea: your problem is not with your fine vehicle but with getting ripped off by your "auto shop". You won't be able to fix your problem by getting another car.
$450 for a speed sensor replacement is about 300% above reasonable.
You don't want to get your hands dirty? That's okay - just do the diagnostics and go to a competent mechanic and and tell him exactly what you want to have done after you have researched what is involved in the job. There are forums where you can get info regarding amount of work etc. Source the parts needed yourself on the internet - do not buy them from a dealership. Good mechanics do not like to run around finding parts and do not have helpers standing in line at O'Reilly's - they'll appreciate a customer who understands their job and doesn't waste their time. You do not even have to know anyone if you do your homework because you'll be able to figure out for yourself if the mechanic is full of it or not, IF YOU DO YOUR HOMEWORK - yes, I am yelling.
There is just no excuse for someone who understands the technical side of things but doesn't bother to even figure out what is involved in a minor repair and instead comes asking if he should buy ANOTHER VEHICLE!!!

Ok, face punch delivered and good luck with your car.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2014, 04:48:49 PM by PeteD01 »

rpr

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Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2014, 05:37:45 PM »
PeteD01 --

Edit: thank you very much. You motivated me to get going on this.  It costs $220 at oreillys auto and I did find a forum posting on toyotanation. :) online I see prices on amazon for even 100$. Are those reliable?



I suppose I was asking for this.

I did go to the library and get the Chilton's and am looking through it for the part. I did google speed sensor and the price varies all over the place -- upto 200-300$. So perhaps I do not have the correct part identified yet. My mechanic quoted me 333$ for the part and 84$/hour of labor. The mechanic estimated about 1 hour of labor. It might be a minor repair to you, but to me it is not.

I am about to also order a OBD 2 device for my car so that I will be able to do better diagnostics.

My mechanic's garage usually has the best reputation locally and usually maintains our workplace's vehicle fleet. Their rates are indeed higher than other mechanics that I have locally checked by about 25%. But I find their work to be reliable. They also usually do not recommend any costly and unneeded repairs.

I am doing my homework.  Otherwise I would not even be posting here. The old me would have already had the work done by them!
« Last Edit: May 17, 2014, 06:33:26 PM by rpr »

PeteD01

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2014, 07:43:25 PM »
PeteD01 --

Edit: thank you very much. You motivated me to get going on this.  It costs $220 at oreillys auto and I did find a forum posting on toyotanation. :) online I see prices on amazon for even 100$. Are those reliable?



I suppose I was asking for this.

I did go to the library and get the Chilton's and am looking through it for the part. I did google speed sensor and the price varies all over the place -- upto 200-300$. So perhaps I do not have the correct part identified yet. My mechanic quoted me 333$ for the part and 84$/hour of labor. The mechanic estimated about 1 hour of labor. It might be a minor repair to you, but to me it is not.

I am about to also order a OBD 2 device for my car so that I will be able to do better diagnostics.

My mechanic's garage usually has the best reputation locally and usually maintains our workplace's vehicle fleet. Their rates are indeed higher than other mechanics that I have locally checked by about 25%. But I find their work to be reliable. They also usually do not recommend any costly and unneeded repairs.

I am doing my homework.  Otherwise I would not even be posting here. The old me would have already had the work done by them!

Search the Toyotanation forum for your particular problem and post a question if you can't find an answer. If you have trouble finding the exact part in the general market, go to the dealership service and parts counter (not the "service advisor" - he only knows how to charge your card and keep you distracted while doing so) and have them look up the Toyota part number. This part number can be cross referenced to the aftermarket number. Remember that the salespeople in the parts stores are experts in finding stuff but in general do not have an understanding of the technical aspect of things.
You absolutely need to know what you want and be able to give them information they can work with.
Same for online businesses.

Edit: as far as "minor repair" goes, it is essential to understand that, for a mechanic, the headache involved in sourcing parts and possibly obtaining service instructions is exactly the same as for you. If he's got to do all that, it's not a minor repair anymore but a freaking headache for a couple of hours or more and a minor repair tacked on at the end. That's why you rightly will pay through your nose if you expect a mechanic to do this work for you or you pay for it by going to a dealership keeping everything in stock to keep the mechanics doing a mechanic's work. You can cut out all of this overhead by being able to diagnose and source parts yourself.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2014, 08:09:46 PM by PeteD01 »

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2014, 09:23:11 PM »
Markup on parts is also part of their business model.

rpr

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2014, 09:25:18 PM »
PeteD01--

Thanks again.

My understanding was that most auto repair ships pad the part prices as well. For example, the part price quoted to me by the mechanic was 333$ while the same part in the same store was available to me for 260$. Another auto store had it for 220$, while online  at amazon you could get it for 115$. I do not think that my usual mechanic will work on a part that I buy online.

I was able to find the instructions on toyotanation. I may actually try it myself with the help of a more experienced friend. It does not appear to be too difficult.

The OBD2 wifi scanner has been ordered. Should be here in the next few days.

DollarBill

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2014, 10:59:19 PM »
http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/120817652481?lpid=82

Here's one for $13 bucks and yes they are the same as the expensive ones...It's just a magnet and a wire.


rpr

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2014, 11:43:11 PM »
Thanks to all. Have ordered the part. It should be here later next week.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2014, 01:23:47 PM »
Oh, ABS speed sensor?  That's seriously a 10 minute fix.  A couple years back, we were heading out on a road trip, and the night before I managed to break one while  replacing something else in the wheel well.  On our way to the freeway, we stopped at the parts store, picked up the sensor, and I installed it right there in the parking lot in about 10 minutes.  Didn't get my hands too dirty, either.  Just two 10mm bolts and a plug.

rpr

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2014, 02:35:08 PM »

Oh, ABS speed sensor?  That's seriously a 10 minute fix.  A couple years back, we were heading out on a road trip, and the night before I managed to break one while  replacing something else in the wheel well.  On our way to the freeway, we stopped at the parts store, picked up the sensor, and I installed it right there in the parking lot in about 10 minutes.  Didn't get my hands too dirty, either.  Just two 10mm bolts and a plug.
It's not the abs speed sensor. It is the speed sensor in the auto transaxle.

DollarBill

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2014, 05:31:58 PM »
Let us know what you do?
Just curious.

rpr

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2014, 05:52:09 PM »
Definitely. I need to get a 10 mm ratchet driver with extension. I am puzzled at the price differences. A part that costs <$20 on ebay vs $250 at the local parts store and $333 at the mechanic.

DollarBill

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2014, 03:44:16 PM »
DollarBill -- that's not the one I need. This is the one.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Toyota-Vehicle-Speed-Sensor-VSS-Corolla-Camry-Celica-/320671233023?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&fits=Model%3ACamry%7CYear%3A1998&hash=item4aa97eb3ff&vxp=mtr

Even better it's only $11 :)

Quote
Definitely. I need to get a 10 mm ratchet driver with extension. I am puzzled at the price differences. A part that costs <$20 on ebay vs $250 at the local parts store and $333 at the mechanic.

Isn't shameful!!

I found this cool youtube video while searching for repair videos.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBHJZ_x0neI
It's of a guy doing a complete engine and transmission overhaul of a 1994 Toyota Camry...time lapsed. I noticed at 4:05 he has writing on the engine bay "replaced oxygen sensor at 284K miles". After reading the video description he was doing the overhaul at 314K miles and owned the car for 17 yrs...that's awesome! Plus, there's a cool blues song at 4:30 but don't know the name.

rpr

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2014, 07:27:43 PM »
DollarBill -- that's not the one I need. This is the one.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Toyota-Vehicle-Speed-Sensor-VSS-Corolla-Camry-Celica-/320671233023?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&fits=Model%3ACamry%7CYear%3A1998&hash=item4aa97eb3ff&vxp=mtr

Even better it's only $11 :)

Quote
Definitely. I need to get a 10 mm ratchet driver with extension. I am puzzled at the price differences. A part that costs <$20 on ebay vs $250 at the local parts store and $333 at the mechanic.

Isn't shameful!!

I found this cool youtube video while searching for repair videos.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBHJZ_x0neI
It's of a guy doing a complete engine and transmission overhaul of a 1994 Toyota Camry...time lapsed. I noticed at 4:05 he has writing on the engine bay "replaced oxygen sensor at 284K miles". After reading the video description he was doing the overhaul at 314K miles and owned the car for 17 yrs...that's awesome! Plus, there's a cool blues song at 4:30 but don't know the name.

Banana-colored woman in an orange Cadillac with a pocket full of hundred dollar bills ...

Andre Williams

:)

Waiting for the part to show up. By this weekend. This afternoon the problem happened again. Speedometer and odometer both don't read and the check engine light is on. Maybe a Country song in there somewhere :)

DollarBill

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2014, 08:26:11 PM »
I haven't listened to this guy yet but from the song titles...I think he's become my favorite artist:
Jail Bait, Going Down to Tia Juana, The Greasy Chicken, I Just Wanna Little Love Love Lovin', Bacon Fat, (M M M M Andre Williams Is) M-M-Movin'...get it?? Pass The Biscuits Please, Weekend Man, I Wanna Be Your Favorite Pair of Pajamas, Put a Chain on It (Is this like put a ring on it?), Pussy Stank, Let Me Put It In, She's a Bag of Potato Chips, Weapon of Mass Destruction, My Sister Stole My Woman. I'm laughing my ass off...you can't make this stuff up. Classic!!!

Jail Bait (1984)Edit
1. Jail Bait
2. Tossing and Turnin' and Burnin' All Up Inside
3. Just Because
4. Going Down to Tia Juana
5. You Know I Can't Refuse
6. I Wanna Know Why
7. The Greasy Chicken
8. I Just Wanna Little Love Love Lovin'
9. Is It True?
10. My Last Dance with You
11. I'm Movin' On
12. It's All Over

Bacon Fat (1986)Edit
1. Bacon Fat
2. Jail Bait
3. Going Down To Tia Juana
4. (M M M M Andre Williams Is) M-M-Movin'
5. Don't Touch
6. Is It True?
7. Pass The Biscuits Please
8. The Greasy Chicken
9. Pulling Time
10. Mean Jean
11. Tossin' & Turnin' & Burning' All Up Inside
12. Weekend Man
13. You Know I Can't Refuse
14. Put A Chain On It

Mr. Rhythm (1996)Edit
1. Bacon Fat
2. Jail Bait
3. Mozelle
4. Greasy Chicken
5. Going Down to Tia Juana
6. Jailhouse Blues
7. Don't Touch
8. My Tears
9. Just Want a Little Lovin'
10. Georgia Mae Is Movin'
11. M-M-Movin'
12. Pulling Time
13. Mean Jean
14. Pass The Biscuits Please
15. I Wanna Know Why
16. I'm All for You
17. Hey Country Girl
18. Come On Baby
19. Just Because of a Kiss
20. Bobby Jean
21. Put a Chain on It
22. Is It True?
23. My Last Dance with You
24. I Still Love You
25. Tossin' & Turnin' & Burnin' All Up Inside
26. You Are My Sunshine
27. Just Because

Silky (1998)Edit
1. Agile, Mobile & Hostile
2. I Wanna Be Your Favorite Pair of Pajamas
3. Bonin'
4. Through It All
5. Looking Down at You - Looking Up at Me
6. Bring Me Back My Car Unstripped
7. Car with the Star
8. Pussy Stank
9. Only Black Man in South Dakota
10. Let Me Put It In
11. Country & Western Song
12. Everybody Knew

Red Dirt (1999)Edit
1. Hey Truckers
2. Busted
3. She's a Bag of Potato Chips
4. I Can Tell
5. Pardon Me (I've Got Someone to Kill)
6. Weapon of Mass Destruction
7. Easy on the Eyes
8. I'm an Old, Old Man (Tryin' to Live While I Can)
9. Tramp Trail
10. Psycho
11. I Understand (Do You)
12. Old John
13. Queen of the World
14. My Sister Stole My Woman

PeteD01

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #29 on: June 08, 2014, 01:39:55 PM »
Any news?

rpr

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Re: Fix repair, or Buy: New vs. Old
« Reply #30 on: June 08, 2014, 10:24:02 PM »
I have the part but not installed yet. The problem seems to have gone away. Somehow related to weather. It has not been as hot over the last week or so. Waiting for the CEL to turn on again


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