Author Topic: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...  (Read 25816 times)

Ohio Teacher

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #50 on: July 18, 2014, 01:46:01 PM »
I'm enjoying the judgment that obviously the OP is badly mistaken in the need of a large vehicle to haul equipment for what is obviously not cash flow positive, but is instead a stupid expensive hobby.

Oh wait, I'm not.

Where do some of these responses come from?  How can you possibly know that the OP could clearly use a smaller vehicle, or that it's not worth buying a replacement vehicle?  And if you were simply asking for those facts, or suggesting that the OP reexamine her thoughts, I'd be all for those lines of inquiry.  But that's not what's going on – what's going on is judgment that the OP has her facts wrong, and that some of you obviously know better.  I don't understand why anyone would make that sort of wild assumption.
The OP asked what appeared to them as a comparative question: Which is more Mustachian?  I'm sure the responses to the question would've been less judgmental had the OP not made the choices TIED FOR FUCKING ZERO on a Mustachian scale because they all involved going into further debt.

What you said:
Quote
If your husband's equipment can't fit in a small used beater car that you buy for the $3000 that you can save over a few weeks at your decent paying jobs, then his little business needs to get put on hold for a while.  What you're doing is called leveraging.  That is, you guys are rationalizing that this frivolous purchase will pay for itself with gig income, thus providing a positive ROI and making it a good investment.
You said this with no facts to back it up!  How do you know if the purchase is frivolous, or that it won't pay for itself?  You may be right, of course, but you have no basis for this -- you just assumed.
I am well aware of what I said, and not only do I stand by my assessment, but I believe I could have afforded to be much more harsh. 

One must make assumptions when given incomplete information.  Mine were made with the knowledge that the OP has $40K in CC debt and is considering financing an SUV over 6 years.  It doesn't take a genius to assume that they haven't always made great financial decisions.  I believe many of us in this thread were doing our best to save them from piling on to their debt by whatever means possible. 

It doesn't seem to have worked, however, as they haven't been back in a while.  I assume they are busing signing loan paperwork at the moment. 

beltim

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #51 on: July 18, 2014, 01:50:48 PM »
I am well aware of what I said, and not only do I stand by my assessment, but I believe I could have afforded to be much more harsh. 

One must make assumptions when given incomplete information.  Mine were made with the knowledge that the OP has $40K in CC debt and is considering financing an SUV over 6 years.  It doesn't take a genius to assume that they haven't always made great financial decisions.  I believe many of us in this thread were doing our best to save them from piling on to their debt by whatever means possible. 

It doesn't seem to have worked, however, as they haven't been back in a while.  I assume they are busing signing loan paperwork at the moment.

Let me ask you a question: do you think you might be wrong?  Is there a chance that a larger vehicle than the above mentioned Golf is required, and that the business is cash flow positive, such that by purchasing a larger vehicle they would end up financially ahead?

If so, I don't understand the jump to be so harsh.

Dodge

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #52 on: July 18, 2014, 02:03:14 PM »
I am well aware of what I said, and not only do I stand by my assessment, but I believe I could have afforded to be much more harsh. 

One must make assumptions when given incomplete information.  Mine were made with the knowledge that the OP has $40K in CC debt and is considering financing an SUV over 6 years.  It doesn't take a genius to assume that they haven't always made great financial decisions.  I believe many of us in this thread were doing our best to save them from piling on to their debt by whatever means possible. 

It doesn't seem to have worked, however, as they haven't been back in a while.  I assume they are busing signing loan paperwork at the moment.

Let me ask you a question: do you think you might be wrong?  Is there a chance that a larger vehicle than the above mentioned Golf is required, and that the business is cash flow positive, such that by purchasing a larger vehicle they would end up financially ahead?

If so, I don't understand the jump to be so harsh.

It looks like Ohio Teacher covered the cash flow positive scenario in his/her conclusion, and determined it's not a smart move:

Quote
What you're doing is called leveraging.  That is, you guys are rationalizing that this frivolous purchase will pay for itself with gig income, thus providing a positive ROI and making it a good investment.  But given your current financial situation, you will be one disaster away from needing to leverage with debt again.

I agree.

PeteD01

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #53 on: July 18, 2014, 02:06:35 PM »
At no point has the op clearly defined just how large / heavy the equipment being hauled is.
I am still betting it could all fit into a VW Golf.

The OP gives very little concrete information, but we got this:

His hauling does a number on vehicles, it broke the axle on a Conversion Ford E150 van (220,000 miles).

Anything that can break the axle on an E150 will destroy a small car in short order.


« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 02:08:33 PM by PeteD01 »

beltim

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #54 on: July 18, 2014, 02:06:56 PM »
It looks like Ohio Teacher covered the cash flow positive scenario in his/her conclusion, and determined it's not a smart move:

Quote
What you're doing is called leveraging.  That is, you guys are rationalizing that this frivolous purchase will pay for itself with gig income, thus providing a positive ROI and making it a good investment.  But given your current financial situation, you will be one disaster away from needing to leverage with debt again.

I agree.

It's possible that I missed something, but I saw no information that would allow a reasonable determination of whether the OP would be overleveraged.  Did I miss something?

okashira

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #55 on: July 18, 2014, 02:53:21 PM »
At no point has the op clearly defined just how large / heavy the equipment being hauled is.
I am still betting it could all fit into a VW Golf.

The OP gives very little concrete information, but we got this:

His hauling does a number on vehicles, it broke the axle on a Conversion Ford E150 van (220,000 miles).

Anything that can break the axle on an E150 will destroy a small car in short order.

As a mechanical engineer, I can attest to "it broke an axle..." is not a unit of mass measurement.
In fact I'd say it provides no information at all given the age of the vehicle.

PeteD01

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #56 on: July 18, 2014, 03:36:13 PM »
At no point has the op clearly defined just how large / heavy the equipment being hauled is.
I am still betting it could all fit into a VW Golf.

The OP gives very little concrete information, but we got this:

His hauling does a number on vehicles, it broke the axle on a Conversion Ford E150 van (220,000 miles).

Anything that can break the axle on an E150 will destroy a small car in short order.

As a mechanical engineer, I can attest to "it broke an axle..." is not a unit of mass measurement.
In fact I'd say it provides no information at all given the age of the vehicle.

Well, I seriously doubt that the cargo broke the axle, but if it did - and I have to take her word for it - then he must be hauling some serious shit. And that the hauling is doing a number on vehicles is also something I got to take at face value. That's all the information we got and I see no particular reason not to accept that they need to haul heavy stuff that is hard on a vehicle until they tell me otherwise.

« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 03:39:09 PM by PeteD01 »

Paul der Krake

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #57 on: July 18, 2014, 08:02:34 PM »
Agreed, for the sake of the discussion, it would be nice to have a rough idea of the total load envisionned.

Note that most people agree that pretty much any car on the market can safely carry 4 overweight people (say 4 people at 250lbs each), yet when you show them 1,000lbs of non-human crap, they start talking about how a bigger car is needed to carry all that stuff.

gimp

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #58 on: July 18, 2014, 08:39:48 PM »
Aren't E-150s able to carry about a ton and a half?

How did the sound gear break the axle? Did it weight a ton and a half, or even near as much? If so, that is a shit-load of gear.

caseyzee

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #59 on: July 19, 2014, 04:24:58 AM »
I know there are a lot of side discussions here, but my vote for the OP is to fix the van. I think you are looking at the cost/benefit wrong.  Sure, $3000 may be more than the vehicle is worth, but what else are you going to buy for 3000 bucks?  Almost 6 years ago, my brother-in-law gave me a 2000 Chrysler minivan.  It had been in an accident and had some body problems.  He paid $200 for it and repaired the worst of the damage. Since then, I've put about 2500 dollars into it.  Nearly every repair, except the thermostat I guess, was technically more than the car is worth.  But the repairs have been WAY less than buying anything even comparable.

mc6

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #60 on: July 20, 2014, 09:28:59 AM »
Honestly, how would ya'll handle this? You've convinced me not to buy the seat covers and maybe even the remote start (as me again in February LOL), but what now? I'm not looking for validation or an excuse to buy so much as real advice through a mustachian lens. We are still working on incorporating these principles into our life and it's more challenging than I expected. TIA!

Hi Meinurgill.  I can feel your anxiety and stress over this dilemma and want to wish you calm and clear-headed decision-making.  My vote in this instance would be to fix up the current ride.  Maybe you can find a better, cheaper mechanic in town, or maybe a friend/relative with DIY skills you could use instead?  Buying a different, potentially unroadworthy ride with a crazy-long loan term just seems too risky to me.  Good luck.

Meinurgill

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #61 on: July 21, 2014, 02:58:45 PM »
Hi everyone! Thanks for your replies. I disappeared for a few days because I was pretty turned off by the comments, but I'm glad to see you are all still debating and I'm glad to answer your questions.

1--my husband is a serious musician. He has been featured in Billboard magazine. At the moment he is not gigging regularly because he is between projects, but when he does, he gets paid very well. We do not budget around that money and it goes straight on our debt payments. This is his life's work. It would be cool if people could be respectful of that.
2--my husband is a highly skilled audio engineer. His business partner is John Mayer's #1 stage sound man. He has worked for almost every star in the business, does sound at the Grammy's, etc. They aren't talking about doing a piddly little hobby business here. We are talking about a business that has the potential to make us a LOT of money, run by men who know what the hell they are doing and who own enough gear to fill up a warehouse. And it involves a lot of very heavy equipment hauling. His business partner's Suburban and my husband's trailer will handle a lot of that hauling, but smaller jobs can be accomplished with a smaller SUV, as can my husband's gigging needs over the next couple of years.
3. NO, THE GEAR CANNOT BE HAULED IN A VW GOLF. Ok? My husband pulled a large trailer with a full live PA across the country for ten years (plus a full passenger load inside), and that's how the axle got taxed on the van. And the engine and transmission and all other components will show the same wear, so putting money into that vehicle right now just seems downright inefficient. This is an E-150 that has seen 220,000 miles of HEAVY use.
4. Our debt situation is the result of 10 years of difficult career progress, my low-paying social work job, and schooling (I have a graduate degree). Just in the last year, our situation took a 180. We have 40K in CC debt (actually, closer to 38 after this month's payments). We are now in a position to pay our debt down rapidly. We definitely did stupid spending in the past but we are (I believe) much more sane now. We know there is still fat to trim but we are legitimately working our asses off on this--that's why we are here asking for advice, in earnest.
5. We have no cash saved because we are slamming it on debt, not because it isn't available to us. It would take 2-3 months for us to save $3K, but in the fall I start teaching part-time (on top of my full-time job) which is part of our aggressive CC payoff plan. All $6K+ of my teaching money (earned over 4.5 months) is getting put on our CC payments, plus any extra income my husband brings in from gigs and audio contract work (and yes, it's substantial enough to justify a hauler vehicle). Something in me just can't swallow taking $3K+ of that and putting it on an E150 Conversion van with 220,000 miles.
6. We have adjusted our search--we are now in the $8-11K range. We are leaning toward a 2004 CRV with 90,000 miles, listed for 10K and we think we can get out the door for closer to 9K (at 3.25% interest which is, by the way, 10% less that it would cost to finance the repair on the van on a CC--unless it could go another 2 months on the road safely, which I question because it has to carry our 10 month old on board; DH brings baby to day care, and I can't give him the Golf because I commute on highways and the van isn't safe for the highway right now). It's a very small dealer, no bullshit fees. Payments would be around $150. It would impact our current CC debt payoff plan minimally (we currently pay $1200 a month, which is significantly over our min. payments). Are we getting closer here or are we still being unreasonable?

As I've said, we aren't opposed to an older vehicle, we just don't feel good about putting money in the van at this point--I asked before but I'll ask again if there's a way to run the numbers here that would help me understand how putting $3K into the van makes any financial sense, now or later. Hubby and I are looking more closely at this tonight before we make a decision, so this is the last chance to convince us :)

gimp

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #62 on: July 21, 2014, 03:43:25 PM »
To answer your last point: I think the biggest issue is that you're facing, essentially, a crapshoot. You might put $3k into repairs and have no issues for the next several years, or you might have something else break. Similarly, you can get something "new" (different) and have no issues for the next several years, or you might have something else break.

I think a good mechanic's first-hand knowledge of both vehicles is the only way to make an informed choice. Ask: "In your professional opinion, what will it cost to keep this vehicle operating in reasonable condition for the next 5 years? How about the other one?"

Otherwise you basically have a choice of what makes you feel better. That's all the argument on this forum: which one makes people feel better. More debt or less debt. The other argument was whether the choice was a false dichotomy.

Blamalam

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #63 on: July 21, 2014, 06:59:09 PM »
This thread made me register for the forums!

You say your husband is between projects right now? And you teach, so do you have this summer off? If so, there may be a middle ground: Fix the van yourself.

I've done this when I was in a similar situation. What I did was to head to the junkyard to find a complete rear axle, buy it for around $150, and drag it home. Then I headed to the auto parts store for rags, differential lubricant, grease, brake fluid...all the stuff I'd need. Note that I had VERY little mechanical knowledge at the time. I bought jack stands (could've rented them, I guess, but I wound up using them over the years so it paid off), jacked the car (actually, a 3-ton Jeep Grand Wagoneer) up, and got to work. I got it back on the road in two days, for a total cost of around $400.

It's doable. It's VERY doable, and you don't need any specific skill to do it. Make sure that you get an axle from the same year, same engine, etc., spray everything down with PB Blaster the night before, and start wrenching.

You could also get a compression gauge to check the health of the van's engine--220k miles is a LOT, but these are fleet-spec cargo vans. They're built to run nearly forever.

If I were in your shoes, I'd replace the axle. Then I'd do a field day on the van--check compression, check trans fluid (sniff check--if it smells burned, call the junkyard to see if they have a transmission), and replace every fluid that's replaceable. Even if you only get another year out of the van, what exactly do you lose? I'd guess you could accomplish everything listed above for much, much less than $1,000, so pay the minimum one month on your CC and "purchase" a usable vehicle for under a grand and two days' work.

Just my .02...

okashira

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #64 on: July 21, 2014, 07:36:00 PM »
Hi everyone! Thanks for your replies. I disappeared for a few days because I was pretty turned off by the comments, but I'm glad to see you are all still debating and I'm glad to answer your questions.

1--my husband is a serious musician. He has been featured in Billboard magazine. At the moment he is not gigging regularly because he is between projects, but when he does, he gets paid very well. We do not budget around that money and it goes straight on our debt payments. This is his life's work. It would be cool if people could be respectful of that.
2--my husband is a highly skilled audio engineer. His business partner is John Mayer's #1 stage sound man. He has worked for almost every star in the business, does sound at the Grammy's, etc. They aren't talking about doing a piddly little hobby business here. We are talking about a business that has the potential to make us a LOT of money, run by men who know what the hell they are doing and who own enough gear to fill up a warehouse. And it involves a lot of very heavy equipment hauling. His business partner's Suburban and my husband's trailer will handle a lot of that hauling, but smaller jobs can be accomplished with a smaller SUV, as can my husband's gigging needs over the next couple of years.
3. NO, THE GEAR CANNOT BE HAULED IN A VW GOLF. Ok? My husband pulled a large trailer with a full live PA across the country for ten years (plus a full passenger load inside), and that's how the axle got taxed on the van. And the engine and transmission and all other components will show the same wear, so putting money into that vehicle right now just seems downright inefficient. This is an E-150 that has seen 220,000 miles of HEAVY use.
4. Our debt situation is the result of 10 years of difficult career progress, my low-paying social work job, and schooling (I have a graduate degree). Just in the last year, our situation took a 180. We have 40K in CC debt (actually, closer to 38 after this month's payments). We are now in a position to pay our debt down rapidly. We definitely did stupid spending in the past but we are (I believe) much more sane now. We know there is still fat to trim but we are legitimately working our asses off on this--that's why we are here asking for advice, in earnest.
5. We have no cash saved because we are slamming it on debt, not because it isn't available to us. It would take 2-3 months for us to save $3K, but in the fall I start teaching part-time (on top of my full-time job) which is part of our aggressive CC payoff plan. All $6K+ of my teaching money (earned over 4.5 months) is getting put on our CC payments, plus any extra income my husband brings in from gigs and audio contract work (and yes, it's substantial enough to justify a hauler vehicle). Something in me just can't swallow taking $3K+ of that and putting it on an E150 Conversion van with 220,000 miles.
6. We have adjusted our search--we are now in the $8-11K range. We are leaning toward a 2004 CRV with 90,000 miles, listed for 10K and we think we can get out the door for closer to 9K (at 3.25% interest which is, by the way, 10% less that it would cost to finance the repair on the van on a CC--unless it could go another 2 months on the road safely, which I question because it has to carry our 10 month old on board; DH brings baby to day care, and I can't give him the Golf because I commute on highways and the van isn't safe for the highway right now). It's a very small dealer, no bullshit fees. Payments would be around $150. It would impact our current CC debt payoff plan minimally (we currently pay $1200 a month, which is significantly over our min. payments). Are we getting closer here or are we still being unreasonable?

As I've said, we aren't opposed to an older vehicle, we just don't feel good about putting money in the van at this point--I asked before but I'll ask again if there's a way to run the numbers here that would help me understand how putting $3K into the van makes any financial sense, now or later. Hubby and I are looking more closely at this tonight before we make a decision, so this is the last chance to convince us :)

Well sounds like the CRV would be reasonable for you if the equipment will fit in it.

On a 2004 model, try to aim for $7500 or so. $10,000 is definitely high. If the car looks immaculate, like the rubber parts are not cracked and feel like rubber should, don't pass it up.
Check seat rails for rust, is carpet original? look for evidence of paint, replaced body panels.
The CRV would definitely be a better vehicle in the long run then the E150, anyway, if it works for his equipment.

TomTX

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #65 on: July 21, 2014, 09:35:26 PM »

Cheap would be buying a $200 scrapheap that burns a quart of oil per block and has a no windshield.

Haha!

Hey, my '95 Saturn only burns a quart of oil per fillup and still has a windshield! 260k+ miles...

Aren't E-150s able to carry about a ton and a half?

I'm pretty sure my FIL carried at least 3 tons in his on a pretty regular basis. He was very handy, so I have no idea what modifications he might have made.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 09:47:51 PM by TomTX »

PeteD01

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #66 on: July 22, 2014, 05:03:43 AM »
Hi everyone! Thanks for your replies. I disappeared for a few days because I was pretty turned off by the comments, but I'm glad to see you are all still debating and I'm glad to answer your questions.

1--my husband is a serious musician. He has been featured in Billboard magazine. At the moment he is not gigging regularly because he is between projects, but when he does, he gets paid very well. We do not budget around that money and it goes straight on our debt payments. This is his life's work. It would be cool if people could be respectful of that.
2--my husband is a highly skilled audio engineer. His business partner is John Mayer's #1 stage sound man. He has worked for almost every star in the business, does sound at the Grammy's, etc. They aren't talking about doing a piddly little hobby business here. We are talking about a business that has the potential to make us a LOT of money, run by men who know what the hell they are doing and who own enough gear to fill up a warehouse. And it involves a lot of very heavy equipment hauling. His business partner's Suburban and my husband's trailer will handle a lot of that hauling, but smaller jobs can be accomplished with a smaller SUV, as can my husband's gigging needs over the next couple of years.
3. NO, THE GEAR CANNOT BE HAULED IN A VW GOLF. Ok? My husband pulled a large trailer with a full live PA across the country for ten years (plus a full passenger load inside), and that's how the axle got taxed on the van. And the engine and transmission and all other components will show the same wear, so putting money into that vehicle right now just seems downright inefficient. This is an E-150 that has seen 220,000 miles of HEAVY use.
4. Our debt situation is the result of 10 years of difficult career progress, my low-paying social work job, and schooling (I have a graduate degree). Just in the last year, our situation took a 180. We have 40K in CC debt (actually, closer to 38 after this month's payments). We are now in a position to pay our debt down rapidly. We definitely did stupid spending in the past but we are (I believe) much more sane now. We know there is still fat to trim but we are legitimately working our asses off on this--that's why we are here asking for advice, in earnest.
5. We have no cash saved because we are slamming it on debt, not because it isn't available to us. It would take 2-3 months for us to save $3K, but in the fall I start teaching part-time (on top of my full-time job) which is part of our aggressive CC payoff plan. All $6K+ of my teaching money (earned over 4.5 months) is getting put on our CC payments, plus any extra income my husband brings in from gigs and audio contract work (and yes, it's substantial enough to justify a hauler vehicle). Something in me just can't swallow taking $3K+ of that and putting it on an E150 Conversion van with 220,000 miles.
6. We have adjusted our search--we are now in the $8-11K range. We are leaning toward a 2004 CRV with 90,000 miles, listed for 10K and we think we can get out the door for closer to 9K (at 3.25% interest which is, by the way, 10% less that it would cost to finance the repair on the van on a CC--unless it could go another 2 months on the road safely, which I question because it has to carry our 10 month old on board; DH brings baby to day care, and I can't give him the Golf because I commute on highways and the van isn't safe for the highway right now). It's a very small dealer, no bullshit fees. Payments would be around $150. It would impact our current CC debt payoff plan minimally (we currently pay $1200 a month, which is significantly over our min. payments). Are we getting closer here or are we still being unreasonable?

As I've said, we aren't opposed to an older vehicle, we just don't feel good about putting money in the van at this point--I asked before but I'll ask again if there's a way to run the numbers here that would help me understand how putting $3K into the van makes any financial sense, now or later. Hubby and I are looking more closely at this tonight before we make a decision, so this is the last chance to convince us :)

That makes sense to me. You do not have a need for an inefficient van anymore and the van has seen very heavy use over a long time. There is no point in putting money in the van if you do not need it unless you fix it very cheaply on your own. Less than 10k for a more efficient vehicle in good condition sounds reasonable under the circumstances.

Goldielocks

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #67 on: July 22, 2014, 09:09:11 AM »
This thread made me register for the forums!

You say your husband is between projects right now? And you teach, so do you have this summer off? If so, there may be a middle ground: Fix the van yourself.

I've done this when I was in a similar situation. What I did was to head to the junkyard to find a complete rear axle, buy it for around $150, and drag it home. Then I headed to the auto parts store for rags, differential lubricant, grease, brake fluid...all the stuff I'd need. Note that I had VERY little mechanical knowledge at the time. I bought jack stands (could've rented them, I guess, but I wound up using them over the years so it paid off), jacked the car (actually, a 3-ton Jeep Grand Wagoneer) up, and got to work. I got it back on the road in two days, for a total cost of around $400.

It's doable. It's VERY doable, and you don't need any specific skill to do it. Make sure that you get an axle from the same year, same engine, etc., spray everything down with PB Blaster the night before, and start wrenching.

You could also get a compression gauge to check the health of the van's engine--220k miles is a LOT, but these are fleet-spec cargo vans. They're built to run nearly forever.

If I were in your shoes, I'd replace the axle. Then I'd do a field day on the van--check compression, check trans fluid (sniff check--if it smells burned, call the junkyard to see if they have a transmission), and replace every fluid that's replaceable. Even if you only get another year out of the van, what exactly do you lose? I'd guess you could accomplish everything listed above for much, much less than $1,000, so pay the minimum one month on your CC and "purchase" a usable vehicle for under a grand and two days' work.

Just my .02...

Wow, this post convinced me..  I was going to vote for the CRV option even if 4k more than I think you should go.

But the idea of having a great fleet spec van running for less than $1000, well, that is hard to beat.  You could also sell that fixed van for money in a year, too.

Meinurgill

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #68 on: July 22, 2014, 05:22:40 PM »

This thread made me register for the forums!

You say your husband is between projects right now? And you teach, so do you have this summer off? If so, there may be a middle ground: Fix the van yourself.

I've done this when I was in a similar situation. What I did was to head to the junkyard to find a complete rear axle, buy it for around $150, and drag it home. Then I headed to the auto parts store for rags, differential lubricant, grease, brake fluid...all the stuff I'd need. Note that I had VERY little mechanical knowledge at the time. I bought jack stands (could've rented them, I guess, but I wound up using them over the years so it paid off), jacked the car (actually, a 3-ton Jeep Grand Wagoneer) up, and got to work. I got it back on the road in two days, for a total cost of around $400.

It's doable. It's VERY doable, and you don't need any specific skill to do it. Make sure that you get an axle from the same year, same engine, etc., spray everything down with PB Blaster the night before, and start wrenching.

You could also get a compression gauge to check the health of the van's engine--220k miles is a LOT, but these are fleet-spec cargo vans. They're built to run nearly forever.

If I were in your shoes, I'd replace the axle. Then I'd do a field day on the van--check compression, check trans fluid (sniff check--if it smells burned, call the junkyard to see if they have a transmission), and replace every fluid that's replaceable. Even if you only get another year out of the van, what exactly do you lose? I'd guess you could accomplish everything listed above for much, much less than $1,000, so pay the minimum one month on your CC and "purchase" a usable vehicle for under a grand and two days' work.

Just my .02...

Hmmm. The hurdles here are: I'm pretty sure you need more than a basic jack to replace the axle on a conversion can, even tires/brakes can't be done that way on it is what I've heard. Anyone here know? I couldn't know less about something. Hurdle number two: my husband and I both have dual careers aka 60+ hrs of work a week, plus a 10 month old. We feel like we are barely above water as it is.


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Paul der Krake

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #69 on: July 22, 2014, 05:49:03 PM »
With the new information, and seeing how OP's husband's business is really that, a business with good potential, I maintain my original position.

Especially if this can be written off at least partly as a business expense, I would just splurge and get something newer, around 50k like you said. It doesn't matter if you saved two grand on a car if it's in the shop the week you need it for your business.

Now go spend some monies and make some goddamn good rock n roll!

PeteD01

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #70 on: July 22, 2014, 06:06:15 PM »

This thread made me register for the forums!

You say your husband is between projects right now? And you teach, so do you have this summer off? If so, there may be a middle ground: Fix the van yourself.

I've done this when I was in a similar situation. What I did was to head to the junkyard to find a complete rear axle, buy it for around $150, and drag it home. Then I headed to the auto parts store for rags, differential lubricant, grease, brake fluid...all the stuff I'd need. Note that I had VERY little mechanical knowledge at the time. I bought jack stands (could've rented them, I guess, but I wound up using them over the years so it paid off), jacked the car (actually, a 3-ton Jeep Grand Wagoneer) up, and got to work. I got it back on the road in two days, for a total cost of around $400.

It's doable. It's VERY doable, and you don't need any specific skill to do it. Make sure that you get an axle from the same year, same engine, etc., spray everything down with PB Blaster the night before, and start wrenching.

You could also get a compression gauge to check the health of the van's engine--220k miles is a LOT, but these are fleet-spec cargo vans. They're built to run nearly forever.

If I were in your shoes, I'd replace the axle. Then I'd do a field day on the van--check compression, check trans fluid (sniff check--if it smells burned, call the junkyard to see if they have a transmission), and replace every fluid that's replaceable. Even if you only get another year out of the van, what exactly do you lose? I'd guess you could accomplish everything listed above for much, much less than $1,000, so pay the minimum one month on your CC and "purchase" a usable vehicle for under a grand and two days' work.

Just my .02...

Hmmm. The hurdles here are: I'm pretty sure you need more than a basic jack to replace the axle on a conversion can, even tires/brakes can't be done that way on it is what I've heard. Anyone here know? I couldn't know less about something. Hurdle number two: my husband and I both have dual careers aka 60+ hrs of work a week, plus a 10 month old. We feel like we are barely above water as it is.


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No, you can't do this on your own but could do it if you had a friend who knows a little bit about this stuff. It is not difficult to do but potentially dangerous, extremely dirty and you will probably run into rusted nuts and bolts. Piece of cake with the proper tools but not fun at all. But if you have a friend who knows a little bit about this stuff go ahead, it's not rocket science after all.

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #71 on: July 22, 2014, 06:39:41 PM »
Just want to say thank you for posting your question, I learned so much from reading this post.

You are very brave to put your finances and your decisions on a open forum, and I really like the people that suggested the guidelines of cars post 4 years, under 125K and buying from a private party. If you have to finance it then finding a nice small dealer is good. Finding them that are family friendly and sometimes they give you a nicer deal. Just starting a family is an adjustment for everyone and once you reach your non CC debt goals, slowing down to a regular work week so you can enjoy your child is a good decision. Having two working parents is hard enough on the whole family, let alone overtime!

Good luck!

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #72 on: July 23, 2014, 07:47:50 AM »
Just want to say thank you for posting your question, I learned so much from reading this post.

You are very brave to put your finances and your decisions on a open forum, and I really like the people that suggested the guidelines of cars post 4 years, under 125K and buying from a private party. If you have to finance it then finding a nice small dealer is good. Finding them that are family friendly and sometimes they give you a nicer deal. Just starting a family is an adjustment for everyone and once you reach your non CC debt goals, slowing down to a regular work week so you can enjoy your child is a good decision. Having two working parents is hard enough on the whole family, let alone overtime!

Good luck!

Thank you Mariejm! It's nice to have that acknowledged.

Forcus

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #73 on: July 23, 2014, 10:51:22 AM »
Someone finally suggested it but I fully second that. Either fix the van yourself or get another cargo van.

Rear ends "go out"  but it's generally either bearings or gears. They whole assembly isn't scrapped.

But let's say that there is a lot of internal damage. E150's are extremely plentiful. I did a quick check on car-part.com and found many used rear ends for under $1k. Many under $500. Some with a warranty. If I recall correctly, E150's are leaf sprung in the rear and an axle swap is pretty easy.

I think what you need right now is an interim solution. In general I don't think that a $13k 2009 Subaru Forester is a bad thing. I think that it's a bad thing for you right now. The VW can probably last a little longer, the van as well. FYI, I've had several vans, one with over 400k miles (430k I think), and I just got rid of a truck with 225k miles that was running strong. Not saying it's worth putting a ton of money in to... but if everything else was usable, I'd seriously consider the above.

Then down the road, when things are stable, if he's travelling / hauling a lot, maybe a used Sprinter van - MPG and hauling capability. And a good AWD vehicle for you.

SpicyMcHaggus

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #74 on: July 23, 2014, 10:58:39 AM »
The thread is TLDR;

1) Look into hauling with a car based wagon, not an SUV.
2) Leverage may be okay, but 72 months and 3.9% is not the best deal. Here in WI you can get a 48 month used car loan at 2.49% APR for 2004 and newer vehicles.
3) pay down the CC debt. 14% APR on that is murder.
4) sourcing vehicles is a hobby of mine. If you actually legitimately need the help finding something to fit your circumstances, I will gladly point you to the right places for research and make a recommendation. you can email me if you wish at gavin.ladewig@gmail.com
5) snow tires > 4WD. every time. I like AWD when I can have it, but my 4x4 truck was stuck and got a tug out from a Honda Civic with snow tires. the $400 investment is worth it several times over.
6) many of the above posters may be a bit abrasive, but it doesn't mean they are wrong. You should re-examine 'needs' and 'wants'.

Meinurgill

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #75 on: July 23, 2014, 06:55:05 PM »
We are still going back and forth like crazy on the best thing to do. I wish we were stupid like the rest of the country and didn't care about piling debt onto debt, we could have been done with this weeks ago. Kidding, of course, but dammit this decision has been such a pain in my ass. I told my husband today that we need to decide if our goal is to buy something that will go the distance, or if it is to solve the problem as quickly and cheaply as possible and worry about reliability later. Obviously there are solid reasons for both.


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Blamalam

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #76 on: July 23, 2014, 07:59:55 PM »
We are still going back and forth like crazy on the best thing to do. I wish we were stupid like the rest of the country and didn't care about piling debt onto debt, we could have been done with this weeks ago. Kidding, of course, but dammit this decision has been such a pain in my ass. I told my husband today that we need to decide if our goal is to buy something that will go the distance, or if it is to solve the problem as quickly and cheaply as possible and worry about reliability later. Obviously there are solid reasons for both.


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Been there, got the t-shirt. For what it's worth, you guys might want to adjust your horizons a bit regarding the van situation. Being out of debt next year doesn't fix your van situation this week, right? I know from my readings that the forum and MMM generally frown on short-term solutions, but from reading your initial post it sounds as if your husband needs the van, or something very close to it. That's the immediate short-term need. Longer term, you'd like to replace it with something newer/fewer miles/better on gas, without undoing the work you've put in so far in paying down your debt.

Short horizon thinking *can* bite you on the butt; however, I also believe in fixing the immediate need first. I wasn't comfortable fixing my Jeep myself, not at all. However, I needed to get to work, and I needed to get to class, and I didn't have any other options at the time. I fixed the Jeep, and two years later I sold it for what I paid for it (collectors love the things). There is ALWAYS someone on the lookout for a van, no matter where you live. It's easier to sell it if it's running, at least that's my thinking. If you guys can get $1,000-ish together, and if you can search Youtube, etc. for similar repairs, and if you can put a weekend into getting a vehicle that earns you money running, to me that's a clear choice. Will it be easy? Nope. Will it be fun? Well, that depends on how you two approach it. Will you learn something? Oh yes, even if it's just new and interesting forms of Anglo-Saxon invective.

You're right that you have solid reasons to buy something reliable. What you don't have now is the ability to do so without adding to your debt load, and you seem highly determined to wipe out that debt completely. I won't tell you not to stress over it, because it's stressful as hell, but realize that whatever decision you make, you're completely capable of making it.

Forcus

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #77 on: July 24, 2014, 09:31:10 AM »
We are still going back and forth like crazy on the best thing to do. I wish we were stupid like the rest of the country and didn't care about piling debt onto debt

I still have this battle daily. I wonder if I'm the one that's wrong (for a moment) when we occasionally get a pizza delivered (I know... not MMM) and the pizza delivery guy has a much nicer car than I do. Or people we know make 1/3 what we do go on vacations, etc. But then I realize it's because they don't care, or they think that future earnings will take care of their current debt, etc.

Goldielocks

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #78 on: July 24, 2014, 09:29:28 PM »
We are still going back and forth like crazy on the best thing to do. I wish we were stupid like the rest of the country and didn't care about piling debt onto debt

I still have this battle daily. I wonder if I'm the one that's wrong (for a moment) when we occasionally get a pizza delivered (I know... not MMM) and the pizza delivery guy has a much nicer car than I do. Or people we know make 1/3 what we do go on vacations, etc. But then I realize it's because they don't care, or they think that future earnings will take care of their current debt, etc.

Pre MMM, I was having a very stressful year and hired a maid.  It only lasted 6weeks when I started to notice she drove a nicer car than we did.

Seriously, pizza delivery cars are supposed to be high MPH econoboxes with rust, you know?

alsoknownasDean

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #79 on: July 25, 2014, 02:46:30 AM »
I would also mention that your attitude towards debt seems to have changed. With a 'our hair's on fire, we need to get rid of it now' attitude, taking on a little extra is not as bad as if you only care about making the minimum payments.

It's a crappy situation, but buying something that'll be good for a few years, while sub-optimal if financed, isn't so bad if you intend to clear the loan WELL within the four years or whatever the loan would be.

Getting a 4 year loan with the aim to clear it within 18 months or so might be an option.

Also, are you able to get your existing CC debt refinanced on a lower rate?

Meinurgill

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #80 on: July 25, 2014, 06:34:19 AM »
I would also mention that your attitude towards debt seems to have changed. With a 'our hair's on fire, we need to get rid of it now' attitude, taking on a little extra is not as bad as if you only care about making the minimum payments.

It's a crappy situation, but buying something that'll be good for a few years, while sub-optimal if financed, isn't so bad if you intend to clear the loan WELL within the four years or whatever the loan would be.

Getting a 4 year loan with the aim to clear it within 18 months or so might be an option.

Also, are you able to get your existing CC debt refinanced on a lower rate?

Yes, we swap our CC debt around regularly as promotional rates expire. We have much of it close to 4%, some if it is even 0%, and some of it is higher. New purchases are around 14%, which is where I got that number when I said we would have to finance van repairs at 14%. We looked into debt consolidation from a few different angles and decided to just slam money on it as rapidly as possible and save ourselves the fees associated with debt management programs. We have good credit and all accounts are in good standing, so we can do the same negotiating for ourselves.

Back to the car decision--we had a snafu with loan terms and ended up getting squeezed into a newer model or a much older model. We couldn't finance a vehicle over 100,000 miles at anything over 48 months and a 4.25% rate or higher, and under $15K purchase price also had some limitations. That squeezed us right out of our sweet spot and also made the 2004 CRV only about $40 cheaper per month than a newer model. Obviously we are financing much more over time, but we expect to pay it off early so the interest over time won't be significantly worse.

We didn't make the decision lightly, but we've decided we will have more peace of mind if we purchase something that is reliable and will go the distance, even if we had to purchase it a couple years sooner than we had hoped. It is still within the budget we originally set for ourselves--well within our affordability and does not cut into our allotted monthly debt payments at all. We can maintain our $1400 a month CC payment, and then some, sometimes up to twice that, (minimums are $700) and still buy the car that seems to fit our current list of wants and needs the best. We went through all the wants and needs and there's no question that if we were going with "needs" only, we would just have fixed the van and gotten on with our lives. But we decided the peace of mind is worth something to us at this stage in our lives, too.

Anyway, we went with the brand new VW Tiguan, $45K purchase price and 21/26 MPG.

Just kidding! LOL. We went with a Forester. 2011 with 86,000 miles. We feel great about it. Got it well under NADA value.

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #81 on: July 25, 2014, 08:12:19 AM »
Was that to replace your car or the Van?

I don't know if this will help but this was how I made the decision to buy another car, and borrow money for it over paying for repairs on an older one.

I personally lean towards the replace rather than repair, the goal is to buy a car about 8-12 months old and run it for 10 years. Did that with our last car, eventually it broke down and I replaced it with Peugeot 308 (I live in Europe) big mistake, great gas mileage (like 50mph plus) but poor reliability. So I did something I normally would never do, traded it in after a year.

Normally I’d just go for another cheap run about but age, knee surgery and a wife who hates driving stick shift meant I needed to upgrade to something fancier.  Automatics are typically found only on higher end cars and I needed something I could get in and out of.

The key was finding the right balance between price, mpg, insurance costs repairs etc. Also looking at your whole financial picture, debt vs savings vs investing. Is it easier to pay a loan off or rebuild savings after draining them to buy a vehicle.

So for us it came down to a Ford C-Max and a RAV 4. Found a fantastic deal on 3 year old low mileage RAV 4 and almost bought it till I got the insurance quote!!!!! On the other hand not only was the C-MAX a lot cheaper (coming off rental) but much cheaper to insure. Via the internet found out what dealer was getting them all and drove up and got one.

When we actually saw them the price difference between a plain Jane and a top of line model was about 500€ and as mentioned insurance, was about a 1/3rd

I won’t bore everyone with the details but ended up financing the whole thing even though I could have bought it cash.

My whole point here is that we need to think outside of the box on top it seems very un- mustachian but when you look at the whole picture it all ties together.




neo von retorch

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #82 on: July 25, 2014, 08:41:17 AM »
Anyway, we went with the brand new VW Tiguan, $45K purchase price and 21/26 MPG.

Just kidding! LOL. We went with a Forester. 2011 with 86,000 miles. We feel great about it. Got it well under NADA value.

OMG I read that and seriously when *HUGURK* WHAT? Oh dear... :-)

Congrats on the purchase. There are much worse ways to spend some money. I think this is important to you, aligns with your values, and so on!

Meinurgill

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #83 on: July 25, 2014, 08:58:30 AM »
Was that to replace your car or the Van?

The van. We will sell the van as is on Craigslist for a couple grand and put that on higher interest debt. The VW we are going to put a little money into to make sure it runs for at least another few years--it has some electrical issues (headlamps short out within 3 weeks of replacement so I rarely have working headlights) that could break that plan but we are going to get an estimate next week and go from there.

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #84 on: July 25, 2014, 09:03:38 AM »
Thanks, it sounds like you made a good decision.

One other point and a bit off topic but I differ from MMM on the hair on fire get out of debt thingy. I prefer to view it more like dieting, sure can't go on a fad diet and lose 20 lbs and gain it back plus more, or I can make lifestyle changes that keep it off permanently.

In our case  we had a about 80,000€ in debt and a long history of financial mismanagement, so right at the beginning we decided our debt free journey would be slow and steady.

What I did was to focus more on money management. Remember one year going on a big vacation and budgeting the whole thing out, came in right on budget!!

Previous to this we could have arrived home to an empty bank account and a bunch of bounced cheques!

For you guys with a young baby two jobs and a husband who travels alot (assuming this) it means budgeting in things like date nights, money for a babysitter, real vacations etc. This doesn’t have to mean trading off debt reduction for having a life only that you need to budget that in.

it does no good if you arrive debt free divorced

Again the key is to focus not so much on debt reduction as learning good financial skills.

Just my 2 cents
« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 09:05:42 AM by Captain and Mrs Slow »

Dicey

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #85 on: July 25, 2014, 11:08:42 AM »
Well said Cap'n and Mrs. After so much heated discussion, your thoughts are the proverbial soothing balm. Nice.

Forcus

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #86 on: July 25, 2014, 11:57:29 AM »
The VW we are going to put a little money into to make sure it runs for at least another few years--it has some electrical issues (headlamps short out within 3 weeks of replacement so I rarely have working headlights) that could break that plan but we are going to get an estimate next week and go from there.

I had to add ground wires to a '98 VW Bug the wife had. I determined the wiring was wholely inadequate, added ground wires, no more burning out headlights. I believe other VW's from the 90's-00's were similarly afflicted.

Goldielocks

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #87 on: July 25, 2014, 08:10:24 PM »
Anyway, we went with the brand new VW Tiguan, $45K purchase price and 21/26 MPG.


HA!

You made me jump in my seat when I read that -----  LOL you 'got me good!'

Just kidding indeed!

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #88 on: August 01, 2014, 01:48:07 AM »
Well said Cap'n and Mrs. After so much heated discussion, your thoughts are the proverbial soothing balm. Nice.

Ahh thanks:)

To the OP just wondering why your husband needs to haul so much gear if he's a sound man. I would think that all that would be delivered by truck or something

RapmasterD

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #89 on: August 01, 2014, 04:17:19 AM »
Sorry, but I don't get the logic of having purchased a THREE year old high mileage Forester when you're $40,000 in debt. I know what's done is done, but you guys still have a lot of serious mindset changes to make in order to get out of your situation.

Incidentally, you'll want to join the Subaru Owner's Forum at subaruforester.org. Maintenance costs on these babies are higher than 'the average.' I like my 14 year old Forester with 129,800 miles and counting, but Subarus are quirky -- including the newer ones.

DarinC

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Re: When does FRUGAL become CHEAP? The used car saga continues...
« Reply #90 on: August 01, 2014, 09:12:38 PM »

This thread made me register for the forums!

You say your husband is between projects right now? And you teach, so do you have this summer off? If so, there may be a middle ground: Fix the van yourself.

I've done this when I was in a similar situation. What I did was to head to the junkyard to find a complete rear axle, buy it for around $150, and drag it home. Then I headed to the auto parts store for rags, differential lubricant, grease, brake fluid...all the stuff I'd need. Note that I had VERY little mechanical knowledge at the time. I bought jack stands (could've rented them, I guess, but I wound up using them over the years so it paid off), jacked the car (actually, a 3-ton Jeep Grand Wagoneer) up, and got to work. I got it back on the road in two days, for a total cost of around $400.

It's doable. It's VERY doable, and you don't need any specific skill to do it. Make sure that you get an axle from the same year, same engine, etc., spray everything down with PB Blaster the night before, and start wrenching.

You could also get a compression gauge to check the health of the van's engine--220k miles is a LOT, but these are fleet-spec cargo vans. They're built to run nearly forever.

If I were in your shoes, I'd replace the axle. Then I'd do a field day on the van--check compression, check trans fluid (sniff check--if it smells burned, call the junkyard to see if they have a transmission), and replace every fluid that's replaceable. Even if you only get another year out of the van, what exactly do you lose? I'd guess you could accomplish everything listed above for much, much less than $1,000, so pay the minimum one month on your CC and "purchase" a usable vehicle for under a grand and two days' work.

Just my .02...

Hmmm. The hurdles here are: I'm pretty sure you need more than a basic jack to replace the axle on a conversion can, even tires/brakes can't be done that way on it is what I've heard. Anyone here know? I couldn't know less about something. Hurdle number two: my husband and I both have dual careers aka 60+ hrs of work a week, plus a 10 month old. We feel like we are barely above water as it is.


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It's gonna be tough, but $400 sounds about right. Besides the jack stands, you'll want a jack, a good set of sockets, a good ratchet, a good breaker bar, and a cheater. It's kind of intimidating, but it's doable, although it'll be tough to get on it given your schedule. I think you should give it a shot and see how it goes before you purchase the CRV.

If you can pull the existing axle, odds are you can put a new one in. Ideally you could try before you buy the CRV and if you're successful you can postpone that purchase. Another thing that I'd worry about is a load that can kill a cargo van could kill the CRV in short order. The exception would be if this was due to a fluid leak, or some other non-load dependent issue.

Even if you can't do it immediately, you can do it later, and if it works, sell the CRV back. Or just keep one car as a backup so when one of the others has trouble you don't need to pay your mechanic to fix it.