About a month ago I bought a used Grand Cherokee. Being cheap with my cars, I of course bought used… very used… it is a 2000 model, so it is 15 years old already. The funny thing is that it is the nicest vehicle I’ve owned and I can not drive it anywhere important because it shuts off randomly while driving. Sometimes I can drive it for an hour, other times 10 minutes. Sometimes I am doing 75mph, other times I am idling in traffic at a light. I am sure I have made plenty of friends on the road, people behind me LOVE me!
I am pretty excited to have another Jeep again. Especially here in Colorado. I have spent the last couple years without four wheel drive and it has come at the expense of being able to get up the mountain to see my brother and his family. When I bought the Jeep, I unfortunately did not know of the problems it has, everything seemed great on the test drive, nothing showed on the OBDii computer, and it ran great. I drove it home and then drove it up the mountain for a camping trip. It made it all the way, nearly 2 hours worth of driving and then shut off and wouldn’t start. Somehow it did magically start and I was able to drive it home two days later. While I figure out what is happening I am still driving the 2003 civic hybrid I have.
I should say, I was driving it. It too decided to shut down while I was driving it and never restarted. So I am now down to the pride of the fleet, the $1200 1998 Dodge Ram 1500. The price should tell you just how spectacular it is, but in case you can’t comprehend, there’s some great pictures and descriptions in another post: No Sheriff. That’s actually my car, it’s not abandoned
Since starting this post I have figured out what is going on with the cars. The Jeep took a bit of work. The OBDii was giving me some info, so I replaced the fuel injector it was complaining about. Technically I replaced them all since I was doing it and a set of 8 nicer aftermarket ones was about the price of two OEMs, I figure they are old, might as well just do them all. That solved the check engine light but it continued to shut down randomly. So I started to just try to figure it out… one of the reasons I love Jeeps is because of the amount of information on them in the forums. Those Jeep enthusiasts know their stuff and love to help each other out. So, I replaced the crankshaft sensor and the camshaft sensor… unfortunately that did not fix it. I noticed a badly installed remote starter that I did not get the key fob for, so I removed that. That solved another issue I had where the remote door unlock did not always work… so small victory! Finally I broke down and ordered a new, pre-programmed, ECU (computer) for $350 (lifetime warranty… and I will probably have it a long time). The ECU finally did it! So I am now just having to deal with the civic.
I typically do not do much work on the civic since it is a hybrid system and I just do not know much about them. So I had that one towed (thanks AAA) to place called Mile Hybrid in Denver that has always done great work for me at an honest price. Turns out it needs a new hybrid battery pack and a catalytic converter, so I would be looking at around $2500 for them to do that work. So, for now, it sits in my driveway while I figure out what to do. My best option seems to be to replace the battery myself since I have found a new one with 18 month warranty for $1450 (shipping included) and it appears to be about 30 minutes worth of work to install it. The catalytic converter… I’ll have to decide if I should replace it, I can drive it as is myself without fixing it, but I have to fix it if I wanted to sell it. At least for now, I have time… and two working vehicles… exactly what I want to have dependable transportation.
One thing I always find amusing is how many people claim those that make money would “never drive a cheap car”, such as a number of people in the comments of one of Financial Samurai’s postings about the 1/10th rule. Well, I would just like to point out there there are plenty of us… I am below the 1/10 rule and I have 3 (technically 4, but the old ’70 VW Bug that sits in storage and does not run really does not count). Based on Kelly Blue Book private sale, the total value of all 3 of my vehicles (if they all worked) comes to an amazing… $5878!!!! I bet in actual reality I might be able to get a bit more for all of them if they were all running, but even if it was 50% more!… it’s still under $9k. So, while Financial Samurai talks about 1/10th being the value of a single car, I manage to get away with 3 cars and still be under that number by a long shot.