Bernie says our car is dead. He can't figure out what is going on. He thought maybe the dealership might know something, but he didn't have a lot of hope.
I have heard that a 1988 Dodge Caravan was/is a really good car, and should last a long time.
I do see lots of them around Pittsburgh. But, something is messing up the engine, so it has a hard time starting and a hard time idling. I guess if you keep your foot on the gas, then it does alright, although it wears out the starter.
I don't really want to buy another car. They are so much money, and I don't have any idea what a good price is.
Posted by Jon Daley on August 19, 2004, 12:31 pm | Read 3365 times
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:( :( :(

Not that it owed anyone anything after so long and so many miles, but it was a good car and you put a lot of work into it. It certainly served well when Jonathan was born!

I hate buying cars, too. We have been greatly blessed to be able to buy our automobiles used from Blue Book Cars in Sanford, FL. That's how we know what a good price is: we deal with people who have been proven trustworthy and dependable in both sales and service. Which is a lot easier said than done, of course.

With all the people you know, there must be one or two who been happy with their car purchases in Pittsburgh....

We will definitely be praying for you in this decision!

Posted by SursumCorda on August 19, 2004, 2:12 pm

A co-worker suggested some de-gunking stuff to spray in the intake of the engine, and also in the gas tank. It seemed to work really well, but after I drove it a couple miles, it returned to the way it used to work, where it would stall at most every stop sign, if I didn't keep my foot on the gas. Too bad, I was hopefully for a while.
Posted by jondaley on October 8, 2004, 6:57 am

I don't suppose you got a bad batch of gas at one point? Are you still on the same tank you were when the problem started?

I remember having a problem with our car (not that one) that finally got bad enough that the car would stall at every stop. I had to throw the car into Neutral at every red light, and with one foot on the brake keep feeding it gas with the other, then quickly pop it into Drive when the light changed. Pretty harrowing, and I put up with it only long enough to get the car to my destination (which, alas, was not home). However, that turned out to be a leaky fuel pump, easily (if not cheaply) fixed.
Posted by SursumCorda on October 8, 2004, 11:20 am

I have been thinking about the fuel pump, but unfortunately, that is probably the most expensive option. One could argue that $250 isn't too much for a part, but it sounds like a reasonably tough job to do yourself, and it is probably $200 to have someone else do it.
Kind of an expensive solution if it doesn't fix anything, and the car ends up dead...
Posted by jondaley on October 8, 2004, 12:45 pm

The fact that the de-gunking stuff made a difference, if only for a few miles, might be an important clue.
Posted by SursumCorda on October 12, 2004, 7:41 am

Yeah, except that the car wasn't broken all the time, and sometimes it seemed to run better when it was cold, so it might just been warming up or something. It is hard to tell.
Posted by jondaley on October 12, 2004, 2:03 pm

I asked Bernie to look over our car before we go to Philly for Thanksgiving, as it currently has a couple quirks.
Bernie, who has been sick and sounds like he should still be in bed, figured out a bunch of things today.
The horrible clunking noise that sounded like the front of the car was going to fall off was actually just a motor mount that was loose. Most likely, it is the same mount that he put on last year at inspection time...
He did a transmission tune up, so the belt should stop slipping.
The biggest thing that he found was that our rear-right tire was not braking at all, as the cylinder had frozen solid.
He still isn't sure what the variation in idling speed is, although he really doesn't think it could be the fuel pump, which is the theory here at work.
Anyway, the car should be fixed by tonight, so we will be all set to leave tomorrow.
Posted by jondaley on November 22, 2004, 1:35 pm

That's good to know!
Posted by SursumCorda on November 22, 2004, 5:01 pm

Heather brought the car into the dealership to have them look at the funny idling problem that started recently.
They say that is perfectly normal, and the rpm drop isn't anything to worry about, that the idle speed motor is properly turning on after it senses the drop. So, that is kind of annoying, since I don't agree that "all cars do that", as he said.
The good thing is he didn't charge anything for the work.
I just got a lead on helping an auto-mechanic with his web page, so maybe he will be able to help me with the car.
Posted by jondaley on December 14, 2004, 5:01 pm

You forgot to mention the bad thing....
Posted by SursumCorda on December 15, 2004, 7:52 am

That the window broke? Well, it probably wasn't his fault - I forgot to tell Heather to tell them not to touch the driver's window.
One of the technicians opened the window all the way, and probably a lot farther than that, since he did more damage than what usually happens. I had to make the window stay closed forever now.
I assume the part is fixable, I should do some research into it -- I don't know if fixing the plastic gear mechanism will fix it, or if the motor will just break it again. It appears to be a bad design, that the motor does not have a mechanical limit switch but watches the current through the motor, and when the window botttoms out, the motor tries to drive it harder, and then eventually shuts off.
I guess that theory could be tested by putting something in the path of the window, but I don't particularly want to break the glass either.
Posted by jondaley on December 15, 2004, 7:58 am

I guess I never updated this post after our car really died this Christmas.
We just got the tax receipt from Heritage for the Blind; we donated our car to them, and they were able to sell it for something less than $500, although they are not able to tell me how much.
My parents' mechanic is not used to working on cars that cannot diagnose themselves (though this car still can report a bunch of errors, but not enough apparently).
So, they weren't really willing to work on it, but just kept raising the theoretical price that it might take them to fix it until I said no. I think the car is worth more than they do, since it hasn't had any trouble really, except for this thing, and if we didn't fix the car, then I would have to get another one, or go back to the bus, etc. so it is worth a fair amount of money to me to get it fixed.
But, no such luck.
Heather says she doesn't care if we get another car, so we have put off shopping for a car indefinitely.
Posted by jondaley on March 29, 2005, 12:35 pm

I'm glad to hear that the car did someone good even at the end. It had a long history of faithful service.
Posted by SursumCorda on March 30, 2005, 6:30 am
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