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The Epic Story of an Exploding Explorer!

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by jekbrown, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    About 2 years ago my wife got in a wreck and totalled her 2001 Escort. We were short on ca$h and I wanted something safer, since the wreck was not far from being the type that would have seriously injured her. I bought her a beater 1991 Ford Explorer to drive. It was kind of a POS, but it ran, the trans shifted good etc. Well, after having it for 6 months or so probs started cropping up. A computer replacement ($25 on ebay!) fixed them but later my head gasket started leaking. I used the heavy duty head gasket stop leak stuff and everything seemed fine. Not wanting to sink ANY more $ into it, I resigned myself to driving it until it blows up. Well... it happened today. lol! :mad:

    I was driving to work in the 103 degree heat and I thought I smelled smoke. Checked the guages and everything seemed fine. I was driving past a big road construction zone, so I thought maybe the smoke smell was from a big rig or asphault tar or something. Shrug. Anyway, a few miles later my temp guage starts creeping up. I thought to myself, "oh crap... don't die, please!" because I was almost to the bus stop... if I could make it there, all would be good and I'd have a big parking lot to check things out etc. Well, the automotive gods would have none of that!

    I decided it would be wise to turn off my radio and listen to the engine carefully as I drove. It sounded fine and the temp seemed to level off. Then I started to hear a faint squeeling noise like some kind of bearing was toast or something (I dunno, not an engine guru...). It gets a little bit louder and I decide that I had better pull over. When I do, I realize the smoke was definitely coming from me, and a little is seeping out from under the hood. uh-oh. Hoping that it was just radiator fluid or something from some kind of other leak, I pop the hood. Skanky smoke billows out and there is oil and other fluid crap all over the engine bay. Right about now I realize that I took my fire extinguisher out of the rig to clean the interior and forgot to put it back. doh! If a fire started, I would be truly ****ed. I didn't even have a water bottle. I guess its a good thing I didn't try to drive any further! :eek1:

    Realizing I'm ****ed and that I need to "get after it" because I am headed to work, I call my wife (to pick me up), my parents (to stay with the Ex while I head for work), the tow trucking company (duh) and my boss to give him a heads up. While calling these people, I have to keep the windows up because road noise makes it impossible to talk. Thats all well and good, but with the windows up it was probably 120 degrees inside the Ex. Doh! :doah: I was sweating a damn river... it was pretty nasty and like I said, I had no water. The second I got off the phone, I get the heck out of the car to wait for my wife. From there, things got better... I made it to work fine... my dad made sure the Ex made it back to my house (including paying the tow cost) and my wife was safe/sound at home.

    I guess what I'm going to do is post it up on craigslist to try to unload it whole... but assuming no one wants to gimme over $300 for it, I'll just part it out. Those Ex 8.8 rear ends are poplar for ranger guys.. the trans in it is good, the tcase works and there are all the various body parts, wheels/tires etc that I can sell too. Anyway, I paid cash for it back when I bought it... so its not like I have to pay off a loan or anything. I planned on buying my wife a new car next month sometime anyway... but I guess that plan has been moved up! lol.

    I started using chevrolet.com to look for a 2006 Aveo in my area. My wife and I really like the little hatchback one. Problem is, my wife requires 2 things: Automatic trans and AC. Not unreasonable requests... but there are no such LS-trim Aveos of that kind in my area. It seems everyone else wants that one too. The bargain Aveo ("special value model") always has a manual... and the LT-trim is spendier. We don't really need a power sunroof or bling aluminum wheels. I guess this is what you get for waiting until the '07s are almost out! Anyway, on the upside we do have $1000 in GM Card bucks to use... they have increased factory cash back to $750 (from 500) just recently... and they offer 0.0% on 36 month loans right now too. With a decent downpayment, I could probably afford to do a 36 mo loan, even on the LT model when costs about $2500 more than the LS that we wanted. Sigh. Guess ya gotta do what ya gotta do. My wife recently doubled her take-home pay, so I guess its all good.

    anyone else have a crazy friday?! :confused:

    j
     
  2. K5Greek

    K5Greek 1/2 ton status

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    sucks..my brothers clutch went on his beater s10 and my sis bf fuel pump went on his tbirdtoday...everytime one of their beaters break they break at the same time
     
  3. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    yeppers, thats about how it works. Maybe if I blame global warming for killing my Ex, Albert Gore Junior will buy me a new Prius? Maybe I'll send him an email and see what he says. :thumb:

    j
     
  4. Corey 78K5

    Corey 78K5 1 ton status

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    Jason if I were You I would find a running engine for a couple hundred bucks at a salvage yard and stuff it in the Exploder. With it in running condition You could get more money for it. If I were close by I would by it for $300 just so I could turn a profit on it. There is always some Ford die hard out there that is waiting to get scammed.
     
  5. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    lol! Its a possibility. I have eleventy billion projects going already though on my K5 and towrig... I'd rather just part it or sell it whole and be done with it. If I was a patient bastage, I'd prolly make well over 3 bills parting it out. I see them 8.8s go to Ranger guys for $200+ by themselves sometimes.

    j
     
  6. Corey 78K5

    Corey 78K5 1 ton status

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    Some of the Jeep guys use the 8.8 as well.
     
  7. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    o yeah? hmmm... jeep suckas are born every minute. I shouldn't complain.. if the rest of them ever "woke up" they'd be snagging up even more of the chevy-parts aftermarket then they already are. Such a waste to see a K30s running gear under a heep. :rolleyes:

    j
     
  8. Corey 78K5

    Corey 78K5 1 ton status

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    Agreed. However I would stuff half ton stuff under a Jeep. Not so much for strength but for width and stability.
    I also personally think the fist generation Explorers would make for a good low buck (not hardcore) trail rig. It's got a pretty good platform to start with. All that is needed is a 5.0 swap and a strait axle swapped in in favor of the TTB front axle and maybe a 9" out back. I would build one long before I would build an S-Blazer.
     
  9. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    yeah, I thought about making the Ex a fun buggy... ditch the body, add enough tube to keep me and the engine safe and beat it. No matter how you cut it though, an older fullsize bronco would be a better candidate. Ditch the body, you got fullsize axles. There are Broncos that came with a 351/C6/208 (clocked flat, fixed yoke from the factory!). That'd be a good foundation for a cheap as hell ditch the body and roll type of toy.

    j
     
  10. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    update. Went to a couple of chevy dealerships. I hate car sales people, always have. If they weren't just a bunch of lying piles, I wouldn't mind dealing with them. At any rate, my plan is basically to sic my mom on them. She is the master negotiator on these kinds of things.

    We went to one dealer, the lady there was a wench. She acted like a nice grandma-type for a while, but when we told her what we really wanted, she constantly told us we really wanted something else. All they had were super-loaded special edition Aveos (ie almost $16k MSRP). She was a turn off so we left.

    Next place was better... he used their car-locator gizmo to find what we wanted, didn't really push the $pendy trim ones he has on the lot (only 2 of them, both almost 16k). Anyway, he printed out info sheets with VINs and everything for two cars. He said the LS-trim Victory Red one was $14,980. I don't negotiate with these clowns, its stupid and pisses me off... I told him that I'll think about it. We left and we handed my mom the print out and asked her to do the dirty-work. She actually enjoys this kind of thing so she went right over. A while later she calls and says "come get it, it's gonna be $12,281, including the delivery from the other dealer". This is much more like the kind of price my wife and I were interested in paying, so over we went.

    When we get there, he busts out the "yeah, i agree to pay x amount" paperwork and wants me to initial it so the car can get shipped over to that dealer. I inform him that I have a GM Card with $1000 in "gm bucks" that I'd like to use. We says, "ok, lemme talk to the finance people". Chevy is running a 0.0% APR for 36 month loans... and thats what I was going to use. 20 mins later he comes back, saying "bad news, the red one sold... but the black one might still be available".

    I am suspect. I automatically assume every word out of the salesmans mouth is a lie so I didn't believe this BS. Naturally, we'll never know. Sigh. At any rate, he took that "opportunity" to slide the spec sheets of the loaded Aveo (that was in his lot) in front of us... promising a price that was similarly close to invoice. I totally dismissed that, in a way clear enough even for a car sales clown to know that it "wasn't happen'in". He recovers quickly and says, "ok, we'll call about the black one then". The black one had the exact same options and junk as the red one we wanted... but it did have a factory-installed spoiler. My wife and I don't give a crap about spoilers... so we agreed that if he came back and told us that the black one was available, we'd offer $12,300 as an absolute max. I smelled a rat already and wasn't gonna be nickel and dimed. I'm not a seasoned car buyer guy, but I ain't dumb either. www.beatthecarsalesman.com really has a lot of good info. Anyway, he goes away to make calls.

    When he comes back he tells us that the guy at the other dealership they need to talk to isn't in right now... but he'd either be available later today or early monday morning. At some point he tries to mention the loaded Aveos again, but I brush that aside and say "ok, call us" and head for the door (ultimate threat to any dealer!). We get 2' from the exit and he says "wait! we got someone on the phone". I said, "fine" so we wait... right by the exit door for about 10 mins. Finally, the guy comes back... not looking especially happy that we've blown off his every attempt to sell us a $15k car. Anyway, he says "we'll call you" and so we left.

    All in all it was a pretty good buying experience. We haven't got a car yet... but the guys knows that we aren't push overs, that we are NOT going to get a loaded car, and that we are totally willing to "walk away" if he can't give us what we want.

    No one has called yet... so we'll see what happens. If they really do have access to one of the two cars we were interested in, they'll call. If not, we're back to square one... a little wiser to their lame games than we were before.

    Worse comes to worse, we might order a 2007 Aveo. The MSRP is only like $200 more than the '06 and we could get exactly what we want...

    this thread will get updated!

    j
     
  11. justhorsinaround

    justhorsinaround 3/4 ton status

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    Fun times. Fun times. The ones I like are the used car guys that say, "Oh we don't have anything priced that low on our lot." I came really close to beating the snot out of that guy. Did go rat on him to his boss so I hope something good came of that.
     
  12. grimjaw

    grimjaw 1/2 ton status

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    The best way I found to "shop" for a new car is by email. Tell them what you what and that you are checking multiple dealers for the best price. This way they have to offer the best deal they can, because they only have one chance.
     
  13. justhorsinaround

    justhorsinaround 3/4 ton status

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    Oooooo that's a good idea.
     
  14. Corey 78K5

    Corey 78K5 1 ton status

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    I actually like toying with the conmen at the stealerships. I did some home work on my last one and found a dealer who's salesman worked for an hourly wage. So all the pressure of them trying to get their commission was out the door. The truck I got had a sticker price that was just what Kelley Blue Book said it should be plus I saved $6000 on their employee discount and an additional $2500 cash back. Not to mention they gave Me just what My old truck was worth according to KBB.
     
  15. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    the problem is that 06 Aveos with the LS trim and automatic trans are actually getting pretty rare. If you use chevy.com to search the area around my house, they don't list ANY up to 100 mile radius. I found a dealer in Tacoma that supposedly has a bunch, but that price had better be in writing and signed in blood before I drive 2.5 hours only to have some ass master car salesman try and do the bait and switch on me. Anyone think the service would be better if I went shopping while packing heat and looking angry?

    j
     
  16. mountainexplorer

    mountainexplorer 1/2 ton status

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    At least it didn't catch on fire. :D
     
  17. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    there is that. The rig has some good working parts on it and all the body panels are straight.. in fact there are NO dents/rust anywhere on the body.. just a little tweak in the corner of the front bumper. Probably good enough condition that I could part the body if I was patient enough. At some point ya gotta wonder when my landlord is gonna be pissed though... I already have 1 dead K5 (shane74) on my concrete slab... my dissassembled K5 sitting my carport looking ghetto... my rusty-nasty looking tow rig, my moms mobil boutique(old shuttle bus, don't ask) and now a tits-up Explorer that will look ghetto as soon as I start parting it. I have enough room at my pad to park a dozen cars (prolly a hundred if I parked on the grass!) but it probably wouldn't make the land lord tooooo happy. ;)

    Anyway, leadfoot is going to do some recon for me at that Chevy dealer up in Taco-land to see if they actually do have the cars their www site says they do. We'll go from there. Also, I think I may have found the black 06 Aveo that the local dealer was going to "call" about. Its way up by Seattle and has the exact same features that the guy listed. The dealer wasn't open on Sundays (must be a small one!) so maybe he wasn't totally blowing smoke. It does have the stupid spoiler though. I dunno... I'll go $12350 on it I guess... but thats the limit of my endurance. Right now my driving situation is allll ****ed up. I have to get up at 5:30am to drive my wife to work... and I leave the house for work around 1:45pm and don't get into bed until 12:30am... whereupon I have to wake up 5 hours later. :crazy: Thats the kind of schedule I could do when I was 20... but at 30 its slowly but surely trying to kill me. lol!

    j
     
  18. DavidB

    DavidB 1/2 ton status

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    Buy a Honda or a Yota.
     

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