Monday, July 28, 2014

Jeep Thrills

My hubby is a cheapskate.

No condemnation, just fact. He tries to buy the cheapest available thing no matter what the end result will be. Funny thing is, he ends up spending tons more money than if he purchased quality, and not always much more expensive, items.

Case in point: car parts.

I found an older Ford Explorer in excellent shape last fall. It was listed at $400 due to the automatic transmission having gone out. It was the second tranny failure on that particular rig which the people had purchased new, so they didn't want to deal with it any more. They just wanted it out of their driveway.

Heavens knows we really did't need another car either, but I love a good deal.

Manlet and I were smack dab in the middle of an exciting Seahawks game on his fifty inch tv in our mancave when I spotted the vehicle listing in our local online trading post. I ran upstairs to grab Steve who was sitting in front of a crabbing show in our livingroom with a half dozen books and magazines opened around him. We jumped in my Jeep to hustle over to our neighbors' house before anyone else got there. The listing was all of seven minutes old.

Even though it was dark, we could tell the rig was in excellent shape. It smelled good. All of the leather seats were perfect, all of the buttons, levers, windows, and radio/cd player worked. Driver's door has to be locked with the key instead of the remote, but hey, the price was right!

I figured it would be about a thousand bucks to have the tranny rebuilt. Steve could slip out the tranny and drop it off for rebuilding, then put it back in. Easy peasy. He has the tools, a tranny jack, and the inclination for tinkering on cars. Perfect car 'flip' combo. The money above our investment could go towards a car for Manlet as he would be turning sixteen and getting his drivers license.

And no, he didn't want to drive the Explorer. Silly Manlet. He wants a Wrangler or a CJ5 or 7.

I peeled out cash machine money to the now-former owners, grabbed the bill of sale and title to transfer, and Steve drove the car home with me following, albeit slowly as the rig wouldn't up shift.

I was back in time for the second half to start. And yes, of course, my beloved Hawks won. And yes, they ended up winning the Super Bowl. 

Gloat, gloat.

Meanwhile, The Hubster comes home from work late one evening and dashes excitedly through our front door.

"I found a tranny for the Explorer!" says He. "It was only $100!"

"Did you drive whatever vehicle it came out of to make sure all gears work?" questions I.

"Well, no, but the guy told me that it worked fine before his wreck," assured my Spouse.

"But you have no idea if it really does?" I asked. "Can you take it back if it doesn't?"

"Well, he is moving to New York tomorrow, but when he met me at Walmart he looked like a good guy," stated Steve. "He was driving an old Dodge pickup."

Oh dear.

Of course you know that the used tranny, after taking out the old one and putting in the new one, plus a new pressure plate and tranny fluid for another $100, didn't work.

All Steve said was, "Oh."

Flash forward to a few weeks ago.

I sent Steve off to have the original tranny rebuilt. It costed $975. It worked when Steve put it in.

Uh huh. Plus another $100 to replace the new pressure plate he broke taking out the broken used tranny, and all new tranny fluid. I made sure that he didn't reuse the 'fresh' stuff he had just put in. Who knows what was in that old, used, broken tranny.

Steve drove the Explorer to and from work to make sure everything worked well before we put it up for sale. Ends up that the thermostat housing needed replacing, $25 on eBay, along with two temp sensors at $25 and $10 respectively.

Except that he went with a cheap second sensor which didn't work when installed. So we ordered a second one for $22. 

Yep, the cheap one didn't work because it was the wrong part. So the more expensive one also didn't work because it was the wrong one. Once opened and installed those parts weren't returnable.

I asked Hubby to take the original sensor to our local auto parts store to get the right sensor. He couldn't as he had thrown it away when he ordered the first wrong one. But the parts guy figured out which one Steve needed by looking at the second wrong one. Steve paid the $27 for the correct second sensor, brought it home, installed it, and drove off to work this morning.

It worked just fine. I tried to point out that if he had just gone to our parts store to start with the two sensors would have been $54 instead of the $84 he has spent.

"I was just trying to save money!" says He.

*Sigh*

(Side note, that really is my 1946 Willys Flatfender pictured here. I love Jeeps!)