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Old 06-11-2010, 05:49 AM   #15
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1968 24' Tradewind
Oxford, , Mississippi
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Jammer makes a great point, you can pay the repair bills or the bank. With that said, total up the repairs and then look at what monthly payments would be on a new TV. If it is 3 or 4 months and everything else on the TV is OK, (tranny, tires,glass, brakes) then you might think about driving it a little longer. My 99 Tahoe has had a new water pump, new alternator and tranny rebuilt (and it is not my TV) and now the AC is acting up. 100K on GM's and you better get your checkbook out. My experience with dealers is that you usually can get the work done for 1/2 the price at a good local shop. Ask around, there will be an honest independent close by.

FYI, if you do keep it and decide to fix the AC, use a new compressor not a cheaper rebuilt one. Trust me.

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Old 06-11-2010, 07:13 AM   #16
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2007 23' Safari SE
Central , Connecticut
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Honestly, I'd get the ABS fixed as well. These trucks take a pretty long distance to stop, and the ABS helps control the truck during that stop. Also, I've done threshold modulation in a panic stop at a performance driving school - it's a learned skill that isn't that easy.

As others have said though, I'd strongly consider finding an independent mechanic to do this work, unless GM is indeed extending the warranty on the AC components, in which case you should do that at the dealer.

I guess the answer to the bigger question is what you could get for the $$ you have plus the trade-in value of the Suburban. Needing the room for the dog means you're buying an SUV. You could probably get a slightly newer used Sequoia or Expedition, but they'll have quite a few miles on it too.

For what its worth, I've been going through hassles with my 83k mile tow vehicle as well - and I made the last payment on it last month...


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Old 06-11-2010, 09:39 AM   #17
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Middletown , New Jersey
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Considering what a brand spankin' new truck costs, I'd bite the bullet and do the repairs - in stages if necessary. Like a vintage trailer, as long as the body and frame are sound...
Bob Fowler

Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

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Old 06-11-2010, 10:18 AM   #18
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1967 26' Overlander
Upperco , Maryland
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We've kept our eyes open for a vehicle to replace the Titan. To buy a new 3/4 or 1 ton truck these days costs more than first house. I'm not going to have the '66 Dodge D200 ready to work as the "primary TV" for awhile. In fact, it's going into storage out west so I can focus on the Airstream remodel.

Every vehicle has a "tipping point" where the cost of repairs just don't justify keeping it. Where that point is depends on the vehicle, your ability to do things yourself and your overall pain threshold. Just remember, when you buy a used vehicle, you can inherit problems--known and unknown. It is often a choice between the devil you know and one you don't.
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Old 06-11-2010, 12:14 PM   #19
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1973 27' Overlander
reno , NV
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Still thanking ya'll for your comments & time!

Another guy that I work with has offered to help me make most of the repairs. Tonight he'll show me the weep hole in the water pump to see if it is, indeed, leaking. Then we'll move onto the compressor (he too questioned the evap being shot). I found that GMC does not have a lifetime warranty on the original - but will offer that on a new one, purchased & installed by their service center. Interesting, huh?
Then he'll help me with my brakes (not ABS - but I'm sure it needs a brake job). After doing the work on my trailer, I don't want to see another brake for 20 years - but whatever, I'll do it!
Fuel pump work TBD!

Thanks again --- Laura
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Old 06-11-2010, 03:20 PM   #20
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Westchester Cty.NY , / Miami FL
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until the fuel pump is replaced....

if you get stuck and it seems like it is out of gas, sometimes tapping near the pump on the tank, will get it running again. it might be a one time repair.
2012 F150 Super Crew 5-1/2' bed Ecoboost 4x4 3.73 elec. lock diff. Propride hitch
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:09 AM   #21
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1972 25' Tradewind
Willis , Texas
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Water pump leak/ac

Laura the way the system (a/c) works is, if you have a freon leak, when the pressure goes low because of a loss of freon, the compressor will not run (due to the low pressure switch) thereby "protecting" itself. Mine stopped cooling and it was just the low pressure switch...Water pump leaking? My 2001 has a "weepage". When it gets about a pint low, a large orange message, (in the same place it reminds you to change your oil),tells me coolant is low. Do you have this warning system on yours? Has it ever told you your coolant is low? Most water pumps weep, it is when you are constantly putting coolant in that you have a problem. ( technically I should replace mine but I feel six months or so is liveable) It has been weeping for 2 years, I have to top it off about every 6 months, to the amount of about pint at a time.
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:07 AM   #22
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1973 27' Overlander
reno , NV
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Hi there!
Started repairs at 07:00 yesterday mornin'. My friend quickly got to the compressor - and I learned that it takes a bit of disassembly to remove it from the engine compartment. I also learned not to get overly concerned about this - as it all goes back together - and sometimes (this time) without any extra parts still laying on the driveway. Once the compressor was changed, we moved on to the orifice (original was totally coated in oil and crusty) and then to the accumulator and low pressure switch. I think I had about $320 invested in parts... My friend pulled a vacuum on the system and then started recharging it. Had a bit of worry when the compressor took a bit longer than expected to kick on - but finally got about 3 lbs of freon in it. A/C runs nice and cold now!!! He didn't believe the story about the rear evaporator - but will help me monitor the system to verify that one.

He didn't find the weep hole on the water pump but is suspect of the shops assessment of that at as well - esp since I don't have any symptoms. I'll continue to monitor my cooling system. As a kid, my parents' vehicles always seemed to overheat - and I have horible nightmares about sitting on the side of the highway with the radiator fluid boiling out.

We then went to work on replacing my brakes. I suspected I was due a brake job since I suposedly only had 40% pads left when I bought it a year ago. Hummm, front pads and roters were still really good, but the back needed replacing. I'm returning the front parts and will recheck them when I rotate my tires. Now that I know how to bleed the brakes and all, I feel I can do the front one when needed!

I've decided to let the ABS go for a short while. I plan to check around and see if I can find the modulator(s) from a salvage yard...

I paid my friend for his help and ended up with a substantial savings. Day of work in the heat, but feels good to learn (relearn) how to do some work myself and build some confidence. I'll be changing my oil this afternoon and then take the $$$$ savings to the sterio/tint shop for some *additions*. I could probably do this myself as well - so I'll see how I feel at the end of the week - as my trailer needs some attention before my next trip. Guess I'll have to decide where the savings are and what jobs I'm willing to tackle in a short time.

Thanks for all you help! Laura
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:38 AM   #23
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Dearborn , Michigan
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I feel your pain...

What really cheezes me off, on top of the repair bills- is the premium I paid for a 3/4 ton vehicle, thinking the components would wear longer/perform better (2005 Chevy Suburban LT 2500 8.1L)

After direct comparison with a 1/2 ton FORD Expedition EL, I'd say the performance difference is marginal ('go power' was really the only significant difference)
Perhaps if the trailer brakes weren't so effective, and a hitch system other than the Hensley were used, performance inadequacies would be more pronounced...

But as it is, the list of repairs over 50k miles/3 years is ridiculous.
Transmission, front end components, suspension, exhaust, brakes/ABS, electronics (probably not attributable to heavy-duty use, but still...)

I've been very critical of folks, on this forum, for using (per published numbers) under-rated tow vehicles... I'm seriously starting to reconsider my stance on this

My point is: maybe ditching your Chevy p/u for something smaller/less HD (i.e. expensive) is an option to reduce costs...
A family of eight, blogging all things camping from our Airstream
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:42 AM   #24
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1967 24' Tradewind
Wickenburg , Arizona
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I'll chime in with a note..... If and when you change your fuel pump use a OEM pump not Autozone, also never run your fuel tank lower than 1/4. The fuel is critical for pump cooling.
Also be aware if you use non OEM brake pads some squeeling and howling may occur from time to time, this will not hurt the brake performance but it may be a bit unsettling. Adios, John
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:09 AM   #25
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Glad that you're efforts are paying off in re short term future usage. Recommend an analysis under which you extrapolate per mile costs over a determined period (I'll keep until 2014, run X-miles, hope that per-mile cost is Y-cents); see EDMUNDS "True Cost of Ownership".

HVAC systems may not last more than 7-years (where performance is same as new) is my rule of thumb for us folks in hot climates. There are boards where we civilians can learn from techs to some degree. Same for learning from vehicle oriented boards. My DODGE truck has some HVAC problems in common with other owners, and, it appears that some later model upgrades -- and some aftermarket parts -- may suffice in keeping cold, cold, cold AC before complete system replacement. As I would prefer to keep this truck until at least 2014, then saving for that big piece of work is underway.

Extensive reading on maintenance issues online will pay off, IMO. Knowledge of problems and fixes. Forewarned is forearmed. Etc.

Try to address all problems as systems, not jury-rig repairs component-by-component. Hurts pocketbook initially, but not nearly so frustrating as having to go back through to repair another item (such as, if water pump needs replacement, then get the timing chain while in there!). Etc. Labor is the killer.

I like to recommend buying only factory parts, new, unless on a car to be sold where re-built is acceptable as those cheaper parts tend to have a shorter life.
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:59 AM   #26
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1975 Argosy 26
1963 24' Tradewind
Seattle , Washington
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Yeah - nice job! As to stereo stuff, has all the installation kits and stereos listed that will fit a particular car... no splicing into the factory system needed! Tinting, I'd leave to the pros.. it's hard to keep the bubbles out. Get quality film, some of the cheaper stuff tends to purple with age.

Great going on the mechanical learning!
Now get out and camp!
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:44 PM   #27
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1972 25' Tradewind
Willis , Texas
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You go girl!!

I am glad for you.
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:04 PM   #28
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2006 28' International CCD
Nashville , Tennessee
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Glad you got things worked out -- having been in the same situation I felt for you. Thank heavens for good friends!

As it was so well put by Roseanne Roseannadanna,
"It just goes to show ya, it's always something."


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