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Old 06-10-2010, 01:18 PM   #1
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Throwing money at it, or not?

Geeze... some of you may remember my angst at finding a suitable TV. It's been about a year now that I've had my new 2000 GMC Yukon XL (with 130,000 miles) and the problems never end. Now my A/C went - compressor and rear evaporator. The most reliable shop in the area is quoting a full repair at $1600. YIKES.

The truck is still a *hard start* and I understand (from the Chevy dealer) that my fuel pump will leave me stranded at some point. This fix is over $600.

The ABS brakes are only operable intermittently. The same Chevy dealer did a computer check when the ABS & Emergency Light was illuminated and determined that the modulator needs replacing. When these lights are illuminated (about 85% of the time), the ABS isn't operable. The cost for repair is about $600 as well.

What to do... what to do... I am certainly going to loose my job in the next 6 months (or whenever we stop flying the Shuttle) and I have nothing (except school) on the horizon. I have some cash, but don't want to go spending that right now. I have wondered if I should look for another TV and trade this girl in... maybe I'd get a couple grand for it???? (is that a laughable assumption?)

I could probably shell out 5-7K and not be in too much trouble. But I'm afraid I'd be right back in the same hole in a year... Dang! But I want to keep my new tires - I think I have over $800 invested in them alone!

Oh, and I need to stick with a SUV style to transport my girls (aka my fur-kids). My AS weighed in at just under 6000 lbs last year - not fully loaded!

So, if anyone has some sage advice, suggestions, thoughts, a poke in the eye, whatever... lemme know!

Laura
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Old 06-10-2010, 01:41 PM   #2
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Laura, all I can offer is sympathy. The calculus you are working through is a tough one - and a very personal one, to boot.

If you are worried about your job, then you are rightfully concerned about fresh debt. And - if the amounts you've quoted will fix your problem, then ask yourself whether you can find a new ride for a reasonable price once you compare cash costs.

Good luck and best wishes as you work your way through.

Pat
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Old 06-10-2010, 02:08 PM   #3
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It is always a tough call whether to trade a known problem for an unknown. 130,000 miles is not a lot in this age and if you get past this set of problems you hopefully would be good for a while.
It is also tougher when you have to hire it all done. My sympathy on the AC, That has been the only constant fight I have had with my TV in 550,000 miles.
Good luck with it.
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Old 06-10-2010, 02:16 PM   #4
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Hi Laura, I own a 2001 GMC with a 5.3 L engine. I am also an Automotive Technician. 1; I find it hard to believe both compressor and rear evaporator are "bad" at the same time. I would have the low pressure switch checked and or get a second opinion. 2; fuel pump: fix this. 3; ABS? you do not really need it if you are a safe/good driver. I have over 108,000 on my truck, having pulled my 25 ft Tradewind too and have never "activated" the ABS. i.e. never had a panic stop where the ABS activated. I hope this helps. Scott
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Old 06-10-2010, 02:50 PM   #5
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Hi Laura, I own a 2001 GMC with a 5.3 L engine. I am also an Automotive Technician. 1; I find it hard to believe both compressor and rear evaporator are "bad" at the same time. I would have the low pressure switch checked and or get a second opinion. 2; fuel pump: fix this. 3; ABS? you do not really need it if you are a safe/good driver. I have over 108,000 on my truck, having pulled my 25 ft Tradewind too and have never "activated" the ABS. i.e. never had a panic stop where the ABS activated. I hope this helps. Scott
Yes, it helps! Thank you.

The a/c shop said the rear evaporator is leaking and suggested that it likely caused the compressor to go. Does that sound right? Thanks for the suggestion for a second opinion --- I can do that!

Laura
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:24 PM   #6
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Oh man... when I picked up the truck, the mechanic said that they had another Suburban (?) in the shop that needed the cooling system checked. He accidentally thought mine was the other and located another problem with the cooling system. So, now my water pump is also leaking. Time for a second opinion all the way around. I hate this stuff!

Laura
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Old 06-10-2010, 05:03 PM   #7
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Laura - To be honest, I would get a second opinion on the AC. If you intend to keep it a while, taking it to the dealer isn't a bad idea. Unless something has changed, GM provides a lifetime warranty on the replacement compressor anyway. I went through a similar (but separate) repair cycle on a 2001 Tahoe with about 110K on the clock. Rear evaporator first at about $700, then a new compressor at about $1K. I had them replace the belts and hoses when they did the compressor so that is part of the price above.

If your water pump is leaking, the time to fix it would be while they are doing the AC compressor. Shouldn't be much in additional labor at that point. Almost everything they have to remove for a water pump replacement also has to be taken off for a AC compressor.

I agree with Scott on the brakes. If you want to fix it because the ABS makes you feel safer, then do it. Otherwise, you can modulate the brakes in a panic stop. The ABS system is not required for full braking function. It just makes it easier to avoid locking up the brakes.

Good luck with your decision. Sinking more money into a car is always hard. Unless you are going to bite the bullet and buy a new one though, you will be looking at repairs on just about anything else you could buy.
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Old 06-10-2010, 05:31 PM   #8
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First, I'll say I'm sorry you're going through all of this, but is sounds like what we went through with our '94 1 ton Dodge van... and we have friends in a similar boat with their Tahoe.

I'll say we bought a 2001 Sequoia that's been wonderful...

A second opinion on the AC and waterpump might be useful, it almost sounds like they some $$ in your eyes. It's possible if the evaporator was clogged, and shot off some debris went into the compressor, clogging it (I believe the "higher pressure" side will test high in this case). However, once fixed, it should be fine for awhile.

About the fuel pump - yes, it's a known problem with these trucks, but gosh, $600 sounds steep! Part of the problem is that if the fuel is drained low in the tank. The fuel is used as a cooling agent, without fuel around it, it gets warmer and this heat attacks the pump. Leaving your tank at least 1/4 full is supposed to help, but I know our friends replaced theirs about 3 times in the past three years......

I'd forget about the abs... put a sticker over the light if it bugs you. You could go to a junkyard (pull a part) and see how hard it is to pull one yourself, then plug it in. It should be realitively cheap to do it yourself.

Is your truck really leaking coolant? Do you see puddles under the truck after it's been sitting? Get up under the truck and look for yourself.. the water pump is connected to the fan (if it's belt driven.. I believe it is). That "housing" around the shaft of the fan is the pump. Put your truck info into Autozone.com and they have online tuturials on how to do replacement yourself, or at least see where these parts are. AC work is hard to do yourself as the freon needs to be disposed of correctly... The brake modulator replacement and fuel pump replacement should be on Autozone as well.

I agree that the known evil is the best one, but I'll also say that there is a time when it seems all they do is pull your money out of your wallet. Unless you're thinking of buying new or realtively new, I'd stay with what you have.
Good luck!
Marc
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Old 06-10-2010, 06:06 PM   #9
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If I was worried about my job, I would park the Airstream somewhere where I could use it, get rid of the lemon Tahoe and get a newer lower mileage compact. You could always use a friend's vehicle or in the worst case scenerio a rental if you had to move the A.S.
I have owned a couple of vehicles beyond 130k miles. Everything seems to go wrong at once. It is like playing wack a mole to stay on top of the repairs.
Good Luck
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Old 06-10-2010, 06:23 PM   #10
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Hi Laura,

Add me to the list of those who have trouble believing both the compressor and evaporator went bad at the same time. Or that one could influence the other. AC systems have a pressure switch that stops the compressor from being engaged if the coolant leaks just to protect the compressor.

That shop may be the most reliable, but what exactly are they reliable for?

Definitely get a second opinion on the AC. I'll admit that the labor for replacing the evaporator could add up. It's under the dash buried in ductwork.

Compressors are expensive replacement parts. However, they are one of the few things on a vehicle that I would consider getting from an auto salvage yard. They generally have long lives and there should be many available with less miles on them than the one in your Chevy. Again, be sure yours is bad at all.
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Old 06-10-2010, 06:56 PM   #11
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My thanks goes out to each of you! I am definately going to seek a second opinion on all the items. There is a tech at work who has offered to perform any/all of the repair work for me. I don't really want him to do it (for a variety of reasons) - but might ask him to *assist me* in it.

A/C compressor & evaporator: My next door neighbor owns the local GMC dealership -- I'll approach him about a second opinion on this.

Water pump: the only time I've witnessed any water under my truck is after using the A/C. Otherwise, dry! I'll get a second opinion on this too.

Fuel pump: I'll see if my friend might help with this

ABS Brakes: I'll find some black electrical tape and place it over the dash cover to obscure the light!

Sigh.... wish I liked this sled better. Maybe I'll go ahead and add a few things to make her more, ummmm, palatable: new radio, fix the headliner and get some seat covers. Maybe she just needs some cosmetic work after the mechanics are in place!

Thanks again - your thoughts and suggestions are very helpful!

Laura
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:19 PM   #12
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I've spent $8500 in the last two years on my TV. Granted, it was a basket case when I bought it but still.

A/C compressor and condenser, both leaking, replaced with new
Rebuilt transmission.
New front wheel hub.
Exhaust manifold studs.
Fuel tank, fuel pump, and gauge sending unit assembly.
New brake lines and fuel lines.
Starter.
Shocks.
Steering stabilizer.
Parking brake cables.
New output shaft seal on transfer case.
New cruise control (well, one from a junkyard anyway)
Batteries and cables.
Rear brake shoes.
Muffler.
Oxygen sensor.
MAP sensor.
Heater fan.

It's endless. I thought I was at the end of the list when the transmission seized up.

No easy answers. Hard to keep a tow vehicle on the road for less than $500 a month. You pay the bank or you pay the repairman. Your choice.
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Old 06-11-2010, 12:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkill View Post
My next door neighbor owns the local GMC dealership -- I'll approach him about a second opinion on this.


Laura
Hi, there's your answer; Let your next door neighbor have his shop look at it and fix what is important to you. Certainly he wouldn't, or anyone working for him, take advantage of someone that lives that close to him.

You can live without ABS as long as the brakes work good. You could live without A/C too, if you really had to. [well maybe not in Florida] The fuel pump must be replaced if bad.

Do you like this vehicle?

Is it worth putting money into?

Is a newer, low mileage, vehicle affordable?

Is it cost efficient to repair this vehicle or better to replace it?

Maybe a few bandaids on this one until you can afford a better one.
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Old 06-11-2010, 01:55 AM   #14
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Every time you spend a bunch of money on a repair you hope it's over and then get whacked again and again and you begin to wonder if it will ever end. On top of that you've had problems with the Airstream brakes. That's when lots of people dump the truck and look for something else.

It's hard to know when it will stop, or if ever will. Then do you spend some money to get it ready to sell it, or just get rid of it?

If you decide there's a reason GM went bankrupt, or you just can't stand it, Consumer Reports in their annual auto issue has a section about worst and best used vehicles. I'd think about a used Toyota. The extended cab Tundras can seat 2 or 3 people in the rear seat. They always rate highly for reliability.

I hope things go better for you and you get to keep your job too.

Gene
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