Tuesday, September 20, 2011

.....Problems with systems....

OK. Been a month or so and I have been working out the bugs with the new dual battery setup and the bugs........with the van. The steering on the van had been dodgy since I bought it so last month I started re-doing the front end. I started with new shocks all the way around which my buddy Chris and I did in an afternoon. It improved the ride (the old shocks were completely dead) but made me aware that there were more problems with the front end. I took it to a local service shop to get an estimate (and to figure out why I was losing coolant) and was told that I needed new upper and lower control arm ball joints and that that alone was going to cost 600$. Bad. The coolant leak was from some bad freeze plugs on the motor and the local shop would not fix them. I was hosed. A buddy recommended a shade tree mechanic he knew and so I took it to him. He was willing to to the ball joints for 100$ per wheel if I brought the parts!!! After a few false starts on the internet buying the correct ball joints I left Napa Autoparts with upper and lower control arm ball joints for both sides, idler arms for both sides (yes my van has two), 3 freeze/expansion plugs and my fingers crossed. My mechanic installed all for 340$ and the van actually steers now. I paid less for all that work than the "shop" was going to charge and I am just tickled. My new mechanic said that I need to replace the water pump soon so I bought one and I am just waiting for a food time to install it. Here is a list of the work done in the last 10 days....
1. Upper control arm ball joints (both sides)
2. Lower control arm ball joints (both sides)
3. Three leaky freeze plugs on the engine block
4. 2 Idler arms
5. New shocks all the way around

Normally I would have tried these repairs myself but the fact that special tools were needed and I found a mechanic that didn't charge an arm and a leg, I had the work done.

The van is riding remarkably better which makes the other problems stand out a little more. More to come. I am going out to work on the van......

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