My 1999 GMC Safari Van now has 150,000 miles on it, only 1,000 miles more than what it had when I last blogged about it on May 20 of this year. Gasoline prices above $4 per gallon kept use of the 16 MPG van to a minimum.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to start shaking the old van down to see what all it would need to see me through the snow and cold of this coming winter. On Tuesday of this week I had Sears put in a new DieHard battery since the existing one was several years old and acting kind of tired. On Friday I was back at Sears arguing with them to warrant the brand-new battery in full because it went dead on me and would not hold a charge. After much battery testing and acting-out by their staff, they finally put another new battery in the old van. Hopefully this new one will last more than the three days of the previous new one, and hopefully Sears someday will learn that the reason their stores have more employees than customers is because of their bad service. The last time I had a Sears do an oil change on the van they had nobody available that knew what grease fittings were for, and once I explained the concept they could not even load a grease gun to attempt to lube the fittings. Many other “quick oil change” franchises also will not grease older vehicles.
The engine in the old van flutters a bit when cold, and it has some other symptoms typical of a dirty fuel injection system. Even though Shell brand gasoline has cured most of the problems, I believe I will have a GM mechanic flush the injectors and clean the plates again. Even though I only have 9,000 miles on the last transfer-case fluid-change I may also have them do that since the full-time all-wheel-drive gets quite a workout and will start chattering again if I wait too long. GM mechanics know that older vehicles steering assemblies still need grease, so I will have them do a lube job and changed the engine oil and filter. With luck, maybe the GMC can chug through another winter without needing any major repairs. Will it make another 10,000 miles? I doubt it, but my “major purchase fund” does not yet have enough money in it to buy a replacement, so I may need to push the old van for as long as I can. Of course, it would help if I quit lusting for a new truck that is so lavishly decked out it costs as much as does a new Corvette.
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