Apr. 19th, 2017

dmilewski: (Default)
 I'll be test driving a Mazda 5 manual tonight. Hopefully I find it acceptable.

Meanwhile, I'm working on my Ford Five Hundred 2005, trying to deduce what's happening. The trip to the garage that gave me a large estimate ($1200) helped me to understand what's going on. The $150 diagnostic bill helped greatly. The important thing here is the oil leak around the PVC valve.

Here's my hypothesis. 

There are times when the cylinders skip and the engine runs increasingly rough, but no events are recorded in the computer. That's because the engine, by the sensor's measure, is running correctly. When the oil level gets low enough (after losing enough oil through the oil leak), some of the hydraulics get odd. Everything works, but because of sudden dips in oil pressure (maybe air bubbles?), the mechanicals don't move enough, causing the engine rumbles. The lower the oil and the longer the trip, the more air bubbles, the more rumbles. Adding oil solves the issue, but only after running for a while and getting the (presumed) air bubbles out.

So, if I'm going to keep the Ford, I need to nail down this oil loss issue. That should be comparatively cheap. While I'm at it, I should get a 90k maintenance, which isn't quite as cheap, but still cheaper than the $1200 quote.

Interestingly, some folks have changed to using heavier weight oil with their engines, and this also resolves some hydraulic issues. 

Even with this, I need to get the engine mount repaired, get properly matched tires, fix an electrical short, and get the AC serviced because it doesn't blow cold well enough, especially in mid-summer. My preference is to make this car somebody else's problem.
dmilewski: (Default)
 As I look at another car, I have costs to consider. This is where things get interesting. What is a capacity worth to me?

Assuming that I put on 13.4 miles per day, that's 52 weeks x 5 days x 13.4 = 3484 miles. Let's round that to 3500 miles per year.

I'll assume $2.40 for gasoline.

At a favorable 20mpg, that's 175 gallons of gas, or $380 in gas per year = $420.

20 mpg = $420 per year
25 mpg = $336 per year
30 mpg = $208 per year

So every year, I'll save on fuel. Overall, though, not that much unless gas price spike again. A few years back, I was paying $820 per year in gas. Ouch! Over 10 years, good mileage will put moola in my pocket.

I want a hauler, but what if I rented or traded for a hauler? I can rent a local truck for a $100, maybe once a year, and that far cheaper than any fuel savings. I could also borrow a mini-van and take the neighbor's to dinner. Again, $100.

What about a better car for camping? Well, assuming that we take two cars, we can carry all our gear for an additional $20 in gas, and even if we pay tolls or need to get a second camping spot due to parking restrictions, we'll spend less than we save on mileage. Plus, if we spend a few dollars on compact pillows, we can save packing space. For $50-$80, we can add a soft roof bag. We can't necessarily haul bigger items, but we can throw the soft and puffy stuff on the roof.

So, although I love wagons and all that, I'll be better off with better mileage, especially as the workarounds for many hauling scenarios are easily implemented. 

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