I apologize for my recent absence. I have been swamped with my real job and family obligations. But, I do have an interesting car thrift story.
My stepdaughter is turning 16 this month and we have been on the hunt for a decent and cheap car for her. My stepson had the chance to buy back a car that he bought several years ago. His ex-wife has been driving it. It is a 2005 Cadillac STS. It has 175,000 miles. he bought it back from his ex for $500. We knew it needed some work but felt like we couldn't pass up the chance to get a decent car for such a great price. We knew it needed a crankshaft position sensor and a new tire and probably needed some TLC. We felt like if we had to spend $1000-1,500 on the car, we would have a very nice car for $2000 or less.
The car had been driven for the last 5 years or so and allegedly ran well. My stepson's ex wife drove it and when she started having problems with it dying frequently, she ended up parking the car at her grandparents house and was driving a newer car. Her grandfather drove it occasionally over a 6 month time period. He was the last one to drive it and had a flat tire right by his house. So, he parked the car and it sat for about 3 months.
The car was initially located in Davis Oklahoma (about a 3-3.5 hour drive from our house in Wichita, Kansas. Three weekends ago, we went down to Oklahoma to get the car. We knew it needed a crankshaft position sensor and at least one tire. One of my other stepdaughters lives in Ardmore Oklahoma and her husband has a shop and is fairly handy with vehicles. So we planned to Dolly the car to her house, look it over, get a new tire, and hopefully drive it back to Wichita.
When we arrived we discovered it needed two tires, had no battery and was going to need more work to be able to drive it back. We rented a U-Haul flatbed and towed it from Davis to Ardmore. I changed the oil and put the spare on and looked the car over for other issues. We decided it was not really drivable for the 250 miles to bring it back to Wichita.
After much thought and research regarding a possible transport, we decided I could get it with my truck. My step daughter's father has a flatbed trailer so we decided to borrow it and use my truck to tow the car back.
My truck is a 92 F150 with the 5.0 and 147,000 miles. I had actually never driven it down to Oklahoma or any other long-distance other than using it to haul things around town. So I was a little concerned about its ability to tow the trailer and the 4000 pound car. But I did some research and I believed that it was capable of towing. I had previously replaced the rear tires on the truck although I did not replace the front. The truck had a new water pump and coolant flush, oil change, spark plugs and wires. I had done this work last summer. I took off last Friday afternoon with the truck and trailer.
My adventure began! I had a checklist of everything I thought I would need for the trip including extra oil, transmission fluid, coolant, etc. BUT, the one thing I forgot to add to my list was the spare tire for my truck which I had taken out of the bed previously when we hauled a new desk my wife bought. So, 60 miles down the road and I have a blowout on the truck.
I called my wife and she brought the spare tire and a jack that was in my garage. As it turns out the Jack she brought was the jack for my BMW and the lug wrench for her car (a Cadillac). So I was on the side of the Kansas turnpike trying to use a smaller BMW jack to lift a full-size pick up. It finally worked and I got the tire changed. The spare tire had some dry rot but I was hoping and praying it would make it the remainder of the trip. By the time I got back on the road, it was evening and I had a long drive ahead. Because I was still a little concerned about my truck, I stopped often to check the oil, transmission fluid and tires. On one stop, I realized I needed to add a little oil to the truck. I added the oil and filled up the truck. About 100 miles later, I was getting tired and needed a stretch and decided to stop again. When I popped the hood, I was surprised to see the oil fill cap was GONE. Evidently, I had forgotten to put it back on at my last fill up. It had not sprayed oil all over the engine compartment. But, I wasn't sure what to do. I was at a truck stop in the middle of Oklahoma and there was no way I was finding an oil fill cap for a 92 Truck. I googled the problem and someone recommended using duct tape to cover up the oil fill as having it open was causing a fairly massive vacuum leak. So, I felt like a true OKIE fixing my truck with duct tape at a truck stop.
I ended up arriving about 1 am in Ardmore, Oklahoma. I forgot to mention earlier that the air conditioning does not work in my old truck. I was planning to spend the night at my other stepdaughter's house where the car was located. She texted me to let me know that the air conditioning was out at their house! It was a very hot night!
By the time I arrived I realized that the spare tire and the other front tire were going to have to be replaced before I could travel back. So in the morning I went to Walmart to replace the two front truck tires and I found an oil fill cap at Autozone. By 11:30 that morning I was on the road with the car on the trailer. Without A/C in the truck and leaving about 1130 was a bad choice in terms of the heat of the day.
I was a little concerned about pulling such a heavy car and trailer with my old truck so I stopped after the first 60 miles to check it out. It was actually doing great. The truck wasn't getting hot. It was having no problems pulling the car and trailer and was performing much better than I had expected. I was even getting 12 miles to the gallon with the car and trailer. More than halfway home I was feeling confident although very sweaty in the hundred-degree heat. I was singing the praises of my old Ford truck as it chugged along like a true workhorse. I stopped and filled up the gas and got myself an extra large diet soda and planned to complete the remaining hundred miles without incident.
2 miles later, one of the tires on the trailer blew out. So, i'm on the side of the road with a BMW Jack and the spare tire for my truck. I learned that a BMW Jack will not lift a 1500 pound trailer with a 4000 pound car on it. I ended up calling a tow company to come out and change the tire. When he arrived we realized that the wheel on my truck spare was a different diameter than the wheel from the trailer. Although I had noticed that the tire on the trailer wheel was the same size as my truck tire. The tow driver gave me a ride 5 miles down the road where I found a shop willing to take the trailer wheel and mount a proper trailer tire on it. We drove back and got the trailer fixed back up and I was finally back on the road.
I arrived later safely with no more problems. The amazing thing was that The truck had performed flawlessly. So now we just need to repair the issues with the car and get a new tire and it will be on the road!
Just yesterday I changed the plugs on the car and that improved a misfire. We still need to do a little more work on the car. But, at this point it is still a serious thrift deal for the car!