Enrico today may be bidding farewell to the 1998 Suburban. It has done well, transporting Enrico’s brood to many places, covering 160,000 miles. Many times it has been festooned with six bikes, as Enrico’s favorite cycling team does its part to raise money for the fight against multiple sclerosis.
As the 98 ‘burban has aged, it has, with increasing frequency, required relatively expensive repairs. For the last two years, hilariously, the 98 ‘burban has broken down shortly after arrival at El Rancho Cima, forcing Enrico to have it repaired in San Marcos. Fuel pump in 2007, new tranny in 2008.
Each time, Enrico has tried to make the following determination: will this repair buy me trouble-free miles at a rate of 10 cents per mile or less? In other words, if I spend $1,000, will I get 10,000 miles without a repair? In my opinion, that’s a no brainer.
The current woes of the ‘burban pass this test, but the magnitude of the expense of the indicated repair staggers me. Its pace of oil consumption has increased precipitously. It is burning probably two quarts per 3,000 miles. Obviously, the tolerances on the cylinder and piston are greatly deformed, obviously the rings are ineffective. The correct solutions range from a ring job (which would do nothing to address the deformation of the combustion chambers) to overhaul, boring, and lining of the existing engine (a good but expensive solution) or a brand new engine (really the most cost-effective answer).
A new engine would put the ‘burban on a path to run for another 150,000 miles. I haven’t taken bids on the repair, but I don’t think I would get away for much less than $8,000. Delores’s husband suggested that I buy an engine and install it myself. This could probably be done for about $3,000 or so. But, by the time I bought or rented the ancillary gear needed, and considered the time it would require, and the state in which this activity would leave my knuckles, I just can’t envision undertaking it.
I am not sentimental about cars. If I were, I guess I would do it. But a ’98 ‘burban with a new engine is still a ’98 ‘burban. It would really benefit from a little body work, and the rear hatch leaks a little when it rain. That’s just new gaskets, but that kind of thing is rampant on the vehicle.
So, Enrico has settled on a GMC Yukon XL, which is a suburban in drag. For some reason, the GMC version goes cheaper than the Chevy version. Enrico doesn’t understand this, but whatever. He’s taking the ‘burban over there today to see what they’ll give him on it as a trade-in, but Gladys has set a minimum price of $3k, which Enrico thinks is double what they’ll offer.
So, if anyone out there wants to buy an elderly but well-loved ’98 ‘burban with 166,000 miles and a slight oil drinking problem, please speak up!
The last time Enrico bought a new GM product, the salessluts were wetting themselves to get Enrico to take out a loan. Enrico didn’t want or need a loan, but they bribed him to do it, even though Enrico stated loudly that he would retire the debt within 15 days of taking it out.
This time, the sales staff appears to be totally indifferent to the source of the funds. That’s a good sign for the possible eventual recovery of General Motors. What insanity they have been victims of!