Monday, December 1, 2014

New Truck

I have a 2000 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab, 5.9L truck. It does the job (barely) and is starting to show it's age and I don't trust it to be completely reliable to haul anymore. It has abandoned me twice before. Both times the transmission overheated. Once about a year into me owning it, but luckily I was almost at my destination and I was still eventing at the time and the rest of our group had already made it to the show. One of the ladies with a big truck came back to pick up my all steel trailer and Mikey. After that incident that weekend, it was an angel and hauled the empty trailer home (the same lady had an empty spot in her trailer and Mikey rode home with her). It attempted to abandon me again about a year later when I was hauling to our long format three day event in MD. That wasn't it's fault entirely, I made a bad judgement call about how to get there and ended up climbing mountains with it. A 4 hour drive became 7 with the number of times we pulled over and opened the hood to let everything cool down.

The transmission searches for gears and it's been stalling lately after filling it with gas. We've added gas treatment to the tank before filling the last few times and that seems to do the trick for the stalling bit. It doesn't run often and it sometimes sits with a half empty tank. We think water condenses in the tank and then mixes with the gas (or rather doesn't mix with the gas, so when I fill it and run it, water ends up going through the engine instead of gas). That's not it's fault, it's mine for not keeping it full all the time. It does have a loose steering column, meaning there is a bit of play in the wheel and it wanders a little bit. It is exhausting to drive the 4-5 hour drives because of it.

I know I'm near maxing out it's abilities and one day it will completely abandon me. Yes, I do keep AAA and US Rider for that day, and I will keep it for after that day. US Rider has been a godsend to several people I know and they have always sent knowledgeable and nice people to help. So I decided (with my husband's input) to start looking for a 3/4 ton truck while my Dodge still has some resell value as a useful truck and not as scrap. A one ton truck is just more truck than I will need in the next 5-10 years as I love my bumper pull and don't see myself with a gooseneck unless it has living quarters. Right now I can't afford the truck that will pull LQ, and it's going to be a long time before I can afford a trailer that has LQ (it must have a shower and toilet).

I'll have to sell my Dodge and my 1995 Toyota Camry to pay for part of the new truck though. I keep a car for daily driving- it's cheaper to have both and use the truck to haul only than to keep the truck as a daily driver. I'll miss my car. It only has 123,000 miles at almost 20 years old and it's in great shape with very little rust because it's a hand me down car from my grandparents. Every time they'd decide to get a new Camry, they'd give one of their old ones to my parents. I got the last two they handed down since I needed a car. My grandparents' cars lived low mileage lives in a garage. Every now and then they'd be expected to drive across the country, but then they always returned to their garage. They have very little rust and regularly make it to 200,000+ miles. My current Camry lived it's first 15 years/85,000 miles in a garage. My grandfather is 95 and will most likely stop driving in the next year, and I will get his car when he does. Yes, I don't have to work for a car that's in great shape. I know that won't sit well with some of you. This is how my family functions though- as long as you're in the financial shape to do it, you pass things around the family and help out where people need it. It's what my grandparents have been doing for close to 35 years. They've passed 4 cars on to my parents so far, this one will be the 5th.

I found a bunch of Dodge Ram 2500s on Craigslist and at used car dealers that were ok. They are more than I wanted to spend. I am not interested in a diesel (at all) or a gas truck with over 100,000 miles. I plan on keeping this next truck for 5-10 years, so it needs to be under 100k miles and in decent shape, so up the budget goes. I am not interested in another Dodge. I was looking at them simply because it's what I can afford. I am not pleased with the one I have, but in all fairness, it has done its job and I make an effort to plan my trips outside the heat of the day and I take it easy on it. The engine has never quit on me, but the transmission and steering column leave something to be desired.

Yes, I am that crazy person that holds on to a vehicle until it finally dies and has to be hauled away for scrap. Getting the hand me down cars has also taught me to take care of the vehicles I have, and you keep driving them until the end. Neither my car or truck is at the end, but there are high stakes with the truck (I will not be abandoned on the side of the road with my horse in a hot metal box), and the car must go as an unfortunate side effect of the cost of a new truck. If I could I would hold on to that sucker until the day it dies. It's a fabulous little car.

Over the weekend I found a 2005 Chevy Silverado 2500HD (gas engine) for slightly more than the Dodges I have been looking at. What's another couple thousand? I've already blown my budget. My husband and I went out to the lot when they were closed on Sunday to poke around and look at it. Believe me, I would have loved to go when they were open! But the closed at 2pm Saturday and won't reopen until Tuesday. I plan on going to see again Wednesday afternoon and hopefully it's up to snuff and we can negotiate a slightly better price (paying cash should help) and I will have a new (to me) truck! I'm hoping it's still there on Wednesday. My husband and I thought it was a great deal for what it is. I simply cannot get out there before Wednesday afternoon- they are closed today (Monday), I have meetings at work I can't miss in the morning and a clinic in the afternoon/evening on Tuesday, so I will be working a half day from home in the morning Wednesday.

If the deal goes through, I will tell you more about the truck. If not, well I'll probably say all the great things I lost out on and then whine about continuing the search. It wouldn't be the end of the world, I'm not ready to give up my little car! I'm a firm believer in things happen for a reason, so if it sells before I see it, there's a reason I wasn't meant to have it. Maybe that's just something I tell myself to make myself feel better, but I generally try my hardest to make things happen. Usually when they don't work out, either something comes up that would have complicated it or something better comes along.

Tonight I'll be riding and packing the trailer for my clinic with the German Riding Master tomorrow! I'm sure you'll hear from me on Wednesday, there will be a lot to say.

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