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My first car, help please.


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BlazeAlaska
New User

Mar 27, 2011, 2:47 AM

Post #1 of 8 (1344 views)
My first car, help please. Sign In

I just bought a cheap van off Craigslist. The guy wanted $900 for a 1990 Ford Club Van, I talked him down to $500. I have quite a few problems as you would imagine, but I know nothing about cars. I won't overwhelm you, I will just start out with a few questions, and thank you for any help you can give me.

#1 my locks don't lock properly, how much would it cost to get that fixed? Both the drivers side and the back hatches wont lock. Back hatches won't even open from the inside and the side hatch doesn't open well either.

#2 I Have a hard time seeing what gear I am in. The needle to point to the gear is black and I can't see it. Any way to change it to orange? How much is that?

Do you think I got a decent deal? I plan to turn it into a stealth camper.

Thanks


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Mar 27, 2011, 4:53 AM

Post #2 of 8 (1338 views)
Re: My first car, help please. Sign In

Not sure what you mean by all these "hatches" for this? Do you mean doors or latches? Does it have power locks? If so Ford about that vintage had the cleverness of a frozen power door lock motor (not ice just inoperable) if they froze and broke in locked position key or manual motion would quit too - arrggh. If you can do without if that's the case they can just be removed and manual again. If manual and not working it could mean getting inside panels and trying to work them free or sometimes they need replacement.

Invest in WD-40 and spray all the hinges and latches regularly. Let me know if power stuff or not as that changes everything.

The indicator: Is it there at all or just the orange color is gone? Wonder why - I've never really seen it disappear. It could be painted but can be a real pill to get to. Once I painted something like that with a tiny artist brush and a bright color thru an odometer reset button! Fussy but could do it in that case without take the whole thing apart which as said is a pest.

Does it run well? If so your investment should be good so far and you could bail out and not lose IMO.

Are you in AK as you user name suggests? I familiar with some of it but of course it's so big I couldn't speak for the whole state. Where are you in the state? I have a clue about some of and have been there.

Take one issue at a time and get some clue as to costs so you can decide to bail out or invest. Again - If power train is good your OK so far. Lots of questions for now and not many answers so need to know. One more - is it very rusty or not at all?

T



BlazeAlaska
New User

Mar 27, 2011, 12:06 PM

Post #3 of 8 (1324 views)
Re: My first car, help please. Sign In

Manual locks, and by the hatches, I was meaning latches to open the door. You can open the back doors fine from the outside, but if you are inside, it doesn't work. Looks like something is missing, but it is rusty. The van overall is in pretty good shape. Not much rust.

I am in Alaska, I am in Anchorage, near Dimond Mall. I guess at one time my little indicator could have been orange, but it is definitely black now. It is also small and dirty, so I basically have to stop driving to stare at it to check.

I am pretty excited, and already have some good cheap ideas to improve it. Hopefully this will be easier than it looks.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Mar 27, 2011, 3:54 PM

Post #4 of 8 (1316 views)
Re: My first car, help please. Sign In

OK - you know fixing rust is expensive and just a little showing usually mean more that's hidden. Your still OK. If a door opens from either inside or out and not one it usually a rod that has fallen off and just a panel to remove to get at it. Clip the holds it may have busted and you'd feel a very loose feel to the handle/lever or whatever way it opens. Mostly labor usually. If you feel more comfortable get a professional appraisal of the costs. Not sure how much or any you might take on yourself. So far so good and you aren't out yet but it might help you decide on go for it or cash in and go for another of the same if you can find a better one and finish making what you want.

**********************
Off the topic:
Been to Anchorage! Stayed at the Penguin Motel (I think) only a day then off to Kodiak where my sister was born. Long ride even by jet from here. If you've been that runway is a hoot and when the fog cleared and saw the cliff at the end that I was told was there I freaked. Don't know how they stop in time but they sure do. Fun time, went halibut fishing (nothing) but got to watch the salmon run by the millions! Westmark Hotel. Bet none of this is still there but don't know.

Lots of dirt and lousy roads then and vehicles got trashed - fun trip,

Tom



BlazeAlaska
New User

Mar 27, 2011, 4:55 PM

Post #5 of 8 (1310 views)
Re: My first car, help please. Sign In

Yeah, I am pretty terrible with cars. I thought I could get rough estimates here maybe. Some thing I didn't know if it was possible, like changing the color of that little flag for my gear indicator. My main problem right now is a flat tire. I can't go anywhere far, need to get it fixed. Guy said he had the van two months and it just leaked and leaked a little bit each day and he just didn't put air in it, so maybe it is a cheap fix.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Mar 27, 2011, 5:55 PM

Post #6 of 8 (1303 views)
Re: My first car, help please. Sign In

Tire: Don't drive on it flat! It might be just fine and probably a - valve stem, nail, rim leak. I know AK is more bucks but that's routine. If you have no choices take it off and take just the tire to get air OR as the place that will fix it (almost all shops will fix the problems listed) they may (ask) loan you an air can and run right to the shop with their can and let them fix it. Don't use that "fix a flat" which works but you'll pay for them to clean the junk out. It makes a real mess inside tire. Have one with you if you wish if you are in nowhere and in trouble use it if no other choices.

Are you up to and does the spare have air in it? Check that as most folks don't and find them flat just from time. Don't know if they have it there but AAA Plus is a bargain. Near free if you take advantage of the discounts on things they have cooperated with too. There are others like it - check that out. Find out how far they will tow and what they do. AAA Plus will tow 100 miles for free for it's members! That's a deal - trust me. If AAA exists the # is (here anyway) 1-800-AAA-HELP and they'll set you up from that #

Here, they carry batteries on their trucks, will do minor repairs on location, have air, change tires, jump starts or the tow,

T



BlazeAlaska
New User

Mar 27, 2011, 6:35 PM

Post #7 of 8 (1295 views)
Re: My first car, help please. Sign In

I didn't think about using AAA for this, but I was considering getting it anyway. This would be a great time to have them. Don't know how much it is though. Glad you said not to use fix a flat, because I planned on it. I could probably get to a shop if it was close on it now, but it is noticeably flat. Not riding rim or anything yet, but flat. Alaska is definitely more for everything, but as you said, it is routine.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Mar 27, 2011, 7:59 PM

Post #8 of 8 (1289 views)
Re: My first car, help please. Sign In

Just paid my bill and my stub doesn't show the amount but from memory I think it's like 78 bucks here which could vary by location. A second house member was like 46 bucks or third, forth and so on. I think it's like 46 bucks for the basic plan but that's only a 3 mile tow which then can go up to 10 bucks a mile! Yikes! Basically if you use them once you broke even and if you really did get towed 80 miles to 100 OMG - I know that's mega bucks. They'll even do flat beds upon request so no wheels are rolling like for AWD vehicles or the misfortune of multiple flat tires all at once which can happen.

Suggest if you use them if more than 10 miles or HWY needed that only non drive wheels are rolling if that way or leave engine running as there's no lube for transmissions if a driveshaft is turning into it by the wheels. THEY SHOULD KNOW THAT. I can't imagine in Anchorage unless somehow that city goes mega miles away from shops that you need to go that far. Again - most shops do tires to some degree or if (been a long time since been there and wasn't looking) a tire specialty place. They would know if you didn't where to take it and here can be anyplace you want even if not to a shop! Of course they want you to get towed to one of their sponsored shops but they don't force it. You can also get anyone to do a minor fix it broken down and get reimbursed up to here I think $35. I'm not a AAA affiliate and wanted to be but they wanted a million dollar liability policy in effect which would far outweigh the few I really still do - jump starts on the first cold snap they are overwhelmed - same with the first real hot day all the weak links happen all at once.

I carry a tire plug kit and 12v compressor with me and fix common nails on the spot and can fill the tire back up even without taking the wheel off! Shoot - If I'm not doing anything else I'll take the $35 bucks. I carry gas too which is part of it. Customer pays for the fuel but not to have it brought to you. I carry a receipt pad with me for that. Then the discounts at assorted places including NAPA auto parts if they have those there.

Unless you have a super lucky year you make money being a member and you are fixing up a vehicle so you'd win by having them.

More about them: If you are away from home far enough or traveling they will take you to an approved shop, guarantee the work and if a hotel/motel stay is needed yet another discount. Any vehicle, even a brand new one could break down. Hey - I'm a mechanic but WTF am I supposed to do if some fool electronic thing just up and quits on me away from home? I carry tools and frequently say take me to a parts store if any are open and know what it is and fix it right there. I'll say this though - they may NOT be the best choice for your location - can't say. No problem - if unhappy they'll give you your money back - hard to beat. Remember it covers YOU in any car you are in not just your own if you are the driver.

Jeez - I guess I'm doing a ad for them for free - laugh.

BTW - my own newest car is 22 years old so I think about it,

T







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