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  #1  
Old 11-14-2003, 08:10 PM
bsf24
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Junker for Winter

Im looking to get a junker to keep my mercedes garaged throughout the winter. Anyone got an idea? I'm thinking a late 80's early 90's GMC/Chevy Blazer type thing..NO FORDS.

anyone hvae an idea on what i shuold look for? besides 4WD.

thanks
Sam
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  #2  
Old 11-14-2003, 09:28 PM
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Stay away from any S-10 type Blazers, they're real POS. A full sized Blazer/Jimmy is a good choice for winter driving, great clearance, lots of power and easy to work on. Mkae sure though that it has 3.73 gears or less, the higher the ratio the higher your RPM's will be and the lower your MPG's will be. My 77' GMC has 4.11's and it screams at 65 MPH but will go up the side a mountain and pull tree stumps with no trouble.
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84 300D Turbodiesel 190K with 4 speed manual sold in 03/2012
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  #3  
Old 11-14-2003, 11:43 PM
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the thing about "winter junkers" is that one should not sacrifice reliability, because it is significantly more inconvenient to get stuck at the side of the road in winter than in other seasons.
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  #4  
Old 11-15-2003, 02:52 AM
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I sure agree about the S10 they feel like they are about to tip over even on a straight road,the headlight switchs as well as many other small items fail at an alarming rate.

I have an 81 2wd k5 Blazer witch is really just a short half ton Chevy pick up,they don't drive like an MB but are tough and reliable.I had a regular long bed chevy 4x4 with full time 4wd when I lived in snow country (upper MI) and it did very well.......
William Rogers.........
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  #5  
Old 11-15-2003, 12:17 PM
bsf24
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so i will stay away from S-10's. thanks for teh help.
i am looking for something like the model in the picture i beleive i posted with this thread...anything else i need to look for? i agree with bobbyv and dont want to break down on the side of the road, this is probably going to get me to school and back (maybe 10 miles) once a day and around town in general. nothing really major. and of course, i'd like to have a little fun with it if it were going to be my first SUV. take it through some snowbanks and such. thanks for the help guys. would you recommend a 5 speed stick or an auto?

Sam
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  #6  
Old 11-15-2003, 01:44 PM
Jim B+
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In parts of suburban Washington, nicer MBs than mine are winter junkers...

...in Bethesda / Potomac MD last winter saw MANY big '60s Mercedes that were evidently only used in bad weather...also some very nice Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs of that vintage.

Odd to imagine people with the garage space, etc., to keep stuff like this around just for spells of foul weather.
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  #7  
Old 11-16-2003, 09:59 AM
Diesel Power
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I would just stay away from anything GM built. You will be busy keeping up with they myriad of continual nickel and dime repairs that plague their products.
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Old 11-16-2003, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diesel Power
I would just stay away from anything GM built. You will be busy keeping up with they myriad of continual nickel and dime repairs that plague their products.
Sort of like a MB but the MB will $5 and $10 you to death.

My '77 GMC has been the cheapest to maintain of all the GM's that I own except for gas. The Cadillac is by far the cheapest to maintain but I don't drive it that much. My other GM's have needed nothing but maintenance items and you're right, those parts compared to any other make cost nickels and dimes and can be found almost anywhere.
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84 300D Turbodiesel 190K with 4 speed manual sold in 03/2012
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  #9  
Old 11-16-2003, 04:08 PM
Diesel Power
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Quote:
Originally posted by lietuviai
Sort of like a MB but the MB will $5 and $10 you to death.

My '77 GMC has been the cheapest to maintain of all the GM's that I own except for gas. The Cadillac is by far the cheapest to maintain but I don't drive it that much. My other GM's have needed nothing but maintenance items and you're right, those parts compared to any other make cost nickels and dimes and can be found almost anywhere.
It must be nice to find a good GM vehicle. I had a 94 C1500 pickup that had literally zero options in it. It was plagued with electrical problems. As if that weren't enough, the welds on the body literally started to fail, causing panels to sag. No, the truck was never wrecked. Even the tailgate decided to no longer close without being slammed three or four times as hard as I could possibly slam it. This truck only had 69K miles on it when I dumped it off on the Dodge lot. Even they didn't want it as it was quickly passed off onto the auction block.

After paying off my current truck, I bought a Saturn SC2 as my folks had long term positive results with Saturn. Well, mine the windshield frame was somehow made slightly too large, and the windshield would rattle in its frame in cold weather. The fix was to put foam tape in the gap, and reseal the windshield. I wonder how well that survived a Texas summer. To Saturns credit at least, it was the only serious quality flaw on that car. I had to get rid of it after a back injury. Now, my VUE is another nightmare in of iteself. It's had suspension and transmission issues galore, and I'm fed up with the car. It's too bad as the vehicle itself is a good execution. I'm simlpy tired of having to take it in for warranty work every two months. It needs another trip in now to fix the latest vibration between 40 and 45 mph, that has been rapidly getting worse as time has progressed. This will be the seventh time that it will have gone in for warranty repairs in 14 months. I've gotten to the point now where my trip to Denver to be taken in about a month will be done in my humble lowly little orphan Daewoo, as it has proven to be far superior a vehicle in reliability compared to the Saturn.

I've given GM one too many chances to prove that they are improving their quality. From my experience, they've still failed to do so. I am not one to abuse my vehicles. I am a high mileage driver, and take almost obsessive care of them so that I can stay OUT of the service department. To give you an idea on how obsessive, I'm probably the only one alive that runs Mobil 1 in a disposable car bought used for $4000. My Dodge truck turned 100k this week, and it still looks, drives, and feels like new with the exception of a couple of door dings and a cracked windshield. I am preparing to pull that vehicle out of service to perform a very detailed top to bottom and front to back check, lube, and replacement of all fluids, bearings, bushings, belts, and any other item that can be considered a wear item. Dodge trucks are notorious for eating through a set of front pads every 25K miles. I'm still on the OEM ones.
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  #10  
Old 11-17-2003, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diesel Power
It must be nice to find a good GM vehicle...
Sorry to read about your bad experiences with the General. I would imagine that this can happen to anyone with any make. In general you will hear more stories about the problems someone has about with cars than you will hear about the good experiences someone does. The interesting fact is the good experiences will far out number the bad ones but it's just bad news gets more attention than good news.
I've had horrible luck with Toyotas and have nearly sworn never to buy another one. I'm not sold on the Mercedes I have but what can you expect for a 18 year old used car with almost 220K miles. I seem to just have great luck with GMs. My Silverado seems to have all the bells and whistles. I have taken good care of the truck and rarely ever used it for what it is intended for, a truck. Its in almost showroom condition and its almost all original. The Tahoe and GMC on the other hand have lived rough lives and have been used for what 4X4's are to be used as. The have lived up to their expectations nearly flawlessly.
Do you have a Lemon Law in your state? If you do I think that your Saturn may qualify. Just contact the BBB and they may be able to help you submit the proper forms.
~DJ
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84 300D Turbodiesel 190K with 4 speed manual sold in 03/2012
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  #11  
Old 11-17-2003, 10:34 PM
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Yes, Texas does have lemon laws. Unfortunately, my vehicle would not qualify. The problems as numerous as they have been, have not resulted in the vehicle being out of service for an excessive period of time, nor have the problems been repetitive. Every problem with the vehicle has been due to a different individual component failure. Due to the miles on the vehicle, I'm so upside down, that I would have no hope of covering the difference between the balance due on the note, and the acutal value of the car either.

At this juncture, the vehicle has been relegated to a secondary use vehicle when I need the space for extra passengers, or the weather requires the AWD drivetrain.
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  #12  
Old 11-17-2003, 10:44 PM
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I somehow had the impression from your numerous trips to the dealer that you would have accumulated the required time to qualify under a lemon law. Its too bad. Also I'm surprised that the SAAB engineered drivetrain in the VUE could have been so troublesome.
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84 300D Turbodiesel 190K with 4 speed manual sold in 03/2012
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  #13  
Old 11-18-2003, 06:51 AM
Diesel Power
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The drivetrain in the VUE has no components from the Saab division. I have the CVT automatic in it, and GM's lack of real world testing (they claim that it's been tested for 10 yeas, yeah right), have resulted in a tranny that has numerous design flaws.

The engine itself is awesome, and with the CVT acutally feels more powerful than the V6 version. I love the drivetrain in this car.

Unfortunately, Saturn put a new tranny in at 6700 miles due to it sucking air on turns. They had it overnight for that one. The very day that I picked it up, it developed a high pitched squeal at highway speeds. The shifter cable was rubbing on one of the halfshafts.

A couple of months later, the vehicle developed a shudder between 55 and 65 mph. The techs noted the problem, but had no fix. 6 months later, GM finally comes out with a software update for the tranny.

There was also a recall to rewire a harness on the tranny to keep the oil pump from overpressurizing and crushing the tranny filter.

Last March, we had an ice storm. I slid off of the road at low speed. I was able to drive right back onto the road. The vehicle then developed a bad shake at anything resembling highway speeds. I took it back in detailing the situation and when it started. Well, Saturn agreed that the shake should not have started, and they set out replacing all suspension components. The problem didn't go away. They then put a new driveshaft in the vehicle. Still no fix. I bought some alloy wheels, complete with zero mile tires on them on Ebay, and installing these finally fixed the shake.

Now I have a new shudder between 35 and 45 that comes and goes regardless of throttle position. I now get to find time once again to kill an entire day to get the car in, checked out, and fixed.

To Saturns credit, they've always had the vehicle back overnight, or same day. This remains the sole reason why I haven't pushed this thing off of a cliff. However, I have less than 6,000 miles left of warranty, and the repair sheet for my vehcle is almost a page long. I am in fear of what this thing is going to cost to keep on the road after that warranty is gone.
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  #14  
Old 11-18-2003, 08:44 AM
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Ditto on the GM comments, although I think the 350 is a good engine. My reccomedation would be a well-maintained 1988-92 Range Rover. Don't worry about high miles, they run great a long time. Make sure the obvious things have been done, they can be had for pretty cheap. Think $1500-5000 range. 1990 on is made of aluminum, they don't rust. They have small V8's, nothing even close to a 350 in power (unless you put one in it, a fairly easy job!) but they run great. Mine with 187k on it runs perfect, leaks some oil, and since I bought it many thousands of miles ago I have put new front brake rotors and an exhaust sys on. That's it. Gas mileage is terrible, but they are so far more comfortable than anything GM ever made or will make. Best of all, you will have something with a little European class, something of an equal to you Benz. Of course, crashing snowbanks and climbing mountains are easy to do to.
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  #15  
Old 11-19-2003, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diesel Power
Now, my VUE is another nightmare in of iteself. It's had suspension and transmission issues galore, and I'm fed up with the car. It's too bad as the vehicle itself is a good execution. I'm simlpy tired of having to take it in for warranty work every two months. It needs another trip in now to fix the latest vibration between 40 and 45 mph, that has been rapidly getting worse as time has progressed. This will be the seventh time that it will have gone in for warranty repairs in 14 months. I've gotten to the point now where my trip to Denver to be taken in about a month will be done in my humble lowly little orphan Daewoo, as it has proven to be far superior a vehicle in reliability compared to the Saturn.
Amen to that. I have a VUE myself, as a matter of fact I learned of this board through Diesel Power, as I know him from a saturn board. I have a 2002 VUE, 1 year older that D.P.'s and it, after being my dream car, is turning out to be a godawful POS. I am having small parts failures right and left, and to add insult to injury, I work for a Saturn retailer, and therefore my vehicle gets shoved to the back burner on any repairs. Now, my 27K mile old, 1.5 year old vehicle sometimes acts like it doesn't want to start, squeeks and rattles like hell, not to mention the godawful electrical snafus I keep having. My turn signal stalk smokes randomly, my rear wiper is about to die for like the 3rd time, I have what looks like an oil leak starting (not common on this engine at all), I am on like my 4th set of engine mounts, and it needs new ones now. I do not want to see the repair costs on this after the warranty runs out. The one difference between D.P.'s and mine is that mine is a FWD manual transmission model, hence somewhat simpler; so I have avoided the transmission issues.
I promised my parents this would be my last car purchase until I graduated college (1.5 more years.. thanks to my minor mainly) but at the rate I am going, I cannot afford to be 150 miles away from home and not have a vehicle that I can trust to get me there.
~D.J.~

Last edited by OhioMercedesBoy; 11-19-2003 at 02:34 PM.
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