I will offer you the same advice I offer everyone who wants to drive an old car:
Don't approach it like a new car. There is no 'scheduled maintenance' plan that tells you when things need to be replaced, or how to anticipate future repairs. Everything has aged long beyond its original design, and the history is unknown so you can't even guess as to what might fail and what might live.
*Whenever* I buy an old car that I intend on driving, I do a FULL reset. Every service that can be done is done, every system gone through and every wear item replaced regardless of how good it might look and every common problem on that particular brand/model addressed. I'll spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in parts and the car won't go anywhere for several weeks to a couple months. But what emerges out the other side is a reliable car with a known service history and future needs that can be readily anticipated.
Folks on other forums have reactions along the lines of, "Why did you replace that, it wasn't broken!" but there is peace of mind in knowing when it was done and the quality level of the part in the car and the competence of the work that installed it. Then I don't have to worry about it.
It's incredibly easy to address problems as they come up, and frankly it's probably the cheaper approach. But it costs time and frustration, and those are two things I am very bad at. I'd rather waste some money on the front end and know that I have zero worries for a long time than drive around waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have been daily driving *nothing* but old cars since I got my license 20 years ago, and sometimes (like right now, FML) it can be a bear. But most the time - and I'm talking 19 out of 24 months - I have a fun, interesting, unique car with few ongoing costs and zero reliability issues. When I have two old cars, that 1 out of 24 months where one of them is broken is not a problem. I take the broken one, fix the issue, and resume business as usual.
I think there is real merit in getting your wife something new. If she is concerned about getting stranded or just wants a change of pace, that's fair enough. No point in introducing a marital struggle to compliment your vehicular struggle, so if you've got the means, that's a problem you can (and should) fix.
For your Saabs, nothing sounds insurmountable but you need to focus on one car and one problem at a time. Since the '80 seems to be drivable, just loop up the power steering hoses and drive with manual steering and squeaky brakes for a while. It'll build up your upper body strength! The '94 has been outsourced, so you have no control over that. Focus on the thing you can: The SPG. Either dump it, or rip that motor outta there and replace the steering rack, head gasket, engine seals, alternator bushings, steering pump bushings, timing chain guides, vacuum hoses, engine mounts, inner drivers, clutch, brakes, and then put it back together. That's a solid month of moderately intense weekends worth of work, and probably $1500 in parts and machine shop time. But when it's done you will have a great, reliable Saab and the ability to spend June with the '80. By mid-summer, you will have three great Saabs, and a jealous wife who is stuck in her nice but ultimately not interesting Mazda 6i. :)
posted by 12.195.130...
Posts in this Thread:
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- Overwhelmed, RadioFlyer , Thu, 29 Mar 2012 09:28:00
- You Need Balance: One New & One Old, Tootsacolta, Fri, 30 Mar 2012 14:25:59
- NOT Overwhelmed, smt, Fri, 30 Mar 2012 08:37:05
- Re: Overwhelmed, Paddan, Thu, 29 Mar 2012 15:39:09
- Search your feelings...you know it to be true, SPGx2, Thu, 29 Mar 2012 14:47:37
- Buy the wife a new car or used coming off a lease, Notnoel , Thu, 29 Mar 2012 13:45:50
- Re: Overwhelmed, Justin VanAbrahams, Thu, 29 Mar 2012 12:23:41
- Re: Overwhelmed, Ed_F , Fri, 30 Mar 2012 01:22:47
- Get your wife what she wants., poop deck pappy , Thu, 29 Mar 2012 17:51:55
- Very well stated! nm, BAAB_, Thu, 29 Mar 2012 12:39:31
- WORD!, thresholdmusic, Fri, 30 Mar 2012 08:16:57
- Drive the car you want to drive as long as you want, BAAB , Thu, 29 Mar 2012 11:50:17
- Your right on this one., John G, Thu, 29 Mar 2012 10:50:45
- Re: Overwhelmed, K-Saab , Thu, 29 Mar 2012 09:54:35
- another newer saab?, Snowmobile , Thu, 29 Mar 2012 09:52:22
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