Vanner friends I need your advice!
DISCLAIMER: I am *not* leaving, or intend to leave vanning. I'm one of the original members of this site and if you know who I am, you'll see me at the Nats this year with my 77.......hear me out (as this is a somewhat long post)
10 years ago I bought the following '93 Dodge Hi-Top (the one you see in my signature) to rebuild to replace another van and spent a good three years getting it road worthy and customized with my own handywork.......here are some of my threads (I never updated the last one with any recent pics....)https://www.vanning.com/threads/ubbthreads.php/topics/150663/https://www.vanning.com/threads/ubbthreads.php/topics/563585/
10 years later and van now has 154k on the clock, and I'm facing some significant repairs:
* Most of my exhaust system from manifold to cats are shot and need replacement (I haven't been able to find the parts, I posted in the dodge forum about this...)
* My transmission may be on it's way out. May be just a TQ converter solenoid, may need an entire rebuild.
* I redid the entire AC system in 2009 and it's leaking again - doesn't move air fast enough to keep my wife or kids cool on a 90+ degree day (I added 12v fans to negate this, but it adds noise)
* I probably need to redo the front end again at least partially
* The window gaskets I put in when I rebuilt the van did NOT last as long as anticipated, and are cracking and need to be redone (which pisses me off)
* My radio head unit just took a dump after 15 years and needs replacement
The good news is: I have very little undercarriage rust for a van from the Mid-Atlantic, I made sure I sealed that up well when I rebuilt it. My custom interior work is holding up well, my paint job is except for a few areas where rust bubbles have arisen. This van is my driver, I put somewhere around 10k a year on it. As we all would agree, I know
I can fix everything.
The bad news is:
Financially: The van has cost me about $4675 in repairs/maintenance just in the last 30 months. I'm looking at possibly another $2000 in just exhaust and transmission repairs.
Personally: My wife loves
my 77 because it's retro and cool, but really doesn't like the 93 as a driver - being a noisy hi-top that isn't cool enough with 25 year old technology and now unpredictable mechanical issues. My kids love the space and grew up in it, so they don't really know any different. The wife will deal with it if I bite the bullet and just fix the van no matter the cost, but she won't drive it anymore.
My 93 also consumes all of the time I have to work on my vans with it's increasing issues. My 77 runs great, but I've been neglecting the custom work I have prepared to do on it because of the time I have to dedicate to fixing problems with my driver.
At what point do we say, enough is enough - time to move on and purchase a newer vehicle? Yes I'd have a car payment, but this van costs me about $150 a month in repairs as it is right now. My 12 year old daughter says to me: Dad, don't get rid of the red van, you put sooooo much work into it. And I don't want to, but trying to maintain two vans who are now a combined 65 years old may be a bit too much.
I am curious of your thoughts. Thanks, friends!
P.S. NO, I cannot get a new wife. I've already done that once. LOL