Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login

Site Notices
Posted: 11/5/2009 6:45:27 AM EST
I think it's time to part with the POS Ford Windstar....seems running OK now (throws a P0301 code now on running, but the steam problem appears resolved...from a prior post), but with 180k miles...it's not long before something serious happens and it won't be worth keeping.

For now, I need to get the project BMW (1991 318is) back on the road....the rear half shaft came lose (the screws came lose, and managed to crack the rear differential cover) so we have a backup vehicle.

Now, I'm thinking in the next 4 to 6 months a replacement for the van.

Looking for suggestions within the following criteria:

I can do basic wrench work at home (brakes, plugs, bearings, shocks, intake manifolds, alternators, etc)...nothing as involved as engine rebuilds. I've done a clutch at home (but don't have the garage space or the lifters for a trans)....so that sets my mechanical abilities. So, a vehicle that occasionally has issues that I can handle at home is fine....but not one that needs frequent engine rebuilds, etc.

Something that will likely last 50k miles (from the purchase) with minimal issues and regular maintenance.

Preferably no timing belt vehicles...unless the timing belt is easy to access.

Has to have some capacity for things like rifle cases, a short (8-9') kayak or two (either in the bed of a pickup or on an SUV roof rack)...so that limits to a small pickup or SUV (Explorer size, not mini- size).

Must be (as above) relatively reliable.

I did own a 1994 2 door Explorer, and did a bit of work on it...so I'm familiar with the Ranger/Explorer a bit, but am open to other ideas.

Auto trans preferable...but a Manual will work as long as it doesn't go through clutches fast and is capable of towing a small trailer (loaded with a motor cycle/wave runner size load).

2 Wheel Drive is fine....I'm not going off-roading in it, and with a good pair of tires/snow tires and weight in the back...even the 2 door Explorer (2 WD) did fine in the winter as long as I didn't do anything stupid....

Price about $5k to $7k (hopefully will have this to spend come spring...if I can keep the van going that long).


Link Posted: 11/5/2009 6:47:08 AM EST
Man, I had a 1995 Ranger that did everything you want it to do, and it was indestructible. I still kick myself for getting rid of it when I fell into the "must have a new vehicle" disease.
Link Posted: 11/5/2009 6:51:16 AM EST
I had tended to the Ranger....standard Cab, 2 WD, 60k miles fall in the price range I was looking for. I can fit the 2 kids if I need to take them to school, or pick them up somewhere (can't fit all 4 of the family, though).

Any other thoughts?

Link Posted: 11/5/2009 6:53:35 AM EST
My only other advice is to stay away from the S10 sized Blazers. I've had nothing but trouble with them. I'm sure others have had good luck but myself, I'll never buy another one again.
Link Posted: 11/5/2009 7:00:58 AM EST
Either a Ranger or a Mazda Pickup from the early to mid 90's will fit your bill. They are cheap and very reliable.

I've owned 2 rangers and 2 mazdas

'87 Mazda B2000 Never had a problem with it, sold it cause I didn't want to drive a truck with 225,000 miles across country
'88 Mazda B2200 Smoked a little upon starting had 265,000 miles when I sold it because I was given Ranger #1
'95 Ranger #1 never had a problem had 165,000 miles when wife wrecked it
'95 Ranger #2 Brakes and rotors replaced, had 180,000 miles on it when traded cause I needed a bigger truck

I'd still be driving a Ranger if I didn't need something with a little more room. Kids were getting just a little too big to ride in the extended cab
Link Posted: 11/5/2009 7:10:02 AM EST
The 2010 Ranger and Escrap still use rear drum brakes.
Link Posted: 11/5/2009 7:10:58 AM EST
Used Landrover Discovery.
Link Posted: 11/5/2009 7:13:11 AM EST
Originally Posted By metroplex:
The 2010 Ranger and Escrap still use rear drum brakes.

ever heard "If it ain't broke don't fix it"

I know them rangers haul SOOOO much payload and have that massive tow rating that they need the benefits of rear disc brakes.
Link Posted: 11/5/2009 7:24:12 AM EST
I have a Nissan Xtera that I like a lot, it has a roof rack built in, and a very strong 4.0L V6. It will tow a boat or any other small trailer with no problem, and you can drive the damn things forever. A buddy of mine has 238,000 miles on his with no major problems, everything that broke on his, was his fault. A great reliable vehicle.

Link Posted: 11/5/2009 11:50:54 AM EST
Is the Xterra built on the Frontier frame?

(I figured the end choice would be either a truck or an SUV built on the same truck frame).

I could consider a full size pickup...F150 type if it matched the criteria above and wasn't too terrible...(as in around 20mpg highway) mileage wise..

Thanks again...

Link Posted: 11/5/2009 12:03:03 PM EST
Originally Posted By Kuraki:
My only other advice is to stay away from the S10 sized Blazers. I've had nothing but trouble with them. I'm sure others have had good luck but myself, I'll never buy another one again.

I have a 96 Chevy Blazer, 4 dr, 4WD. Great Truck. Fits the OP's requirements. Be aware that they have a habit of killing fuel pumps at 100k or so, and they dont get great milage, (15-20 MPG in the city in my case but I have that mucked up V6) but they have a lot of room, and get the job done. Plus, parts are common, and everyone and their uncle knows how to fix a Vortec 4.3L. . . .
Link Posted: 11/5/2009 12:07:24 PM EST

Originally Posted By JSmith88:
Used Landrover Discovery.

Aww hell no!

My brother in law used to sell Land Rovers. RUN THE HELL AWAY!

Don't know if it fits the timing belt requirement but how about a Jeep Cherokee?
Link Posted: 11/5/2009 12:11:29 PM EST
Most reasonably modern Nissan vehicles have a timing chain instead of a belt, so you might look into Nissan pickups, Pathfinder or Xterra.

I love my Isuzu Trooper - it's been very reliable (mine is a 5 speed), has a huge interior and a decent amount of power. Fuel economy isn't horrible, either.

IMO, used Toyota and Honda vehicles tend to be overpriced.
Link Posted: 11/5/2009 3:00:44 PM EST
Link Posted: 11/5/2009 3:04:17 PM EST
Mid 90's 4runner or Tacoma.
Link Posted: 11/5/2009 3:08:26 PM EST
I have been finding cars for freinds and neighbors, I am a master technician, so people ask me what to get.. The smart people notice what I am driving. Tech dont like to work on their own cars.
My answer is Lexus RX 300.1999 to 2003
They can be found under 10, sometimes as lows as 6000. unbelievably reliable, nice comfy car. I have sold 6 to my friends, they all love them too. Check around, most dealers have a wholesale line for cars that have too many miles for the certified programs, this is where the bargains live.
Link Posted: 11/5/2009 3:08:31 PM EST
Whatever you decide, plan on $4-5 gas during your 50K of ownership.

Top Top