Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mechanic's Mystery Delight

Because I'm feeling a little quirky today, I posted this ad on Craigslist this evening, and wanted to share it with you in the hopes you'll get a laugh out of it. Or at least a lop-sided grin.

Mechanic Mystery Delight - $600 (West Eugene)

Boy, have I got a rig for you! I hope you can channel your inner-Click and Clack Brothers from NPR.

Our well-loved 2000 Pontiac Montana van needs to find a new home. It has many little things "wrong" with it, but none that impaired the driving of it. In fact, it ran just fine, until it didn't. I've taken it to a mechanic who deems nothing wrong with it. I've had the battery tested three times, and am told every time "it's pretty old, but you've got another year on it, probably."

I personally think there is an electrical "issue" that is micro-draining the battery. Because all that happens is it doesn't start. (It's not the starter, it's not the alternator, and it's not the battery.) I've even had it tested for an electrical drain at the mechanic's, and he said there wasn't one, "Unless it's some ghost drain, which sometimes happens." So, there you go. A mystery.

List of off-beat characteristics:
*VCR doesn't work
*AC doesn't work
*Fan selections 1 and 5 don't work, but the rest do.
*CD works so sporadically that it basically just doesn't. (Tape deck and radio work.)
*Radio read out display isn't viewable. I don't think it's a burnt out light, because you actually can read it if there is a high-powered sunbeam aimed at it. :-)
*Rear windshield wipers don't work.
*It's been in a couple of accidents with minor damage. The biggest being the right hand headlamp casing doesn't stay in anymore. (Though the headlights work fine.) I used to tape it in, but I finally just removed it. It lives inside the van now.
*The windows don't roll down anymore because I had the master switch removed. (One day it just started smoking, and melted.)
*The horn(s) are unplugged because the anti-theft program would randomly turn on the alarm sometimes while I was driving.
*The key fob doesn't work. Even with a new battery. You have to unlock the doors the old-fashioned way.
*And one last idiosyncrasy: the blinkers don't stay for long. They burn out rapidly.

But, here's the thing. None of those character "flaws" prevented me from driving it. What did end up sending me to a replacement was this: Every night I'd charge up the battery with one of those slow chargers (no big deal), it would start up right away and I'd drive off. But then, it would randomly not start throughout the day, too. Totally unpredictably. It was a huge stress for me to not have a reliably starting vehicle. But whenever I'd jump it, it would start immediately. No problem. I carried jumpers with me for months. :-)

Despite the frequent jump starts, I still don't think it's the battery. Because all the dash stuff worked. The radio, the lights (inside and out), the fan/heater, whatever. It just wouldn't turn over the engine. But sometimes it would, if I pumped the gas at just the right time.

Again, I think it's electrical. But I'm not a mechanic. And, even if I was, apparently I would be saying that nothing's wrong with it! (Or maybe I just need a new mechanic.) ;-)

Anyway. It's just sitting in my driveway. And I'm still paying insurance on it. I'd like to pass it on to someone else now. Maybe you! Blue book says that a reliably working version of this van, with no additional features (which is basically what you've got now) could sell for $1K. I'm listing it at $600 because getting it to run is ... challenging. Driving it around after it's started is a piece of cake though! My kids are sad to see it go--it's super roomy.

Email me. Make an offer.

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