20 February 2010

MY New Van

So we need to change our vehicles. The Dodge is too small for us now - we have 3 kids that will be the death of me yet & who need their space on long trips (or short trips, or quick errands, or ...) so we got me a new van. Not just ANY van mind you...

A 1985 Toyota Vanwagon! It's ALL MINE!!! The first car I've ever owned - MY name is on the paperwork. Woo Hoo! (Owning a vehicle should not excite me this much, but it really, really does.)

It might not look much now, but I can see what a beautiful, awesome work of art this van really is! I LOVE this van, even with it's problems (& its got some serious ones).

The interior is in pretty good nick for it being 25 years old. I don't demand much of the carpet & seats - I have 3 kids, things will spill & stain & just in general be used so I'm very forgiving in that department. There are no rips, tears, or general destruction of the inside. Its in fair to good condition for being a family vehicle from the mid 80s. I also don't know how long it was stored, or by what means, but there are no furry rodents or birds or the like so its all good.

Some views from the front. Pardon the angles, it just fits inside the garage with a little walking room to spare so its somewhat tight quarters with the camera.

Now the state of Virginia wants $4600 to 'fix' it to pass inspection. It would ace TX inspection easy peasy. Over $3000 of the 'fix' it cost is labor. Dude wants $200 to replace this tail light - $100 of it for the parts, $100 of it for 'labor'.

I consider tail lights, belts, filters, et cetera, to be standard operating items. Basically, I expect when buying a used vehicle to need to check (or replace) bulbs & light covers, brakes, belts, hoses & the like. Doubly so on a vehicle this old CLASSIC! However, there is NO reason the bulb & assembly would cost $100 or the labor (at $90 an hour) cost $100.

We've been given 6 pages of things to 'fix' - including (but very far from limited to):
Catalytic Converter & "COMPLETE" Exhaust system The converter was removed, it needs a new one but the pipes aren't leaking so I don't buy the "COMPLETE" system needing a replacement.

Transmission & Transaxl Um, WTF? It shifts fine, it remains in gear, it doesn't whine, it doesn't complain, it starts when its supposed to & doesn't when it's not (in Park versus Drive). My bullshit detectors are working overtime here.
Rack & Pinion Again, WTF? I drove it 800+ miles in 3 days, with all my kids in the vehicle wiggling around at times. There is NOTHING to indicate the rack & pinion is bad.

Differential WTF is all I can say.

Radiator The van does NOT overheat, there are no warning lights, sounds, or anything like it to indicate there is anything wrong with the radiator. It probably needs a drain & flush then refill but to completely replace it WHY? There are no explanations given, just list of what, how much parts, how much labor.

ENTIRE Brake system Again, 3 days, 2 snowstorms, 800+ miles. The breaks aren't the greatest & I'm sure the pads need replacing but the ENTIRE system? It's getting higher & deeper in shit here.

Shocks This one I can see it needing due to age & unsure care conditions. However, they want $250 for the parts, $233 for the labor. WTF?!?

Odds & Ends light bulbs & hoses & belts This falls under my standard maintenance thing, I have no issues with it needing doing but the prices they want for this is astronomical & ain't coming out of MY pocket!

Just a beautiful little Edelweiss I got on the drive home through Tennessee. There was even a man who took a photo of it when we pulled in to gas her up (she seems to be a her, not really a him & "it" doesn't fit the van's personality). Brought a smile to his face to see such a silly, but neat thing.

A little bit closer view.

So I have the van I want & I've definitely put it through its paces. I'm in lurve with it & can see what a wonderful friend & family member it has the potential to be. Now to find someone who can help me get her there.


  1. It looks in pretty good shape for 1985!

  2. Oddly enough, I used to own a 1985 Toyota Van. Although it had a blue exterior, the interior looked identical to yours.

    It was great back in the day. Good luck with her!


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