My wife frequently pines for her old VW wagon despite the fact that it literally always had something wrong with it. She’s spent a good bit of time on AutoTrader since I showed her the E39 Wagon on BaT a few weeks ago. That, combined with my sister’s cheap acquisition and her new job starting this week, has her thinking about changing up the fleet. She wants an old luxury wagon.

She has been looking at Volvo V70s, XC70s, BMW E39, E9x and E60 wagons, Mini Countrymen and Clubmen, and VW and Audi stuff.

So I’m faced with a decision to make. The Cherokee has no working A/C and I came home from work bathed in my own sweat yesterday. It has 258k on it and it is both ugly and beat up. There’s a weird charging issue that means the battery never dies but the voltmeter hangs around 10-11v on the rides home. In the mornings it’s ok. There’s also a rhythmic “wub-wub-wub” noise from the rear end whenever I let off the gas. It could be anything from a wheel bearing (not likely- just replaced with brake job in October) or a brake shoe sticking, or it could be the rear differential committing a slow suicide. I love the Cherokee but the lack of A/C and forthcoming repairs make it a little less lovable. I also lack the mechanical ability to do much to fix it. Since I don’t have the mechanical ability to fix much on an XJ Cherokee, a 15-year-old BMW would be an expensive, frustrating nightmare.

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My plan was to trade Meepster near the end of the year once I finish my bachelors degree - for a VW Alltrack, Jeep Compass, or something of the like. For my wife. So she could have a panoramic roof and leather upholstery and so on. This involves fixing the A/C in the Cherokee, of course, to the tune of several hundred dollars. I still like this plan.

Then I could continue to drive the Cherokee until we established where we were going and what we’re doing from there. Alas, this may not be how it’s going to pan out. So there are a few options if we need to take action sooner rather than later:

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  1. Sell Cherokee and use the $1000 or so toward a down payment on a cheap something or another. My wife has been looking at e9x wagons and Cooper Clubman S’s and the repair costs on those make me feel icky. I’m thinking more along the lines of a 4-cylinder pickemup truck for $12k or less
  2. Use current incentives to trade Meepster on a new VW GSW or Alltrack lease and then walk away after 3 years. Trade/sell Cherokee to get cheap something. Same deal as 1.
  3. Sell/trade Cherokee to get her an old luxury wagon. This seems like the most expensive possibility. But... Mrs. Electronic Fool Injection is likely to LOVE it.

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So right now I’m trying to talk Mrs. EFI into fixing the AC as it needs done if I’m going to drive my fat ass around in the summer heat. Then we can cross the other repair bridges as we come to them.