It wouldn't be a used car without problems.

While the story of the purchase of this van is deeply entrenched in desperation, there is at least not enough wrong with it to prevent it from trundling onwards for the next few months, which should buy me some time to get this van back up and running in respectable shape.

Illustration for article titled It wouldnt be a used car without problems.

In Kinja’s infinite wisdom (read: poorly designed software), I completely lost a draft of this because if a modal pops up during the editing process, whether it be to upload an image or even the draft recovery message, it will cause my browser to flash through three phases of black, white, and a blank page with just the browser’s interface visible. I think Kinja’s programmers are fans of modern Alfa Romeo Giulias and seek to emulate them...

Ah well, it gives me an excuse to clean up the formatting.

Needed For Inspection

  • Rocker repair
    You don’t drive in a snow-ridden state without sacrificing your rockers and/or your rear quarters to Old Man Winter and his armies of salt trucks. The rockers are totally shot on this van (fingers crossed that they haven’t taken out the tracks yet) and they’ve taken their toll on the lower pieces of the inner fender too. This will probably make my wallet exclaim “oof ouch owie” with a sizable amount of Wallet Hurting Juice.
  • Exhaust repair
    Not even the laziest of Maine inspectors will let this van pass when it sounds like a boy racer took a sawzall to his exhaust pipe. I don’t know where the leak is exactly, and if I remember correctly Midas does free quotes, so I think I’ll pop over there and see what they’ll quote me for an exhaust repair. If it’s a reasonable price I’ll probably just skip trying to repair it myself. If it’s something incredibly simple, I’ll try it myself. If it’s the headers... let’s hope it’s not the headers.
  • Airbag light
    I’ve confirmed that the airbag light is not because of a clock spring - my cruise control works buttery smooth at any angle of the steering wheel. However, the previous owner removed the horn relay. Whenever they pressed on the brake pedal, the horn would activate(!?) and claimed it would only happen “if it got wet”(!?!?). I’m taking this reasoning with a grain of salt. When I get underneath the hood again I’ll put the relay back and see if that solves the airbag light.
  • Check engine light
    Ah yes, my friend the idiot light. My scan tool didn’t clear the codes completely but it did clear out all of the junk in the past so I could actually see what the current issues are. I have a code for emissions related to the EGR (when is there not?) and a code for fan control circuit 1. The EGR related one will probably be solved with the exhaust repair, and the fan control one... I’ll need to do some digging.

Things that should be fixed but are non-critical

  • Thermostat
    It’s likely stuck open. The heater core refuses to dump heat into the cabin until the engine reaches operating temperature, which can only be achieved when the engine is constantly under load. While my Subaru was hot within 3-5 miles of my commute, the T&C takes... an amount of time determined by how much of my commute loads up the engine. Once it’s hot it dumps plenty of heat into the cabin, so I’m fine with it.
  • Hood open lever
    Y’know the plastic lever that lets you perform part one of the two-part process of opening your hood on most conventional cars? Mine’s gone. To open my hood requires a pair of pliers and two fingers crossed that you won’t break anything.
  • A mysterious whine
    The whine is only audible when the vehicle starts and is cold, and cuts in and out intermittently, but is most obvious when the engine starts. Within 5 minutes of driving the whine disappears. The pitch of it changes with engine RPM.
  • Power steering pump(?)
    It may be the source of my mysterious whine, but it has a whine of its own. Once the engine is hot it’s quiet, but while it’s cold, it makes the archetypal “please just let me rest in the junkyard” sound that an old power steering pump makes.
  • Left sliding door power lock
    It locks but won’t unlock. Not really a problem unless you plan on entering through that door.


  • Tailgate adjustment
    It’s offset and hard to open. I could probably have this adjusted to be properly flush when I go to get the rockers done.
  • Get a new head unit
    There’s nothing wrong with my current one, but I want to get one with Bluetooth. The stuff they play on radios nowadays sucks. They also don’t play synthwave, hard electronic music, or various songs from the wipEout games. I don’t think Kenwood makes units that I aesthetically enjoy...
  • Get the “Sport” gauge cluster
    I feel naked without a tachometer. I want a tachometer.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter