Yup, same one she was looking at earlier. She likes it!

As mentioned in the earlier post, she spotted this fresh trade-in before the dealer had a chance to go through fixing a bunch of stuff on it. Before making a final decision, she had them go ahead and do their usual interior & exterior detailing, and take care of a few particular items (like an inop fuel gauge which involved sending the cluster out to be rebuilt).

Once it was ready for her to come back and look at, I accompanied her and got behind the wheel for another test drive. The car seemed to drive just fine except for an extremely distracting belt squeal. I don’t remember hearing that on the previous test drive...

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I pulled over, figuring that the detailer probably just accidentally got some shine on the belt when he went through the engine compartment. But lo and behold, the belt had slipped right off of the idler pulley and was barely making enough contact to drive the other accessories.

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After shutting the engine off, I reached in and... slid the belt back onto the idler. Waitaminute, I shouldn’t be able to do that by hand! Something else is going on here. Was the belt not routed properly? Hard to say, since there was no belt diagram to be found under the hood. So we took it back before the engine had a chance to get hot enough to need the water pump.

Annoying for sure, but hardly a dealbreaker. Even if it does need a belt and tensioner, that’s an easy job and less than $100 in parts. Besides, during an earlier test drive, she had already gotten it up to temperature to help expose any operating temp-related issues. So I’m not entirely sure why we even bothered with this second test-drive. But hey, it alerted us to the belt issue, so it was well worth the (short) trip.

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She locked in her price, and returned a third time with her license plate to transfer, finalize paperwork, and take delivery. In the meantime, the dealer took it upon themselves to address the belt issue at no additional cost. They ended up replacing the tensioner, idler pulley, and belt.

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Curiously, when she brought it to me to show off the car with its shiny new parts, we found the old belt just sitting right on top of the engine. Someone must have been in too much of a hurry to dispose of it, I guess. The damage to the belt was minimal though, so she’s keeping it as an emergency spare.

All in all, I have to admit, I was surprised. She kept emphasizing that she wanted “a reliable car”, and while there are plenty of other good options out there, it was my long-term relationship with my ’95 that encouraged her to consider getting one too.

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I hopes it turns out to be as reliable as she hopes. There’s no service history except for one recent oil change and the rest of the items that the dealer took care of. And being an unmodified V6 automatic convertible model, her ’04 is about as different from my ’95 as a SN95 can get. But it’s in good shape, and less rusty than mine underneath. It’s hard not to be envious of that!