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Old 08-25-2009, 12:00 PM   #1
akulczycky
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Default Fix it or Junk it?

I've got a 1997 Ford Ranger XLT 2WD 2.3L with ~130k on it. I got the car as a hand me down from an uncle a year ago with 100k on it, so the repair/ maintenance history is somewhat unclear.

Recently the brake lines heading to the front brakes from the master cylinder sprang a leak. After trying to fix it myself, I realized I didn't have the tools to do it, and brought it in to a shop for an estimate on the repair cost. In doing so, the shop discovered (and I had them point it out to me) that not only the front brake lines needed replacing, but essentially the entire brake system, excluding the master cylinder, needs replacing (Front and rear brake assemblies, the hoses, lines). Additionally, one of the leaf springs is broken, the parking break cable needs to be replaced, and I need to replace the heat shield over the muffler, in addition to some "minor" repairs that are not urgent.

The mechanic told me that the cost would be in excess of $2000 to repair - leading him to suggest junking it. The frame is solid, I have only very minor rust forming.

After pricing out the parts, I'm somewhere in the $500 - $600 range, with potential for a lower cost if I go junkyard diving.

I'm considering trying to repair it myself, but I have limited experience, but lots of time (currently unemployed). I'm looking for opinions as to whether or not you would recommend an amature to undertake such an overhaul, and whether or not it would be something that is safe for me to do, or if I should simply junk the car.

If I junk it, I'll be able to afford another car in the near future (Hopefully being selected as a navy nuke and I'll get the selection bonus), but if it's just a heavy time investment and I'd be able to fix it, I'd rather not have to "invest" in a new car.

Your opinions, experiences, and advice will be greatly appreciated in deciding what I should do here. Thanks!
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:05 PM   #2
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Fix it up yourself. There is no better feeling then taking something broken and need of some fixing up and making it work again. You will not only have a running vehicle but you will also have gained a lot of knowledge on how to work on your truck as well. We got this great site here with an awesome tech library and the forums so any questions you have will be answered.
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:09 PM   #3
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That question is easy. Fix it yourself. New calipers, maybe have the rotors ground, some brake lines, a few details and you're good to go. Less than $300 I'd bet. Some busted knuckles and cursing and you're done.
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:14 PM   #4
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$2000? That's rediculous.

For $2000 you could not only buy the tools and materials
but take a shop course and learn how to do it yourself.

BUY a flaring tool

Likely you can "Get by" just replacing the rigid lines, for now anyway...

Muffler heat shield? Why? so the bed floor paint doesn't discolor?

Remember a "shop" is concerned about liability particularly on stuff like brakes.

While most traffic accidents are caused by "pilot error",
of those that are caused by mechanical failure the vast majority
(>9 of 10) are cause by some sort of brake system malfunction

So shops tend to "overreact"

If you don't want to do it over you CAN get stainless steel rigid line
(Summit sells the raw line) and make the lines from stainless steel
and NEVER replace them again...

AD
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:26 PM   #5
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fix it... always fix it. theres not a damn thing that could go wrong with my truck that would cause me to junk it. okay maybe if i rolled it down a hill or something but you get the idea...
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:26 PM   #6
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Fix it, you can always post any questions on the forum.
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:49 PM   #7
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This kinda fits in with the old saying "if it aint broke, dont fix it". If your other lines are still holding fluid then dont bother. If your front calipers and rear drums still operate correctly dont replace them, put new wear items in and its all good. What did he say was wrong with the parking brake cable? And muffler heat shield? I take them rattling pieces of crap off of every vehicle i've ever owned. Never had a problem to date.
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:02 PM   #8
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I told the guy to write everything down when I get the car back, so I have a record of it, but the other lines are going, and one of the rear is leaking, I figure, if I'm gonna do two, and I have the time, might as well do all of them, and fix up anything else.

There are a few other things he mentioned, one of the leaf springs, potentially some transmission thing (he didn't look at it, but the clutch was sticking on me earlier), and something with the rear differential.

I think the consensus is have at it, have some fun, even if it takes twice as long as a mechanic, I'll learn something in the process. I think between the manual I got and the resources on the website, I'll go wild.
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:29 PM   #9
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Junk yard for the broken leaf. Check the fluid level on the clutch resevoir as it may be low causing the clutch to stick. Rear dif could just be leaking a little bit but thats easily fixed with a new seal. It sounds like you have multiple minor things that are making it seem like you have a few major problems.
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:38 PM   #10
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Kill it, Kill it omg I can't look. lol FIX THE DAMN THING.
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