Piston Slap: The Automotive Equivalent of The End Of The World?
Hi, Sajeev. I have a dilemma that I need your advice on.
I’m in a rural area of Central Ohio and have a 2000 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer, 5.4 V8, just shy of 144,000 miles, leather, 3rd row seat, air suspension, etc., etc.. We got it to tow our livestock trailer, but now with an ’05 Chevy Silverado 2500 Crew I no longer need it (daily driver into Columbus is a ’10 Subie Forester). It’s all paid for, so no pay off issues. It’s in pretty good shape, clean, loaded to the gills as most Eddie Bauer editions are. It has some electrical glitches that no one seems to be able to fix, so when it’s parked, all the time now, I have a battery cut off switch to save the battery. The engine did blow out a spark plug awhile back but the local dealer was able to helicoil the head and it’s held up.
I want to sell it. My issue is that the tires need replaced, they’re still legal, but barely. It appears this will be about $600 or slightly more that we don’t really want to put into it unless it will help sell it for more (and faster). There is also a bad shake in the steering wheel at speeds up to about 60. This will have to be fixed (?), what the problem is and cost I don’t know (any idea?), but the air suspension is in good shape, front and rear have been fixed up by the Ford dealer’s shop. Given the price of fuel and, at best, the 14 mpg this thing gets I think the demand for a big SUV will be low, along with what I’ll be able to get for it.
Should I replace the tires and get the shake fixed or just try to have it fixed and sell it with not so good tires? Or, just keep it around for awhile and hope gasoline prices come back down and there is more demand later (yeah, I’m dreaming)?
Bill: there is always demand for an old work/family truck. Especially one that’s loaded to Eddie Bauer levels. The question is at what price for what condition?
Selling right now for reasonable money will be tough on an Expedition, especially without putting the effort to sell in Autotrader and (preferably?) Craigslist. You could certainly dump it for pennies on the dollar, but I would take my time to recondition it: finding cheap tires on Craigslist and shopping around for the repair by local mechanics. Bide your time and wait for gas prices to go down.
Regular gas (more so than premium, if what we usually see holds true) will go down again in months, maybe sooner if the word on politics and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is true. No matter what your political orientation, you might use this to your advantage.
As far as technical help on the shake: that comes from numerous sources in the front end. I can’t armchair that one: wheels, tires, ball joints, play in the rubber bushings…who knows? I would ask around for free estimates from multiple mechanics, or perhaps a paid ($70-90) inspection for an estimate from a trusted shop. Price the replacement parts by yourself (online, RockAuto.com for starters) and see just what exactly is involved in terms of labor hours: ask multiple shops (including the dealer) for the labor rates to replace said part.
That last bit is crucial. Homework is necessary. Nobody likes to be conned when it comes to a minor front end job that gets billed as the automotive equivalent of The End of the World!
Send your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.
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