Sadly, the end is in sight.

Posted by: gfh77665

Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 04:52 PM

1995 Chevy Caprice. 4.3L V8. Bought new, loaded out. Family car, raised my three kids in the back seat of it.

Then in 2007, oldest daughter turned 16 and she drove it through her high school years and half of her college. Middle daughter took over and drove it until now, she is getting my truck to go off to college in. Son turns 16 very soon, he will have 2.5 years in it.

Its mechanically sound, but beat to death. My eldest wrecked it badly, but we fixed it up and rolled on. Used for extreme short tripping, just 5 blocks, but across busy highway (so no option to walk). A/C broke, cruise broke, interior torn, numerous parking lot dings. Way too much to fix on a 200,000 mile car.

How would you guys maintain this? I am thinking just oil changes, nothing more. Any automotive end-of-life strategies I should consider? I am really going to miss this ole' car. Tons of memories in it... frown
Posted by: cknight49090

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 04:58 PM

I wouldnt worry about the issues your describe myself keep the fluids full and change the oil...
Posted by: Oil Changer

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 04:59 PM

Frame-off rotisserie restoration, GM V8 crate motor, 4-speed auto, Ford 9", cop car electrical, heating, cooling, steering, suspension,steel wheels with hubcaps, 4 wheel disc, custom leather, roll bar. That's how to maintain it. Your boy would love it!
Posted by: eljefino

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 05:09 PM

Are you emissions exempt due to age? Someone will think it's awesome.

A cabbie for example.
Posted by: 95busa

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 05:29 PM

LT1 swap, LT4 hot cam. 4.10-1s. Do want.
Posted by: gfh77665

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 05:39 PM

Originally Posted By: eljefino
Are you emissions exempt due to age? Someone will think it's awesome.

A cabbie for example.


No emissions in rural TX, no cabs, either. I get lots of looks driving it. I know the Chevy "cop car" style is in high demand right now.
Posted by: gfh77665

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 05:41 PM

Originally Posted By: 95busa
LT1 swap, LT4 hot cam. 4.10-1s. Do want.


Want a pic? If you are curious, I'll text one to anyone who will personal message your number to me. Its jet black with grey leather interior. Awesome highway ride and 21 mpg.
Posted by: NHGUY

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 05:45 PM

Fast N Loud would make something foolish out of it...
Posted by: eljefino

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 05:54 PM

These things have already bottomed out in price and are on the way back up. If you don't like it, park it on the back forty, better than money in the bank.
Posted by: Drew99GT

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 05:56 PM

Do you want to keep it or what? In Texas, no A/C.....screw that! Fixing the A/C is more than the cars worth.

If you're not worried about that, just keep on keepin on. Fluid maintenance etc. Sounds like my pops 98 Blazer. At 230,000 miles everything was falling apart so I sold it on Craigslist to a tech who could keep it running at minimal cost.
Posted by: gfh77665

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 06:14 PM

Yeah, just driving it 5 blocks isn't really enough time to get everything cooled by the A/C anyways. Mornings aren't too bad, maybe 80-85 degrees. The evenings are brutal, but son will be coming home from football practice anyways. He can just drive with windows down.

I would love to eventually find someone who would really want this car, and give it the care it deserves. It could be "reborn" with the right owner.
Posted by: R80RS

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 06:15 PM

I had a 97 Lumina that filled the same role in my life. It was the first car my wife and I bought together, we brought our newborns home from the hospital in it, etc. It had over 230,000 miles, and was fundamentally sound but developing significant rust. It finally had a serious power train problem (serious meaning $$$) when my wife was driving it home on a long trip. I decided it was not worth sinking further money into, and even if I did it was not worth the worry of my loved ones traveling long distances in an old car. After considering selling it for what amounted to scrap value, we ended up donating it to the Boy Scouts of America for the tax write off.
Posted by: gfh77665

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 06:18 PM

Originally Posted By: R80RS
. It was the first car my wife and I bought together, we brought our newborns home from the hospital in it, etc.


Me too! thumbsup
Posted by: fdcg27

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 06:22 PM

Since you bought this thing new and know its history, it might not be totally foolish to fix everything that's wrong as you go and keep it.
Lots of sentimental value and parts are not a problem.
Rust would also not have eaten this car alive in your corner of the world, whereas here, it would be held together with duct tape and prayer.
These cars never gained the popularity of the Ford Panthers and so had much shorter production lives.
I can recall a Car&Driver road test from years back where they refered to this car as "Orca, the Caprice".
This was the last generation of GM's big B-body RWD cars.
It is an interesting period piece and would be fun to have as a bit of your past life.
Posted by: mongo161

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 06:37 PM

My 1997 Toyota 4Runner SR5 is still chugging along with over 250K miles. It has survived the brutal heat and unforgiving ice, cold, snow and salt of NYC. All I've done is basic maintenance, tune ups, wires, brakes, belts, battery, Tires, alternator etc...and it has not let me down.

I just remember to keep all of the fluids clean and I change them when needed. I did run 2 full cycles of "Kreen", the dream, a couple of years ago and the oil now runs clean like new. IMO...that Kreen really added better MPG, quieter engine and better operation.

I'm running all synthetic fluids in the T4R now. Mobil 1 for the diffy's, transfer case, ATF, Power Steering fluids. Pennzoil DOT 3 from Big Lots that I loaded up on. I still flush the cooling system every 3 to 4 years and replace the fluid with OEM Toyota Red and distilled water. The Toyota Red is full strength and I picked it up, and stockpiled 10 Gallons, at Car Quest for about $20 a gallon a few years ago.

IMO...keep the fluids changed, basic maintenance and it should last.
Posted by: oldhp

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 07:15 PM

Chip Foose!!! OverHaulin'!!!
Posted by: gregk24

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 07:47 PM

Keep up with ALL maintenance, not just oil changes. This could have years of life left in it.
Posted by: user52165

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 08:04 PM

Join this forum:

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/index.php

Lots of knowledge there. You have what's called a "baby LT1".
Posted by: R80RS

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 10:16 PM

Originally Posted By: gfh77665
Originally Posted By: R80RS
. It was the first car my wife and I bought together, we brought our newborns home from the hospital in it, etc.


Me too! thumbsup


It's a cool thing when your kid gets to drive the same car she got her first car ride in as a newborn infant.
Posted by: artificialist

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 10:24 PM

There are no shortage of cars on our roads where the engine keeps turning, the transmission keeps shifting, but not another thing works.

Anyway, there are some people who like to turn this model of Caprice into "donks." If you can find a custom shop that makes donks, maybe someone will pay extra since it is a Caprice.

Hopefully when you see it back on the road, you don't recognize that it was once your car. I'm sure you would be nauseated to see what customizes do to such cars.
Posted by: gfh77665

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 10:26 PM

Yes. I am very logical, I know the car is just metal, glass, rubber and leather, it has NO feelings. Still, I can't help but have all the memories I do with it. I am attached to it, because my kids were raised in it. Kind of neat it will get them all through high school.
Posted by: artificialist

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/06/14 10:39 PM

Originally Posted By: gfh77665
Yes. I am very logical, I know the car is just metal, glass, rubber and leather, it has NO feelings. Still, I can't help but have all the memories I do with it. I am attached to it, because my kids were raised in it. Kind of neat it will get them all through high school.

Trust me, I understand what you mean. I remember mom's 1985 Nissan Maxima, even though timing belt failure caused so much engine damage that it far exceeded the value of the car. In many ways, it wasn't even a good car, just a good engine and transmission bolted to a bunch of junk.
Posted by: PandaBear

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/07/14 12:46 PM

Since what you described aren't really the deal breaker, and it is a loaded model and you have lots of emotion to it, I'd fix it up and drive it later.

Just make sure you check the local junkyard listing regularly and see if you can find good condition parts (especially the interior), and you have all the time in the world to fix it while driving it.

My only concern would be fuel economy for a 4.3 V8.
Posted by: HM12460

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/13/14 03:56 PM

You could give the ol' honk a good re-conditioning and drive it another 100,000 miles for a lot less than a good used car.
Posted by: 05LGTLtd

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/13/14 11:16 PM

$50 paint job in your sons school colors and his jersey number on the doors NASCAR style...

And bolt a fan to the dash like used to have in school buses for the drivers!
Posted by: zzyzzx

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/14/14 10:11 AM

If the cruise control is not working, I would remove it. It's not like you are going to use it again and it should make the car easier to work on.
Posted by: gfh77665

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/17/14 12:35 AM

Originally Posted By: 05LGTLtd
$50 paint job in your sons school colors and his jersey number on the doors NASCAR style...


Man I like it! Paint my jet black car green & gold, emblazoned with #81 on the doors.

Maybe get some decals that say:

#81, BAD A$$ LINEBACKER! thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup

(I am in Texas after all, and High school football is nothing short of a religion here, LOL).
Posted by: Gokhan

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/17/14 02:13 AM

Originally Posted By: gfh77665
1995 Chevy Caprice. 4.3L V8. Bought new, loaded out. Family car, raised my three kids in the back seat of it.

Then in 2007, oldest daughter turned 16 and she drove it through her high school years and half of her college. Middle daughter took over and drove it until now, she is getting my truck to go off to college in. Son turns 16 very soon, he will have 2.5 years in it.

Its mechanically sound, but beat to death. My eldest wrecked it badly, but we fixed it up and rolled on. Used for extreme short tripping, just 5 blocks, but across busy highway (so no option to walk). A/C broke, cruise broke, interior torn, numerous parking lot dings. Way too much to fix on a 200,000 mile car.

How would you guys maintain this? I am thinking just oil changes, nothing more. Any automotive end-of-life strategies I should consider? I am really going to miss this ole' car. Tons of memories in it... frown

A/C is usually very expensive to fix unless it's something minor -- close to or more than $1,000 -- so, probably not worth fixing unless you really want to keep the car.

There are still some good old upholstery shops -- at least in LA -- where you can have your interior renewed for a couple of hundred bucks, and this could be well worth if there is such a place where you live.

Other than that, if there are obvious repairs you can do easily and cheaply, do them, and change and top off your fluid regularly -- especially the oil. For a car in this condition (leaks, oil burning, etc.), whatever 10W-30 or 10W-40 dino on sale (less oil consumption with the latter) will suffice as far as oil is concerned.
Posted by: andyd

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/17/14 08:03 AM

You could get another few yrs out of it, just keeping up with the basics. Compared to what modern drive lines cost, this car wouldn't be too expensive to have rebuilt. In your shoes, with the family connection to it, I would retire it to good local talent to refresh it toward its heyday. Expect to pay what it cost you at the git go. Stuff to look at first would be the brake lines and the front suspension. Start with the mechanicals and fix the seats too. Keep it numbers matching, rebuild, don't replace.
Posted by: supton

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/17/14 08:34 PM

Both my kids came home in my Jetta. It's been daddy's car for as long as they have been around. Kinda hard to let that go.

Speaking of paint, my daughter is a bit of an artist (what 7 year old isn't?). I've been tempted to buy some new fenders to replace the rotted ones, let her have at them, then shoot it with some clearcoat. What a riot it would be if she went off to college in this car, complete with painted fenders!
Posted by: gfh77665

Re: Sadly, the end is in sight. - 05/29/14 08:47 AM

Well folks, I appreciate all the kind and supportive words. However, in the end, enhanced safety features, and a working A/C won out. I bought my son a real nice 2001 Mercury Marquise with just 148K. My loved old Caprice is now, regrettably. "for sale".

http://beaumont.craigslist.org/cto/4493735951.html

frown frown frown