Van repairs- inside and out $$$


1/4/2021 The van now has about 63k miles on it and I took it in for its 60k check to the dealer. Now, I have been taking the van in for regular check ups since I’ve been on the road because I don’t EVER want to break down in the middle of nowhere. I drove to Sierra Vista Lawley Chrysler service. I can’t believe how thorough their inspection was! They found things wrong that both of the previous dealers either missed or didn’t bother to note. I found out that my tires were never rotated even though it’s on one of the receipts. (Note: I called the dealer who worked on the van and they insisted that they rotated the tires. Maybe I’m just being rough on the van…) The transmission pans were leaking, I needed brake work and a belt had to be replaced. YOW!!!!! I also need a tune up, brake fluid flush, and fuel injection flush. This was a very pricey visit! The mechanic had a hard time getting one of the wheels off because the lug nut stems were frozen. This was a scary experience, considering how many miles I’ve put on the van since September. The technician advisor was really nice and was able to bring the price down a bit, but this still came close to $900 for repairs, which was mostly labor. It took all day for this, but fortunately, there was a mall nearby that gave me something to do for a while. They dropped me off and I just walked back because it was so close.
Lesson learned: 1) Make sure I know what the mechanic is supposed to do before I pay for the repair. 2) Always make sure I have the funds to do these things. Van dwellers beware: you need money to stay on the road.
The estimate on the final repairs will be about $550.00 from the dealer. I also called a local place that was highly recommended and they were actually more expensive, so I am going to go back to the dealer to complete the repairs.

Inside the van, there is the sink leaking issue and one of my new neighbors happened to stop by. I was telling him about the sink leaking and he took a look at it. He recommended that I get plumber’s putty and a new water hose because it was cut off and now needs to be replaced. The door outside the sink is off center now, and I don’t know how to fix that. I think the sink floor is coming down. My cousin noticed this at Christmas and we found some tiles to put under it for more support until I can get someone to look at it.
The chest fridge is slowly sinking into the floor because the wheels are wearing down the foam mat underneath. I need to decide whether to take it off the platform and just let it sit on the floor directly, or find another way to support it so it can slide out more easily. It won’t open completely if I just put it on the floor. I miss the makers space in Chicago! UGGG.
It has been cold and rainy in AZ and we got some snow this week. Fortunately, it gets warmer during the day but at night it’s frosty. Sleeping is fine, but the floor is COLD! And it’s drafty. I only notice it when I am confined to the van for more than a couple of hours.

1/28/21 Here is my wish list for upgrades. Any input would be appreciated.
– On demand hot water heater. I really need this for cleaning up and greasy dishes.
– A new sliding platform for the chest fridge. This is driving me crazy!
– A new slider for the table top. The corners are rough and putting holes in all of my clothes when I get up from sitting on the bench. I think I want to dismantle it and install a Lagun system.
– Heat! I am freezing my butt off even with the space heater. The insulation doesn’t work well in extreme weather. There are drafts coming from both doors. I’ll try to put up some insulation and see if that helps.
– Body shop: need to get the side door aligned and maybe put a panel on the inside to cover the insulation. It is very unsightly. Maybe a new estimate on the boo boo outside of the van.
– Finish the counter. The front is unfinished and I want to put sliding shelves in. I’m thinking about making a curtain to cover the front. What do you think?
– A real toilet. I can use my setup easily but prefer to get a composting or all-in-one dry toilet so I don’t have to use two separate vessels.

Yowsa! This will be expensive but I think it will add to the resale value of the van (yep, it will be up for sale in the near future.) I know this sounds like I’m being whiny, but I am.

Debbie at Amarind in AZ
Amarind, Texas Canyon, AZ

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