Bad news. My truck is going to die.
Well, that's melodramatic. I learned today that the clatter I have at certain acceleration points is not a timing issue, but rather a piston bearing on its way out. Now, the truck can run on three (even two) cylinders, and there's no reason to think the bearing will go out any time soon. But it's an unknown. Could be tomorrow. Could be six months.
That means it's probably ok to take to town, but no running the 101 to San Fran. The risk/cost of blowing the engine out in the middle of nowhere is too high to run.
So what's next? Well, next week I'll roll south in a one-way rental. After that I might try and use a new connection to get some air travel in coming back up in June. But I'd been planning on driving this summer, piling up wedding trip and family visit, etc. That's no one-day stop-gap rental.
I see a few options:
- Replace the engine, giving me a relatively bullet-proof Moamar II, but costing a pretty penny.
- Sell the pickup for a couple hundred and get another used car. Pretty much a wash with the above unless there's a sweet deal to be had.
- Live without a long-distance-capable automobile: keep the pickup clattering along in the HC, use other methods (carpool, bus, plane, rental) to make longer trips.
- Buy a new car.
In the back of my mind I've been sort of planning towards the last and final option, but was thinking sometime in '09/'10, not right now. I don't feel excited about taking on a big new debt right now, and I have a feeling that when it comes to automotive technology the longer I can wait the better my options are.
I'm thinking of some combination between the first and third option. I don't see the value in a lateral used-car move, unless some awesome used-car opportunity comes along that's still cost-competitive vs replacing my engine. There's no need for me to have to replace the engine this second though, and I don't even yet have a real estimate on the actual cost.
Any suggestions from the peanut gallery?
UPDATE: My trusted mechanic says new rebuilt engine installed will run ~2.5 to 2.8k, which is more than I paid originally for the rig. Not sure if this really changes the calculus all that much, but I might shop around based on that price a bit.