Changing of the Guard

Perhaps I should say Changing of the VanGuard? They usually lead the way.  Yup! I Bet you guessed it! I have a new vehicle! 

I went around that proverbial mulberrybush a few times, as far as vehicles go. As most of you know, I am Allergic to the 21st Century and have to be careful to stay away from just about every man-made chemical. That means, I have to have a vehicle that’s a 1994 or older because ever since 1995, by law, they have had to spray all of the materials inside of every vehicle with fire retardant, and I react very badly to that nasty stuff! Since fire retardant doesn’t seem to dissipate enough for me to tolerate it for long, I had my son, Charles, looking at old vehicles of every kind.  Even Volkswagens. That’s right, even paid to get one Bug inspected. It sounded great, and it still does, the thought of having all of those engine smells behind me.  Instead, in most vehicles, they’re curling up from under the dash, as I’m going down the highway! All that gas and oil being heated so the fumes are really strong. You’d think they were specifically designed to work on adding to my toxic load. Well, maybe not specifically. 😉  But, Volkswagens have become collector’s items. Oh my, the price tags on some of those! If you want to have sticker shock, look up a few of those old Bugs, or worse yet, a few VW busses!  I  thought of Pickup’s, but trying to get into the back would be tough for me.  I even thought of tiny pick-ups, but I’m not too sure I would fit in the front! Besides, anything too different, and I’d have to make some radical changes in my solar rack design, and go even more minimalist with how much stuff I can carry. Even changing to a Dodge or a Chevy van would mean revisions, but we looked for those too. What would be best was another old Ford van, but we just hadn’t found anything even remotely usable. 

But guess what happened? 

I’m glad you asked!

I am so grateful that we found this new van!

Ain’t she purdy!

Okay, can you hear me chuckling? How about a Little newer van. She’s a 1983 Ford E150. Yes, she’s been around for awhile, 183,00 miles around, and she’s only a half ton, but believe it or not, she’s in far better shape than my old 1977 Ford E250, Jehosheba, with well over 270,000 miles to her credit. 

A face lift in progress! Okay, maybe not a facelift, but new kingpins, tierods, a tranny flush and an oil change should give her quite a boostI. I found a great shop in Sierra Vista. Arizona Auto & Radiator Repair. If you’re in need, and any where close, I would highly recommend them and so would a lot of other people. Check out their Google reviews! Five stars!

 When you consider that her tires looked like this, 

She has been riding on the very outside of both front tires for awhile.

before we put the new ones on, that show how bad the tread was on the old ones.  Of course, it really shows that the front end is in bad condition!

 Now she looks like this! Standing tall and proud, with her wheels standing up straight. 

 Now that the work is done, I think you could call it a face lift!  

This van still needs a lot of work, but I’m hoping and praying she will last for a long time to come.  Some of her issues are pretty expensive, (understatement of the decade!) but there is so much, that is so right, about this van for me, that I’m hoping she is worth the investment. Thank the good Lord, I have amazing and, obviously, crazy friends, who helped me with loans and gifts, for both the purchase and the repairs! Well, most of the repairs. Alright, maybe some of the repairs, would be more accurate. I will be working on her, as I can, over the years to come, but at least the most vital needs are being taken care of today!  

Fortunately, the hitch transferred with no trouble, and because it was a U-Haul installation, they did that for free! I did have to buy an extension, so I could keep Little Gypsy’s mighty prow from being crushed by the spare tire hanging off the back door.  Unfortunately, as I’ve been writing, the shop has already found some new issues. I knew we had some kind of major leak, because we went from a full tank to a half tank in just 20 miles!  Boy, did she stink on the way into the shop! I was praying we didn’t have the kind of problems with her, that we have with Jehosheba.  Thank goodness, it was just some fuel lines leaking.  Some just needed the clamps tightened, some the hoses replaced.  The rear brakes are fine, but unfortunately, the brake shoes in the front were down to the metal. Those are being handled today. The emergency brake assembly will have to wait til next month.   


Right now, I’m  taking a big breath and offering a fervent prayer. If you are a praying person, I would ask for yours as well!

There is one very serious issue, about which, I can only pray it will take a while, before it has to be addressed. Does the word “Transmission”, when uttered by a mechanic, send a chill up your wallets spine?  Yes, they found bits of metal in the tranny pan, when they pulled it to do the transmission flush. That made me shudder and made me review. She was hesitant, going up those steep little hills, while she was hauling the trailer out to my new camp site out in the forest, a few days ago. But she was low on tranny fluid, and it was dark. Being so old, I’m sure it wasn’t much help. Hopefully, the flush, new fluid, and sealed leaks, will keep her going for awhile.  A long while!

The important thing is, she’s shifting fine, and she is relatively safe for me, chemically.  Certainly much better than Jehosheba! What is causing my old beauty to smell so badly of gasoline, is that her carburetor needs to be rebuilt, and that’s what has been making me so ill lately. My old Jehosheba will end up retired, parked at a friend’s place, and be a parts van when she can.  With an engine that’s slowly going out, doors that won’t close, a gear shift that is welded to the steering column, and a host of other issues, continued repairs on my old van would be unwise, but she could still be useful in the years to come.  

My newer van will be even safer to drive, after the front end is repaired today. In fact, with what she’s had done today, she will be worth the continued investment, by default, if for no other reason. But I’m so grateful that I can open and close the doors so easily. The doors even lock. All of them! First time in over three years that I could say that. The fact that she’s lower and has those wonderful side steps, has also made it much easier for this ole gal to get in and out, it doesn’t hurt, and that’s a huge relief!  Although, they do limit where I can take her. Those two aspects will definitely cut down on some of my “Adventures”! Do ask my son how he feels about that! You will, no doubt, get a sly, but relieved, grin.  😉 You can just see him, starting to give me a little wave, driving Jehosheba, as we leave the shop. I was so relieved that Charles was able, and willing, to come help me when I was so ill.  I’m also grateful that he can stay to help me get everything transferred from my old van to the new one. I have an amazing son, but don’t tell him I told you!

It has been strange to see someone else, even Charles, driving my beautiful Jehosheba.

I’m going to start a new savings account, just for repairs. I’ll only be able to add a little at a time, and I’m going to have to leave it in the good Lord’s hands, as to just when those additional repairs will need to be done. Hopefully, not for a few years, when my wallet can stand it, or at least, after I have the current big loan paid off! Please Lord! 

The visit to the shop was Friday and I’m finally getting a chance to finish this post. She is steering so much better! No more jerking back and forth. I certainly feel more confident about driving her around. The emergency brake assembly, and a full tune up, are next on the list of repairs. Ouch, and, Oh Dear! Unless, disaster strikes, then it will get downright interesting!

But as the shop owner said, these old Ford E series vans are built like Sherman tanks, so for now, let’s talk of the Naming! 

Yes, every vehicle I have ever owned, gets a name. Sometimes, I know right away. Usually, as in this case, I have to get to know the vehicle a little bit first.

Here you can see her getting some last minute advice from Jehosheba, as she is hooked up to the trailer for the first time.

She looks so little compared to Jehosheba. Perhaps it’s the smaller tires? The color? Maybe it’s the step rails? It could be because of all the gear my old van is carrying, that Jehosheba just looks a lot bigger? Perhaps it the combination of all the differences? Whatever the reason, I thought she seemed like a cute little filly, when compared to my old gray mare. 🙂  I thought of naming her Little Filly to go with my trailer Little Gypsy, but even a Filly needs a name. While she may be cute and seem little, or even delicate, when compared to my old van, she still looks like she has a bit of an attitude.  When I mentioned that to a new friend of mine, she agreed and said she looked a little sassy. I laughed and said I thought that fit her just right.  So that’s what I’ve named her.