Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Dogs, sleds, packs and vehicle maintenance


I did it. I ordered a dog harness.

Etsy seemed to have decent, American-made products at prices I could accept.

This is an extension of the water/firewood hauling plan. I have a 48" long, HDPE sled that I will train the German Shepherds to pull. At least, that is my plan. Then we will see what happens.

The ALICE pack arrived last week. I am up to thirty pounds and will soon move up to forty. Mrs ERJ pointed out that IF I couldn't quite handle 40 pounds, there is no law that demands that I completely fill the five gallon jug.

My thinking is that full jugs do not slosh as much as partially filled jugs.


Mrs ERJ made an exception and allowed Kubota to drive her minivan. Kubota complained that he was not able to get it over fifty miles per hour and that it was not safe to drive.

Mrs ERJ scheduled a visit to the repair shop.

Mrs ERJ and I are not typical when it comes to maintaining vehicles.

Neither of us are very concerned about the exterior cosmetics of the vehicles. Tires? Fluids? Hoses, belts and brakes? You golly-darned betchya  we care about those.

We also tend to look at the cost of a repair in terms of how many payments it would be for a new vehicle. At $300 a month, a $1200 repair is the first four months of a new vehicle payment or a fraction of the down-payment.

Consequently, we usually opt for repairs that most people would dodge by selling the vehicle and buying a replacement. A replacement that they have little information regarding its prior maintenance.

We are in a situation where people look at us in disbelief. "Why would you drop $1400 in a vehicle that is only worth $1200? For all you know, the transmission will fall out of it next month."

My response is "It better not. We replaced the transmission two summers ago. It should be good for another 120k miles."

By staying on top of the major maintenance, the Kelly Blue Book of $1200 is not applicable to our vehicle. Granted, the exterior looks rough...but that means I can park it on the street in a rough neighborhood and it will still be there when I return.


  1. Amen and amen.

    The purpose of the vehicle is to move me n my stuff from A to B and back again reliably and inside the vehicle budget.

    I just replaced a transmission on a 2004 F150. $2,500.00 seems a lot until you remember that I paid 6 grand for it a year ago.

    To purchase a crew cab, full size, 4WD pickup with a tow package is $35K bare bones minimum.

    If I gotta replace the engine next year and the front end suspension the year after, I still win, bigly.

    Its a vehicle, not a manhood substitute or amusement ride.

  2. My vehicle's are , 11yrs, 12 yrs, 31 yrs rv, 31yr boat, 40yr boat. So I like your style!

  3. Got a 07 ford explorer and a 06 ford f-150 I bought at the county auction for 1400 bucks. I had to put an engine in the truck and last year had to get the tranny redone.

    The vehicle I most hate that I didn't spend the money on was my 99 tahoe. KBB was 1000 but needed a new tranny at 1800 bucks plus an A/C compressor at about 600. It was the best riding vehicle I ever had.

  4. The economics behind repairing vs. buying new seem fairly simple, at least to me. Unfortunately I wasn't so wise when young. I really liked fast cars. My 2003 Jetta TDI doesn't quite fit that bill, but damn is it reliable.

  5. We just spent a grand renovating all the suspension bushings on my wife's 2005 Saab. It has 150K miles now, and this work will get it to over 300K, which should take about 20 years. Her 1999 Saab has 297K miles and still runs like new.

  6. The one factor I would recommend also looking at is the "what happens if it breaks down and leaves me (or worse, my wife or daughters) stranded" someplace that isn't safe. So a lot depends on how and where the vehicle is used. If it gets driven frequently through urban areas, a breakdown can cost a lot more than the repair. Money isn't everything.

  7. Exactly my thinking as I just dropped $700 on my 20 YO pickup to replace the brake ECM and the fuel pump. That's one payment on one of the shiny new trucks that I wouldn't own anyway.

  8. Just a couple of comments about carrying water in your pack. Unless you are concerned about the sloshing noise when carrying half full(or empty, depending on your mood) jugs, remember the principle of the ever popular shake weights from a few years ago. Four lbs of moving hater will apply changes that your muscles can't anticipate(or so goes the claim) As an alternative, you could just use some of that jell stuff (used in gardens and potting soil to hold moisture)to semi-solidify your partial gallons.


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