Could use some informed opinions

2envoy3

Original poster
Member
Jan 29, 2012
4
I purchased my 2003 Envoy I6 4WD new and have been careful to keep up with maintenance over the years. Just turned over 175,000 miles and am wondering when to give up on repairs. I enjoy the vehicle but it hasn’t been easy sometimes.

Every break job has required new rotors over the years-
I couldn’t get the spare tire to release leading to a new tire hoist-
Front hood replaced due to rust (thankfully paid for under warranty)-
I’m on my 5th front wheel bearing assembly, waiting for 6th-
All O2 sensors replaced (at different times)-
Front and rear sway bar links-
Fan clutch replaced-
RRT inner CV joint-
Replaced rear differential pinion seal, crush sleeve and yoke-
Replaced starter-
Replaced thermostat, radiator cap and transfer case selector switch-
Rebuilt rear end-
Replaced water pump-
Replaced AC compressor-
Replaced inner and outer sway bar links and bushings-
Replaced exhaust manifold-
Replaced rear window regulator-
Replaced floor pedal and sensor-
Replaced lower ball joints-
Replaced speakers-two failed on driver side-

I’ve left out the obvious spark plug, brake, suspension, fuel filter and other expected repairs. Now I’m not complaining, just wondering when to leave well enough alone. The engine is strong and burns almost no oil. I keep up with TB cleaning and the like. Tranny is also fine. Doors are beginning to rust at the bottom seams but no other visible rust.

At this kind of mileage am I expecting too much? Most repairs started at about 70K miles. Mostly around town and highway miles, very little towing and no off-road use. Just looking for some experienced opinions on how long she’s likely to last? The proverbial good money after bad question. Thanks.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
I'd start to worry when the repair budget exceeds the payment for a replacement. If you normally buy new and eat the early depreciation, that's one equation. If you normally buy low mileage used vehicles, that's another. Or if the truck fulfills a mission like towing that's difficult to find ANY reasonable replacement for nowadays. There is a thread about HIGH mileage vehicles around here someplace.
 

meerschm

Member
Aug 26, 2012
1,079
what does the underside look like? is it all rusted? does it seem sound?

have you replaced the fuel pump or had transmission line leaks? did not see themon your list but have heard here of corrosion failures in each.

if the structure is sound, you can really drive it till the frame rusts out and it fails.

are you comfortable driving it, and dealing with things if/when they fail?

would failures cost more than just the cost of repair? like lost work, or worse,

if you drive in bad neighborhoods you would not want to stop in the middle of the night to wait for a tow.

( I could tell you of a day in 1980 when I went to the DIA to take my new wife, baby and two year old to see some art. and on the way back noticed the leaf springs had slid out of place and were making whitewalls on the inside of the rear tire, and then found that the bumper jack in the car my new father in law gave me expected slots in the bumper, but the bumper had no such slots. there was a local gas station (back when they had mechanics) and the nice young man loaned me the bumper jack from his car, which let me get at the spring and whack the errant leaf back into place. but there was a moment this product of the suburbs was a little nervous.)

and do you do your own work on the car, or just write checks?

then do you enjoy working on it, or just like driving it?

at this point it probably is not going to net you much on a sale, and you don't have to worry about those little parking lot dings.

I would guess you could squeeze another few years out of her. by keeping up with maintenance, do you include the transfer case and differential fluids? how about brake fluid flush, and power steering fluid change?
 
Feb 24, 2012
133
I have no direct experience with the 360s (I have a Yukon) but had very bad luck with aftermarket wheel bearing assys on other GM cars (lots of them). I went to GM only for wheel bearings and haven't had a problem since. Not sure if that helps you but monsterpartsonline.com is a discount GM dealership with very aggressive pricing if you DIY.

These trucks are pretty reliable long term, and if it's paid for you have to consider the maintenance (which you have done) and any other known issues (which this site will help you with). Think of a worst case scenario fix - let's say a transmission rebuild or an engine rebuild. Sounds like you won't have to worry about an engine rebuild for years to come, and as long as you keep up with fluid changes, your trans should last too.

Now figure your expected maintenance costs over time - let's say 1 wheel bearing job per year, brakes every other year, oil changes and regular maintenance. How much you spend on those things depends greatly on how much of it you do yourself...

so take a 5 year total cost estimate, throw in a transmission rebuild ($3000 RRR at a shop?) and divide by 60. That's the monthly cost of ownership besides gas. How did you do? How much is a new car payment in comparison? What if you subtract the $3000 from the total? Remember that the trans rebuild is part of the "worst case scenario", so it may very well not happen, or you could make that your tipping point - drive it until the trans or engine blows up, then it's time to move on.

Otherwise, if you really like it and are an enthusiast, the dollar amounts become a little smaller cost of ownership factor and the enjoyment of the vehicle has an additional value (unknown) to you. For me, I look at an engine rebuild as an opportunity to build it the way I want... with a bigger cam, etc etc...

It sounds to me like rust is going to be your worst enemy in this situation. Either find a way to deal with the rust now (talk to some local bodyshops about your options, or look into used doors), or let it go and start putting that money into a separate savings account at the rate you would want to make a car payment. When you've made "car payments" to yourself for a few years then when you start shopping you suddenly have some much easier options to look at. For me my "car payments" to myself after my wife's car is paid off will be to use that money to pay off other debts (her old student loans for starters, and then the mortgage). I would rather pay off the mortgage than save it in the bank - why pay interest to collect interest???

Just a handful of meandering thoughts about keeping an older car on the road vs upgrading...
 

TBGal

Member
Sep 14, 2012
30
I would think that if there are no major repairs, such as engine or tranny, then it could be worth driving a few more years.

But, a lot of the decision can end up being somewhat subjective. Such as with my friend and his '99 Corolla with over 200,000 miles. My thought was that instead of trying to trade it in and then taking on a car note, he should keep driving it to the finish line. But, even with doing a lot of repairs himself, he is at this point basically already paying a car note in parts and repairs on his car. And, mentally he is just tired of it. He now needs a new rack and pinion and has made the decision to get rid of the car and get another vehicle.
 

2envoy3

Original poster
Member
Jan 29, 2012
4
I've kept up with various fluid changes over time including transfer case, power steering, brake, rear-end and the like. Recently, before I replaced the 5th wheel bearing assembly, I read on GMT Nation that a lot of Chinese parts are being used. I contacted the shop that had replaced the first four bearings and inquired if the bearings were from China. The guy replied "They all are." I went to another shop and had a Timken unit installed so hope it's better. Also, I've read on GMT Nation that not all rotors are created equal. Next brake job will be with better rotors not the junk they've apparently been putting on.

I replaced the exhaust manifold myself along with numerous other repairs so not all of the costs are shop related. Interestingly the door rust, while annoying, is an issue I can deal with since I worked in bump and paint when I was in college.

I appreciate the input, think I'll keep the old girl as long as she'll have me....
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
2envoy3 said:
...I contacted the shop that had replaced the first four bearings and inquired if the bearings were from China. The guy replied "They all are." ...
Was this goofball replacing them under any sort of warranty, or charging you repeatedly for substandard parts? If the latter, I would not only have fired him, but written a scathing review on Yelp to make sure he didn't victimize others with his Chinese "business partners." Unless he was caving in to the demands of his patrons who just wanted cheap, and didn't understand about quality.
 

2envoy3

Original poster
Member
Jan 29, 2012
4
No warranty offered. The thing that really annoyed me was that I was never offered the higher quality parts as an option. I would gladly have paid more to get American made parts, let alone better ones. Since the brake work has been done at the same place I'm guessing the rotors are junk too. Clearly it's all about the money because when he told me 'they are all Chinese parts' I asked him what he would charge if I supplied the wheel bearing assembly myself as I could purchase a Timken unit at a lower price than he was quoting for the Chinese part. His response was that he would need to increase the labor charge! The cheaper parts are a way for him to make more money on the work.

As mentioned, I quit using this repair shop. But it's not his fault entirely. Had I been better informed earlier I would have had fewer repairs (due to better parts) and less overall expense. Thanks to GMT Nation for the information I'll be a better consumer.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
FWIW most rotors are made in china. But there is a range of rotors from CCC (cheap chinese crap) to DCC (decent chinese crap) :tongue: I've done well with Brakemotive brake stuff - doesn't break the bank but still good quality that works well.
 

Hypnotoad

Member
Dec 5, 2011
1,584
I've been using Napa rotors the last few years and have been impressed. Compare them to a rotor at Autozone. It'll be pretty obvious that not all rotors are created equal.

A few years ago I kept having to change my rotors I got from Autozone. The third time they lasted a week because I had to stop fast due to an accident ahead of me on the highway. That's all it took, one hard stop to warp em.
 
Feb 24, 2012
133
FWIW I stopped buying parts at AutoZone a few years ago and haven't looked back. I got sick of doing a job 4 times for the failed "lifetime warranty" part... it just wasn't worth the savings anymore.

For brake rotors I have always been happy with the high end Raybestos rotors. But sometimes they get expensive. The difference is whether you want 50,000 mile brake rotors or 150,000 mile brake rotors though...
 

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