Old Ascender, Whats worth fixing?

LtZvesda

Member
So, I have an 05 ascender(4.2) with 265k miles. I took it to a mechanic for a thorough PPI and ended up paying about 200$.
Spark plugs and coils have already been changed about 15k miles ago,

The results are that i need
Inner and outer tie rods both sides
Upper control arms both sides
wheel bearings left and right
new engine and transmission mounts
new shocks front and back
new rear diff fluid
New brake pads front and rear
new tires
Transmission fluid was burnt so a new transmission sometime
new headlight assemblies(They look like shit so)
I also need to flush the coolant
i need to flush the brake fluid
New water pump(Idk when its been changed last, probably 4 years)
New alternator(same as above)
New timing chain(same as above)

Besides that the mechanics said its in good shape inside of engine looked great compression is still good and he said he would keep it. Now for the cost of parts i found online im going to go with mostly TRQ Parts, but also going to go with some good ones. Labor would be very cheap as i live near mexico and know a solid mechanic down there. All in it would cost me 2,400$ to do this, the transmission would be a rebuilt unit with a warranty. Want to hear everyones opinions
 
Last edited:

Mooseman

Moderator
I can't see what the mech saw but I'll try and dissect it a bit to possibly call BS:

wheel bearings left and right

Were they actually loose and/or making noise? Unless they are making noise, you replace them when needed.

new rear diff fluid

Did he actually open the fill plug to check or something? Never heard of that before. Surprising he didn't say anything about the transfer case which has a relatively low 50k mile maintenance schedule and is more vital to replace the fluid on time

Transmission fluid was burnt so a new transmission sometime

Was it actually burnt or just brown? Seen lots of trannys survive a long time after flushing out the brown fluid and replacing. However, it does have 265k unless it was replaced at some time so you should keep this in mind.

New water pump(Idk when its been changed last, probably 4 years)
New alternator(same as above)
New timing chain(same as above)

Why? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Most of the others are normal maintenance items. Nothing really out of the ordinary for that mileage.

However, it is at high mileage and the engine and tranny could quit at any time now. Some have gone past this but the odds are against you. Some other stuff like electronics could also start calling it quits. Unless you know what kind of maintenance was done on it almost its whole life, it is a hard decision that you will have to make to invest that time and money into it.
 
OP
L

LtZvesda

Member
I can't see what the mech saw but I'll try and dissect it a bit to possibly call BS:



Were they actually loose and/or making noise? Unless they are making noise, you replace them when needed.



Did he actually open the fill plug to check or something? Never heard of that before. Surprising he didn't say anything about the transfer case which has a relatively low 50k mile maintenance schedule and is more vital to replace the fluid on time



Was it actually burnt or just brown? Seen lots of trannys survive a long time after flushing out the brown fluid and replacing. However, it does have 265k unless it was replaced at some time so you should keep this in mind.



Why? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Most of the others are normal maintenance items. Nothing really out of the ordinary for that mileage.

However, it is at high mileage and the engine and tranny could quit at any time now. Some have gone past this but the odds are against you. Some other stuff like electronics could also start calling it quits. Unless you know what kind of maintenance was done on it almost its whole life, it is a hard decision that you will have to make to invest that time and money into it.
Sorry i forgot to add the transfer case he did recommend that as well, The car makes some noises when braking turning etc, He said they were both lose, He also said the transmission fluid was very burnt but not to change it as it could fail and just keep driving it. He recommended the diff fluid because i said it had probably never been done.

I bought the car from my GFs sister who said she basically just did regular maintenance all the time and nothing went wrong yet.( I trust her because she works in an oil rig and takes care of her cars)

I just figured i would fix that stuff because why not since im far in, i also have a road trip coming up 20 hours nonstop driving and dont want to deal with anything hopefully.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
If the tranny fluid is really burnt, it will smell like it. If that's the case, I wouldn't drive it out of town. If you want to be sure, you should replace the fluid using this method.

Transmission Fluid Exchange (Flush)

If it is truly on its last leg, the old fluid is just keeping it going with the suspended clutch material in the fluid but is just delaying the inevitable. By flushing it, it will either precipitate this inevitable failure or will prove it's not actually burnt and may last even longer. I've done this on my '02 where the fluid was really brown and it lasted another 150k km.
 

northcreek

Well-Known Member
I just figured i would fix that stuff because why not since im far in, i also have a road trip coming up 20 hours nonstop driving and dont want to deal with anything hopefully.
$2,400 is not a bad price for pease of mind. Besides replacing all of the fluids, you also have to keep them in and I don't see any mention of hoses. I think that this would be a biggie in your arid environment. Most things mentioned will just keep degrading but, things like hoses and water pumps can leave you on the side of the road. If you have ever watched the show Roadkill you know what I mean.
 
OP
L

LtZvesda

Member
I think the same thing and think 2,400$ is a very good deal for all that my only concern is made this money is better spent on some 15k corolla which will last even longer but i'm not sure, According to mechanic hoses are all in good condition
 

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
This is my break down of your list

Inner and outer tie rods both sides - With the miles, if they are loose, do it
Upper control arms both sides - With the miles, if they are loose, do it
wheel bearings left and right - With the miles, if they are loose, do it
new engine and transmission mounts - Known issues, and fairly simple to do
new shocks front and back - - With the miles, if they are leaking do it
new rear diff fluid - With the miles do it, as well as TC and front diff
New brake pads front and rear - If they really need it
new tires - If they need replacing
Transmission fluid was burnt so a new transmission sometime - Do a tranny service, worry about replacement if that time comes
new headlight assemblies(They look like shit so) - Fairly cheap to replace, get ones for a Envoy, they are the same, just look different, or just get your current lenses polished.
I also need to flush the coolant - Its DexCool likely, so it always looks like it. But preventive maintenance is always a plus
i need to flush the brake fluid - One job I have never done, and never will do (its useless in my opinion)
New water pump - Is it leaking? If not dont
New alternator - Is it not charging? If it is, dont
New timing chain - Is the truck running with no SES lights for the Timing Chain? If not, dont!

Gotta remember, your PPI guys job is to sell things, its his livelihood. He will always recommend replacing things that just simply dont need it based on "manufactures recommendations", which are usually BS.

Service your tranny, front and rear diffs, polish/replace your headlights, replace the control arms/Tie Rods/motor mounts/brakes if needed. By the time its all said and done, you should only be in it for about 500 bucks, and thats including a fresh alignment for the control arms and tie rods.

Your biggest issue is making sure your braking system is up to snuff. At that mileage, you could need some brake hoses. If you end up needing hoses, this is when you flush the brake system.
 
OP
L

LtZvesda

Member
This is my break down of your list

Inner and outer tie rods both sides - With the miles, if they are loose, do it
Upper control arms both sides - With the miles, if they are loose, do it
wheel bearings left and right - With the miles, if they are loose, do it
new engine and transmission mounts - Known issues, and fairly simple to do
new shocks front and back - - With the miles, if they are leaking do it
new rear diff fluid - With the miles do it, as well as TC and front diff
New brake pads front and rear - If they really need it
new tires - If they need replacing
Transmission fluid was burnt so a new transmission sometime - Do a tranny service, worry about replacement if that time comes
new headlight assemblies(They look like shit so) - Fairly cheap to replace, get ones for a Envoy, they are the same, just look different, or just get your current lenses polished.
I also need to flush the coolant - Its DexCool likely, so it always looks like it. But preventive maintenance is always a plus
i need to flush the brake fluid - One job I have never done, and never will do (its useless in my opinion)
New water pump - Is it leaking? If not dont
New alternator - Is it not charging? If it is, dont
New timing chain - Is the truck running with no SES lights for the Timing Chain? If not, dont!

Gotta remember, your PPI guys job is to sell things, its his livelihood. He will always recommend replacing things that just simply dont need it based on "manufactures recommendations", which are usually BS.

Service your tranny, front and rear diffs, polish/replace your headlights, replace the control arms/Tie Rods/motor mounts/brakes if needed. By the time its all said and done, you should only be in it for about 500 bucks, and thats including a fresh alignment for the control arms and tie rods.

Your biggest issue is making sure your braking system is up to snuff. At that mileage, you could need some brake hoses. If you end up needing hoses, this is when you flush the brake system.

Well for the record the mechanic didnt recommend the water pump and the stuff at the end. But he did sound pretty sure about not changing the tranny fluid because he said hes seen cars come in change it and it didnt last another 500 miles.(They dont even install transmissions btw).

The brake fluid is a bit old and so is the power steering fluid, Should i change it using the the whole turkey baster in the reservoir thing or?
 

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
Well for the record the mechanic didnt recommend the water pump and the stuff at the end. But he did sound pretty sure about not changing the tranny fluid because he said hes seen cars come in change it and it didnt last another 500 miles.(They dont even install transmissions btw).

The brake fluid is a bit old and so is the power steering fluid, Should i change it using the the whole turkey baster in the reservoir thing or?
I wouldnt know actually. I maintain my cars pretty good. But in my LIFE (been wrenching on cars for 30 years now), I have never changed/flushed brake fluid or power steering fluid, and never had a bit of trouble. There are guys here that do do it, and recommend it, I am not one of them.

On the transmission fluid, your mechanic is partly correct. I have gone thru a process of draining out half the tranny fluid, drive it for a couple thousand miles, drain half the fluid again, drive it for a couple thousand miles, than drop the pan and do a full fluid/filter service. Never had a problem doing it this way. The concern your guy has is valid, there is a potential of the particles in the oil holding everything together. Thats why I suggest changing it slowly.
 
OP
L

LtZvesda

Member
I wouldnt know actually. I maintain my cars pretty good. But in my LIFE (been wrenching on cars for 30 years now), I have never changed/flushed brake fluid or power steering fluid, and never had a bit of trouble. There are guys here that do do it, and recommend it, I am not one of them.

On the transmission fluid, your mechanic is partly correct. I have gone thru a process of draining out half the tranny fluid, drive it for a couple thousand miles, drain half the fluid again, drive it for a couple thousand miles, than drop the pan and do a full fluid/filter service. Never had a problem doing it this way. The concern your guy has is valid, there is a potential of the particles in the oil holding everything together. Thats why I suggest changing it slowly.

Well, would you recommend changing the fluid and not flushing it?
 

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
If it were me, and I admit I am a bit of a gambler on cheap cars, I would drop the pan, change the filter, and fill it back up. Repeat the process in like 8k miles. Then if you feel like it, and the truck lasts, do a fluid exchange when you next change your diffs/TC fluids. On the 4L60, they USUALLY (but not always) show other signs of problems if there is going to be a problem, hard shifts, long shifts, slipping while in gear, etc.

I have seen it go both ways. On my old 90 Subaru Legacy @190k miles, these cars tend to be a lot more sensitive to fluid services, I just dropped the fluid and filter once, and it lasted another 120k miles before the uni-body frame rotted out (In Kansas City, Theres a theme here, read on LOL), had a blow out, went to jack it up, jack went up, car didnt! On my 88 Buick Skylark @132k miles, I dropped the fluid, and filter. It lasted exactly 222 miles. I left my house in St Louis, and made it to just outside of Kansas City, filled up the gas tank, and thats when I noticed the big puddle of tranny fluid under the car. Pump seal blew.

A vehicle with a unknown service history, Its always gamble.
 

northcreek

Well-Known Member
I think the same thing and think 2,400$ is a very good deal for all that my only concern is made this money is better spent on some 15k corolla which will last even longer but i'm not sure, According to mechanic hoses are all in good condition
This is where the gambling part comes in. You might get 5 more years out of it after the work is done or you could spin a bearing next week in spite of the work and be out $2,400.
At 265K miles you are rolling the dice...:twocents:
 

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
This is where the gambling part comes in. You might get 5 more years out of it after the work is done or you could spin a bearing next week in spite of the work and be out $2,400.
At 265K miles you are rolling the dice...:twocents:
And thats my exact thinking. Keep it cheap, and only repair what needs to be repaired, and to be safe. There are cases of these trucks getting up over 300k miles. And I know of one that got up to 600k miles. But if you are comparing trucks made, to trucks making it that far, I think you would be looking at the lower end of 1%.

KISS - Keep It Simple.. And in this case, keep it cheap!
 
OP
L

LtZvesda

Member
Funny thing is i used to hate GM for the most part until i got this thing and was like shit i guess they can make some good cars, I will take your advice and only repair what needs to be repaired, But i am quite worried about it breaking down on the road trip. Im moving in 3-4 months and wanted to take advantage of the cheap labor while i can
 

Online statistics

Members online
8
Guests online
561
Total visitors
569

Forum statistics

Threads
21,021
Messages
605,561
Members
14,465
Latest member
SinisterSinz
Top Bottom