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Replace or rebuild

I have a 97 Aerostar AWD, that, don’t laugh, I love. This is my 3rd Aerostar. It has 186,000 miles; the others went over 200k without any major repairs. Full sheets of plywood, surfboards, dogs, snow, sand, camping; it handles them all and gets 20+ mpg. It’s cheap to insure and to register. My plan, since they don’t make this beauty anymore, is when the engine or transmission start to go, I’ll rebuild both. I figure $4-5,000 is way cheaper in the long run than buying new (or new used) because a)no sales tax, b)registration won’t increase, c)insurance will still be cheap, d)I’ll never find another vehicle that does all the Aerostar does. Do I need help?

If you love the car why not. Now your other problem is going to be that american cars rust like to no other. So you should start taking preventative measures now, Spraying underbody coating (4-5 dollars a can) and sand and repaint any surface rust. Also polish and wax the paint to prevent oxidation.

I’m not really sure you need to rebuild both at once, but I have no issue with the concept. What you need to do is line up who you will take the car to for this work when you are ready. If it were me I’d look at a good independant shop that can send the trans out for a good quality rebuild (some rebuilds are pretty shoddy) and the shop can either send the motor out to another rebuilder or do it inhouse if they do good work.

I had a marine transmission rebuilt this summer and I took it to Mack Boring in Union, NJ. Seeing the facility was an eye openner. They keep it clean, very organized and they had all kinds of things being worked on like turbos, motors, etc. They were rebuilding a trans that I had purchased rebuilt about 5 years ago that didn’t last very long, less than 90 hours. So, there are rebuilds and there are rebuilds, all rebuilders are not the same.

Consider buying a reasonably low mileage engine and transmission from salvage yards. Check out for some yards near you.

“My plan, since they don’t make this beauty anymore, is when the engine or transmission start to go, I’ll rebuild both”

Do you mean you, personally, will rebuild them or you will pay to have this work done??

In many cases, these “rebuilds” just don’t turn out the way the owners had hoped. They usually cost more than estimated and the results are often disappointing…It’s not 1968 any more…

If you can afford it, you should consider buying a rebuilt engine and transmission. You will have the truck back sooner if you do this. So yes, you definitely do need help. But only with the rebuild.

Murphy says something will happen after you put the $4500 in them. Wreck – you won’t get the $4500 back, market value plus a few hundred bucks.

Or, the rust will eat it up.

However, as long as you remember Murphy, yes, it isn’t a bad idea. Why not keep a vehicle you love?

My first minivan was 1990 Aerostar–the extended version with the Eddie Bauer package. I’ve had three minivans since the Aerostar–a 2000 Ford Windstar, a 2006 Chevrolet` Uplander and now a 2011 Toyota Sienna. I liked the hauling capacity of the Aerostar and the fact that it had full frame construction.

However, I think the newer minivans are safer in a crash than the Aerostar. I still was able to haul quite a bit in the minivans that replaced the Aerostar. My suggestion would be to keep running the Aerostar you have until it is no longer reliable, then shop for its replacement.