Thursday, February 15, 2024

Changes Are Coming


Well, it is time for some changes...

HHR pulled by American Eagle

HHR pulled by Jayco

HHR pulled by Dynamax

We have been RVing, in general terms, since 2012, although I had lived in a 5th Wheel from late 2005 till 2011 when I remarried (to Marcia in February) and we bought an American Eagle in November of that year.  By March 2012 my daily duties at the Library I was the Director of essentially ended and we hit the road in April.  Shortly after we got married, we bought our 2009 HHR LT in Pine Bluff.  The one thing that has been consistent in our travels has been the HHR.

In 2022 our HHR essentially got COVID.  Well, it got sick...the Check Engine Light was on and nothing I did seemed to help it.  With some help from Arny and his buddy Steve, I changed the Air Filter, Spark Plugs, Coils, Fuel Injectors, Air Flow Sensor and Throttle Body along with the O2 Sensor.  (I think I covered everything).  That pesky Check Engine Light just would not stay away.  We came home a bit earlier that year in late August, and I took the HHR to a local shop I had used before and they said it was a bad computer.  They replaced the computer, and the spark plugs (again because the richness of gas mixture it was getting made them black) and the check engine light remained off for about 50 miles.  But it was still running real good, so I did what I do, ignored it.

Brings us to 2024.  The HHR has over 270,000 miles, and that does not count the over 100,000 miles from being towed behind our 3 different motorhomes.  THAT is a lot of miles.  The suspension is worn, the idiot light still on, and gas millage dropped down into the lower teens from its normal mid twenties.  

Time for another HHR...which they don't make this was going to tough to do.  We like the HHR for two reasons...easy to tow, and easy for Marcia to get in and out of, it has been the easiest car for her to get into and out of with her MS and her advanced age.

LUCK was with us, a 2006 HHR, with only one owner who had the oil changed every year and who drove it about 4,000 miles a year (via carfax) was available from a local car dealer for $6k.  Figuring we could get $500 for our HHR, we had the funds to pay for it outright.  Went over to see it and BAD LUCK struck.  A previous potential buyer wanted it, they put it in their shop for a check, and they failed it due to suspension problems.  Although it was still in their yard, they could not sell it as it even at a discount to me who promised to have the suspension worked on.  GRRRRRR!

So we took the HHR to Wray's Automotive on Wednesday, the place that fixed the breaks for the motorhome last year.  First, the engine...  All it turned out to be was a faulty Air Flow Sensor, which he said the one we put in back in 2022 was CHEAPLY MADE!  He wrote up an estimate for the suspension work, where they are going to put in new shocks/Struts front and back, Suspension Control Arm and Ball Joint Assembly, Tie Rod and Coil Spring for rear.  At just over $2k, we should have a much smoother and safer driving car which we hope will last another 100K or more...that work will be late next week.

So, the BIG CHANGE is that we are looking to move to a Class B Van, with our eyes on a 2024 Thor Dazzle, among other RV Vans.  Went by General RV in Tampa and Marcia was able to get into and out of the Dazzle without a problem.  Also looking at a few other Thor B Vans, but trying to stay away from any that were made in 2021 and 2022 due to problems manufactures had due to COVID and product shortages.  Dazzle has only been around for two years now.  The van is 21 feet in length, 6.5 feet width, on a Ram ProMaster 3500 XT with a V6 gas engine.  

But we have put this on hold right now in order to try and sell our current motorhome (which is well used and shows its age) AND so the Doctor can try to fix my knees (which are well used and show their age).

So this past Tuesday I visited Coastal Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine: Dr. Peter Candelora.  As this was my first visit, it took nearly two hours for them to get all the info they needed and for the Physician's Assistant to do a quick evaluation.  Essentially I need to come back on the 14th of March, have both knees fully X-rayed a week or two before my visit, and he put me on Diclofenac 75mg twice a day in place of Advil.  After two and a half days of being on this medicine, my knees both feel much better...nearly tolerable.  Unfortunately, this drug is not a long-term solution since long-term use will ruin your Liver and Kidneys.  Nothing is easy in quick fixes.

So our search for a RV Van is on hold, unless a GREAT Deal comes along.  In the mean time, we will search out a buyer for our 2005 Dynamax Isata which has been a very good home on wheels for us.  No use in buying a new motorhome, just to let it sit around until I recover from knee surgery "IF" this leads to that.


  1. I don't know who is in worse shape, you or the HHR. You both need new struts and suspension. Hopefully both procedures go well and you are each good for hundred of thousands of more miles!

    1. For awhile I wondered if I would ever walk pain free there is hope for sure. Hope your all enjoyed your Florida vacation!

  2. I think ALL of our suspensions are getting old and worn out. That's a lot of miles you've put on. I sure like the idea of a Van. Easier to drive, easier to park ... but their price tags are quite high. Good luck with your knees ... keep us posted.

    1. Yes, but a van like this is good for Marcia because we can take it on short trips and she does not have to worry about where she might need to find a bathroom (something people with MS always keep an eye on).

  3. Oh my, so many things to consider. But I do envy that you are still RVing. Our suspensions wore out years ago.

    1. The way we will RV will be different...not better, not worse, just different. We have done very little exploring of Florida itself, and long trips out to California will become shorter trips...a few months instead of 6-8 months in length.


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