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So I did a thing...


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So, a few weeks ago I got in, started the old girl up, put her in drive to pull her into the garage to do some work on the roof basket, stepped on the brake and BAM, pedal went to the floor.  Ended up being one of the hard lines above the rear axle had decided to succumb to corrosion.  Looking at the rest of the hard lines back there, I decided it would be prudent to replace them all, as well as the rubber line.  I then checked to see if I could free the bleeders on the wheel cylinders, nope, one crumbled and the other offered no resistance, as it snapped off with almost no pressure.  I pulled her back out and ordered up a coil of line, bag of fittings, frontier rear hose and a pair of wheel cylinders.  After all the parts arrived, I got to work and replaced everything aft of the clean section above the muffler (which worked out well, as I already had the new exhaust on-hand to replace the old rotted junk), bled the system thoroughly, hung the new exhaust and went off on a test drive.  This is where frustration began.  The brake pedal was inconsistent, sometimes high and tight stopping great, sometimes dumping all the way to floor requiring hand brake application, sometimes somewhere in between.  Carefully, got her back home, went through the bleeding process again, no air bubbles at all.  Took a ride up the road, still consistently inconsistent.  Bled again, no air.  Called a mechanic friend, bled it with him, no air.  Looks like the master cylinder is toast from experiencing "full throw" when the pedal went to the floor, which is not uncommon for an old, high mileage unit.  Looking closely at the lines and fittings to the master, it was decided that it's time to let her go.  If she didn't have concerning structural rot, I would've been much more inclined to do what needed to be done, but at this point it's not something I want to get into on a vehicle that might not be structurally sound for much longer.  It's been a great rig, made 20 years worth of memories, but in the end, it's the right decision.

I had been casually looking for a clean, specifically spec'd Armada for a while now, as my kids (annoyingly) keep getting bigger and we could really use more room.  I have found and looked at several over the 6-8 months, but they were either too high mileage, not properly maintained or severely overpriced.  I opened up my search a bit, to include a very select few suburbans, expeditions and excursions, but found a lot of the same.  Then by a stroke of luck, this past Friday I took a "mental health" day from work, began perusing the interwebs a bit and low and behold, a new listing popped up for a 2003 Ford Excursion XLT in my area.  I clicked on it, just to realize "hey, I know this truck!", call the number, a guy I haven't seen in years answers, we catch up, I tell him I want to come look at it, stopped at the bank and went.  Sitting there in all her monstrous glory, a beautifully clean, rust-free, well maintained, low mileage, tastefully modded ride.  The listing did not include an asking price, nor did we discuss it on the phone, I just brought what I was willing to spend.  We start talking and reminiscing as I'm looking the truck over, then I ask "what are you looking to get?", he says "I know you know what you're looking at and what it's worth", a very correct statement, "and I know what I could get for it, BUT I know if you're the next owner, you'll treat it as I have.  How about ...".  Without hesitation, I said "I brought cash, let's call this deal done!".  I am now the very happy and proud owner of this true gem, for about half of its true market value!  Although I'm sad to part ways with the Pathmaker, I'm excited about all the room and adventure the Ex has to offer.  I'll still stop by this awesome community from time to time.  I'll probably post a few obligatory pics of the new-to-me beast and if I find any R50 parts kicking around, I'll be sure to post 'em up.

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Congratulations. Getting a great deal on a used car you can tell has been cared for is always awesome. And even better if it is a former friend/acquaintance you can catch back up with. I've been driving a 2006 Acura MDX I bought for a great price from a friend. I've had lots of frustrations working on it. It was still a good price even with all the irritation.  It's a smooth riding car for our long camping trips and lots of creature comforts. But I'm looking forward to the day I get to look for a newer R51 Pathfinder, Infiniti SUV, or maybe a Toyota/Lexus something. But Toyotas have a huge premium too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know exactly where your coming from. My  97 has 336k on it now. It's getting hard to justify spending the money to fix all the little problems that add up to one big problem... it's just worn out and rusting away. Health reasons don't allow me to do my own work on it and money reasons won't allow me to pay to get it done. It's kind of a sad situation.

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