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Old 19 Dec 2008
lorraine's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Definitely Nomadic
Posts: 418
Made it in a Chevy, duct-tape and prayers...

For those who've been following the tale of the ex-surveillance vehicle I bought for $750 four years ago, I'm happy to announce that it drove into Ushuaia a few days ago! For the curious, or for those like myself on a tight budget, I've included all the repairs below. The total is approximately $4000 for parts and maintenance, which calculates to $1000 a year. I haven't treated it gently, and lived for a year in Costa Rica in an area with tracks worse than I've seen in East Africa. It's not 4x4, but I try and treat it like it is.

What now? At some point I'll sell the Chevy in S. America, probably for parts, hopefully for what I paid.

Making the trip of a lifetime, does not need a lifetime of savings.


1978 Chevy 350 Van purchased for $750 with 123,000 miles in Arizona, in December 2004.

2004 America
Two new tires $140
Used deep cycle battery for cabin $75
Misc electrical & oil change from previous mechanic/owner $100

2005 America
New master cylinder $50
Ignition $60
Oil change etc $45
New starter $100
New battery for engine $50
Rear differential $450
Brake cylinder $35
Fuel pump (mechanic fees PLUS towing) $350
Hole in engine block. Repair plus new water pump and timing chain. $850

2006 Mexico 140,000 miles
New upper and lower arms replaced
New Air filter
Carburetor cleaned
Oil change/lube

Hit road defect at high speed and bottom suspension arm bent
Mechanic call out and repair $45

Costa Rica-2006
New spark plugs ??
Brake calipers $30
New engine battery $60

Costa Rica-2007
Two new tires $184
Oil change and lube ??
Brake Calipers-$30

Two Shocks $85
Muffler welded $20

Transmission fluid
Door sag
Align lights
Sub-total $260

Door sag fixed
Muffler welded
Sub-total $30
New cabin battery (I shorted out previous) $60

Steering track rod ends $30
New fuel filter $2

Tune-up $65
Two new tires $184

Fan belt tightened
Radiator cap
Wheels aligned
Sub-total $28

Radiator welded $3
Brake line welded (twice) $13

Suspension ball joint replaced $125
Alternator re-built $80
Rear brake cylinders bored $30
New rear leaf springs $360
Two rear shocks $80
Carburetor adjustment $20

Muffler welded $30
www.LorraineChittock.com All Over the Map - Radio & Travel Books www.facebook.com/lorraine.chittock
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Old 19 Dec 2008
palace15's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LONDONISTAN, England
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Well done girl, great trip. Where next?
'He who laughs last, was too slow to get the joke'
Never confuse the map with the journey.
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Old 20 Dec 2008
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Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Posts: 40
Keep on keep'n on

Awesome Lorraine! Hope all is well and best wishes for the next adventure in life.
Safe Travels-
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