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really clean Isuzu Trooper LS with miles I've since had...

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I recently purchased a really clean 1989 Isuzu Trooper LS with 101,000
miles. I've since had what I think is a brainstorm. Instead of waiting
around for inevitable major engine problems to develop, why not consider
buying a remanufactured engine now, and avoid all that piece-by-piece
fretting later? Plus, I'll have the luxury of driving what is essentially a
good-as-new vehicle, since the rest of it is in great shape. Furthermore, I
have two fine gents in Vermont who can do the entire job for me while we
vacation there (at a hilltop cabin), and probably save us about $400
compared to the cost of the same job at home in New Jersey. Is this a good
idea? -- Ed

RAY: It's a great idea, Ed. First of all, I hope you followed the advice in
our How To Buy a Great Used Car pamphlet and had it thoroughly checked out
from stem to stern.

TOM: In that case, the Trooper probably IS in great shape. And if you plan
on keeping it for the long haul, then why not invest an extra few thousand
dollars in a new engine and really live it up? Where else could you get a
car that's almost as good as new for another few thousand bucks?

RAY: And you're right. With 100,000-plus miles, odds are that you will
develop some serious engine problems in the not-too-distant future.

TOM: The only part of your plan I question is having Ben and Jerry up there
in Vermont do the work. While they're probably honest and eager, there's
always the possibility that they'll make a mistake. Or that the engine is
defective.

RAY: And do you really want to get towed all the way back to that hillside
cabin in Vermont -- in the middle of February -- to get Ben and Jerry to
shrug their shoulders and say "We'll get to you as soon as we finish Fred's
Snow Cat?"

TOM: If I were you, I'd spend the extra $400 and get it done close to home.
That way, if your pistons start slapping around after 3,000 miles, you'll
be able to walk over there and threaten them personally. Long distance is
good, but in our experience, it just doesn't convey that same threat of
imminent bodily harm that one needs to initiate voluntary warranty work.
Good luck, Ed.

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