Monday, November 23, 2015

A Little Van Work and a Small Garden

Hello everyone…Mike and I were at the flea market this morning so I am a bit late.  Today's story is about some van work that needed to be done.

Last by year we had a squeaking noise in the van.  We took it to Dodge and they told us it was two different things.  One was the rear bearing on our drive shaft and the second was our starter.  Mike told them to change the bearing because there was no way it was the starter.  So $700.00 later we had a new bearing and no problems until last month and the squeaking started again.

We went back to Dodge and they told us we needed a "front" bearing and a new transmission for a over $3000.00.  By now Mike was a little ticked at the Dodge dealer and we picked up the van…again there was no way it was the transmission.  It seems this dealer wants to add a big ticket item each time you bring a vehicle in for repair when there is no way for the average person to the check the work.

Mike did some checking and calling around and found out that our original drive shaft had a problem and was defective.  I'm sure Dodge knew about this problem but they were going to milk it for all they could get.  Mike decided we could do it ourselves….so that is what we did.

Mike called around and found a new drive shaft for our van with a lifetime warranty from AutoZone.

While waiting for the part and our new ramps Mike started working on the garage garden since we have some extra rock:

Then we got a call that our parts were in.  Here is the new drive shaft which will connect the engine to the rear wheels.  It comes in 3 pieces.  Looks like fun right?

Mike puts the van up on the ramps and makes it safer by also adding a jack:

The van is up on front and rear ramps so we can fit underneath:

While I wait for Mike to take out the old drive shaft I tear out the rest of the grass in the garden:

The old is out and Mike needs my help.  I have to get underneath the van with him to help him hold up the different parts so he can bolt them in.

Niki thought this was a new game and tried to come under with us but I told her no.  It's bad enough that we were both under there.  We laid on some cardboard which was kind of fun when Mike dragged me out.   I actually got the giggles….I know I am a strange one, lol.

Mike working:

The hardest part about this job was figuring it out on this van for the first time and having the right tools.  Now that we did it it was a pretty easy job:)  I am so thankful Mike can do all of this.  The van is running great and it cost us less than half of what Dodge wanted to charge us and we did it "right".

Back to the garden….

Once I got the grass up Mike added the end rubber curb:

Then I stapled down some weed cloth and Mike and I added the rock.  Mike making it nice and clean until we find plants:

Fast forward…the plants have been found.  We are only doing a few here just to dress it up.  They will grow in pretty fast here in Florida.

Mike digging the hole:

My turn to plant the plants:

And Niki walking away saying we did good:)

That's all for now.  Wishing everyone a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving!!!



  1. Again, a great really do have a talent.
    I'm wondering if Dodge had a recall on that drive shaft, which should have had them replace it for you, at their cost. I'm guessing you spend quite a bit of money for that new drive shaft assembly.
    I guess there is a reason that car dealerships and Service Managers are some of the least trusted people....

    And for what it's worth, it is GREAT that Mike is able to do these projects that many would think were beyond their scope, but now days, you can watch a YouTube video of how to do just about anything...and I'll be there probably is even a video to show how to change out that drive shaft too! :-)

    Garden looks great too.....though I have to say, I was expecting veggies...LOL!!

    1. Thanks again for writing in. Yes it cost a bit but it would have cost a lot more at Dodge and they wouldn't have changed out the "whole" drive shaft.

      We didn't find a video for that. If only I knew how to do videos:)

      No veggies yet.

  2. What is the name of the plant in the middle? The green leaves with pink trim? I put one out in front of my condo and I think I'm killing it! I'm in South Florida. How do you care for it? Thanks!

    1. Mike and I have been using those plants for years. It is called a Ti plant and it likes full sun and heat. Water it but don't saturate and when it gets cold cover it. That's all I know. I hope that helps.

    2. Thank you so much! I googled it and got care instructions! Fortunately we never get down below 50 degrees so I think I'm okay!

  3. Oh how I hate car problems and finding a good mechanic! I am believing that you and Mike can do anything you put your mind to. Love the new plants, I'm not big on rock but in Florida I understand why you use them. Here is wishing you a great Thanksgiving!


    1. I know there are not as many "pretty" options with rock but it is so maintenance free:) We also use rock along side any house. Dirt against a house can bring in termites…which is never a good thing.

      Happy Thanksgiving!!

  4. The lentil tacos look yummy. Did your meat lovin' man eat them, too? Thanks for sharing.

    1. Ha, ha…absolutely not but I loved it and will be making more this week to go with my zoodles:) Mike is a very plain eater.