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Old 02-25-11, 10:01 PM   #1
jppe
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I retired the Bike Mobile at 545,000 miles

After 20 years and 545,000 miles I decided it was time to give the Bike Mobile its due and let it rest. While it still ran just as good as the day we drove it brand new out of the car lot, it was just tired. Or maybe I was just tired of it. It sure did have a lot of personality but more importantly it was incredibly reliable. Both the motor and the transmission were rock solid. It was very easy on tires. I was able to get 120,000 miles on the previous set.

The dash lights went out some time ago so I rigged up a single LED bike light that I turned on at night to see the speedometer. The door handle on the sliding door was broken off but you could open the door by reaching back through the passengers side door. To maximize the A/C cooling after using the heater I had to stop the van, pop the hood and quickly push in on one of the water mixing valves to completely shut off the hot water circulating through the firewall. The headlight lens were so yellowed that the bright lights could be on and oncoming cars didn't know the difference. It was a terrific vehicle for some quiet time as the radio went out about 10 years ago. The electric door locks also quit about 10 years ago so I could not lock up the driver's side door----noone ever bothered anything in it.

The Bike Mobile is the same age as my son so it's all he's ever known. It was an extremely dependable vehicle that took my family all over the US and never let just down. Even just a couple years ago I drove it to Az and back with all my daughter's possessions. My wife drove it for about 30 miles without any oil in the oil pan one night after cracking it crossing a RR track---she called me while driving and asked why the check engine light was on!

At 545,000 it was either change the oil or change the vehicle---so I chose the latter! I replaced it with one of its much younger cousins. Got an incredible deal on another van that had a handicap lift in the back and it just would not sell. They even took it to the auction and it didn't sell. It was pretty easy to come to an agreemnt after than! It will take about 2 hours to dismantle the lift and I already have a taker for the lift.

I'll always remember it for taking me, my bikes and my golf clubs a lot of different places to do the things I enjoy most. I think it's newer cousin is going to pick right up where its older counterpart left off!!

I'm not sure when I'm going to retire from working every day but like the bike Mobile I now think I'll just know. Either I'll be tired or just tired of it. I have feeling it's going to be the latter.

Here is a picture of the Bike Mobile with my late mechanic who helped us celebrate the 500,000 mile mark. He was tragically killed a few months later while riding a motorcycle.

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Old 02-26-11, 04:41 AM   #2
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You should write Toyota and share that with them, maybe get in an ad or something.
Sorry to hear about the mechanic.
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Old 02-26-11, 06:00 AM   #3
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Sounds like you got your money's worth out of that one.
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Old 02-26-11, 06:21 AM   #4
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a) why did you call it a Bike Mobile?
b) what did you call it's replacement?
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Old 02-26-11, 07:50 AM   #5
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RIP Bike Mobile.
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Old 02-26-11, 09:25 AM   #6
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a) why did you call it a Bike Mobile?
b) what did you call it's replacement?
A Bike Mobile is the generic name for a vehicle that is used to transport bikes. Right now the new one is trying to earn a name.
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Old 02-26-11, 10:18 AM   #7
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Gee, and I thought I was doing well with 180,000 miles on my Tundra. Guess I'm a slacker. :-) Hope mine goes that far.
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Old 02-26-11, 10:38 AM   #8
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What year Previa is that? I have a '93 van (technically light truck) that's all my kids have ever known, and I'm even more of a slacker than ctyler, but its main purpose in life is to haul all our bikes and gear on family bike events. 545,000 miles....I can't even wrap my head around how much gasoline that burned in its lifetime! Yeah, you should send your story to Toyota, as they could use any kind of good reliability news nowadays.
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Old 02-26-11, 10:46 AM   #9
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a) why did you call it a Bike Mobile?
b) what did you call it's replacement?
I think its pronounced bikemobeel.
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Old 02-26-11, 04:26 PM   #10
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Quitter!

You've reinforced that I'm doing the right thing by buying paint and planning to work on the few rusty spots on our almost-new, less-than-100,000 miles, ten-year-old Mazda van
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Old 02-26-11, 04:43 PM   #11
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What year Previa is that? I have a '93 van (technically light truck) that's all my kids have ever known, and I'm even more of a slacker than ctyler, but its main purpose in life is to haul all our bikes and gear on family bike events. 545,000 miles....I can't even wrap my head around how much gasoline that burned in its lifetime! Yeah, you should send your story to Toyota, as they could use any kind of good reliability news nowadays.
My Previa was a 1991--it was the first year of the redesign from their first minivan. We had that one too but traded it in with 90,000 miles on it.

When it was obvious the van was going to turn 500,000 we got in touch with Toyota USA through some contacts I have via work. We actually made a connection at a very high level. I sent them a long writeup including pictures but they didn't bite. The Previa was not built in the US so they did not see the need to run with the story. That was just before all their supposedly reliability issues. Now, I could go on Toyota's Facebook page that they have set up for these types of stories and put the same information and probably get some movement--I just don't have that interest anymore. I gave them a shot at it earlier.

For what it's worth I've had a lot of Toyota's and in fact just traded in my wife 4Runner that had 275,000 miles on it. My son has about 170,000 on his RAV4.

I pulled out my file of the maintenance records (I write down everytime I fill up) and it stirred a lot of memories over 20 years. It was still getting just about the same gas mileage when I traded it compared to the first tank of gas we put in it.
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Old 02-26-11, 10:25 PM   #12
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I'll echo the comments of others. It sounds like you got your money's worth. Well done!

My bike (and recently snow) mobile, a 2000 Tacoma 4WD, has 206,000 and is still going strong. I keep a record on maintenance and gas as well.

545,000. Quite an accomplishment.
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Old 02-26-11, 11:45 PM   #13
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I wonder if the new one will be as good.
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Old 02-27-11, 07:00 AM   #14
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I can remember when getting 60,000 miles out of a motor without a valve and ring job was quite an accomplishment. Amazing at 545,000 miles.
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Old 02-27-11, 08:00 AM   #15
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A Bike Mobile is the generic name for a vehicle that is used to transport bikes. Right now the new one is trying to earn a name.
Mine is called Bike Hauler. I've thought of getting a small decal for the back window with this name on it.
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Old 02-27-11, 08:40 AM   #16
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I can remember when getting 60,000 miles out of a motor without a valve and ring job was quite an accomplishment. Amazing at 545,000 miles.
Yup.... I think it's the fuel injection that has made the longevity possible. Anyway: RIP ole paint!
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Old 02-27-11, 08:46 AM   #17
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Wow - was there a major overhaul (main bearings) ever? Pretty impressive mileage, whatver your response!

What did you get as a replacement?
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Old 02-27-11, 10:08 AM   #18
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What year Previa is that? I have a '93 van (technically light truck) that's all my kids have ever known, and I'm even more of a slacker than ctyler, but its main purpose in life is to haul all our bikes and gear on family bike events. 545,000 miles....I can't even wrap my head around how much gasoline that burned in its lifetime! Yeah, you should send your story to Toyota, as they could use any kind of good reliability news nowadays.
Isn't that a Siena van? Great vehicle.
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Old 02-27-11, 10:12 AM   #19
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I can remember when getting 60,000 miles out of a motor without a valve and ring job was quite an accomplishment. Amazing at 545,000 miles.
Not just that , but electronic engine controls keep the drivability nearly like new over all that time. MUCH better than carburetors, automatic chokes, and vacuum-advance distributors. They might have an effect on durability, but I know huge strides have been made in engine materials and manufacturing technique. QC is far better than it was, just on the metalworking side.
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Old 02-27-11, 10:49 AM   #20
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Our Echo has 175,000 and still feels new. Still getting 39 MPG.

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