Three years and six months after dropping $10,000 on Going Broke, a clean female 4WD Nissan Pathfinder, we happily, I mean sadly, no I really do mean happily, accepted Carmax’s $1500 offer. South Florida may well be her final resting place. The premature grave was due to multiple failures, the final straw being the breakage of the thin plastic strap that secured the gas cap to the vehicle body – we just couldn’t take anymore!

Purchased with a 124,000 odometer reading and only spending 6 months of the year in use we clocked up an additional 84,000 miles, pretty much covering every US state and well over half of the Canadian Provinces. If she could speak we’re positive she would agree that the highlight was the 1000 mile roundtrip from Fairbanks, Alaska, crossing over the Arctic circle, continuing on to Deadhorse. Fifty percent on dirt and washboard may not have done any good to her long term health!

Towards the end our dashboard became more and more illuminated

In her “TwoGoGlobal” days she suffered more surgery than most vehicles of her age, a timeline that went something like this…

  • Having a tree reverse into her – taking out the drivers side taillight along with minor body damage
  • Being hit by a 2 foot post that some unsavory person had planted in the ground in front of us, upon which trying to free her it partially removed the front bumper and underside of drivers wheel arch
  • Whilst inside a dentist the city mischievously installed a new strategically placed electrical pylon, once again taking out the drivers side taillight and more significant body damage
  • Roof drainage damage from carrying a 2nd spare wheel and 5 gallon fuel canister up to Deadhorse, Alaska
  • Sidewall separation of the drivers side rear tire at 60mph as a research test of how slick we could get the tread
  • Many punctures

Even with all the abuse thrust upon her she remained reliable until the bitter end, requiring only routine maintenance. Only once did we feel betrayed by her, forcing us to replace the air conditioning pump in a sweltering Grand Junction, Colorado – paying out for tires, a battery, starter motor, wiper blades and brake pads wasn’t an issue. Shelling out almost $900 at Nissan to give us cold air sucked!

A nice gleaming SUV, pre roadtrip damage!
A nice gleaming SUV, pre roadtrip damage!
I need a clean after that rough 1000 mile weekend drive
I need a clean after that rough 1000 mile weekend drive
One spare down, one to go
One spare down, one to go
Slick tire punishment
Slick tire punishment

Throughout 2017, beginning around the same time we had to replace the AC pump, we began seeing signs of a bad attitude. The service engine light started to become illuminated more and more and it was obvious that she detested the taste of crappy 87 octane gasoline – must have been a throat or lung problem as she always made a gargling noise.

We had recently driven her hard along pot-holed dirt roads in Grand Escalante National Monument, then whilst heading out to climb Kings Peak in Utah we once again mixed in dusty roads with cheap gas. The consequence was a new noise, a kind of humming that over the following months became seriously loud. No matter how much we cursed her or turned the radio up it made no difference! Wonder how this relates to being able to convert the outer edge of brand new tires to slicks in less than 10,000 miles?

Needing more than my expertise we took her in to have the wheel alignment done – the engineer reporting back that the suspension was out of whack all round and all the adjusting bolts were seized. Damn! Just to confirm she then went to Nissan, who surprisingly enough did confirm. To add insult to injury their engine light whizzbang machine diagnosed a knackered left side catalytic convertor, stating that the other side is always close behind. A price tag of $1500 for one cat secured her doomed destiny!

This brings us to mid October and our arrival back to Kentucky from out west. Fortunately we coaxed our four wheeled friend into shaking, rattling and rolling it the 1200 miles, promising that it was all paved interstate driving. A short(ish) drive to South Florida was all that we had left! At least that would have been the case had this state highpoint tagging not gotten the better of me – what if we could head up as far as Boston en route to Florida?

An offer had come from Andrea’s dad for us to use a brand new Nissan Frontier for the drive south, but what if Going Broke would join us one last time…

The haul road heading up to the Prudhoe Bay oilfields
The haul road heading up to the Prudhoe Bay oilfields
Slick tire punishment
Both sorry and happy to finally be rid!

We couldn’t leave her to die in Kentucky of all places! She was at least going to leave with us, the big unknown being whether or not she would give up the ghost on the way. The highpoint of West Virginia came and went, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island following closely behind. Not sure why but the engine light had long gone off, almost in tune with the catalytic converter kicking it up a level. Then at some point, just to keep us on our toes, the ABS and other associated braking system lights all joined in on the fun. We were beyond caring!

Helping us knock off another eight state highpoints we eventually all made it safely to Boca Raton, Florida, covering just under 3,500 miles since leaving Kentucky 3 weeks earlier. Prior to reaching Boca Raton we took a quick detour into Carmax, who amazingly enough checked almost every Good Condition box on the quote’s mechanical condition page. Probably due to the front and rear body damage we were offered $1500, a whole grand over what we expected.

Forty eight hours later she actually did limp into Carmax with a new unknown braking noise – engine light, ABS lights, and low gas lights all fully illuminated. As far as we were concerned it was mission accomplished!

Going Broke, you did us proud.

May 19th 2014 – November 18th 2017


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