Dear Car Talk:
I have a 1999 S-10 Chevy Blazer with four-wheel drive. I wish I had found one without the 4WD. I never use the 4WD, and it simply uses up gasoline due to the added weight and the added friction. How difficult and expensive would it be to remove all of that weight-and-resistance-generating stuff from a Blazer, and turn it into a rear-wheel-drive-only Blazer? (I know you’re gonna tell me to go buy a new front-wheel-drive something instead … please don’t!) Thanks. — Bob
Don’t worry, Bob. You can relax. I’m not going to tell you to go out and buy something more fuel-efficient, reliable and better-handling. But I am going to suggest that you forget this hare-brained idea.
Is it doable? Theoretically, yes. You could remove the transfer case, the front differential, the axles, the driveshaft and all the other associated pieces, and put the thing back together. And, if you’re lucky, you might get an extra mile or two per gallon.
But all that work is going to cost you at least a thousand bucks. Probably more. And based on what you’d save on fuel, it’ll take you about 105 years to earn that money back.
There may be other complications, too. The front springs almost certainly are different, due to the extra weight of all that equipment. So when that stuff is removed, the handling may be unsafe. Or, at the very least, you’ll be staring up at the sky from the driver’s seat.
It’s kind of like a face transplant, Bob. Even when you’ve got a face as bad as mine, it’s doing the job. And you might be better off just living with it.
Got a question about cars? Write to Car Talk in care of this newspaper, or email by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com.