So after speaking with several dealerships and car repair places, here is the verdict on my car.
1) I can (possibly) use the repair manual that says “excludes XRS” for everything except the transmission, which is the main difference. After doing more research on the differences, this seems to be true. The XRS is an upgraded “trim package” and higher horsepower engine, with the 6 speed transmission instead of the standard 5 speed. So theoretically, I could buy the book, pull out my sensors, have my coworker test them for me, possibly replace them and save some money. I did get an email back from the Haynes company. They said “No, we don’t have a manual for the XRS, but check back in January 09.” Thank you for being oh so helpful!
2) The error code that my car is throwing out usually means that the catalytic converter is bad. I did talk to one very nice lady who I could tell would have done anything to get my car in under warranty if she could have. BTW, if I ever decide to buy from a dealership, I know where to go. This is the same dealership that helped me with the windshield wiper fiasco. They are very knowledgeable and helpful. She also told me that the OEM part will last 3x as long as the cheaper, knock-off brand. Since I intend to keep the car until it dies, having a part last longer is probably a good thing.
3) It will cost anywhere from $400- $1300 to get the thing replaced. I don’t really trust that the “OEM equivalent” quoted by the $400 shop will be what they tell me it will be. We have had dealings with this shop before with Alann’s truck, and I don’t like them. I only called because they are close. The $1300 is a dealership, but I can get the same work done at the dealership that I actually like for $150 or so less. I will probably go with the “middle of the road” option at $850. At least the economic stimulus checks are coming sooner than they first said. I was hoping to smash the CC with it, and the tax return, but that isn’t going to happen now. The tax return we want to save until we know if Alann will need it for school or not. And the stimulus check will mostly go to my car. And then, I don’t know. The responsible part of me says to put the remaining money to the CC. The other half wants to use the money to get our front yard if not done then at least started. Alann wants it for his motorcycle. If he doesn’t sell it.
We fixed the washing machine. Again. This time it seems to be for good. We took the connection off at the back of the machine, taped the connection, and reattached the hose. No leaking in the laundry room anymore, after running several loads and leaving the hot water on. We still haven’t decided if the kitchen is fixed or not. We haven’t noticed any more water, but maybe it is drying as it leaks so it isn’t pooling. I just don’t know what to do about that. Maybe it was a one-time deal, but plumbing never seems to be a one-time deal in our house.
On another note, I HATE SALES PEOPLE!!!! How many times do I have to tell you that I am NOT interested before you get the hint? (Three, by the way. At least with this guy. Another lady this morning took 6.)