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going with an older truck  RSS feed

 
Larry Bock
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I was thinking about this last night. When I was much younger,I use to do most of my own vehicle repair. Early 80's and before vehicles were "simpler". And thanks to utube , I can still do alot. I was thinking about swapping my 2006 pickup for a vehicle that I can rip the carburetor off and rebuild on the kitchen table and not have the engine compartment so packed with useless stuff. I cant even get my hands in to change A spark plug. be nice to be able to diagnose a problem without "plugging " it into a computer. any thoughts on this? .....Larry
 
James Freyr
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Location: Middle Tennessee
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Would you like to buy my 1984 f-150? It's got the 300 inline-6, 4 speed manual transmission, ~114k miles, and I've done intake/exhaust work on it and changed the rear end from the factory 2.47 to a 3.55. The only thing electronic on it is the mallory distributor, which is optical instead of having points. It also has a firetruck airhorn I put in, which is really effective getting the attention of bad drivers who are focusing on their damn cell phone instead of driving. It's "almost" a show-truck, but not quite. There are a couple areas on the body that have some cosmetic rust developing. It's never been in a collision. I haven't actively put an ad on craigslist yet, but I will be selling it in the next month or two. And like you said, it's easy to work on. I can sit on the radiator housing and put my legs in the engine bay when working on it, there's tons of room under the hood. The reason for selling is it has been a weekend sunny day fun truck for me, and it's not practical for me anymore.  I've really been developing a restless spirit as I downsize and simplify my life and I don't need two trucks. Better living with less, right?


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tel jetson
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Location: woodland, washington
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for something like a truck that might not get a lot of miles, I think going older can make a lot of sense if you like wrenching. I've got an '86 diesel F250 that I really like. needs some expensive front end work that I'm not equipped to do, but I can do a lot of the maintenance and handy friends can help me with some of what I can't do on my own.

don't clean your carburetor in the kitchen, though. solvents partition to fats/lipids really well, which there are plenty of in a typical kitchen. then you eat those and the solvents partition well to the fats in your body. no good. at this point in my life, I think my frontal lobe has finally grown in and I wear a respirator for any work that involves anything volatile. (I know you said "rebuild", not "clean". just a friendly PSA from a chemical-phobe.)
 
Larry Bock
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James,that's a fine looking truck. too nice to have branches to be scraping down the side of it as i drive ot on older logging roads. It was nice to see a photo of an engine compartment without all the useless junk that is in mine 2005 Chevy,lol
 
Tj Jefferson
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I am a fan of the farm truck. Mine is not a thing of beauty, gets poor mileage and is a constant threat to break down. That means I really have to need to use it. The nice thing about an older truck is that it has already maximally depreciated, mine is so old it has "vintage" registration, and yeah it gets crappy mileage, but because of that I put a few hundred miles on it a year. It makes me more intentional about why I use it. I also have friends that want to borrow it (because maintenance is super cheap if it is someone else's truck) but the agreement is if it breaks when you are using it, you do the repair. So only the people who can help me fix the thing borrow it. Works pretty well.

I would consider a big engine, mine is 8-cyl, carb old school. I almost always am towing something heavy at this point the rare times I use it. I also think an 8' bed is awesome. This is not a passenger vehicle, so no second row seating. If you don't plan on towing an 8' bed is even more critical, but then a 6-cyl like James' truck is fantastic. I purposely got a 2WD but your needs will dictate your best vehicle. I think 4WD is generally not worth the extra complexity, really think about how many times you would use it per year.    

If I used mine half as much or didn't tow I would just rent the ones from Home Depot. Also something to consider.
 
Lynne Smith
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Personally I would go with something  like a 1974 or older.
Before the computer junk came along.
I am a female, but my father taught me how to fix older vehicles.
Less junk in them to where you can actually get your hands into it and fix it. ( or actually see the ground. Lol..)
I have rebuilt everything in them.  Alternators, engines, transmissions,  etc. and overhauled completely a car.
Trucks are nicer I think and much more useful.
Hopefully you can buy parts for them still. I haven't checked lately.
Plus they are supposed to be emp proof. That's a big plus too.
A computerized vehicle would be fried if there was a emp.
Never know with all the news going on lately.
Plus the metal in them are much more solid. And no plastic parts that cost a fortune to buy now.
Just my two cents worth.
Btw...nice pic of the truck above.
I have also painted vehicles and worked in a parts department in a dealership.
I prefer the old school vehicles. And the gas milage isn't really worse than some newer ones.
I had a car that would even put out much colder air on a ac...go figure.
 
Larry Bock
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Lynne, as I read your post this morning it brought back a memory of a 1948 Farmall H with the wide front end I once owned when I lived in upper ME in a previous chapter of my life.  No guesswork, no searching, a set of points,plugs,carb and a gas tank. Everything within easy reach. Other than a tune up, the only thing I did was convert it from 6volt to 12volt.  It never once spoke to me and said " I don't feel like starting today" it may have, ounces or twice said " I'll start but, give me a few".    She was an old gal but never let me down lol.
   Your post is exactly the reason I'm considering an older vehicle.     Larry
 
Travis Johnson
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I have a 1988 bulldozer and honestly I think it was the best thing I could have bought. First 1988 was the last year they built that model so it has every one of the best features it could have, BUT I can completely tear that tractor down from blade to final drive with a standard set of wrenches. I am not kidding, NO SPECIAL TOOLS.

That is unheard of today. At the farm show a John Deere dealer told me it costs $1000 for a farm call to plug a lap top in and over-ride the programming for the emission reburns on new diesel engines. What happens is, farmers get a warning that they need to reburn, so instead they hit cancel on the computer, but after 3 times it needs to be reset. Only a John Deere Tech can do that and it is $1000 for that service call.

John Deere recently went to court in a class action lawsuit because they felt when a farmer bought a tractor, it was the tractor and not the software in the tractor. Because of that only John Deere could service them. Farmers filed a class action lawsuit and only partly won. The Supreme Court ruled a farmer has a right to fix their own tractor, BUT independent shops (not John Deere Dealerships) did not. So John Deere fixed that, now every model that comes out has to have its own set of tools and own laptop to diagnose. Sure a farmer can fix their own machine like the law of the land says, but they better have their own tools...upgraded with every new tractor they buy!

It is out of control.

Larry I would buy an older truck, toss farm plates on it if you possibly can, and play ignorant if you get caught more than 15 miles from the farm. The police tend to be kind to farmers as in Maine we are pretty much left alone.

I was plowing and sanding roads one year, came up out of town with a Deputy Sheriff behind me and he actually pulled me over. I was 15 at the time, had not truckers license, the ratty plow truck was unregistered, uninspected, and had no insurance. He asked for all that and only got a smile. He was not impressed so he said, "let's go talk to your Grandfather". he got halfway back to his police cruiser so I yelled at him. "Do you want me to plow the roads on the way there or not." Well you "effing" minds well now", he yelled. I did, and he pinched us for an uninspected truck out of all the things he could have done, but we won that in court because in Maine you cannot get a truck inspected if it is not registered first.
 
Larry Bock
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I liked that tale. Years ago my mother in CT asked me if I wanted her old car. I was heading back down for Xmas anyway so I said sure. I registered it on a Friday, drove down for the holiday and headed back Chrismas day
  Somewhere around Aetna , the blue lights came on. I had changed lanes a few times and he assumed I was drunk. After he asked me what was in the large soda bottle ( anti freeze) he mentioned my lack of inspection sticker.  Then told me he could pinch me for that. I asked him politely to please look at the 4 o'clock time stamp on the registration and asked him how many inspection station were probably open in the last 72 hours on a holiday weekend. He cut me loose. I think he was hoping to make a quick DWI arrest so " we" could go back to the nice warm barracks and he could head home.  Lol
 
Kyle Neath
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I have a 2003 F150 and I definitely feel your pain. Twice this summer I've had to take it into a shop to change spark plugs. Something that should be super easy, but of course with the Triton V8's, you need a special set of super-long wrenches just to be able to get to the damn plugs now. Wrenches that cost just about as much as it costs to get a mechanic to do it, and save yourself an entire afternoon cutting your hands squeezing deep into the engine. That kind of stuff makes me miss my '73 Superbeetle something fierce. That being said, I can't say that old cars are always better. The engines are much easier to work on, but in my experience the suspension systems are much less rugged — or at least, you have far less options for upgrading to something better.  At this point I've upgraded almost my entire front-end to higher quality, greasable parts and it is NICE not to have to worry about the potholes around town (I live in California). I've also come to terms with the computers (mostly) now that I own a code scanner. It is pretty nice to be able to get the code, google it, and get responses from a ton of people with that exact issue on your exact vehicle.

Anyways, I think getting an older vehicle is fine if you're fine with more downtime and a bit more time ripping it apart. I do miss being able to work on my cars, but at the same time I really just don't want to be doing this kind of work. I'm happy to trade dollars for someone else to do it at this point.
 
Wj Carroll
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Location: near Athens, GA
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I took that step about 5 years ago.  I learned to work on my own old VW as a kid, but that wasn't an option the vehicles I drove as I got older.  The SHTF for me financially, so I drove my newish car until it died (transmission), then bought an '89 Chevy 1500 with 90,000 miles on it, for less than $3,0000.  I figured it would need about $2,000 in work.... I have done 90% of it myself, so the cost was much lower.  It has paid for itself several times over just being able to haul stuff.  I hope to drive it another 10 years, then buy something at lest 10 years older than that.  Cars built in the 40, 50s and 60s... even 70s are still on the road.  They sold for a fraction of what a new vehicle sells for today, even with inflation.  Nothing new will last 1/4th as long.  But, you buy a new vehicle for $20 - 40,0000.... and finance it, so you end up paying double.  Only the dealer and authorized mechanics can work on them.   They are under warranty, but still cost a fortune.  Maybe you trade it in after a few years to finance a more expensive vehicle...  This is insane!  Not one car made in the last 20 years + has the beauty of a 1957.... anything!  None will last as long.  None approach the quality.  My old beast is ugly, but it is beautiful to me as a reliable tool.  I only wish I had my grandfather's 1960 (?) International.... the pickup truck that could pull up tree stumps, and the first vehicle I learned about mechanically.    That was a truck that would last a two or more life-times, and got fairly decent mileage.
 
Travis Johnson
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We had an old International Scout pick up that had a winch on the back and welded spider-gears and actually used that thing as a make-shift skidder back in the early 1980's. That was quite a weapon!!

I am not sure about in other states, but here in Maine it is legal to take cars that have been busted up in accidents, fix them up and resell them. Insurance agencies hate this, and Maine has had a few attempts to curtail this through laws, but so far it is still legal. A person can get some great deals on cars this way, especially if they can do auto body repair. My cousin does, and he has a nice little side job selling cars.

Me, I cannot, but I have found Ford Focuses make nice cars for Maine. They are cheap, but go many miles, and used parts can be found anywhere for them. I have never had one that I have not pushed past 250,000 miles. I will buy a wrecked-rebuilt car with cash instead of financing, typically about the 80,000 mile mark, then run them until 250,000 miles or so. They even get better gas mileage then a Prius so I figure I am doing well all the way around. By then they have started to rust out from the salt. I really should not say "typically" because I have only bought (3) since they last so long, but its a low cost car when I spend $4500 on one, and that money nets me 170,000 miles; that is only 2 cents per mile in ownership. And being a cash deal, and having little invested in the car, I only need liability for insurance coverage which is super cheap over full coverage which is what a person needs if it is financed.

A person can tell that the automotive industry is out of touch with its consumers simply by looking at how they are financed now. They are so out of proportion in cost to what the average person makes for income that they had to invent a system to pay for it...the lease because their new costs are out of control.
 
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