Ok lets talk older trucks,or not?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by insanity, Dec 25, 2006.

  1. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    Let me start by saying I'm dieing to buy a newer truck. But it might be the death of me when it comes time to change something as simple as the alternator while still making payments on one of these newer money pits.
    So I'm thinking it would be much more sinceable to totally redo an older truck that fits my needs than to have the payments and possible repair cost of a newer one.
    So what do ya think?
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    I sure do want the steering/throttle response (at lower mpg.) and nice ride of a new truck. But I'm thinking i could get close enough to that and have a much better stronger truck (that's paid for!!!) if i just rebuilt an older one little by little.(Im talking new every thing.)
    Whats every ones thoughts? I no i cant get the steering response and ride of a 2006.But im sure i could get much better than was used in say 1979.

    What would be the newest year you would look for, that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg in terms of simple repair/or parts cost of say a voltage regulator/starter motor/heater core/tranny work/etc. Case in point my rebuilt tranny on my 85 Dodge $750 built! Wife's 98 Blazer hum, i dont want to think about it. 85 Dodges alternator maybe $45 bucks? Wife's 98 almost $400. Heater core for my Dodge/Ford or Chevies. $35 bucks or so. Wife's 98 i cant change do to the dash board having to be removed. Dealer cost is going to be $800. :flame:

    My top choice would be a 1979 Ford 4x4. Maybe in a 3/4 ton to tow my camper. Maybe even with a fuel injected Chevy power plant. Or a Cummings Diesel. Still cheaper than new even if i did a total off the body restoration ?
    What would be your favorite bullet proof set up that would be fairly easily found and acquired?
    Note i said fairly easily found and acquired!
    Considering the older a vehicle gets the harder they are to get parts for would it be better to look more towards the latter models, but before they went so electrical and costly? About where would that be? (What years?)
    Any and all thoughts wanted, doesn't matter what brand. As mentioned i my chop and hack off the best parts of your brand to merge with mine. :D
     
  2. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Best to go with A diesel engine. Lower matinance And they run longer than A gas job. Other than that I can't say.
     

  3. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ...............http://www.fordcummins.com/
    .....................this is the very best place I can think OF to educate yourself about a cummins conversion . My....ultimate....truck would be a 78 , 79 f250 , 4x4 with a 96-97 5.9 btv , precomputer with a new process 6 speed , d60 front and d70 rear . My 99 PSD with 102,000 hopefully will hang in there for another 150k with the normal expected repairs . I'd love to drop a cummins in but it'd cost me 12k before i got finished and i simply can't afford that given my current set of living conditions , age , etc . good luck with your project . fordy... :)
     
  4. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    Great site Fordy! Thanks!
     
  5. CatsPaw

    CatsPaw Who...me?

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    Buy older and rebuild.

    I just dropped $1K into my '96 fords clutch and I still have another $1500 or so to go on other things. I put new calipers and cylinders on my '79 chevy brakes for $100.

    The way I figure it I can spend $1000 every year to buy a different beater (whether the old one is shot or not) and still come out ahead from monthly payments and repairs. I can't work on EFI or the computer or pretty much anything engine related on the '96. The '79 I can do with a 9/16" and a 1/2" and practically rebuild the whole thing.

    Heck, one time the ford wouldn't run right because of the computer....nothing wrong with the engine or anything else, just the computer. STUPID

    I think '78 - '80 is about when the smog stuff started getting really heavy. I'd wouldn't go a whole lot newer than that. Parts are everywhere, cheap, J.C.Whitney, etc.
     
  6. danb98577

    danb98577 Well-Known Member

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    I have a 1979 Ford F150-300 six cylinder. It starts, runs, turns, stops, etc. It has 34,000 original miles. I can see the spark plugs, distributor, oil filter-heck, I can even see the ground around the engine! It is long paid for and I just can not see any possible justification for plunking down mega bucks for a new truck that does not do any of these things better. As for ride-had a 91 Cadillac Seville-the Ford is quieter and has a far superior ride.
    To me, the price of a new truck is up there with a house. Crazy. The technology used to operate new vehicles is interesting, but I sure wouldn't want to be stuck along side the road when it decides not to work-which seems to happen a lot from what I see around here.
     
  7. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    On GM's I would go up to 95 as that's the last year for the simple throttle body injection an a 350 geas engine. Ford went to port fuel injection earlier and the early ones aren't good so I would stay below 86-87 on Fords with a carb. Most early pre computer diesels weren't real powerful. You can find Ford 6.9's that are pretty good but are probably worn to a nub and you would spend a bunch on. GM's 6.5 was non computer in 93 and would be decent. Early Dodge diesels had good motors but bad bodies.
    The late 70's were great trucks and I've had both Ford and GM's in those years. Problem is even in TN the rust moths got most of them so there's not much to start with.
     
  8. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Depending upon your availibilty for funds to spend, and your ability to set aside funds when you have them similar to a payment for a newer rig, the older rigs are a better buy to some degree. if mileage is your only concern, how long does it take to pay for a rig driving 100 miles per week getting 15 mpg over an older rig getting 9-12?

    Ive posted in other threads of the 1977 F-250 i have with the 300-6 bored out 50thousandth and having 390 pistons inserted, ups the ponies, nearly doubled the mileage and with the dual exhaust it turns a few heads now and again as we rumble down the street..... back in the day [1983] when we first had it done folks were asking what it was.... was it diesel, and questions like why do that.

    The answer is we did it cause we blew the original engine, we liked the idea of more ponies and the added benefit of going from 9 mpg to 15 was a surprise [most likely the rv cam that was also added] the project was one profiled in popular mechanix in the late 70's or so..... some folks get over 500 ponies out those rebuilds.... but i never stuck anything other than the little single barrel carb on it.

    another criteria to consider is do you do the maintainence on the rig yourself or pay others to do it for you?

    Those old rigs never did have the welds from the factory all done, so tearing it down to the frame and starting from there is good for a project for a winter of fun but when you get done you would have a better rig than one bought off the showroom floor and you would know just what was what about replacing the parts and such....

    An old farmer once told me, buy a beater, put new tires on it, drive it for a couple years and sell it, the cost of the tires is your payment, and you can most likely sell it for what you paid for it if you dont go to high on purchase price... and the rubber is good.... I picked up an 85 f-150 4x4 for $500 from a friend who wanted it out of his yard cause it need work, put 100 bux into it and it was a decent summer rig now i got to put a heater core in it for winter driving.... i could sell it for about $2500 if i wanted to cause the rubber is way close to new and it came with it on there to me..... but i shall drive it a little, and then give it to someone else to drive al ittle more....

    William
     
  9. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    My 89 Chev van is a complete rebuild, I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. We sunk almost 10k into it but it was new from from top to bottom on a 20k (about 10,000 miles) body. (Check local regs sometimes you can't swap out the chassis so completely) The body source was a prototype electric van that got canned with low milage. I like fuel injection PS and PB but I'm thinking I'd like to rebuild a 60's Dodge powerwagon with early an 80's drive line. I rebuilt a Jeep quadratrac J20 once but it had the stock horrendous fuel consumption.
     
  10. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    box rusts bad on them, but good truck, I just could never find one at bargain price. You wanted the AMC 360V8. Long stroke engine and good fuel mileage. I owned two of the early style big Wagoneers with quadratrak. Got around 14 to 16mpg hiway with the 360 and 3spd automatic. I thought that was great considering it was full time 4wd. My little Ranger with part time 4wd, 5spd and smaller and lighter doesnt do any better and lot less power.
     
  11. e.alleg

    e.alleg Well-Known Member

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    Chevy 1500 and 2500 series trucks from 1988-1998 are a good deal if you ask me. Easy to maintain, parts are pretty cheap, and it will run like a newer truck without always working on it. For the price of tax on a new truck you can have a 10 year old rig all paid for 100% down no payments. lol Restoring an old truck and trying to make it better is definitely possible but it's also a frustration lesson. If you are unsure about pulling the dash to change the heater core I wouldn't go the restoration route. You will learn real quick that to make the old truck handle well you will need a different steering box, A-arms, springs, sway-bar, ect... and the parts you need aren't cheap. I have ridden in a '66 Chevy fleetside that got 25mpg, was very fast, and handled like a dream. The guy replaced everything with Buick Grand-National parts, this also made it easy to repair out in the middle of nowhere as every parts store has (well back then they did) Buick Regal parts. On the other hand a new diesel truck will last you indefinitely if you don't mind the payments for the first 5 years.
     
  12. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    It was a 360 Hermit, and I could never coax more than 10 mpg out of it. Loved the truck but it had to go.
     
  13. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    10 to 12 mpg is about tops for older 4wd 3/4 ton gasoline pickup. Those Wagoneers on other hand were equivalent of a half ton pickup. You should have had my '84 4wd F250 with the 460 somebody had in it when I bought it. 4 to 6 mpg!!!!!! And I never liked the torque curve on 460. Its a relatively short stroke engine and its only claim to fame in a farm truck is that its BIG. BIG covers a multitude of sins when fuel is cheap.... I've since replaced it with a 300 six and am much happier. That six is amazing. In low range and first gear, I can idle up my steep driveway with full load of firewood.
     
  14. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    After 95 the GM trucks went to a central port fuel injection system and OBDII computer system. The fuel injection system is much more expensive to repair and the engine has coolant leak issues, mainly intake manifold gaskets. The OBDII system does not allow you to flash codes out and makes diagnosis and repair require a scan tool. OBDII also uses multiple o2 sensors and other sensors not found on earlier models. This was the beginning of fuel tank emmissions monitoring and misfire counters. Also those trucks do not use a standard ignition and the dist. is actually an empty shell. Timing cannot be set without a scan tool.
     
  15. dave85

    dave85 dave85

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    this is my theory also. Until 8 years ago when I discovered mid 80's ford diesels. (6.9) first i bought was an 86 for 1100, drove it 3 years.
    Then I bought an 85 5 years ago for $1200.00 and it's my daily driver today.

    the internet is amazing. these are my favorite sites
    www.thedieselstop.com
    www.fordtrucks.com
    Dave
     
  16. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    If I could build any pick up I wanted with any parts I wanted it would be a late 70's ford with a cummins, an NP4500 5 speed stick, an NP205 transfer case, Dana 60s from and rear with a limited slip in the rear. although the next truck I buy is going to be a medium duty international. Pick ups just dont have enough drive train under them for some of the jobs I need them for.
     
  17. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    I actually don't understand why anyone would pay big big bucks for a late model pickup truck with a diesel to tow with. You can buy a medium duty or even a heavy duty truck used for very little and never be able to overload it or wear it out. You can buy used day cab tractors from freight companies with a real engine/and trans for as little as 5k and put a flat bed on it. Capable of pulling 80k lbs. Tires that last 250k mi and engines that easily go ver a million miles.
     
  18. Rob30

    Rob30 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have been mulling this idea over myself. I am thinking a 79 ford extened cab 4X4. Swaping in an international school bus engine. they are not the best, but I can pick the whole bus up for about $1500.
    I own a 96 GMC 5.7. Nice truck when its working. Drives like a caddi. Unfurtunatly hauls like one to. Great on gas though.
    My last truck was a f150 with 351W. Hauled much better, better suspenssion. NOt as good on gas though. But a tune up cost $100. My GzMC plugs are twice that. Very expensive to fix. And even the mechanics can't find some of the very important problems.
     
  19. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    You are going to see this more and more as computer vehicles start to age. They changed management systems and engines and such so often that dealers and parts places arent going to stock or even order parts that were used for 6 months 20 years ago. Not to mention problems from aging complex wiring to connect everything together. My '84 Ranger was like this, had some exotic computerized carb system used less than 2 years. Even if I wanted to, couldnt have bought half the parts for it and if I could they would cost more than the truck plus a rebuilt engine. Luckily it was still retrofittable with pre-computer parts from seventies.
     
  20. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry guys, but the older Ford trucks (mine was a 1987) were "Fix Or Repair Daily" as far as I'm concerned.
    Mine was purchased new, as is my custom, buy them new at the end of the model year and drive them till they fall apart. (200,000+)

    Ford 350 V-8, 4 barrel F-150, 4 X 4. Dark blue, (the paint that peeled off to gray)
    Got about 10-12 MPG, didn't matter, full , empty, or towing.
    Was a beast as far as pulling and passing, could pass anything on the road (pulling a trailer) except a gas station.

    This truck had several things that just quit every 20K miles or so.
    Heat riser, rear U-joint, gasket under the carb, exhaust system.
    Motor leaked oil from day one, and after several gasket changes still leaked oil.
    Body, doors, floor, fenders rusted.

    Finally parked it, and bought a 1999 F-150 quad cab (new), end of 1999, 120k on it no trouble. Repaced tires, brakes, battery, thats it.
    What a difference! Would never consider going back!