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Good Truck for Newbie Mechanic??


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jen
Novice

Sep 28, 2013, 1:06 PM

Post #1 of 17 (1143 views)
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Hey guys!
I am a single young lady who is in need of an old beat-up farm truck. It's gotta be cheap, like no more than $3000-$4000, and hopefully something that is kinda cool. It will be strictly used for light farm chores.

I am completely inexperienced with car repair. But...I am sharp, a quick learner, and enjoy having projects to work on. It is my understanding that older model Chevy's and Ford's are made more simply...something that a novice like myself could learn on.

Can you all make any suggestions? There is a 64 Chevy C20 listed on Craig's List for $1700. Again, I need something easy to learn on for future repairs. What are your thoughts??

Thanks!


Hammer Time
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Sep 28, 2013, 1:31 PM

Post #2 of 17 (1130 views)
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Are you looking for something to use as a work use vehicle or a frame off restoration project to make a show piece?



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



jen
Novice

Sep 28, 2013, 1:43 PM

Post #3 of 17 (1128 views)
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Hi,

My main uses will be hauling mulch, compost, firewood...light farm work type stuff. It will be driven on the road, but not far and not often.

Thanks.


(This post was edited by jen on Sep 28, 2013, 1:43 PM)


Hammer Time
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Sep 28, 2013, 1:46 PM

Post #4 of 17 (1123 views)
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That 64 will be a total restoration project. You don't need that and you surely wouldn't want to destroy it after you do. Find something a little newer that will need less to make it useable.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
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Sep 28, 2013, 2:39 PM

Post #5 of 17 (1121 views)
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" Again, I need something easy to learn on for future repairs. What are your thoughts??"

Easy - if you can get a rust free sound engine go for a straight six engine, standard shift - three of the column - no options except a heater really needed. If you can get old and in decent drivetrain, rust free body and frame you can deal with most everything -- parts available to truck for ages.

Avoid frame rusted ones or worse and harder floor boards, rocker panels. Nice to get at least disc brakes on front, drum rear actually less complicated for parking brake IMO. Chev, Fords and the slant six Dodge seemed to be good enough. If you can, avoid 4X4 unless the farm work really needs it. It complicates the whole show, more stuff to go wrong and makes it harder to do other things. I can't see your farm, mud or conditions you would deal with obviously,

T



jen
Novice

Sep 28, 2013, 2:50 PM

Post #6 of 17 (1116 views)
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Thanks for all that info.

What years should I concentrate on? I need to narrow my field of choices down. I see a lot of late 80's models available on Craig's List.



In Reply To
" Again, I need something easy to learn on for future repairs. What are your thoughts??"

Easy - if you can get a rust free sound engine go for a straight six engine, standard shift - three of the column - no options except a heater really needed. If you can get old and in decent drivetrain, rust free body and frame you can deal with most everything -- parts available to truck for ages.

Avoid frame rusted ones or worse and harder floor boards, rocker panels. Nice to get at least disc brakes on front, drum rear actually less complicated for parking brake IMO. Chev, Fords and the slant six Dodge seemed to be good enough. If you can, avoid 4X4 unless the farm work really needs it. It complicates the whole show, more stuff to go wrong and makes it harder to do other things. I can't see your farm, mud or conditions you would deal with obviously,

T



Tom Greenleaf
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Sep 28, 2013, 11:50 PM

Post #7 of 17 (1101 views)
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Much of the time I like the last few years of a decade. Ford F-150, you can still get vent windows at least - forget A/C for the way you want to use it I think in fact one that never had it not just inoperative.

Jen - I'm an old phart - the older the better to a point just don't get a rust bucket. You can deal with dents, brakes, exhaust and routine whatever stuff for ages, the rust is a killer. I said the straight 6 engines and column shift allows a passenger in the middle of a plain bench seat. Small V8s are fine too but doubt you need more power for anything for the way I see you using this.

Any can be OK and I tend to find the "American" stuff in older a bit tougher. Step and tow bumper, an 8 foot bed and again forget 4X4 unless really needed. You can get tires and even chains for 2X4 and do OK or even an electric winch or come-along to drag you out of some mud or whatever your situations could be.

If you go older you are dealing with the carbs which are either a lot less expensive and simpler or the last couple before fuel injection got complicated, expensive and real fussy so head right back to the 70s AGAIN IF YOU CAN GET RUST FREE.

The older and less options the better as said. Not even carpet! Just stuff to go wrong for farm use. Heck, you can carry a radio.

I find in trucks you get (sounds sexist, sorry) the gentleman's truck which wasn't worked hard or the ones beat to death that were needed for hard work and you will have trouble finding older ones of those.

You said you still wanted it road legal for minimal use so that's a factor. Try to avoid trucks that have been mechanically altered except for this case perhaps some better wheels and tires as large as not wild body alterations are needed or were needed.

Again I'm thinking older as you already considered the 1960s! Those would be harder in some ways and easier in others. Totally pre smog for farm use could be hand for you and generally easier.

I'm envisioning and need you to tell me/us would it be used a lot in dusty, rocky, muddy, hilly situations?

Going older for the imports can be OK too. Older with some meant to me less tolerant body parts for work use and here (MA) they rusted faster but all rusted if used on the salted public roads.

Back some if I'm thinking on your page. Don't worry too much about payload ability of the truck. If too heavy duty you just need more and larger tools to deal with certain things. Use trailers and haul what you need to or go twice or as needed. If you said you needed to haul logs or rocks or some huge camper trailer at highway speeds and be safe it would be different needs.

Most important is whatever you find or like for sale out there do get it checked out by a professional mechanic so you at least have some clue what you are getting into on the specific one you find. If a seller doesn't allow that keep looking!

Good luck with the pursuit and don't limit yourself to just Craigslist but check them all out. You may find another place for farm equipment and vehicles of all sorts more useful?

I like this thread and project and try to help as much as I can. Skip back to my Grandparents, both sides were farmers even here in Massachusetts wasn't all office parks and shopping malls!

Tom



Hammer Time
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Sep 29, 2013, 5:43 AM

Post #8 of 17 (1096 views)
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If I were you I would stay away from carbs. These days they are more problem than fuel injection because of their age, techs lack of training on them and scarcity of replacement parts. Fuel injection is far more reliable and will run much better.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
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Sep 29, 2013, 6:48 AM

Post #9 of 17 (1091 views)
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So true. There aren't many people/techs that are real good at carbs especially the last years of them. They are NOT very happy with the fuel sold most everywhere either - an issue to be afraid of for carbs. Parts for carbs are out there but near sure a hassle to find if needed and old enough or worse a rare one,

T



Discretesignals
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Sep 29, 2013, 9:08 AM

Post #10 of 17 (1082 views)
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What are the other farmers in your area using for farm trucks? Does it matter if it is gasoline or diesel engine?





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Sep 29, 2013, 9:09 AM)


jen
Novice

Sep 29, 2013, 6:57 PM

Post #11 of 17 (1068 views)
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I'm loving all of this information! But I keep needing to read and google along the way to even understand the terms you are using. lol

Okay, so to answer a few questions. My property is pretty easy. It's flat, grassy, woodsy. Not much chance of being stuck in mud or issues with going up/down hills in winter. I will not be towing anything to big or heavy. Mostly I will have the truck loaded with logs/firewood, mulch, gravel, farm crates, etc...I'll be taking it into the woods which are mostly flat, so no need for 4x4. What I see around me are Silverado's and F10's and they are abundant. I mean it. You wouldn't think foreign trucks existed out in these parts. And I guess diesel vs. gasoline doesn't matter, although I would prefer diesel because I have another diesel vehicle. I don't need AC or any other riding comforts.

So the carb vs. fuel injection issue....

I read that in 1987 Chevy went to fuel injection and Ford in 88. But you mentioned that at some point fuel injection became more complicated. So my next question for you is......which years did those systems start becoming more complicated to work on? I would love to narrow my window.

Thanks!!


Hammer Time
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Sep 29, 2013, 7:45 PM

Post #12 of 17 (1060 views)
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Fuel injection is really not more complicated. Repairing a carburetor is very complicated and it's so old now that very few people understand them. A computer controlled engine is far superior and easier to maintain



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Discretesignals
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Sep 29, 2013, 7:49 PM

Post #13 of 17 (1059 views)
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If your going diesel, you won't have to worry about carbs.


Gasoline fuel injection on late 80's to late 90's isn't really complicated once you understand the theory of operation. It may be harder to diagnose problems because now you have a computer in charge of fuel and ignition management. Even some of the carbed engines were computer controlled before fuel injection came about.

Computer control, in my opinion, removes a lot of the drive-ability issues that carbed engines had such as cold start problems, sub par fuel management, complex emissions controls, etc.

One of the simplest fuel injection systems, in my opinion, is a 5.0L (305) or 5.7L (350) GM TBI system found in 88-95 GMC or Chevy trucks.

Parts are plentiful and cheap for the 305 and 350 along with the truck itself. The engine design has proven itself a reliable powerplant. The fuel injection and computer controlled ignition systems aren't too complex for a DIY to understand. There is plenty of information on the internet about them.







Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Sep 29, 2013, 8:17 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
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Sep 30, 2013, 1:23 AM

Post #14 of 17 (1049 views)
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Don't worry about fuel injection. Late carbs were lousy IMO and expensive, the injection takes guess work out of starting it in assorted temps and is dependable.

Please, point out any words that are not familiar to you and just list them we can explain each. When I said F-150 that meant a Ford 1/2 ton, Chevrolet would be 1500 and a Dodge would be D-100 but no matter just that 1/2 ton rated is enough I think for you and cheaper for routine suspension parts if needed.

Again - whatever you find older which seems you would like the care and condition it's in counts more now than the details of which brand did what better. Anything will need something now and then if only grease, oil changes and probably more air filters than just on road use.

If you never drove an empty 2 wheel drive truck you'll notice traction stinks so I said earlier to cover that with better tires if only for the back. If you wish to pull stumps out get a tractor something,

T



jen
Novice

Oct 5, 2013, 11:22 AM

Post #15 of 17 (1023 views)
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Okay...I found this on Craigslist. It's a little more than I want to spend, but if it is a reliable enough vehicle it can be used duel-purpose for farm stuff and hauling my two kids around occasionally.

link deleted

As far as learning how to work on and maintain vehicles....do you think this could be a good choice?

This was the other one I was interested in. It's cheaper, older, and has had a lot more work done on it...

link deleted


(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Oct 5, 2013, 11:33 AM)


Hammer Time
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Oct 5, 2013, 11:35 AM

Post #16 of 17 (1013 views)
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You really need to read the FORUM RULES before posting. You would know that you can't post links here.


Those 2 trucks were pretty opposite extremes. One was an S10 mini pickup and the other was a 2500 diesel.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Oct 5, 2013, 11:39 AM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Oct 5, 2013, 11:42 AM

Post #17 of 17 (1011 views)
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Can't make that show. Just state what it is rather than a link as that just sent me to the whole site for that area.

We really shouldn't allow posting ads, content fine. Whatever it is can you get it checked out professionally where it is before you agree to negotiate on it?

T







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