My Old Truck

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by mikem, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. mikem

    mikem Member

    I've got one of them delimas going and would appreciate some advice. My old truck is starting to need repairs now and then and I'm wondering if I should fix it or sell it.

    Here's a short version (I hope) of the story. It's a 1992 Dodge Dakota ... 104,000 miles ... I'm the second geezer to own it. It has always been serviced regularly. It has pretty much all new breaks ... good tires ... doesn't burn oil ... looks good and Blue Books for about $2,000. Starts and runs great ... usually. But now it needs an in-tank fuel pump to the tune of about $400 ... a new serpentine belt and tensioner for about $300 ... and I'm thinking of putting on a new starter just so I don't get stuck on the side of the road in the future.

    I guess what I'm asking is does it seem like a good idea to put $1,000 into a truck that books for $2,000? I need the truck, it has a good history and it is dandy little vehicle but maybe it's time to move on. ??? All opinions and words of wisdom appreciated.:confused:

  2. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    New dodge dakota=25k, payments for 6 years. Yea Id fixer up. Change the oil regularly and 100k is just half life of the motor before a rebuild is needed. The things you mentioned needing fixed are expected repairs at that age and miles on a vehicle. If you drive 15k a year your good to go for another 7 or 8 years. Can you do some of the work your self to save money? Belt and tensioner for $300 seems steep, those are easy DIY fixes. Gas tank needs to be dropped to fix the fuel pump but is an easy fix. Starter is an easy fix also.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2010
  3. professor

    professor Active Member

    My buddy at work has the view that a thousand dollars is 3 new car payments. His Honda now has around 175000 on it.
    I know it seems like a lot of money, I do all the mech stuff (that I have the ability to do) myself.
    One of my other friends mentioned on fuel pump change on a chevy truck to NOT drop the tank, but to cut an access hole in the bed and cover the hole when the new pump is in. Don't know how Dodges are, but this made sense to me.
    I also have done a couple of cam drive belts- lotta labor but not much bucks. How about getting a Chilton book and do it your self?
    Around here, rust is the big killer. Because of all the road salt. If the body is good I would fix it. I oil the snot out of my cars and it helps a lot. Is the basic truck solid?
  4. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    I had a '91 Dakota with the 318 V8. Replaced the serpentine belt myself at 90K miles, replaced the in tank fuel pump at 110K miles - by pulling the tank, taking out the pump, replacing the access plate, and putting in an after-market electric fuel pump on the fender skirt on the right side of the engine with an exchangeable canister type fuel filter just upstream of it. I would NOT cut an access hatch in the bed floor - those trucks were built of hot-dipped galvanized steel - if you cut through the galvanizing you invite rust.

    At 130K miles I gave it to my youngest son. Shortly thereafter, he had to replace the water pump, then at 160K he had to replace the starter. Tuesday the 24th he loaded his worldly goods in it, along with himself, his sister, her dog and his cat, and they drove it to Oregon.

    In preparation for the trip he had a transmission tune-up done (it needed it, bands were slipping), had the brakes done, and replaced the shocks all the way around. With the weight of everything he moved (which included a sailboat and a kayak on a frame above the box) he had zero problems. I looked at the odometer just before they left - it had 231K on it. The engine is still rock solid.

    Keep the truck.
  5. mikem

    mikem Member

    Darwin & Professor ... thanks for the input. I'm leaning heavy toward getting the truck fixed and I'm glad to know I'm not alone in my thinking. There was a time when I did much of my own machanic work but that time has pretty much passed as I have a few health issues now. So will most likely have to bite the bullit and pay for the labor. I only drive about 5,000 to 10,000 miles per year and the truck body is still very good. So I'd really hate to part with my "old friend".

    Professor ... your friend has a point ... I never thought of it like that but it doesn't take many new car payments to add up to $1000.!

    Thanks guys ... I'm starting to feel better already.
  6. GearNut

    GearNut Active Member

    I second the notion of NOT cutting a hole in the box floor.
    I went to a recommended mechanic once to have the fuel pump changed out on my old '88 S10. He cut a hole in the floor to access the tank. I had a thin rubber bed mat in it and I did not find out that he did this until I was helping a friend move.
    A couch foot sank into the floor of the bed and I was screaming mad when I found out why! If Chevy designed a bolt in access panel that would have been fine. I was left with a weak spot in my bed, directly over the pipes leading into and out of the gas tank. :mad:
  7. mikem

    mikem Member

    Now that really sounds encouraging! I was sort of worried about my truck being 18 years old but it still seems very solid. Glad to hear how well yours did. Thanks friend.
  8. professor

    professor Active Member

    When I said about the access hole, I also said it would be covered, certainly not by some plastic. Around here, ( we aren't in sunny, rust free Cal.) any work underneath an old car or truck is a nightmare of rusted solid bolts and metal that readily breaks.
    Mike is in the North, thus my suggestion.
    And Simon, the Dodges that I see sure are not hot dipped. Rocker panels and fender lips that are disintegated denote nothing of the sort.
  9. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member


    I know that mine (my son's) is built of galvanized steel. My daughter fell asleep at the wheel, ran off the road, and mowed down a hundred yards of hog wire and barbed wire fence with it - took out 5 fence posts. Every bit of that wire wound up wadded into the front suspension and wrapped around the driveshaft. Front bumper was pretty well whacked up, and the leading edge of the hood as well. Right front corner took out the first fence post - busted the light housing and crimped the fender edge a good bit.

    When I got all that wire dug out of the suspension and started working on replacing the headlight and turn signal housings, I found galvanized steel. Same with the hood. Part of the right side trim molding and the right side mirror were ripped off by a tree she skinned past on the fence line, and under the adhesive for that I found more galvanized steel. I already knew the bed was galvanized. I replaced the interior carpets and mats before I gave it to my boy - they were in rough shape - and the floor of the cab was galvanized.

    Since my son has had it it has never been garaged, and the paint has checked and peeled off most of the hood and good bit of the cab roof - both are galvanized.
  10. Tinker1980

    Tinker1980 Guest

    It's always cheaper to repair an older vehicle than to buy a new one. My '89 chevy truck has 213,000 miles and shows no sign of stopping. No smoke on startup, doesn't leak oil or coolant. It's resale value won't be that great, but who cares - by the time I'm done driving it, it will be scrap metal anyway.
  11. give me vtec

    give me vtec Active Member

    $1000 is a LOT better than 3 to 5 years worth of car payments.

    If it doesn't burn oil, and is in otherwise good condition keep it for sure. Run that sucker into the ground and get the most out of it.

    I just came off two car payments and let me tell you what... I aint never gonna have another one as long as I can help it.

    heck... even if the motor/tranny does cr@p on you, the cost of a new motor and install is still better than having a car payment.

    if it runs good and suits your purpose... keep it, that's my $.02.
  12. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Hundred percent agree with the above.

    I've owned a bunch of vehicles in my life, but only ever bought 4 new ones. A 1967 Impala SS I bought at the start of the 1969 model year as a "remaindered" car from the local Chevy dealer for cash. I got in so much trouble with that thing that I sold it - every cop in the north end of the Willamette valley was on my tail as soon as they saw it. The next new car was a 1973 Alfa Romeo Alphetta GTV - my best friend borrowed it one night and killed himself and his girlfriend in it. After that I bought a 1977 Volvo wagon for my fiance - she drove it for 20 years and a million plus miles before I MADE her park it, and bought the Corolla. The Dakota I bought in 1991 - it has been a great, reliable truck. My son was thinking about trading it in, but after consideration decided he did not want a three year car note and higher insurance premiums. Now he say he'll drive it till it falls apart, although when the engine finally quits he intends to stick a Dodge slant 6 diesel in it - my Dad had that engine in storage and left it for him, in a 55 gallon drum full of oil.

    If he takes care of it there is no reason he can't drive it for another 50 years.
  13. mikem

    mikem Member

    Thanks Guys

    The mechanic called a few hours ago and gave me hard figures on fixing my old truck.
    New in-tank fuel pump installed ... ..............$345.68
    New sepentine belt and tensioner installed ... $188.62
    Total for both repairs ................................$534.30

    I told him to go ahead and hopefully I'll have my truck back sometime tomorrow. Not a small amount but a good bit less than I thought it might run ... I'm starting to get happy again. :laugh2:

    My thanks to everyone here for their help and input ... much appreciated as always.
  14. mikem

    mikem Member

    My Old Truck: Vol. II

    My Old Truck: Vol. II

    Well, shortly after getting my old truck back from the machanic it died on me again while I was waiting for my breakfast at the BurgerKing window. I told the little girl at the window what the problem was and pretty soon the manager came out side to help push me out of the way. Fortunately there were two big guys in another truck who told me to stay behind the wheel and stear ... then they pushed me to a parking spot. Took pitty on the old gray haired guy.

    I tried to pay for their breakfast but they wouldn't have it. Said they'd been in trouble before themselves. I maintain this is a great country. Hope I can return the favor someday ... to them or someone else.

    Anyway, the truck still quits running and then won't start until it sits awhile. Sometimes it'll start up quicker with starting fluid ... sometimes it'll start without starting fluid after it sits.? The machanic says they'll delve deeper. He says they'll make things right. Maybe install a new part with no charge ... or something. I'm saying keep trying and we'll do whatever's right in the end.

    I hope this isn't going to be one of those electrical nightmares.
  15. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Sounds like maybe you've got a section of fuel line too close to the exhaust pipe/manifold, and the line is vapor locking. Once it cools down, it re-starts, right?
  16. robin bird

    robin bird Member

    My 1990 Toyota 1/2 ton has 419000 kms (250000 miles) and still is solid little rust and runs great! i wouldnt sell it for anything--it has racks for my boat and bikes.
  17. mikem

    mikem Member

    That's right. After it quits, once it sits awhile it starts up ... and runs good for about an hour ... then it's subject to quit.

    I thought about vapor locking but couldn't figure why it would wait 18 years an then start locking.? But thanks for the tip ... sounds like a real possibility and I'll keep it in mind.
  18. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    I'd look back by the tank, first. The lines, if I remember correctly, run down the inside of the right frame rail, then across the bed pan to enter the top of the tank. If the mechanic managed to draw the line down a bit closer to the exhaust pipe passing under it, it could very well heat enough to cause a line vapor lock.
  19. mikem

    mikem Member

    Thanks again Simon ... really appreciate this kind of direct advice.