They were built a lot simpler than and a lot less to go wrong with
them too as well as they were generally over built as well. There is a
lot to go wrong with a modern truck and it gets worse every year so it
will not age as gracefully. I have had more trouble with my 2000 K3500
old style since new by far than a did with the 79 J20 jeep P/U it
replaced which still runs too. As to what life expectancy to plan on
it is hard to say. The major mechanical parts should last 10 to 15
years (engine,tranny, axles and such) with no abuse and good
maintainance but it is all the electrical controls that will be your
biggest headache with time. If you lift it and install oversized tires
you will shorten the life of drivetrain and front end parts some. How
much depends on what you do and how you use it. Keep it 100% stock if
max life span is your goal.
The term is "not economical to repair". I never used to concern myself.
You hear my papa talk, that 1971 is junk, where's my 66 F-150? I had to age
a few decades and trade off my 1991 F-150 to understand that wise man.
If I must stay on-topic, 10 years easy and 20 years is no problem with
maintenance. You'll need regular maintenance; brakes, transmission
replacement and radiator every 12 years or so. My yard man just priced his
replacement pickup at $50k. Guess my yardwork isn't getting any cheaper in
the next few years. That $4k transmission is looking better when the
replacement truck is $50k. Can anyone guess the price of a replacement
truck in 10 or 20 years?
Diesel ? It's hard to tell what a new truck might do... Our 1992 GMC has
over 280,000 miles on original drive train. Only thing replaced in drive
train was pinion seal in rear, intake gasket and valve cover gasket on
engine, injectors. Trans and transfer case untouched. Our 1989 has over
250,000 replaced the manual trans with a auto because the input bearing went
on it and we wanted to plow with it, engine untouched, rear untouched.
Just do the maintenance on it...
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