I've got my eye on this old work truck this guy is selling. It appears
to have been a work truck and it has two hitch balls for some reason.
The paint looks bad, but I can't see any major rust or damage on it
beyond a really scratched up bed.
I've not driven it or looked under the hood yet.
It's a v8 with a 350.
I'm not a mechanic, but Iv'e been wanting to have one of these around
as a project truck.
What should I look out for?
What's the very worst that could be wrong with the truck if it
appears to drive well ? :)
How can I tell if it needs an engine rebuild or a new transmission?
What about issues elswhere in in the powertrain?
I know it's gonna be a pain in the balls, but I plan to take my time
leaking oil, oil around the valve covers and intake
Crank the engine when its cold, make sure it does not
have any ticking or knocking noies.
Check the oil....don't want to see what appears to be milky or mud
Check trans fluid.....don't want to it burned or smell really bad /
Check the radiator when cold...look for leaks, look for "clean"
Drive the truck....let it get to full operating temp....turn on the
A/C in all modes, does it work, doe the engine get hot...
Does the engine maintain a normal temp no matter how you drive it.
Are the front tires wearing evenly...are all 4 tires in good shape.
Is the fan shroud there and in good shape, is the battery in good
shape, and the battery tray not rusted bad.
Is the body dented up, rust anywhere? is rust bad on the frame or
write VIN down and use carfax, carry someone with you who knows about
trucks when you go to look at it.
headliner in good shape, do all the options work, headlight work, all
interior features work, radio work...
doors shut right, tail gate shut...
If it has a bed linner....look under the linner to see what the bed
Everything under the hood hooked up and functional
look under truck, check for oil and transmission leaks, check for
Go look at a friends truck first....to make sure you have some idea
of what it looks like under the hood.
Thanks. I'm going to see it during Lunch Today.
Out of curiosity. Anybody know roughtly what does it cost to rebuild a
350 v8? buy and replace new 350 v8? Rebuild the Transmission?
What's a decent paint job just to bring it back to original black
shine? Any reason not to use a cheap Macco Deal?
Do you suppose most people restoring these are doing it themselves?
Also, I was wondering about the best way to move Project trucks
around. I really don't want to get a Tag, Liability Insurance, ex for
until It's ready. But I will have to drive a mile to my mechanic every
month or so. I'm thinking of just making cardboard tag with the words
"Project Truck" and having my dad follow me in his truck with the
hazards when I have to move it. I think it would have to be a real
asshole cop to ticket that right?
Don't call attention to yourself with signs or hazard lights.
Also realize it's gonna cost bucks and then more bucks, especially if
you need someone to do most of the work for ya
One kid I knew bought a running '64 Malibu, cause he wanted to "built
Ended up taking it apart, spent money buying a posi rear end,
suspension and brake parts then it sat there for years till he gave it
away (as a basket case)
Macco paint job? Might last ya 5 years (or less)
If you are planning to restore this truck and use outside sources for a
large part of the work it's gonna really hurt the pocketbook. I spent 2 yrs
restoring and upgrading a 83 K1500 and ended up with a little over 20K in
the project. I did everything with the exception of engine machine work. In
my particular area a nice 80's fullsize will fetch 6-9 K and a very nice
restored truck might pull in 12-15 K. Mine is 100% rust free. 4X4 with a 4"
lift running on 35's. Properly lifted. Fresh roller 350 with TPI. Fresh 700
R4. Rebuilt, regeared diffs. New or like new interior and the list goes on.
In todays economy I would be lucky to get 10-12K out of my truck. Outside
work would cost near that for a quality paintjob, engine and transmission
removal and rebuild. Restoring is not cheap, especially if someone is doing
the work for you. If you don't have the knowledge and tools to DIY your
money would probably be better spent buying a restored truck. But if you are
willing to learn and have the time and determination to start and finish a
project like this, do it. I have built vehicles that took 3-4 yrs to
complete. Working on them when I had time and money and spending time
finding out how to do it right. Good luck.
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