The 304 (3.75" x 3.44), 360 (4.08"x 3.44) and 401 (4.165" x 3.68"), were
over square, ie bigger bore than stroke. Mine had a 401 when I bought it,and
it had grunt no doubt, it also had weak rods. when it let loose, in went a
360 with the 401 heads. Still ton of grunt, and still weak rods. Both
engines had rod failures in the same area, where the "beam" meets large
journal area.. In low range, coupled with 5:31 gears in the axles it was
too easy to over rev the AMC engine, hind site says I should have installed
a rev limiter. They never let loose out in the boonies, always a couple
days later, and never any knocking, just boom. A Buick 350 went in, case
swap on the tranny. The old tranny case almost paid for the complete swap.
I sold the 401 heads for a good profit. 70mph was pushing my rig in high
range, it was much happier running 60. And fuel mileage with the 401 was
horrible, one long trip with it from Ft Hood Texas to Fenton Mich.to visit
wife's relatives, $360 in gas round trip, drove her grandfathers car while
up there, as it had been taken away from him, health reasons. Filled 42
gallon tank in Killeen Tx, and barely made it to Texarkana. She had LT11:00
X 16.5 tires one her, which , as its been a long time, I believe were 31"
diameter. I wanted 12.5 x 16.5 but they were 35" dia. and wouldn't clear
the fenders turning.
Thanks for all the replies. 4WD is on my list of nice to haves, not must
haves. I do live up a steep hill in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice.
I do do occasional off road hauling (Brush, wood, etc.) at my campground.
I have been called to action in helping pull someone out of mud, snow, etc.
more than several occasions. So, 4WD is a very nice to have for me. I do
have an SUV that has, and will continue to, serve me well when I need the
greater towing and 4wd capabilities. (02 Z71 Suburban.)
I have decided to wait a couple of weeks to see what some additional funds I
have coming in will do to the picture. I am leaning toward the dodge. The
low miles is the key thing for me there. I figure I can keep it a lot longer
than the chevy.
If the Chevy has been well maintained that milage is not bad as I have
see some go well past 200,000 with no problems to speak of. I do think
the price on it is to high though in view of mileage. I would offer
them at least 1000 to 1500 less than their firm price and tell them
that you can buy that truck or another one. The biggest problem you
can have with a used truck is the nickle and dimeing of repair for the
whistles and bells and such. The 97 body style is well proven and (in
my opniion anway) a better design than newer ones and not much to go
wrong with it either and it still has real metal bumpers and the newer
Vortec engine as well that is based on the proven Chevy small block.
Also the frame rails bottoms are smooth on that model with no cross
member hanging down like on newer GM trucks and Chevies are easy to
work on too and you will likely get better MPG from it than the newer
Dodge because full sized Dodge truck have never been known for fuel
efficency. Finally if it is a weekend truck, if you scratch and bang
up a bit the 97, it will bother you a lot less than the more expensive
and new Dodge for what it is worth. Least we not forget either that
the constant velocity joints in front axle make steering in 4WD, even
in sharp turns, smooth as silk unlike any straight axled front end as
you have experiance with your suburban.
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I think you and I use 4WD more than most here. But for what the op needs a
truck for a 2WD will do just fine. Around here a 2K Ford super cab under 50K
will cost about 10.5. Admittidly you or I probably wouldn't any interest in
that truck, actually I know we wouldn't. But for what the op needs it might
work for him. Seems that the super cab or extended cab bring 2K more than a
I am 45, and can drive a stick, just don't want to have to with my health
and take into consideration I was sorely tempted last night to outbid
someone for a clean, 53,000 mile 1980 Chevrolet Citation X-11 (sports model)
with a 4-speed.
someone got a great deal for $511
well, you need to factor price, of course, but you're trying to compare trucks
that are 5 years apart in model year..
If you're not in a hurry, keep looking... seems like you need a 96 to 99 truck
with power windows and door locks.. should be a ton of them out there in the
IMHO, I'd rather pay $7,500 down and finance the balance on a 2002 model than
pay $7,500 cash for a 97 model, based on expected life..
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