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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2003-11-14          68777


I used to have an old beater Datsun pickup which I miss. It was great having a vehicle around that I could beat the crap out of without caring. Now I have a need for a cheap (less than, say, $3k), fairly reliable, and easy to work on 3/4 ton truck. The "easy to work on" part probably means something from the 1970's. I don't care if I have to put some work into it up front since I can fix about anything except auto trannies on these things, but I'm curious to know what old pickups others have had that may fit this description. Strong points, weak points, brand preferences, etc.

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blizzard
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 282 Central Maine
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2003-11-14          68787


Ken,
Lacking 4WD, my old 1964 Dodge 3/4 ton pickup was easy to work on. Had the old reliable Chrysler 318 engine. Got so it took longer to go into town to get the parts than it did to change the clutch. ('course I was a lot younger then (;>
Chained up with a pile of cordwood in the bed traction was pretty good. Paid $400 for it in 1974, cost new ( from the title) was $1836. It had a zillion miles on it, originally a U.S Forest Service truck. Owned it from '74 'till '90; disposed of it 'cause I bought a new F-150 4WD in '88 ( which I still use ) and it was just in the way...
It would, with a decent battery and maybe a touch of ether start at -35F, run on any gas that wouldn't freeze in the fuel lines, and totally DESTROY out-of control Toyata Land Cruisers.
Most 4WD vehicles are much more difficult to work on, old or new.
Ah, nostalgia..
bliz ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4285 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2003-11-15          68840


I would have to agree with Blizzard on the older Dodge trucks. If you could find an old an old 89 - 93 Dodge Ram 4 x 4 with the Cummins 1st generation engine; that would meet the needs of pretty much anything you need to do. Those old Cummins engines are pretty reliable. Just make sure that the "killer dowel pin" (KDP) fix has been done on the engine. They are very simple basic trucks. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2003-11-15          68863


I'm interested to know more about the killer dowel pin problem. Where is the dowel pin located, and is there a way to tell it's been done other than taking the word of the seller? ....

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2003-11-15          68866


I guess the most reliable beaters are the 80's Toyota pickups. Here they are overpriced as the hunters roar around the backroads in search of deer in hunting season. They definately hold together well.

I had an 83 Ford F350 single wheel with the 300 six and manual. Not much to go wrong and easy to fix.

Just looked at a friends 93 F350 crew cab dually with a 351 Winsor and a 4 speed. With $1600 in it I don't think he can go wrong. It runs well and has a goose neck ball.

The older Dodge diesels are good but are hard to find. Better if you are running them a lot.
....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2003-11-15          68869


I think a 89-93 Dodge diesel will exceed the budget. They seem to be going for $6k and up in our area. ....

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2003-11-15          68871


I think that all the Dodge diesels are beyond the 6K mark no matter what the year. Could have picked up a 2000 at the dealer auction last week at 7K but that is rare. A rebuilder went for more than that at the insurance auction the other day. ....

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AC5ZO
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 928 Rio Rancho, NM 87144
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2003-11-16          68897


I had an 82 Toyota 4WD SR5 that was really tough. It was really basic with straight axles and leaf springs front and rear, but it would hold up to really hard use. I sold it for about $3500 ten years ago. I don't know what the go for now, but if I wanted another beater truck I would look into one of those again.

Currently, I have a 92 GMC K2500 that is my beater truck. It works pretty well. But, it gets parked for a week or two at a time on occasions and I have problems keeping the animals from making it their home away from home. I have had good luck with this truck, but I keep it because I don't worry about it and I don't have the slightest idea what I would replace it with. Even though it is getting a bit rough looking, the reliability and performance are the most important things for me. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2003-11-16          68899


There's no doubt that those small Toyotas are reliable, but they're too small. I already have a Ford Ranger so I'm not looking for another small truck. A 3/4 ton beater that can be used on occasion to tow or haul big loads is what my needs call for. That pretty much limits it to one of the domestic brands. ....

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Art White
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 6885 Waterville New York
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2003-11-17          68950


We have several of the old style Dodge's they talked about here. We have none with the diesel but just 318's and we have been buying them in the 3000 or less dollar range. They have been going out to 250,000 miles plus and they do get beat up in the service fleet. They are our bottom trucks and for some reason they just keep coming back. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2003-11-17          68964


Wow, three votes for old Dodges. I'll keep my eyes open for one of those for sale and take a look. ....

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AV8R
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882 North Central Wisconsin
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2003-11-20          69203


I love my Dodge (1994 Cummins 2500 4x4 5-speed) but-- For a beater/work truck the best without argument is a 73-87 Chevy/GMC.

They are silly cheap to buy, everybody and their brother makes parts for them (ie cheap) and they are indestructable.

Imports and Dodges are expensive to repair (when they break and they all will) and Fords are a parts guy's nightmare with build dates and mix/match parts on assembly when new. Example: Ford is the only manufacturer who used a conversion u-joint (two differant sized sides) from the factory! (I used to work a parts counter, so I have first hand experience here)

I gotta go with a GM because of ease of repair. ....


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JAZAK5
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 276 coxsackie,ny
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2003-11-24          69543


1990 f-250hd (full floating axle) 2wd,300 6cyl. 4sp od automatic
230,000 miles,org engine /trans/rearend
just tune ups and oil changes/basic maint.
I've tried to kill it, all it does is squeak alittle,I think it laughs at me!!!!
Christeen could learn a few tricks !!!!! ....

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Mecheng
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 22 Missouri - St. Louis
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2004-01-27          75203


For a beater I have to go with a Ford 150-250 years 81 thru 90. Preferably fuel injected. Why? Around St. Louis the self-serve junk yards are full of them and thus plenty of parts available. GM and Dodge are harder to find. Fuel injected engines last longer and have far fewer problems than carburated engines.
Now to restore one, I'm all bow-tie! ....

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Mecheng
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 22 Missouri - St. Louis
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2004-01-27          75206


For a beater I have to go with a Ford 150-250 years 81 thru 90. Preferably fuel injected. Why? Around St. Louis the self-serve junk yards are full of them and thus plenty of parts available. GM and Dodge are harder to find. Fuel injected engines last longer and have far fewer problems than carburated engines. I just saw an '88 F-250 460 FI 5 spd go for $1020 at an auction that would be a reliable beater.
Now to restore one, I'm all bow-tie! ....

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tw-20ford
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 20 yankton
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2005-06-23          112672


my grandpa has a 1982 ford f-150 2wd v8 w/90,000 miles which makes a great farm pickup. it has a little rust though.he got it for $800. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2005-06-23          112674


Anyone know what year Ford added fuel injection to their F250's? I hate carburetors. Even TBI is better. ....

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oneace
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1490 south central pa
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2005-07-07          113153


Well it all depends on what engine you are looking at. The 300's in '86 the 302 and 351's in '87. You want a ford that has the flush mounted composite (plastic) head lights. I would say you either want the 300, 351c or w NOT an M or the 460. I would stay away from the 302 they just do not have the torque or power of the 300. If you can find a 80 1/2 to 83 with a diesel they are cat engines pretty rare but they are out there and you can easily put 400 to 500 thousand on them. ....

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DK35vince
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 689 Western,Pa.
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2005-07-08          113171


Oneace,
Just curious, why not the 460?
I have the 460 in my F-250 and I really like it.
My truck is a 1991 with over 170,000. Only thing I've done with the motor is 1 water pump ($30) and a reconditioned starter ($40).
I had a 351 in my 1978 F-150 and a 300 in my 1984 F-150.
The 460 in my current truck has been by far my favorite.

....

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oneace
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1490 south central pa
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2005-07-08          113172


I put the 460 in the wrong place. They are great engines and actually better on gas than the 351's. That would be my first choice, but they are also becoming hard to find. Really the only ford engine I would never ever buy or even take as a gift would be the 351m, other wise known as the 400. ....

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drcjv.
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 334 southeastern pa
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2005-07-17          113560


I just picked up 1987 full size bronco w/plow from the original owner for 2500.00 to plow my drive. This thing is in great shape. I had to look for 2 years to find one this nice. ....

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lbrown59
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 931 First Organized Permanent Settlement In The Northwest Territory.
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2005-09-17          116552


I have a 1986 Dodge d50.
Before that a 1983 Dodge d50 and before that a 1973 Datsun.

Three great Dependable /reliable Pick ups! ....

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AV8R
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882 North Central Wisconsin
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2005-09-18          116594


I too just bought a beater-Plow truck for the property. I found a '89 Chevy Regular cab short box with a very nice condition 8' Hiniker plow on it for $2500.

Does anyone out there have any insight or opinions on what to watch for on maintenance with this type of plow? It's my first plow and I don't want to wreck it right away. ....

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unit5alive
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 250 Latrobe Pa
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2006-10-11          135862


I liked the old fords , mid to late 70's with the straight six cyl and c6 tranny , good reliable , easy to work on . ....

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