View Full Version : A Click & Clack question

Nov. 26, 2009, 02:44 AM
I have a 1996 Ford F150 4 x4 with the big 6. It has about 120k on it. Has a new tranny, new HD clutch, new transfer case, with less than 3k on them. Body is in great condition with just a little rust over the wheelwells. Gets about 19mpg average. Always hauled my trailer no problem. Has been sitting in the driveway since late April or so, needing a power steering pump. Estimate is $375 or so (he estimated a little over in case he needs extra hoses/connectors etc. as he wasn't LOOKING at the truck) Has lots and lots of new parts like brake lines, fuel lines, shocks, leaf springs, etc. May need a new gas tank, definitely needs 4 tires to get inspected.

I also have a 2000 GMC 2500 extra cab, long bed, plow truck. Tricked out. Averages 12mpg, 7 with the plow. :dead: Just turned 120k today.

I NEED two vehicles, because I live in the middle of nowhere and when a vehicle breaks down, I'm screwed.

The thing I'm agonizing about, is whether to fix the Ford and use it, or try to trade it (either as is, or fixed) for a car. I've got to decide soon as the plow will be going on in the next month or so.

Pros to keeping the Ford: I know what we've fixed. All major parts are new. And if something happens to the GMC, I can still get hay and grain.

Pros to trading for a car: GAS MILEAGE. :sigh: Really, that's the only pro I see.

Con of car: I'll have to have a payment of some sort, and comprehensive insurance. I do have comp on both trucks, but with high deductibles on some stuff. I have to have 4wd or AWD as I need it to get home (850 feet, 6 miles UP a mountain) and just to get out of the barnyard. Looking at Subarus mostly, which aren't all that cheap even used. Will have to buy something probably with similar milage to be able to pay for it.

Con of Ford: it's a '96. Will things keep falling/rusting/breaking off? I got it in early '07 with 65k on it. The issues I've had have been more from NON-use than use. The tranny was because of the mouse making a nest of shred paper bedding in the bellhousing... :uhoh: I can't complain about having to replace a clutch at 119k since it's a farm truck. Will the body rot off?

Would love thoughts/opinions.

Nov. 26, 2009, 04:54 AM
How bad is the body now? If there's only surface rust, it's not hard to fix yourself. Really! PM me if you want suggestions. It's a little late now, but in the summer it's no big deal. I do my own "small rust repairs." hehe. The leaf springs/brackets/hanger and power steering items are pretty common. Heck, I still remember the ford part number for the brackets...:lol: That's how many we sold!

Having a mechanic I trust, I stick with my tried and true. I have a 97 mazda that I have had for 5 years now, has 200k+. Unless something major goes, it's worth doing the little repairs for me because the cost is still far less than a payment. Last repair was 3 months ago and for less than a grand. Previous to that, I think I went almost a year with no issues aside from replacing some worn out brake pads/oil change/tune up. Also, a lot of the newer vehicles need to have the PCM "re-calibrated" at certain points in mileage/use. I personally prefer an older vehicle beause in this area the cost of dealership labor runs close to $100/hr, whereas your local guy is around $50. If I have a newer car with driveability issues, it's a big expense for the little guy to buy all of diagnostic and specialized tools specific to each newer vehicle. You are pretty much forced to bring it to the dealership. The automotive indsutry has evolved so much in the last decade. The training required to stay on top of all of the new technologies is incredible. But with an older car, you're taking your chances. Everything wears.

It's just a preference though, and it works for me. New vehicles are great, and having the option of extended warranties and used certified vehicles works well for a lot of people.

Is your mechanic willing to take a look at your truck and give you a written estimate? Of course there's always the unexpected, buit sounds like you already have a lot invested in your truck,and it will be hard to recoup that money if you try to trade it in needing tires/gas tank/power steering. You would be better off selling outright. If you do decide to keep it, and need tires I highly recommend General Grabber AT2's. Really GREAT cheap truck tire. We have a lot of snow and mud in our area and these tires have not dissapointed in my many treks in bad weather. A little on the noisy side highway, but it's not a wimpy continental. Very similar tread to the BF Goodrich Traction T/A's. I bought them off a friends suggestion, and am happy I did.

With whatever you decide, happy motoring...:D

Nov. 26, 2009, 05:10 AM
Good point about the newer vehs & computers.

I trust my mechanicgod implicitly. When I lost my job in July and before I got the extra PT job, I needed hub assemblies on the GMC. I just couldn't swing it. He'd just replaced the front Ujoints, and I was at rock bottom. It seems that some parts mysteriously appeared, and I KNOW he did not even charge me full labor. :sadsmile: He rocks, and I trust him. He usually quotes high--and he did pad the quote UP a little (and told me that) to take into account gaskets/brackets/hangers etc. that tend to be the issue with this truck....

Body is great except for over the wheelwells. If I keep it, beyond structural soundness, I would love to get that worked on because it really is a *pretty* truck. ;)

Thanks for the tire recs! I haven't had great luck with tires on it, tend to get around 45k on the ones I've been getting. I'm hard on vehicles...

And as far as road noise... the older vehicles are so much louder anyway, I'm not sure I'd notice!

Frank B
Nov. 26, 2009, 09:16 AM
I'd say discuss it with your mechanic and go by what he says. Payments on a new-to-you used truck will finance a lot of repairs.

Good mechanics are like gold. Treat them accordingly. Dropping by the shop occasionally with, say, some home-made cookies occasionally is a nice way to show your appreciation. Of course, some busy body's liable to think the two of you have a "thing" going! :lol:

Nov. 26, 2009, 02:20 PM

It's handy that his Dad is my Hay Guy. :yes: And yes, I treat him BETTER than gold. He absolutly will not take payment when something goes wrong related to a job he did--even if it's an 'additional' part that he didn't realize also needed fixed or something like that.

HE loves the GMC. (A 'real' truck.) OTOH, he also is convinced I could start working on the Ford if I wanted. I did fix a stuck open idle/throttle this spring, which felt like I was Mistress of the Universe. (all it was was a cable had somehow slid behind the throttle 'butterfly' and was keeping it from closing... )

Everyone says that Ford engine has another 200k on it.


It might make sense to drive the Ford through the winter, ( 4x4, bed for hay if needed etc.) and then think about this all again in the spring (tax refund, if there is any.. :uhoh: )

Don't s'pose anyone has a spare power steering pump or some good takeoffs sitting around for free? :lol: :uhoh:

Go Fish
Nov. 26, 2009, 02:32 PM
Geez..the Ford's barely broke in. I'd have to seriously think about getting rid of it. I've driven nothing but Ford trucks (as did my father), and I never consider getting rid of them until I'm approaching 250K. I'm sure others will argue with me here, but I'm staying with what works for me.

You do save on operating costs with a car - think insurance, tires, gas mileage, etc. I finally broke down this year and bought a Saturn Vue (very good deal). I put a lot of miles on a vehicle during the course of a week. The gas mileage is incredible and I figure, all toll, that I'm saving about $300 a month over driving the truck. That's the car payment.