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To sell or fix 2004 Diesel Chevy 2500

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    To sell or fix 2004 Diesel Chevy 2500

    My truck is nearly paid for, so it has started showing signs that the fuel injectors are going bad. Repair shop says $5500 to fix it. My dilemma is whether or not to pony up and fix it, or just trade it in and get a new one. I am not sure that I want a diesel again- they are very expensive to repair. On the other hand, the truck is a beast- and it hauls beautifully. With 212K miles on it, I feel like it has a lot of miles left in it. I called around and the price to fix the fuel injectors is reasonable.
    My mechanic has always said to hold on to this truck, as it is like a "vintage" year. Wish someone would have told me to treat the engine gas with a supplement when I bought it, it might kept this from every happening.
    If I sell it, I would need another hauling vehicle and I am not sure I could get something as nice as what I have.

    Well when the pistons started pinging and losing power on my 20 year old gas Ram 1500 it was game over but then I only paid $4000 for the truck. I replaced it with a 9 year old Ford F-250 for $12,000.


      The '01-'04 LB7 Duramax injectors are notorious for leaking/cracking due to design flaws.

      I've got an '03 that I bought from my dad (who bought it new and takes meticulous care of his vehicles including all recommended preventative maintenance) that needed the injectors to be replaced about 3 years ago to the tune of $5k. The parts are expensive plus the location of the injectors makes them difficult to access so you have to pay for a lot of labor too.

      We used to call the truck Smoky because you'd be embarrassed to have to sit at a red light as you were enveloped in a white haze.

      We'll hold onto this thing until it dies, which hopefully won't be for many years. I'll have a hard time going back to a gasser after this, but with the relatively low amount of hauling we do it doesn't make a lot of sense for the extra base cost of the diesel plus the higher maintenance cost of things like DEF and oil changes given the price of diesel. Back when my dad bought the truck diesel was a lot cheaper than gas so you would make up the difference no problem.


        If the rest of it is in good shape, I'd be inclined to get the injectors fixed. You're going to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a truck that will haul as well as your mid 2000s Chevy. My 2005 diesel 2500 has north of 350k mile on it and still hauls like a dream.

        But if other stuff is starting to go, then you're in a constant repair situation.

        Word of warning - after you've hauled with a diesel, if you go to gas, you're likely going to get a bit of shock over the power and fuel mileage. I went from gas to diesel and will never go back. But I haul a huge (40') enclosed trailer with my SO's drag car in it. If I was only hauling my 2 horse bumper pull trailer, I might feel differently about it. I went from a gas 3500 to a diesel 2500 and my mileage actually increased.


          Original Poster

          Thanks everyone. I think I am going to bite the bullet and keep it. It's a great hauling truck and I have kept it up well.


            Diesel repair is always expensive, I'd get on some FB pages and see what your vintage truck is selling for, you might be surprised at how much they hold their value. A friend of mine has a 2001 era diesel, the body is probably going to rust apart before the engine quits and even at well over 200k people are lined up to take it when she sells it. On the other hand, some diesel engines people wouldn't touch with a stick.


              I'd fix it and keep it if you're otherwise satisfied and the rest of it is in good shape.


                Fix it. 212k on the stock injectors isn't bad anyways.

                New trucks are outrageously expensive at the moment.


                  Like Leather mentioned, the injectors from that era are notorious for going bad. That said, 212,000 miles is beyond their expected OEM life. Durability wise, HD trucks are (now) designed to last >250,000 miles - that doesn't mean all components last that long. (I suspect the fuel system maintenance, specifically injectors may be a 150,000 mile service item.. though your owner's manual or dealership can confirm)
                  Durability testing typically involves rough on/off road testing of the chassis and suspension for longevity and corrosion resistance.
                  Back in the late 1990s and early 2000's, HD trucks were only durability tested though 150,000 miles!

                  Labor and accessibility issues definitely play into the repair cost. Fuel system cleaner will not fix an old problem completely. If your system has fouled for a substantial period of time - the damage is likely already done. Additionally, diesel fuel in North America is not as widely additized as gasoline is.. so your fuel system is likely to see more wear and tear.


                    I would take a really good look at the frame first. I had a 2005 Chevy 2500. Engine going strong, transmission was great. Frame was rusting out. Top of shock rusted and broke. DH had to replace all the brake lines at one point. I lost brakes on it twice due to them splitting. Had to replace the tailgate as it rusted out. I took a bath on it when I sold it due to the rust. We are in an area that salts the roads and the truck lives outside. It is a crew cab so doesn't fit in the garage.
                    Before I put $5k into it I would want to make sure that the rest of it is solid.
                    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                      Original Poster

                      Thanks, Sonny's Mom- down here in FL, no salt on roads. It does live outside, and I will ask the mechanic if it is sound enough to fix. When I fix it, I am going to put additive in it regularly to prolong the life of the injectors. I realize now that it is too late.


                        I am in the same boat ( truck lol ) as you are in- although for me it was 4 tires, a break line, and a computer - about $4500 or more so far. I looked at the price of trucks and they are soooo expensive that I went with the repairs. It still needs a few cosmetic things but it is what it is for now. If I didn't have this horse addiction I would have a LOT more $$$


                          Well if it makes you feel better - I am not sure how much the fuel additive helps. A few years ago I bought a used 2014 Ford diesel with 67k miles on it. My farrier told me to use the additive ( Cetane???) so I added it everytime I filled up the tank. I had a fuel injector go bad after a few HUNDRED miles after I got it, It was still under warranty so that wasn't too painful. Then this Spring a second fuel injector went bad in spite of using Cetane when I fueled up. I have not even driven this truck ten thousand miles since I have owned it.

                          I suspect the previous owners did not do the needed maintenance on the truck before they sold it . That makes no sense to me because these trucks are expensive! My farrier has never had fuel injector problems in spite of 200k miles on his truck. I think mine is a lemon. Maybe if I hadn't used Cetane all of them would be bad?????


                            Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post
                            Fix it. 212k on the stock injectors isn't bad anyways.

                            New trucks are outrageously expensive at the moment.

                            And once you fix the injectors, it'll run very, very well. If the rest of the truck is in good shape and you like it, this will be far cheaper than buying a new truck. We would have done the injectors on our last diesel, but it had other weird electrical gremlins that kept creeping up, so we bought new. And are still paying for it...
                            Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


                              It can be tough with an older truck. We spent about 3-4K getting DH's big dually diesel happy (we were assured it would go another several years after that big repair, in addition to regular mx of course), only to have it strand him (with 2 horses/8-horse trailer) 8hrs from home 2 weeks later. We spent another 4K to fix it, only to have something else meltdown at that point. The dealership repair estimated another 3K but at that point we were done. Traded it in on a newer version, no regrets.

                              There are plenty of stories of getting that 'one' big repair done and the truck happily running another several years. But sometimes that is the tip of the iceberg. Don't keep saying "just one more", at some point, cut your losses. Only you can determine what that tipping point is
                              A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's does that...



                                Original Poster

                                Well, I bit the bullet and had the fuel injectors fixed, $5400. Instant better gas mileage! But, there is a diesel smell in the cab of the truck now. This was done at a dealership- no excuse for them breaking something, while fixing something else. I told the dealer immediately after I noticed it. Still waiting to get back with them about how to proceed.


                                  Once you get past a certain mileage, it's either pay for repairs or make payments on something newer. Just depends on your wallet and philosophy. We went through that with our '98 Dodge 3/4 ton. A few years ago it needed major work and we had to decide to get rid of it or buy something newer ( we don't do brand new). We figured we could at least break even if we did the repairs (and sold it later on), because otherwise, it would have been tough to get much out of it in its broken down state. It's still going strong after the repairs were made.