The best pickup to maintain yourself


Old 01-07-09, 12:39 PM
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The best pickup to maintain yourself

Recently I decided that I was interested in purchasing a somewhat inexpensive, used, working pickup truck and immediately start working on it to bring it up to a good reliable point. Its primary purpose would be common house needs (yard work, resource recovery center, home improvement center, etc). I am not worried about an older vehicle with many miles on it since the point of choosing which model to buy, is to find one thats easy to fix and maintain in a common residential garage.

While trying to figure out which make/year/model pickup to purchase I came up with this list:

- A less complicated “under the hood” (few or no computer controllers, no AC, etc)
- A solid chassis thats good for the US North East Coastal (salt) or one thats easy to seal or even possible replace if necessary
- Pickup with bed large enough to hold a sheet of plywood (length optional)
- A truck not to large (looking for average size)
- V6 or V8 (or other?)
- Manual transmission preferable (so it can be manually repaired) but automatic is an option
- Diesel or Unleaded Petrol?
- A truck chassis/body that has the most options available (transmissions/engines, types and companies, etc)

I was an army diesel mechanic many years ago so I am confident I can almost do anything with the right information (internet), some manuals and the right tools.... but I don't really know anything about non-military vehicles so I don't have any idea what truck I should be looking for.

Anyone have any opinions? Which make/year/model would you buy to work on yourself?
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Old 01-07-09, 12:52 PM
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Older Ford F150 as in early 80's or before with a small V8 or I6, though I think a 250 may have less emissions.

If it weren't for the rusting problems on the old style Chevys/GMC's I'd say a C20/C2500, since I remember working on them, you could almost climb in the engine bay and the emissions systems were much simpler (as in almost none) on a 3/4 ton.
Old 01-07-09, 04:50 PM
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Any old turck that sits high off the ground so you can easily replace mufflers and pipes and starter and change brake lines. And one that is almost pure engine, and where you can go under the hood along with the engine and close it with you inside. The good old days.
Old 01-09-09, 07:09 AM
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Thanks for the feedback! Now I have some idea on what to start looking for
Old 04-25-09, 09:25 AM
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I just bought an 1983 f150 with the 351 (I wanted a manual, but settled for an automatic) for the same reason. Have fun.
Old 04-25-09, 12:21 PM
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Exterior maintenance on any truck with ground clearance is easy. It is the drive train you need to concentrate on. Think DIESEL. You obviously know about them. I drive one daily with nearly 370k on it. It starts when I tell it to, pulls what I tell it to, and there's minimal maintenance (no ignition parts, etc.) If buying an older truck, think manual transmission. Automatics with any age and poor maintenance records are a failure waiting to happen.
Old 04-26-09, 05:27 PM
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I have an '87 K-5 that has been dynamite. Throttle body injected 350 with 4WD. Easy to work on, etc. Has it's problems here and there being an older model, but cheap and easy to fix.
Old 04-27-09, 09:54 PM
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Water pipes

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but I am not sure if they are legal to bring in to the states? What are the laws on water pipes, bongs, and pipes?
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