Latest Reader Qs (July 10, 2017)

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Here are the latest Reader Qs – along with my answers:

John asks:

I’m going to be retiring in a few years to the family farm in central VA, and saw your “What to Look for in a Drive it Forever Car”.  Well, I want a drive-it-forever truck that can be maintained economically forever (at least forever as far as I’m going to be alive).  You had mentioned in one of your other articles that getting a used vehicle with a small block chevy engine was a good thing as there are re-manufactured engines and transmissions available at a reasonable price, plus they contain a minimum of technology that can go wrong.  So, what are some good candidates/years for Chevy, Ford, Toyota, etc in your opinion?  I need/want 4WD by the way.

My Answer:

The key thing is to avoid any truck made recently. You want one without a direct-injected/turbocharged engine; without a transmission that will cost you $5,000 to replace if it breaks. One with a minimum of air bags and electronic systems.

So – how far back?

The ’90s through the early 2000s were a kind of golden age for vehicles generally. They were fuel injected, but port fuel (or TBI) injected. These systems are generally very trouble-free and easy to service. They had overdrive transmissions – but four or five-speed overdrive transmissions that were relatively simple, durable – and (if they failed) not cost-prohibitive to rebuild/replace.

They had air bags – but generally just two (maybe four, in some case). Not six or eight, as now. They tended to not have LCD touchscreens or climate control air conditioning and other expensive-to-fix electronics.

I personally really like the ’90s-era/through early 2000s GM 1500s; the older models have throttle-body (TBI) injected 350 V8s and these are as close to unkillable (and easy to revive if that ever happens) as it gets. They have four-speed overdrive automatics (or five-speed manuals) and minimal extraneous crap to break and cost you money.

The Ford F-150 with the 5.0/5.8 (302 and 351 V8) and the straight six is also a great choice, for the same reasons.

Nothing wrong with same-era Dodge trucks, either – except they have bodies and frames that seem to be more rust-prone. But that’s easier to fix than air bags!

If you are open to something smaller, the Nissan “truck” (not named) which later became the Frontier is a great choice, too – up to the 2004 models, after which they got bigger and more complicated. I have owned two of these and vouch for them personally.

The Toyota T100 is another good truck.

Just restrict your search to stuff built before the mid-2000s and you should be fine!

Hope this helps…





  1. Saturday night a friend and his buddy went to Mexico, something to do with his Tahoe that had been wrecked a couple weeks earlier by a guy he loaned it to. He hits a deer about 3 am and all 6 airbags on the ’07 deploy even though there’s barely any body damage. He’s sick and you can guess what the insurance company will say. To repeat and repeat what I’ve said so many times, I don’t want a pickup any newer than a ’94, the last year for no airbags. My old 93 Chevy Turbo Diesel one ton 4WD rode better, handled better, got better mileage with more power and was much more comfortable than the 2000 Z 71, a veritable electronic nightmare, harsh riding, no handling, plastic everything POS. Every handle from the endgate to the door was steel on the 93 and plastic on the 2000. I’ve already replaced all the guts in the 2000’s endgate. The frame, godalmighty, the frame on the ’93 is 3 times the size of the 2000 and now I’m getting vibration I’m afraid is from the rear-end, the very reason I detest half ton pickups. A full-floater never dies it just needs new bearings every 3-400,000 miles(if it’s worked hard) and brakes maybe every quarter million to 400K. And the room in the ’93 seems like it’s twice as much….and it is a good bit more. Here in grasshopper land the side windows on the Z stayed covered with goo just like the windshield. Every now and then guts would fly off the big chrome mirrors on the 93 but that was it.

    My neighbor just bought an ’06 Dodge crewcab 4WD Diesel. He’s a short guy so anything I can barely see in the bed as I strain to look in it, he has to get on the bumper to confirm…….bullshit……

  2. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

    Here is what happened to Western Civilization.

    There is some disagreement as to who is the guy getting out of the car and losing control. But there is general agreement as to what we are seeing; as we all continue to stand and watch aimlessly, failing to do anything about it.

  3. Greenhouse Gas theory has been falsified.

    Concentrations of CO2 and other supposed “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere have virtually no effect on the earth’s temperature.

    The entire greenhouse gas theory is incorrect say Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller.

    The earth’s “greenhouse” effect is a function of the sun and atmospheric pressure, which results from gravity and the mass of the atmosphere, rather than the amount of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and water vapor in the atmosphere.

    The same is true for other planets and moons with a hard surface, and can be verified by analyzing the temperature and atmospheric data of various celestial bodies collected by NASA.

    So precise is the formula, scientists have been able to correctly predict the temperature of other celestial bodies not included in the original analysis.


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