Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Jeff asks: I’ve got an ’89 Chevy pick-up that needs a new (or rebuilt) engine. Is it worth doing?
My reply: The answer to this one depends on the answer to a couple of objective – and subjective questions.
First – and perhaps most important: Do you like this truck? If not, then it probably isn’t worth spending money on it, unless what you spend can be recovered via selling or trading it in for another vehicle which you do like.
Second – and related to the above – is the rest of the truck worth keeping? Is the frame solid? Many trucks this old have structural rot, which can be fixed – but may not be worth fixing. How about the transmission, suspension and other major running gear/components?
I would do an inventory of the truck’s overall condition before doing anything else.
If the truck could be brought back to at least “good” condition (this is the term used by used car value guides to describe a vehicle that is free of major mechanical and cosmetic defects; one that can be driven as is, without having to put a lot of money into it to make it drivable) by installing a new or rebuilt engine – and you like the truck – then my answer would be yes, it’s probably worth doing.
That vintage truck is pretty simple; small block V8 with a TBI; GM sells brand-new/warranted crate engines for these vehicles for about $2k, last time I checked. That is much less than what you’d have to spend to buy a “good” condition equivalent truck to replace yours, or even a “good” beater car.
On the other hand, if the truck needs additional work, not just a new engine – especially if it has major rust issues – and the cost of those repairs is more than $2k or so, I would consider selling the truck and using whatever you get toward the purchase of a good condition replacement.
. . .
Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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