Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Kyle asks: I have found this Chevy 1500 for $1,800 dollars. The pictures look good. It has a 5.3 V8 with good oil pressure, little to no rust but it has 226k miles on it. I am not planning to do much but to tow my small motorcycle trailer with a motorcycle on it and have 4WD so I don’t get stuck during the winter and pheasant hunting (my daily driver is a 4.6 Buick Lucerne FWD). Is this a good idea? I have not got around to go look at it myself yet but I called the people selling it and they would maybe bring down the price of it even more.. The Carfax looks good on it. it has a minor dent in the tailgate but it has a plastic-coated bed to keep out rust.
My reply: You aren’t risking much here. If the truck is basically sound and gives you even two years of service without a major problem – you made a deal. Older pick-ups are going up in value and I suspect will continue to do so.
Yes, the drivetrain has a lot of mileage on it – but the Chevy small block V8 is very durable and if this one has good compression/doesn’t smoke, etc., it’s probably good to go for some time to come. GM automatics are also generally very sturdy.
My main concern would be the truck’s structure… its frame . . . i.e., rust.
I know you said it has little to no rust. Be sure. If the bed cover isn’t a sprayed-in liner (i.e., if it’s just plastic on top of the metal) the bed floor may well be rusty underneath it – out of sight – as these things trap water and are bad news. Check the frame rails check the area under the radiator, check the brake and fuel lines. Light surface rust is fine. Bubbling/scaling isn’t. Watch out for cheesiness such as a spray-bombed/undercoated underside. Use a punch or screwdriver to physically test the soundness of the frame rails, etc. Look at the bed floor from the underside. You must get underneath this truck and look at it closely from this perspective.
I suggest due diligence here because the price is really good.
If it checks out as structurally sound, I’d cut a check on the spot. $1,800 for a solid pick-up? You stole it! Even if the thing needs a repair at some point; even if it needs a new (rebuilt/used) transmission or engine at some point. . . you still stole it.
Once you’ve bought it, I recommend checking/changing all fluids and filters (don’t forget the axle and transfer case). Check all wheel bearings/re-grease everything. That done, odds are good you have a truck that will be trucking for several years to come.
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