David Tracy Bought Me An ‘Unkillable’ 1989 Ford F-150 But Getting It Home Was A Shitshow

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Being friends with my co-founder, David Tracy, has some serious advantages, if you’re willing to really exploit some of David’s core traits. First, he’s incredibly — even selflessly — generous, and second, he has an almost uncontrollable compulsion to buy old cars. He can’t help himself, from either of these things. If you are lucky enough to be in his line of sight when these two urges surge up in his brain, consuming his thoughts entirely, making his hands ball up into fists and his mind attempt to probe Facebook Marketplace via sheer force of will, then you can make out like a bandit. I know because I did. You see, David bought a 1989 Ford F-150, and I get to effectively own it. Of course, nothing is ever truly free, as I paid significantly in shitshowery getting it back to my home.

David Could No Longer Resist The Legendary 300 Inline-Six

As you may know, David has been making a concerted effort to thin out his flock of cars, because he’s either thinking of moving or joining some cult or joining the Navy or some bullshit; I’m not entirely sure, as the plans change hourly and it’s pretty easy to tune it all out, but the point is David has decided he’s not in a place where he wants to add more cars to his fleet, but that does nothing to quell his powerful old-car-buying urges.

So, when David came across this “Bricknose” 1989 Ford F-150 on Facebook Marketplace, it had all those traits that his own peculiar set of pleasure neurons need to fire: a combination of honest wear, a certain workhorse sensibility, just the right level of mechanical stoutness, and a bunch of other ineffable but powerful traits that combine in David’s mind under the vague automotive category he calls “soul.”

I think it’s different for everyone, but in this case, for David, it worked out to a T18 four-speed manual transmission (the almost tractor-like kind with the ulta-low first “granny” gear); a bench seat; a rough, home paint job (in the pictures it looks burgundy but in person it’s very purple); and, I think most importantly to David, it had Ford’s 300 cubic inch (4.9 liter) inline-six engine, one that David has held in reverence for years, as you can see here. 

It’s a legendary engine, known for its incredible indestructible nature, and I think David just desperately wants one to tinker with. So, now he finally has a chance to get one, and it’s conveniently wrapped in a whole truck, too.

I spoke with the seller, a nice man named Clark, who showed me around the truck via Facetime and confirmed that this old brute indeed had a mere 159,000 miles on it, which is pretty much just a healthy middle age for one of those Ford inline-sixes. We agreed on $2,500 for the truck, and and I made a plan to get a friend to drive me the three hours from Chapel Hill, North Carolina to the truck in rural Virginia.

David and I were as excited as a couple of schnauzers who’d just chewed through a plastic bag of frozen meatballs, and almost as smart.

My 11 year-old kid Otto came with me for this little adventure, and I loaded up all the supplies David demanded I bring: two gallons of motor oil, an oil filter, a gallon of this expensive gear oil that looks almost exactly like honey, my socket set, an adjustable wrench, an oil catch pan, and some other crap.

My friend T.Mike drove us up, and proved the fundamental tenet of truck ownership – that once you have a truck, everyone is going to want to borrow it – by asking me to move some furniture from his mom’s house (not too far away, in Virginia) before I even actually took ownership of the pickup. That’s impressive.

Our First Look At The Farm Truck

We got to where the truck lived, and found a verdant little bucolic wonder, complete with geese and chickens that my kid found delightful.

Oh, and there were friendly, dirty little pigs, too:

And, of course, the truck looked very much at home in this storybook environment, complete with FARM USE license plates, front and rear:

I looked it over, rolling under it looking for rust (minimal! Frame rails look great!). The interior was quite clean, with its vast bench seat free of tears and the dash free of cracks. That inline-six started right up, I drove it around the block, and everything checked out just fine. Yes, I think this big old grape/eggplant/aubergine/Grimace-colored truck will work just fine.

I handed Clark an envelope full of cash, we did the traditional key-exchange/handshake photo, and I was now the owner of a truck someone else paid for — the American Dream.

At this point I was also told that the truck had a name: “The Marshall.”

As an aside, one of the details I like best about this era of F-150 is the badge typography, which is surprisingly whimsical and kooky for such a work-oriented machine:

Modern F-150 badging is much more serious and industrial-looking, without the odd, friendly curves and top-heavy look of the ’89 F-150:

 

I kinda like the goofier old badging, but that’s me.

Changing The Transmission Oil

The first thing David demanded I do was to change the gear oil in that old tractor-like T18 four-speed transmission, and since he’s the man who coughed up the money for the truck, I have to listen, so Otto and I found an empty industrial facility’s parking lot and crept into a corner where I could perform the oil change.

I haven’t done this sort of transmission gear oil change before; I’ve changed transmission oil before, but not this one, and doing it out far from home in the middle of nowhere wasn’t exactly my first choice, but what David wants, David gets. Well, at least for this.

Changing gear oil in these transmissions always requires use of a pump, and the thick, creamery gear oil we were using takes a good bit of firm pumping, which was kind of awkward under there, trying to keep the hoses from popping out and just the tiring muscling of that pump, in and out, in and out. I didn’t get a picture since I was, you know, under the truck, but it looked sort of like this:

Otto was surprisingly patient, for an 11 year-old, which I attribute to the wonder of being in an industrial parking lot full of strange, new forms of gravel and the occasional partially-crushed bit of metal.

I got the gear oil in (special “yellow metal-friendly” GL4, as David – who had seen too much water contaminated transmission oil in his day to let me drive three hours on whatever was already in the case — had requested), and was ready to head out on the road. My friend who’d driven us up texted me the address of his mom’s place where I would pick up the furniture, so we headed off.

This is the point where everything started to go to shit.

The Truck Won’t Start

For some reason, my phone wasn’t getting charged by the cigarette-lighter USB plug I had, and soon died. I needed it for directions, so we found a gas station where I could either find a little USB charger or steal some electricity from an outlet, which I eventually did. With the phone back on, I clicked the address link in his text, saw it was about two hours away, and followed my navigation.

But the truck wouldn’t start. The battery was dead. I wasn’t in a position to roll-start it, so I asked a guy with a new F-150 for a jump; he thankfully obliged. This is what your 9th grade English teacher would have called “foreshadowing,” and then underlined twice on the blackboard before turning his chair backwards and telling you that poetry is really just like rap, and old Bill Shakespeare is the baddest MC there ever was.

Driving Two Hours In The Wrong Direction Cost Me Big

We headed off, following the directions, and I was paying special attention to how the truck ran and shifted, which was very well and with some difficulty, respectively. I mean, I think that’s just how this very rugged transmission is – it takes some force to get into gear, and I think the clutch adjustment is a bit off, because it creeps a bit even with the clutch all the way in.

But, otherwise, the thing runs like a champ! It’ll do a comfortable 65 at about 2000 RPM in 4th which is better than I expected. It doesn’t feel nearly as sluggish as I thought it might, but then again, remember my usual daily driver makes about 53 hp.

The trip went fine, and we eventually got to the address and looked around to find that…it was the right address in the wrong fucking city.

I have no idea what happened, but when I clicked the link, it sent us two hours in the exact wrong direction, and I had no idea, being unfamiliar with the area and where my friend’s mom lived, and kind of focused on the truck. So all I could do when I realized what happened is to really swallow that gut-kicking slow burn of acknowledging a substantial mistake, and the parallel realization that there is precisely fuck-all you can do about it other than to just keep going.

I had to explain to Otto that our plans were going to be a bit shifted now, since we had a four hour drive back to get to where we needed to be, and then still two or so more to get back home. Luckily, I remembered some friends of mine were at their family’s farm which was on the way home, so Otto and I could get there and crash for the night, and Otto could get to see some Italian donkeys, too, so that seemed like the play.

I pushed down the pain of a dumb mistake, and we headed back, now on the correct path.

A couple hours in, we stopped for some gas and food. I foolishly turned off the truck to fill up, out of more muscle memory than anything else, and we needed yet another jump. At this point I was still thinking maybe the battery was just not holding a charge well, because of age? It took a bit to find someone to jump us, but we eventually were able to borrow a dozen volts, and off we went.

This time, though, things didn’t seem quite right. The voltmeter gauge in the dash’s needle wasn’t pointing where it was before, and night had fallen, so I had the lights on. As we were driving, the radio abruptly cut out. Then, I noticed the dash lights were dimming, and, really, all the lights were dimming. Quickly.

I realized that this wasn’t a battery issue, because it wasn’t an energy storage problem, it was an energy supply problem, because the alternator was clearly dying. Not wanting to lose all power – and with it the power steering and lights and everything – on a dark highway in the middle of nowhere, I made for the first exit I came to, which thankfully had a gas station.

I pulled in, drove into a parking place, and the truck promptly died.

Stranded At A Gas Station In Rural Virginia

So, now I’m pretty boned; the truck isn’t going to start again, and even if I could get a new battery in there, it’s not going to do much without an alternator to charge it, all of which just means that even though that straight six under the hood may be one of the most unkillable engines ever, you can sure do a good job of making it seem dead by denying it any electrical power.

I was trying to convince Otto that sleeping in the cab wouldn’t be so bad, when my friends Marian and Jeremy, of the farm with the Italian donkeys, called to tell me they found a nearby hotel and got us a room, which is a great reminder that everyone should have such good friends.

Otto and I walked to the hotel in Raphine, Virginia. Once there, Otto was excited to discover The Backrooms:

Find some kid to explain it all to you. Otto already explained it, at length, to me, but I’m not up to retelling it.

The Wrong Alternator

The next morning we went back to the truck to see if we could figure out some kind of plan: Would a jump get us to a Walmart for a battery? And with that battery could we make it to an auto parts store? I did have a stroke of luck when I found that behind the gas station was a repair shop for big rigs, and in this shop was Aaron, a Genuinely Good Guy:

Give it up for Aaron, everybody, because everyone should be so lucky to know an Aaron like this Aaron. He’d had a truck with the same Ford 300 I6, and respected the machine, which I think provided some of the willingness to help, along with what I assume is some innate kindness. He got me started with a jump box and let me park the truck by his shop. He then arranged for his wife, who was near the auto parts store about 15 miles away, to bring the alternator (David called in and ordered it, another big help!) to me so I could install it. She was heading over anyway, but still, what an incredibly kind thing to do for a stranger.

Oh, and Aaron’s wife drove this Jeep that she absolutely adored, so I’m going to include a picture of it because I think that might make her happy if we all appreciate it as well:

Lovely Jeep! Looks like it actually gets used for what it was designed for, too. I’m going to have David send her some Jeep PR swag he’s collected over the years.

Anyway, what luck, right?

Well, almost:

As you can see, the alternator that was sent over (on the right) was the wrong one. Crap.

Some Janky Alternator Wiring Got Us Back On The Road

Okay, so, Otto and I arranged for an Uber to take us to the auto parts store where we swapped the wrong one for the right one, except for some reason I can’t quite fathom, the right one had a connector different from the one that was in the truck:

Where the one in the truck had a three-prong connector for the upper connection, this new one had three separate wires. But it was all they had, and electrically, these wires must do the same things as the ones connected to the connector pins, so I had to make do.

Of course, that didn’t stop me from complaining:

Even though I complained, and was certainly not happy to be stuck because of a bum alternator, I do have to say I actually learned to appreciate a lot of the qualities of a dirt-common F-150 from all this. First, as someone who is more used to having to scour the internet for parts for my Nissan Pao and then have to pay crazy shipping money to get them from Japan or the U.K. or wherever, you can find an ’89 F-150 alternator in stock at a random auto parts store, no problem. On a Sunday. And it’s cheap.

Plus, it’s not that big a deal to install! It’s right there, on the top front of the engine, and while it looks like there’s a lot of stuff you’d have to remove to get to it, you don’t, because the alternator is housed in its own little C-shaped mounting bracket:

Two bolts, two plugs, and then someone with a pry bar to help you move the pulley tensioner (again, thank you, Aaron!) to get the belt off, and that’s it! This was a way harder job on my Yugo, which has the alternator on the bottom of the engine, or even on my Beetle, which has it in a good position, but the alternator shaft also is the shaft of the engine’s cooling fan, so that’s a whole other deal.

Otto and

 

One other note about working on this F-150: As a short dude used to working on tiny cars, this was an adjustment. I’m used to looking down into the engine bays of the Pao or Yugo or Beetle; this one was at the sort of height that made me feel like a little kid trying to steal candy off a high counter. Plus, all the components are so much bigger than what I’m used to; everything feels like it’s made of locomotive parts. It’s just all about 40% bigger than everything I’m used to. But, I adapted. And stood on things to reach stuff.

I got the old alternator out, got the new one in with a bit of crappy wire-splicing, had Aaron correct my belt routing, and holy crap, it worked:

Just look again at how janky this connector solution is:

I’m still kind of amazed that held up.

[Editor’s Note: I’m Fixing this ASAP. There’s too much current going through that for me to deal with that level of jank. And I’m a jank connoisseur, as you know.  -DT]

But hold up it did, and we finally made it to my friend’s donkey-haven about 15 minutes before they left, so we got to see donkeys, and I regret I didn’t take a picture of that. Sorry. But here’s the truck at the farm, victoriously, next to my friend Jeremy, and Franklin, his dog/accountant:

From there, we made it home without incident, though I didn’t turn it off when we got gas, because it just wasn’t worth the risk. We were tired and I was very, very filthy from being in and under that thing, but I’m very excited we made it home, safe-ish and sound-ish enough, and I look forward to doing all kinds of things – including Changli hauling – with this truck.

Oh, one little post-script to the story: after driving it around a bunch today, just enjoying it and getting used to it, I was heading home when I heard a god-awful sound, like I ran over a robot who was now struggling desperately to get free. I pulled over and looked behind the truck and saw this:

Yeah, that would be the muffler. Honestly, I can’t tell any difference in sound with it off, so I’m wondering if it was ever really connected at all.

I have a feeling The Marshall is going to keep things exciting for me.

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125 Responses

  1. Nice! I had a similar experience with a 1990 302. You will quickly weed out everything wrong with it that you can’t live with if you drive it regularly and then it will be indestructible. I went through this in a period of about 6 months and $500 in parts and never did anything but change oil annually and one set of new tires for another 10 years. It ended up being more reliable than anything but our 2010 Sienna.
    The Haynes manual is actually useful (not sure they can say that for these or the Chilton’s manuals for newer cars).
    Also, I’m 5’11 and I still had to buy a folding stool to put behind the seat to work on anything much in the engine bay.

    1. As much as I like what’s happening so far with the site, to this point it’s more Bill and Ted’s Rustellentadventure than an auto utopia. The content has been way too DT and JT centric and while I enjoy their writing (and have for a long time!) I for one am seeing a difficult path to long term success without some divergence and separation from their old home.

      That said, I’m pulling for you guys. Constructive criticism is always good.

      1. I’m fully in support of the topian, but yeah the “My Autistic special interest is Jeeps” content and the “Taillights–LMAO” content is a bit old.

        Hire some interns to write. People will do it for free. Exploit your status as owners of capital (server contract, domain name registration, car blog fan loyalty) and grind em up in the content mill.

      2. No, no, no, 1000 times no. DT and JT are the magic that make this blog worth reading, and they’re the reason I haven’t been back to that old site since the Autopian launched. There’s hundreds of sites out there where I can read vanilla reviews of the latest supercar or minivan head-to-head comparisons. These guys are something special and I don’t want them to ever change.

      3. I think the problems with the site aren’t the writing. It’s the small details that need to be ironed out regarding the commenter/user interface. We need notifications. Once comments get more than two or three deep, it’s almost impossible to follow what’s a reply and what’s not.

        These are small, but I hope they are their radar, and I think fixing them will really improve reader interaction.

        1. Frankly, though, I would much rather endure the teething problems with this comment section instead of the Kinja-Hell experience on that “other” site. This is a very minor inconvenience by comparison.

      4. Counterpoint: That Jalopy site had gotten to the point that DT and JT were the only fun writers I looked forward to reading. So if their site is 75% that writing and 25% other people then I’m all in. I’d say they nailed their target audience.

        As someone who has had a dead alternator and a muffler falling off a newly purchased truck I’d say they were spot on.

  2. Great choice on truck and engine, David.

    Torch, if you need any help, Fordsix.com is a great resource.

    Dad found my ’93 while I was stationed halfway across the country. 156k miles on it, I drove home in a beater, left the beater at a friend’s and proceeded to drive the truck across the country several times. In the 18 years I’ve had it the only time it failed me that was not ultimately my fault was the original fuel pump dying when I was halfway through Arkansas on a Florida-California drive. That was about 220k miles on the pump.
    Currently have 392k on the truck.

  3. I had an 89 F150 that was nearly identical to this – single cab, long bed, dual tanks, straight six, manual, but mine had the 5 speed, and was an XLT. Loved that truck.
    The only think that ever let me down on that truck was the fuel system, and I’ve never fully understood what the root cause of the failure was – it just lost fuel pressure. The pumps in both tanks were good, the high pressure pump on the frame was replaced but that didn’t help things. Ultimately I replaced the tank switching valve (a completely passive piece of hardware that should *not* have been able to cause the failure, and in fact is a bit of an engineering marvel that I think DT should dig into and report on…) and that seemed to fix the problem.
    Also, the muffler falling off is a rite of passage in the ownership of one of these trucks. 🙂 They’re cheap and easy to replace. I will warn you that, while it is tempting to just put a downturn on the outlet (like is shown i the photo) rather than replacing the over-axle tailpipe section, that will result in melting the emergency brake cable sleeves, and cause a sticking e-brake. Ask me how I know…

  4. Welcome to old truck ownership! It’s hands-down the most useful thing on four wheels you’ll ever own. The clutch “creep” is probably the hydraulics slowly failing. Easy enough fix, and until then pump the clutch once or twice before putting it in gear from a stop; should make it easier to get in gear.

    Oh, and it’s not just you: I’m six feet tall and I still need a step ladder to reach a lot of things under the hood of my truck.

    1. Oh boy – I’ve just had an idea: The Autopian Truck Olympics! The Marshall vs David’s J10 vs my Chevy K1500. (Does Thomas have a truck? Make him buy one.) They’re all long bed, standard cab, six cylinders with 4 speed sticks. It’s a natural match-up! Just need to figure out the geography…

        1. Heck yes. This is the content I’m into. I have a 2002 Tacoma Regular cab 5spd 2wd truck that is rusty, patched, repaired and has 279K and works hard. It’s not a 6cyl with a 4 speed but I’d be game to join in.

      1. Can I enter?
        (No, I cannot. I absolutely would source a GMC 503 and enough parts to make a vaguely 1960’s truck around it. And yes, the 503 is a straight 6 of 503cid.)

        … actually forget the Truck Olympics. We should just fund me building that as the official Autopian TRUCK! Capable of towing the entire Autopian fleet – at the same time – because gods know that’s the only way the rest of them are getting anywhere.

  5. Nice truck Jason. I also own an ’89 F150 and am ordering a new 302 long block for it today. Mine is red over white, exactly like you posted last week.

    I think you should look into putting rear disc brakes on The Marshall, not because I want to do that and am looking for a guinea pig to find the right conversion kit for me. No, definitely for other reasons….

    1. I had a 74 f100 with the 300 six. I’m six feet tall, and I always would stand in the engine compartment to work on it. Actually sort of pleasant on a rainy day.

      Be careful if you ever carry the head of that engine, it will really mess up your back.

      I grew up on a California walnut farm and this truck was more or less discarded. Replaced the shocks and one of the rear springs, the bearings had gone missing from the driveshaft u-joint. Fixed a few other things on it, put some truck tires on it and drove it 3000 miles to NYC. The only incident was when I got second degree burns from the radiator puking (turned out to be from a 1956 mercury how the hell did that happen?) but forty years later you can hardly see the scar.

      The only other incident was when it dropped the tie rod on the Long Island expressway but it turns out that you only need one wheel to steer.

      It had a very distinctive art car paint job that sort of hid the damage from a caterpillar tractor hitting it and a lot of other farm incidents and after I hit my first taxi cab it was remarkable the way traffic would scatter as I drove around Manhattan. Great truck until the engine and dashboard got stolen.

    1. I hate to say it, but owning this truck should be rather uneventful given its apparent condition and reputation. My ’94 with a similar combo has been rock-solid minus stupid age-related stuff having to be replaced from time to time. Of course, we are talking about DT, here, so that could throw a wrench into things…

      1. Oh I’m absolutely less concerned about the truck and more about the two nuts that will be behind the wheel. I’ll really take any content including old trucks because, we’ll, they’re neat!

  6. I know you were in a pinch, so a direct replacement was the way to go, but an upgrade to the G3 alternator is well worth it. I just did it on my ’94 F150 inline 6. The G2 alternators on ’96 and earlier models have crappy connectors that can melt and short out. I bought a 130 G3 alternator, new connectors, and an inline fuse to do it right. You just need a slightly longer belt, as the new alternator’s position/pulley changes the geometry some. Pretty simple job, and a nice upgrade.

  7. Congratulations on the new truck! Sounds like you and Otto had quite the adventure getting it home.

    Since you have a pickup…can I borrow it to take an old mattress to the dump?

    1. I keep trying to get a group of my friends to create a crappy pickup co-op. We all occasionally need a pickup, but none of us wants to own a pickup. 3 or 4 of us go in on one, find or rent someplace to store it, and come up with some sort of online sign-up sheet to divvy out the weekends for when someone needs it.

      1. I tried to do this in my old neighborhood before I moved. There were about 6 houses there that were all somewhat in touch with each other, all had guys/gals who would occasionally do DIY or landscaping or something. I tried to get a little co-op going to buy what I call a “$5000 pick-up” and share the purchase costs/registration/upkeep amongst all of us. For one reason or another it never happened, so I bought a used F150, the next gen after the one in this article. I still loaned it to my neighbors sometimes, but they all felt guilty enough to fill the tank up, or some equivalent.

  8. After seeing what you did with this wiring, please do not try to work on the Changli wiring. You are too valuable to the community, and your family, to end up dead or injured by wiring done incorrectly. I am sure there is someone here that is more well versed in electrical wiring that would be willing to lend a hand, for the privilege of hearing one of your VW taillight thesis in person.

    As my professor told me a long time ago and I posted on the other article; “There are old electricians and bold electricians, but there are no old, bold, electricians”.

    1. As I mentioned elsewhere, Jason’s fix here is perfectly fine as a purely temporary measure. Presuming he’s adequately protected against shorts between connections, which doesn’t take too much. This is only the regulator which on these only carries the IAS lines. Maximum voltage is around 14.7V on the sense circuit, ignition is just the relay, and maximum current is under 10A and fused on the exciter. I do NOT like the connection strength, but, it’s not completely unsafe.

      But that tape fix HAS to be resolved ASAP because it is not at all watertight nor are the connections adequate. Appropriate butt-splicing would be a 100% okay fix here though. There’s no fusible links, and it’s all 15V or below. However, said splice MUST be pigtails from the correct factory watertight connection or elimination of the factory connector and permanent installation. Otherwise it WILL have severe corrosion that will quite literally destroy the entire harness in very short order.
      Which is a long way of saying: the truck won’t burn down or kill you instantly, but get the correct alternator ASAP.

  9. There is a lot to be said for making cars easy to work on. It is so, SO satisfying to open up a hood, say “yup, there it is,” and replace the broken thing with minimal effort.

    And a well-organized engine bay is a treat. Everytime I open the hood of my wife’s Sienna, I am actually calmed by how nicely laid out it is. Don’t get me wrong, I am not doing the spark plugs on it — someone with smaller, thinner arms will get that pleasure.

    I have done the starter on an SVT Contour. It was the opposite of that. As would be the plugs on my Thunderbird Super Coupe — Ford spec’d dropping the engine for that, but luckily I had documentation that they had been done recently when I bought the car.

    1. Extrapolating from the single data point available, I would say you need to work with him on a janky website for quite a few years then collectively decide to start your own better one. Good luck! 😉

  10. Wait, did you say farm truck?
    … yep, those are exemption tags.
    Good luck – you’re going to need it. There’s a reason virtually no mechanic will even put farm trucks on a lift, much less agree to fix anything.

    As for the wiring – as a temporary (and strictly temporary) fix, it’s perfectly fine. It has to immediately be addressed because it’s not water safe, but it’s not overly dangerous. The actual high current cables are bolted to the rear. The splice is only carrying IAS. So why wasn’t the charge fault indicator lighting? Well… farm truck is the point where I ran away.
    I’m gonna be over here, well away from any lift willing to risk it.

    1. Yes, because mechanics don’t exist in the entire middle of the country where people farm, and if they did, refusing to work on common vehicles would be great for their reputation.

      Farm trucks usually have above average frames because they don’t run on salted roads much. They also usually live in the machine sheds, out of the weather, further reducing corrosion. They’re easier to work on than other vehicles their age.

        1. Hi, we clearly haven’t had the pleasure. I’ve lived my entire life in IL other than college in MO and worked on the family farm since I was 13.

          We’ve been paring down the farm trucks as all the scurrying is pretty much done with side by sides, so our last expendable one was sold last year. All have been solid and working properly.

          You can keep blustering, but your constant need to post a novel when a couple sentences will do isn’t proving you know what you’re talking about.

      1. They also usually become farm trucks after deteriorating to a point where it is no longer worthwhile to bother keeping them roadworthy, and are then kept together with duct tape and baling wire until something expensive and important enough breaks and it becomes scrap.

      1. Sure, you got lucky. But for every decent farm truck, there’s easily 100 where they patched a C-channel in the frame with a busted Harbor Freight welder and some cheap sheet steel scrap they had laying around. For every untouched electrical system, there’s 200 where they spliced the plow in with wire nuts 20 years ago and just let it ride even when it stopped moving. (You think I’m joking – I’m absolutely not. Check out Watch Wes Work on YouTube. He does a lot of farm trucks – and turns away even more, I’m sure.)

        Which is why mechanics won’t work on them generally. Because of strict liability and reasonable precaution. Once you hand me the keys to your box of bondo and mystery metals, I am liable for pretty much anything that happens to it. If you hooked up the battery with speaker wire and it bursts into flames when I start it? That’s coming out of my insurance.
        If I put it up on the lift and your bodge welds to the frame snap and make an origami truck, the first thing I’m going to be asked is why I didn’t check if the frame was safe to put on the lift. Because remember; I’m allegedly the mechanic. I’m expected to know what is and isn’t safe, and to not do anything which would be reasonably considered dangerous. (i.e. if I see a bunch of booger welds on the frame, whether or not things are straight, I put that on the lift then it’s all on me.)

        And these are farm trucks. They are ridden hard, put away wet, and might get an oil change once a year if there’s time and money. There usually isn’t. Most of them end up ‘farm trucks’ because they quit passing emissions, the cost to repair correctly exceeded the value, or they were already used up. Farming is a noble pursuit, but one with dogshit pay relative to absolutely ruinous expenses.
        Need a new hay baler for your 500 acre farm? A new John Deere will cost you $50k+, a 15+ year old New Holland over $10k. Your cash corn costs over $650 per acre to plant (so $325,000 to plant) with 208 bushels per acre at $3.55/bu. 208 times $3.55 is $738, but you probably won’t get 208 from every acre, so we’ll call it $360,000 net. (Those are 2019 numbers, BTW.)
        So your farm made a whole $35,000 off the crop before all other expenses like the mortgage, fertilizer, pesticides, the water, diesel and gas, labor, and any equipment that broke. And the crop market and climate is extremely volatile – one bad thunderstorm can turn the entire crop into a loss. And it’s not like you can just go plant another crop immediately. Corn needs ~120GDD (Growing Degree Days,) so you might get 3 or 4 harvests per year in a temperate climate, but that obviously also puts a lot more strain on the equipment.

        Understand, I’m not looking down on them for it. Fact is, they gotta do what they gotta do. If that doesn’t get planted or that piece of equipment doesn’t get moved by that day, they easily could lose the whole crop. The truck used to do field runabouts and the like that doesn’t need to smog or pass safety? That’s all the way at the bottom of the fix-it-right list, and rightfully so. Family farms don’t get jack for aid – it all goes to the megacorps – and bankruptcy and delinquency rates have been at 2009 levels. It’s bad. (We can’t compare to the Dust Bowl or Great Depression because Chapter 12 didn’t actually exist until 1986! Eesh.)

        But man, you could not pay me to buy a farm truck without going through every inch of it with a fine toothed comb first. This F150 honestly doesn’t sound too terribly bad; I suspect a wiring problem since the charge fault indicator didn’t light. Could be wire broke from age, it happens. Could just be a bad bulb in the IPC. (Regulator failure does illuminate charge fault on these when there’s no sense.)
        But if somebody years ago needed to tack some lights onto it or a plow or winch? Well, I’ll be way the hell over here with the fire extinguisher, rescue pole, and Excedrin Migraine.

        1. I appreciate the context and depth of your post. For the past several years, I’ve worked in the Ag industry as a seed wholesaler/retailer/blender and all the statements you made are true. From the point of liability to the “way it is” with farming. For every fastidious, “do it right or not at all” type of farmer, there’s several more that can’t plan out their day, much less their plantings for the season.

          Thanks for the good takes and commentary content.

        2. “But for every decent farm truck, there’s easily 100 where they patched a C-channel in the frame with a busted Harbor Freight welder and some cheap sheet steel scrap they had laying around.”

          If memory serves, this is a letter-perfect description of the Postal Jeep.

        3. Plus, there’s always another farm-truck-in-waiting somewhere and they are essentially free (they are broken, hand-me-down trucks that aren’t worth making roadworthy, so not much cash value) so why waste time taking good care of them? A farm truck is a way of eking the last drops of usefulness out of a mostly used-up vehicle, it’s not like they’re an investment.

    2. I don’t know about that. I live in rural Virginia (and I don’t know that I consider anything north of Roanoke truly ‘rural’. Hmph) and people here just throw ‘Farm Use’ on anything to avoid paying registration. I regularly pass a Festiva with Farm Use tags that I can’t imagine doing any farm duty. I believe that law is changing soon.

      I *need* farm a truck, though it seems this one was a little outside of my search area. I am more than a bit dismayed that David Tracy is competing with me for the clunkers we both probably don’t need.

      1. I also see more late-model F Series “farm trucks” that say Platinum and King Ranch on the side than I do the classic beater truck. I’m in South Carolina so maybe it’s more of a tax dodge in this part of the country where the weather doesn’t make steel turn into red dust. I’m pretty sure any old truck worth a damn down here has either been restored or is collecting dust somewhere while the owner gets around to it.

  11. Those inline 6 are pretty good, but for the love of Mike, they are not high speed / low drag. Keep the RPMs in the low speed power band. There isn’t much more to be gained above 4K. The engines don’t like to rev high, especially for long intervals. Climbing a mountain in a lower gear is acceptable, but pushing north of 4K for prolonged runs will endanger the pistons and related parts. At least they did for the engines from the 1980s. Cracked a few pistons in a few engines. I hear there are upgraded internals that solve the issue, but careful with stock parts.

  12. So, uh, what’s the Marshall Plan?

    I’ve had a bunch of beater trucks over the years, then finally stepped up to a nice one…low-mile 3-year old Nissan Frontier, V6, 4×4, 6-speed stick. I was afraid of using it like a truck, put 7,000 miles on it in 18 months, then unloaded it and bought a 2004 F150 with 230k. THAT truck is still my friend, 6 years later.

  13. Oof – I feel for the delivery guys who’re constantly showing up at my house because I share my address with another house in the same city (minor quirk from amalgamation of several boroughs 25 years ago), and that’s only a half hour away. Going 4 hours in the wrong direction would cause some minor cursing.

    That said, no AC and vinyl seats? I hope you’ve at least got the sliding rear window – I remember absolutely baking in my ’90, moving home in the middle of June (and that at least had cloth seats).

  14. Torch, I feel your pain. I torched (yes, intended) a nice stereo this weekend by applying reverse polarity. Knowing there are others out others like you and David suffering in kind helped ease my desire to eat a bullet. Yes, that’s a selfish way of thinking, but nonetheless thank you for sharing your tribulations so fellow dipshits like me feel less bad about our own idiocy.

    Also, Otto seems like a really awesome kid!

  15. I literally had a conversation with my 12 year old yesterday about The Backrooms. Amazingly, I was able to stifle both yawns and rolling eyes for what seemed like an eternity, or five minutes in real time.
    I always think it’s ridiculous the things kids get excited about. For instance, his latest obsession is building entire shopping malls in Bloxburg. Then I rummage through trunk of detritus I have from my childhood and I’m amazed at the things I was obsessed with at his age.
    Maybe they’re not so ridiculous after all.

    1. I’m aware of liminal space as a thing and know that kenopsia isn’t the place Gremlins came from, but being kidless myself this article and the linked wiki is the first I’d heard of The Backrooms and the specific lore attached to it.

  16. “Otto was surprisingly patient, for an 11 year-old, which I attribute to the wonder of being in an industrial parking lot full of strange, new forms of gravel and the occasional partially-crushed bit of metal.”

    In one sentence you took me back to my childhood. Scouring the gravel while dad conducts whatever business/project/conversation he was involved with. Looking for little secrets the crushed rock might hold. All while a 1989 F-150 waits to take us down the road to our next destination. Paul Harvey playing on the radio.

    Thanks Torch!

    1. When I was racing at Brainerd a family with some kids stopped by. We sent them out around the track after racing was done. It was amazing how much junk they picked up out of the grass around the track.

      1. Brainerd was the first nitro drag event I ever went to…..pretty sure I picked through the dirt while walking the pits with dad. He still loves telling the story of how high I jumped the first time a funny car hit a burnout!

  17. Years ago when I had my 89 with the 4.9, the alternator went out. so i went to the local chain parts store and got another one. It didn’t come with the pulley, so the guy at the store would take your old one and pull the pulley off and put it on the new one. I get home put it together and it’s not charging, so back to the parts store for a second one, that one didn’t charge either. So back another time, I watch the guy swap the pulley, wack it on with a hammer effectively ruining the alternator. I told him, give me a different one, I’ll put the pulley on myself. It was fine then. They also include a new pig tail as they would corrode badly (at the time this was an 8 year old truck).

        1. I think it went away with the 1987 facelift. If it didn’t it must be the only US-market vehicle with composite headlights controlled by a floor dimmer switch (or at least the only post-1940 one).

  18. At first I was impressed by the $2500 price tag. I have a 94 F250 that will be up for sale. Market price is the only way to determine a selling price on these older trucks, so I really try to keep my eyes out on the selling prices for similar vehicles. But then came the Farm Plates and the issues… Yeah, that was a $2500 F150.

  19. the only strandings I’ve had in a long and chequered career of driving cheap used cars, were all due to alternator problems..

    lived in a $2000 1982 Ford Econoline 150 for a year once, early 90s. This had the manual 4sp and that 300 engine, ran like a champ all the years I owned it. Biggest problem was leaks in that tangle of vacuum lines related to emissions controls, causing weird idle problems. I had to give up my attempts at understanding those and get a real mechanic.

    It was excellent for stealth, slept in many a hotel parking lot, with only two fails – a thief in Durango came around trying for an open car, woke us up; and Salt Lake City, cop trailed us into parking lot and told us to move on.
    In San Francisco the cop stopped us as we got out, advised us to put the bikes inside the car or they would be stolen.. no problems in any other town.
    In a Canadian wilderness somewhere, a small black bear woke us up by playing with the bikes on the rear rack.. he liked the way the wheels spun.

    Once back in cubicle life and imprisoned for most of the working week, the van became a sort of getaway car.. canoes on top, bikes on the back, everything else packed inside, just needed to add a cooler with food and beer on Friday afternoon. Drive anywhere, park, get in the back and go to sleep.. Sold it in the early 2000s when we needed to fit a second infant car seat, still regret selling it.

    Pictured with first infant helping me fit a new fuel line, https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/52114038969_85a29c9acc_z.jpg

  20. This is all relatable, I spent a few years driving an 87 F350 dually for work and I like everything about this generation except the opera windows on the Super Cab. I’ve also pumped gear oil, fortunately only a BMW motorcycle transmission worth and had an epic alternator fail at midnight in Kansas City on the way to our wedding.
    I appreciate my current truck which spent most of its life at a glass shop and is both low mileage and only has visible dents inside the bed. I got a lot of use this weekend towing an excavator, hauling lumber and cement and currently need to do a dump run since it’s full of lumber and dirt. Mine’s an 02 F150 4×2 Super Cab long bed and I value that 8′ box even when though it’s 20′ long and hard to park.

    1. I always wanted to know who green lit the stylistic choice of the opera windows (I always called them the “stupid rear windows”). Were they windows that were used on another Ford product so it was some sort of cost savings? Or did they honestly think it looked good?

  21. The original alternator on these is eternal, you have to buy a regulator unit which comes with new carbon brushes every 100,000 miles or so. Can be changed in minutes unless the bracket is in the way and you have to remove the belt and lift unit for clearance? The box usually rusts over the back wheels. On a long bed, you can squirt a little pb blaster or other oil in through the center bed pocket opening. There is a hole about the size of a dime. shoot oil down in pocket, through hole, and oil hits inside of the fender and runs down. after a fit oil will drip on ground in front and in back of rear tire. I would the box twice a year, maybe the cab corners through hole in door opening once a year, and inside of front fenders once a year from behind and above.

  22. This was a great story that I could relate too. I’ve had some pretty janky truck trips over the years. From my commute back and forth between Detroit and St Louis in a 15 year old Dakota to being stranded on a mountain in Virginia while pulling a camper with my old Grand Cherokee.

    My most recent trucking adventure was riding 5 hours with a friend to his cottage in northern Michigan. I was riding up there to purchase his 83 Ramcharger that spent the last ten years as a fishing truck and even more time parked under a shit ton of jack pines that left a foot high pile of needles all over it. It started right up, the engine oil brake fluid was topped off, and I was on my way… to a car wash to hose off the pine needles that wouldn’t blow off from the shear force of the cold March wind while driving at 40 mph. Luckily enough, I drove five hours south in that ugly beast without any real issue other than a bad smell of… probably fish? I’ll save most of the adventure for another story on another day, but the truck now gets regular truck use. I park it on the street and have named it “Black Sheep” because all trucks need a name.

  23. I’d probably remove the connector entirely from the alternator and splice the appropriate wires together with the appropriate connectors (butt connects are fine, wire nuts are not), do the same on the other side and wrap both ends with heat shrink. That’s assuming the wires are epoxied into the case under the connector. If not try to put it all back together and swap it for the right part. If it’s just an opening with wires poking out it won’t be waterproof. Unless you’ve got to make a trip for the electrical supplies, then you might as well get the right part if you have to go out anyway.

    1. I say the truck should instead be called “Marshall Mathers” Because any hopes of it being reliable are “Slim Shady” ????

      (Sorry, I just could not resist)

      Edit: spelling of Marshall,
      p.s.. when the heck are we going to be able to edit our comments?

  24. These trucks have a hydraulic clutch, so no adjustment. These trucks did however have a big issue with the firewall cracking around the clutch master cylinder which gives the precise symptoms you described. The fix is to cut a steel plate to bolt to the area. If you search, you can find templates.

  25. Came here to see if Jason was still Jason, hopes and dreams realized, also I love that the shitshow seems to be universal in older cars. PS. it would have been helpful if you guys would have emailed me when you cranked this up. Now there is so much to read, but it is summer in WI.

  26. Alternators are nice, yes, but you can go quite a ways with just frequently recharging the battery. I have done that with a SEAT 600 across the plain of Spain (no rain) and up from your neck of the woods to NJ in a ’65 Ford LTD. Just unplug as many lights as you can get away with. You have renewed your proud membership in the Press On Regardless Rally Team. BTW, did you ever get the furniture?

  27. Am I the only one who knows the trick of buying a battery at Autozone, driving to the next autozone, and returning it and buying another one? I once made it home 300 miles this way, buying and returning 3 batteries. Hillbilly Hopscotch, I believe it’s called.

  28. I read an article a couple of years ago about how the cognitive ability to visualize a route and follow it is rapidly disappearing because of the reliance on navigation apps.

    It is worthwhile as a safety/sanity check to know your general route so that when it takes you completely the wrong direction, you are prepared to take over, like not relying on “self driving” cars.

  29. Makes me wish I’d held out for an EFI Inline 6 Ford. I do love my old Chevy with the Inline 6, just not the manner in which fuel is supplied to the combustion chamber.

    I can re-use my intake and hedders if I decide to go EFI eventually, so my recent investment in all of that wouldn’t be a total loss.

    This is the third week it’s been in the shop, they still haven’t figured it out. Just like us, they thought they had it, and in no time, it’s doing it again. So frustrating.

    I’d rather drop a FULL fuel tank (done it on a V-10 F-350, amongst others) to do a fuel pump than deal with a fuckin carburetor. It might be a struggle, but at least when you spend good money for a quality part, you do the job ONCE and its over with. No adjustment later, no high or low elevation or too cold or too hot or whatever. It’s just fixed.

    This is definitely not the first carbureted vehicle I’ve spent way too much money on when the carburetor was the only fault. Ya go to a supposed expert and they tell you to spend big money on THIS carburetor, don’t worry, it’s worth it! And the fucker never runs right again. Rinse, repeat. I loved that car, like I love my truck, but I hate carburetors.

    Sorry for the rant. Just ready to have my truck back and be done with this issue.

    1. Been following your trials with the truck. You may want to seek out a different shop if these guys haven’t been able to fix this after multiple tries. They may be good on the new stuff that self-diagnoses with a scan tool but many of the techs under 50 look at carbs and points like we old farts looked at EFI and electronic ignition when it came out. They don’t have occasion to work on old stuff so they don’t understand it and they don’t see any point in learning about it because they won’t use the knowledge. I am in no way putting down these guys-it’s a business decision. You have to spend your time on what makes you money.
      This carb is as simple as they come. I’ve rebuilt a number of them and it’s hard to screw them up because there are so few adjustments. I’ll also share a dirty little secret held by old mechanics; carb problems usually are ignition problems. An old guy will use diagnostic tools like a dwell/tach, timing light, and vacuum gauge. Few mechanics use these anymore or even own them because they use a scan tool which is of no use in your application. They may have tunnel vision that is fixated on the carb to the exclusion of all else. This truck should have come from the factory with points as GM didn’t go to EFI until 1975. That and the condenser are the first things I’d look at, along with condition of the cap, rotor, coil, and wires. Point systems are way more sensitive to weak components than the EFI systems these guys are accustomed to. There are also lots of problems with the cheap points and condensers that are imported now and many of us have experienced that, but I’m shooting in the dark here. The way to fix this is with a systematic diagnosis without jumping to the conclusion that something they don’t understand is the problem.

    2. If you have a DT level appreciation for rust I can sell you my 96, perfect configuration. Single cab long bed 300 i6 5 speed 4×4 Eddie Bauer so all the comfort of beige interior. Hope your truck is out of the shop soon!

    3. I feel ya, man. I once had a Dodge D100, 318 with a Holly 4-barrel. Dead nuts simple, right? Damn thing was possessed, no one could ever get it to run right. It would run great long enough for me to get halfway home, and then run like dog poop. Multiple “carburetor whisperers” tried, none ever succeeded. Eventually one mechanic had the idea of pulling a carb off a junk Mopar behind his shop. To be clear, this was an ancient carb, off a non-running car, no rebuild, no nothing. Ran great afterwards.

      1. We bought an ‘87 D150 for my wife (her choice!) with a 318 and a 4-barrel Edelbrock… I’ve never had a more reliable carbureted vehicle. Two pumps of the gas, it would start every time. Never let us down once.. I miss that truck. Now I have a ‘73 D100 with a 360 that some days wants to be used and some days wants to just fight me tooth and nail.

  30. “a rough, home paint job (in the pictures it looks burgundy but in person it’s very purple)”

    Nope, looks super purple in the pics as well. Congrats on the new wheels and surviving an adventure without any real harm done to you or Otto.

  31. I had one too! 1989 Custom with the 300, T18, 3.08 and 4×4. Bought it as a retired farm truck with an indeterminate number of miles (5 digit odo), allegedly had a long block replaced so I suspect well over 300k. Not too rusty but south east Kansas sun had baked off most of the paint, lots of bare galvanized. When I moved I rented the biggest trailer u-haul would give me, filled it with my record collection, my diesel tech tool box and everything else heavy in my house and drove it 800 miles across the midwest. Some of the bigger hills on I-35 required second gear, but she made it. Over that summer it got used as a tractor and an ATV in central Wisconsin, it was never the same after all that… it had zero oil pressure at idle and would clatter if it idled too long, would not start hot, but it always started cold and ran great. I drove it for 12,000 miles like that. Sold it when the original-to-the-truck transfer case started popping out of gear. Never could get the rear tank to work right… I’d appreciate a deep dive on that switching valve too.

  32. Glad you made it. However, I guess that you didn’t get the memo on Ford 2g alternator harnesses burning to the ground. At one time, replacements used to come with a new harness to avoid fire.

    Also, the clutch creep is a bad slave cylinder. It’s a 4 speed, so it uses an external slave cylinder, so it is easy to replace. DON’T mess up the hose those. Replacements were not available for a long time, so don’t be cutting and hacking the hose to replace it. There is a roll pin to knock out.

  33. My temporary repair woulda been to cut off the connector, strip both sets of wires back a few inches, connect them together with Western Union splices (Google it, I can’t do links here) and then give them some nice tight wrappings of electrical tape, at least three passes. Then I would fix it right whenever I got around to it, because realistically it would probably be fine like that forever.

    1. Ha!
      I learned the Western Union splice in shop class back in the early ’70’s.
      Teacher showed us one already done, handed us a couple 6″ lengths of 12 gauge solid copper wire, and said have at it.
      Kids without a clue stripped it about half way and started wrapping. Four turns in, they were out of wire. No do overs with solid copper.
      I stripped all but the last ½” and barely got my eight wraps.
      Thanks for the flashback.

  34. Oh the joy of the Borg-Warner T-18 transmission!

    This was the big boy I had on my 79 CJ7 bolted to my 304 V8 (and according to the VIN, that’s how it was ordered! Also without power steering or brakes, but that’s another story.)

    The great thing about it was that once you reached 25 MPH, you were officially done shifting.

    Now about this – “(David called in and ordered it, another big help!)”. Apparently not. What you achieved was the equivalent of saying “It could be worse. It could be raining!” by calling his name.

    All that being said, I saw a similar 150 Custom at a car show this weekend and it was super nice.

    1. Yep. I have a T-19w in my Scout (a T-18 with synchro) and can confirm the 25mph shift ceiling, but with the gearing and tire ratio, I can cruise at 65-70 on the highway. Thankfully, it does have power steering and upgraded brakes.

  35. Everyone in unison: “The 300 inline six is unkillable”

    David Tracy, pulling out resume of all-iron inline sixes he’s pulled heads on: “Hold my beer.”

    I’m kidding of course, love you like a brother, David. But a little griefing is okay. In all fairness, I got as close as I ever thought to killing one myself. I’ll cut and paste an earlier post about how my dumb ass almost killed a 300:

    “That 4.9 inline six is unstoppable. Every exaggerated legend you heard is true. I owned a ’75 F100 Ranger with one. The antifreeze wasn’t up to the task of staying liquid in the -30°F ND winter I drove it in years ago. The antifreeze…well it froze in the block. The engine overheated spectacularly and I had to pull over.

    A few days later, I had it towed to my garage where it sat until spring where I expected massive carnage. I was never so excitedly disappointed. Changed the oil and coolant and she ran like a champ after that. Helped me move all my stuff to my new house later that year. A year after that, I changed the head gasket as a reward for outstanding service and preventative maintenance, not necessity.”

    1. Thank god someone said it…I just saw DT call this I6 unkillable and immediately recall just a few articles ago him discussing replacing 4 heads on another unkillable I6! ????

      To be sure though I have the Jeep I6 and 21 years and 160k miles and it runs great in my TJ (apparently that makes a difference) despite having the electric fan cut out twice and me not noticing quick enough. Following DTs advice and getting an oil analysis done as las time was just a few weeks ago.

  36. We would make such good friends…we do what you guys do nearly on a weekly basis here in south Georgia. See inown a kustom car shop, my best friend owns an upholstery shop…other friends have custom rides we’ve done for them etc etc… So I buy a truck (79 Chevy Ramp truck) courtesy of 2am market ace stalking… A city over from us, paid the man and asked my friend to help haul it ( my trailer is a foot to short and my excursion is making God awful racket from up front). Should we use my 40ft good neck ? Good idea! Nope let’s just use Richards 18ft dovetail car hauler complete with winch! So I wait at Richards house on. A Friday afternoon for gary with his dodge 3500 diesel to come grab the trailer… Ride there with my friend and shops mechanics David on his air ride 67 C10.. Gary…I’m on my way 35 minutes.

    Well 2 hours later he shows up…says..I’m right on time! Lol ???? so we hook up and stroke out! We get there with minimal light left. It’s at am old school body shop with 50eleven vehicles smashed around it. We have to push it backwards into a hole…. There’s no stealing column…sigh…get the pry bar and move the wheels. Luckily this 8000 lbs beast ( no engine either) rolls easily…honestly a sparrow fart could move this thing. Yay! Small victories! We line it up back up the trailer. Gary…where’s the winch battery? I tell him in the winch box, asks another question ” do you have the key?” POKERFACE….. No… Well he’s like I can’t remove my truck battery as I didn’t bring any tools! David steps in…I got some jumpers, so David off-roads his lowered bagged 66 C10 over and we hook up the winch via jumpers to his truck horray for another small victory! Winches right up on the trailer and about 8 inches to spare! Get it all strapped up and remember I said this is a dove tail right? Well it’s firmly planted into the ground on the rear. Eh? It’s just how we’re parked on the hill…ok we pull off…it’s ” kinda” dragging… Pull through the NEIGHBORS yard ( ditch wasn’t an option at this point). Did we hurt the yard? YES WE DID! HIT THE GAS GARY! SCEEEERRRRRRRHGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGG… Gary is just dragging the trailer down the road, we get what we think is a safe distance and down a side street to evade pursuit by the neighbors for cutting a new track in their front lawn to finally asses WTF we have going on. No engine and trans made a RAMP truck very heavy on the ass end…of a dove trailer. What do we do? We’re not leaving it, thinking…thinking. well if we put a larger drop hitch on maybe it will lift the rear enough to make it back! ZOOOM me and David take off like a nascar on cocaine to Walmart find a drop hitch that goes 6.75 down unfortunately only rated at 5000 lbs total… We’re like we easily got 9k total.. eh… Let’s send it. Get back and swap out hitches luckily we had a jack. Set the trailer back down. And proceeded to lift the back of his 3500 dodge a solid inch off the ground… Damnit now what? There’s an old trailer park next to where we stopped. Hmmm… I crawl under what I presume was an abandoned trailer and start bringing bricks back and piling them on the front of the trailer and rear of the truck bed. Now that the truck is finally back on the ground we have some operating room on the back of the trailer…a whole 3 Inches!.. just about that time the trailer door swing open and billybob with his shotgun runs out yelling it’s too GD late to be hearing all that shit and to get the hell out of here! Sir we’re leaving right now! Also don’t want to be around later when he find out the 20 middle feet of his trailer isn’t supported and or will know when it bends by the morning, I honestly thought it was abandoned.

    So…1030 ish? We’re mobile but very slow.. 20 through town a few sparks here and there no biggie. Get out on the main road that connects towns… Get to 30mph…ahhh hell back end of the dually swinging like chubby checker on meth.,.. 28mph is now our sweat spot for 50 more miles!
    .
    David’s C10 barely shifts into 2md gear and so all we hear is the low drone of the big 2 chamber flow masters the whole way. Finally make it to my house/ shop just shy of 12 am. Unloaded and good to go by 1230.

    We talk…what we getting tomorrow? Gary said idc as long as we take the gooseneck this time!

  37. “Plus, it’s not that big a deal to install!”

    I’m glad the install went well for you. Replacing the alternator on my ’93 was a little more involved. You see that cast bracket the alternator is bolted to? Well that bracket is aluminum. The steel bolt fused to the aluminum over the years and would not budge. I ended up breaking the aluminum bracket in the process of trying to free the bolt. Turns out no one makes a replacement part anymore and used ones were hard to find as well. That’s how I ended up with a spare 300 engine in my garage…just for the bracket. Speaking of which…David…do you want an engine out of a ’96? I sold my truck so it’s just collecting dust in my garage now.

  38. I’d love to see this adventure turned into an old-timey silent movie. Something about fixing cars by the side of the road just rings of the early days of motoring. Even driving two hours in the wrong direction sticks the plot.

  39. Makes me want to go on a car buying road trip with my kid, Jason.

    When I was still probably 14, I remember driving a couple hours with my dad to see an early ’70s Monte Carlo that would potentially become my first car. The seller assured us it was in fine shape and would be worth the trip. We went on a weeknight after school/work. The car turned out to be none of the things the guy promised and we went home empty-handed and dejected, but stopped for some junk food and had great conversation the whole way. It was great bonding and I remember it fondly 30+ years later.

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