Thursday, January 21, 2010


Last fall a friend was moving from Port Townsend to Bainbridge, after her husband got a job in Seattle. They had just sold their second car, when they realized they needed a second car for a few weeks, until the move was done.

She decided to buy a really cheap truck and then sell it again 3 weeks later.

The next day she gave me a ride and asked if I needed a truck. I figured it would be useful for the house-building, so I said yes. I ended up buying the truck from the original seller, and loaning it to her for the 3 weeks, which simplified paperwork.

I paid $1000 for a 1975 Ford F-350 Ranger XLT (it's 35 years old). Gasoline engine, automatic transmission. A hundred things broken, but the chassis and engine may still be functional in another 35 years. 

It's an extended cab, which means I can carry the whole family. Between the very low gas mileage and the limited safety features, I avoid doing that. There are no shoulder belts, let alone airbags. The best thing I can say about it safety-wise is that it's heavy.

I bought a service manual right away. Here are things I know to be broken:

  • The rear window slides are full of moss
  • The rear sliding window panes are supposed to have aluminum borders, but they fell off
  • Turn signals / wipers / fuel gauge / heater fan sometimes don't turn on. Turning the ignition off and back on usually brings them back. I am guessing a bad relay.
  • Engine temperature gauge never moves.
  • One running light needs a new bulb
  • There's a socket under the hood for a lamp to light the engine; needs bulb
  • Driver's seat sometimes leans back by itself
  • Middle rear seat belt is broken.
  • Water leaks in somewhere, so the floor is usually wet.
  • Tailgate latch is broken on one side; pliers required to open.
  • Tailgate is warped, making it very hard to close.
  • Rear bumper is broken off the chassis on one side. Other side is strong enough to hold it on.
  • Lots of bare wires under the hood; what did they go to?
There are two gas tanks. I have replaced both gas caps. One was nearly impossible to open, because they key was cut wrong. I finally got the hang of it, but decided to stick with non-locking caps. The other one had a worn-out gasket, and I figured for safety and shelf-life a new cap was a good idea. 

Reid hates it. He doesn't like the smell. He sees how much is broken, and tells me I wasted my money. But it's a 1-ton truck, so it can carry a lot.

1 comment:

Blue Lass said...

It's beautiful! Like a big banana split.

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