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LordTurbonia New Reader
2/1/11 11:56 a.m.

For you TL, DR types: Dodge D150 Adventurer is the truck in question.

My roommate's 96 Accord (4 cyl . . . an F22? I'm not a Honda person) lost compression in cylinder 3 and sounds like ass.

He's an enormous girl's blouse when it comes to cars, and he refuses to even drive it unless he is absolutely forced. I can't really blame him, mainly because I told him all sorts of semi-joking mess about interference engines and things crashing into things without realizing that his understanding of the internal combustion engine is limited. Not to say he isn't handy; he gets his hands dirty and fixes his own stuff when he can . . . just that the things he knows about engines is limited to the things he's been forced to fix on engines by circumstance.

Later, we start talking about the fix it or toss it debate. The consensus among the Honda guys we know is that he's blown the head gasket or having valve problems. Guy in town offered valve job and new gasket for about $500, which sounds very reasonable when I look in the engine bay. Thing is, you don't know what you're up against until you take the head off and have a look. (Twice in one week I've had to write that sentence.)

He's on the fence about putting $500 into a beater Accord that looks like ass and has no AC. So he starts looking at trucks, as he's wanted one forever.

He found this: Dodge D150 Adventurer and I have to say HOT DAMN.

He's on the fence. Your job, as general automotive weirdos, is to reform his appliance driving ways and convince him that a 318 is only slightly less reliable than gravity. Or, conversely, to keep his gearhead roommate (myself) from convincing him to drive a freaking monster truck.

wcelliot HalfDork
2/1/11 12:00 p.m.

It will be difficult to find a cheaper vehicle to maintain... and it's got a HUGE "cool" factor.

turboswede SuperDork
2/1/11 12:07 p.m.

Other than crap fuel economy and well, its an old truck and it drives/handles like one. They are a lot of fun since they have a bit of "soul" to them and they can be fixed with a brick or a ballast resistor and a pen knife.

jrw1621 SuperDork
2/1/11 12:30 p.m.

The truck is cool and its reliability comes from its simplicity.
Simplicity is good unless you actually like more complex things.
There likely wiil be no cruise control on the truck. Also expect that there is no intermitten setting for the wiper blades. No tripometer, no oil change reminder light, no reclining bucket seats, no center console storage or in-door storage places, no remote control side view mirrors.
There will be an abundance of simplicity.

I know you said he does not drive much but has he really thought though the mpg expenses. Accoring to www.fueleconomy.gov as '96 Accord should get about 22 mpg combined. An '84 (close to '78) Dodge w/318 should get about 12 or darn near half. Is he willing to double what he pays in gas?

Grtechguy SuperDork
2/1/11 12:41 p.m.
turboswede wrote: Other than crap fuel economy and well, its an old truck and it drives/handles like one. They are a lot of fun since they have a bit of "soul" to them and they can be fixed with a brick or a ballast resistor and a pen knife.

Truth..and people will ask him to help them move.

Rob_Mopar HalfDork
2/1/11 12:56 p.m.

If it were closer to home I'd already be looking at that Ram in person.

LordTurbonia New Reader
2/1/11 1:26 p.m.

Given that two of his comments were "I want crank windows" and "I don't want power anything because that's just more to break" (he's a little gun shy on power accessories after owning a Ford product with automatic climate control) I don't think he'll be a sandy vajayjay about lack of air-conditioned mirrors or power cupholders

Mileage is not a big deal. 95% of his driving is to work (he works 5 minutes away and rides a mountain bike when it's nice) and he's expecting lousy MPG.

I have passed the remarks about cost of maintenance to him . . . given his recent past I'm sure it will be a selling point.

4cylndrfury SuperDork
2/1/11 1:31 p.m.

Dear LordTurbonia,

Tell your friend that if he does not buy that truck, no one will forgive him...not even Jesus. And if he still is unsure, let him know I will tell his mother about what happened that one time in The Denny's restroom after the concert.


P.S. ...seriously, I dont joke about old trucks.

JThw8 SuperDork
2/1/11 1:35 p.m.

Im not even a major fan of mopar products and I'd be on that like stink on E36 M3.

In the interest of full disclosure though I'm a complete car slut.

pigeon Dork
2/1/11 1:51 p.m.
JThw8 wrote: In the interest of full disclosure though I'm a complete car slut.

Quoteworthy! Though aren't we all here?

oldtin Dork
2/1/11 2:45 p.m.

I can't believe there's anything to be on the fence about. Buy the truck. I would have said it can be fixed with a hammer and screwdriver instead of brick and pen knife - but some are better at improvising.

pinchvalve SuperDork
2/1/11 2:53 p.m.

I agree with the reliability factor, but in what universe is that truck cool?

kpm Reader
2/1/11 2:57 p.m.

If I didn't have 3 Dodge pickups already, I'd be on that like stink on s*%t !

alex SuperDork
2/1/11 3:13 p.m.
pinchvalve wrote: in what universe is that truck cool?

It's an old truck. They're automatically cool unless molested into an uncool state. Coolness increases with age, and as the inverse of options/features/accessories.

Sorry, that's just the way it is.

jrw1621 SuperDork
2/1/11 3:27 p.m.

The truck has been up on CL since Jan 22 and started at $2k

As of today there are new pictures of the snazzy interior.

red5_02 Reader
2/1/11 3:29 p.m.

Buy, lower, 9 inch wide wheels, find some bucket seats and that thing will be AWESOME

93EXCivic SuperDork
2/1/11 4:21 p.m.

Not as cool as a sixth generation generation Ford F-series but still pretty sweet.

LordTurbonia New Reader
2/1/11 5:06 p.m.

He's in. We're going to look at it tomorrow. Anything I should look out for? It's an auto, so I assume it's a Torqueflight and its longevity should be measured in the centuries. No word on AC, either, although I can't imagine it would be difficult to retrofit if it's not there. What, are you going to run out of room in the engine bay?

4cylndrfury SuperDork
2/1/11 5:15 p.m.
LordTurbonia wrote: What, are you going to run out of room in the engine bay?

my 6'5", ~300lb father used to literally sit inside the engine bay to work on his. Id say the short answer is no

turboswede SuperDork
2/1/11 5:21 p.m.

No A/C on that rig. The A/C system would be mounted below the dash as they were typically add-on units installed at the dealer.

Grandpa had one of those trucks (in butterscotch and white), the A/C system completely froze up on a trip back from Seattle International Raceway. Kinda strange seeing the condenser freeze over. Great truck though, just wouldn't die and handled everything we threw at it. The 318 2-bbl was gutless, but that just meant you had to plan ahead for acceleration when loaded or just be patient.

Being able to sit in the engine bay and work on the engine was pretty damned cool.

Junkyard_Dog Dork
2/1/11 5:22 p.m.

If it clunks into reverse get the reverse band adjusted asap or it will break and reverse will be gone. Check Ramchargers for the A/C swap but be aware that old V8 brackets suck to change and the compressor will weigh a ton. While you're in there you might as well swap on an aluminum intake and 4 barrel kit.....you know, to offset the added weight

turboswede SuperDork
2/1/11 5:35 p.m.

In reply to Junkyard_Dog:

That and check the U-joints as they will clunk if they are worn.

Rob_Mopar HalfDork
2/1/11 5:35 p.m.

Somewhere around '87-'88 they came out with a new setup to mount the alternator and rotary A/C compressor. It's a pretty nice piece with one main bracket that those two attach to. Like the grandfather to a serpentine setup.

Pretty common on '87-91 Dakotas, '88-91 Rams, 5th Ave/Gran Fury/Diplomats. The Ram Vans might have used a different setup. But there should be plenty to choose from in the junkyards if an A/C swap is in order.

Oh yea, a small 4bbl will really wake up that 318.

Ignorant SuperDork
2/1/11 7:04 p.m.

for $500 more than that guy is asking for that truck, I bought a 96 civic hatch with 60k miles on it 5 years ago.

Average maint cost per year since buying it has been less that $200.. That includes brakes all around, tires all around, a timing belt/water pump, an alternator, and a battery.

Mileage is awesome. It has A/C but power nothing(not even power steering). Insurance is cheap...

LordTurbonia New Reader
2/3/11 2:44 p.m.

Bad news bears on the truck . . .

We get to the car wash (the owner manages some car washes, apparently) and take a look around the truck. It's black, the paint is OK with some dings, but frankly dings just give it character. It looks like the vehicle of a badass.

The owner jawbones at little bit, says the truck was his grandfather's, and then proceeds to open the hood and start her up. Now, I'm not entirely versed on the 318's sealing, but that had to be the grungiest engine bay ever. Seriously. It looks like at one point every seal on the engine has leaked.

Strike one: lied about the leaks. It's an old truck. Don't try to make it something it's not. Fess up.

So we open the door and take a look at the interior. It's a survivor; no rips, stains, or tears, dash looks nice, even the carpet is serviceable. The door sill, however, is a butterscotch color. My roommate, being astute, asks where the truck was painted. We got some BS line about how the truck was painted by the seller's grandpa the week he bought it. What. Ever.

Strike two: not fessing up about the paint. It wasn't even bad paint, it just was obviously a quickie job. Hell, it's a 1970's full size truck, not a concours show queen. The fact that it was all one color, rust free, and shiny put it ahead of most 1970's vehicles I see around town. So why try to BS?

Then the roommate gets in and tries to take it for a test drive. The starting is, well, troublesome, but it's a carb'd engine and it is 28 degrees outside at this point. 3 tries isn't outlandish, and once it kicks over it has a nice burble. That is the end of the mechanical pros.

The cons: when the owner gave it gas to rev it, it hesitated, about died, and then weakly spun itself up until the carb started working. At this point, the engine got with the program. The thing is WAY out of tune, if not mechanically suspect. The roomie hops in with the owner, and the two go to test drive it. It takes him several tries to engage reverse, and two or three to put it in drive. The trans slipped, the engine died once during a 10 minute drive, and you could tell the truck was a polished turd.

Strike 3: it's not together enough to be a daily driver. Maybe with a 360 (or Magnum?) swap and a trans rebuild, but the whole point of this exercise was to not dump good money into a bad car. It'd be one thing if it just ran poorly, but the trans isn't something I can fix with a 4 barrel, an timing gun, and an afternoon, and my roommate is gunshy about the trans issue as well, having had 2 Ford automatics let go on him in college.

So, anybody looking for a project truck in Memphis?

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