Frugal Truck Hunting....

We spent the better part of last week driving around looking at older, second-hand trucks trying to find one in good mechanical condition that could pull a fifth wheel.  It was quite a week with trucks either not being what we wanted or being sold before we got there to look at them.  One had everything we wanted except - it had such high lifts that the running board was higher than my knees and the muffler had been changed to something 'special' so that you could hear that truck coming 2 miles away.  Nope, not for us.

Finally found one about 600 miles from home.  It's a Ford F350, dually, 4x4, crew cab, long bed, leather interior, added heavy duty steel bumpers.  The motor (diesel, 7.3L Powerstroke) is good and strong and clean with new batteries and other 'things' (can you tell I'm not the engine-wise one of this family?).  The transmission only has 25,000 miles on it.  The tires are brand new.

All we really need to do to it is get a back fender repaired (should be just a patch job), get the driver's seat reupholstered or replaced, get the steel, heavy-duty bumpers repainted (showing a bit of rust), and remove all the business decals the previous owner had on it.  Got it for less than KBB wholesale pricing.  Mike fell in love with it.  Hope we got a good deal.

Oh, we need to get a jack.  We were about 1/3 of the way home when a front tire went flat.  There was no jack in the truck!  Called the guy we'd bought it from and he didn't think there had ever been one.  Excuse me?  That was the one thing we didn't think to check.

We did have a bit of a problem with the seller.  We'd been watching this truck on Craigslist for a couple of weeks and had even spoken to the seller a couple of times.  On Wednesday when we went to look at the ad again, he'd put up a new ad lowering the price by $500.  We took off for Austin, TX to see this truck first hand!

When we agreed to purchase it, he tried to charge us the original price - not the lowered price.  Needless to say, we were not happy and nearly walked away from the truck.  In all my years of dealing with people on Craigslist, I've never had someone try that trick.  He finally agreed to the lowered price and took it for an hour or so to get some things out of it that we didn't want to pay extra for - like a huge auxillary fuel tank that would have been in the way of the fifth wheel hitch as well as a very large tool box.  We assume the jack was removed with that stuff accidentally.

Fortunately, I was following Mike in our mini-van so he used the jack from that car to jack up the truck - a bit scary since that jack wasn't designed to hold as much weight.  I was Nervous Nellie the whole time he was under the truck jacking it up.  But everything went off without a hitch and we had no further problems the last 400 miles home.  The truck ran beautifully.  It's now sitting in our driveway waiting on us to recuperate from all the driving  (1500 miles in 4 days without enough sleep) and find some spare minutes to get out there and fix the little things it needs.

So we have a truck on our frugal budget!  Now to start searching for the 5th wheel.

Til next time,

Gloria - The Internet GADabout


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