Author Topic: Another Vehicle Question  (Read 495 times)

yyc-phil

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Another Vehicle Question
« on: April 18, 2019, 11:23:54 AM »
Apologies in advance, this is another vehicle question.

I have a 2007 F350 with 60,000 original kilometres, this is the XL no-frills trim, no power locks, no power windows, uncomfortable seats. It has the infamous 6.0 L diesel engine, a workhorse with its own idiosyncrasies and known failures. The truck is rugged, not pretty to look at, but I am not afraid to dent it or scratch the paint or to take it on rough dirt road. It has the payload to safely carry my popup camper in the bed, and everything I need for full-time living on the road. Which is what I do from April to October in Northern Canada where I have a great gig that I am not ready to quit (and without the camper, I’d have to share a room in a house full of messy strangers for about $800-$1K a month), then for 4 to 6 months during the winter, we are on the road in the US Southwest and Mexico where we mostly boondock. In between travel seasons, I am confined between four walls and keep on whining until my wife finally agrees we can leave. Truck is paid off, cheap to insure, but needs major engine work after a catastrophic failure two months ago in the  mountains of Chiapas in Mexico. We were able to get it back on the road at the cost of a few $Ks, but the repairs were temporary and barely allowed us to limp back to Canada.

I fully realize this truck is a fuel-monster and not exactly mustachian, so I will expect some face punches. But to my own defense, having a truck and camper is part of my 10-year retirement plan, and I cannot see myself enjoying anything else until I am forced by age, health or another major event to become house-bound. I also despise flying, even if or because I was previously involved in the airline industry. So I have two options:

Option 1: Fix the truck. Estimated cost for proper engine repair, what is generally called “bullet-proofing”, will be around $5K. Maybe slightly more. Once done, I expect the truck to last several hundred thousand kilometres. Maybe.

Option 2: Get a new-to-me truck, cash. In good condition with similar payload and low mileage, I am looking at $30K-$40K. I checked a few models a few days ago, they are really nice and well-equipped, butt and back-friendly, and usually come with some sort of powertrain warranty.
 
Some of my friends proposed a third option: ditch the dirtbag life and travel like everybody else. I don’t even want to think about it. 

What would you do in those circumstances?

eljefe-speaks

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Re: Another Vehicle Question
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2019, 12:14:42 PM »
I would go with Option 1. It sounds like the bare bones truck matches your lifestyle just right. There is just more stuff to go wrong with the new bells & whistles truck.

ps - man, it seems like you live a really cool life.

daverobev

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Re: Another Vehicle Question
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2019, 12:27:34 PM »
$5k, plus $1k more for comfortable seats?

pbkmaine

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Re: Another Vehicle Question
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2019, 12:57:05 PM »
Get your current truck fixed to your liking.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Another Vehicle Question
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2019, 09:32:36 PM »
Option 1.

That said, this is a good time to explore whether you could live your lifestyle of choice in a more frugal manner. That is, in a way so that you aren't spending thousands of dollars on fuel and repairs per year.  I don't claim to be an expert on the nomad life, but a similar-condition van camper or gas-engine truck might meet your needs in a new way, particularly if you can find one with cosmetic damage that lowers the price. Otherwise, it sounds like your next best gig will be diesel mechanic! Good luck on your quest to spend less on automotive transport!

yyc-phil

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Re: Another Vehicle Question
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2019, 02:59:11 PM »
$5k, plus $1k more for comfortable seats?

I like your suggestion of new seats, I remember seeing not long ago a set of nice F350 Lariat leather seats for sale for under $1,000.

yyc-phil

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Re: Another Vehicle Question
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2019, 03:14:26 PM »
Option 1.

That said, this is a good time to explore whether you could live your lifestyle of choice in a more frugal manner. That is, in a way so that you aren't spending thousands of dollars on fuel and repairs per year.  I don't claim to be an expert on the nomad life, but a similar-condition van camper or gas-engine truck might meet your needs in a new way, particularly if you can find one with cosmetic damage that lowers the price. Otherwise, it sounds like your next best gig will be diesel mechanic! Good luck on your quest to spend less on automotive transport!

I think option 1 is the best, although as an old car guy who thought his car addiction had been cured a long time ago, the idea of being "forced" to get a shiny new truck is very appealing...especially that my wife, who is from Toyota City in Japan and swears by Toyota trucks, would love to drive a cute Tacoma instead of my monstruous F350.

I've been toying with the idea of a more frugal vehicle, but large enough to accommodate full-time living. But aside from older Chevy G20s and similar vans, I have not found anything I could afford. As I live practically full-time in my camper, I need to be able to stand up, cook, etc. My popup camper is much smaller than hard-sided campers, but it still is bigger than light popups like Four-Wheel-Campers that fit on Tacoma's and other smaller pickups. I also saw nice Sprinter campers but they were all above what I am willing to spend. As for my next best gig as a diesel mechanic, that's funny you mention it, I actually thought about it very seriously, but for my wife LOL sadly, she was not very enthusiastic about the idea :)

marty998

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Re: Another Vehicle Question
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2019, 05:35:09 PM »
I would go with option 1 in your situation. Still heaps more badass than spending $1k a month on a room.

AccidentalMiser

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Re: Another Vehicle Question
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2019, 07:35:21 PM »
Option 1, definitely.

GreenEggs

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Re: Another Vehicle Question
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2019, 09:07:03 PM »
You didn't mention your budget or what your preference is. 


I just retired & lucked up and found the dream van that I didn't think I could afford (well couldn't justify paying for).  I stumbled on a 2016 M-B Sprinter van that's tall & extra long with 4wd, with 12,000 miles for $34K.  It was mispriced & I showed up ASAP before they had corrected the posted price, and they actually sold it to me. 


It doesn't have the payload or pulling capacity of your F350 6.0, but you wouldn't believe how much room it has.  It's over 6' tall and is 16' from the back of the seats to the rear doors!  And it gets almost 20 mpg. 


Have you considered upgrading the pickup to something roomier since you're living in it so much?  Maybe I'm off-base about how much room is in your camper top.  Also, maybe you need a tougher vehicle for some reason?


I've got some friends that are into old school buses.  They are very cheap to buy, but the mpg is terrible.  It would be great to have that much room.  Cube vans seem like a good option for a roomy boonedocking vehicle too. 


Just tossing around some options.


You'll probably need to fix your engine to sell your truck anyway, right?  Do you have any idea of what it's worth now vs after you install a new engine?