Older trucks are cheaper and easier to maintain, especially ones lacking computers. However, this requires knowledge, the mechanical kind. thankfully in this day and age of the web, most if not all of the information is out there. Vintage vehicle owners are a proud bunch and many love to share their passion on Youtube or blogs like this one. Joining a Facebook group or a forum about your specific ride is also a way to access a treasure chest of information. Some folks will gladly help you out but do take the time to search these groups prior before asking about your specific problem. Chances are someone already did and nothing marks you as a noob like asking a question that was already answered over 25 pages of discussion a few months earlier.
|First time doing this. Found most of the info online and managed to put it back together myself more than once.|
Although information is easy to find, parts are another matter. Out of production vehicle parts tend to dry up at auto parts store after 20 or more years. Thankfully, the web is there again to help you out. If you happen to find parts that fit your truck but you don't need them right away, buy them. If you get them for cheap it's even better. Hunting for a part when you are in a jam just adds to the problem. Keep some spares. Another great way to keep spares is to keep an old part when doing preventive maintenance. Let's say you replace the distributor cap but the old one is still working, keep it. It might come in handy if you are stuck.
While you travel, keep an eye open for trucks like yours rotting away in fields or scrap yards. I have found a lot of parts for my truck that way on the cheap. It is also a lot of fun, kinda like a treasure hunt.
|Sometimes you get lucky. I got this one from my local GM dealer. Found another one some months later for $10, i bought it because these get broken often.|
Preventive maintenance is the key. Keep track of what is going to go and make yourself a replacement schedule. Your trusted mechanic should be able to tell you what is about to go. this will give you time to find parts if unavailable and set aside the cash. Do not be cheap on oil, filters (oil, air and gas), spark plugs, fluids and electrical. A word on gas, older vehicles were not made to run on fuel with Ethanol which is present in most gasoline these days. Make sure you add fuel stabilizer in your tank if the truck won't move for more than a month. This will prevent the fuel from separating and the Ethanol to create moisture in your fuel lines and tank. This can create rust in them which will set you up for more expenses.
Owning an old truck is not all that bad, it's pretty cool actually. you just have to keep in mind that they require more care than a modern turn-key econobox. Lastly a word for those with OCD, a vintage ride will never be perfect and it will never be done. You have been warned. :)
Until next time.
Living the Vanlife