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Wise Decision

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Tank33, Aug 6, 2006.

  1. Tank33

    Tank33 Registered Member

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    Hello all I am new here and I must say I have found alot of information and it looks great. The question I have for all K5/Jimmy owners is this.

    Is it worth it to buy a K5/Jimmy at this time? With gas prices at an all time high, and they will not ever retreat either by the looks of it. I am looking at a 1987 GMC Jimmy fullsize, with a 4 inch lift, fuel injected 350, mint interior, command start, but the body is very rough. It has just over 200,000 KM and the guy wants $3,000 for it. Engine, Tranny, Transfer case have never been rebuilt before. The truck has sat in a parking lot for the last 8 months and not driven, started sometimes though. I went to look at it recently and I started it for the first time in 5 months, and she fired right up.

    Problems. Rockers panels are completely rusted out. Front fenders have rust on the top of the fender lip. Rear have same problem. Tailgate has huge dent, cannot be repaired. Tailgate also very rusty. The underside has alot of rust spots and by the looks of it would need to be blasted, then undercoated.

    I have wanted a K5 or full size jimmy for years as I live in Canada in the prairies and the 4 wheel drive and command start are the best thing to have in the winters. I was planning on buying this then restoring it next year. New metal all around, hood, doors, fenders, tailgate, rear sections, floorpans, the pan in the back of the truck, complete body off. Frame blasted/painted, then everything in the drivetrain rebuilt, including a brand new Chevy 350 Multi Port Fuel Injected engine.

    Is this wise? Or am I just making a costly mistake in buying a 4X4 with gas at $1.19 per litre?:confused: Thank you.
     
  2. supersize75k5

    supersize75k5 OrganDonorRacing.com

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    ifs its not a daily driver..high gas prices make it a great time to buy a 4x4:D

    also note that the needed repairs exceed the value of that k5 in a different market or region.. I dont know where you are in canada, but I am sure if you hold out you can get a hell of a nice rig for the same amount,


    the time you spend in body repairs, not to mention the mechanical repairs that are around the corner could better be spent on upgrades:laugh:


    even if you had to travel for a nice one, or pay to have it shipped closser, the money saved will be alot less headaches then buying one with rust..

    been there..done that:o
     
  3. fireplug

    fireplug 1/2 ton status

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    Worth it? That's for you to decide.

    Most everyone I know thinks I'm nuts. If these trucks are a hobby for you then sure it's worth it. Older trucks need work, lack comfort, and reliability (comparitively), and ours are gas guzzlers. On the up side parts are cheap, they are easy to work on, and you can usually save on insurance. You could always consider a Toyota or something in that vain.

    As for price, I'm in Canada as well, and I looked long and hard. For another grand you could find yourself a real clean ride. The other option, one that I will follow next time, is to go down south and pick up a rust free truck.

    Good luck with the search.
     
  4. Tank33

    Tank33 Registered Member

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    I planned to use it mainly in winter and in the summer to go hunting and up to my friends cabin. A guy I work with brought a catalog full of parts for Jimmy's and K5's, and new fenders were only about $150 each, new doors were $130. Instead of fixing all the rust, I planned to just put all new metal on. Then have it painted, redo the drivetrain, and she could be good for another 200,000 KM.

    I wouldn't use it for rock crawling or hardcore off roading, just winter life and the occasional abuse trip. I want it to look nice though.
     
  5. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Well, if you have that kind of rust on the stuff you can see then the hard stuff to fix is pretty much swiss cheese by now. These trucks rot from the inside out...by the time you see bubbles in the paint the floors are fuXXored, as is the tailpan, seatbelt anchor points etc etc.

    The reality is that fenders and doors are pretty much 'tinsel' compared to the structure of the body itself. If you want to scare yourself just lift the carpet and have a good look before you hand over a single dollar.

    My sincere advice is to spend some time here, and buy a K5 out of AZ, CA, TX, NM. Find one you like, buy a one way ticket and drive it home. The cost to fix a rusty one will be triple or more the cost for a clean southern US truck with no rust...even after factoring in the airfare and fuel to get it home.

    I've done it twice now, one truck from TX and the other from CA. Both were absolutely mint and 99.9% rust free. The TX truck looked brand new underneath.

    Sadly I wasn't able to keep either one. The Jimmy I have now is rust free and done the hard (spendy) way.

    Rene
     
  6. blazinzuk

    blazinzuk Buzzbox voodoo Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I have to chime in on this one too. I would spend 2 or 3 thousand more for a nice truck. If you can do all the body work yourself fixing them isn't that expensive but very time consuming. So I too would look for a more rust free truck or try to get that one for 500 to 1000 bucks cheaper
     
  7. Tank33

    Tank33 Registered Member

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    Thank you all for your words of wisdom. I would just really like to have a 4X4 for the winter months. I only have about $1,500 saved up. I work with the guy so he agreed that I could give him $1,500 cash then do the rest on $500 a month payments. I was just thinking it would be a good deal because parts are cheap and its fuel injected, which seem hard to find. Plus, it would be an awesome winter vehicle.

    Right now I am driving a 1984 Oldsmobile Delta 88 with a 307, it has no power and the engine is making noise, has some knock in the bottom end, and it to is very rusted. I drive that all the time as it is all I can afford to buy right now. I hate carbs in the winter, you have to babysit the gas pedal so it wont stall, plus, no command start. Maybe I am being to fussy.

    Oh well, do with what you got right?

    If I DID buy this thing, mechanically, do these things break down lots? If I drove it nice, no off roading, would the engine, tranny, transfer case hold out for at least a year?? The truck has never been abused, just the body got so rough from him lending the truck to friends who rammed a snowmobile ski into the tailgate:mad:
     
  8. bear76

    bear76 1/2 ton status

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    I read an artical the other day about buying a large SUV/Truck right now with high gas prices. Thier point, and I agree, was the money you save now on a large truck (they are depreciating(sp) by the day) will more than offest the extra gas you will use. Unless you drive 50,000 miles a year, you might come out ahead if you find the right deal.
     
  9. Tank33

    Tank33 Registered Member

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    So even if I replace all the metal, are you saying chances are the actual cab structure itself is probably rusted to hell? If it is, I guess there is nothing I can do about that is there??
     
  10. supersize75k5

    supersize75k5 OrganDonorRacing.com

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    you sir need to find some post by a guy back east who LOVES dimond plate..:D
     
  11. sarasotausmc

    sarasotausmc 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Down here, $4000 buys a nice K5 with a good engine and drivetrain, and most of all NO ROT. Mine was an AZ truck when I bought it, and soon as I got it, rust started and is a never ending battle.

    Yes, parts are cheap, but lots of cheap parts tend to get expensive after a while. Soon enough, something not so cheap will end up going out, and throw that whole idea out of the window.

    I'd hold out for something that needs less work and allows you more time to enjoy the truck instead of fixing it. That's my .02
     
  12. beater_k20

    beater_k20 Banned

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  13. supersize75k5

    supersize75k5 OrganDonorRacing.com

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  14. BigBen

    BigBen 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    In my opinion, the price is already too high.

    This truck, my friend, is a COSTLY mistake waiting to happen.
    That girl has served her time and her career as a DD is almost over.

    -Ben
     
  15. cbbr

    cbbr 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I agree. Save your $$$ and fly down here to buy a truck. At $500/month you will have $5000 in 7 months. That's what I paid for mine with less than 90,000 original miles, no rust and clean as it was in the showroom.
     
  16. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    buying a truck like a lod blazer or jimmy is more out of love for old chevy iron then necessity for a reliable and good gas milage transportation vehicle. if you want a good running DD that is not a project truck I would not get one.

    its just like when people buy a big 1 ton crew cab 4X4 then worry about gas milage. dont buy a truck that big if your gonna worry about it. I have never calculated gas milage on any car or truck I have ever owned. because I just dont care and I KNOW they get bad gas milage, its not rocket science.

    from either being built motors or big trucks with low gears or even my neglect and there just not running good, I know as I said the milage is not there. but what I gain in other areas far exceeds the want for good milage period. hauling, towing capacity, the size of a big truck is generaly more safe in an accident any day over a small car.

    a classic of an old chevy truck just makes me happy. thats why I own 4 of them and want more if my woman would let me have more, but she cut me off at 4.

    so, if you are on a limited budget, and dont have the means to fix her up, repair, or time to work on it and gas milage IS a concern dont buy it. if you can do the work needed and dont mind the fact that you WILL get poor milage, and you just love to have some old chevy iron get one and enjoy it.
     
  17. bear76

    bear76 1/2 ton status

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    I agree ^^. I love old Chevy iron. But I've found myself tring to improve MPG like others try to make more HP. Same concept both those ideas, try to get more out of what you got and improve over time. I don't think I will get 50mpg but 20-25 maybe.
     
  18. BigBen

    BigBen 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Absolutely.


    I love my K5... but I never bought one while in Michigan for the same reasons I would be scared of this one.

    I waited until I had a dependable DD and was living in California. Then I picked up what I believe is a beautiful '74 with all the original parts and completely unmolested.

    I brought it back to Michigan when I moved back and I am VERY happy that I didn't buy a "rust-bucket' and try to fix it.

    Even so, I've probably spent 10x the time wrenching than driving... because I love working on that old chunk of steel.

    A guy at work asked how I could have NO Idea what MPG the '74 got (he was trying to compare to his '75 corvette)!

    I just let him know that if he was worried about gas mileage, he was in the wrong hobby. :D
     
  19. cbbr

    cbbr 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Not to hijack, but more so the original poster won't be led astray - you can't get 25 mpg out of a 1969-91 FSC. If you dropped my Suburban out of a plane 25 miles up with 1 gallon in it, it would still run out before landing. Good gas mileage is not even something you consider.
     
  20. BigBen

    BigBen 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Good point!

    My Stock '85 (305ci engine) with 32" tires made about 11-13 MPG normally with 15 being a REALLY lofty goal!

    Set the expectations for a new K5 owner accordingly!
     

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