Sell truck as-is or repair then sell?

'93 f-150, 4.9L straight six engine, auto trans, 4WD, some body damage and some rust but nothing major, your basic knock around, foul weather, haul stuff and don’t care what you look like truck. I’ve had this truck for over a decade now but I really just don’t have much use for it anymore. It needs a few repairs and as far as my needs are concerned, there’s no reason to put more money into it. To get this back into running shape as a weekend project or fishing/camping rig, I would need to have the following repairs done:

    • The starter has been chewing up the flywheel for some time now and they’ve finally failed. Both need to be replaced at a cost of $800-$1,000. Until I have this done I can’t even start the engine.
  1. The bushings in the driver’s door hinges are worn badly. If you open the door and then lift up, there’s quite a bit of vertical play. Because of this sagging, the interior door handle is broken. The door needs to be removed, have new hinges installed and re-hung and then replace the broken latch mechanism for about $400.

  2. The engine is good but could use a good tune up.

In good running condition, this truck is maybe worth $2500 as a private sale and maybe half that as a trade in. I’ve had a person offer to buy the truck as-is for $300. Apparently the straight six engine in it is in demand to power irrigation pumps and he wants to cut the shell of the truck in half, turning the bed and rear axle into a trailer. I can’t justify spending this kind of repair money on a truck I don’t need BUT do you think I can make the repairs and then recoup that cost with the higher sale price of a truck that actually runs? Should I gamble on the repairs or take the $300 bird in hand?

If it was me, I think I’d sell it as is rather than put money into it.

What’s the rest of the truck like? It sounds to me like you are going to throw $1400 into a truck that might not be worth $1400 when you’re done with it. You’re better off taking the $300.

Where are you located (generally) and what kind of cab is it? There’s an amazing amount of variation in what an old pickup will go for from place to place.

Are you totally sure a new starter alone won’t address the flywheel issue? That might be worth the gamble, since the value of even an imperfectly running truck will be a heck of a lot more than completely non-running. Depending on your DIY tolerance, it should be pretty easy to pull the starter yourself and then eyeball the flywheel teeth as someone rotates the engine to see if they’re just a little rounded and nubby or well and truly destroyed.

Also have you tried rotating the engine by hand to see if you can get a few good teeth? I drove an old Toyota with a mangled flywheel for years. It was only missing a few teeth, so if I caught a bad one, I’d just get out and rotate the engine a few degrees (or just roll start it, but that doesn’t do your automatic much good). Even if you’re missing 90% of the teeth and this technique will be a collosal pain in the butt, merely being able to demonstrate that the engine does in fact run should make your truck quite a bit more appealing to potential buyers.

Be up front about all the known problems and dump it. You will never get back what you put into it even if you do the work yourself.

The doors not really a big deal. It doesn’t drop the value of the truck by that much. The starter moter itself shouldn’t cost that much. The flywheel is the big deal. If that needs replacing to sell it as a running truck then you can’t win. I got a 99 F150 for $1500 and it was in better shape than that. You just won’t have an easy time getting your money back for the repairs.

About like you would expect for an almost 20 year old truck with 190K miles. AC is cold, clean interior, good compression on the engine, cow head shaped dent in the side of the bed, hole in the dash where the radio used to be. Solid but ugly.

Central Nebraska - standard cab. I’ve seen the flywheel. At my last service the mechanic pulled me back into the bay and pointed it out to me. It’s in bad shape. The teeth are really worn with one section broken out entirely. I’ve dealt with this in a manual transmission myself but with an auto - no thanks.

Well, so that sounds to me like you’ve just got a few completely missing teeth and it’s just a game of Russian roulette every time you stop the engine. I’ll bet if you put a wrench on the pulley and rotate the engine a few degrees either direction, you can move the bad teeth away from the starter and get a few more good starts before your luck runs out again. I wouldn’t personally drive it that way regularly, but being able to actually demonstrate a running, driving vehicle will make the difference between scrap value and something approximating book value.

I’d guess that if you could start it up for someone, you could get at least $1000 for it. If someone needs a truck, that’s still a great deal even after the flywheel repair. Especially if they can do it themselves. The functioning A/C is a HUGE selling point these days with cheap cars. There are very few cheap cars new enough to use the new refrigerant and repairing an old A/C system is prohibitively expensive. If I had to drive it in Nebraska in the summer, I’d pick your truck over one with a good flywheel and busted A/C any day. If I could see it run, of course.

that’s wildly optimistic. KBB isn’t the be-all, end-all, but according to them your truck would only be worth $2500 if it was in nearly pristine, showroom new (e.g. “excellent”) condition. With all the body damage you’re talking about, it’s in “Poor” condition and they won’t even quote a value.

Take the $300 and run. You’ll never get back the money you put into it.

C.W McCall might buy it.

You might be able to get more than 300 by selling it as a parts truck. The engine alone is probably worth at least the 300, but all the other still functioning parts? An auto shop would likely give you more than that, and be able to either fix it up themselves for cheaper, or part it out quite nicely. Hell, put an ad in saying you’ll part it out piece by piece; you might get offers on engine, tires, bed, whatever. Probably even the functional door! And a functioning AC/radiator is nothing to sneeze at. If the windshield’s in good shape, that’s another 75…you have some good meat on those bones still, I bet.

Is there an auto salvage yard near you? They may be able to offer more than your current offer. At this point, I’d sell it As Is. It will bring more running, but not enough more to recoup your repair costs. If you are happy with $300 for it though, take it and be done.

There ya go, salvage yard. Don’t know why I couldn’t come up with that, it’s obviously what I was fishing around for. :smack:

The nearest salvage yard that will come and collect the truck will not pay more than $50 for it. I’ve asked about this vehicle and I’ve sold a couple of previous vehicles there. There’s other yards around here that will pay more but I have to drag it in myself. That’s something I can’t do without a running truck.

My best, simplest option is to just take the $300 and live with it. My problem is that I can’t see it as a broken down truck. I’ve sunk into delusional sentimentality and see it a loyal horse that served me well and deserves better than to be shot and dumped at the glue factory. It’s time to get over it and get a shiny new pony.