atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

The Story of the $2,000 Truck

In February I went to a used car lot to look at a truck. The asking price was $1995. Full-size GMC pickup, 305, auto; no AC or stereo. It turns out it was a 1989. Had 117k on the clock. My Dad had a 1988 Silverado with that engine/trans combo and it was still running strong at 170k.

If the $1,995 figure was firm, the salesman did not mention that when I talked to him about it.

I looked it over, took it for a drive. I found the following problems:

1) Exhaust manifold leak.
2) WICKED shimmy at 35 MPH. Gave LF tire the wiggle test and found MAJOR play in it--probably a ball joint.
3) Rusted-out rear shocks
4) Rust on driver's side, covered with duct tape and painted. Rust around rear wheel arches, also covered with new chrome trim pieces.
5) Headliner pulled loose in spots
6) Seat torn
7) Turn signal light out
8) driver's seatbelt won't latch

For all of that, the engine was strong and the trans shifted nicely. I thought I'd talk price with the guy. Here's how that conversation went:

Salesman: How'd it go, boss?
Me: Well, it needs an exhaust manifold gasket--
S: Yeah, but it's $2k! It runs perfect, don't it?
M: The engine runs very well, but--
S: What do you want for a $2k truck? Didn't I say the engine was perfect, with no leaks?
M: thinking: an exhaust leak is still a leak Yes, the engine and transmission are fine. But I--
S: But it's TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS! You aren't gonna get a perfect truck for TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS!
M: Right, but--
S: The engine and transmission are perfect! That's 90% of it right there!
M: Thinking: FUCK this Well, I don't think this is the truck for me....

I have to say the guy was an excellent salesman. The problem is, he sold the wrong thing! He didn't sell me a truck; he sold me on leaving that place and never coming back....

To be honest, I would have gladly paid $1500 for the thing. The engine and trans were, as he said, in great shape. But the rust was significant. The paint job was not in good shape. It's seventeen years old and didn't even have air conditioning!

Not to mention, of course, needing a BALL JOINT before I could even drive it any distance. At a shop that'd probably be $200 easy--what's a ball joint for a GMC 2500 run? And of course after having a ball joint replaced, a vehicle needs a four-wheel alignment, so add at least $60 to that figure.

The rear shocks--the upper housing on the one on the driver's side was rusted through. How much do shocks run? $20 each? $40? I know that a shop would charge $100, easy, for two rear shocks on the thing.

But I have this thing about people not letting me finish my sentences, particularly when I am thinking about opening up my checkbook and giving them money for something. If we could have come to an agreement on the price of the thing, I would then have had one question for him: "Will you take a personal check, or shall we wait for the bank to open so I can give you a cashier's check?" I could have paid the $1,995 for it--it would have eradicated my checking account, but I could have done it--but I was not about to pay full asking price for a vehicle which needed at least $300 worth of suspension work to be safe to drive.

If it had not had all the damn rust, I might have been more inclined to pay $1,995 for it, even with the mechanical deficits...but oh well. With the rust, and lacking even air conditioning, it was a $1,000 truck at best, anyway.

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  • #7603: Absolutely correct

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