Hey guys, lots of great info on here, I'm hoping you can comment on a couple of things I've found thus far.
Basically I have just started my search for an affordable truck to get my feet wet and have some fun with (2wd, short box, reg cab etc.). Now I looked at a 91 F-150 Nite the other day and had a question about suspension stuff.
Being a car guy my entire life my exposure to trucks has been small though I have driven several over the years. When I drove that truck the front suspension felt very floaty and there was a lot of lag when turning the steering wheel before it engaged if you know what I mean. This to me would indicate something wrong with the front suspension but I wanted to bounce it off of you guys first since it's been a long while since I drove an F series truck but I didn't remember it being like that. It's important to know what's normal so when I tell this small car lot that they are asking $2500cdn too much for the truck (which they are) then I'll be a bit more assured.
Now I know it's not going to handle like my previous Mustangs or my current Mazda 5 but I didn't expect it to act like that. I still have several more trucks to look at including an 82 F-150 Stepside that I think has potential and I'd just like to know what to look for / expect.
I always liked the looks of the Nite trucks.
There are lots of things that can cause a loose feel in the steering. Were there any clunks or squeeks or any other kind of sound coming from the front end when you were driving it? If not, I would suspect the steering box might either need to be adjusted or replaced. Since you're not used to looking at these trucks, I would tell the dealer you are interested, but would like to take it to a mechanic (or maybe even an alignment shop) and get the front end checked out first. If they say no, then walk away.
I'd agree with the assessment of the Nite, it is a nice truck "in theory". A previous girlfriends brother bought one when brand new and they are pretty spiffy. This one on the other hand needs some TLC in the form of some rusting on the rear wheel wheels and some dings and general W&T.
The front end certainly didn't clunk, the truck has about 188,000kms on it so about 140,000-150,000 miles.
Thanks for the comments though, I will take in any trucks that I am not 100% sure of (like this one). I think I may have to use the inspection to get the price down anyways on this guy, they say they do a safety inspection there on each vehicle but I'm sure it's just the guy making sure it doesn't burst into flames when you tilt the steering wheel.
Hey, my 93 F-150 used to have real sloppy handling and steering. The front end was rebuilt around 120k though, and it's as tight and responsive as ever. It feels like a sports car comparatively. I really don't remember how much it cost, but it did the trick. So just an idea - if you really want this truck and the front end is the only problem, you might could see if you could get a good deal on that and it will probably fix it.
A shop can tell you. It's easy enough to find/replace tie rods or idler arms. Wheel bearings also come into play and springs/shocks. The overall alignment could be off but would show up in the tire wear. Loose steering can generally be contributed to the steering box. Rebuilt units aren't very high but vary depending on the truck. I've had problems adjusting some because "they don't want to". The adjusting bolt gets stuck. Other problems could be in the steering wheel/tilt couplers or the shaft between the wheel and gearbox. Other than the looseness, problems can be in the ball joints. If they are worn or the wheel bearings are loose it will steer slow. On trucks over 150K a new power steering pump generally improves steering (effort anyway). Have the truck looked at by a reliable shop, get an estimate and use it to bargain with. I like to fix the entire front end at once instead of in stages. That way it drives like a new one instead of something constantly going out and tires wearing. Nites are sharp trucks and are fun and get attention. Good luck.
Thanks for the comments guys. My only other issue with the truck is the overall exterior is in rougher shape then I like and doesn't reflect the price. I think it would be a great truck for me to fix up and enjoy which is part of my plan I just don't know if I'll be able to work them down from their high asking price. We'll see.
I've also found another Nite in a nearby city that's being sold from an estate. It's a 92 Stepside with a 351w/Auto and 4x4. It looks to be in better condition than this other one. The only problem is that you need to put a bid in on it and the estate manager tells you if it's high enough or not. IT's kinda weird, I have no idea what to bid on it since these trucks just aren't that common. It has 170,000kms on it but some oddities leave me wondering if it's actually a Nite truck.
1. It has a matching black grill so that's fine (it's also black obviously).
2. The mirrors appear to be chrome, not black.
3. It has chrome wheels, but not the nice aluminum ones you'd see typically on these trucks. ?
4. From the picture there is no Nite striping on the truck.
Obviously some of this stuff can be changed but is there a way to check via VIN to see if it is in fact a Nite truck or if someone just stuck a NITE badge on the dash or something?