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Free truck! How would you proceed?

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Old 07-15-2017, 07:33 PM
DogRidesInBack DogRidesInBack is offline
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Free truck! How would you proceed?

Free to me, not you. But I have to go get it. Just over 1,000 miles from my home.

Looks like this will happen sometime next month.

What I've been told:

- F-350, SRW
- Aftermarket steel wheels and tires (effective 2" lift)
- 4WD
- Crew Cab
- 2005
- 7.3L Diesel (that does not make sense for the year)
- High miles (but unspecified number)
- Recently repaired rear-end collision (replacement bed and gas tank)
- Chipped
- No rust
- "ready to drive"
- Clear title

The price is right, but the engine displacement does not match the year. As long as the VIN matches the title, I get a free truck.

I have two options:
- Fly out and drive it home
- Drive out in my front-wheel drive stick shift, dolly it home with the truck.

What would you do? What tools would you bring? What budget for breakdowns? What pre-checks before hitting the road? Any advice at all?

It's going to be a road trip just over 1,000 miles in a mystery truck. And if I drive out to get it (another 1,000 miles), my dog comes along for the ride.

He rides in back.


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Old 07-15-2017, 08:39 PM
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Tofan Tofan is offline
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Well I would probably take a trailer and tow it home. Such a great feeling could turn into a terrible one if you were to break down and have to get it towed all the way home and then it wouldn't be free!
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Old 07-15-2017, 08:54 PM
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An effective 2 inch lift? What?

It's not an 05 if it has a 7.3
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Old 07-15-2017, 08:58 PM
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I would drive out to get the trick. If it is not as described return home
If you think it will make it home rent a dolly.
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterCMK View Post
An effective 2 inch lift? What?

It's not an 05 if it has a 7.3
....and if it's an '05 it cannot possibly have a 7.3L (unless someone swapped one in).

Having said that, I would be very skeptical of making any purchase of this magnitude, sight unseen. Even more so, that far away. Do you at least have some detailed photos of the vehicle you are intending to purchase?
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:42 PM
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Reality check: one thousand miles....how long does that take....twice and with an extra truck the second time
what is fuel going to cost? Food? Lodging? How long will this take?
What is your time worth?
And all of this for what? Nice dog btw
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Old 07-16-2017, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 82_F100_300Six View Post
Reality check: one thousand miles....how long does that take....twice and with an extra truck the second time
what is fuel going to cost? Food? Lodging? How long will this take?
What is your time worth?
And all of this for what? Nice dog btw
What he said ^^^^^^^^
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Old 07-16-2017, 12:53 AM
lostintexas lostintexas is offline
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Personally I would hire a transport company to deliver it. You would know the cost up front and then could work on it once it arrives to make it reliable.
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:14 AM
DogRidesInBack DogRidesInBack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterCMK View Post
An effective 2 inch lift? What?

It's not an 05 if it has a 7.3
Wonder if anyone ever swapped in a 7.3 to a newer chassis. Would it even fit? I'm betting it is a 6.0. Is there a 6.4 for that year?

I'm told the truck has aftermarket steel wheels and tires with a "high" capacity for towing. The tires are taller than stock, hence the "effective" lift.
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:31 AM
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Do you know these people? Family, close friends? No one "gives away" a good running truck to a stranger on the interwebs. You need a good healthy dose of skepticism here.

How did you find out about this "deal"? Letter/email from family? Or did you see this on craigslist? You could wake up in a bathtub full of ice with a cell phone and a note taped to your hand to "call 911", because your kidneys have been harvested (or just ambushed and waylaid, robbed and left for dead. Has happened a few times on craigslist around the country.

Do you have detailed pics, a way to check a third party source, find someone on the forum to go look at this thing for you?

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a scam. Is this guy a Nigerian prince?
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Old 07-16-2017, 08:39 AM
DogRidesInBack DogRidesInBack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 82_F100_300Six View Post
Reality check: one thousand miles....how long does that take....twice and with an extra truck the second time
what is fuel going to cost? Food? Lodging? How long will this take?
What is your time worth?
And all of this for what? Nice dog btw
I'm figuring 6 days/5 nights, and $1,200 to get it home. And guessing (hoping) the truck has a value between $5,000 and $10,000.

Or the truck is not worth getting home, in which case I'm looking at 5 days/4 nights and $500 total to bail on it.

Here is my analysis:

Outbound, 2 days plus a little.
1,000 miles at 25mpg X 2.50 per gallon for premium in my econobox = $100.

2 nights lodging $150.

Food out of my ice chest, so $0 since I have to eat anyway.

So $250 gets me there or I save a day by flying, for double the cost plus a car rental for a day.

Then if I don't take the truck home, double each of the numbers to bail. So I'm out $500 if I don't risk taking the truck home. If I fly and bail, I'm out over $1,000.

Transport for the truck to me sight-unseen is at least $1,000, so $500 for a look and walk seems reasonable. At least I get a bit of adventure out of it.

I figure 1 day to get ready for the return trip, I need to rent a tow dolly. I may need to get fluids changed on the truck. Hopefully the tires are good, but if it needs tires, then that will take a few hours.

Then getting home... Having my car with me takes care of some risk, and my road service towing gets the truck to a shop if I do break down.

Setting service and breakdowns aside, a Uhaul tow dolly will run $250. Three days plus a little for the return trip, not going to push the speed, and not going to drive around the clock. BTDT. Still thinking on this. That tow dolly cost makes air fare for the trip out competitive if I take the truck home. But if I do have mechanical problems, having a spare vehicle along could be handy.

1000 miles at 10 mpg diesel at around $2 per gallon is $200. Maybe it will get 14mpg, but I'm keeping the estimate on the high side.

Three nights lodging is 225.

So, this free truck will run about $1,200.

Assuming the truck is worth 10 times that, it is a good return for my time. Even at 5 times.
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:01 AM
DogRidesInBack DogRidesInBack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slowpoke Slim View Post
Do you know these people? Family, close friends? No one "gives away" a good running truck to a stranger on the interwebs. You need a good healthy dose of skepticism here.
...
If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a scam. Is this guy a Nigerian prince?
If he was a Nigerian prince, I would be rich!

Friend of the family, and he is generous with his castoffs in general.

My skepticism is that most of the time people think their junk is worth more than it is, and in the case of a vehicle, that it is more reliable than it will be.

I'll be doing this in the middle of August, and temperatures may be around 100 degrees out on the open road.

So oil temperature (and pressure), water temperature, tires, and the A/C system are my top priorities as long as the drivetrain holds together too.
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:07 AM
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It sounds like a BS story. If it is legitimate a transport company hauling for you would be the best deal.

If the engine went bad, fix it with good parts done right and you'll have a solid runner. Don't mess with swapping in a 6.4 or a 7.3. You'll have a pieced together frankentruck of questionable reliability.
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:20 AM
DogRidesInBack DogRidesInBack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lostintexas View Post
Personally I would hire a transport company to deliver it. You would know the cost up front and then could work on it once it arrives to make it reliable.
I did get a transport estimate, it comes out to at least what it will cost me to go get it.

The advantage of transport is almost no risk for the actual trip, but I might end up with a truck that has no value.

If I had the space to part it out, I could easily recover the cost of transport, but I don't have the space. So in addition to transport, I still have to include the cost of a round trip to look at it and possibly skip the deal. So that $500 is part of my risk contingency on the road. I could handle a small repair and a 1 day delay. Actually, I am bringing $1000 for contingencies.

If I do have a major breakdown, then the closer I am to home, the less the remaining transport will cost.
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:24 AM
DogRidesInBack DogRidesInBack is offline
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Question

Not sure what gauges this truck will have, and how informative they are.

From reading here, one of the critical items is oil temperature versus coolant temperature.

Is there an affordable diagnostic tool like an OBD-2 reader that I can plug in under the dash to get that information?

As I said above, I expect to be traveling in 100 degree weather towing an econobox on a dolly.
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