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I really need some advice...

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by spencertron, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. spencertron

    spencertron

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    So long story short(er). I recently bought back my old cruiser from the kid who bought it from me 3 years ago. It had a bad engine. Took it to a reputable cruiser mechanic in orange county with the hopes of a rebuild and he recommended throwing a different engine in it.

    One of his long time customers recently did a v8 swap and he had his old 1fz laying around. It had 180k miles and had a top end rebuild/head gasket done at about 140k.

    They put the engine in along with some various "while we're in there" items and the thing ran beautifully. Quiet as a church mouse.

    I picked the truck up on a Friday evening and early the next morning took it on a road trip. Risky, I know; but there wasn't anything telling me it was a bad idea.

    I drove it from Tustin, CA to Boulder, UT (if you haven't been, you should go). About 45 mins into the trip I noticed that when I turned off the OD and the rpms shot up I would get a rattle which I thought was coming from the dash, maybe a drive line, etc. Didn't think much of it.

    After being at our destination for a couple days I was checking stuff under the hood and gave it some gas and realized that "rattle in the dash" was actually something much more serious as it was coming from the engine.

    I payed attention to it on our trip home and realized that the noise happens as the engine ramps up it's rpm's just before it switches gears. And it doesn't always do it. It's only in that "floating" stage before it drops to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. This is why going up the Cajon Pass with the OD off it made it the whole time. If I turn off the OD and the engine wants to go in to 4th, it makes the noise.


    ___ANYWAY___
    I bring it straight back to the mechanic when I get home. At first he doesn't seem too worried about it but today he called me and said he can't pinpoint the noise, but it's coming from inside the engine. Still idles like a dream though.

    At first he thought it was a timing chain tensioner or something. He also took off the valve cover and everything looks good so he thinks it something deep in there and says it should probably be rebuilt. Again, this isn't pep boys. He's been recommended to me by multiple mud members and he and several of his employees drive 80s.

    Here's where I need the advice. Total cost in to the rig so far:
    Purchased for 4k
    Engine for 1k
    Swap+misc seals, fluids, etc. - 2,800

    We'll say I'm $8,000 in to the cruiser. As you can see from my signature line and my avatar, it's a great truck. The paint has oxidized on the hood and roof and I was going to monstaline the rig. Interior is in great shape. New radiator, cap, t-stat, hoses, fan shroud, fan, and clutch as well.

    I could try to sell this thing as is for 8 grand and try to break even. The other option is the rebuild. My mechanic said he would do a complete rebuild (top and bottom end, everything) with free labor and parts at cost because he feels so bad that this happened. He told me it would be 3 grand, which I know is a total steal.

    My obvious 1st choice would be to keep the rig and do the rebuild. I've regretting selling this thing for the last three years and was lucky enough to get it back. The problem is, I have no money. I went in to debt to get the cruiser where it was before the noise and for the first time in our marriage (all of 5 whopping years) my wife and I can't pay off the credit card and I HATE that feeling. We bought our first home and had our first baby a year or so ago so money is very tight right now.

    Do you guys think I would have better luck selling the cruiser as is for 8? Or putting 3-4 grand in to it to do the engine rebuild and make her look pretty and try selling it for 12 or 13?

    Thanks and sorry for the long post, I'm just really stressing out here.
    -Spencer
     
  2. spencertron

    spencertron

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    I guess my third option could be drive the thing till it blows. There's no metal in the oil or smoke out the exhaust or anything like that.

    I would probably do this if it were a grocery getter and maybe have the funds for the rebuild by the time it NEEDS one. The problem is that the whole reason I bought this thing was for baja and other adventures. Not smart to take a noisy engine to the middle of nowhere, I think.
     
  3. allan man

    allan man Since 2008 SILVER Star

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    Obviously you are attached to this cruiser having said you bought it back....if funds are limited at the present moment
    To get the rig to where you want it.....why not just park it until the right moment comes in life.
     
    shocktower and ihatecrashing like this.
  4. BILT4ME

    BILT4ME

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    I'm thinking transmission with the lock-up on the torque converter or the transmission solenoids or OD related.

    Something in the engine would be there consistently, no matter what gear you're in. If it's RPM only related, then maybe it's a rattle or a loose bolt.....

    I find it surprising that you jumped right into the engine, but I'm armchair QB'ing it here......

    Well, if your plan is to unload it, then dump it now before you dump more $$$$ and TIME into it. You have a baby that needs your time, money, and attention first....for the next 17 years. Then find another one and try again.......

    Yes, it's hard, but you KNOW this is not a money-maker no matter how you shake it. Pick-up a s***box Camry for transportation and fit in the whole family with a LOT better gas mileage.
     
  5. Roostre

    Roostre

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    Not having money sucks, I know.
    My 80 also needs a lotta love and I'm also on the fence about selling it.
    Might be hard to get $8k if you give the buyer full disclosure. OTOH, the rebuild may not get you up to the $11k either.

    If money is that tight AND a baby is in the picture ; I would cut my losses and get it sold. Sorry man.
     
  6. bicycleagent003

    bicycleagent003

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    Man, I'm really sorry to hear about your truck having problems.
    I agree with the other posters who have said don't put money into it. Buy a Camry, and either park or sell the Cruiser. If you put money into it which you don't have it will cause terrible stress. There are other 80's out there. You can buy another one someday.
     
    LandCruisinMy93 likes this.
  7. spencertron

    spencertron

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    Thanks everyone. I do drive a prius as my daily driver. My wife and I both have one. That's what prompted the cruiser buy back. It's hard doing trips in a small car. I was going to keep the prius since it's paid for and I'd probably only get a few thousand for it anyway. Would just use the cruiser for trips, fun car, big car, etc.

    @BILT4ME thanks for the advice! I'll see if he's checked any of that. I know mechanics love when clients suggest what the problem might be :) oh well, he's hearing it anyway!
     
    BILT4ME likes this.
  8. DirtScaresMe

    DirtScaresMe Trouble Maker SILVER Star

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    I put money in mine because it's worth it. First vehicle I've ever owned which seems like it was designed to be worked on, maintained, and kept alive. Working on other vehicles is often a pain in the ass.

    There's a ton of OEM parts and lots of knowledge out there too.

    It's an old truck so stuff breaks. The ability and reward of doing that work is one of the things I like about it, versus a insta-mall-crawler like a 2017 rubicon ultimate.

    Just my take. I had a 1976 VW bus when I was younger and never put any time or money into it; I just had no interest and wanted something that worked so I bought a low mileage sedan that made more sense for me at the time.

    Not everyone is in a spot in their lives to want or care for an 80.
     
  9. chap79

    chap79 SILVER Star

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    If it is possible to to hang on to it and fix it when you can, I would. These trucks aren't getting any cheaper. And to buy another one later and mod it to where currently would cost more than where you are now.

    Yes, it sucks that you don't get the initial reliability that you wanted.
     
  10. ewillis

    ewillis SILVER Star

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    You bought it back for a good reason... it's one of, if not the most robust production vehicles on the planet. It's got a good HG on it so I say do what's necessary to have it run correctly within your timeframe and budget.
     
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  11. BILT4ME

    BILT4ME

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    I totally get where he is in life.

    I sold my 69 Chevy 4x4 one month before my oldest son was born. He is now 17. We've been looking for the truck for 2 years.

    I built the truck as a 4-H project when I was in high school. I had a TON of blood, sweat, and tears in that truck. It was truly a part of me and my Dad helped me on part of the build. It totally broke my heart to see it go, but it only had two seats and barely fit in the garage. I had to make a choice between it and my 59 Studebaker. The Stude was paid for and didn't cost anything except that it was always in the way.

    The Stude sat for 31 years before I resurrected it because I was finally in a position to do so financially and I wanted to teach my son about cars. We struggled for a very long time (still do, but for different reasons).

    If I can't have my truck back, I certainly get to enjoy the Stude. And BTW, we are building a 70 GMC for my son (one of his own) and I'm throwing more money at it than I ever did for ANY of my other stuff....... But I'm still in the black based on the current values.....

    Good Luck!

    Spend time with the family....Your time will come. Suck it up for now.
     
  12. spencertron

    spencertron

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    yeah this is the first car I ever bought with my own money. learned how to turn a wrench, weld, and do carpentry on it (and by "learned" I am not saying that I am now good at any three of those things). So as far as a price point goes, I think the southern california market must be wildly out of proportion. a quick CL search found that locked built cruisers with 166-200k miles on them are asking 14-19k.

    I've got a couple days before I need to decide anything. Just weighing all my options here.
     
  13. Dragos80

    Dragos80

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    DOn't sell it. You will always regret it. You already regretted selling once, and you got a second chance at it. It came back to you.
    If you love something, let it go...
    It loves you back.


    Get your priorities in order for now. As it sounds, the cruiser is not a priority at this moment. Preserve it for later, or for the next generation.

    When the time and finances come to love it back and more, you will do it. Don't lose it again.

    Oh, and from my side of the screen it doesn't sound like the engine is the problem here. Just don't trow good money after bad at this point in life.
     
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  14. midfat

    midfat

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    I also side with @BILT4ME that this sounds like a transmission issue for the exact same reason he outlines. If it was in the engine, it would be present at all RPMs. As for selling the truck, asking $8K knowing there's a potentially significant drive-line issue sounds disingenuous at best. Even a rust free SoCal Cruiser with lockers ain't worth that with a big mechanical albatross. I vote for keeping it on ice. What's your storage situation?
     
  15. spencertron

    spencertron

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    it'll have to be parked on a neighboring street (I'm in a town home with limited parking) and I'll move it every few days. Maybe when I go pick it up I can post a video on here to help diagnose.

    I agree, I don't think anyone would buy something they know right off the bat will need work (I mean I did, but I had a clear plan in mind and was getting a "good deal").

    I would really hope it's the transmission. Even if all said and done it was the same price or more expensive than an engine rebuild. That would save me from feeling stupid about spending 3800 on an engine that started having problems pretty much immediately.

    I've made some really poor car choices. The prius I have right now I got scammed on. Had a falsified title and a new instrument cluster on it. Stated it had 96k miles but after a car fax report that turned out to be closer to 300k. Been driving it over a year with 0 issues. So after feeling like a complete idiot with that last purchase I talk my wife in to why the old cruiser should be our family car and then this haha.

    She will definitely be making the decisions on any future vehicle purchases.
     
  16. bucketman

    bucketman

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    Another idea would be to sell some of the goodies like the front and rear bumpers, winch, and tires to come up with the $$ to do the necessary repairs. They will cost more to replace later, but all of that stuff is easily bought or built later when you have more $$. If your tires are in good shape they should bring a fair amount of money and I have a set of factory sized tires and wheels I would make you a good deal on. You can also probably find some 25% 315's at a local shop or on CL. I would probably sell the tires last though- factory sized tires look funny on a lifted cruiser. The winch and bumpers should put you up to or over what you need to get your cruiser running strong again.

    I think BILT4ME may be on to something. The intermittent noise seems suspect. It's hard to believe, but possible, that an internal problem in the engine would not be noisy all the time. Just for peace of mind I'd probably get a second opinion before diving into the engine.
     
  17. spencertron

    spencertron

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    I just talked to him and his guess is a bad bearing. I did some searching on google and found this. Sounds very similar and this guy gave a similar answer.

    Engine makes
     
  18. spencertron

    spencertron

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    that's a good idea. Sell the front and rear bumpers and go back to stock to fund the project. I'm just so worried now. What if something similar happens 10k miles after the rebuild? This guy is ensuring me, and I believe him, that when he pulled the engine out of the other customers rig it ran perfectly. This was from one of his main clients and he "knew that engine really well".
     
  19. LS1FJ40

    LS1FJ40 SILVER Star

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    Post a video.

    Your description sounds very similar to the "rattle" in my 93. It started about 12k miles ago...

    Blackstone Labs. Take a sample of the engine oil and transmission fluid. Send to them and have them tell you what they see. Worth the $56 ($28/sample).
     
    FJP971 likes this.
  20. LS1FJ40

    LS1FJ40 SILVER Star

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    FWIW, I have been told I have a "knock" and that I have a "bearing going out". That was 12k miles ago. I started panicking. I've had four oil samples since. The first had elevated metal (top end). Each subsequent had less.

    I will be driving mine until she blows. At this point I'm curious how long I can go. I have a spare motor sitting, awaiting my time to rebuild. I have hardly touched it. Not concerned.