Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meet Rusty, Beater Truck

A man needs a truck. Once you have a truck, you'll wonder how you ever didn't have a truck. Once you are without a truck, you feel like you're missing something important. Like not wearing pants at the dinner table.

With Sara off to horse shows most weekends, the good truck was also gone to horse shows. I had "truck stuff" to do, like going to the dump (pardon me, recycle center), getting grain, going to the lumber yard. It's hard to strap big lengths of lumber to the top of my daily driver, the super-cool 1994 Mercury Tracer Trio wagon. And 150 lbs of grain made the wagon's ass sag. So, a decision was made and I was to find a beater truck.

Ironically, we found Rusty on the way to the lumber yard while riding in the good truck. One of those rare weekends when there wasn't a show and I was allowed to take the good truck for a spin. Rusty was sitting along the road with a for sale sign in the window. Low miles for it's age, a 300 c.i., 4.9L straight-six (the good'n), and a five speed manual transmission. Zactly what the doctor ordered. And good tires - bonus! The interior is in nice shape. The outside, not so much. It's seen it's fair share of heavily-salted winter roads, but a little rust wasn't gonna deter me. And the price was right.

It didn't come without it's fair share of quirks. Aside from the rust, there's the color. The color is a mix of many shades of brown: dirt brown, rust brown, grime brown. It's a '91 model, and my best guess is that it was last washed in '92, then left to dry downwind of a dusty field. The wiper control knob has been replaced with a 3" C-clamp. Necessity, the mother of invention. The driver's window goes down really well, but up requires persuasion. It has semi-cool air conditioning. It smells like old leaves and refrigerator-coil dust. But the heater works and the radio works and the dimmer switch is on the floor. Name your last vehicle with the dimmer switch on the floor! And we can't ignore the front-bumper-mounted spare tire. A Yooper trademark, for sure. That (along with the C-clamp) sold it.

After bringing it home, the proper thing to do was to change all it's juices and filters and douse the interior with Febreeze. The brown stuff and the green stuff came out clean, which led me to believe it's seen some maintenance, but the air filter made me question that thought. The bolts that hold the lid on the airbox were rusted right tight. Lotsa Blaster and some convincing finally got it open, only to find a heavily soiled air filter, a bunch of maple tree helicopters, and a family of moths. The air filter and it's accumulated collections weighed three pounds. That's alotta crud. New fluids and filters later, Rusty was ready to be put to work.

In the words of Canadia's most famous self-help guru, Red Green: "If ya can't be handsome, be handy". Rusty fits the bill. Aside from the normal run-around chores, he's been a great help on the farm. We used to move hay from the barn to the hay shed by hooking the trailer behind the tractor, pulling that into the barn, filling it full of hay, then hauling that over to the hay shed to be unloaded. Now Rusty does the job, and is much more nimble than backing that lousy trailer up to the hay shed. We've also been out collecting firewood and old concrete and other odd jobs around the place. I think he's gonna be a handy lil' truck to have around.


paint_horse_milo said...

I like him! Coming from a '93 F150 owner, Im a little smitten with the old style fords. Ive been looking to replace my 227K mile ford with something a little newer and a little stronger. What would you think Ive decided on? Why, a 96(ish) F250-350 with the 7.3 diesel motor. I just love those old fords.

Jeffro said...

Dad had a '90 model with the six and the heavy duty auto. It had a stumble in it from day one, no one could figure it out, and it's still running. I kept it for a while and ended up giving it to my neighbors after they had to have my windmill rebuilt.

The main drawback I saw with it was you couldn't keep the transmission from hunting gears on a windy day. Just wouldn't pull overdrive half the time. It was really best to lock out OD when towing something, too.

Cedar View Paint Horses said...

Milo's Mom: the 7.3 is as rare as hen's teef around here. Everybody wants one.

Jeffro - that's why I wanted the stick. It ain't perty, but it's practical.

Janice said...

I like him, I'm a bit of a Ford fan. I also enjoyed your Previous post about Sgt. Reckless....AWESome