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Best older truck for my plans?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by Atomic City Tundra, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. Mar 8, 2019 at 11:32 PM
    #1
    Atomic City Tundra

    Atomic City Tundra [OP] Cam Tower Leak Addict

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    So I have been kicking around the idea of getting an older truck to build into a camping/overlanding rig. I have a severe soft spot for the dent side Ford pickups (1973-1979) - I think they are the best looking trucks ever made, and pretty tough to boot. I have owned 3 of them. But, the legroom is a little lacking.

    Another era of truck I like are the late 90s/early 2000s Dodge Rams. I had a pretty bad experience with a 2000 Dodge Ram 2500 with a V10 - thing was in the shop a lot. That said, I still like them and probably should have just went with the Cummins.

    But it got me to thinking of starting a thread to see what others thought. Thought it would make a fun thought experiment. Any older truck is fair game. What do you think would make the best camping/overlanding rig? But, there are a few requirements:

    1. Has to be a pickup. I still want to be able to take it and do some work with it.
    2. Has to be a 3/4 or 1 ton. I am not going to be one of those that builds up a camping rig out of a 1/2 ton, only to be maxed out on payload all the time because of all the shit I have put on it.
    3. I would prefer it be a manual transmission - or at least have the option of swapping to a manual fairly easily.
    4. I am 6'8" and would like to be able to sleep in the bed. That dictates an 8' bed, but I would consider a 6'5" bed - as I can make that work. But, the 8' bed is preferable.

    Gas or diesel is fine - just as long as I have a fair amount of payload to work with to put stuff on.

    What do you think would be the best? And why?
     
  2. Mar 9, 2019 at 12:00 AM
    #2
    AlmightyCrash

    AlmightyCrash Tundra Rookie, Jeep Veteran

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    I think it would be great to drop the power plant of your choice in a 49 chevy dually with a custom bed.

    Another fun option would be to put a classic body on a new chassis. At the last garage I worked in, we put a 50s international on a 2000s dodge Cummins 4x4 chassis.

    Classic Willy’s pickups could be a lot of fun too!

    The possibilities are endless.
     
  3. Mar 9, 2019 at 12:03 AM
    #3
    Atomic City Tundra

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    Which is why I thought it would be a fun thread. :thumbsup:

    Thanks for the input!
     
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  4. Mar 9, 2019 at 12:08 AM
    #4
    BestGen

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    I love the old highboys tho I like the earlier bump sides better.
     
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  5. Mar 9, 2019 at 6:50 AM
    #5
    Atomic City Tundra

    Atomic City Tundra [OP] Cam Tower Leak Addict

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    Bump for the morning crew.
     
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  6. Mar 9, 2019 at 7:04 AM
    #6
    Outbound

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    I would never own a Ford. Even an old one. My family has never had luck with Fords, even going back to the 70s. My grandfathers tried them on their ranches and farms. None were reliable. I had a 2013 F150 *spit* and it was a nightmare.

    The pre-07 Rams are a great engine wrapped in a turd. The 5.9L Cummins inline 6 was a hell of an engine but the rest of the truck would fall apart around them.

    My personal pick would be a 2003 - 2006 Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra with the Duramax diesel engine and Alison transmission. You'd want to upgrade the suspension and the front end components as they were the weak points, but other than that they're great trucks. Very comfortable to spend long trips in, good fuel economy (and easily tuneable) and very reliable. For an 8' bed, you'll be stuck getting a regular or extended cab.

    I'm just not sure if they Chev/GM trucks came in manual. If they did, it may be hard to find.


    There's a ton of other options but it kind depends on your budget too. LOL
     
  7. Mar 9, 2019 at 7:10 AM
    #7
    Hondoman

    Hondoman New Member

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    A square body Chevy with a Cummins transplant would be pretty cool. Solid front axle and a nice stack of leaf springs in the rear. Leg room lacking on those too as I remember.

    May not be many left at this point.
     
  8. Mar 9, 2019 at 7:55 AM
    #8
    BestGen

    BestGen R.I.P. my sister

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    IMG_2776.jpg ^This one has a Cummins 5.9 swap. IMG_2777.jpg Love the front ends on the 'bumpsides' IMG_2778.jpg :stirthepot: Just helping you out man!!!
     
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  9. Mar 9, 2019 at 8:03 AM
    #9
    Atomic City Tundra

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    It is hard to argue with personal experience. So I understand where you are coming from with the Ford comment. For me, the most reliable pickup truck I ever owned was a 1976 Ford F150 with a 360.

    As far as regular vs extended vs crew cab, I actually want to keep the rig as short as possible, as a shorter wheelbase can get more places a bit easier while wheeling. I know the short wheelbase thing goes against the 8' bed, but I really would like the 8' bed because of my stature. All that is to say I think the ideal for me right now is a regular cab with an 8' bed.

    As far as budget, I would like to keep it under $30K. I would do any work myself (aside from engine machining), so that helps in that department.
     
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  10. Mar 9, 2019 at 8:04 AM
    #10
    Atomic City Tundra

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    The bump sides look pretty damn nice, too.
     
  11. Mar 9, 2019 at 8:07 AM
    #11
    Atomic City Tundra

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    No matter what I end up with, it will have a solid front axle - even if I have to convert it.
     
  12. Mar 9, 2019 at 8:20 AM
    #12
    2ndgenny

    2ndgenny A surge of truck truck mods :)

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    X2 on the solid front axle for sure.
     
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  13. Mar 9, 2019 at 8:23 AM
    #13
    Grumpy Uncle

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    One of my all time favorites. 73 Highboy!83255b72ef988e1045b21010dec139b0.jpg
     
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  14. Mar 9, 2019 at 8:24 AM
    #14
    2ndgenny

    2ndgenny A surge of truck truck mods :)

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    Get a crew cab for company! Gotta be tall skinny tires tho. Straight axles on Seaver’s. Cummins 4bt turbo is nice and light and has more than enough power. They have bellhousings that bolt right up to ford transmissions also. Boom. 100k it’s yours haha

    AD9FFD34-7E1D-4D20-B700-49C3B91EE905.jpg
     
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  15. Mar 9, 2019 at 8:24 AM
    #15
    Grumpy Uncle

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    I have entertained over the years doing the same thing as you with the 73 Highboy.
     
  16. Mar 9, 2019 at 8:35 AM
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    BestGen

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    Dig those US Mags!
     
  17. Mar 9, 2019 at 8:41 AM
    #17
    Grumpy Uncle

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    Man Dad had the same setup, except his was the Limestone Green.
     
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  18. Mar 9, 2019 at 9:00 AM
    #18
    Black Wolf

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    I bought a new 75 F150 4X4. Always regretted not getting the RC 8' F250 Hi Boy. Almost all the logging outfits in town used the Hi Boys for good reason. The Chevy trucks of that era had decent motors but cheap crap plastic interiors. My dad's new 74 WHITE 4X4 RC 8' Power Wagon was a base model but was one hell of a truck I have to admit.

    Add. I traded in my 69 Chevy RC 4X4 with 6 foot bed for my 75 Ferd. That 69 Chevy was way better than the new Chevy trucks that followed, (74+). a 69 HD with 8 footer would be cool but pricey right now for good reason too.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
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  19. Mar 9, 2019 at 9:31 AM
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    BestGen

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    I hear ya! Really miss my old Chevs... :frusty:IMG_0205.jpg70 Suburban 383, SM465, NP205, Rockwell axle w/factory Detroit Locker. IMG_0203.jpg72 Blazer 350, TH350, NP205, D44 & 12bolt
     
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  20. Mar 9, 2019 at 9:32 AM
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    2ndgenny

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    Beauty!
     
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  21. Mar 9, 2019 at 9:34 AM
    #21
    Black Wolf

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    Yeah! 73 on down to 66?? maybe
     
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  22. Mar 9, 2019 at 9:38 AM
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    Blueline

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  23. Mar 9, 2019 at 9:43 AM
    #23
    Black Wolf

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  24. Mar 9, 2019 at 10:03 AM
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    Atomic City Tundra

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    Good gawd. Pictures like that almost seal it up for me. Really nice truck.
     
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  25. Mar 9, 2019 at 10:09 AM
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    Black Wolf

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    I thought the same thing!
     
  26. Mar 9, 2019 at 10:16 AM
    #26
    15whtrd

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    I’m a little partial to the late 90s dodge ram with a Cummins and a manual transmission. They always intrigued me.
     
  27. Mar 9, 2019 at 10:17 AM
    #27
    Atomic City Tundra

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    I like them, also. I think they look great, and I like the Cummins.
     
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  28. Mar 9, 2019 at 10:21 AM
    #28
    15whtrd

    15whtrd Mr. Blonde

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    I feel like if you addressed all the weak links around the truck it would be unstoppable.
     
  29. Mar 9, 2019 at 10:31 AM
    #29
    Grumpy Uncle

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    Now imagine that with a 427 or a 460 C.I engine!!:thumbsup:
     
  30. Mar 9, 2019 at 10:39 AM
    #30
    Grumpy Uncle

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    My dad got it the year I was born, and kept it until 79, then he got a 79, another favorite of mine. The 79 was dark metallic brown. It had a 351W and 4 speed. I would love to have either. Maybe one day.
     
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