Author Topic: Is my truck worth a rebuild?  (Read 845 times)

Offline cessnadriver

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Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« on: September 14, 2021, 09:59:38 PM »
Hey all, new member here. I've got an '85 C20 long bed 2X4 with a 350 and only 7 good cylinders. I've been trying to decide whether it is worth the cost of getting a rebuilt long block installed but I'm having trouble figuring out a value for it. I don't have the time or space to do the work myself so I'll have to pay and estimates are coming back between $4k and $6k for parts and labor. This isn't a passion project, it was a work truck and I'll likely sell it once it is running and can pass smog so I want to know if I'm likely to get my money back out of it. Very straight california truck, 81k miles, no rust but faded paint. What range would I be looking at with a fresh rebuilt long block installed?

Thanks!!

Offline JohnnyPopper

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Re: Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2021, 07:39:59 PM »
Welcome from SoCal San Diego!

Posting some pics would help... 8)
1957 Apache 3100 235 Inline 6, 3 on the tree
1973 C-20, 3+3 454 4BBL TH400  Water Injection
1978 K-10, 350 4BBL TH350 NP203 M.M. Part time Kit/Hubs
1980 C-10 under construction

Offline SilverMiner

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Re: Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2021, 08:54:01 PM »
If you are mainly interested in getting your money back out of the sale, I doubt putting cash into the engine will gain much. At this point in time, I suspect the higher dollar buyers are more interested in locating a rust-free and complete truck with minimal PO (previous owner) molestation. As long as the body work, interior, and original wiring is intact this makes future drivetrain modifications or upgrades are much easier. That is what the flippers and long-term new owners are mostly looking for. Spending thousands to repair the original engine and drivetrain is something the next owner would prefer to make their own decisions on. As long as it can drive onto a trailer under its own power, I think you are ahead of the game regardless of how well it runs. Attempting to pass the California emissions test is only of value to a California buyer - there are lots of folks around the US interested in acquiring a clean California truck and taking it home.

If you want to maximize your return, do a thorough cleaning, take detailed pictures, describe it accurately and put it up for sale. If you wish to keep it and make it operable for your own use, decide how you intend to enjoy it, then select a crate engine and shop to perform the work.

There are lots of folks looking for solid squarebodies to begin their project. You may have what they want, regardless of how well the engine runs. Small block Chevy's are so common and easy to replace that I don't imagine that an engine with a dead cylinder would be a real hurdle to a serious buyer of a clean rig.

Offline JohnnyPopper

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Re: Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2021, 04:34:33 PM »
Great advice SM!

I'll add that if the paint is viable at all, have it buffed out by a detailer, and if it's in the budget have him do the inside, especially have him polish the top/ceiling of the cab. It's usually dulled out, and really pops when polished.

"People buy with the eye"
1957 Apache 3100 235 Inline 6, 3 on the tree
1973 C-20, 3+3 454 4BBL TH400  Water Injection
1978 K-10, 350 4BBL TH350 NP203 M.M. Part time Kit/Hubs
1980 C-10 under construction

Offline cessnadriver

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Re: Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2021, 12:15:36 PM »
Thanks SM, that seems like a wise suggestion. I guess I just thought a good running truck might be easier to pass on, but I'd rather not risk my own money on a truck I'm selling anyway.

Just begs the question of how much I could get for it with a bad motor...

How desirable are long bed C20 2X4s? I know prices have gone pretty crazy lately, but my impression is that this truck would be on the lower end of the value  spectrum for square body trucks. Makes a great work truck obviously, but maybe not that sought after by collectors?

82k miles, saddlebag tanks, turbo 400 trans I think. Rebuilt bench seat and new rear glass but dash pad needs replacing. Very straight truck, paint is dull and worn but otherwise looks great.

I can't seem to post pics, I keep getting an error about file size being too big even with a photo that is less than 300k.





Offline cessnadriver

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Re: Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2021, 12:31:35 PM »
Right. User error. here are some pics of the truck...

Offline JohnnyPopper

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Re: Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2021, 09:25:56 PM »
Looks like she's in good shape. I have a C30 dually that is the same color. Wife asks "why would anyone paint a truck the color of skin?" It has some surface rust, (very little actually) I'm going to clean her up and clear coat her. Done, over... ::)

But look, she is straight, interior is clean, and bright work is bright!! Clean her up, have the paint buffed out, interior and engine compartment detailed and list it!
1957 Apache 3100 235 Inline 6, 3 on the tree
1973 C-20, 3+3 454 4BBL TH400  Water Injection
1978 K-10, 350 4BBL TH350 NP203 M.M. Part time Kit/Hubs
1980 C-10 under construction

Offline JohnnyPopper

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Re: Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2021, 09:26:46 PM »
BTW how did you determine you only have 7 viable cylinders?
1957 Apache 3100 235 Inline 6, 3 on the tree
1973 C-20, 3+3 454 4BBL TH400  Water Injection
1978 K-10, 350 4BBL TH350 NP203 M.M. Part time Kit/Hubs
1980 C-10 under construction

Offline Stewart G Griffin

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Re: Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2021, 11:39:09 AM »
If you are going to sell it anyways, then i would sell it as is or a "roller."   And it will still fetch top dollar, considering the engine trouble.

C20's are very rare. (the 2WD version, not the K20, 4x4)   Gold to me.   If i had more time etc. i'd probably buy it-----as is.

Offline SilverMiner

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Re: Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2021, 01:19:42 PM »
cessnadriver -

Based upon your photos, I believe you have something that should sell very easily at the right price. Your truck appears stock with minimal to zero rust, straight body panels and a decent to very good interior. I'm more of a 4x4 fellow than a C20 dude, but I'm confident your truck is desirable and would have many interested buyers. The challenge now is to how to reach those buyers and how to set the price and I'm afraid I'll be of no help for either of those tasks. If you have a local buddy who has already expressed interest, give them a chance to buy it first and be a squarebody hero while minimizing hassle for yourself. Or, start researching sales via auctions or on these sort of forums.

Good luck to you - you've got something folks want, just a matter now of connecting with them.

Offline VileZambonie

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Re: Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2021, 04:48:31 PM »
What's wrong with the dead cylinder? Flat cam? Bent pushrod? Valve issue? You should be able to say exactly which cylinder is dead and why.
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74 GMC, 75 K5, 84 GMC, 85 K20, 86 k20, 79 K10

Offline cessnadriver

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Re: Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2021, 07:28:29 AM »
Good to know that this is a sought after truck, anyone have any suggestions on an "as-is" price range?

Not sure what the cylinder problem is exactly, havent had time to completely trouble shoot. The engine was missing, replaced plugs, wires and cap but the problem persisted. Had a compression check done and one cylinder came back with 0 psi. Cant remember which it was, I have it written down somewhere.

Offline Stewart G Griffin

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Re: Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2021, 09:47:59 AM »
Good to know that this is a sought after truck, anyone have any suggestions on an "as-is" price range?

Not sure what the cylinder problem is exactly, havent had time to completely trouble shoot. The engine was missing, replaced plugs, wires and cap but the problem persisted. Had a compression check done and one cylinder came back with 0 psi. Cant remember which it was, I have it written down somewhere.

Well, if you're going to sell if to me, i think $2500 is fair ;)

Seriously, at least 5K as is.

Offline JohnnyPopper

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Re: Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2021, 01:06:53 PM »
A lot higher...Look for buyers on the east coast  8)
1957 Apache 3100 235 Inline 6, 3 on the tree
1973 C-20, 3+3 454 4BBL TH400  Water Injection
1978 K-10, 350 4BBL TH350 NP203 M.M. Part time Kit/Hubs
1980 C-10 under construction

Offline cessnadriver

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Re: Is my truck worth a rebuild?
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2021, 08:55:24 AM »
Well, the truck is posted on Ebay, we will see what happens.

Thanks for the advice guys!