Ford Pickup, 1990
Regular cab long bed 3/4-ton model, 5-speed manual transmission, diesel engine, manual hubs, dual fuel tanks. Complete with wing windows, which my cigar-smoking Dad preferred.
Dad was looking for a new truck in 1989, to replace the somewhat underpowered '72 Ford, and was very enamored of the newly-available Cummins that Dodge was pushing. I was available, and went with him on some shopping trips. We looked at the Dodge, and while I'm sure the engine was very nice the rest of the truck was rather... crude. He and Mom were planning on driving around the USA with the new truck and a camper, and the Cummins was just too, too 'present' IMHO. Way too loud and rattly, the cruise control was a simple throttle lock, etc. We looked at the equivalent Ford, as his existing truck (which he liked) was a Ford, and it was nice. I thought it a much superior choice so far as comfort went, and lobbied hard for it on Mom's behalf.
The problem with Fords were the dealers, which were all in large cities. They wouldn't let him test drive it off the lot, wanted deposits and the salesman in the vehicle, etc. Just a lot of smarmy scummy behavior that seemed to assume you were some kind of yahoo. This did not impress a farmer, who was there to buy and no nonsense.
Dad found a dealer up the river in Camas that had one of the trucks he was interested in, and we headed up to see it after he called on it. Very different experience. As we drove past one of the dealer's overflow parking lots Dad spotted what must have been the truck, so we knew where it was. As we walked into the showroom Dad called out to the guy there across the room that we were there to look at the Ford diesel he'd called on. The guy fished the keys out of his desk and threw them across the room to Dad, who snagged them out of the air, spun around and we were out the door. Never even got that close to him. We drove to that other lot where we'd seen the truck and took it for a test drive. It was a very nice truck. Smooth, quiet, comfortable. Nice amenities. After our test drive we went back in, and after a brief negotiation Dad bought the truck, wrote a check and we drove them both home. No muss, no fuss. Probably the easiest commission that salesman ever had.
That more rural salesmen knew his audience, catered to it appropriately, and made the cash sale immediately. Dad thought briefly about dropping by the annoying city-slicker dealership to show off his new truck, but as fun as that sounded we decided not to waste the time.
Dad and Mom indeed drove this truck all over the USA packing a camper, and other than the naturally-aspirated engine being a little weak in the mountains it did well over the years. They did have a major transmission failure on the road at one point, but as Dad was overall quite happy with the truck he had the local dealership rebuild it while they stayed in a hotel. At that time they also put in a new heavier-duty clutch. Dad says that it came back even better than new. I believe him, I got to drive it a few times and it shifted beautifully, even at high miles.
Dad eventually replaced this truck in 2004 with the Dodge he'd always wanted, but by then the rest of the truck had caught up to the engine. In fact for the first time in his life he went with an automatic transmission, because he said that at his age he was just plain tired of 'rowing'. I see his point, but I'm not there myself yet. He kept the Ford, however, but it was relegated to Farm utility truck and mostly it just sat. Well, diesels are good at that.
When Dad passed away in 2018 I ended up with the Ford, which was a far better choice for a woods truck than the Mazcedes, which went to my youngest brother. (My other brother got the Dodge; he needed a truck and has a bad foot, so needs an automatic transmission. Now we all have trucks out of the deal.)
The ownership transfer (inheritance) was uneventful. Cost me $118, with new license tabs. The truck was last licensed in 2015. Steve says that I should get the front hubs re-packed, soon.
This is, and always was, indeed a nice truck. I drove it in to Vancouver and Portland on errands, and it was sweet. Heat worked, cruise control worked, wipers worked. (There doesn't seem to be an intermittent feature to the wipers, they're either on or off. [Yes, there is, I just didn't know how to engage it. RTFM dummy!]) The engine was smooth and torquey, a pleasure to drive, and the whole experience was a lot quieter and less fatiguing than the Mazcedes. The seat was comfortable, and intact, but the back on the bench seat is non-adjustable. One stupid thing is that there's a separate manual key release below the column, that took me a few moments to find, and you need two hands to get the keys out. Like the Chevy, it still had wing windows and a floor-mount headlight dimmer switch. It also has dual fuel tanks. Retro fun! The standard cab is certainly smaller than I'm now used to, my errand crap ended up filling the passenger seat pretty well, and it wasn't even half what I'd brought with me in the Mazcedes' larger cab. (Good thing I'm alone on this trip.) For the return trip I'll either need to bag things in the bed, or find extra room in the trailer, assuming we go that way. But, for a woods truck I need the shorter wheelbase.
I dug around in Dad's key pile and found the second set of keys.
I also went to the car wash, and the first pass through didn't even really touch the moss. I grabbed some of their interior wipes, and used a lot of elbow grease and the water puddled in the bed to go over all the mossy/slimy bits. After a half hour of scrubbing they ran it through the machine again, gratis, and now it looks pretty good. Much better, in fact.
However, trying to change the tire by the side of the road was problematic. I found all the jacking supplies under the hood, that was no problem, but the lug nuts were rusty and very difficult to remove. Oil drops from the tip of the dipstick helped somewhat. I set Daniel to removing the dead tire while I got the spare down from its hanger. I was stupid (again?) and managed to have the weight of the tire as it suddenly dropped loose hammer my elbow against the ground, putting a severe hurt on. Daniel and I finished the job anyway, but he had to drive as I couldn't use my right arm. We completed our errand, then he went off to meet his obligations, I grabbed a book, and drove myself to the ER, in a car with an automatic transmission since I didn't really have the use of one arm. It was good I did it this way, as the wait seemed like forever. No way any of our other obligations would have been met if we'd have gone straight to the ER after changing the tire.
Fortunately it seems like there is no permanent damage done, but I think it was close. The hammering just missed the joint/bone, but the meat damage was painful. Lots of swelling, too. The X-Ray was clean, so it was Ace bandage, ice, and Ibuprofen time.
I then went to Liberty Tire, which I have used before, and they had a used tire available that was an exact match to the destroyed tire. $56 later it was on the truck, and they'd even moved the spare back into its storage hole for me.
Towing like that we were getting in the 11MPG range. Not great, but it was hard work.
There were five active wasp nests in the Ford. One in the door I dispatched before we left. Four more (two in each fuel hatch, wasps hunkered down in shock) I discovered at the first fueling. (The wasps were not amused. "Wasps," say I, "enjoy my shoe.")
We got back home at about 6:15AM, loooong day!
Return to Site Home