Decision Time - Keep Going vs. Sell vs. Part Out - Opinions Wanted - Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum
94-98 Powertrain Discussion of components that are directly involved in the power production and all that is needed to get and keep the truck moving . Engine , Transmission Ect...NO ADVERTISING

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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Decision Time - Keep Going vs. Sell vs. Part Out - Opinions Wanted

I don't see a general discussion forum for the 2nd gens so if this isn't the right place please feel free to move.

Kind of a long post but I'm interested in opinions on what to do next with this truck as I'm sure some of you have been here also.

I have a 1996 2500 Extended Cab Long Bed. I bought it from a local fire department in TX for $5k with 274,000 miles on it. I currently have about 285,000 miles on it. Truck is pretty much stock although at some point someone was in the AFC housing as you get a little black smoke when you step on it. Stock injectors, etc. though.

I bought it as I wanted a reliable truck, 4x4 with a manual transmission that I could work on myself. It also had some cool extras on it like a gear vendors overdrive unit, 60 gallon fuel tank, ranch hand bumper, AT tires, etc. I bought it thinking I'd need to put $6-7k into it to get a decent truck that I'd just need to do regular maintainence on (and also be able to fix any other issue on myself when they inevitably came up).

So far I've put an additional $10k in it and while I'm closer to the "end" I'm also at the point where I really need to evaluate what I want to do before continuing down the rabbit hole as the next jump is pretty expensive.

The last major thing I thought I needed to do was replace the rear main seal. I pulled everything apart in my garage but when I got to the back of the block I noticed coolant leaking from above. I wasn't into the DIY head gasket so I had it towed to my local shop and pressure tested to confirm that it was a HG leak. They confirmed this, pulled the head and sent it to a local machine shop to pressure test the head. Got a call this morning that the head is cracked at the valve seat. Waiting on a call back with some $ figures and options but it seems to be a pretty common issue. That said I'm expecting the repair cost to go up...

I have some $ left to keep going down this road if I want but at some point I imagine it becomes pointless. I like the truck in that it meets my wants of a 4x4 manual truck that I can work on myself, but it also exceeds my "needs" and I've spent 1/3 of the time that I've had it with it inoperable in my garage while I do something to it so I'm trying to weigh out where to go next. I also have a kid now and the carseat won't fit in the back so that's a major pain. I do occasionally do some light to mid towing (5-10k lbs, usually on the lower side of that). More often I make use of the bed for work but I could also get stuff delivered so it's not the end of the world if I lost some of that capacity. I do like that parts are cheap and I can do pretty much everything myself to it.

At this point
I'm in the truck for just under $15k.
Currently have Trans/Transfer Case/Gear Vendors Out of the truck
Trans was gone through and in good shape
Transfer Case needs rebuild
Gear Vendors hasn't been used as the power was disconnected but supposed to be in good shape.
I know it needs a head gasket and probably a new head.
I know I need a new oil pan gasket.
Block was inspected and is in good shape per the shop.

If I go down the road of repairing it I'll have been through pretty much everything but the suspension and the injector pump.

So at this point I'm trying to get an idea from guys who have been here what I'm actually looking at. My concern is that another $3k of work makes the truck worth about $500 more than it is as it sits currently? What is the truck actually worth as it sits vs fixed up in your opinion? Is there anyway it's worth more as it sits than it is for parts? I recognize that it's not worth the $15k I'm in it for so I'm not going to come back telling you your number is low because I've put so much $ into it. I definitely don't want to be that guy.

Below is a list of what's on the truck/what's been done since I bought it 10k miles ago for reference. I put brands where I remember what I got. Pretty much everything came from Geno's and was OEM or Gates.

Gear vendors overdrive unit (I never hooked it up)
Ranch hand style front and rear bumper
Viper Alarm (horn is currently removed)
5" exhaust system (not sure brand as was on truck when I got it)
New tow hitches (B&W Class V bumper pull and turnover ball gooseneck)
Replace ALL fluids (oil, power steering, coolant, differential fluids, trans fluid with the OEM Mopar Fluid, etc.)
New ac compressor, evaporator (OEM), drier, etc.
New heater core (oem) and all radiator/coolant lines and hoses
Killer dowel pin tabbed
New water pump (gates)
New thermostat (gates or cummins) don't remember
New front main seal (cummins)
Re-seal timing Case cover (Permatex)
New spare tire
New wiring from behind the cab back to the tail lights, etc.
New 7/4 Pin tow adapter
New Trailer Brake Controller (not installed)
New tail-lights
New steering gearbox (blue top)
New steering lines (gates I think?)
Steering gear brace (Dodge Off-Road)
New valve cover gaskets (cummins)
New oil pressure sensor (cummins)
New fuel sending unit (OEM (think cummins)
60 gallon aftermarket metal fuel tank
New engine speed sensor (Cummins)
New running boards
Install fuel pressure and boost pressure gauges (hewitt industries)
New rubber fuel hoses
New lift pump (cummins)
New water in fuel sensor (cummins)
Delete fuel pre heater
New belts (gates)
New overflow valve (cummins)
Rebuild vacuum pump (Gould)
New Slave Cylinder (Val-air)
Timbren SES on the front and rear axles (came with the truck)
South Bend Dual Disc Clutch (Unsure which exact model as it was installed prior to me getting the truck)

The truck was bought new in TX and has been in TX an NM until I moved to Wisconsin in March. The paint has some scratches but there is no rust and the body is straight, etc. Interior is decently worn although the dash only has 1 cracked area. Truck was stored indoors by the fired department and a mix of inside/outside by me. No center console in it.

Cheers.




96 - 2500 - 12 Valve - 5 Speed - 4x4
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 05:43 PM
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If you put the new head on it you could get the market rate for an almost 300k mile truck in your area, whatever that is. In my opinion, these trucks are only worth owning if you do the repairs yourself, and you only get your money's worth out of that by driving it. Most of the items you have listed are standard maintenance and repair. They don't increase the value much, and aftermarket parts don't really either.

If my truck ever needs major work, I will take it out of commission and buy another truck so I have something to haul with during that time. If I didn't "need" a 1 ton 4x4 diesel truck, I would never own one. They are expensive to buy and maintain.

All that being said, you are the only one who can decide what is best for you. Good luck with your decision.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 06:08 PM
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IMO, you will not get much with the head off the engine, whether you sell it as is or part it out. The other side of the coin is you will take a bath in loss even if you get the engine repaired, then sell it. No good answer for this dilemma. It all boils down to how much do you want it.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 06:37 PM
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Sounds like you married it already.
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Daily driver/ workhorse: 1994 2500SLT 4x4 Auto. Hewitt EGT, Boost, Trans gauges, Under hood Mech FP gauge, Trident fuel lines, Tork Tek OFV, Mag-Hytec DD Transmission Pan, Ford manual hub conversion, Diamond eye 4" turbo back, 37337 Upgrade. 260K

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 06:46 PM
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MY TAKE :
Keep it if you can afford it.
If not , fix it and sell. I know a loss will hurt ..
Hope it works out for you !!!

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanack6795 View Post
Sounds like you married it already.

Indeed, as he has a lot of money wrapped up in it. You get your money's worth out of these trucks by using them as they were intended. They return a lot of work, more than pretty much any light duty truck ever built. But for somebody that doesn't actually need one, they don't make a lot of sense.

'97 3500 4x4 CC DRW, 4.10, Banks PP, BD tc, vb, eb, 60# springs, Torqloc, gauges, Weatherguard, B&W...
'92 CC W350 DRW sold '92 CC D350 DRW sold '12 Laramie CC 3500 4x4 SRW sold
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 08:07 PM
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Something to think about !!!
I know a couple folks that have these trucks tucked away just in case of a EMP bomb.
But money in not much a problem for them !

05 2500 Quad 4x4 Auto , Smarty Jr & . 3:73 Ratio
190,000 miles
95 2500 Quad 4x4 5 Spd. 3:55 Ratio. 95K original miles
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 08:58 PM
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I would keep it but I generally make poor decisions. Sounds to me like if you get the head back on, you'll have the truck you want. If you do decide to sell it, I would like dibs on the rear set of Timbrens

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1998 P-Pumped 24v, 4x4, NV4500 swap
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 11:54 PM
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The way to get the most money out of the truck is to part it out. The truck is now worth more in parts than it is as a whole. But parting it out isn't just free money, you work for it. I've tried the parting out a vehicle for more money thing before and it worked, I did end up getting more cash in my pocket than if I just sold it whole. But if you count the time and effort I put into parting it out, I made like $1/ hour my time, I would've been money ahead selling it whole (for less money) and bagging groceries at the local store for the time I had invested.
No clear right decision here, you're kinds screwed either way. If it were me , I'd keep the truck and fix it, but my kids aren't in car seats anymore (my kids are wanting to learn how to drive a stick in mine, scary). I traded in my dream car on a 4 door truck because when both my kids were in car seats at the same time, I needed a four door more than I needed to have a fast car, so I understand the PITA associated with child seats.

97 Extended cab 4x4, NV4500, gauges, valair single disc clutch, 4k gov springs, +60 lb valve springs, homemade #10 plate, medium tension AFC spring, flat washers AFC diaphragm, stock turbo and injectors, lifted on 37" tires with re-stacked limited slip friction plates, and factory 4:10 gears.

Last edited by Antonm; 06-18-2019 at 12:00 AM.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 08:10 AM
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Keep it. I say that as someone who put around 3000 into a 14 year old car over the past two years. Is that more than it's worth? Hell yeah. Is it cheaper than a car payment? Hell yeah. Sure, I can get into another used car, but then there's a lot of unknowns about what's wrong with it and are likely to run into similar issues.

Same scenario with your truck, you know what has been replaced and what the weak spots are going to be. If you do sell it now, people won't value it for all the extra parts you put on, they'll see it as a money pit that someone finally gave up on.

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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Appreciate the thoughts and am open to more opinions.

I'm not expecting to get my $ out of it (and never was as I figured it'd never be worth what I put into it even if I was closer to my original estimate).

The $ I'm into it does include about $700 of tools that I didn't have when I started and also probably a few hundred that I would've spent on any vehicle I owned new or old so the numbers slightly better than I originally thought. I've kept a pretty detailed spreadsheet of everything I've bought which has helped.

I learned a ton working on this truck so while it wasn't quite as good of a deal as I'd hoped I'm not too disappointed in it overall.

I think it does just come down to how much I want this truck vs another one, and what my level of comfort is that this is actually close to the end of forseen major investments in it for the time being.

The upside of parting it out if I go that route is that I already have the trans, transfer case, starter, clutch, and drivelines, etc. off of it.

Would you guys have an opinion as to value with the head off as a complete truck? I assume that's the lowest value of any option here.

If I fixed it up, people seem to be asking $7-8ish for 300k trucks here so I imagine they are getting $5-6ish for them?

Parted out I assume I'd maybe get another $1-2k over that but that'd be over 6+ months and a lot of work on my side... As well as having the last $1k of parts and a frame sitting in my yard for who knows how long...

96 - 2500 - 12 Valve - 5 Speed - 4x4
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 98whitelightnin View Post
I would keep it but I generally make poor decisions.
HAHA! That made me laugh. I would fit in that category too.

98 2500 12v rwd ECLB working on upgrades
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