What to check on an older truck? - FordTough.ca - Home of Canadian Ford Truck Enthusiasts
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-10-2008, 01:44 AM Thread Starter
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What to check on an older truck?

ok, so our pre -97's are at least 12 model years old, given the 09's are out ....mine is a '94 with 118,000 km/ 73,000 mi on it.

What do you suggest be checked for, to ensure many years of "reliable" service.

For example, I had a Dodge for a few years, and one day I was going down the highway and it just quit running....turned out the ignition coil failed with no prior warning; just quit and the motor died on the spot....is that an example of a part that maybe should be changed just based on age? Maybe that was a freak failure?

Another example, from the post about starter issues the other day.....checking the connections at the starter, etc.... some of this may seem awfully basic but I have always believed in regular maintenance to check for this type of stuff before it became an issue ... my '92 Flareside had nearly 300,000 km on it when dad parked it upside down in a ditch one late- fall morning 3 or 4 years ago...I added less than a litre of oil between oil changes and the tranny was fine, even at 300,000 km...but the Flareside was always well maintained, and was great truck even with all those miles on it.

Can anyone else suggest stuff they have encountered, or know about other components, that might fail just due to age, that we should be checking? Just little things that are great when they work but a nuisance when they fail?

I have had 2 Fords where the oil pans failed....I have also had 2 F-150's where the front gas tank on a dual- tank equipped truck failed (but never the back one). The 90's (I had a '90 XLT Lariat) had a second fuel filter down under the frame that had to be changed regularly to avoid fuel flow issues.

The '94 Ford has a PCV that is in a gawd- forsaken place at the back of the motor...we found it and changed it recently. The air snorkel on the '94 also had a crack in it that meant a replacement was needed. Careful inspection identified the crack, and that repair was maybe unusual. Always have spare headlight bulbs and just changed one....surprised the other did not fail about the same time....

As with another post, if you have an older truck, you have to identify a shop that can read "check engine" codes with the old code reader, if you do not have one. I found a shop in my area; not all shops can pull the codes on the ODB1's.

Other suggestions?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-10-2008, 08:19 AM
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oil pan and fuel pumps

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-10-2008, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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any potential "warning signs" with fuel pump issues....anything to watch for as an early warning of impending trouble?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-14-2008, 08:11 PM
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Not shure what to look for when they are getting tired, when mine started failing it wouldn't always turn on, had to keep turning the key on and off until you heard it buzzing.... You can have the fuel pressure tested to see if it is low. Mine was like 25..supossed to be around 40 I believe. Also my truck would idle eraticly. RPMS would go way up then almost stall.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-15-2008, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by truckguy94 View Post
any potential "warning signs" with fuel pump issues....anything to watch for as an early warning of impending trouble?
accesive noise key on eng off,bucking/chugging under load,frequent filter changes(may indicate corrosion in tank)but if you keep on top of maintance usually will treat you good.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 07:07 PM
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Frames break around front shocks. esp on plow trucks.
ignition switchs go frequently.
fuel pump relays fail now and then
internal slaves on 5spd trans are a pain aswell.

all in all they are very good trucks though
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 08:00 PM
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I find if you do something its always best to clean the area and or part and paint it if possible. you will often find other things to note while doing so, take pictures of it with a digital as you can take lots and it costs nothing. get a log and keep it. it can be as detailed as you want, mileage vs liters etc, but mostly for mechanical repairs. I note the part sizes or numbers bolt sizes for easy reference as a time saver simply because i always put my tools away. this helps me keep track of whats going on and its easier to keep the old gurl running. repack your bearings once a year if possible, every couple for sure but not every five years.

for me its mostly watching brakes and tires and odd tire wear. I never want my vehicle reacting differently in an emergency than what i can expect, regular upkeep is the best preventative maintainance you can buy. replace all parts with rebuilt or new, starters especially. alternators not so much but a used starter going twice in a month can be a real pain and lost $$$ you would have spent on the part anyway.

unless your psychic there is not a lot you can do except try not to run her hot, or low on oil and keep her well lubed!
Also I find that if you drive only standard transmission people are less likely to want to borrow it! haha ergo less wear tear and abuse you do not know about!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Henry Ford View Post
Also I find that if you drive only standard transmission people are less likely to want to borrow it! haha ergo less wear tear and abuse you do not know about!
I agree with that 100%
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 09:42 PM
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Check all your oil levels. Engine, tranny (especially light duty 5 speeds, M5R2), transfer case, front and rear diffs.
Grease all that is greasable. As you change out worn parts, replace with ones with grease fittings. A grease gun is your friend. So go out with a friend and get greased.
Check brake lines. They corrode and ultimately fail which means you won't be able to stop and get that girls # that you just passed!
Failed oil seals let oil out. Sometimes into brake drums. Same with wheel cylinders. See previous for results.
Give the starter bolts a little jerk to tighten them. Threads go into the aluminum housing so don't jerk them to hard.
Keep a spare inner fender starter soleniod and the tools to replace it handy. For the older trucks. Like keeping a spare ballast resistor for chryslers.
Radius arm bushings need to be checked and often replaced. Especially if you notice loose steering at highway speeds.
Brake spring hardware is cheap so spend a little now and save a lot later.
Shock absorbers saves springs. And quite often kidneys.
A little white grease on door hinges and latches helps you sneak into the house when you get home later than you were supposed to.
Read and/or download and read your owners manual. ATF doesn't last forever. Its gotta be changed. See the manual for how often. You'd be amazed how many peoples transmissions I've saved.
A little graphite grease in the locks keeps the tumblers happy.
Rocker cover gaskets need changing every once and a while. Keep the oil out of the clutch and in the engine.
Vacuum hoses need to be replaced or reconnected sometimes.
Brake flex lines need to be replaced every few years. Remember what happens when brakes fail!
Brake fluid needs to be replaced every few years. It soaks up water really good but after that it only works as a good paint stripper.
Check the battery tray and holding clamps. Batteries don't seem to like getting chopped up by moving objects.
Some pre-fuel injected trucks with mechanical fuel pumps had fuel filters in a cup that unscrewed from the bottom for the pump. Took me 2 days to figure that one out.
If you've got something apart, check around for anything else that might be a good idea to change. Saves you from having to take it apart again to do something else. IE: rear oil seal on the crankshaft. Why take the transmission out twice.
Front I-beam pivot bushings need to be changed at least every 50 years. And since you'll have the I-beam out check the king pin bushings. They're easier to press out when they're not in the truck.
PCV valves and filters gotta be changed once in a while along with gas caps for those of us who still have to go though e-tests.
Save a throw out bearing. Check your clutch return spring.
Flush the cooling system periodically. I've got no smart-ass comment for this.
If you have the rocker covers off to change the gaskets as mentioned, run a bottle brush or pipe cleaner down the oil drain holes. Rocker covers can only hold so much oil before they give.
Change the valve seals. Especially if you've bastardized your Ford truck by putting a chevy engine in it.
Check for wear on the breaker plate that your ignition points (yes, pre-electronic ignition) sit on. Setting the gap on points is so much less frustrating on a tight breaker plate.
If you have your M5R2 5-speed out, replace or silicone the rubber plugs in the back of the shifter housing.
Ok guys and gals, these tips are from personal experience. You're gonna have to come up with the rest. I've covered from 1965 to 1999. However, I'm sure I've missed a few things.
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