Saturday, March 25, 2017

New Truck

I bought a truck!  Its not new, I guess, but new to me.  Its a 1997 Dodge Dakota SLT.  I saw it on Craigslist, and since my dad has very nearly the same truck, I figured I should go have a look.  I was looking for a truck that I could sleep in the back of, with a canopy, and with 4 wheel drive, so if I wanted to take it down to Baja and drive through the sand, I would make it.  This one ran me $2700.  I've run it through a few tests, including the chicken test:

This chicken kicked the tires and looked up at me with a beady eye and clucked that it was ok.

The Car has 193,000 miles on it, but runs well and has good compression.  The CARFAX came out just fine as well.  There are a few projects I've worked on with it so far.  I cleaned the outside, then the inside, then the bed and the canopy, and I took off a large steel rack that was for hauling lumber and reducing the fuel economy.  The fuel economy is not good.  It has one of those little reader computers that tells you how much fuel you are guzzling and going up a hill I was able to make it read 5 mpg at one point.  I'm not through a full tank yet (though it shouldn't take long) but I expect an average of 14 or less.  I was hoping for 20.  Still, I won't be driving it too much.
 My plan is to have a camping site in the back, so I stole my mom's small red mattress that she keeps for visitors and then built some plywood boxes to sit on the sides to store things in.  I've still got to replace those gas struts that keep the side windows up and make it a bit more homey in the back, but I am off to a good start.  I slept the night in the back and found that it was very loud with rain drops splattering on the fiberglass.  I'll just have to go to places where it doesn't rain much.  Its also cold, so I'll have to go to places where it is warm outside.
 I'm a fan of the colors and the tires and the cleanliness (or the lack of rust), but the stereo has a ghost in it and there is an annoying thing with the driver seat and the driver side rear view mirror is cracked so it looks like looking through binoculars that are wonky, and takes some getting used to.  Annoying, but not deal breakers.  There was a big dent in the port quarter and I bumped it out and it looks quite nice now, you can't really tell it was ever there in this photo:
 My latest thing is to build up an electrical system for the back, so I got some lights and wired them in, and then made a mess of the back to take a picture, so ignore the boots and mess, but look only at the lights.  I think in the future I'll try to put a battery in the back and a solar panel on the roof.  Currently it runs off the engine battery, but I'd prefer to have it isolated.
 I've also not put hinges on the boxes yet, since I can't decide where to put them, but I'll get that done sometime, and since I'm planning on going on a road trip very soon, I'll give you a report on how everything turns out.  Its been a while since I last had a car, so I am excited, but also worried about how long it will last and how much it will cost.  I guess I'll find that out too.  

1 comment:

Ellen said...

Hi Christian, welcome to the family of truck owners!
Camping is a lot like boating, with everyone trying to tell you how to do things - so here is my advice. To combat the cold, it would make sense to get the matress off the truck bed. A shelf as high as your boxes will give you lots of storage space beneath, room for a larger matress and help keep you warmer.
Or as you said, head to Mexico!