1977 Chevrolet Truck Custom Deluxe 250 c.i.d. from North America
Although my particular truck hasn't been very reliable, I still like it and will be keeping it
Replaced the distributor.
Replaced all shock absorbers.
New belts and hoses.
Replaced water pump.
New fuel pump.
Hood was bent from improper shutting.
Replaced instrument cluster, which is why I don't know the correct mileage.
Replaced bushings on both doors.
Had the exhaust manifold milled because it was not mating up correctly to the head and was leaking exhaust.
Replaced entire exhaust system.
Truck has rusted through the floor pan on both sides, and also has the typical rust on the quarter panels that all these old Chevrolet's get.
Basically I've replaced just about everything under the hood, but the motor itself, which finally runs dependably.
I bought this truck as my first full sized truck, and while I was initially very happy with it (and am again, finally) it gave us many, many problems during the first years we owned it.
To be fair, the truck needed work before I bought it, and I really should have gotten something that was in better running condition. I thought I was getting a deal when I paid $750 for the truck, but I probably have over $3000 in it now due to all the above listed repairs. I don't do most of them myself, and so a lot of that cost is labor.
The truck left me stranded on several occasions with this strange problem it had of just cutting out on the highway. It would jerk and lurch and act as if it wasn't getting fuel. Then it would die and not start again. This happened in all weather conditions, and several times I was left on the side of the highway on my way to work, which really made me mad. After taking it to my mechanic (or being towed there) several times, he finally figured out the problem, which had something to do with the distributor. Unfortunately, it's been probably 6 years ago, and I just can't remember exactly what was wrong, since there were so many other things that we had to get fixed as well.
We finally left the truck sitting for 2 years after spending a ton of money on it, and it was actually running really well at this point. My wife was using it, and due to her fibro-myalgia, she was not able to engage the clutch to shift gears without a lot of pain. Toward the end of 2004, I was planning on just letting it go for $500, as it was really dirty and just taking up space. At the last minute, I dropped a new battery in it, and it cranked up on about the third try and ran like a top. At that point, I decided to clean it up and keep it. I now have it all legal again, and just need to have it inspected after getting a couple of tires. It does run really great now, and I am hoping it will be quite dependable since we have put in so many new parts.
This truck also had some strange modifications done to it long before we ever owned it. For example, the alternator was held in place by some type of homemade brace which blocked off the route for the original lower radiator hose. We only found this out when we needed to replace the hose, and the "correct" one wouldn't fit right. Fortunately, our mechanic is also a welder, and he moved the location of the alternator by making new mounts for it, and then found a hose that would work. I made sure to write down the part number of that hose, as it is not the correct one for the truck. But as long as you know which hose to get, you're in business.
Our mechanic also fabricated some braces to go under the hood and straighten it out. This was due to someone shutting it improperly and bending it almost in half... typical Chevy truck problem.
The truck also had a roll bar installed which I just took out this week. It was quite difficult to remove, since some of the bolts were blocked off by the gas tank. So I had to grind the heads off the bolts. But I finally got it out.
This truck has the 250 straight 6 in it, which I have been told by many people is a really good, reliable engine. I hope this proves to be the case with my truck. I'll probably keep it, regardless, because it is emissions exempt, and here in Austin, Texas where I live, they are now doing emissions testing beginning this year. We have intentionally held on to 3 vehicles which are 25 years old or more precisely for this reason. I don't care to be harassed with more extra charges and nit-picking once the testing begins here.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 12th January, 2005
I hear you all the way man. I have the same year truck. I bought it for 500 bucks and put about a $1000 into it. I also had the same problem with it lurching on me. I replaced the fuel pump and it quit for a while. Then it started lurching again and then I replaced the plugs and wires and it quit. Then a few months ago it did it again then I fixed the distributor and it works great now. I have the same engine 250 straight six. Mine runs great. Mine also has three on the tree. This makes my truck unique. I'm keeping my truck forever. Anyway's nice article.