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GMC Sierra 3500, Truck
#1 of 36 is $2200 a good deal on a 1986 GMC 1 ton dually crew cab
Jan 07, 2007 (7:34 am)
I am seriously looking at a 1986 454 GMC 1 ton dually to tow my 5th wheel. I just totalled my truck and have searched the local market and found nothing that has impressed me. I know it's 21 years old, but has only 86,000 original miles. Carb needs a little adjusting but belts/hoses are in great shape, it fires right up. Tires are new. Only one thru spot of rust on the drivers rocker panel and a few surface spots around the fender wells, one tear in the drivers seat, nothing that can't be fixed. And it will be a classic in four years. Any suggestions on what to look for that might give me problems. Hey I'm a girl and can use some manly advise on this.
#2 of 36 Re: is $2200 a good deal on a 1986 GMC 1 ton dually crew cab [cindybb]
by kcram HOST
Jan 07, 2007 (8:22 am)
Welcome aboard, Cindy
Sorry to hear about your truck being totaled. While I don't tow (at the moment), I swear by my "training wheels" - been driving dually pickups exclusively for the last 11 years.
That generation of GMC/Chevy trucks were very durable... I would have loved to have had a 1980 GMC Indy Pace Truck dually (watch "Cannonball Run" if you're not familiar with it ).
Good that the truck you're looking at is a gasoline engine... whether it's the 350 or 454, lots of shops will be able to work on them - the 6.2L diesel was just not up to the task. Same with the transmission... GM automatics of that era only break if abused.
Be sure to glance through the Chevy C/K Series: Problems & Solutions discussion. There are posts about the pre-1987 trucks in there if you look carefully, covering the Chevy and identical GMC trucks.
kcram - Pickups Host
#3 of 36 Re: is $2200 a good deal on a 1986 GMC 1 ton dually crew cab [kcram]
Jan 08, 2007 (6:56 am)
Thank you for the reply. Do you mean the transmission on this particular GM if an automatic may give me problems or if it was a diesel automatic? I'm a seriously thinking of replacing my 98 with the 86. Sounds like a step backward but with the cost of gas, as much as I like driving a truck everyday it's seems smarter to get a car for that and reserve this dually for my towing only. Not to mention that due to it being in such good shape it's nearly a classic.
#4 of 36 Re: is $2200 a good deal on a 1986 GMC 1 ton dually crew cab [cindybb]
Jan 08, 2007 (10:45 am)
The price is right,but,keep in mind the 5-6 mpg as well as 6 tirs vs 4.. Add an air bag suspension for a smoother ride. I owned this year and mdl some time back. Paid 8k drove it 3 yrs & 100k miles sold it for 6800.00. Wish I had it Back !That is earlyefi as well as 4 spd auto. Add a trans cooler & keep it in 3rd unlees downhill or flat. Enjoy !
#5 of 36 Re: is $2200 a good deal on a 1986 GMC 1 ton dually crew cab [cindybb]
by kcram HOST
Jan 08, 2007 (9:10 pm)
No, the transmissions of that era were actually very good, and if they do fail, it's because it was abused by the previous owner. Plus, they are easy to modify and beef up as are the engines.
#6 of 36 Re: is $2200 a good deal on a 1986 GMC 1 ton dually crew cab [kcram]
Jan 09, 2007 (1:54 pm)
I am actually getting pretty excited about this truck. Although my F150 was a georgeous truck, (black and chrome, and spit polished and beefed up to tow my 3 ton camper) The idea of a larger beefier truck with an engine that even I can work on is nice. Hell my motor home had a 454 and I changed the alternator on the road in a dress. The only thing I couldn't find that I knew was wrong was a bad ground and my mechanic finally found it. Problem is when I started driving trucks years ago, lots of the women at work and around town started driving them too. You know, the meow thing. Now they will all have to trade up to bigger ones .
Will painting the whole truck (rather than just touching up the couple of bad spots) decrease its value as classic in a few years?
#7 of 36 Re: is $2200 a good deal on a 1986 GMC 1 ton dually crew cab [cindybb]
Jan 09, 2007 (2:09 pm)
The value of this truck as a "classic" is purely objective. Paint the whole truck but do not change color.if you do,make sure to jam the doors &hood,and firewall.
#8 of 36 Re: is $2200 a good deal on a 1986 GMC 1 ton dually crew cab [cindybb]
by kcram HOST
Jan 10, 2007 (7:10 pm)
Painting the whole truck (and I agree with the above, keep the original color) will not only look better, it will be easier to maintain. If you just do touch-ups, you'll have all kinds of fade and mismatch problems that will never look good. Putting a professional paint job on it will ensure that you start with an even color and good finish - makes it easier to wash and wax.
#9 of 36 Re: is $2200 a good deal on a 1986 GMC 1 ton dually crew cab [cindybb]
Jan 14, 2007 (5:04 pm)
I had a truck similar to the one you're looking at and it was great. It probably still has the HEI ignition and a Rochester carburetor and if so, recurving the distributor and changing the metering rods in the carburetor will make a big difference. The factory flyweights and springs in the distributor are a compromise because they don't know what someone will do with the truck. I changed mine (which changes the spark advance curve - hence the term recurving) to give the truck the best performance up to 65 mph. I then changed the metering rods in the carburetor, which was relatively simple, especially if you've ever rebuilt a carburetor. Both the recurve weight and spring set, and the metering rod set were for RV's and from a local NAPA dealer. I not only picked up speed on the hills when pulling my 36 foot 5th wheel but because the engine was running for how I was using it, picked up a little over 2 mpg. I later put a K&N air filter in it and that made quite a difference as well. The GM automatic should be a turbo 400 behind a 454 and it's bulletproof. The military still uses it in the HMMWV and used it in the CUCV Chevy pickups before that. It's still a favorite on the racetrack, so if that's what it has your only concern is whether it has been abused. Have a transmission shop check it out. If it's questionable have it gone through. They're not an expensive rebuild and you will be happy to have the peace of mind on the road. Heat is the killer of automatics and an external transmission cooler is a good idea too.
#10 of 36 Re: is $2200 a good deal on a 1986 GMC 1 ton dually crew cab [swinters]
Jan 17, 2007 (6:53 am)
Your information was priceless, thank you.