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Needs a New Engine

My 1997 F150 blew a cylinder and needs a new engine. I’ve had this truck since it was new and it has been good to me. But I think it’s time for us to part ways. I no longer live in the country, no longer have my horses, no longer really need a truck.

So my question is, what would you advise me to do with a non-running truck? Other than selling it as is or selling it to the scrap yard (for sentimental reasons, I’d rather not do, but will if that’s the best option). This is something I really have zero experience and knowledge of so I appreciate all advice.

The idiot free solution is to sell it to a scrap yard.

Putting it on Craigslist, or other sales sites will fill your days with idiots wanting to trade, scam or otherwise waste your time.

Word of mouth to friends and familiy is a middle of the idiot crowd first attempt.

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Yes, the only true idiot free solution is to take it to the scrap yard and sell it for whatever you can get. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get much. Some might take it away and not pay anything or even charge to take it away. Scrap is really low right now.

This is maybe a $500 truck for parts or repair if you sell it online. As mentioned, be prepared for idiots wanting to trade you their junk and just wasting your time and making you very frustrated with the process.

Here is what I do when selling something like this. I have several old riding mowers I bought to fix and resell before my business really kicked off and I no longer have the time or desire to do this type of thing. I have been slowly moving them along. I set a goal and put up ads for around 2 weeks and if it doesn’t sell, I send it off as scrap. Some sell pretty quick and it is worth dealing with all the idiots because it only lasts a few days. Others linger and end up in the scrap yard. I have no rhyme or reason for why some sell and others don’t. One of the cheapo brands sold fast and without hassle while a John Deere brought in nuts and ended up scrapped.

Something I do on my ads. On Craigslist you can make it so people can’t reply via e-mail. Most of the e-mails that come in are from nuts. Also mention that you cannot get texts even if you can or that you will ignore texts and only accept calls. It seems that most of the texts that come in are just a waste of time.

On Facebook you don’t have the option of turning off messages and other means of contact. Be prepared to be FLOODED with nutcases. The worst part is FB has enabled this behavior with their auto-reply buttons. “Is this available?” is the first one on the list but I think there are ones for “Will you take less?” and just “Interested.” If they are really interested, they can pickup the phone and call.

Put in your FB ad that you will only accept phone calls due to the scourge of idiots and that anyone who doesn’t read the ad and sends a message anyway will have it ignored and deleted. Most people will still message and those are not the buyers you actually want to deal with. All it takes is one decent person looking for this truck as a rebuild unit or for parts. Maybe someone crashed their truck like this but it still has a good engine.

I live in the country so the only person being bothered by a non running car or mower is me. You aren’t violating any codes or pissing off the neighbors by keeping something like this around here. I usually give the ad a certain time to run but I leave it up until the day I haul the scrap in or cut the equipment apart for future scrapping. You may have more of a deadline if you live in a more urban location. People aren’t going to want to see a broken truck just sitting around and may complain. If parked outside you will have to keep insurance and current tags on it.

You might try selling online and then use scrapping as a secondary option. You might also call a couple yards to see what the truck is worth to them. If you get more than $250, you might just call it a day and move it down the road. This is a common series of truck so that might work in your favor with either option.

What is the condition of the body and frame? If there is rust, it should definitely go to the scrapyard. If the body isn’t rusted, there may be someone who would want it to do an engine swap. Our son had a 2003 S-10 that spun a rod bearing and was able to get more for the truck than the scrap metal price.
After 22 years, however, I think I would sell it for scrap.

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You should not be sentimental about what used to be an appliance and now is junk. Junk belongs in a junk yard.

There is no rust on the body. It has a few dings. The tires are relatively new. It’s been well maintained. New AC. Upholstery is poor.

Perhaps donating your truck might be the best solution. You can click on NPR vehicle donation on this site. You can write the donation off your taxes.
This was a popular truck and might be repaired.


^ I second this. It was my first thought as well.

@davepsinbox_157004 I don’t become sentimentally attached to most things, but if I have something that I don’t want, but someone has some use for it, I will gladly give it away.
I am going through the painful process of cleaning out our garage. Mrs. Triedaq says we are not going to leave a mess for our son to deal with after we are gone. I have made a couple of trips to Goodwill with salvageable items that I no longer use. I had a two stroke rototiller that has always been hard to start. I bought a four stroke tiller and thought in my spare time I would fix the two stroke tiller and sell it. The same was true for a battery lawnmower. There is something wrong in the control board and it won’t run. Again, I was going to try to isolate the faulty component and then sell the mower. I realized that with all my other interests and activities I don’t have any spare time. I know this sounds strange coming from someone almost 78 and has been retired for eight years.
I hate to see something go to waste or in a landfill if someone can get some use out of it or fix it up. That is why I think the OP should consider donating the 1997 F-150. My first television I bought for almost nothing because the sound would cut in and out. I found a cold solder joint at the volume control and used that set for years. I bought a used Eico high fidelity amplifier and preamp for very little money and traced down a problem. I used that system for years.
My parents lived through the depression and I inherited their values. If something can be used by someone else, it shouldn’t be thrown away.

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You’ll get to deduct whatever they sell it for, which won’t be much. And most folks will be taking the standard deduction, so it won’t matter to their tax bill. But if they’ll pick it up for free, sure, why not?

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Thanks everyone for your responses.

Can you please clarify?

Low or no compression in one cylinder?

blew out a spark plug?

or something else entirely?

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In the southwest it would take about 2 hours to sell a truck that needs repairs for at least twice as much as a salvage yard will pay, there are a lot of people that buy vehicles to repair and trucks are popular with the working class.

Someone might repair the cylinder head if that is what is needed and have a $2000 truck.

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I would put an ad on Craigslist. An old truck with a sound body is a hot commodity right now. You should be able to get at least $500 for it and it will live on. I am like triedaq although a little older. I hate to see usable things get wasted.

My first tv was one that someone asked us to take to the dump when we delivered a new one and my first car was one I bought for $20 that someone was going to junk. My oldest sons first car was a 64 Valiant I found for him in 76 at a small one man used car lot. The dealer had been trying to fix the brake lights and couldn’t figure it out so I got it for $75 with no warranty or inspection. It was a great running car and he got many years of service out of it.

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Donating is probably a good option. Hopefully they know how to deal with non-running vehicles and maximize their value/make use of them as I am sure they get a lot brought in this way.

I have tried donating “project” type stuff to local thrift stores such as a mower needing a new carb or whatever. They don’t want it unless it can be started and run without any major issues. Electronics are another sure subject for them. Remember that is what I do for a living. You cannot hardly give away an old TV these days. CRTs cost money to get rid of so they explicitly have signs telling people that they are on camera and will be prosecuted for dumping, even if the TV works. They won’t take flat panels either and am not sure why. Either people want the latest and greatest or people hide some problem and donate them junk. Flat panels also cost to get rid of these days so maybe that is part of the deal. I have actually been given several decent TVs for free by my customers and I am happy to have them as long as they work. If they do not work I want nothing to do with them. They are older models but 1080P with digital inputs so I am not complaining, especially for free.

I once got 7-8 older computers together and tried to donate them. I had spent considerable time going through and making sure they all worked. I wiped the operating systems and updated them to the latest version of Windows 10 at the time. I also installed a free antivirus, LibreOffice, and a free video/audio player such as VLC. I even had flat panel monitors of the older variety, a mouse, keyboard, and all the required cords. Basically these were a take home and plug in type of deal. They were ready to go.

I was shocked when no thrift store would take them. I finally found one that would take them once I explained they were all good to go and had been wiped clean. They basically said that someone had hidden pornography on one to be nasty when they donated one and the buyer was very unhappy to find this later on down the road. It was done intentionally and on a time delay so it wouldn’t show up until after it was sold and in service. They agreed to take them from me but under the condition I would pickup any that didn’t sell within a certain period of time. I could tell they really didn’t want them but they knew I had wiped them and this was what I do for a living. Anyway, I ended up with like 3-4 of them back. I had spent a lot of time getting these ready so off to the scrapyard they go without a second look.

Trying to sell anything used like this on Craigslist or Facebook has been a nightmare of time wasters and scammers for me as well. I hate to see things that can be used go to waste as well but there becomes a time where it isn’t worth it. Everything is different. I know you will get some of this with cars as I have been there, done that, but was always able to get rid of them. Some things just aren’t worth the hassle and certain regions seem to work better with online sales as well (mine isn’t one of them).

Donating is a great option I hadn’t thought of. Most of these places will take your car, running or not.

I have an older car I am actually in the process of getting ready to give away to a friend who lost his young daughter not too long ago and needs all the help he can get. It isn’t worth much and figured it would be better to give it to someone who truly needs it vs. trying to sell it for $1000 and deal with nutcases online. I just got it running and put a working battery in it yesterday. I cannot find the title so may have to send off for a replacement as that is the last hurdle. Anyway this car will find a good home with someone who appreciates it. Donation would probably result in it being crushed as scrap metal.

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Honestly, I don’t know. The shop just said I blew a cylinder. I can ask them those questions.

I spoke with the tech and to be more specific, the number 4 cylinder has 40 pounds compression.

Low compression on that cylinder shouldn’t keep the engine from running. My brother had a 6 cylinder Ford van in his fleet of vehicles for his plumbing business. He had one cylinder that had low compression. He kept driving the van–he called it his Ford 5. When the transmission went out at 350,000 miles, he sent the van to the recycling yard. A mechanic can determine whether the problem is valves or piston rings. The truck might be attractive to a back yard mechanic to repair.

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Thanks Triedaq. Just spoke to the scrap yard. For scrap it’s only worth $30, market is at rock bottom.

Most charities that accept donated cars have a set contract price they get for them from recyclers. Thatis the amount you get to deduct from your income if you are able to itemize deductions. Most people are not able to itemize. If you can itemize you then get to deduct the amount the charity gets , say $50 from your income which results in a tax saving if you are in the 15% bracket of $7.50. Hardly worth doing the paperwork.