1986 C10- Is it reliable enough for a daily driver?

Bevans

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Sorry if this is in the wrong section.

I'm thinking about purchasing a 1986 C10 this weekend. I'm trying to do my research on if this C10 would make a good, reliable daily driver. Obviously I know you guys cant tell me specifically about this truck but I am hoping you can tell me about these trucks in general. Here's what I know about the truck:

1986 C10 -$14,000

Dakota digital dash, Retro sounds bluetooth stereo, new crate engine put in last year 330hp 350 with 1400 miles on it,it has a 700r4 trans, Serpentine belt conversion, new hoses including a/c and p/s, new Edelbrock AVS Carb, new exhaust, new tires, lowered 4 inches in front and 4.5 inches in back (spindles and springs in front and axel flip in back), added sway bar in front, has p/w, p/s power disc brakes. Owner says there is some surface rust in the original paint but, claims its nothing of concern.Owner says it has good a/c, drives well and is above average condition for its age.


The only experience I have with this gen c10 is steering my grandpas as a child. I have always loved these trucks and wanted one but I drive 15-18k miles annually for work and thought the MPG's would kill me . So I have driven tacomas for gas mileage and reliability. However the Tacomas are only getting 17mpg on average and the new ones have issues and cost way too much.. I sold my Tacoma a year ago and bought a new Subaru SUV that was more "practical" .. I am hating it.

Carvana has offered to buy my Subaru for what I paid for it, which would allow me to buy the C10 and have it paid for. No car payment. The seller live about 3 hours away and I plan to go this week to drive it and possibly buy it. I'm fine with giving up creature comforts, safety features, tech, etc.. to get back in a vehicle that just looks badass and that I would enjoy driving. My only concern is the reliability. I dont know how to work on these engines as Ive never owned one but I am handy and feel like I could handle the basics with a Hanes manual and youtube videos. I just cant be without a vehicle for 3 days because something is broken.

So, can you tell me about the basic maintenance, how often does repairs pop up, and just kinda fill me in on what to expect as far as reliability.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post.
 

Bevans

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Frankenchevy

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Well, people did drive these daily when new.

If you get the mechanicals all fresh and everything is set up properly, you’ll be good to go. When maintenance does arise, they’re pretty basic to work on.

Good luck!
 

PrairieDrifter

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And beware of possible bad workmanship from whoever installed everything. Priced too high, and you have the worst transmission gm produced in that truck.
 

DoubleDingo

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I wouldn't hesitate to daily drive an old vehicle, because that's all I own. Even my 2007 Forester is considered old at this point. If you had an old Forester you probably wouldn't want an old truck, they are a blast to drive and get good mileage. Mine gets 26mpg on the open road with the AC on.

Depending on the rpms that truck turns on the road, and the torque curve of the engine, it could get decent mileage but not in the 20 range. If everything is dialed in perfectly, you could probably squeeze 14-15 out of it, but that is a stretch and you can't be driving 80 mph and get that kind of mileage.

My '81 got 8 when I took it on it's last road trip, but it's a C20 with 4.10 gears so it turns high rpms. It has vortec heads on it now, and it does get way better mileage around town, but it needs a few things for open road driving again, so I can't compare the previous road trip.

If you can buy that truck and daily it, go for it. Just know you will pay a more in fuel. When considered against a car payment it probably evens out what your out of pocket expenses will be. If you're set to get it, get it, and change the fluids, make sure the timing is set properly, tires are good and aired up properly, and daily that thing.
 

TX87R10

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The price seems pretty steep though.

Yeah no kidding.

I would talk this guy waaaay tf down from $14k. That is way too much for a spray can paint job truck with a crate motor.


https://www.hagerty.com/apps/valuationtools/1986-Chevrolet-C10-1!2_Ton?id=165237

Hagerty's lists an '86 C10 as being worth ~$12k if it fits this description -

#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is "excellent."



If the engine is in as fresh of a state as the post mentions that is definitely a plus for you. I don't know if I would trust driving it 3 hours home, but I always plan for the worst.
 

Frankenchevy

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And beware of possible bad workmanship from whoever installed everything. Priced too high, and you have the worst transmission gm produced in that truck.
This.

It makes you think hard when someone puts a significant amount of time and money into a vehicle, then ditches it almost immediately (1400 miles) after. Makes me wonder if they got it all together and something didn’t quite feel right and they threw in the towel from becoming exhausted trying work the kinks out.

Either that or they’re possibly a flipper. If that’s the case it’s fine, but I’d want to see a portfolio and get customer references.
 

KingBowzer

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I'd say take it for a test drive to a local Goodyear or somewhere similar, most places offer a free X-number point inspection. Agreed on the price being steep. Also agree on the transmission.

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Bevans

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Thanks for the quick replies and the heads up on the price.

He is saying he’s firm at 14k because he put 9k into this truck last year, so I’m hoping that meant he had a professional install everything and part of 9k was labor.

he also quoted me Nada average retail value at 15,600 and high retail at 26,000..

I’ll check into the values. I’ve tried to compare to other similar trucks and 14k sounded ok to me based off the new engine.. only because I see the same year models in my area with heavy rust and original or rebuilt 305’s with horrible ripped/cracked or just plain missing interior Going for 7k-10k


What would you guys consider a fair number for me to offer?
 

KingBowzer

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I'll admit the truck looks clean, at first glance the engine bay doesn't seem to have a bunch of gutted wiring or anything like that, but I know if I'd put 9k into my truck within the span of one year I'd sure have paperwork and receipts to prove it. That kind of money is a big investment, so there ought to be a paper trail to confirm that for sure. As far as local trucks in your area, these trucks are getting hard to come by, so everybody thinks they have something worth alot more than what they have. Theres also been alotnof shadetree mechanic work done on these trucks over the last 30 some years

Craigslist post in my area has essentially a gutted roller with a decent body and the guy wants 10.5k for it.

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Grit dog

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If you have to ask, then it may not be the DD you're looking for. Yes it may be and can be super reliable, but that is subjective based on how handy you are and how well you know these trucks. One person's idea of DD reliable = new toyota off the showroom floor and oil changes and tires only for 150k miles. Another's idea is, it always starts, most of the time, like tinkering and improving and don't mind spending the weekend in the shop getting the truck ready for work monday and I can fix many things on the side of the road if necessary. Decide where you fit in that.

That truck:
Plusses:
Digital dash and radio over $1000.
Rest of the interior looks good condition or new.
It appears to be an actual 350 Good wrench crate motor, not a cheap reman.
Chevy 350s are still one of the most reliable engines out there.
Body looks decent to good, agree better than average.
I can quickly add up $7-8k of new parts that add to the reliability or custom look, plus labor. Doesn't look like junk and it looks clean.

Minuses:
Price.
700R4 status.
FUGLY cheap old wheels
Still original paint (which is good "if" you're not paying anywhere near $14k for it)
Who the F drops over 4 grand into the engine compartment and doesn't even take the time to clean up the engine bay before installing a shiny new engine??

Bottom line, really cool truck that I could consider a daily driver if I had the time and didn't need something more capable with less time spent under the hood. (Notice a theme here? "time")

For comparison, I just gave a little over half that much for the '86 K20. Similar condition, save for being inherently worth more being a 4x4. Have a couple hundo and a couple days work into it just fixing little stuff. And it needs tires/wheels, paint and about a $1500 worth of interior parts.
In my mind, it's a $4k truck with drop spindles, cool dash, stereo and new engine, so it's an $8-9k truck. Guessing that's where the seller is at. Bought a clean $4k truck, hit the credit card real hard for a couple months buying parts and missed about 30 kid's soccer games working on it and now the wife said "it's me or the truck, pick one" and she's too expensive to dump, so the truck is for sale...
 

Grit dog

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Thanks for the quick replies and the heads up on the price.

He is saying he’s firm at 14k because he put 9k into this truck last year, so I’m hoping that meant he had a professional install everything and part of 9k was labor.

he also quoted me Nada average retail value at 15,600 and high retail at 26,000..

I’ll check into the values. I’ve tried to compare to other similar trucks and 14k sounded ok to me based off the new engine.. only because I see the same year models in my area with heavy rust and original or rebuilt 305’s with horrible ripped/cracked or just plain missing interior Going for 7k-10k


What would you guys consider a fair number for me to offer?

Ha, didn't see this before replying above! I was about right on the parts $ and no that does not include much if any labor.
Guy is $13k into his truck and been sleeping on the couch since April.
And yes NADA is funny. Sure, with nice clean restorations their prices are close. There's a fair number of $25k square bodys out there, but that aint one of them, yet.

I'd be curious how many of those trucks you talk about are "going for" that much or just "asking" that much?
Agree, you need to jump on the right one when it presents itself.
Wife and I left for Oregon at 5am the day after our blue truck was posted and I believe the seller when he said he had one buyer waiting to drive for it and a couple more that called just in the couple hours we were there buying the truck. And we missed out on a bunch of good ones. They sell quick if they're not overpriced.
 

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