- All photos, text & errors by: Chris Breeden

Letting go...

When is it time to say goodbye to a automobile?

About five years ago I purchased a 1996 Chevrolet Silverado 1/2 ton, short bed, regular cab truck. I bought the truck because I wanted to make my work commute a little easier. The new truck had air conditioning, cruise control, comfortable seats and, for a truck, a surprisingly comfortable ride. Over the years, and the 75,000 miles I put on it, I've had a few minor repairs and even a couple of tow truck rides, but it was always a quick and cheap fix to get the green machine back on the road.

Until the latest breakdown... A few months ago, I started noticing a rather odd sound coming from the truck when I would have to give it more gas than usual. Mainly when going up a hill at slower speeds. I had heard this noise before and the rear differential eventually went out in the truck. In order to get a jump on it, I purchased another rear differential and swapped them out.

A little rough, but still looks perfectly fine.

A little rough, but still looks perfectly fine.

Problem solved, right?... No. Four days after swapping the rear end the transmission went out in the truck. No reverse, no second and no fourth/overdrive gear. After changing the fluid and the filter, and clearing the codes, the transmission still wouldn't work correctly. I began calling around, looking for another transmission for the 22 year old truck.

I had trouble finding a rear diff., so locating a acceptable transmission was going to be difficult. My choices became clear fairly quickly:

1. Pay $1,500 for a remanufactured transmission and hope that the 22 year old engine, with 240,000 miles, lasts.

2. Push the truck to a corner of my land, remove the battery and walk away.

Could my truck look like this one when it is 50 years old? A typical "ran when parked" truck. Photo from the 62nd Annual AACA Red Boiling Springs Car Meet.

Could my truck look like this one when it is 50 years old? A typical "ran when parked" truck. Photo from the 62nd Annual AACA Red Boiling Springs Car Meet.

Part of me is OK with letting the truck go. It can set there until the day, 20 or 30 years from now, when it becomes a "Classic". One day some young person, looking for a project, will knock on the door and ask if the old truck is for sale and I can tell the story of how it ran when parked, but the transmission went out in it. The same old story that has been repeated a thousand times, until it has now become a clique.

After all, it is just a 22 year old, high mileage funny smelling truck. The decision to do that shouldn't be that hard, right? Right? I thought the same thing, but instead of pushing it to a back corner, I drove it to the front corner and put a for sale sign on it. Everything worked on it and it was full of good parts, so I figured I'd help someone out that might be in the same situation I was in. A way for someone to make one good truck out of two bad ones. I decided I would ask $1,800 for it, but wouldn't go less than $1,500.

The green machines replacement. A 2004 Pontiac GTO. Doesn't haul 2X4's so well, but it does haul ass pretty well.

The green machines replacement. A 2004 Pontiac GTO. Doesn't haul 2X4's so well, but it does haul ass pretty well.

I then began a search for the newest, low mileage V6 Camaro or Mustang I could find. I ended up with a 5.7 liter, LS1 equipped, 2004 Pontiac GTO. After a month of dealing with people stopping at my house and calling my phone about the truck I took the for sale sign off of it. I don't understand why people think something setting on the side of the road for $1,800 should have about 20,000 miles and be in like new condition, but they do. People are strange.

Anyone need any parts?

Anyone need any parts?

The only other problem with my master plan is that I just can't bring myself to do it. I can not allow something to set around that doesn't work correctly. For some weird reason, I feel like I owe it to the truck to fix it. Plus, I refuse to be defeated by a transmission! When I get it fixed, I guess I'll just have another car to spread those commute miles onto!

If you stuck around through all of that then give it a *BUMP*!

Have you ever had to make the decision to "put a car out to pasture"?

Tell me about it in the *COMMENTS*!

Thank you for the *BUMPS* and *COMMENTS*!

Check out the first story involving the green machine, below:


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Comments (8)

  • Some years ago I had a similar connundrum. I had a 1996 Jeep Cherokee, it was my 2nd car (my first was just a 10 year older version), put 100,000 miles on it, had driven it from coast to coast.

    While working on it, I continued noticing rust.. and more rust.. and finally determined it was beyond saving.

    I'd found a guy on Craigslist that parted them out, and was able to sell it to him for roughly market price, and didn't have to deal with the usual nonsense.

    Still miss it though...

      2 years ago
    • Those were great Jeeps! I've never owned one, but I have had many friends who owned one and they seemed like good cars. I see how easily a person could get attached to one. While I was laying under the Chevy I got to looking and it had, no rust, no...

      Read more
        2 years ago
  • I am currently considering selling my pick-up, but I just can't get myself to do it...I have so many memories, good memories...and IF I get a buyer, will the buyer respect it the way I did lol? But it's getting old, safer to sell it now before it starts giving problems I guess.

      2 years ago
    • I don't know where you live, but the resale value of most trucks is fairly high, so you might be surprised!

        2 years ago
  • That "Pontiac GTO" has the unmistakable look of a Holden Commodore about it.

      2 years ago
  • Could have sold it on eBay as you get buyers not just from America but the world. Usually some of these old trucks end up in Britain.

      2 years ago
    • You know, I completely forgot about eBay! Ha! I used to sell a lot on eBay, but it's been a couple of years since I've done anything on it.

        2 years ago


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