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Essential Tips for Buying a Squarebody Truck

Contributed By United By Trucks

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We are UNITED BY TRUCKS. We discover, recover, and put our spin on the trucks we find - and show YOU how we do it. And if it's not our truck, we'll do our best to tell you all about it and give you an in-depth look alongside the owner.

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When venturing into the realm of classic vehicles, purchasing a squarebody truck can be both an exhilarating and daunting task. These iconic trucks, known for their distinctive boxy body prevalent from the early ’70s to late ’80s, are now treasures in the automotive world. Thanks to Robbie from United by Trucks, we explore essential tips for assessing a squarebody, ensuring you drive away with a gem rather than a lemon.

Assessing Rust – The Age-Old Enemy:

Rust is the archnemesis of any car enthusiast. Key areas prone to rust include the rocker panels, door bottoms, and the wheel wells. When inspecting a potential buy, scrutinize these areas meticulously. Check under the battery tray and along the firewall, as these are common rust spots that can go unnoticed. A clean example might exhibit surface rust, which is manageable, but be wary of deep corrosion that eats through metal.

Hood Hinge Health:

A specific issue with the 1973-1980 squarebody models is the hood hinge. Due to rust or lack of lubrication, the hinges may kink at the center when the hood is operated. Before purchasing, operate the hood multiple times to ensure smooth movement without resistance or odd bends.

Engine Bay and Undercarriage Inspection:

Venture underneath the hood and the truck itself. Are the engine bay and its components well-maintained? Check for modifications and replacements that might not align with original specifications, as these can affect the truck’s value and performance. Also inspect the undercarriage for any signs of damage or poor repair jobs, particularly looking at the frame’s integrity around mounts and joints.

Interior Examination:

Inside the cab, the degree of wear can indicate how the truck was used and maintained. Original upholstery and instruments add to the truck’s authenticity and value, whereas modern modifications can detract from it (unless done tastefully and in keeping with the vehicle’s era).

Paint and Bodywork:

Examine the truck’s body for any signs of filler or recent paint jobs that may be hiding major bodywork issues. Check alignment of the panels as misalignment can indicate past accidents. A magnet may come in handy to find spots with excessive filler.

Unique Features and Originality:

Certain squarebody trucks come with unique features like original paint, special edition badges, or factory-installed upgrades. These attributes can significantly enhance the truck’s collectability and value. Verify the originality through VIN checks and available documentation.

Mechanical Condition:

Turn the key. How does the engine sound? Take it for a test drive to check the transmission, look for smooth gear shifts, and listen for unusual noises. Test the brakes, lights, and all electrical components. Mechanical authenticity and condition can drastically influence the investment quality of a squarebody.

Market Research and Pricing:

Before making an offer, know the market value of the specific squarebody model you’re considering. Prices can vary widely based on condition, originality, and market demand. Use this knowledge to negotiate effectively, ensuring you pay a fair price.

With these tips, you’re better equipped to select a truck that not only appeals aesthetically but also meets your criteria for performance and authenticity. Happy hunting, and may you find the squarebody of your dreams!