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Frame rails. Is it worth it?


Bliue dm
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So.. I have a 97 rd688s. E7 400 with 12sp. Triaxle. At this point it has 2 new rears but aluminum dump is shot. Motor has 543xxx on it and front head gasket is leaking bad. Frame rails are stuffed and waffled bad but. She does as a mack does... she still runs well. Does some leaking from gasket other than that. No complaints. Issue is.... the reality is needs motor and refurbished dump body on top of frame rails. Is it worth re railing or move on. 12spd was redone in 16. I really love the truck especially with the 4.17 rears but truck is at the point we're it's time to really invest in it or move on. What's yall thoughts

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Well... Very robust truck.  Rebuilding it will certainly cost significantly less than new or "like new".  The question is, can you afford the downtime of rerailing a truck and rebuilding the motor?  Dropping a new/used dump body on it is minimal downtime as you can aquire the new dump and still be working until it gets installed.  However, you need to consider the lost revenue due to the downtime when pricing out the the parts and labor of the rebuild.  Then compare to the cost of similar spec'd trucks that are in better shape that are on the market and what a brand new truck would cost.  I think that is a good jumping off point to decide if its "worth it".

Ed Smith

1957 B85F 1242 "The General Ike"

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Probably not worth it. You can find those trucks all day long with good frame rails and beds for anywhere from $20k to $35k. Granted they probably wont have the same drivetrain specs as yours, however, you could keep yours as a parts truck. You could buy a turn key truck with similar specs and just start running it. Reframing a truck and having a new/used bed put on it can't cost less than $25k if you are paying a shop to do it plus you will be missing out on several weeks worth of revenue. Additionally you then have to rebuild the engine. I would find a solid used truck that suits your needs and go that route. And have your current engine rebuilt as a spare. And hang onto your current rears and transmission as good parts. 

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If it was some type of specialty truck with very unique specs or had a type of body that was "rare" or difficult to replace I would be more inclined to agree it is worth it. It sounds like it is a garden variety triaxle dump truck in which case it can't be economically "worth it" to rerail, overhaul engine, and replace the dump body vs buying a similar, fully depreciated, turnkey unit. If your objective is nostalgia, hobby, or some other reason that is not economics then yes it could be "worth it". If you had other truck(s) to run and eliminate the downtime you would have while rebuilding the truck it could also be worth it in that scenario as well. 

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