How to buy a new (used) Hoe

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Chief Knuckle Buster
Jun 16, 2009
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Greater Seattle
Hey all. I just wanted to start a list of things to check for when buying a new (used) hoe (or any vehicle for that matter). I want to get pretty stupid here, so I'm including things that are common sense to anyone that's ever bought a used car from another individual, or wrenched on a rig, but not necessarily common sense to someone who hasn't. Please add to the list!!!

-If it is 4x4, make sure the front and rear diffs are geared the same.
-Make sure the VIN on the title and the VIN on the vehicle are the same.
-Check the oil- look for water, froth, or chunks. These are deal breakers.
-With it warm and idling, check the tranny oil, make sure it is full, red, and doesn't smell burned.
-Make sure it has current tabs.
-Make sure the title is in the name of the person selling you the vehicle, and ask for ID.
-If the Hoe has 120K+ miles, expect to put a new alternator and battery in it.


No Quarter
Supporting Member
Apr 30, 2009
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Near Philly
Plus the obvious stuff. We all know what a truck looks like that has been cared for. It is clean on the inside and under, crawl under and a general look over to check for leaks, damage and so on.


Aug 6, 2009
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South East Wisconsin
Great thread!!!

I just purchased my 97' hoe about two months ago and I quickly learned this after purchasing it...

When you go to look at your possible future OBS,, crawl under the rear and look at the rear pinion seal for leaks at the front of the real axle where the rear drive shaft connects to the rear axle at the pumpkin. Then take her for a drive and crawl back under there and look for leaks in the same spot. If it leaks you need to get it fixed. Tell and/or show the person you are potentially purchasing this truck from about it. It can save you about a benjamin to a benjamin and a 1/2 ($100-$150) off your purchase price cause that is what it will cost for you to get it fixed at a shop ;)


A work in progress
May 18, 2009
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Midlothian, TX
Also if buying a 4x4 be sure to take the truck out on some gravel, or anything but pavement and make a sharp turn to see if the 4x4 is truly engaged. You'll know bc you can feel either the front or rear wheel slip a little. Just because the service 4x4 light isn't on doesn't mean it's working.


TYF Newbie
Sep 8, 2009
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if you can get it to a rack or a set of jackstands get the front wheels off the ground, grab them and attempt to twist, if you feel play in the front end expect to go through the whole rigamaro: pitman/idler arms/etc: every 85-100,000 miles these trucks need the front ends gone through.

in the middle of the truck, grab the U joints and see if you can wiggle them.. the more play the sooner you'll need to replace them or risk them binding up, do it for the front driveshaft as well if it's a 4x4.

check up front for oil cooler leaks, if there's a mess on the plastic skid plate, it'll be one more thing to fix.

Check the xfer case fluid, if it's overly full and the tranny is lowish, you probably have a seal blown between the two, not fun to replace.

listen for an exhaust leak under the hood on acceleration, often characterized as a loud "tick" as you accelerate. That usually means the drivers side rear manifold bolt has either backed out (party) or broken off (sucky). It's a fairly common problem, if you can't see the head of the bolt, try stabbing a piece of wire in the hole, see how far it goes and compare to a regular header bolt (approx 1.5 inches). IF it goes in less than that you most likely have a bolt that broke off and the threads are FUBAR'd. The leak, while annoying isn't a life ender, but it does suck.

Once you buy one, change the fluids in it right away to alert yourself of any problems you missed, you'd be surprised how much a full fluid change can do to make these trucks quieter and drive better.

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