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Old 07-10-2020, 11:32 PM   #1
cokewhitetiger
 
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Default Should I buy it??

Hello everyone, I've been lurking here for a bit now and really appreciate this resource! Hope you're all faring alright mid-Covid. I'm looking for either a ready-to-go clean Hardbody for a fair price (elusive), or a moderate fixer-upper with no serious issues. I believe this truck is the latter. I would be grateful for any advice you would share.

The good/good enough:
1997 XE 4x4
190,000 miles
Seemingly good mechanical shape, everything works inside and out
No major body damage
No major rust (minimal bubbling over rear wheel well)
Interior-dirty but undamaged
Factory everything

The question marks:
Space between the cab and bed doesn't line up perfectly (seems wider at the top)
Truck seems to ride lower over the front wheels than the rear
Listed price: $3,600 (top KBB)

Wish list:
Fresh paint job
New windshield (cracked)
Remove tint from door windows
Refresh interior
Upgrade bed liner, remove weird steel bed edges

My ultimate question is: are my question marks obvious red flags of some structural issues? I'm also concerned my "wish list" would wind up making me spend more than being patient and buying a better condition truck. Thank you!


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Old 07-12-2020, 02:06 AM   #2
cadillacdude1975
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The bed sagging could be bad bed bushings. Just give it a good inspection. These things rust like mad if they are in the right conditions.
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Old 07-12-2020, 02:58 AM   #3
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Saggy front suspension is just due to age. They sag. Just reindex the torsion bars. If everything is clean and clear of rust it's maybe an hour job.



The gap is weird. I'd want to look at the frame for damage but as caddy said it can old.just be failing support bushings.



Kill off any bedliner. They trap moisture and rust the bed out.



I'd off less than the $3600 asking price due to the paint, being dirty inside and the bed alignment if I were interested.



For reference I paid $3400 in ~2008 for the truck in signature with 86,000 miles on it with 2 sets of wheels, fender flares not mounted, no grill guard.
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Old 07-12-2020, 03:01 AM   #4
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Being a 4x4, someone could have thrashed the hell out of it and bent the frame.

If that happened, you should be able to see it by looking under the truck from the back to the front along the frame rails on each side.

If those look good, it's probably just bed-bushings like Caddy said.

Paint? I wouldn't worry too much about it. Being an older truck, nobody is going to be too upset.
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Old 07-12-2020, 03:38 AM   #5
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Not sure about ships in your area but shops around here will get it up on a rack and go over it for anywhere from 20-100 bucks. I always do this before buying.
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Old 07-12-2020, 05:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jp2code View Post
Being a 4x4, someone could have thrashed the hell out of it and bent the frame.

Paint? I wouldn't worry too much about it. Being an older truck, nobody is going to be too upset.

Bent frame.is.exactly what I was referring to. I'd be worried about that.



I might be a minority but I care about paint on a a vehicle. Often you can see how a person took care of the rest of the rig by it's external appearance. If it's trashed outside you can probably bet it's trashed inside and likely not maintained well.





Random side pet peeves, classic cars that are "restored" and have clear coat. That nice wet paint looking clear coat is a relatively new thing and no, that classic mustang did NOT have that kind of paint when new. Especially if it was white which often lacked clear coat clear into the 90s.
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Old 07-12-2020, 05:10 AM   #7
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The $3,600 price would make more sense if it wasn't pushing 200,000 miles, and it was a King Cab. I would definitely examine the frame rails to see if was wheel-hopped a bit too much off road.

One thing I always ask sellers is why are they selling the truck?

I would try the shock absorber test, too. Hop up and down on the rear bumper. The bed should go down, then up, then stop cold. If it goes more than once, the shocks are wasted. Same with the front.

I'm fairly ruthless when it comes to buying cars and trucks. Sure, you can make one of these trucks go 300,000 miles if you want, but that one is already two thirds of the way there....just saying. I don't believe 3,600 with that kind of mileage, not on the KBB.

I went to the KBB site and saw they only listed the King Cab for value on the 1997's, not the standard cab. Couldn't find that option on the list. So I did the value on the King Cab at 190000 assuming this truck has AC and power steering and a more or less regular stereo setup. They were listing value at around 2600 in 'Good' condition on a private owner purchase, and maybe 1,500 on a trade in. (Good= some minor cosmetics that can be fixed, and no major mechanical problems.)

$3,600 might be a bit high on this one. Maybe $2,800 is more realistic. Not sure about the weird spacing between the cab and the bed. You should ask the owner why it's like that. Like I said, I would take a real good look at those frame rails on both sides. Maybe even use a straight edge or something. Look for dents in the frame, crooked stuff, wrinkles somewhere, whatever.

EDIT: There are some nice things about it. All the chrome is nice, and the wheels in good shape. Can't see under the hood, and you didn't say what factory options it has, and if they work. If the AC blows real cold, that's always a plus.

https://www.cars.com/shopping/nissan.../charlotte-nc/ Some trucks there.

One thing I see by research is most folks back there aren't using Craigslist. Okay, no problem. I also see the really good Nissans are going for large money, more than you might find in the Pacific NW. But we have a lot more of them here, too. Maybe if you can get this one for 2800 that would be a good deal for you. It's true the prices on decent hardbodies have been going up over the last year or two. The farther away it gets from 1997, the more the prices go up. Three years ago I was able to buy the truck in my signature for 2500 and dropped an immediate 500 into it. I've been offered more than double what I invested in the last year. Bought it at 108,000 now has 122,000. So...I guess 2800-maybe 3000 on that 97 aint bad. One thing about the 97 is it has the plug in code reader for you, down by the fuse box. Only came with the 96-97's.

The more you crawl around inside and under the truck checking it out without offering any comments to the owner...the more likely he is to drop the price. This tactic works even BETTER if the seller gets a glance at an envelope in your back pocket that obviously contains cash. Can you tell I used to sell used cars? I even sold one to a spy once. No kidding.


LOL been editing this post all evening. Okay...I will take a stab at a firm recommendation. If you can get this 4-by 1997 for 3K or less...go for it. If you go above 3200 its more of a risk, but let's face it...they aint that hard to work on anyway. One thing I noticed by searching ads in NC was that there aren't a whole lot of D21 hardbodies out there for sale. You might onto a good deal.
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Last edited by XoXSciFiGuy; 07-12-2020 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:28 PM   #8
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Wow, thanks to you all for the responses and sorry for the delay getting back, finally got a chance to camping for the first time in forever over the weekend. I think I'm going to pass on this one, but your info will certainly help me make a more informed decision down the road. I just missed out on buying a nice '96 a few days prior and was fighting the urge to rush into this as a "rebound" truck haha. Thanks!
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Old 07-14-2020, 02:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cokewhitetiger View Post
Wow, thanks to you all for the responses and sorry for the delay getting back, finally got a chance to camping for the first time in forever over the weekend. I think I'm going to pass on this one, but your info will certainly help me make a more informed decision down the road. I just missed out on buying a nice '96 a few days prior and was fighting the urge to rush into this as a "rebound" truck haha. Thanks!
I recommend you try for either a 96 or a 97 only because those two model years, the final ones for the D-21 hardbody, came equipped with a plug that takes code readers. Easier than pulling the passenger seat and counting lights flashing, like the OBD-1 system did. A code reader, of course, will tell you a lot more, a lot faster than doing the old-fashioned method. Your check engine light comes on maybe...just plug in your handy-dandy code reader and it will tell you exactly what is wrong. No more guessing. No more counting lights. Saves a lot of time and trouble. All cars and trucks sold in the USA after Jan 1, 1996 have this. It's a big plug mounted on the right side and just above the fuse box.

And if you get a chance at one, go for the King Cab in preference to a standard cab. My last Nissan before the one in my picture was a standard cab 1989. Once you go to King Cab, you will never want to go back to standard. There's a lot more room back there than it looks from the outside. Toolbox, big speakers, etc. etc.
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Last edited by XoXSciFiGuy; 07-14-2020 at 02:50 AM.
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Old 07-14-2020, 03:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XoXSciFiGuy View Post
I recommend you try for either a 96 or a 97 only because those two model years, the final ones for the D-21 hardbody, came equipped with a plug that takes code readers. Easier than pulling the passenger seat and counting lights flashing, like the OBD-1 system did. A code reader, of course, will tell you a lot more, a lot faster than doing the old-fashioned method. Your check engine light comes on maybe...just plug in your handy-dandy code reader and it will tell you exactly what is wrong. No more guessing. No more counting lights. Saves a lot of time and trouble. All cars and trucks sold in the USA after Jan 1, 1996 have this. It's a big plug mounted on the right side and just above the fuse box.

And if you get a chance at one, go for the King Cab in preference to a standard cab. My last Nissan before the one in my picture was a standard cab 1989. Once you go to King Cab, you will never want to go back to standard. There's a lot more room back there than it looks from the outside. Toolbox, big speakers, etc. etc.
I'd been looking for 96/97 for the airbag but was unaware of the code reader, that's great to know. The upside to the standard cab for me is less space to throw trash haha but it is pretty limiting. I'll try to check out some King Cabs, they seem more common around here too.
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