It’s been over a month now since I’ve done any real work on the plane. I did update the software in my SkyView to 7.0.1 last weekend, but life has just been way too busy the last few weeks. Hope to get some work done on it over the Thanksgiving break. We’ll have to see how that goes. In other news, the GMC Sierra Duramax is officially dead, and has been sold. The engine need a complete rebuild and/or replacement (at 136k miles – wow). While I could have had that done, given the history of nightmare General Motors electrical problems over the last ten years, I opted for another solution. I did a ton of research, and decided to buy the most reliable truck I could possibly find on the market. I bought a 2005 Dodge Ram Cummins. I scoured the Internet until I found exactly what I wanted. I was looking for a base model (ST) with a 2003 or newer Cummins, less than 120k miles, a six-speed standard transmission, four doors, a long bed, and the absolute minimum amount of electronics possible. I found it on ebay in Houston, TX. Flew down to Houston, test drove it, and had them ship it to me. Took two weeks to arrive, but it finally showed up last Sunday afternoon, very very dirty and with the bed full of snow. I washed it yesterday and took a photo. So far, I’m very pleased. And Abby is absolutely fascinated by roll-up windows. She’s never seen them before. The truck meets all of my requirements, particularly in the area of electronic black boxes. The only electronics in the entire truck are the fuel injection, the anti-lock brakes, and the AM/FM cassette stereo. The stereo will get ripped out in favor of an aftermarket Sony at some point, and I still need to install my 2m/70cm ham radio and antenna, as well as the big toolbox in the bed. Also need to start watching craigslist for a canopy to go on the back. I’ve only put 100mi on it since delivery, so I don’t know what kind of mileage I’ll get, but probably not as good as the old Duramax. As long as it’s in the 20s, I’ll be happy. The standard transmission should help. And with 610 ft/lbs of torque, I can tow even more than before when I need to.
If you’re looking for a good place to buy a truck, Affordable Sports and Imports in Stafford, TX really treated me right. The owner very accurately described the truck and it’s condition over the phone, and took my deposit via PayPal. I flew to Houston, and he had his guy pick me up at the airport. I had as long as I wanted to check the truck out in every way I wished to. At the end of my visit to Houston, I dropped the truck back off at the dealer, and they shipped it to me in Washington. The shipping was a bit of a pain, but that’s no fault of the dealer. Turns out getting vehicles shipped to WA is just a bit of a pain in general. Can’t complain, though. The shipper did a perfectly acceptable job, it just took a while. Anyway, I’d happily do business with them again (both the dealer and the shipper). In fact, I’d be willing to buy from them next time without the flight down to test drive.