The problem is that everywhere I take it people look at it and think I'm a fool to maintain it anymore. So I maintain it only the minimum, oil changes and whatever I need to stay safe driving it. It has good tires and heavy duty shocks on it, a new radiator and thermostat since it started overheating, a new windshield since the crack went big. Before I left AZ, on the way home from a river trip in which it was driven hard, the truck's motor went POP at 70 mph on the interstate, and the sound of the motor changed. I got some work done on the exhaust, and a new muffler, but the changed sound never went away. To date nobody has told me any more than "it's a tired motor, you need to replace it". When I inquire about the price of a new 22R installed, the estimates ranged from 3,500 to 5,000 dollars. The motor itself costs less than $1,000, rebuilt from Japan. As my truck still runs quite well, I am not ready to do that. I will just keep driving it and blowing smoke on the people behind me. Sorry about that.
Today we took it to Bridgetown for an oil change because they quoted us $24 on the phone, and because they offer a 30 point checkup free to customers. I was hopeful to finally find a shop that was reasonable and willing to help me maintain my truck. Instead I got more of the same.
When we first walked in there was a mechanic up front who had diarrhea of the mouth. He started educating Suzanne about what can go wrong with old trucks, as if she were ignorant about vehicles merely because she is female. He went through the list of things he thought might be wrong with my truck, and wasn't interested in hearing the details about my truck. We were told to bring the truck in at 2pm which we did, but then they were running behind schedule and so didn't look at it until closer to 3pm. We went for a walk. When we got back they had the truck up and the mechanic showed us that the seal on my rear axle is busted and oil is leaking onto the brake pads on the right side. I asked if there was anything else he wanted to show us, and he just said "there's a lot, this truck needs a lot of maintenance" but then wouldn't talk to us anymore. He was grim and wore latex gloves. The notes on his findings, which were the result of the free 30 point check, were cryptic and incomplete. The cost was more than the phone estimate. The attitude in the shop was hasty and negative. I got the feeling that the mechanic and the manager didn't like me, my truck, my stickers, my girlfriend, etc etc etc.
After we got my truck back and went home, we looked under the hood. The grim mechanic had been quite messy. There was a washer sitting on top of the motor, we know not where it came from. There was oil and coolant all over everything. I know my truck isn't clean, but at least when I put oil in it, I aim for the hole. I won't take my truck back to these guys. I had heard good things but now I don't know where to go. I am still looking for a good shade-tree mechanic who will work with me on my truck, and help me jury rig things for cheap, and keep it running for another 100,000 miles. That mechanic will have the advantage of all the good word of mouth and favors that I can muster, in addition to fair pay.