Craigslist Ruined My Life

I’ve done quite a bit of buying and selling on craigslist thourought the years, and have had pretty good luck doing so.  I’ve never lost money on transactions, and got quite a few good deals on rare motorcycles and cars that I was able to sell for a nice profit.  I’ve never been involved in any shady deals, nothing that I would think karma would need to come around and teach me a lesson about…but in retrospect, maybe Karma and I have a score to settle.  You see, I ended up on the wrong side of a purchase recently.  The very, very wrong side.  I don’t think anyone deserves to have happen to them what happened to me.  You would think that when you’re selling a car, that you disclose everything up front.  (not really, I’ve met quite a few people who I know haven’t disclosed everything).  Luckily, I’m pretty thorough in my pre-purchase analysis to catch anything that someone might be hiding.  Well…not quite lucky enough it seems.

You may remember my 2004 F150 longbed that I’ve had for the past couple years.  Its been a decent, solid truck (once I got it back up to speed and back on the road), however after moving to my new house, I’ve been dealing with a driveway that is just not suited for parking a 23′ boat with a long bed 2wd truck.  So, the ’04 F150 went up on the market so we could downsize to something smaller, preferably 4wd.

The truck turned out to be in pretty high demand, and we sold it quickly for a decent price.  ($5000) – just about breaking even on what we had into it.  We then dug up this beauty on Craigslist:

A 1998 F150 supercab 4×4.  Sure it had 140,000 miles on it, but seemed to be in fine condition both inside and out.  The owner was extremely nice, and seemed to know the history of the truck, and had receipts for all maintenance performed.  He agreed on the price we were hoping for – so we could put the money from the old one straight into the new and not have to come up with any additional funds out of pocket since Evan and I are both broke.  Although it was an Ohio truck, the owner was willing to go through all the hassle of smogging and weighing it, and getting all the paperwork to me at AAA so I could title it in CA.  Everything worked out perfectly and we were both satisfied about a great deal.

This was all on a Friday.

Fast forward to Sunday where we decide to take the boat out with our new truck.

Everything was going fine getting the boat out to El Cap, had a great day on the water, and it worked great until we got it back home.  Then the trouble began.  Upon pulling it into the driveway, the trans blew.  Trans fluid was spewing out from the transmission, running down the driveway.  The thing would barely move.   Luckily we got the boat parked and the truck back in the street before it gave out completely.  I was blown away…but not nearly as much as I would be when I took it in to AAMCO the next day.

Dropped it off at the AAMCO down the street on monday, and received a call that afternoon with a quick analysis.

  • The trans is blown completely.  Gears ground themselves to pieces.  Every single part in the trans went out, torque converter was in pieces, worn into the ground.
  • Battery has 3 cells dead.  It won’t hold a charge at all.  He is wondering how the car ever started.
  • Front driveline is rusted to shit, inside and out.  It will fail within the next 6 months if not replaced.
  • Engine is 3 1/2 quarts low on oil, no evidence of a leak, possibility that rear main seal is gone and engine is leaking into trans.

He won’t know more until he pulls the trans for a thorough analysis ($600).  I give the OK figuring I’m fucked either way.  Get a call this morning with more bad news and some totals.  Trans is completely shot.  Needs a full rebuild ($2,898), Front driveline needs complete replacement ($500), Front transfer case and rear diff have never been flushed ($100), Battery is shot ($80)….the list goes on.

I’m now looking at a $4000 repair bill on a $5000 truck.  Hindsight being 20/20, I now wish I would have purchased a $9000 truck and saved myself the trouble.

The previous owner has agreed to pay for $1000.  Now I have $3000 I have to pay, and no money to pay it.


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