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Bill Rogerson's 488,000-mile 1986 Dodge W-150 4x4 Pickup Truck

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by Jessie Eustice

Bill Rogerson's 1986 Dodge W-150, "Beaut," has over 488,673 miles on it. Originally purchased from Burnside Dodge in North Charleston, S.C. (now Altman Suzuki), the truck was a basic model with dealer-added Ziebart Rust Protection, air conditioning, roll bar, bed liner, cab steps, and oversized wheels and tires.

The truck was purchased to be used by Rogerson's former wife, a surfer whose previous vehicle frequently got stuck in the sand. The truck has had a varied career as a family vehicle since that time - all of Rogerson's children learned to drive in it, and Rogerson has used the truck for business and travel for the last 15 years, taking it from South Carolina to the Northeast, Midwest, and the West Coast. It has moved boats and campers in its day.

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The old truck has been a trooper for Rogerson. One of Beaut's most daring feats was its work after hurricane Hugo hit South Carolina. Rogerson wrote,

I lived on the Isle of Palms outside of Charleston for many years. Hurricane Hugo was a direct hit on the island in September of 1989. The bridge at Sullivan's Island was destroyed, and there was no way to get to the islands except by boat. A group of islanders were allowed to return to the damaged island to clear roadways to make it safe to other residents to return to their damaged homes. The trusty W-150 was the first private vehicle to return to the island via a large barge. It and 2 police cars were the only vehicles on the island for several weeks. The truck toured news media, and later toured property owners on day trips.
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Rogerson has replaced countless brake pads and shoes; the rotors and drums have been replaced once. It has had ten alternators, three radiators, two water pumps, and the oil pump was replaced at 300,000 miles. The starter had to be rebuilt once and the timing chain replaced twice, once requiring the replacement of the push rods, lifters and one head (a bent valve).

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The truck has been repainted once and it now needs to be stripped and totally repainted again because of a reaction between the two different kinds of paint Other than the original set of tires that came with the truck, it has had eight sets of Michelin tires and the original spare is still in the rack under the truck. Two years ago, the driver's side fender was damaged in a little accident and it has been replaced but not yet painted. The truck has now settled into the life of an older lady, limiting its travel to puttering about town.

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Also see The 200,000 Mile Club and...

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