But, unfortunately my current budget limitations wouldn't be where you need it to be to help you on your end. I better let Vern take a crack at it as he seems to be in a better position.
$500 in 2001! That is a bit painful. I paid $2200 plus $750 shipping for mine in 2002 and untracked $'s keeping it going and it isn't in anywhere near that nice of shape. But, it has been fun to own, has served me reliably for 10 years and keeps going strong. So, I can't complain too much. I suppose there will always be a 'better' truck out there no matter what.