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    56FordGuy's Avatar
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    Truck selection

    Figured I'd toss this out and see what folks thought. If you were looking for a 350/ 3500+ sized truck that was 5-10 years old, what would it be? Gas or diesel? Manual or auto?


    The backstory: I'm kicking around the idea of a 'new to us' truck. We currently have a 2001 F-350 with the 7.3 and 227,900 miles on it. While the 7.3 is a great engine, this particular truck was used and abused before we got it. We've owned three 7.3 Powerstroke trucks since 1996, and I've put more time and money into repairs on this one than I have the other two combined. It's left me on the side of the road waiting for a tow three times, been patched up and limped in a few more times, numerous non-breakdown repairs and while it's running well after the latest round of repairs my patience is just about exhausted.

    I have a work vehicle and the better half has a Subaru. The truck is only driven if I need to go somewhere on a weekend or move our trailers. The trailers are both goosenecks and the load we need need to haul varies between 6,000 and 20-22,000 lbs. Our current truck is a 2 door which is too small, I'd like to find an extended cab instead of a full four door. Four wheel drive is a must, and I want another dually. Beyond that, I'm pretty open. We're looking for something roughly 5 years old, but that's not a solid requirement. I could go older or newer depending on condition and price.

    What would you buy?
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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    Well this should be no surprise, but I'd get a Cummins powered Ram, auto or manual. HP will not be as high with the manual vs the auto, but so close that it shouldn't matter. The 6.7 has some quirks along with the trucks, but no major faults.

    I couldn't justify replacing my current Cummins with a newer one due to how little I drive it. But your scenario demands the reliability and support the Cummins brings to the table.

    Rams also have a solid front axle and the only manual drivetrain still available.

    IMHO the full size truck market is pretty close on pretty much every arena. You really can't make a bad decision other than to stay away from an abused rig. A good inspection should have plenty of clues on whether the previous owner cared for it as well as you would expect.

    Good luck sir.
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    ddinham's Avatar
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    I purchased a used 2011 F250 with 3.73 axle in January with 138,000 miles on it and have been very happy with it. It has the 6.2 gas engine and gets very good mileage for such a large engine, plus has plenty of power. It has 2 spark plugs per cylinder. I pull a 31ft gooseneck dually deckover trailer with it and it handles it just fine. If you go with the diesel, make sure it is the 6.7. Both the 6.2 gas and 6.7 diesel engines were first available in 2011, which is why I did not get an older model. On an older model, I would recommend the 6.8 V10 gas engine as the 5.4 gas engine is not big enough and is not that good on gas mileage. The V10 has plenty of power, but also is not that good on gas mileage. As you well know, under heavy loads, the diesel will get better fuel mileage than the gas model. The last of the International based Powerstrokes did not have the reliability of the older Powerstrokes, however I keep seeing them for sale with 300,000 or 400,000 miles on them. In summary, if your choice is the F350, go with a 2011 or newer or wait a little longer till the 2011 is a little older and lower in price. Also the 2011 and later have the 6 sped auto tranny, which is a vast improvement over the old 4 speed auto tranny.

    Dave
    Last edited by ddinham; 11-20-2015 at 10:30 PM.
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    An '01 with 227K miles? I do not think you drive enough to warrant a diesel,,,

    I only would consider a diesel if I drove more than double that many miles.

    My 6.0 gas engine, with 4.10 gears will pull anything a truck of this size should be hooked to.

    I prefer the broader rpm range of a gas engine, over a diesel,,,

    The truck is MUCH more drive-able!!
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    56FordGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CADplans View Post
    An '01 with 227K miles? I do not think you drive enough to warrant a diesel,,,

    I only would consider a diesel if I drove more than double that many miles.

    My 6.0 gas engine, with 4.10 gears will pull anything a truck of this size should be hooked to.

    I prefer the broader rpm range of a gas engine, over a diesel,,,

    The truck is MUCH more drive-able!!
    That's certainly crossed my mind. I bought the truck in 2010 with 193,000 on it, and I've put a large portion of my miles on it in the last year making 1,200 mile cross country trips. I had a Ford 5.4 gas engine in my last work truck, it was a good engine but certainly lacked power for loads this size. Ive driven a few Ford V10s unloaded but never with a trailer. The biggest draw for the diesel is the power- I'm at roughly 6,000' above sea level here and when you hook on to 22,000 lbs it's a noticeable load. Could a gas engine do it? Presumably, but how much different would it be?

    I've read a lot of reports of people having problems with the Ford 6.7 diesels in the high pressure fuel system so I'm a little nervous, but everything has it's faults. Considering what we need to haul I'm considering a 450/ 4500 sized truck as well. 550/ 5500 would be fine too, but at that point I begin to wonder if it's geared too low to be comfortable running 80 MPH and just what the ride would be like. Our 2011 550 flatbed work trucks would ride pretty stiff when unloaded.
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    BigJim55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 56FordGuy View Post
    That's certainly crossed my mind. I bought the truck in 2010 with 193,000 on it, and I've put a large portion of my miles on it in the last year making 1,200 mile cross country trips. I had a Ford 5.4 gas engine in my last work truck, it was a good engine but certainly lacked power for loads this size. Ive driven a few Ford V10s unloaded but never with a trailer. The biggest draw for the diesel is the power- I'm at roughly 6,000' above sea level here and when you hook on to 22,000 lbs it's a noticeable load. Could a gas engine do it? Presumably, but how much different would it be?

    I've read a lot of reports of people having problems with the Ford 6.7 diesels in the high pressure fuel system so I'm a little nervous, but everything has it's faults. Considering what we need to haul I'm considering a 450/ 4500 sized truck as well. 550/ 5500 would be fine too, but at that point I begin to wonder if it's geared too low to be comfortable running 80 MPH and just what the ride would be like. Our 2011 550 flatbed work trucks would ride pretty stiff when unloaded.
    ---go with the air ride if u think them truck's had a stiff ride--or were they--air ride?
    56fordguy; I have no advise to add here on the size of the truck ur looking for except this. my road truck had 410 rears with low rubber and a 15 speed tranny with overdrive. the overdrive worked wonderfull on flat land pulling 80,000 lbs. wasn't to bad pulling hills except speed wise, had to watch profmeter(head heat) so when it reached the limit, had to drop a gear and lost road speed, were a 373 would have pulled better on the hills without heating the heads(now this was in the older cummins back in the mid 80's, can't say wath the newer motors and computer brings to the table) but in my experience the rears need to be matched with the tranny just as much as the power to turn them, especialy to run that kind of speed. this thread will defiantty be interesting to follow. my 2000 chevy had 373rears with 16 rubber and the 5.3 engine. I pulled a U-Haul car trailer from vegas with my sons chevy car(forgot model) back to pa. with avageing 13mpg and I didn't think that was to bad. good luck. big jim
    Last edited by BigJim55; 11-20-2015 at 11:06 PM.

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    You bring out a very good point regarding the higher elevation. While my 6.2 gas handled a 9,000 load very well on the gooseneck trailer recently (16,000 gross), that was a a much lower elevation. The turbo on the diesel really makes a difference at higher elevation and that likely makes your choice to be the diesel. While I think the 6.2 gas would probably work at the higher elevation, it would not be near as effective as a turbo diesel. It would be nice to have the turbo on the 6.2 gas, but that is not likely to happen.

    Dave
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    You want 80MPH, and 22,000 pounds,,,, I would not own such a truck,,,

    unless,,,

    maybe one of those 2 speed transmission adapters??

    Are tires rated for that load,,, rated for that speed??
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    Quote Originally Posted by CADplans View Post
    You want 80MPH, and 22,000 pounds,,,, I would not own such a truck,,,

    unless,,,

    maybe one of those 2 speed transmission adapters??

    Are tires rated for that load,,, rated for that speed??
    cadplans;aw------------in them open area's and flatlands and no smokies around, and running at night, speed is just down right fine, unless u have bad rubber on, aw-come now cadplans, u never run over the speed limit before?
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    56FordGuy's Avatar
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    The speed and the weight are two different requirements really. I should've been more clear. Our speed limits out here are 80 MPH on the interstates, any modern truck should be able to cruise at the speed limit when empty or lightly loaded. My current truck would hum right along at 75 towing about 14,000 lbs across the flat land. The big load numbers are certainly not something I would want to be running 80 MPH with, that's usually hauling equipment or hay and I'm content to run a little slower. I just don't like having to downshift to pull a hill with a 10k trailer on.

    I did have a thought with regards to driving enough to justify a diesel. In my opinion, very few light duty truck owners ever do. Diesels are known for reliability and fuel economy. Over the years I've worked with a fleet of service vehicles in the 350-550 size, 90% of which were gas. None of them ever had a bottom end failure or a 'worn out' engine, but most were retired due to transmission failures between 250-300,000 miles. That could just as easily happen regardless of the engine in front of the transmission. The modern light duty gas engine seems to be as reliable long term as a light diesel, with the most common failures for both being 'bolt on' items like alternators, water pumps, fuel system, etc. Fuel economy is more math than I'm up for right now, but it seems like the diesels really do take a very long time to pay back the extra up front expense in fuel savings and maintenance costs, especially at current prices. I know they wouldn't do it in 5 years, because that was how we figured the fleet vehicles and it was cheaper all around to run gas engines. The only real advantage of a light duty diesel for 99% of the owners, in my opinion is the available power. I don't think the math really works for most folks if you were to break it down. Whether the power is worth the additional up front and continued operating cost is an individual decision, and I'm leaning toward another oil burner but I'm not completely sold on it.
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    -Blake

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