Weekend/Tow vehicle
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Thread: Weekend/Tow vehicle

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    userjh160's Avatar
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    Weekend/Tow vehicle

    In about a month I'll be in the market for a 2wd full size truck for trips to the hardware store, occasional towing etc. I'm looking primarily in the $15k - $20k range. This seems like it'll put me looking at vehicles with 100k - 150k miles in general, and 6-10 years old. This vehicle probably won't see any more than 3-4k miles per year. I'm willing to go cheaper/higher miles if its something that I feel like will be relatively reliable for another 10 years or so. Leaning towards Chevy/GMC or Toyotas. We have fleet F150s at work, and I've seen several of them start having trouble around that 150k mile mark. I don't know if this is a fleet vehicle issue/year model problem or not.

    It doesn't have to be anything fancy, or 4wd, or diesel. Trying to do some online research, but its a bit of an information overload. Any suggestions, comments, or info on particular models or years to stay away from would be appreciated. Thanks!!!
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    Hiya,

    If it's a limited usage truck, I would look around for early Dodge or Ford Diesels. Reason being that the early stuff is dirt simple, built to last forever and can be had well under your 15-20K price range. Another factor is that with that low limited use, today's gasoline with 10+% ethanol can be tough to deal with.

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    You may want to look for a base model 'work' vehicle model. I got a 2wd extended cab silverado new back in 2003. It is a non power lock / window with no carpeting and cost $20k on the road price. You may be able to find a low mileage work model for a lot less than the used ones that have the expensive trim packages.

    Mine would not be a low mileage candidate....it has 240,000 miles on it!
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    For your intended use - get an 8' bed! I don't know how many times I miss that long bed now having a "grocery" 5'5" bed.
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    You guys are reading my mind. Good point on the diesel. I didn't think about the older gas engines and ethanol issues. I've been doing some web surfing to take a look at the market and see what's around. Definitely interested in the 8' bed, and since it's just my wife and I, a regular cab "work truck" plain jane model would do just fine. Very limited availability of those locally though, at least with less than 250k miles on them. I'm thinking I may have to expand my search out into the east Texas area to get a better selection. Generally lower miles and lower prices out that way for some reason.
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    I wouldn't be too worried about ethanol in gasoline being used in older gas engines. Ethanol in gas has been around since the early 1980's and those old cars/trucks are still around and running.

    Gas or diesel powered, there's many many more things to consider when looking to buy older vehicles. Like not just if there's life left in brake shoes & pads, but how long calipers and wheel cylinders and master cylinders will last. I replaced EVERY brake line on my 1996 F-250 with stainless steel pre-bent replacements because the OEM lines were crumbling. Total bill came to almost $1200 but the old truck and I have some history. I ordered it out exactly the way I wanted and waited three months for it. I shopped for rust proofing and paint protect as hard as I did the truck! All 20 years and 301,000 miles ago. Before the brake line replacement I did power steering lines and two fuel lines. Part of the fun keeping old trucks on the road.

    If your buying an older truck, say anything older than 6-8 years, look it over close especially the underside. Southern states don't have the salt used on icy roads we have in the upper Midwest, but there's other harmful issues, rubber deterioration, etc.

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    The issue with a minimal use gas vehicle and ethanol has nothing to do with the vehicle's ability to handle it - it has to do with the ethanol's inability to be stored more than about 2 months without breaking down and turning to sludge/varnish. If you have a carburetor, you're asking for trouble. High pressure fuel injection is less susceptible, but the fuel quality still degrades and will cause drivability issues if the truck is parked for several months between uses.

    Older diesels are cheap and plentiful, plus they dominate fuel economy when towing compared to any modern gassers. I got the same fuel economy my Tahoe got empty while towing it on a 3,000# trailer behind my 7.3L Ford; and that was before I got the injectors cleaned up and it running right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Timber View Post
    The issue with a minimal use gas vehicle and ethanol has nothing to do with the vehicle's ability to handle it - it has to do with the ethanol's inability to be stored more than about 2 months without breaking down and turning to sludge/varnish. If you have a carburetor, you're asking for trouble. High pressure fuel injection is less susceptible, but the fuel quality still degrades and will cause drivability issues if the truck is parked for several months between uses.
    Jim speaks the truth. I had to park my Trailblazer in mid February because of a coolant leak from a bad water pump and bad brakes. I finally got around to fixing it in mid June. When I first started it up it poured water out of the tail pipe. I was thinking it had blown a head gasket. I'm still trying to run the full tank down so I can top it off fresh stuff. So the old adage of keeping the tank full did not help me.
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    Thanks for the replies and info yall. I like the diesel idea, but wonder if it wouldn't be too much truck. The heaviest thing I have to tow would be the 1025r. Whatever I end up going with would more than likely be making 2 -3 50 mile round trips per month, so sitting up might not be a huge issue. That said, I ran across a 2002 dodge 2500 with the 5.9 Cummins with 136k on it. I may go give it a look next week. It's an automatic, but I would prefer a manual. From what I'm reading, the autos on that engine have the potential to be an issue around 175k miles. Depends on how hard it was used and how well it was maintained I suppose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by userjh160 View Post
    Thanks for the replies and info yall. I like the diesel idea, but wonder if it wouldn't be too much truck. The heaviest thing I have to tow would be the 1025r. Whatever I end up going with would more than likely be making 2 -3 50 mile round trips per month, so sitting up might not be a huge issue. That said, I ran across a 2002 dodge 2500 with the 5.9 Cummins with 136k on it. I may go give it a look next week. It's an automatic, but I would prefer a manual. From what I'm reading, the autos on that engine have the potential to be an issue around 175k miles. Depends on how hard it was used and how well it was maintained I suppose.

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    Hiya,

    I would seriously consider the Dodge you mentioned, after all, using your usage potential of 125 miles per month, it will take you over 25 years to drive the 40,000 miles you noted is the break point of the trans.

    Actually, the trans in the Dodge's are pretty good at surviving behind the Cummins as long as you change the fluid, adjust the bands and throttle valve cable correctly at least every 2 years. You also have keep the torque and HP under 550.
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