View Full Version : Ford F250 2wd or 4 wd drive? or something similar

Apr. 5, 2011, 11:39 PM
My husband and I are looking at Ford 250's between 1999 to about 2004. What is best....

diesel over gas?

4WD over 2WD?

Any certain year over another?

Any other trucks to consider?

This will be a secondary vehicle for a 2 horse bumper pull/stock combo for local to 2 hr excursions in East TN.

Anything in particular to watch out for with these?

All info is appreciated.

Happy riding,
Jessie & The Stinky Pony

Apr. 6, 2011, 09:28 AM
Those that have Diesel seem to swear by them.

4WD, 4WD, 4WD, am I being clear? :lol:

Beam Me Up
Apr. 6, 2011, 09:44 AM
I have a 1999 F350 diesel. Everyone swears by these years, and the 7.3 diesel, and without a lot to compare to (this is my 2nd truck, previously had a 1997 F250 gas) it's hard for me to say. My truck has had a lot of very $$ problems (mostly of the computer module/sensor variety) but I'm told that the later models are worse.

FWIW I have 2WD and regret it occasionally. My truck cost half, yes truly half, of similar models/mileages because it is 2WD and manual transmission, and that I don't regret, but there are like ~5 days a year when 2WD really limits me.

Apr. 6, 2011, 09:49 AM
We have an 05 GMC diesel 3/4 ton. It will pull a trailer (fully loaded) and the fender and the 300 lb gate it hooked right off. Plenty of torque. It also gets about 17-18 mpg with the diesel. We borrowed a friend's 3/4 ton gas truck once to get our trailer and watched the fuel gauge visibly drop as we went down the road. Also have a 97 1/2 ton GMC gas truck which pulled the same trailer(Trailet NY Eventor..a largish, heavy bumper pull) until we got the Duramax. It did not get rave reviews from the rear cab passengers(pretty cramped). Many eventors like the Fords for trailering..we found the ride quite stiff. We have liked the new Nissan Titan trucks for cab room, power etc. Unless you are absolutely going to assert that you will never go on grass, you will not need 4WD.:lol: Of course you need 4WD! I found we need it more so with the diesel as it's high torque will spin the rear wheels sooner than the gas GMC.

Apr. 6, 2011, 09:52 AM
Personally prefer diesel and would insist on 4WD! I am sure others can tell you which are better years for Ford's as some are more problematic then others!

Apr. 6, 2011, 10:12 AM
I have a 1999 4X4 F250. I love it. Except for the gas consumption. I am looking for a small beater for around town.

Oh, the truck. Bought it used is 2006 or so. Only major repairs since then have been replacing the brake lines (if you get in the truck and your pedal sinks to the floor--get out and call a flatbed) and we replaced one coil (something in the engine). I really like it.

Apr. 6, 2011, 10:25 AM
I traded my 4WD in -- never used it. Have 2WD now. Love it, never regret it for a second -- less weight, less maintenance and totally not necessary where I live. Most folks just need to learn how to drive.

Apr. 6, 2011, 10:32 AM
I traded my 4WD in -- never used it. Have 2WD now. Love it, never regret it for a second -- less weight, less maintenance and totally not necessary where I live. Most folks just need to learn how to drive.

Wow, I use the 4 X 4 constantly. In winter, it is essential. In mud, I would never get out. Farm work, all the time.

Apr. 6, 2011, 11:16 AM
Most folks just need to learn how to drive.

We have been severely limited by 2 wheel drive, where we can park with the trailer at shows or foxhunting, lots of places we go to ride don't have large amounts of parking where we'd be able to get out. Same thing hauling hay - we have to live by the weather forecast or pay someone with 4x4 to haul our hay in.

The winter of 2009/2010, we were barn bound for three months in the snow and ice by not having 4x4. :(

That said, we have a 1990 F350 7.3 liter diesel dually. Bought it used in 2000 and the only problems we've had other than having the transmission rebuilt at a little over 200,000 miles have been things that my husband has been able to fix with not a huge amount of trouble.

Given my choice, I'd take a F250 4x4 and extended cab. I don't haul heavy enough weight to really need the dual rear wheels. Since we'll be buying used, we are looking for another 7.3 engine. Our current one is almost at 300,000 and going strong.

Apr. 6, 2011, 11:45 AM
I'd go with 4WD if its within your budget. You can't always count on good parking surfaces at events. It's amazing how fast fields or unpaved tractor paths can turn into quagmires if it rains the morning you send 30 trailers over them. One of my friends tows with 2WD and is notorious locally for getting stuck. It's at the point where people who know her always make sure someone hangs around until she's safely onto a paved surface. On a good day she just needs to lighten the load by taking the horse off the trailer until she gets to a solid surface. (Helpful to have a friend who will walk behind the trailer leading the horse in this situation.) On a bad day she'll need to hook chains to another vehicle to extricate her rig.

Apr. 6, 2011, 12:02 PM
Have a 1999 F250 Diesel Super Duty. LOVE it. 4x4

Apr. 6, 2011, 12:28 PM

7.3 diesel

(my 2000 F250 has both :D )

Apr. 6, 2011, 12:49 PM
2004 F250 diesel, extended cab, bought new. We haul an extra tall, xtra wide, 3 horse gooseneck. Had problems with the turbo in the first year, twice, but Ford repalced both and haven't had any problems since. My truck has a 3/4 rear end. Because of this and since I live in SoCal, and haven't traveled far afield, I don't need 4WD.
I plan to buy an F350, double cab, 4WD when I move out of state in a few years.

Apr. 6, 2011, 01:45 PM
I always recommend 4WD. Whether you use it every day or not, you never know when you'll need it. If you're going for the '99-'04 range, stick to the '99-'02 7.3L diesels. The 6.0L started in '03, and '03-'04 were the worst years for it (that being said, the 6.0L is not the most reliable diesel engine out there). I always recommend a diesel as well, for the most part. They handle better to the wear and tear of towing and are built to last longer.

You'll never kill a 7.3L. I had a '94 with 650k on it before I let her go. Solid truck for many, many years and never once gave me an issue. Regret selling her :(

Apr. 6, 2011, 02:29 PM
Wow, I use the 4 X 4 constantly. In winter, it is essential. In mud, I would never get out. Farm work, all the time.

That's where I said I didn't need it where I live. I live in NC. You live in MA -- different road conditions, different demands. I did not know where OP lives, but thought I would chime in to say that not everyone feels that you will die a slow horrible death waiting in a bog if you don't have 4X4. I did have it for ten years, got tired of maintaining something I don't use. If you know you have a need for it, well, that you probably already know and you wouldn't ask random internet people about it.

Apr. 6, 2011, 02:37 PM
diesel kicks ass for towing, 4wd can be optional, depending on where you live.

Having towed (family wise) for years and years with 2wd cars, along the famous lines of my dad: if we need 4wd we stay away. :cool:

also, with 2wd you can get away with a pair of new tires...4wd always requires a whole set. :)

Apr. 6, 2011, 03:15 PM
My F250 is a 1999 diesel - the 7.3L that everyone raves about. For hauling, you can't beat the diesel for power, but it's also true that they cost more, both upfront and to service.

I live in the northeast and frequently haul to shows where we park in grass fields. Without 4WD, I'd frequently not be able to get in/out of those spots, even if it's just due to showing up in the early morning when there is dew on the grass. After heavy rains or in any kind of snow, it's an absolute necessity. (And I have found that it's been needed just to move the trailer around at home in those conditions - for example when the BO wants to plow in wintertime.)

I did a lot of research and drove a lot of trucks before choosing mine, and have been super happy with it. It's a very popular model - mine is the extended cab, long bed version and I tend to be approached by all sorts of people who ask me to let them know first if I ever want to sell it. I figure that is a pretty strong endorsement too.

The one caveat I will pass along with respect to the 7.3's is that they are known to experience cps failures. CPS stands for cam position sensor, and is a cheap part... if you have one in your glove box, you can replace it yourself if necessary without much time or trouble. Or you can simply have the original replaced at the time you purchase the truck so you don't have to worry about it - assuming it has not already been replaced.

Happy shopping!

Apr. 6, 2011, 03:35 PM
Haven't read the other responses but....
4wd. When you need it, you need it.
I like diesels anymore but for no scientific reason.
If you have the mts I think you do in east TN (I used to live in Blacksburg, VA) be sure you have enough power to get up the "hills".

Apr. 6, 2011, 03:57 PM
We went through the 2WD vs 4WD argument for the last two trucks we bought. Both times we went with the 2WD. Both times, in less than 1 year, we wished we had the 4WD.

I'm always the one saying, let's just get it for crying out loud. DH is the one looking to save money and also the one later saying; "if only we had 4wd". I am insisting the next time which should be in a couple of years.

Apr. 6, 2011, 04:17 PM
This is crude, but 4x4 is like a gun or a condom. You don't always need it, but when you do and you don't have one...you regret it! :lol: I stole that off Predator v Alien, when the character said a gun is like a condom. Ironically, I mentally added 4x4 the first time I heard it.

I had a 7.3. LOVED it. Hated the transmission, it was on its third one and I'm pretty sure it was thinking about shredding that one when I traded it at 223,000 miles. The only reason I traded was because the tie rod ends needed replacing, a cylinder needed replacing and the fear I had over the tranny, and a monthly truck payment was more feasible for me at the time than the $3k in repairs. Plus I had a little manual-everything Ranger that needed some servicing and four new tires, so I traded both for my current truck.

It's an 8.1L gas Chevy. I love it, but damn it gets horrible mileage. Usually 8.9 mpg :dead:. Still, it's awesome, can tow a house, and has all the creature comforts (aka seat warmers, oh yeah!).

I do miss that truck.

Apr. 6, 2011, 04:21 PM
4WD if you can ever imagine getting stuck.

Ruby G. Weber
Apr. 6, 2011, 04:30 PM
'01 F350 (7.3) crew cab dually blew tranny at 60K.

'04 F350 (6.0) crew cab dually has 130K miles. We have spent, at least $7500 on various repairs the most recent being the oil pressure pump.

Next truck will be a Dodge.

Apr. 6, 2011, 04:40 PM
Even if you only need it once you will not regret having it.

Friends have an F250 a few years newer than mine w/o 4WD.

They brought their horses to my place this December and then couldn't get out of my gravel drive.
Steel stock GN trailer with just 2 horses loaded.
There was barely any snow on the ground.
I loaned them my truck and they were out of there in a flash.

In January - after sitting idle for about a month - I took the truck out after a heavy snowfall.
Rear wheels started spinning, I hopped out, locked in 4WD and drove out w/o further problems.

I <3 my 4WD :)

Fancy That
Apr. 6, 2011, 05:48 PM
You will use 4WD more than you think. We were repairing a fence at the end of the rear pasture, and in order to drive up and out the pasture, we had to use 4WD! And that was just because of a slight hill and slick/wet/dewy grass.

I've had to use 4WD just to get out of my mulch-covered parking area in winter too. And yes, many shows, clinics, events around here offer parking in pastures, on mud-gravel, dirt, etc.

You just don't want to be limited by your truck.

I know diesel is optimal for torque/towing...but I love my (gas) 1990 F250 XLT because it has the 460 big block engine and 7.6L...it's a WORK HORSE.

I think the older Fords were more simple and less problematic. My truck has had to have all the usual stuff replaced because it's old, but nothing wierd or overly-expensive.

Good luck!

Apr. 6, 2011, 07:34 PM
2WD or 4WD?

It will depend on what you find, where you drive and how thoughtfully you drive. 4WD will be a little more expensive, at little taller and will hold its value a little better. I lived in Central NY with a 2WD for years. It required thought, skill and feel. The rule of thumb is "You use 2WD to get into trouble and 4WD to get out of trouble."

As to gas or diesel. I wouldn't buy any of the Ford 6.Whatever diesels. The 6.0 is NOT a good "welcome to dieseling" engine. The 6.4 may be better. The 2011 6.7 is the new hope. It's also alotta money. All of these will get worse fuel economy than the 7.3L. But the venerable 7.3L will be hard to find and only get more scarce. If you want to get one of these, I think you'll need a good diesel mechanic on your side to do a PPE. Any you find will be "of a certain age" and have a better or worse history back there.

At this point, a good gas engine like the Ford V-8 or V-10 that has been very well maintained might be just as good an investment as a diesel you'd like. To me it's a math problem: "Assuming I have enough power for what I want to move, how much will it cost me per mile to drive this truck from purchase price to death?"

Buying used will help your equation a lot. But you'll need fewer miles on a gasoline engine than you will on a diesel for the same price. If you plan to drive the truck absolutely forever, the diesel may work out for you. If not, or if you find a very nice gasser, that may be the better choice. If you don't haul often, the gasser will also be the better deal.

I'd take a 3/4 ton or 1 ton depending on what I found that worked out to be the best deal. I predict that as fuel prices begin to spike this summer, you'll find a lot of people who are casual, infrequent haulers of stuff dumping their big trucks on the market. Or they might enjoy it for one last expensive summer and then sell in the fall.

You can't go wrong by doing your research now, figuring out what you generally want and then being prepared to pounce when you find the right truck.

Hampton Bay
Apr. 6, 2011, 09:29 PM
i don't have 4wd, and where I am, I don't need it. On sandy soil that drains well, considering that I don't go ride when it's been pouring out for weeks because the trails would have flooded areas, I've never once needed 4wd. If I did much hauling onto grassy areas in a location with a lot of clay or wet mud, sure. But not on sandy soil in a very flat state.

Apr. 6, 2011, 09:47 PM
Wow! Thanks so much for all the info. I am passing this on to my dear husband. He's fallen in love with a Ford F-250 2005 4 WD diesel set up for a gooseneck. Need to check what engine it has. Also, we are going to up the budget some and look at all comparable options w/diesel and 4 WD. He's suddenly very excited about getting me (aka him) a truck and a trailer. He says he is fulfilling a dream of mine (true), but I think he likes how he looks in a big truck. They match his 6'4 frame. He's a good horsie husband.

Happy riding,
Jessie and the Stinky Pony aka Bosco

Apr. 7, 2011, 12:31 AM
I drive a lot of places alone. So often we have to park in fields or on soft ground and to be able to use the 4x4 to walk out of trouble has saved me a lot of sweaty armpits.

My son had the Ford 6.0 as did a few other people we know. They all had expensive trouble with it. Never again, don't even trust Ford's new engine after that.

My 7.3 1989 is still going strong, well maintained by deisel guy and on its first tranny, second clutch.

Apr. 7, 2011, 03:07 AM
Another F250 4x4 7.3L diesel owner here. Bought it when we lived in Colorado--awesome in the mountains. The engine is torqued differently
and just letting up on the accelerator really slows the truck down even
going down hill. Has almost 300K on it (hubby drives it to work-grrrrr) but
original transmission and no really major problems. Had a pump in the fuel
system flake out once when towing but was close to where I was going and
had a friend to call to give horse a ride home before tow truck came. The cam sensor thing went out on hubby on way home from work. Was told some of the injectors needed replacing a couple of years ago, but still going
strong. Had a problem with 4w drive but fixed under warrenty....most of the
items were. Now it just keeps on going and going....

We also have a Dodge 1500 with the 5.7 Hemi and it's night and day with the
way it tows. We would never bought it if we still lived in Colorado--there almost all the diesels were the turbo charged version.

Would love to find another one...ours is a 1996 model we bought with 22K on it back in 1998. We were going to trade it 2006 when truck shopping but dealers were only offering $3K whereas truck trader magazines had them listing at about $12K (one Ford dealer did offer $6K) so we decided to keep it.