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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2003
    Charlotte, NC, USA

    Default Diesel Trucks

    Need any and all information on Diesel Trucks? What you didnt know as a first time diesel truck owner. Maintenance? Issues? Longevity?
    I have had an F150 and a Ford Excursion (250) and gas cars. We are hoping in 2013 toward end of summer/beginning of fall to pay cash ($8-12k) for a F250 or Chevy2500. Is an older year with less miles better than a new year high mileage? (I am sure just like gas cars depends on how they have been taken care of). We will literally drive this truck only to haul with (maybe 12 times a year) and drive it until it dies.
    Recommendations on years that are great or to aviod is also appreciated?
    I know nothing about diesel trucks just hear they last forever.
    Thanks in advance.
    Pamela Ellis

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
    In Jingle Town


    generally speaking, it is best if a vehicle has the miles put on in one go.

    Every time you crank a cold engine it's increased wear and tear.
    For a diesel it is especially beneficial to be operated at working temperatures vs cold.
    Not knowing specifics, I would venture an educated guess that the newer model with high mileage has been used in such a manner.

    Of course, brand specific issues need to be taken into consideration, as well as the individual car care. There are people who baby their cars, while when I am done with a car, it's done! (Ok, my current van is 24 years old...the 'new' car 10...with 150k miles on it)

    The drawback of the newer vehicles, not just diesel trucks, is that you can hardly fix anything without diagnostic equipment.
    If you have to take your car to the shop anyhow, it might not matter, but if you have a mechanic nearby, one of the old fashioned kind, they might appreciate the older models (but we are probably talking way old here)
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.
    GNU Terry Prachett

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2008
    The beautiful midwest


    I got my first diesel, a Dodge, in '96 and drove it for 5 years. It had 250K miles on it when I sold it and had not given me any trouble. I did replace the transmission at one point. I sold it to a guy in Texas who keeps in touch. "Big Red" is still going strong. Bought a new one in 2001. Did not continue to put the miles on it like the old one. Life changes. Anyway, had many more little maintenance repairs on the new one because I used it less! In other words, if you are only going to fire that baby up once a month, think long and hard if you really need a diesel. They are work horses, and need to be used. I am now driving an F150. I use it for my primary vehicle and it is ready for the occasional hauling I do now. It pulls my 2H 4Star GN just fine on the 100 mile round trip to the clinic. Don't get me wrong, I love love loved my diesels. But the old saying "use it or lose it" definitely applies.

    Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2007


    OK, how big a train wreck do you want?!?!?!

    Do some archive searching and you'll find a lot of threads on diesel trucks.

    With the GM series, the Duramax/Allison combo is hard to beat for reliability and performance. Some years have better chassis reputations than others.

    With Ford, avoid the 6.0L engine like the plague. The 7.3L engine (used until about mid-2003) is "cast iron." Ford trannies, not so much. The 6.4L is a good, but finicky, engine. The 6.7L, currently in production, I don't know much about. It was introduced in 2011, IIRC.

    With Dodge, the Cummins engine is very good. Everything else, however, not so much. Some Dodge years are really bad on overall quality, some are much better.

    With any choice do some research. You'll not find much "objective" stuff as anything above a half-ton is considered "commercial" and few, if any, "consumer" groups do any real testing.

    Search the Web and you'll find lots of discussion forums on trucks. Don't neglect forums based on RV usage. The RV folks typically put on a lot more miles per year than the horse folks.

    ALL of the above vehicle types are "light duty trucks" (no matter what the ad copy says). Look for an average engine life in the 250,000-300,000 mile range. Some folks do better, but some don't do as well. In the larger trucks there is a B50 rating (the mileage at which the engine has a 50% chance of a major malfunction occurring). This number is not published anywhere I could find for the light duty trucks. In any event, don't look for these to go 750,000 miles like a Freightliner or Peterbilt.

    Shop hard and negotiate with a sharp pencil!!!

    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2002


    When you do need to do a repair on a diesel, parts are going to be significantly more expensive than for a gas job. That is one of the biggest drawbacks in my mind to a diesel. They don't love starting in cold weather--I plug mine in when it gets cold. And not all gas stations have diesel fuel. My preference would probably be a gas truck, but I have a diesel as that was what was available in the size truck I needed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 5, 2002
    way out west


    I have a Dodge diesel truck. I love it. LOVE it. It's an '07 3/4 ton, 4x4. I live near mountains, and routinely haul my 2 horse trailer up and down the canyons. There is no comparison to my former vehicle, a 2500 Suburban. Don't get me wrong, I loved that 'burb, but with my diesel I don't even know the trailer's back there. I've hauled my friend's 4-horse trailer, fully loaded, and it was the same feeling..just power.

    Haven't had any repairs required yet. It's got 66K miles on it now, and no issues.

    I'd never had a diesel before, and must admit I do love the sound that engine makes! I trail ride with a neighbor on the next street, and she can hear me coming so is ready at the gate when I arrive to pick her and her horse up. Very handy. As for having trouble finding diesel at gas stations? I've never had an issue, but you learn pretty quickly to find them in your neighborhood. On road trips the stations by the interstates have always had diesel when I've needed it.

    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2004
    Piedmont Triad, North Carolina


    Mechanics aside ... Fuel, maintenance & service are more expensive for diesel than gasoline. In your intended use, you will not drive enough miles to recoup the extra costs. If you like the sound, want to have the cachet of the diesel badge, want to pay the extra money... buy a diesel.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2010


    There are a lot of threads about diesels, you can learn a lot by searching.

    My own experience; replaced my F150 with a Dodge ram 2500 diesel almost 8 years ago now. LOVE it, still runs great, but for the last three years its sole purpose is to tow the trailer.
    Went with a diesel because at the time I was living in CO and hauling up the Rockies blew my F150's engine. I, too, wanted something that would simply last forever with decent gas mileage. I average about 20mpg when towing compared to my 6-10mpg with my F150. And back in those days, diesel was regularly far cheaper than gas. Not anymore.

    Bought it used, with about 85k miles on it already, now up to almost 150k I think. Still just a baby. Normal things have been going; transmission, brakes. Still starts right up, though (so far, knock on wood!) and I barely notice towing my trailer and horses.

    So far, maintenance costs are lower than my other daily-driver car, because I need to repair things less frequently. Whether it's due to lack of use or diesel engines fail less often, I'm not sure.

    Two biggest downsides so far for me are 1) NOISE. Geez, that thing is loud. The old Dodges tend to be louder, I've heard. But, this is only a problem in drive-through windows (which I don't do anymore in this truck) and when I'm trying to sneak up on someone (e.g. into the barn at the crack of dawn past BO's house). 2) when I lived in the north, plugging it in to start in the winter was a bear. I never encountered this emergency, but I lived in fear of needing to haul my horse to the horsepital NOW, but having to wait for the engine block heater to heat the engine so I could start the truck in sub-zero temps.

    But I'd still take a diesel over a gas engine any day.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2011
    On a Farm somewhere


    Guilherme nailed it!

    Me, I'm a hardcore Duramax girl. From 05-06 are the best years... hands down...
    Dodge, been there done them... hauled and so on... Dodge 12V Cummins was the best motor they made... although their transmissions are far from stellar... I've seen many granade on the road... typically Dodge trannys take a crap around 100k miles...

    Fords... 7.3 Motor was the best Ford ever built... 6.0 - run far, far away... 6.4's not bad but have EGT problems (Engine exhaust temp) that make the exhaust so hot... well, just youtube that one!... 6.7's are the best since the 7.3... Nice HP, TQ... they get out of their own way... BUT however, UNGODLY thirsty. Nice ride... Quiet (but IMO - if you're buying a diesel you aren't buying it for a nice carlike ride. And with the Ford... you're also still getting that solid front axle. Also with the newer diesels your are facing Urea... which is also another filter to change along with the maintance for that alone!

    So far, I can say my 05 Duramax hauled the best... I know a lot of people who have 6.0's and they are ALL modified so when they haul they can get out of their own way and not have a Prius pass them.

    Gas trucks are a whole new ball park... they never seem to hold up real well on a daily basis of taking a beating hauling brings...

    Me, personailly I won't buy a gas vehicle ever again... I don't know gas motors, Diesels I can tell you anything you'd like to know, disgnose a problem and most of the time I can fix them... Even my Car is a diesel... VW TDI Jetta..

    Older trucks with less miles on them (diesel) isn't always better than newer with higher miles... diesels need to be run... short distances aren't good every day. Pluging your truck is isn't A MUST DO... but it's nice in the am when you engine block has some temp so you stand a chance of getting heat in it within 15 minutes. Look around, take someone with you who KNOWS diesels...

    just my two cents...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2009
    North Carolina


    Honestly, go to a diesel forum to get the best info. I love the guys at (not affiliated with Ford) and always recommend them. I could write you a book, but you'll still be better off going to the guys who know them inside and out -- horse people tend to know what they OWN.

    I will say though, the 4r100 tranny in the 7.3L diesel is not a bad one -- it VERY much relies on you to maintain it properly and keep it cool, but if you do so, it will last a very very long time, in general.

    Diesels also generally don't like to sit much and will last a lot longer if you get it out at least once a week. Mine is my daily driver, heck it gets 22 mpg, but even if I had a small car, the truck still needs to get up and go before it hibernates itself to death. There are always exceptions though.

    I've owned both and as a whole found my diesels cheaper to own and operate (not sure where some people are shopping), longer lasting, cheaper to maintain, better (obviously) mileage, more power, tougher, and well, I just love that rumble.

    Oh and I just turn the truck off to place a drive through order, LOL, and it will start at about any temp without plugging in, it just won't be as happy about it!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 28, 2003
    KY, USA


    Agree, Guilherme nailed the overview, though i've had Fords since 1987 and never had a transmission problem. Did buy a 6.0, and as a result I now own a 2011 Duramax -awesome tow vehicle. Still own a 2000 250 7.3 liter, also awesome.

    Wy haul with diesel? Because in general they'Re set up to haul - trans coolers, etc, and the ruggedness to do the job. I plain flat wore out a 150 gasoline in 20,000 miles pulling a little 2-horse.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2012


    Check previous discussions on this. yes, they are more costly to repair, and to change the oil! But for any towing, go diesel!

    We are a dodge familiy (Mr. LT is diesel mechanic for the gubmint). I would agree that the Dodge cummins is a GREAT engine, mine is an 05 3/4 ton (178k on it now) adn I love it, some troubles with injector lines but it has been a fabulous truck (and 26mpg as well!). But, I think I would get a Chevy Duramax/Allison transmission (they seemto have a lower clearance which I don't like but maybe ot all)

    I am NOT a Ford fan. At all. BUt.. the 7.3 if you can find one would be the way to go. Run run run run run from the 6.0!!

    I do use a diesel additive in mine, given the new fuels specs. I think it runs better. Opinions differ on that.

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