I have a 2003 Chevy 1500 Z71 HD extended cab with all the extra towing goodies and use it to pull my 2 horse Starlite, all aluminum, Warmblood-sized, straight load, gooseneck. When I started looking, I thought I'd need a 2500, but I learned that if you get the correct configurations, you can pull a lightweight gooseneck with a 1500/150. You just have to have a person who knows what they're doing on the lookout for it for you. Making the step down saved me thousands and means that for everyday driving I can get much better gas mileage (although it is worse than a bigger truck when I tow). The truck pulls the trailer great, but it definitely has to work hard to get up to interstate speeds. Luckily, most of the places I go are within 4 hours and I can take highways and state roads instead without it taking too much extra time (and since I've only been pulling a trailer for less than a year, I'm pretty happy to avoid the nightmare that is I-10 and I-75. If I did a lot of long-range interstate driving, or did a lot of mountainous driving (we have hills, but nothing major) I'd probably want the 2500.
Dodge Ram regular cab 2500 4WD gas engine. I pull a 2H bumper pull with no dressing room. Better to be over-trucked than under--I would definitely go with at least a 3/4 ton, no matter what I was pulling.
Our Dodge 1500 had the 5.7 hemi....gas mileage was less than advertised. We traded it at 59K.....didn't have any problems with the engine. Would never have
handled the towing we used to do when we lived in Colorado and had the 1996
F250 powerstroke. Another nice thing about that truck was how much it would slow down when you took your foot off the gas. After clearing the Eisenhower
tunnel, it's almost straight down into Silverthorne/Dillon or so it seems. My Taurus always required the foot on the brake most of the way. The truck required maybe one or two taps on the way down. (this was without a trailer behind it though).
I'm thisclose to buying my truck. Someone mentioned it earlier that you just can't find a 2500 used without it having a ton of miles on it or some sort of major issue. I've been looking for a used truck for a year, and just can't find one. So I'll be going to the GMC dealership to order a truck just the way I want it. Yes, its more expensive but I'll have this truck until it dies. By the way, I'll be getting a GMC Sierra 2500HD 4x4 extended cab, long bed, gas engine (just can't justify the extra expense of the diesel).
I don't have my trailer yet, but that'll be an extra-tall, extra-wide 2H BP straight load with a dressing room. I have my eye on a Hawk, and it will probably be slightly customized (which means brand spanking new).
What size trailer do you have in mind? What is the total weight of trailer + horses + tack/misc? It all depends on the trailer.
First, I want to clear that I am not inexperienced in driving with a trailer. It won't be my first time. Worked with a BNT back in the west coast, pulled her trailers. Also drove our trailer around to the barn and back since I was 13.. Not to mention having a hay field has a kid, and doing the truck and trailer driving through that maze. It is just my first time looking on my own (dad has NO idea about horse trailers or horses for that matter, just that Chevy goes fast!).
As for a trailer? Eventually I want to get a regular stock trailer.. Gooseneck of course, big enough to fit at least two horses in. I mean, I am looking at pipe trailers if that tells you anything.. I'm not into all fancy (though it would be nice, it is impossible on a college budget). I'm more into getting the job done than looks and I can sleep in hotel rooms or in the truck if I ever need to stay the night. The dear horse is a stocky, QH.. 16.2ish-hh, all muscle and getting into better shape. So as long as the truck will pull him and the trailer, along with let me get hay and other stuff, I am fine!
My moms truck is a F250, extended cab, extended bed diesel. I LOVE THAT TRUCK, but trying to find one like that with less than 200k (or less than 250k) on it is impossible under my budget. I've found a couple 2500's under my budget, but I keep hearing that HEMI is a horrible word when it comes to hauling.
Like I said, first time on my own doing this.. So I am really loving hearing all the personal experiences with OLDER (and not so big) trucks! I live in Texas so no mountains for me, like there was back in the West. Just need something that will do the job for a couple years before I can upgrade.
Another question, obviously high milegae is high mileage.. But a little birdy told me that diesel's high mileage isn't comparable to gas engine high mileage, because a diesel can do high mileage better? Any truth to this?
Yes. In general, diesels run longer than gas engines. However, there are a lot of variables associated with maintenance, which is why one-owner vehicles have a higher resale value. My truck was 8 years old when I bought, but it had been owned by ONE computer salesman and he babied it. Makes all the difference.
Thanks for this post and all the responses!!! ... I'm in the same-ish situation except I've got a trailer (Featherlite 2H straight-load BP) and been borrowing BF's 1990 1500. It's been molded to a 6'3" 250lb person and I can barely see over the steering wheel. I'm white-knuckled on any freeway, and he's willing to get running boards but it's just a hard truck for me to drive comfortably.
I'm suffering from sticker shock -- last time I bought a truck it was a new 2003 F250 crew cab v8/tow electric everything and considerably less than $30K. Now I can't find anything like it for under $50K. Carfax seemed to show me trucks in the $25-$40K range, but the oldest was 2011, or so.
I have found four candidate F250s for under $10K on locally on craigslist. They're all gas engines, newer than 2000, and have "cosmetic damage." They have nearly 200K miles and I'm wondering what's reasonable mileages for a gas engine. I know diesels are "just getting started" at 100K miles ...
So, that's my contribution. I have pulled a steel slant-load with a 6cyl Bronco just for short (20 minute) trips and would prefer never to do that again. I'm not loving the half-ton, and don't have experience with deisel, it just seems so expensive not just to buy, but also drive.
Dressage becomes art when it is a joy for the horse. -KBH
A gas engine at 200k is a pretty big risk, I would not.
And having done the long term math and owned several (and several gassers I towed with as previously mentioned), I can tell you the diesels are wayyyy cheaper to own; I've already got horses impoverishing me, I can't afford to dump money into the truck too! If you do your research, as you are, and buy well --
(1) fewer repairs and longer life span so costs are more spread out
(2) my gassers all got around 15-17 mpg hwy not towing. The F250 7.3L 2WD gets around 22 mpg, give or take, when cruising. Towing numbers vary, but the diesel always gets anywhere from 5-10 more mpg then as well. (Also beware quoted mileage numbers -- many people will tell you what they get on a flat stretch of freeway at 65 mph, but omit the average including hills and start/stop, etc)
(3) so even though your oil change costs more when you buy 15 qts of oil, I offset that in no time with fuel savings and no more constant repairs and complaints the gassers had.
(4) it IS fuel efficient enough to be my daily driver (I'm poor so can only have one vehicle). I did the math and even if I spent $5k and doubled my mileage to 40 mpg, it would still take over 5 years to start saving money and that did NOT count taxes and insurance, sigh.
In the end, you DO need to decide what is the best fit for you. I just wanted to alleviate some oft-repeated myths about diesel ownership. People are sometimes a bit scared off, but honestly, it is not any more complicated than owning any vehicle. It just sounds cooler, LOL! Being able to spend $5k on a 20 year old truck and still drive it and tow with it for the next 10 years is an awesome thing and can totally be done (well at least in this region).
I do totally agree that the prices on newer diesels are frankly obscene and for many of them, they have more issues than they are worth. Dropping $50-60k on a truck is ridiculous to me, I just think of where that money could go -- plus a new vehicle is about the worst investment out there, given their immediate depreciation. I can go out right now and with a little poking around, put together a reliable rig of truck and simple trailer for less than $10k total. It may not be beautiful, but it will get you there safely.
Also consider the diesel 3/4 ton Suburbans and Excursions -- basically an F250 with a covered bed. Be patient and DON'T settle. It took me about a year to find mine, just laying low and watching and searching and in the end, I stumbled on it by accident.
I disagree that light diesels* are "way cheaper to own" than comparable gassers.
To answer this question you must do a "yellow pad analysis" (or use and Excel spreadsheet), not accept common myths (like light diesels in pickups have the same repair history as those found in Volvos or Freightliners).
When you do this you consider fuel costs/mile; maintenance/mile; depreciation; insurance; interest on a purchase loan; resale value; planned use; etc. Last time I did this (just before I bought my current Duramax) the number favored the gas engine by about $.01/mile. I ended up buying a diesel because I got the Deal of the Century in late 2008 (poor economy, rising fuel prices, seller wanted it gone). It had 7500 miles on it, still smelled new, and there had never been anything in the bed (not a single scratch in the paint). Because of what I actually paid for it the price/mile favors the Duramax by just short of $.01/mile.
Right now this 2008 has a blue book value which is $3500 more (retail sale) than I paid for it in November, 2008. The reasons seem to be that it doesn't have a "urea tank", is very low mileage (I'm retired and only use it when I need the capacity, we are going out of town, or when I go to the courthouse), and production of trucks in 2008-09 was low due to the poor economy.
For me, the diesel is cheaper than a gas truck by some small amount. Anyone in my basic situation would come to the same conclusion. But as my situation is individual, so is it for everyone. They need to "do the math" before making a decision.
*All one ton or smaller pickups are "light duty trucks" no matter what the plate on the side of the vehicle might say.
1995 GMC Sierra 3/4 ton we bought new. Extended Cab, short bed, 5.0, 3.73, limited slip differential. It has just under 100000 miles and I don't haul much but it's in fantastic shape. My trailer is a 2 horse aluminum gooseneck.
2007.5 ('08 bodystyle) GMC 2500HD 6.6 Duramax Diesel
and I LUUUUURRRRRVVVV it.
I pull a steel 3 horse with large tack room with absolutely NO problems. I take the dividers out, head to tail 4 horses in it all the time.
That Allison tranny and tow/haul is the bomb. DH put a computer box on it, and I have five settings to adjust also. One is like a jake brake, so not only is the transmission slowing down, but the turbo gets shut down too.
We bought it on EBAY of all places from d&g auto in Poplar Bluff, MO. They specialize in wreaked diesel trucks (& corvettes!). Some they refurb and resell, and some they sell as is. Depends on how bad the damage is. I've had it for over a year, with no problems out of it at all. Low milage for it's age, and very sound for being a wreak.
I will fight the biggest dog on the block if you dis my baby. LOL