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Used Truck Search: OBS Ford 1994-2002

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  • Used Truck Search: OBS Ford 1994-2002

    About 8 years ago, my 1990 chev 2500 truck came to the end of its useful life and I sold my 2 horse bp trailer. I have decided that I need horse transportation again and I am looking at used trucks and 2 horse trailers.

    For some odd reason, I am determined that my next truck will be an older model Ford from 1994-2002 because I have read that they are reliable. I have also found trucks with relatively low miles at decent prices in my area. Please tell me if this is a crazy/dumb idea! Please tell me what I should look out for!

    Here are my top picks:
    1. 1994 f250 diesel 75k miles $10.5. Immaculate, used w/rv
    2. 1997 f250 gas 90k miles $6,000. Also looks immaculate.
    3. 1997 f250 gas 75k miles $10k. Looks in excellent care.

    i’m assuming I won’t be using it a ton, but I want something safe that will haul with decent power if I need to go on a 2-3 hr drive, rarely.

    Questions: Can a F250 haul a 2-horse gooseneck easily. I am looking for a bump pull, but wondering if it’s an option.

    Thanks for comments and advice!

  • Original Poster

    #2
    Also add: a 1999 diesel with 135k miles for $10k

    Comment


    • #3
      I have a diesel 1997 f250 with the 7.3L engine. Yes, it can certainly haul a 2 horse goose, with power to spare. Watch the transmission in these, that was the weak point. Unsure if a gasser approaching 100k is a good buy, but the 7.3 diesel engine is widely regarded as the best engine available by many. I get comments and offers every time I take my truck out--there is a pretty large following on these, especially if they're not rusted out.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        The 1997 diesel is the gold standard. There is one near me with 135k miles for 12k. Looks nice.

        Comment


        • #5
          Beware of nicely detailed under carriages with very thick paint --and make sure someone crawls under the truck and sticks a screw driver in the frame!

          Comment


          • #6
            I would consider any of the diesels and probably not any of the gassers unless the truck was immaculate. That's because a truly immaculate truck suggests that the engine was cared for the same way.

            Also, you want to consider the cost of a new transmission.... which will happen within your ownership of the truck. IMO, a rebuilt Jasper transmission is about the best deal and best functioning tranny for a Ford. it will be stouter than what Ford used in the first place, but that repair will set you back some money.

            I'm not saying not to buy any of these older trucks. I am saying that you'd want a mechanic to look it over to see how the transmission looks. I second the importance of crawling underneath the truck to look for rust.
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by mvp View Post
              Also, you want to consider the cost of a new transmission.... which will happen within your ownership of the truck.
              Really? That's a bummer. Mine's going strong, no problems. But at the recommendation of many, I put an additional transmission cooler on it when I bought it. Still hoping that prevents the dreaded failure. Fingers crossed! Guess it's still worth fixing, if needed, given the cost of new trucks and the way this one has held it's value. Swear I could sell it for what I paid nearly 15 years ago!

              Oh, frisky do also look at brake lines. I just had to replace all of them. It's just fab when one blows out on the highway

              Comment


              • #8
                All of our trucks are 1981 - 1996 Fords.

                The E4OD automatic transmissions can be a problem, particularly the earlier ones from 92-95. Ford made some updates over the years and your best bet is a 96 or 97.

                The ZF5 speed manual is great if you don't want an automatic.

                Do the gas trucks on your list have the 351 or 460?

                Check the frames, especially back by where the rear leaf springs mount.

                If the trucks have intermittent/delay wipers, make sure they works. You'll have to find a good used wiper switch if they don't.

                Not sure if 4WD is a priority, but I'd go with manual locking hubs and a manual transfer case if you have a choice. The auto stuff is great as long as it works. Less to go wrong with manual.



                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  The gas trucks on my list are the 460, definitely. Thanks for info.

                  what year is the ZF5 manual?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The ZF5 speed was offered through 1997 for F-250+.

                    The ZF5 speed available in 96 and 97 was slightly better than previous years.

                    You shouldn't see any Mazda 5 speeds, as those were only available in Rangers/Explorers/F-150s. It is possible that someone could swap one into a F-250 or F-350 but I don't know why you'd want to waste the time.

                    I wouldn't rule out a 460 just because it's gas.

                    I'd be wary if the truck has just be repainted, the frame has just been rubber coated or or the engine compartment is cleaner than you think it should be. Check the interior if the truck appears to have been recently repainted. Is the driver's seat worn? The arm rests? How do the floor mats look - if they are the factory ones, is there wear where your feet would sit? Is there lots of wear on the pedals? If the truck has low miles, there should be minimal wear on all these things.

                    Check the floors and rocker panels on both the driver and passenger sides.

                    If the truck has a rubber liner instead of carpet on the floor, definitely check the floors. While easier to clean than carpet, the rubber liner does not allow water to evaporate like carpet does, so any water that manages to get between the metal floor pans and the rubber just sits there and rots. Unless someone put it in themselves, you should only see the rubber liner on base (the XL in 1993+) trim level trucks with crank windows and manual locks.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Simkie View Post

                      Really? That's a bummer. Mine's going strong, no problems. But at the recommendation of many, I put an additional transmission cooler on it when I bought it. Still hoping that prevents the dreaded failure. Fingers crossed! Guess it's still worth fixing, if needed, given the cost of new trucks and the way this one has held it's value. Swear I could sell it for what I paid nearly 15 years ago!

                      Oh, frisky do also look at brake lines. I just had to replace all of them. It's just fab when one blows out on the highway
                      So... you put an aftermarket tranny cooler on top of the Ford one? How early in the truck's life did you do that?

                      Here's my experience:

                      Truck 1-- 1999 (or 97?) 6.9L Self-breathing (no turbo) Ford diesel. She had been a work truck and I bought her one step removed from an auction with about 160K on her. Of course she needed a new transmission. This was more than a decade ago, but I think a rebuilt Jasper was about $3,500. She was still going strong with that transmission when I sold her with 347K on the odo. This truck had a huge, huge heart and work ethic.

                      Truck 2-- 2001 7.3L. I bought this one from some man-children who had modified her a bit. She had 55K on her odometer. She will need a new tranny at 250K, I think. But! I have driven her with a chip that adds 85 horsepower to here (among other things, it causes the transmission to shift with more RPMs, so you never feel like you will lug the engine). I did put aftermarket gauges in her so that I could see how this chip was changing the work done by the engine, transmission and turbo. I have twice used her to move across the country with all my stuff in my horse trailer. I don't think this was too taxing for her. Quote for a new Jasper is about $5K

                      My point is that depending on how hard these trucks have been driven and used for hauling, you will need to save your pennies for a transmission. It's very much a "mid-life crisis" expenditure for a diesel, but one that will only need to be made once.

                      So I don't think you or the OP needs to worry about having to replace a transmission soon, necessarily. Just know that the expense is out there somewhere in the future.
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by clanter
                        as for the gas engines...we always got between 250,000 and 350,000 miles without problems
                        Good to know how long modern gassers are lasting. I think I tend to underestimate their longevity.

                        OP, that's worth some study for you since the cost of diesel fuel and their regular maintenance is one of the spendy parts of them. If you like power and longevity in a truck, I still think a used-not-abused diesel is mathematically the best deal. But that would not/will not be true when all available diesels become the horrible 6.Whatevers that Ford built (after 2003), or the even more modern engines that have the urea added to them.
                        The armchair saddler
                        Politically Pro-Cat

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Trimming View Post
                          All of our trucks are 1981 - 1996 Fords.

                          The E4OD automatic transmissions can be a problem, particularly the earlier ones from 92-95. Ford made some updates over the years and your best bet is a 96 or 97.

                          The ZF5 speed manual is great if you don't want an automatic.

                          Do the gas trucks on your list have the 351 or 460?

                          Check the frames, especially back by where the rear leaf springs mount.

                          If the trucks have intermittent/delay wipers, make sure they works. You'll have to find a good used wiper switch if they don't.

                          Not sure if 4WD is a priority, but I'd go with manual locking hubs and a manual transfer case if you have a choice. The auto stuff is great as long as it works. Less to go wrong with manual.


                          I agree with all of this except (perhaps) for the manual transmission.

                          I say this in terms of ergonomics and being 5'1". Driving in stop and go traffic in a truck designed for someone 10" taller then you will very quickly cause some regret. I can't wear out my body driving a vehicle that doesn't half-way fit me.
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mvp View Post

                            So... you put an aftermarket tranny cooler on top of the Ford one? How early in the truck's life did you do that?
                            Yeah, that's exactly what I did. Lots of people familiar with these trucks advised it. I thought it was pretty common knowledge, at least at the time? Heard it from a lot of different people.

                            I bought it in early 2004, so it was 7-8 years old, with just over 100k on it. The transmission has been solid, we use the truck lightly, but nearly always with a load of some sort.


                            Comment


                            • #15

                              Truck 1-- 1999 (or 97?) 6.9L Self-breathing (no turbo) Ford diesel. She had been a work truck and I bought her one step removed from an auction with about 160K
                              the naturally aspirated 6.9 was not available in 1999. Neither was the naturally aspirated 7.3. Did someone swap it in?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Trimming View Post

                                the naturally aspirated 6.9 was not available in 1999. Neither was the naturally aspirated 7.3. Did someone swap it in?
                                Then I am mis-remembering the 6.9's birth year.
                                Last edited by mvp; Nov. 6, 2019, 12:29 PM.
                                The armchair saddler
                                Politically Pro-Cat

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I have a 1995 Chevrolet gas burner with a little over 100 thousand miles on it. I bought it used with 18 thousand miles on it. It has been a good truck but it is an OLD truck. About two years ago I decided I didn't want to haul with it anymore. No big problems but my gut told me I needed to buy a new used truck to haul with. I listened to my gut.

                                  I still use it to go to the feedstore, landfill and haul branches to the upper 40. In a pinch I might haul with it for short distances but no way for long trips. And I don't live where we get extreme winters and road salt either. Just don't feel good about towing two horses with it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I'd exclude the gas models and focus on the diesels. I'd also look very, very, closely for rot. If you don't live in the rust belt this isn't as huge of a problem, but still. Personally, I'd rather deal with and sort out mechanical issues than rot/body/frame issues. You really need to lay a through eye on these things. People are very good at hiding things or dressing up older vehicles to look to be in better condition than they are.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      We had a F250 7.3 bought with 22K miles and drive it for 12 years and 285K miles with no transmission problems.
                                      Do check the fuel injectors history....those are pricey to replace.

                                      A friend had a 1997 duelly that had transmission problems. Her extended warranty replaced it several times and
                                      the shop said she needed to put a different brand it but she wouldn't spring for it. Another friend had similar problems
                                      with the same year duelly. Both were F350's.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I am looking,too. Just FYI - we found a 1997 clean Texas truck here in Michigan. Ticked all the boxes until we went and looked at it. First the owner had replaced the front seat cushions himself..used cheap foam and you sank when you sat in it. Okay, we can fix that since the body was so clean. We drove it...and it womp,womp, womped. Bent axle. Turned right around and brought it back. Still on the mental list...we can change the axle. Owner started talking about how he let his teenage son drive it. Big red flag. Noticed an oil spot on the ground; hubby went under and the oil was coating the compartment do bad he could not tell where it was coming from. The big deal breaker was the owner said the oil was from a previous vehicle. Damn.

                                        Comment

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