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Diesel trucks...educate me!

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  • Diesel trucks...educate me!

    I dont need info on specific brands. Just want the basics on diesel trucks so I can understand what Im looking for when I start my hunt for a used truck to haul with. Im not even sure what to ask yall about I know so little about trucks!

    Im a 5'1 girl, so its going to be annoying enough to get a dealer to listen to me, so would like to know what Im talking about before I hit the dealerships!

  • #2
    Diesel trucks are more expensive to buy and more expensive to service, although they do not need to be serviced as often as a gas truck. Overall, cost of diesel and miles per gallon work out to being cheaper with a diesel.

    However, as the owner of a 22 year old 7.3 Ford, I would warn you of the later 6.0's. My diesel is the poster girl in my mechanic's newsletter because I believe in maintenance. I'm planning on taking it up country to pick up my young horse in a week or so, so wish me luck that it does not chose to let me down for the first time ever on that trip.

    How second-hand do you want? If you find the last year they made the 7.3 you would be good to go. (2003?) Diesel mechanics want to buy that one.

    A diesel is worth it if you do high mileage. They like to work and sitting around is not their thing.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

    Comment


    • #3
      We have two Fords a F350 (1999) and a F 250 (2000). Both 7.4 diesels and we love them. The older pre-2006 diesels get better mileage, due to the new emissions standards. I like the 6 speed manual, but the 350 has an automatic. Mainly, you need to understand that they need maintenance, and they will take care of you, but you need to take care of the truck. And remember they have a glow plug, two batteries for starting the engine. If you live in a cold climate, you need to understand the importance of fuel management in the winter and will probably need and engine warmer. They each take 16 quarts of oil and we use Rotella, made for diesel engines. Mileage: 250 get 23 highway, 16 towing (9000 lb travel trailer). 350 (4 door dually) gets about 20 mph highway, 16 towing a 3000 lb cargo trailer. Insurance, tags and such will also be higher than a regular car.

      Go to a diesel shop talk to the guys, find out what is going on with diesels today. Do searches on Diesel engines and educate yourself. They are the ultimate flex fuel vehicle and the most eco friendly transportation, because of their efficiency.

      Also, join this site: www.motorwatch.com Great information on all makes and models there.

      Comment


      • #4
        Good maintenance and they will practically run forever. I'd recommend googling basic diesel maintenance. I've got a 7.3L Ford diesel too, best truck they ever made. I wouldn't touch their 6.0 or 6.4L with a pole. I've also owned an 85 diesel, GMC suburban. They really are great and much cheaper to drive. I actually don't have many maintenance costs at all, just oil, which you do need 15 quarts of, but if you do oil analysis, you may find you don't need to change it as often as we've traditionally believed. That's really about all I've done aside from rotate tires. Parts are cheap and if you plug into a good support group online (lots of forums available), they can really help you out.

        Good place for reading and questions: www.ford-trucks.com, great diesel forums there.
        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

        Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
        We Are Flying Solo

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thank you! I was hoping for links to good websites that I can learn from.

          Comment


          • #6
            with good maintenance a diesel will run for twice as long as a gas engine. As a new option a diesel costs 5K more than a gas engine and tend to retain their value much better too. The diesel fuel used to be cheaper than gas, but is now more....though the improved gas mileage is still worth it, as is the better towing torque. Sadly you are not kidding about the being a woman shopping for a truck thing. You would think in this day and age we would be past that. Last time we went shopping for a truck I was only working part time/DH full time so I went to scope out possible trucks first. I was amazed at the different treatment we got when I went alone (first) and with DH (later). Only one dealership treated me as a serious buyer. The rest ranged from ignoring me to being downright rude. I got comments like "you bring your husband on back now when you are ready to buy " (ha ha ha ....NOT!) or my personal favorite: "but look....this cute little car over here is a pretty blue color...and it has VANITY mirrors!" I glared at him and asked if it will tow a horse trailer. One place I asked the price of a used truck with no sticker on the window. He said "expensive" and made no move to get off his duff. Sigh. I would reconsider your thought that brand does not matter because they are not all the same. Some have a stiffer suspension (meaning it will haul better but be a truckier ride if you have to drive the truck for things other than towing). And how old do you want to go? Certain brands had major engine changes in certain model years..and often there are "kinks" in the new design the first year out. And certain brands are prone to certain problems. For example Fords: the engines run great and forever (our 1999 is still going strong) but they are prone to problems with sensors and ball joints.
            Providence Farm
            http://providencefarmpintos.blogspot.com/

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Camohn- Oh I am definitely taking into consideration the brands. Just didnt want the thread to become a Chevy vs Ford vs Dodge debate. Thank you for the info! I ran into the same issue with the dealer when I was buying my Camry. A Camry!! Ugh. I walked out on more than one salesman. It doesnt help that I look about ten years younger than I am (Im 27 most people guess 16/17)

              Comment


              • #8
                Tart yourself up, put on the biggest, blingiest cubic zirconias you own and see if that changes their attitude. Makes you hate to pay their commissions.

                Many a millionaire looks like a hobo, deliberately.
                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                Comment


                • #9
                  I shopped alone as a girl too. You are doing the right thing -- do your research. I did luck out and get a great salesman. I marched in there and made it plain that I know my way around an engine and I know my diesels. I don't take any crap and I also know how to work the system. After I made the deal (the truck was used, but I bought it at a Ford dealership) and got a great price with my ancient Tahoe trade-in, the dealership manager offered me a sales job, LOL! But they were always very respectful and I made a point to thank both the salesman and the manager for their behaviour.
                  Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                  Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                  We Are Flying Solo

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                    Good maintenance and they will practically run forever. I'd recommend googling basic diesel maintenance. I've got a 7.3L Ford diesel too, best truck they ever made. I wouldn't touch their 6.0 or 6.4L with a pole. I've also owned an 85 diesel, GMC suburban. They really are great and much cheaper to drive. I actually don't have many maintenance costs at all, just oil, which you do need 15 quarts of, but if you do oil analysis, you may find you don't need to change it as often as we've traditionally believed. That's really about all I've done aside from rotate tires. Parts are cheap and if you plug into a good support group online (lots of forums available), they can really help you out.

                    Good place for reading and questions: www.ford-trucks.com, great diesel forums there.
                    I have a 6.4 with 98,000 miles on it.

                    About 50% of that pulling a 4 horse trailer.

                    Mechanically, it has not cost me one dime. Fuel mileage is not as good as the 7.3 but the ease of driving, comfort and sound level is so far superior that I would never go back to a 7.3.

                    The 6.0 was a sorry engine, but the 6.4 is a good one.

                    The 2011 with the Ford diesel will be the best of all. Ford has never made a bad engine.

                    Truck is 3 years old, 98,000 miles on it and yet Ford at no charge just did a computer update that appears to have increased my fuel mileage, although I have not driven it enough since to be certain how much.

                    CSSJR

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have also had good luck with my 6.4, although only 35K so far. My 7.3 was finally giving out (everything except the engine). It is so much nicer to be around, starts easy, I can order at a drive thru without shutting it off ;-)

                      I really love the integrated trailer brake controller and the tow mode on the transmission. Mileage is about 12 with the horse trailer and 16 without

                      Here are a few websites:
                      http://www.thedieselstop.com/
                      http://www.ford-trucks.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Used diesel is the best bang for the hauling buck, IMO. Good on you to hunt for one of these.

                        Your first order of business should be cozying up to a great diesel mechanic. I like independent shops that work on Big Trucks-- the guys for whom a 1-ton is small and who keep commercial vehicles on the road. They see everything and they work for people who can't afford an incompetent mechanic. Your diesel dude can guide you on the rest of the Ford/Chevy-GMC/Dodge debate.

                        On the Ford scene. You will have a hard time finding a 7.3L and it will get harder. Those were made until 2003.5. I can't speak to the 6.0 vs. 6.4 engines. But read up on those. When they are used wrong and/or get sick, they rack up some very big bills. It will be a long wait for the new 6.7s to trickle down to the used market or any price point most people would choose for a secondary vehicle. Their sticker price puts the new ones at $65K!

                        People complain that Dodge build a POS truck around the great Cummins diesel engine. I was warned off the automatic transmissions in the early 2000s Dodges. But I'll let a Dodger give you an informed opinion.

                        To me, the Chevy Duramax (a tried and true engine design) and the Allison transmission (best out there) make these trucks perhaps the place to start right now. I didn't like the Chevy and Allison tranny I drove as much as I expected to.

                        One thing to think about since you are 5'1": A standard transmission will be a less comfortable truck for you to drive for a long time than an auto. That's because the average drive is taller and everything is designed for a bigger body. You'll put more milage on your body reaching around for pedals and the stick shift than will a 5'11" guy. You might not think about this on a test drive. But imagine driving through Manhattan in stop-n-go traffic for an hour or more.

                        You don't need to be afraid of a used diesel with 100K on the odometer. Ideally, you'd know how it was used and how it was maintained. Many people think a truck that's cosmetically clean and doesn't have bad tires with that milage indicates an owner that cared for the truck overall. After that, you want your seller to agree to let you take the truck to your diesel dude for a PPE. I haven't found this to be a problem with private sellers. For a dealer, I'd still insist.

                        Among other things, your PPE person should plug in his code reader to the central computer of the engine and look for "codes" that go with unresolved or even past problems. Code readers vary in quality and cost. This is why you want to work with a serious diesel shop that ponied up for a good reader. My diesel guy put my candidate trucks up on a lift and looked around at other stuff-- frame rust, axles, differential, exhaust, ball joints and such. You need to ask about this for a used vehicle and making the kind of investment you should: Buying used and keeping the truck until it dies. You don't want a truck that has to be euthanized too young because its body can't keep up with its fine diesel heart. It's a heart breaker.

                        Have fun truck shopping! Oh, and the selling "boys" actually don't mind the buying "girls." In fact, they seem to dig the "ying and yang of it all"-- the cubic zirconia and baseball cap/jeans, the short chick who jokes about being able to see out of the truck she'll put in front of 8000#, and the girly girl company for the test drive with the manly wallet.
                        The armchair saddler
                        Politically Pro-Cat

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mudroom View Post
                          I have also had good luck with my 6.4, although only 35K so far. My 7.3 was finally giving out (everything except the engine). It is so much nicer to be around, starts easy, I can order at a drive thru without shutting it off ;-)

                          I really love the integrated trailer brake controller and the tow mode on the transmission. Mileage is about 12 with the horse trailer and 16 without

                          Here are a few websites:
                          http://www.thedieselstop.com/
                          http://www.ford-trucks.com/
                          Your mileage will get better around 45,000 or so.

                          Towing will not improve much but non towing will go up to 18 or 19 on the 4 lanes in cruise control.

                          CSSJR

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                            Good maintenance and they will practically run forever.
                            I love my Dodge diesel, and take very good care of him.

                            NPR's Car Talk forums were very helpful when I was researching, and still are for the maintenance/repair questions.
                            http://cartalk.com/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Right on MostValuablePoster! I think that is what the OP was asking. Re automatic - I know, my left leg gets exhaused putting the clutch in and out inching along in rush hour going to flippin' Vancouver.

                              Mudroom - I know what you mean with my 7.3 having to turn off the engine in the drive-through, or worse, at the border. For some reason I get so nervous coming into the USofA I can never get it started again. Can't wait to get back to the North and Freedom. But the bench seat more than makes up for the noise which I don't notice inside.
                              Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I have an 85 diesel Suburban that I love. It has 330k miles on it, and I am the second owner. First owner kept maintenance records back 10 years!

                                It is the most comfortable thing I have ever sat in. Doesn't have a ton of acceleration when towing, but it tows great. I've had a couple people try to buy it from me, one of whom is a mechanic and offered more than I paid 3 years ago.

                                Be prepared for some damn expensive oil changes, or learn to do it yourself. Oil change on a diesel runs about $70, even at the cheaper places. We can buy the oil and filter for around $20

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                  People complain that Dodge build a POS truck around the great Cummins diesel engine. I was warned off the automatic transmissions in the early 2000s Dodges. But I'll let a Dodger give you an informed opinion.
                                  I have a 2000 Dodge diesel (bought it used several years ago). Engine runs GREAT; at 145k miles and transmission is starting to slip. IMO, 145k out of a transmission is fine by me, but others think it should go longer.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Another 7.3L Ford Fan...Ours is a 1996, bought 2 years old with 22K miles,
                                    and pushing 300K miles. Original auto transmission. Glowplugs replaced around
                                    80,000 miles and something on the 4x4. A sensor went out years ago.

                                    We also have a gas engine Dodge and it just does not pull like the Ford. And
                                    sucks the gas while doing so.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      After reading COTH, I abandoned my search for a newer truck and focused on finding the fabled 7.3L diesel (which they made until mid-2003). I found a '96 Ford F250 7.3L with 118k miles on it, a grandma/grandpa creampuff, for $6000. It's loud, gets great mileage, and pulls a full loaded 3 horse gooseneck like it's nothing. I maintain it really well. It now has 123k miles on it.

                                      I have had numerous guys want to buy my truck (which is beautiful) for the sole reason of pulling that 7.3 out and replacing their 6.0!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Hunter_Newbie View Post
                                        Im a 5'1 girl, so its going to be annoying enough to get a dealer to listen to me, so would like to know what Im talking about before I hit the dealerships!
                                        If you're going used anyway, I'd bypass the obnoxious dealership grunts and shop private party first. You'll be more likely find someone selling a truck that KNOWS the answers to technical questions and vehicle history, vs. the lot guys that are just parroting back what's on the sticker.

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