Would like to buy a truck

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1,935
Location
British Columbia, Canada
I'm interested in buying a truck some time in the next year primarily for light general hauling (firewood, trash, bags of soil, lumber) and potentially pulling a small travel trailer (16' - 18' or so, which I don't own either but I'm thinking about). I'd like to be able to put 4' X 8' sheets in the box. It might get as far as 150 miles from home pulling a trailer, with hills on the way. The only time it would be off road would be on grass at a camp site or on gravel at a service yard. There would be no need to ever drive it in snow or on ice. I'm not afraid of a manual transmission as long as it's reliable. I would intend to maintain it myself. Fancy is not important. I might put a few thousand miles on it per year. I don't really care if it's a Ford, Chev, Dodge, etc. I'd be looking for something 10 years old or so, though it could be older too. I'd appreciate comments on what years and what power trains are likely to be quite reliable and wouldn't get horrible fuel economy. No spark plugs flying out of cylinder heads or special routines needed to remove them either please! I realize condition is almost everything here but there are still products to look for and products to avoid. Opinions please.
 
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17,501
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NH
If it gets only a few k per year, why would FE be important? As long as it is not 10mpg I would think that is a trivial cost. That said... 15 is likely what it will get. At ten plus years old I would think any of the big three.
 

Nick1994

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13,017
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Phoenix, AZ
I had a '96 Chevy Silverado with the 5.7L Vortec. It pulled trailers fantastically and was amazingly reliable. I got 15-16 mpg in the city and and 17-18 mpg on the highway. It got 12-13 mpg while towing too.
 
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429
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Cascadia
Do they salt roads in AB? I don't think you could go to wrong with a mid 00s Silverado or f150. Just be weary of rust and other potentially big problems.
 
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Canada
Or, a bunch of those guys working on the oil patch should be hurting about now. Wave some cash under there noses, you could get a great deal on an ex-toy.
 
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ME
Originally Posted By: expat
F150 80'S era, with an in-line 6cyl. Get the least rusty one you can find.
This, but also get (or change to) steep rear gears. I have a 95 with 2.73s and slip the clutch more than I'd like. The price upgrade to a 3/4 ton might be negligible and you'd get a stronger clutch, trans, and axle. Ford, ever the prankster, put the 300-6 in all sorts of huge tanks.
 
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458
Location
SSP mn
The 300 6cyl that ford had was a great motor. Plenty of power and they were in all of the ford trucks up to 96 and the 3/4 and 1 tons in 97. The 150s ride nicer but if your trailer had a lot of tounge weight a 3/4 ton is better. I'd get a 96. The 96s had obd2, the simplicity of fuel injection and are the better looking truck in my opinion. Ford put those 4.9s in a slew of trucks from a base 150 through medium duty dump trucks. And aircraft tugs Otherwise a c/k Chevy is also tried and true, however without steep rear gears the 4.3 is not going to feel good/safe on the highway so factor v8 maintenance and fuel economy. And at that get a 350. 305 v8s don't feel much more than a 4.3
 
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5,267
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Southeast Texas
Originally Posted By: Nick1994
I had a '96 Chevy Silverado with the 5.7L Vortec. It pulled trailers fantastically and was amazingly reliable. I got 15-16 mpg in the city and and 17-18 mpg on the highway. It got 12-13 mpg while towing too.
Thats a good thought from Nick, but I would suggest getting at least a 2000 model Silverado. The newer design featured an upgraded 5.3L V8 that gets 19 hwy and has a tow/haul button that adjusts the shift points. Of course the body style and interior is a much newer design, too, along with great ride quality. My 2000 Silverado is one of the best, strongest, and most capable vehicles I have ever owned.
 
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Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
Some years of Fords have sparkplugs that are a real PIA to change. My brother had one of those and he asked his mechanic to change the sparkplugs. The mechanic said that changing the sparkplugs would cost seven hundred dollars. The mechanic said that usually the sparkplugs break off and you have to use a special tool to remove each plug. The special tool can only be used once, you have to use a new one on each sparkplug. Then his mechanics father (also a mechanic) showed up and asked what the Ford needed. His son told him that it required new sparkplugs. The father told his son to refuse to do the job because even with the special tool it takes too long to do each plug. So you might want to ask a good mechanic who works on Fords about the problem with doing the sparkplugs. Be sure to ask what engines and what years have the hard to do sparkplugs.
 
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Southwest
Used trucks are overpriced. I don't envy you. Is a new no option truck out of reach? The difference between a Ford 4.9 and a Ford 3.7 is night and day. I imagine it's the same for all of them.
 

ecotourist

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British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted By: expat
F150 80'S era, with an in-line 6cyl. Get the least rusty one you can find.
That would work. I'm thinking of buying one in BC. While rust isn't too big a deal in Alberta there's generally less rust on vehicles in BC.
 

ecotourist

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Originally Posted By: supton
If it gets only a few k per year, why would FE be important? As long as it is not 10mpg I would think that is a trivial cost. That said... 15 is likely what it will get. At ten plus years old I would think any of the big three.
What you say is logically true but I know I'd hate really horrible mileage. But 15 (especially in US gallons) wouldn't be too bad for the few miles I'd put on.
 

ecotourist

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Originally Posted By: expat
Or, a bunch of those guys working on the oil patch should be hurting about now. Wave some cash under there noses, you could get a great deal on an ex-toy.
Rumour has it that oil patch trucks lead a hard life. And they're often fairly new and have lots of expensive features I don't really care about (ie lots of bling). I might get a great deal, but on a too expensive truck it would still be a lot of money.
 

ecotourist

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Originally Posted By: hansj3
The 300 6cyl that ford had was a great motor. Plenty of power and they were in all of the ford trucks up to 96 and the 3/4 and 1 tons in 97. The 150s ride nicer but if your trailer had a lot of tounge weight a 3/4 ton is better. I'd get a 96. The 96s had obd2, the simplicity of fuel injection and are the better looking truck in my opinion. Otherwise a c/k Chevy is also tried and true, however without steep rear gears the 4.3 is not going to feel good/safe on the highway so factor v8 maintenance and fuel economy. And at that get a 350. 305 v8s don't feel much more than a 4.3
A '96 Ford with a 300 I6 sounds about right. And an I6 should be easier to maintain too. It seems the 300 has a big reputation. Good suggestion on looking for a 350 in a C/K. I had a 350 in a '76 Buick Regal at one point in my past. A pretty much bullet proof engine. But is it the same engine? What sort of rear gear ratios would you suggest?
 

ecotourist

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Originally Posted By: gfh77665
... suggest getting at least a 2000 model Silverado. The newer design featured an upgraded 5.3L V8 that gets 19 hwy and has a tow/haul button that adjusts the shift points. Of course the body style and interior is a much newer design, too, along with great ride quality. My 2000 Silverado is one of the best, strongest, and most capable vehicles I have ever owned.
Good suggestions. Thanks.
 

ecotourist

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Originally Posted By: JimPghPA
Some years of Fords have sparkplugs that are a real PIA to change. So you might want to ask a good mechanic who works on Fords about the problem with doing the sparkplugs. Be sure to ask what engines and what years have the hard to do sparkplugs.
Yes that's what I'm trying to avoid. Seems there are YouTube videos on how to change those plugs but if I can avoid the problem models, that would be even better. Fewer mechanical adventures would be better. I have visions of having to pull a head to get those suckers out!
 
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