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  #1  
Old 05-15-2016, 08:28 AM
alphashifter alphashifter is offline
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Default Best used, 3/4-1 ton tow vehicle?

G'Mornin Diesel enthusiasts.
I've been pulling stuff behind my built up MKIV TDI for about a decade, and now considering a move that's increasingly popular: Ditching the mortgage and buying my home outright - an RV and a tow vehicle. The more I've considered this, the better it looks, but that's another discussion.
Here's my question to all of you:
For long term reliability and relatively low maintenance costs, which used trucks should I be looking at?
Which ones should I avoid?
Why and why not?
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  #2  
Old 05-15-2016, 08:58 AM
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MnTom MnTom is offline
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I don't think you will find a "best" truck. The big three are all great trucks, but each model year has their own problems. For instance, the Ford had the 7.3L and most agree that was the best engine, then the 6.0 which turned out to be not the most reliable, then the 6.4 which was better, then the 6.7 and it seems to be decent. The Dodge/Ram had the 5.9 for a long time, the VE pump (1'st Gen) were good, but had the typical transmission issues, the second gen 12 valve engines were generally considered to be the one to get the most power out of except for the transmission, the 24 valve second gen had lift pump and VP44 pump issues, the CR trucks turned out to be pretty reliable, the 6.7 seems to be decent too. The GM 6.6 is pretty reliable all the way through (from my understanding), but the seem to have the most injector problems from what I have read (keep in mind I have a Dodge and don't follow the others as much).
What you need to look at is what you intend to tow and what your budget is. Depending on your location you could even buy a semi truck (for about the same money as a diesel pick up) and do a few things to it and re-title it as a motorhome and use that to tow a trailer.
Lots of options and lots of questions to come up with the answer for you.
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1996 RAM "Custom Ground" 100 plate 3/4 forward, 300 injectors, 16.5 timing, Goerends Auto = 365HP, 833TQ Third Gen Rims, Aluminum Headache Rack
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  #3  
Old 05-15-2016, 11:56 AM
alphashifter alphashifter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MnTom View Post
I don't think you will find a "best" truck.
...each...has their own problems. For instance, the Ford had the 7.3L and most agree that was the best engine, then the 6.0 which turned out to be not the most reliable, then the 6.4 which was better, then the 6.7 and it seems to be decent.
Thanks MnTom, this kind of discussion is exactly what I'm looking for; I hope more will give their input. The kinds of answers that bring up more questions are the ones that will help me make a good decision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MnTom View Post
The Dodge/Ram had the 5.9 for a long time, the VE pump (1'st Gen) were good, but had the typical transmission issues, the second gen 12 valve engines were generally considered to be the one to get the most power out of except for the transmission, the 24 valve second gen had lift pump and VP44 pump issues...
I am leaning toward a Dodge Cummins but I do want to consider comments from you all before I make a final decision. I spent many years running 911 calls in early millennium Ford Powerstrokes (brush trucks, ambulances), and although I liked some things about them, I saw waaaay too many repeated turbo failures to be comfortable pulling too far from a parts source with a Ford...And before that, I'd always been a Ford guy.
I've heard the Cummins 12V 5.9 referred to as the "Million Mile Motor". Comments?
I've also heard the VP44 IP has issues, but I don't know the details or if newer replacements fix the problem.
As a general rule I have typically stayed away from automatic transmissions for longevity reasons. Comments from some of you may help change my mind or reinforce my bias. Please throw your $.02!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MnTom View Post
What you need to look at is what you intend to tow and what your budget is.
Guess I didn't say...I'm looking for used a 1 ton truck. With a solid maintenance history, I'll consider mileage over 200K and hope to pay well under $20K. I'd be pulling a 30'-35' toy hauler with fifth wheel or gooseneck (that'll be a discussion for another thread)...And likely something with no more that two axles.

I appreciate your collective experiences, and I want everybody to feel free to throw in their personal bias. It all counts as I formulate my questions and priorities for a tow vehicle. I'm new, ready to learn and open to input.
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  #4  
Old 05-15-2016, 07:44 PM
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Well, far as the Cummins, (I have had mine since May 4, 2001) the P-pumped 12 valve is one hell of an engine. In all reality, all the little Cummins engines are great mechanically. The CR engines are just like the other two, with injectors being a big issue. Far as the auto tranny, there are a few things you can do to make them very reliable. I have 365 HP to the ground and the stock front drum broke on me, other than that, the only other issue I have had with it was the speed sensor on the side of the transmission. The VP trucks by now should have most of the 'bugs' worked out. The biggest problem I see with them is the lack of fuel flow through the pump for cooling purposes. The stock lift pump is a POS. One advantage of any with electronics is you can "plug and play" tuners, whereas the P-7100 trucks take a little bit of wrenching, BUT they are the least expensive to get power out of. Just to give you an idea, my truck was putting out 299 HP to the ground (stock is about 180) without any parts and I had a set of injectors installed to get to 365 and they only took an hour to install on a hot engine. I can't remember what I paid, but it wasn't much. I seem to think they were $360 installed, but not sure.
For what you are looking at for your budget, you are probably looking at a 2006 or older. They are ridiculously priced in my opinion.........
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1996 RAM "Custom Ground" 100 plate 3/4 forward, 300 injectors, 16.5 timing, Goerends Auto = 365HP, 833TQ Third Gen Rims, Aluminum Headache Rack
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  #5  
Old 05-16-2016, 07:34 AM
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anoldbiker anoldbiker is offline
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I agree with the '06 being ridiculously priced, for I have had people walk up and want to buy mine and there's no for sale sign anywhere. I intend to drive this to the ground. I haven't pushed the limits on her for towing, (10.5k was the most load I've had it pull so far) but there's never been an issue hauling heavy when I needed to. It's mostly stock. But I do recommend if you go this way, getting a Smarty for the Dodge. The new Touch covers darn near all years made and you can custom tune for yourself, or they can help custom tune. Here's their forum to review (http://www.smartyresource.net/forum/). And BrianAtSmarty is the guy to contact.

As for the Fords. I was very much a Ford owner to the end, that is the end of me owning one. I had the 6.0 diesel. After 20,000.0 miles on the clock, I was in the desert with the wife, dead of summer with no shade. (notice it was 20k even) Found out the dealership couldn't figure out what cause the issue and was at the point of throughing parts into her until it ran. Took 3 weeks to fix it, and they were calling other dealers to figure this out, plus Ford corporate). I figured out the problem where they couldn't and never had the problem since. I traded it in for my present Dodge. Sorry, that left a very bitter taste in my mouth.

I do recommend what Tom said and look into converting an old diesel rig into a conversion. Lately I've seen many do it and they are very happy with them. Sometimes cost for parts are a bit high side, but every owner said that was the best thing they did. Many said getting larger fuel tanks were a must. But it can pull you everywhere with ease.

I do know a few long haul truckers, and if it's the newer models, they are very happy and inpressed with the auto trans. Mileage is better and they are dependable. But these are the more recent models. My friend has over 1M miles so are and nothing more than regular servicing to it.
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2006 Dodge Ram, 2500, Big Horn, 5.9 Cummins, 4x4, Q/Cab, 48RE, L/B, 3.73, S&B CAI & Snout, ProFlo 5" S/S exhaust, Smarty Touch, Oil ByPass Filter Kit, Transfer Flow 56 gal tank, 110 gallon in-bed tank, XX-Fuel System, Coolant Bypass Kit, Mag-Hytec front & rear, 285 x 70 x 17

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  #6  
Old 05-16-2016, 07:58 AM
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Not just the 2006 Dodge trucks are over priced. I just saw this ad:
Quote:
04 f350
$23,000
Galena il

Fully loaded/every option available sun roof ,heated seats extra. 05 front grill/bumper conversation Harley head lights with led headlights and fogs. 08 leather with council. New 2015 box and tailgate with roll pan. 2 ten inch subs with amp in box behind back seat. 4 pod pillar gauges with sct live wire. New American forces 22s independent wheels with new open country 33s. Painted front and rear diffs. New rcd 175cc injectors. Air dog 150 fuel system, driven diesel fuel bowl delete regulated return fuel system, bulletproof diesel egr cooler, bulletproof diesel oil cooler system, new road ripper trans, heads replaced less then two years ago, arp head studs, stock turbo gone thru less then year ago , 5inch mbrp exhaust, 5th wheel flip over ball, hide a hitch 4x4 132,xxx miles 23,000 Obo open to offers
Yes, it is a nice truck with lots of options, but $23k for a TWELVE year old truck?? Not me........
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1996 RAM "Custom Ground" 100 plate 3/4 forward, 300 injectors, 16.5 timing, Goerends Auto = 365HP, 833TQ Third Gen Rims, Aluminum Headache Rack
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  #7  
Old 05-18-2016, 08:01 AM
alphashifter alphashifter is offline
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CR trucks, VP trucks...P-7100?... I'm aware of the generations; 1='89-'93, 2nd gen='93-'98, 3rd gen '98-'02, 4th='03-'07, but have little idea what means what beyond the VP44 pump that came on the older 12 v engines....right? Beyond that and some body style evolution, I'm totally ignorant, so whatever you guys share is very helpful, including other informational resources so I don't drive folks crazy asking questions that are answered elsewhere.
But it sounds like either a 2nd or a 3rd generation truck is what I'd be looking for...If 2nd gen, be ready for the normal wear & tear items associated with an older machine...If 3rd gen, look to beef up the trans and one can expect long, relatively trouble free life.
Is that it in a nutshell?
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Old 05-18-2016, 02:44 PM
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You are close on the generations.... 1st Gen is from 1987 to 1993. They had a 5.9 with a VE (rotary) injection pump. 2nd Gen is from 1994 to mid year 1998. They had the P-7100 inline injection pump (sometimes referred to as the "million mile" pump). 2nd Gen was also from 1998 1/2 to 2002. These trucks had the 24 valve engines with the VP44 (rotary) injection pump and are noted to be the trucks with the most pump issues. 3rd Gen trucks go from 2003 to 2008 and have the CR (common rail) injection system. 4th Gen is from 2009 to present and they are also CR trucks. It should be noted that up until 2003 the injectors were mechanically operated by the injection pump and the CR system has a constant feed to all injectors and the injectors themselves are electronically operated. This gives you an idea what Dodge/Ram has done over the years as far as engines.
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1996 RAM "Custom Ground" 100 plate 3/4 forward, 300 injectors, 16.5 timing, Goerends Auto = 365HP, 833TQ Third Gen Rims, Aluminum Headache Rack
Duct Tape can't fix stupid, BUT it can muffle the sound
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Old 05-19-2016, 08:24 PM
alphashifter alphashifter is offline
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Thanks again for taking the time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MnTom View Post
...2nd Gen was also from 1998 1/2 to 2002. These trucks had the 24 valve engines with the VP44 (rotary) injection pump and are noted to be the trucks with the most pump issues.
Any idea if replacement pumps are improved over the originals? Does replacing the lift pump typically solve the underfueling problem?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MnTom View Post
3rd Gen trucks go from 2003 to 2008 and have the CR (common rail) injection system.
Unless this model is to be avoided, I'll probably wind up with this one- it seems like the happy medium between affordability (due to miles) and recent enough to hope for a few years of relatively trouble free operation while I get acquainted with the platform...At least that's what this newbie is thinking. Would really like to find one with a manual trans, but I've heard they're rare.
Thoughts?

Last edited by alphashifter; 05-19-2016 at 08:35 PM. Reason: Added text for clarity
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  #10  
Old 05-20-2016, 09:19 AM
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Chances are if you find a 24 valve truck the VP will have been replaced at least once. Most will probably have an aftermarket lift pump on them. If you find one to look at see if there is a fuel pressure gauge installed. On a test drive you don't want to see any pressure below 14 PSI. Seems as below that pressure the pumps have heat and lube issues. Just as an FYI, 14 PSI is the pressure it takes to open the overflow valve so that you have fresh cool fuel for the pump.

The CR trucks have proven quite reliable. The only real problem I have heard about is injectors. If I was going to buy a CR I would look for probably a 2004. The reason is for less emissions crap and less related issues. Also look at the heat shield by the exhaust manifold. If it is rusty or discolored then the exhaust has been pretty warm. It may not really mean much, but to me it is just an indication of the overall condition.

I have also heard that if you find a truck with the 67RE transmission (2007+) that they are one of the best auto transmissions.
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1996 RAM "Custom Ground" 100 plate 3/4 forward, 300 injectors, 16.5 timing, Goerends Auto = 365HP, 833TQ Third Gen Rims, Aluminum Headache Rack
Duct Tape can't fix stupid, BUT it can muffle the sound
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