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Buying a Used Truck

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by greekorican, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. greekorican


    Mar 12, 2009
    My parents are going to buy me some wheels for my 18th birthday/Christmas/Graduation. My dad is insisting on a pickup truck, because "its just so practical" (he's driven them his whole life, and he loves them). I live in Chicago, so a truck is not exactly the most practical thing, as far as gas and parking, but I'm not complaining, if that's what he wants to buy me.

    I can't deny that a truck has its advantages. If any of you are from Chicago, you have probably realized that our streets are f'ed up right now. I cringe every time I go over a pothole, in my mom's car, but my dad's truck will drive over it like nothing. I know I will love 4WD during our terrible winters. If any of I will definitely appreciate the bed so I can haul around my bass stuff. There is also a very good possibility that I will be working construction during summers while I'm in college. My dad's a carpenter, so I guess you could say I've got connections. I've worked with him for the past 3 years during summer. It pays pretty well for a summer job too, I'd I prefer learning something at work, instead of bagging groceries or making hamburgers.

    I have to keep it around 5 grand, cheaper if possible. Ideally I'd like a crew cab with a short bed, but that can get pricey. I'd like an extended cab atleast, I'd like the extra passenger space. My dad's got an extended cab and an 8 foot bed, and its a pain in the ass to park, I think a short bed would be a much better choice. I can still get sheets of plywood on there if I leave the tailgate down. I'm leaning towards a Ram or Silverado 1500 or an F150. Any other suggestions? Also, where should I look? Most used car dealerships don't have very many trucks, and craigslist seems pretty shady for buying a car, lots of scams on that site.

    Thanks alot
  2. 85-90's ish Toyota pickup. 22R-E engine is bulletproof and they look stunning. Great gas mileage so it won't break the bank, and it will last forever... even if you submerge it in the English Channel. :eek:

    Watch the whole thing.
  3. Indiana Mike

    Indiana Mike Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    I won't make suggestions on make and models .

    I only buy used cars for cash . The last two I have purchased were found by simply paying attention while I was out and about . Beware of the guy that has a flavor of the week in his yard as he could be buying broken ,worn out, cheap junk , doing as little as possible and reselling for max profit.

    Spend the next month looking and you'll get a feel for honest deals and shady mechanics. Ask questions as to why their selling and problem history , study body language and if you feel uneasy walk away. E.G.> If you see a 70 foot camper in the backyard and a tow hitch on the truck I would probabaly pass.

    There are thousands of vehicles out there.

    Car dealers can be OK but beware,the vast majority are bought at auctions and can come from far away . Don't take their word for background history. Dealers will tell you it's a local trade but asking for the "car fax" will often let you know it came from a flood region or who knows where.If the printer is broken or the computer is down , RUN!

    This is a very exciting moment for you . Put aside your desire to drive your own , come back to earth and pick it wisely. If it doesn't feel or look right walk away. Spend the next month just looking and you'll get a good feel for asking prices.

    Don't be afraid to offer far less than asking. All they can say is no. I purchased a 1999 Toyota Avalon for $2800. It books for $5000. The seller started out at $4800.00 . Before that I looked at 20+ cars by private sellers . Some I looked at for less than 1 minute and walked away .
  4. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Lane changes on the Dan Ryan are.......shall we say, exiting when you're driving a pickmeuptruck.

    That's all I got to say about that.
  5. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    whatever you find, make sure the thing was never used for plowing.
  6. karrot-x

    karrot-x Banned

    Feb 21, 2004
    Omicron Persei 8
  7. greekorican


    Mar 12, 2009
    That is one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time. This is why I will love having a truck, you can't beat the feeling of invincibility that you get from such a tough piece of machinery. Not to say I'm gonna go driving it recklessly because it can take some abuse, its nice to be able to go over a pothole or a speed bump that you didn't see without bottoming out. Lane changes definitely suck, but you just have to get used to using your side mirrors only. I'm getting decently comfortable with my dads truck, I think I could handle a short bed no problem.

    I'm a bit skeptical of the ways they tested the toughness of that truck. I thought lighting it on fire was stupid, what did they think was going to happen, besides the interior being singed. Diesel also doesn't explode, you need a wick for it to burn in open air. Not sure where they were going with that one. It took quite a beating though, thats for sure.

    Not sure how I feel about a tacoma, dakota, etc. I would much rather get a full size pickup. Most tacomas that I have seen for sale have got a 4 cylinder engine. Maybe my standards are being set a bit too high, but I'd atleast like to get a V6 if not a V8 in a truck. I've driven some 4cyl cars, and they aren't bad in the city, but I get a little nervous merging on the highway. There are some practical reasons to have a bigger engine, it makes quick turns, pulling into traffic, and passing much easier. And of course, you can't forget about how cool a big engine is.

    Obviously how cool this truck is can't be my top priority, but a 4cyl tacoma is pretty lame. Now on the other hand, a full size truck with a big ol' V8 in it is so badass. A truck with a big V8 in it is actually a legitimate hotrod. It might have a lower top speed than a car, but these things have some wicked acceleration. You can get a V10 in an F250 or 5.7L Hemi in a Dodge Ram, now those are some mean trucks, but I need to be realistic, unfortunately.

    One other thing I'm considering is diesel vs gas. Diesel is pricey in the city, so thats a big drawback, but fuel economy is supposed to be much better. I don't know exact numbers however, so I don't know for sure which comes out cheaper (gas most likely). I do think that diesel is making a comeback, though. You see alot more diesel cars nowadays. Chrysler is huge on diesel engines right now, but they can't be sold in the US. Something like 50% of European Chryslers have a diesel engine under the hood. Every Chrysler model that is sold in Europe can be bought with a diesel engine. A VW Jetta actually gets almost 50% better gas mileage than my yuppie friend's hybrid. Thoughts?

    Sorry for rambling, I can't contain my excitement.
  8. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    If you plan on hauling bass gear get a cap. I had to cancel a gig in the rain when I had my El Camino because my gear didn't fit in another ride.

    I turned around and bought an HHR so I don't have to worry about the rain. Maybe a small SUV would work as well for you?
  9. greekorican


    Mar 12, 2009
    One step ahead of you. Definitely gonna get a cap. In the rain, a truck without a cap is basically equivalent to having no bed. It doesn't make sense to me why so many people don't have a cap or atleast a bed cover. Most work trucks don't have a cap on it, I can't comprehend why one would want to let all their tools, lumber, etc get wet.

    My dad's main reason for wanting to get me a truck is the 4WD and the storage. An SUV would definitely meet out needs, but SUV's tend to run more expensive than a truck. We actually found a 1992 yukon for sale by owner for 1500, and it looks pretty solid. I've heard good things about them too. We want to test drive it, but this guy is damn near impossible to get ahold of. At one point, we agreed that we would test drive it in two days. He said to call him and confirm the night before, I called him a million times and left messages the night before and the day of what we scheduled, he never picked up, and never returned my calls. What a nightmare.

    Most ad's I see for used trucks are old work trucks. My dad doesn't want to buy a truck that was used as a work truck, because while he treats his work trucks well, he knows how most guys in construction treat their trucks. He had a big red diesel work truck that he loved so much, which was actually in superb condition, but he decided to sell it and get a new one. He saw his old truck parked on the street just a couple months later, and it was beat to hell, he actually almost cried. Anyway, we are looking for someone who used their truck as a car I guess you could say and thats gonna be rather hard to find in Chicago. Unfortunately, most trucks we've looked at are beat to death. Any ideas of where I can find non-work trucks?
  10. just remember that carrying sheets of ply with the gate down requires tying them......i've seen a few guys trying to pick up 4x8's on the freeway.....even without a cap your cabs can be tarped and i keep a couple of xl trash bags in the truck just in case......heads and instruments can ride in the cab.....ratchet straps are your friends......
  11. greekorican


    Mar 12, 2009
    Believe me, we have more bungee cords, ropes, and ratchet straps than we know what to do with. I don't think I'm gonna need to haul around anything big very often, but you never know. I'll keep all that crap in a 5 gallon bucket in the bed all the time any, along with a good 4 way lug wrench , a tow rope, and whatever else I can think of that might come in handy. Its gonna be a survival kit on wheels.
  12. ()smoke()


    Feb 25, 2006
    a k1500 would be a good bet--the 350 engine is a good one...my brother's '98 z71 is still going strong, and i drove a '92 2wd short wide for 11 years until it was stolen, great pickup
  13. Well some people just treat their trucks badly, on the other hand, some people treat their stuff very well. Example, we own a 99 F-350. It looks brand spanking new. Thats the car I drive around now, and let me tell you, a smaller truck is much nicer than a bigger truck. I am now at the age where I go down to the strip, and if its possible I'm not the one driving around because finding parking for that beast is very hard. I would suggest a small truck that you can still fit all your gear into, but not so small that its a litte girl truck. Know what I'm sayin?
  14. I bought an '05 Silverado 1500 Z71 a year-and-a-half ago, and it's the best vehicle I've ever owned.

    The best thing about those Silverado and Sierra 1500's, the F150's, and the Ram 1500's are that you can find parts and accessories ANYWHERE for them, usually for dirt cheap.

    For mid-sized trucks, the Rangers are the same, as they've been around forever and are still popular.

    Definitely do a carfax first, and make sure the frame is rock-solid, the engine runs like a champ, and there are no shifting or slipping problems. Also remember to do a good check through all the accessories for possible electrical problems.
  15. greekorican


    Mar 12, 2009
    I'm not looking to get a super duty truck, an F350 would be over kill for me, though I'm sure all that horsepower is fun. Isn't an F350 a dually? I don't own a huge boat that I have to tow, or any practical reasons for a truck that huge.

    Like I said, I'm looking at Silverado/Ram 1500s and F150's. That should be more than enough truck for me. Tacomas, Rangers, etc seem kinda wimpy to me. I know its not my money here, but I'm sure my dad would agree in the end. He had a dakota that he really didn't like.

    My dad claims that Silverado/Ram 1500s and F150's use the same body as the 2500s and F250's. According to him, the difference is in the engines, suspension, etc so that it can handle more cargo or towing weight. I've looked around, and I see some 1500s/F150s that look just like their bigger brothers, but I also some that look tiny compared the heavier duty models. I see lots of F150's that remind me of lowriders. So I'm kinda confused, can anyone shed some light on this?

    And to Ground Pounder, Silverados are some really solid trucks, I've heard nothing but good things about them. My dad's got an '03 2500HD with an 8 foot bed and an extended cab, it is a monster. The entire time's he's had it the only problems he's had was the drivers side window motor dying (easy fix, he did it himself) and he had a stalling problem at the same time his air conditioning stopped working. The mass air sensor went out, which caused both of those problems, 100 something dollars and a trip to autozone and it was good as new. I'd like a Silverado if we can find one. I don't know how reliable F150's are supposed to be, but I have heard some bad things about Rams as far as reliability. Which American made trucks would you recommend? My dad is heavily biased toward American made vehicles, its rubbed off on me a bit too.

    Jesus, I need to join a truck forum or something. Half of the posts in this thread are by me. I just have a ton of questions rolling though my mind...
  16. ()smoke()


    Feb 25, 2006
    back until the early '90s, the body style of the 3/4 and 1 tons (2500 and F250 models) were the same, your dad is right--more robust suspension and transmission, floating axles, and bigger differential gearsets...however, nowdays, the Ford F250 and F350 are in the Superduty styling and completely different from the ground up

    the new 2500 gm pickups are also styled differently now as well

    so, the body styling depends on the year...there are also some HD1500 models out there, though they are relatively rare--they have upgraded suspension putting them between a 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton designation

    many 3/4 and 1-ton pickups offer a diesel engine--diesels actually often produce less hp in stock form than smaller gasoline engines, but they produce massive torque...hp equals torqueXrpm divided by 5252, so from this equation, you can see that gasoline engines power bands occur in much higher rpms than diesels...

    unless you're going to be towing daily, it's hard to economically justify one

    i'd still recommend finding a clean gm K1500--you can probably find a z71 that's still in good condition, and with proper maintenance and care, they'll go well over 200k miles...if i were looking in your position, that's what i'd try to find, even though i own an '06 f150--the combination of value, availability of and price of parts, ease of working on the 350 just makes it a good buy
  17. greekorican


    Mar 12, 2009
    Another problem we're having, my dad doesn't want a high miler. Its justifiable, but I think he's expecting too much for 3-5 grand. We've looked at some trucks that have 120 or 140k miles on it, and he walks away the instant he sees the odometer. Pickups are more expensive than a lot of cars brand new, so it makes sense that its gonna be older and have more miles on it that a car of similar price. Not sure how I should deal with this situation. I know he knows his stuff, but I think he has to be more realistic. I think for 3-5 grand, we are most likely looking at a beat up work truck with a lot of miles on it. I thought you were supposed to get a beater for your first car anyway, unless you are a spoiled bitch. If its works well and it's reliable, I can see past the cosmetic flaws.
  18. We bought it ten years ago to tow around our 33' sea rey. The thing is 7 tons (8 with the trailor) and is a wide load. Our old ford went out on us after twenty years of service, and we got a new one. Not all 350s are dulley's, it is an option, an expensive option. The horsepower is fun, but I love a new one, they have double turbo chargers, and an overall of 355 hp, compared to my 255 hp. The thing still runs like a beast though, and I have put other trucks to shame because while they are there burning out because they don't have traction, I am racing off the line :D
    Take my word, its a very unpractical truck. I went down to the strip tonight (I live in vegas) I HATE taking that truck down there, parking is a pain, and parking garages are terrible. I usually park all the way at the tippy top and take up two spots. In my opinion, if you could find one, I would go for the super duty series because they are a little more bang for their buck because the frame is better (IMO).
    In reality though, for just everyday stuff, 150 series no matter what brand will probably do you just fine.
  19. I live in the Detroit area, and shopped for about 4 months before I finally bought my Z71. Here's what I found here back then:

    Silverados / Sierras: Most of the trucks I found were either older work trucks or totaled out jobs that were repaired and put back up for sale. People who buy these trucks because they love them just don't sell them outright! I got lucky and found a 2 1/2 year old with 20,000 miles that had one owner who was a recently retired auto worker, who traded it in and bought a new one. The truck arrived on the lot on Monday, and I bought it on Wednesday.

    Like you said, they're rock solid. Most of the problems you see are failed electrical components. I didn't find one that had an engine problem or drive train problem, unless it was a resell of a repair job. Even some of the 5 year old, 150,000 mile warriors that were construction crew work horses drove like champs.

    F150's: These trucks are for sale all over the place here, and about half of them are private-user low mile trucks. Another thing to mention, is that about half of the F150's I looked at were owned by women! The standard 4X4 package trucks have a really big, beefy look to them, and the somewhat sleeker body contours appeal to more folks than the somewhat stocky look of the Silverado or Sierra.

    That said, you have to really get underneath them and look close at the seals on anything with more than 50-60K miles. I looked at about 30 F150's, and I'd say that maybe 10 of them had some kind of minor oil leaking already apparent, and these were all less than 5 years old. I can only imagine it'd get worse with time.

    Rams: Rams are by far the most re-sold of the three that I found here. I probably looked at 40 of them, and while none had major issues, none were rock-solid, either. Most of the ones I drove that were more than a couple years old had some noticable rattles here and there, and I'm just not too impressed by the contruction of these trucks - things just don't seem to fit right, and you get a lot of slack in the doors and windows.

    That said, I've owned a couple newer Chrysler vehicles (a '95 Avenger and a '99 Grand Voyager), and I must've been lucky because they were both really solid and lasted a long time. But, if what I saw out there for sale was any indication, I'd be really sure that the previous owner took excellent care of the truck before I looked at another one of these models.

    Disclaimer - your mileage may vary! Keep in mind that I bought my truck in 2008, before the financial world fell apart, and I was shopping primarily for vehicles that were under 5 years old, in the $15K-$22K price range. With the recent collapse of the economy, you might find the deal of the century out there. Heck, I'd even suggest looking in the Detroit and surrounding area craiglist ads as well as in your area, as you might find a gem being unloaded for nothing by someone down on their luck.

    Good luck in your hunt!
  20. I'd recommend an SUV over a Pickup.

    Mainly because it keeps your stuff out of the weather and locked inside. It is really nice working with warm tools. You can also fold seats down and make a nice sleeping area for long road trips. Downside is whenn you are transporting large items like refrigerators or dirty items like shovels etc that will stain your carpet if you dont put something under them.

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