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BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/12/12 12:49 p.m.

Well, it looks like I'm about to lose the running battle of keeping my CJ running as a daily driver. I'm sick of pouring more money into it because the latest foibles means I need to call in the pros, so I need to equip myself with something better used to being DD'd.

Given that we're planning to buy a house later in the year and I expect that a house in our price range will need some work, I'm planning to get something with the necessary transport capacity to haul the loot home from Ikea or drywall, should that prove necessary. In other words, a full size truck or a Suburban.

As my commute is likely to get longer, one with a Turbo Diesel engine does appeal due to the improve fuel consumption.

The big question is longevity - I know that the GM 6.5 TD isn't that tuneable and has issues with the PMD that can be worked around. Does anybody have any experience with the longevity of one that's mostly stock?

Also, I found a 2000 F250 with a 7.3 Powerstroke, but it's got close to 300k on it. How do these hold up to that sort of mileage?

RAMs with a Cummins are probably out of my price range unless we're talking about the early to mid 90s ones. Are these even worth looking at? I know the engine does last forever if looked after, but what about the rest of the truck.

dinger
dinger New Reader
1/12/12 1:24 p.m.

The 6.5 TD doesn't leave a lot of room on the table extra power wise, but if you relocate the PMU to where it isn't exposed to ridiculous amounts of heat they become quite reliable and get great fuel economy. They won't get you the power that a Duramax, Powerstroke, or Cummins will, but the price reflects that as well.

One of my good friends is a Ford certified Powerstroke master tech, and has nothing but great things to say about the 7.3 PSD. The fuel injectors are opened by engine oil pressure, so make sure that a high mileage truck has a good service history. Also, make sure you carry an extra cam position sensor as it is a known failure point and will stop you dead in your tracks, but is cheap and easy to replace. They guys I race with with 7.3 trucks carry a spare in the glovebox, just in case.

The old body style Dodges (89-93) are tough as nails, and the 12V Cummins that came in them were reliable as gravity. However, they ride and drive like the 70's trucks that they are, and still command a premium price, even in my area. The 94-01 trucks, I've heard described as a 500,000 mile motor in a 100,00 mile truck.

This is just a summation of the bullet points that I read when I was shopping for the same stuff as you, so YMMV.

cwh
cwh SuperDork
1/12/12 1:25 p.m.

Wanna make a road trip? Check out this. Florida truck, no rust. 4000.00

http://miami.craigslist.org/mdc/cto/2767637404.html

Ranger50
Ranger50 Dork
1/12/12 1:35 p.m.

Is the 2k an auto or manual? If it is an auto, has it been rebuilt yet? If it has, by whom and with what parts? 2wd or 4wd? With 300k on it, the interior is going to be totally beat up and not worth sitting in or smelling it for very long.

As to PSD longetivity, I have seen some go 500k and others are used up before 150k. My biggest thing with the PSD, as it uses engine oil to fire the injectors, is the oil useage over the interval. Because when an injector goes down with bad o-rings, it WILL pump the crankcase dry in no time flat.

Oh and once you dump everything from the turbo back that is factory and add a very conservative towing tune, you can eek out roughly 22-24mpg, but YMMV.

curtis73
curtis73 SuperDork
1/12/12 1:36 p.m.

The 94-03 'strokes are very reliable. You'll need a cam position sensor at some point, and you'll eat up glow plug relays every 100k or so. Both parts are relatively inexpensive and both are easy to replace. The 'stroke is my pick for ease of maintenance. I don't recommend buying one with 300k, though. Same as with any vehicle - if it was maintained flawlessly, it still has a while to go. If it wasn't, its a time bomb.

Have you considered a powerstroke or 6.5 van? Round these parts, the trucks are way overpriced but vans are pretty cheap. I just bought a 99 'stroke van with 98k on it and a folder full of maintenance receipts. KBB was 5k, I got it for 6k, typical asking price around here is more like 7k. The same thing as a truck KBBs for 14k and sells for 15k.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/12/12 1:50 p.m.

In reply to cwh:

Needs moar 4x4 unfortunately.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/12/12 1:52 p.m.
Ranger50 wrote: Is the 2k an auto or manual? If it is an auto, has it been rebuilt yet? If it has, by whom and with what parts? 2wd or 4wd? With 300k on it, the interior is going to be totally beat up and not worth sitting in or smelling it for very long.

It's a 4x4 and according to the ad, it's got a new auto trans. It looks a little beat up in the pictures overall though (typical contractor truck wear) so I'm not sure if it's that great a buy anyway.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/12/12 1:55 p.m.
curtis73 wrote: The 94-03 'strokes are very reliable. You'll need a cam position sensor at some point, and you'll eat up glow plug relays every 100k or so. Both parts are relatively inexpensive and both are easy to replace. The 'stroke is my pick for ease of maintenance. I don't recommend buying one with 300k, though. Same as with any vehicle - if it was maintained flawlessly, it still has a while to go. If it wasn't, its a time bomb.

That's part of my concern - I don't need another vehicle sitting on the driveway that emits a faint ticking noise . Pretty much all the Diesels available around here are on the wrong side of 200k, though. Heck, a lot of the gas Suburbans are, too, unless you get into 3/4 ton territory with a 454. I wonder why I can still find those with around 100k .

curtis73 wrote: Have you considered a powerstroke or 6.5 van? Round these parts, the trucks are way overpriced but vans are pretty cheap. I just bought a 99 'stroke van with 98k on it and a folder full of maintenance receipts. KBB was 5k, I got it for 6k, typical asking price around here is more like 7k. The same thing as a truck KBBs for 14k and sells for 15k.

The problem with vans here is that it's almost impossible to find one that's a 4x4, and the winter DD needs to have 4x4. So put together the requirement for a 4x4 van that's also got a diesel engine and you're searching for unicorn droppings.

DrBoost
DrBoost SuperDork
1/12/12 2:10 p.m.

The 1st Gen Cummins are million mile engines. Ford and Chebby don't even try to say that.
Get a 12V cummins and drive it for a quarter million miles with nothing to do other than oil and filters. By this time the only weak link (the auto trans) has been rebuilt and should be trouble free. I sold mine a few years ago (still regret it) with 365K on it. The current owner is knocking on the 1/2 million mile door. He's had to do a starter, filters, oil.

81cpcamaro
81cpcamaro Reader
1/12/12 3:17 p.m.

It depends more on how the diesel was maintained to how long it lasts. I would get an older Ford 7.3L IDI (International built) before a GM 6.5, better power and fairly cheap to maintain. Plus they can be turboed for more power or find the 94 turbo version.

Cummings are good engines, the truck they are in usually is the problem. Seen quite a few Cummins on CL with engine problems so they aren't guaranteed to last unless taken care of reasonably well.

Powerstrokes are probably the best bargain out there if you want good power and lower costs to buy used. Cummins and Duramax are priced a good bit higher. At 300K already, the Powerstroke better have been taken very good care of. Not cheap to rebuild them, or any diesel for that matter.

stumpmj
stumpmj Dork
1/12/12 4:11 p.m.

What's your price range? Can't make a recomendation without that... One other thing: Are you SURE you need 4wd? I haven't gotten stuck yet in my 3/4 ton 2wd cummins. Just make sure it has good tires. I don't even have a limited slip in mine. Or weight in the back.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/12/12 4:19 p.m.
stumpmj wrote: What's your price range?

Notalot. Ideally $3k-$5k.

stumpmj wrote: One other thing: Are you SURE you need 4wd? I haven't gotten stuck yet in my 3/4 ton 2wd cummins. Just make sure it has good tires. I don't even have a limited slip in mine. Or weight in the back.

If you want to know why I need a 4x4, look up "Donner Party" on Wikipedia . That happened about 50-60 miles north of here...

I've got a choice of 4 passes to go over to go to work. They're between 7000' and 9000' high. 99% of the time you don't need 4x4 out here but if you do, you really need it.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
1/12/12 4:33 p.m.

What about a CUCV from a Government surplus site? They seem to go for around $2000. The GMs are the 6.2 diesels. They are also military maintain and comparatively low mileage.

tuna55
tuna55 SuperDork
1/12/12 5:08 p.m.
93EXCivic wrote: What about a CUCV from a Government surplus site? They seem to go for around $2000. The GMs are the 6.2 diesels. They are also military maintain and comparatively low mileage.

I saw your earlier posts about them on here, and I was watching them in the past. I have learned the following:

Those auctions are red tape. Go in and make friends before you bid if you can. Otherwise they may impale your truck with a forklift when they deliver it. They may not have titles figured out, and the paperwork can take hours.

That being said, it sounded like an excellent place to start for building a street truck. You can just start from scratch since everything else is gone.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
1/12/12 5:09 p.m.

In reply to tuna55:

Some of them I know you can actually pick them up.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/12/12 5:11 p.m.

Given that I will have to rattle along in whatever I drive for at least a 50 mile round trip that can turn into 100 mile round trip if we end up with a house in the neighbourhood we've been eyeing, I'd like some creature comforts and something that doesn't top out at 51mph.

Not to mention that I'm looking for something I don't have to build before I can use it, because in a sense that brings me back to where the Jeep currently is.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
1/12/12 5:15 p.m.
BoxheadTim wrote: Not to mention that I'm looking for something I don't have to build before I can use it, because in a sense that brings me back to where the Jeep currently is.

There shouldn't be any need to build...

What about a '80s Suburban? They are reliable and cheap.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/12/12 5:18 p.m.

I'm eyeing 80s and 90s Suburbans - both would be within price range if they come with a gas engine. 6.5 Turbo Diesel, not quite so much and much harder to find.

Not sure if I can stomach the 6.2 NA diesel...

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
1/12/12 5:22 p.m.
BoxheadTim wrote: I'm eyeing 80s and 90s Suburbans - both would be within price range if they come with a gas engine. 6.5 Turbo Diesel, not quite so much and much harder to find. Not sure if I can stomach the 6.2 NA diesel...

My friend has a 6.2. It isn't that bad at all.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/12/12 5:26 p.m.

Well, it appears that Banks makes a turbo kit for them, too. Hmm.

What sort of fuel mileage is your friend getting out of it?

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
1/12/12 7:38 p.m.

He said he didn't know. There is no gas gauge.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo HalfDork
1/12/12 7:47 p.m.

I have had all of them so I will impart a bit of wisdom.

1995 F350 Powerstroke. Short cab, long box. This was a standard XLT trim truck, meaning power windows, locks, premium bench seat, shift on the fly 4x4. Dead nuts reliable, cheap parts, comfortable, looked great, and didnt rust bad. Engine-wise, all Powerstrokes 94-03 are really close. I didnt keep it long because I couldnt afford it at the time. Old body style (OBS) trucks are tougher to work on than 99+ trucks due to packaging.

Few years later I had a 2001 Chevy 2500 HD Duramax as a company truck. Short cab, long box. Low miles, 80k when I got it. Definitely car-like and enough power to move a house. It was all stock and very reliable. I think the guy I work for has 125k on it now, it doesnt get driven too much, he mainly uses his Kodiak. The interior was a big step up from the Ford.

Next up was a 2000 (OBS) Chevy K3500 Extended Cab Long Box Dually with the 6.5 in it. It ran well, when it wanted to. I made a mistake of buying a rat, and had to do a lot of work to it. Replaced a lot of interior and trim bits which was easy enough, did the brakes and front end, then it dropped a cylinder. I rebuilt it in my garage and drove it for 6 months then sent it down the road. Had a great interior when I was done, comfortable, looked nice, and ran down the road well. There is not a lot of aftermarket stuff for the 6.5, they are pretty maxed out. I have a good friend with a 1995 K3500 short cab long box single rear wheel that he bought at 100k with popped head gaskets and cracked heads. A friend and I went through the motor. New injectors, turbo, $800 worth of machine work on the heads, glow plugs. Put it back together and he has another 150k of total neglect on it. It gets worked hard daily, always starts without being plugged in, runs on soy, fuel oil, farm diesel, anything that he can get into the tank. Still running the original trans, high pressure fuel pump, timing chain, etc. We have done 2 new vacuum pumps and a rear end in it. Otherwise its a solid truck. It doesnt have as much yank as a Powerstroke or a Cummins, but it still tows a big gooseneck loaded down, but at 45 MPH.

Next truck was my 1996 Dodge Ram 2500 extended cab long box 4x4 with a Cummins Diesel. I loved this truck. I bought it from a guy I used to work for for $3500. He had it since 1998 and 60k miles. It was rusty, interior was trashed, and the front end was loose at best, but it ran great. He had put a built ATS transmission and torque converter in it to the tune of $5000, and it shifted like a race car. I pulled a complete interior from an 80k Cash for Clunkers V10, put that in, had it bodyworked, and drove it. I lifted it, cranked the pump, 4" exhaust, BHAF, etc. It was a great truck that only left me stranded when a water pump blew up. 20 minutes and 2 bolts later and it was back on the road. It was easy to work on, had tons of power, but a Dodge is definitely a step backward in interior and driving compared to a Ford or a Chevy. Eventually the tin worm got it, the frame was rusted to the point of being soft. I sent it down the road this fall before the salt hit. I didnt know if it would last another year in the salt. The floors were bad, the frame was weak. Gone at 260k.

Right now I have a 2002 Ford F250 4x4 crew cab short box with the 7.3 Powerstroke. What a great engine. Tons of power, great user support, and pretty good on fuel. I see 16 MPG in mixed driving. This truck has 240k on it but looks and runs like it has 40k on it. The interior is nearly perfect. Paint and body are a 9 out of 10 because it came from Florida and has never seen a winter. Its got the Lariat package, so full leather and power everything. Its very comfortable, and the interior is very modern compared to the Dodge. It is all stock for now. Starts even in the dead of winter without being plugged in. The Dodge took a lot of cranking to pop off. The Powerstroke just starts. Probably because it has glow plugs instead of grid heaters.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/12/12 8:24 p.m.

In reply to 93gsxturbo:

Thanks for the first hand write up, that's really helpful.

What sort of temperatures do you see in winter? It does get a little cold out here to put it mildly - it's not uncommon to see 2-3F in the morning here in the last few weeks.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo HalfDork
1/12/12 9:30 p.m.

I am from southern Wisconsin, so we see it all.

The OBS Ford would start down to about 0. Once it wouldnt start when it was in the student parking to at school so we ran the block heater on a generator for a few hours along with a booster on the batteries. Popped right off after that. When it got super cold I would go drive it for half an hour around midnight, park it with the front end up against a building, and wake up at 8AM and drive it for another half hour. That would keep it going in the dead of winter.

The Duramax would always start but it lived in an unheated shed and that made a big difference.

My 6.5 didnt get driven in the winter because the motor was shelled out. My friend's truck will start down to about -5 before it has to be plugged in but it really hates it and runs pretty bad for a minute or 2.

My Dodge would always start. It would roll over slow and didnt idle for a few minutes, but it always started. I would leave it at the airport for 2 weeks in the winter and it started no problem in 0 degree temps. It did gel up on me once but I limped it home and drove my Eclipse which was nice and warm in the heated garage to work. It was -20 that day. When I got home from work I plugged it in for an hour, threw a booster on the batteries, and ran a Reddy Heater under the truck. I put a bottle of Power Service Diesel 911 (red bottle) in the tank and ran it down the freeway for 30 minutes. It was good to go the next day when it was -10.

My Powerstroke starts well thus far. I just got it 2 months ago and we have not had bitter cold yet this winter. When I got it, 7 of the 8 glow plugs were bad. It still started on an 8 degree morning but took a lot of cranking. Now that all 8 glowplugs are new OEM, it starts springtime fresh in 20 degree weather.

I always do the following for my diesels.
Plug them in if possible when it gets down to single digits. I can plug in at home and at work.
Run the right weight oil in them for winter. Check the manual. Powerstrokes like thin oil in winter.
New batteries every 3 years if they need it or not. Best you can buy. Replace in pairs.
Make sure the cold start aids are in place and functional. DO NOT USE ETHER!
Good fuel from a place that big rigs fill up. Its the right blend for winter and always fresh.
Power Service fuel conditioner in the white bottle for winter, silver bottle for summer.

stumpmj
stumpmj Dork
1/13/12 10:58 a.m.

In the mountains you do not want a naturally aspirated diesel. Not a chance. Don't even look at them. They have what, 120 HP at sea level that needs to push around 6000+ lbs of truck (when empty). So at the altitudes you're talking about, they'll have <100 HP. Slow won't be begin to define the experience. $3k-$5k might get you a turbo diesel 4wd but it'll be rough. Around here, you can't buy a running diesel 4wd for < $5k. With that budget, I'd buy a gas powered truck. It will use more fuel but it'll be newer, more comfortable, and probably more reliable than a diesel at a similar price.

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