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Old 06-19-2012, 11:14 AM
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Domestic Diesels: Best options when buying a used truck

Hi All,


I am considering buying a used diesel pick up in the next few months and I am in need of experience-based opinions and tips. While I normally tend to stick with Chevy/GM products, the diesels have put me in an interesting spot because it seems people are quite divided over the reliability and value of the older 6.2 and 6.5 GM diesels.


So I am leaving my options open for anything from the Big Three that is solidly built, requires minimal maintenance, returns good gas mileage, and has good towing power. I know the Cummins gets mentioned regularly, as well as the Ford 7.3. Any tips on what to look for in terms of ideal years, as well as possible problems each one suffers from would be very helpful.


The truck would be used mostly for general hauling of household stuff, heavy car parts, and maybe a few trips towing a car to the local drag strip. The budget presently is $5,000 max.


Can I get by with using a cheap 80's 6.2? Or would it be better/cheaper to swap in a diesel into the '77 Chevy pick up 4x4 I already have? or is a Ford or a Dodge the best option?


Thanks in advance!

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Old 06-19-2012, 01:32 PM
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Either one that you mentioned would be a great way to go - just be well aware that the engine at many miles may be great, but there can be some chassis and/or body problems. Dodge - significant body rust, steering gear failures, ball joints. Ford - ball joints, brakes(unless upgraded). Fuel mileage, possibly the Dodge is best, but the Ford will have more pulling power (torque). If a decent one had been available, I would be owning a Ford 7.3 instead of the gasser V10. Unless you know the seller, stay away from Ford's 6.0 and 6.4 tho a "good" one is hard to beat.

To do a gas to diesel swap - you need a complete donor vehicle as there are many items that are different, i.e. fuel system from tank(s) to lines, dual batteries, wiring and cabling, radiator, transmission, diff ratio (diesels run at lower rpm), drive shaft, etc, etc, etc
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:44 PM
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I agree with Irelands child. Stay away from 6.0 and 6.4 fords. They are very problematic.
The old 7.3 with a turbo would be my choice.
GM 6.5 duramax is so failure prone that guys have been putting in head gasket left and right, and long before 100 k. They have stump pulling power, but they arent dependable enough .
The cummins has allways been an excellent motor. Lots of them I see running with 300 K and no issues. Just filters and regualer maintenance.
Dodge trucks are cheap and flimsy. As IC stated, dodge ball joints wheel bearings and suspension/steering is not the quality one would expect.
The guys over at the body shop have a 1972 F 250 with a cummins from a dodge in it. Now that is a truck buddy.
You might consider building something along that line.
Like buy a newer ford with a bad motor, cheap if you can, and put your own motor in it 7.3 or cummins, or how bout a dt466 IH. Now that would rock.
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:32 PM
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Just went to the Ford Truck Enthusiasts site and did a search - and here's just one of the several Ford>Cummins conversion links: http://www.fordcummins.com/index.html

Almost gets my mouth watering, but it would have to be a late '98-'02 motor to at least equal the reliability of my 76K mile V10 gasser (so far, anyhow)

We used a series of Cummins diesels to start GE gas turbines for many years - and have to say that they worked well as they were actually run well up in rpm, beyond the usual red line and pounded hard as far as load
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:13 PM
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Hey Dave and LATECH,


Quote:
Originally Posted by Irelands child
Either one that you mentioned would be a great way to go - just be well aware that the engine at many miles may be great, but there can be some chassis and/or body problems. Dodge - significant body rust, steering gear failures, ball joints. Ford - ball joints, brakes(unless upgraded). Fuel mileage, possibly the Dodge is best, but the Ford will have more pulling power (torque).
Quote:
Originally Posted by LATECH
Dodge trucks are cheap and flimsy. As IC stated, dodge ball joints wheel bearings and suspension/steering is not the quality one would expect.
Sounds like the Ford is going to have less headaches than the Dodge. Ball joints and brakes don't sound bad compared to Dodge's rust issues.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Irelands child
If a decent one had been available, I would be owning a Ford 7.3 instead of the gasser V10. Unless you know the seller, stay away from Ford's 6.0 and 6.4 tho a "good" one is hard to beat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LATECH
I agree with Irelands child. Stay away from 6.0 and 6.4 fords. They are very problematic.
The old 7.3 with a turbo would be my choice.
Another vote for the old 7.3. Did they come with a turbo? What are the issues with the newer 7.3's?




Quote:
Originally Posted by Irelands child
To do a gas to diesel swap - you need a complete donor vehicle as there are many items that are different, i.e. fuel system from tank(s) to lines, dual batteries, wiring and cabling, radiator, transmission, diff ratio (diesels run at lower rpm), drive shaft, etc, etc, etc
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irelands child
Just went to the Ford Truck Enthusiasts site and did a search - and here's just one of the several Ford>Cummins conversion links: http://www.fordcummins.com/index.html

Almost gets my mouth watering, but it would have to be a late '98-'02 motor to at least equal the reliability of my 76K mile V10 gasser (so far, anyhow)
Quote:
Originally Posted by LATECH
The guys over at the body shop have a 1972 F 250 with a cummins from a dodge in it. Now that is a truck buddy.
You might consider building something along that line.
Like buy a newer ford with a bad motor, cheap if you can, and put your own motor in it 7.3 or cummins, or how bout a dt466 IH. Now that would rock.
Thank you for the link. The swaps sound like very big and time consuming projects. I might consider those as a last resort. I kind of wana just hop into a running truck.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Irelands child
We used a series of Cummins diesels to start GE gas turbines for many years - and have to say that they worked well as they were actually run well up in rpm, beyond the usual red line and pounded hard as far as load
Quote:
Originally Posted by LATECH
The cummins has allways been an excellent motor. Lots of them I see running with 300 K and no issues. Just filters and regualer maintenance.
I'll say I have yet to come across any negative reviews of Cummins engines.




Quote:
Originally Posted by LATECH
GM 6.5 duramax is so failure prone that guys have been putting in head gasket left and right, and long before 100 k. They have stump pulling power, but they arent dependable enough .
These would be the new ones found in the HD trucks in the last 10 or so years, right?





Btw, I do want to mention that I am open to owning a GM 6.2 or 6.5 as well. If there are any supporters/owners out there, Id love to hear your input as well.




After reading the responses, I've definitely got more research ahead of me. Thanks for the helpful info!
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:53 AM
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Any opinions/experiences on the Ford 6.9 diesel? There is one in a 1984 F-250 for sale locally.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lt1silverhawk
Any opinions/experiences on the Ford 6.9 diesel? There is one in a 1984 F-250 for sale locally.
Unsophisticated and virtually unkillable. Some were a bit less economical, fuel mileage wise, tho a buddy had one that he raved about 20+mpg hauling a car trailer, clatter a bit more
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Old 06-21-2012, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lt1silverhawk
Any opinions/experiences on the Ford 6.9 diesel? There is one in a 1984 F-250 for sale locally.
Old school and dead reliable.Might ask to see service records and if and when it ever had a pump replaced.
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Old 06-21-2012, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lt1silverhawk
Any opinions/experiences on the Ford 6.9 diesel? There is one in a 1984 F-250 for sale locally.
My buddy had a 6.9 diesel that we used to pull a race car trailer and a flat bed trailer ( hauling a race car ,a dozier, a back hoe and a rubber tired track hoe) all over the gulf states, it got about 20 mpg IIRC while pulling them. Yes it was noisy but would pull just about anything any where.Auto trans developed a shifting problem , close to $ 2000.00 to fix , so he sold it on Craigs list and bought a newer one with the 7.3 turbo. You don't even know that you are in diesel with this one, it is that quiet and drives very smooth. It does have better power punch in the upper rpms. Personally ,I don't see that much difference between the two in the lower rpms/pulling from a dead pull. I would own either one.
Kenny








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Old 06-21-2012, 08:51 PM
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hard start ford

My 7.3 2001 Ford does not like this cold Yellowstone weather , We have 6 month's winter then 6 months of poor snow ski weather. I had the dealer do a grand $ of work , injector harness and glo plugs but when it got down to the mid 40's it doesn't want to start. the local far supply stroe owner complains about their fords . I wish they could put track hoe diesels in trucks. The Bobcat trackhoe always starts no matter how cold it is. the 4 cyl case and 6 cyl IH tractors need ether -starting fluid to starte in cold weath
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:38 AM
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Diesel....

Hi,i have a chevy 6.5 diesel engine in my motor home,i love it,57,000 miles and NO problems,ALL diesels need maintainence,VERY important,if you really dont know diesel engines : pay a DIESEL mechanic to look at the vehicle for you,you also want ALL receipts of work done on vehicle,and as much paperwork as possible.there is a lot of great vehicles out there,and A LOT OF JUNK,with buying junk,you can drop $5,000 in a heart beat...be VERY CAREFUL....dont buy from a dealer ,buy from the owner...a salesman will tell you anything to make a sale... if you go to diesel place.com,click on 6.5 diesel,there is more info,than you need...
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:48 AM
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12v cummins. At $5k there's no other choice for you. The 6.5 and 6.2 are nothing but a waste of money. The 6.5 is prone to a ton of problems and the 6.2 is completely gutless. A 12 valve cummins if amazingly reliable and durable. There's guys who have but regulsr gas in them and say they burned it with no problems! Trust me an gm diesel before the duramax isn't worth half of what the cummins is.
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Old 06-23-2012, 12:12 AM
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Duramax 6.6 all the way but you won't buy one for 5k. Yeah they had injector problems in the early ones (01 - 03) but the 04 & newer can't be beat and getting better every year. You can find Ford & Dodges all day long on Craigslist for sale, that might tell you something. I would get on a diesel forum and ask around for some advice too. There are the big 3 wars and you will get different advice.
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Old 06-23-2012, 07:21 AM
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Try dieselbombers.com.
Also, the 7.3 powerstrokes are very reliable but can be pretty thirsty for normal driving. S10 is right, duramax is the best you can buy but for your price range its a long shot finding one. Go cummins and you will have no regrets
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Old 06-23-2012, 10:21 AM
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I won't get into a Ford vs. Chevy vs. Dodge thing here, they all have their good and bad points...buy what you want. I bought my '02 F-250 4x4 7.3 Powerstroke because if you go to any construction site you will see mostly Ford trucks, 90% of ambulances are Ford chassis as well as class C motorhomes. I just think Ford builds a better overall truck, the tailgates are junk though as I had to replace mine after the first time I loaded alfalfa bails.

The only other thing I have had to replace was the rear end pinion seal ($90) at the dealer and I blew the turbo last year, I put a BD 60 hp chip and 4" exhaust in it right after I bought it.....115,000 later the turbo lets go. It gets crap for mileage, best is 17 and that was with the mirrors pulled back and the tires @ 85 psi. I will say this though, my truck with a 24v Cummins and an Allison trans. would be very sweet.
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