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1 ton diesel truck recommendations, $6000 budget  RSS feed

 
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Hi all,

I'm looking for our second vehicle - to haul farm equipment and animals. I'm shopping for a 1 ton diesel pickup, capable of hauling a 2-axle trailer with a tractor and heavy building materials such as lumber and logs. I've only started researching diesel trucks, but like the 1-ton Ford trucks. The pre-power stroke engines (with turbo or with aftermarket turbo) and the in-direct injection seem to be a good bet for simplicity and budget maintenance. We don't intend to use this for long hauls, but I like the ability to convert this to WVO. But, since we run a TDI we converted for our main traveling rig, an immediate WVO conversion is not a necessity. A tow package is a plus.

Any good diesel truck recommendations in this category? I quick search on craigslist turns up only a handful of offerings with manual transmission and relatively low miles for this budget range. I'm just looking for something that can be of service for 3-4 years while we get some of our larger farming operations started. I know Chevy makes some of these trucks too, with a similar engine spec. I'm looking for recommendations from people who have some experience.

Thanks,
Noah
 
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I have used Fords for about 10 years. (disclaimer)

Ford suspension and chasis are cruder and harder to break. Chevy's are more civilized, nicer ride and easier to break.

Manual transmissions will be _very_ hard to find. IIRC for Ford trucks '86 through around '93-'95 you want the ancient C6 auto transmission unless you're traveling light and far - especially behind a diesel which pulls HARD and needs a strong transmission. Sometime in the '90's Ford got it together and put a strong enough tranny behind their diesels. IAC, even w/a C6 you want to be sure the tranny is either original to that diesel vehicle or that any replacement was spec'd for diesel work - which could be hard to verify. Even same model trannies are not all the same from the factory much less from the rebuilder.

The 6.9 is a really tough de-tuned engine; ie. it will probably live long and hard. The 7.3 has a bit more power but since it's just a 6.9 bored out the cylinder walls aren't as thick and it has been known to die earlier. For a 7.3 check the coolant - get a package of test strips from the local IH dealer (or other truck service center) to verify whether the coolant has the necessary additives in it to discourage cavitation - which is what kills 7.3's. If the coolant doesn't have the additives, then the engine has been leading a hard life for who knows how long (w/out the additives). They are pricey and antifreeze doesn't do the job so people tend to skimp.

You might consider a flatbed. They are usually built heavier than the "light trucks". I prefer 2-wheel axels if I can find one, not duallies; just eaiser/cheaper all around if you don't need that last 1000# capacity or run around carrying maximum loads all the time. But you better carry a spare where you can get to it and a jack or two etc...

This site has more info than you'd ever want to wade through: http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/index.php

I'm sure others with experience w/other brands will have more good advice. <g>


Rufus
 
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Noah, I have a 1 ton Chevy but it runs on gas. It has over 256,000 miles on it. Changed out the tranny about 12 years ago. She isn't pretty but she works hard. I have taken her into the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming where Jeep drivers were shocked to see us. If I were to buy a diesel I would look at the chevys.
 
Noah Jackson
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Thanks, All…

Today, I purchased a 3/4 ton f250. I've been looking nationally, on both Craigslist and Ebay, since they are so hard to find. For our farm work, we wanted a 4x4 (for gathering firewood and loading animals in pasture in all kinds of weather). Based on the Ford forums, the price of auto transmissions, and a local expert here, I wanted a manual transmission. I was fortunate enough to find a 1990 with 176,000 miles that had a new motor (including a new block, injectors, everything) professionally installed at about 165,000 miles. There were new batteries, belts, 10-ply tires, an electric brake, and everything worked - which is pretty amazing. There were a few minor down sides, such as a peeling paint job, but that can be fixed. The truck also had a custom-welded headache rack, the 4wd worked, and the compression, based on the handful of others I've driven, seemed very very good. It was plugged in for 2 hours before I arrived, but it was -10 degrees in the remote town of Dixon, Montana, where I purchased the vehicle today. It started right up and I'm looking forward to cold starting it - - it will be interesting to see.

I seriously looked at one truck, and we had that compression tested, and then we drove a second with more than 300,000 miles, and this feels like a solid vehicle, running straight at 75 miles per hour. If this was cleaned up just a bit more, and had a new windshield and paint job, I think it would sell for 5-6 grand locally. I paid $4400, which for a truck with this 7.3 IDI engine, without a turbo, seems like a great deal. It's the aspirated, indirect version of the engines, and one reason why it makes a great WVO vehicle (in addition to the dual fuel tanks).

You won't believe this, of course, but the guy who I bought it claims with his light hauling he gets 28mpg! I'm doubtful of that, but I'll have to report back on this. We'll all be curious.

We'll start using the truck right away, stockkpile of organic straw, and to hitch up to a neighbors 2-axel so we can literally move our entire farm. That's the reason why it's part of a sudden purchase, we essentially are moving now, at the start of a very cold winter, have to get in firewood, and starting some construction projects. Just renting a Uhaul or local trucks wouldn't pencil out at all.

Thanks for the great advice, and, I'll be sure to let you know in a few years if we need to sell a great truck. Of course, time will tell.

Cheers,
Noah
 
Noah Jackson
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This might sound vain, but since we'll be selling some of our produce, and delivering to other farms, and we do want to look professional (at markets, etc.), I am going to have the truck painted. There are two small rust spots, so I'll get that taken care of, and some new paint will generally protect the metal. Pulling up at markets and making a good impression, in a truck that doesn't seem expensive, but also capable and professional, was also part of this equation. So, it's a farm truck, but an occasional market / delivery vehicle.
 
Rufus Laggren
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Sounds pretty good, Noah. Congrats.

Do check the coolant for additives - and if not there,. put them in - two or three bottles ~$75 IIRC. From all I've heard it matters w/the 7.3.

If the truck dies at idle after a stretch at "speed" the first bet (at least for the 6.9's) is the IP wanting more lubricant in the fuel. Put in some Stanadyne or other good fuel additive (adding some bio to make B1 up to about B5 would do the job) each fill-up.

Good call on the paint. If it were summer rolling and tipping w/some good 1-part polyurethane might "pencil in". Good paint will flow out so well that roll-tip is hard to tell from a spray job. Rustoleum has some stuff they used to call "Deck" or "Topside" (sold to boat owners mostly) that works very well. Haven't bought any for a while but costs a bit - mabe $100/gal - and they want you to use a primer that costs $150/gal. Dries in a day but takes about 3 months to reach full hardness. Looks bee-ay-utiful though. But if you get good with a partner at roll-tip even a good house paint will look great. For that, put a couple ounces of mineral spirits in a gal of latex to help it flow and retard drying a little; there are commercial additives that do the same.


Rufus
 
Noah Jackson
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Thanks, Rufus. When it gets warmer, and we are more settled, I'll flush the coolant. I did that on our TDI Jetta (running WVO) twice now. I purchased the standard anti-gelling additive we add to every tank (both diesel and WVO) this time of year on sale. I'll make sure I put a good dose in the tank. I've driven about four of these trucks now and this one runs the best. That cold start, though, will be the big test. With that said, there's nothing like a new block, plugs and injectors! I can't believe we got such a good deal. Our test drive was a good 30 minutes and we put it through the paces, including taking it up to 75 mph and we didn't have any issues.

I'll get some prices for local DIY body shops here for paint. I'll definitely consider painting my own too. We'll have access to a large shop at our place, and one of the first tasks will be to put an old wood or barrel stove in it. Any idea how many gallons of paint a longbox f250 should take? I've seen some decent references for painting on the Ford forums, but we might leave it to someone who has more experience. Anyone here who has experience painting (and prepping) vehicles?

Cheers,
Noah

Rufus Laggren wrote:Sounds pretty good, Noah. Congrats.

Do check the coolant for additives - and if not there,. put them in - two or three bottles ~$75 IIRC. From all I've heard it matters w/the 7.3.

If the truck dies at idle after a stretch at "speed" the first bet (at least for the 6.9's) is the IP wanting more lubricant in the fuel. Put in some Stanadyne or other good fuel additive (adding some bio to make B1 up to about B5 would do the job) each fill-up.

Good call on the paint. If it were summer rolling and tipping w/some good 1-part polyurethane might "pencil in". Good paint will flow out so well that roll-tip is hard to tell from a spray job. Rustoleum has some stuff they used to call "Deck" or "Topside" (sold to boat owners mostly) that works very well. Haven't bought any for a while but costs a bit - mabe $100/gal - and they want you to use a primer that costs $150/gal. Dries in a day but takes about 3 months to reach full hardness. Looks bee-ay-utiful though. But if you get good with a partner at roll-tip even a good house paint will look great. For that, put a couple ounces of mineral spirits in a gal of latex to help it flow and retard drying a little; there are commercial additives that do the same.


Rufus
 
Rufus Laggren
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> how much paint...

Don't know, sorry. As a WAG based on square feet, about 1/2gal/coat with roll/tip. Sprayed I'd stlll guess a gallon for full coverage with three-four passes. Leave the bottom of the bed for last. <g>
 
Noah Jackson
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Rufus and Co.,

I just wanted to let you know that we are re-selling our diesel rig. It worked really well to move our farm; we purchased another diesel truck, newer, to haul supplies to our farm long-distance. Our 1990 f250 would make a great vegetable oil conversion. Let me know if you are interested - http://missoula.craigslist.org/cto/4572637301.html

Rufus Laggren wrote:> how much paint...

Don't know, sorry. As a WAG based on square feet, about 1/2gal/coat with roll/tip. Sprayed I'd stlll guess a gallon for full coverage with three-four passes. Leave the bottom of the bed for last. <g>
 
Noah Jackson
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Rufus - with all the farm work, you can see, we never got around to that coat of paint! I'd help someone on the forum do the conversion. I have experience and it would be a fun project.

Noah Jackson wrote:Rufus and Co.,

I just wanted to let you know that we are re-selling our diesel rig. It worked really well to move our farm; we purchased another diesel truck, newer, to haul supplies to our farm long-distance. Our 1990 f250 would make a great vegetable oil conversion. Let me know if you are interested - http://missoula.craigslist.org/cto/4572637301.html

Rufus Laggren wrote:> how much paint...

Don't know, sorry. As a WAG based on square feet, about 1/2gal/coat with roll/tip. Sprayed I'd stlll guess a gallon for full coverage with three-four passes. Leave the bottom of the bed for last. <g>
 
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Hopefully you did not get a 6. ford or 6.4 engine. way too many issues with engines.
 
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Looking around at the ranchers around here they have a Ford for pretty , if its towing cattle / hay round its a Dodge Ram, 12 valve cummins ,Stick shift , the new 24 valve cummins is to fragile they tried them they broke them , they have the old ones rebuilt . Ford Diesels are too unreliable worked hard every day and Chevvys just blow up .
 
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