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Go Back   TDIClub Forums > TDI Model Specific Discussions Areas > Non VW Group Diesels

Non VW Group Diesels This section is for discusion of Non VWGroup Diesels.

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Old July 2nd, 2003, 15:32   #1
Dante
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Default Best Used Full-Size 4x4 Diesel Pickup < $10K

I am thinking about buying a full-size 4x4 Diesel pickup for runs to the home and garden store, dump and to trailheads (I'll also probably drive it to work a few times a month for its health). I won't spend more than $10K and would like to spend as little as possible. What make, model, year and equipment would you recommend and why?
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Old July 2nd, 2003, 16:42   #2
TDI_DEB
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Default Best Used Full-Size 4x4 Diesel Pickup < $10K

89, 90, 93, 94, 95, 96 Dodge 250/2500. 'cause it has the Cummins. 94-96 are more comfy, but more expensive. These all havemechanical fuel injection systems that are easy to hop up. I left 91 and 92 out becuase they added a larger turbo srcoll that hurts the performance. I purchased a 90' 4x4 with 130k miles for $7,000 in February. I get about 20 mpg on the freeway.
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Old July 2nd, 2003, 16:47   #3
Dante
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Thanks. The Dodge Cummins was definitely on the list. If I had to pick one today, that would probably be it. What kind of transmissions did they put in those and how strong and reliable are they? I'd prefer a manual.

A buddy of mine (and fellow Fred's member) says GMs from certain years are good, too, but I don't recall which ones.

Any Ford advocates out there?
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Old July 2nd, 2003, 17:58   #4
DieselTrap
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Default Best Used Full-Size 4x4 Diesel Pickup < $10K

Dante Driver the Fords are great but you will hae to spend a little more i would also chose a Cummins in the Dodge but i personally would steer clear of the Chevy Diesel truck just i have had and friends of mine have had a lot of problems with their injector pumps and they dont offer a lot of umph down the road
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Old July 2nd, 2003, 22:52   #5
TDIMiser
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Default Best Used Full-Size 4x4 Diesel Pickup < $10K

I'd opt for either a '92-'93 Dodge W250/W350 or a '96-'97 Dodge 2500/3500 with manual transmissions but would lean toward the '92-'93's for their thicker sheet metal, larger engine compartment &amp; simpler electrical systems.

'92-'93 versions were intercooled. Previous versions weren't but can be converted but at added cost. The W in the W250 or W350 indicates that it's 4WD but some people don't know that &amp; will list a 4WD vehicle as D??? instead, where the D designates, you guessed it, 2WD. Just be aware that the '88-'93's have front leaf springs so supposedly aren't that comfortable riding. Some major known issues with these trucks are:

***Cowl leaks which are relatively easy to DIY repair with dealer repair kit, just time consuming bc lots of disassembly/reassembly is reqd.
***Track bar (I think) replacement with either aftermarket or upgrading stock bar with new ends to eliminate/reduce steering 'wander'.
***Front spring replacement due to sag &amp; resultant contact with bumpstops (may account for alleged rough ride).
***I'm not sure about this one (might only apply to '94-?? trux) but there's the infamous KDP (Killer Dowel Pin) fix, also relatively easy DIY fix just time consuming. Major booboos will result if this one isn't taken care of! Big bux!
***And finally the ever noisy Gertrag (or as it's more affectionately known, Gerjunk) 3500 manny tranny should be overfilled by 1 qt &amp; only synthetic motor oil should be used(although I have read of some folks using synthetic gear lube). NV4500 manny tranny is a popular upgrade &amp; is stronger &amp; QUIETER but can be big bux. The auto isn't known to last without upgrading the internals.

The '92-'93 is moderately BOMBable (Better Off Modified Baby!). Stock HP/TQ #'s are ~160/400 &amp; with moderate mods can be brought up ~250/600. More extensive mods can bring ~400/900 but big bux.

New body style came in '94 but only regular cabs were available in the 1st year. Focused on '96-'97's bc final changes were made to 12V motor in these years &amp; the engine changed to a more complicated &amp; electronic 24V in '98.5. Front axle was still straight but coil springs are used instead of leaf springs so ride is comparatively better. Available with the very good NV4500HD manny tranny. Not much in the way of known issues except for perhaps the KDP (see above), assorted electrical gremlins, track bar (see above) &amp; auto tranny (see above). Much more bombable than the '92-'93 largely due to the improved fuel injection pump (FIP). Stock HP/TQ #'s are ~175/430.

[Edit] Almost forgot. You'll really have to be very patient to find a '96-'97 for under $10K (especially a 4WD) &amp; then you'd have to be prepared to move very fast bc it'll go quick!

For additional info try these websites:

www.turbodieselregister.com
www.dodge-diesel.org
http://dodgeram.org/ram.html

Good luck.
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Old July 2nd, 2003, 23:07   #6
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There's a Dodge Cummins 12 Valve (1996 I think) that comes to the Sunoco up the street from my house for repairs. The truck has 750,000 miles on it, is on the original engine, and the 3rd transmission (5 speed manual). I've talked to the owner and he said that it's the best truck he's ever owned, and that he's never had a problem other than transmissions failing (at a rate of one every quarter million miles), which isn't a big deal to him.

A friend of mine has a 1996 F-250 with the Centaurus dually conversion. It has the turbocharged PowerStroke with a 5 speed transmission. It's a really nice truck, but not nearly as comfortable as the Dodge. He just replaced the downpipe and exhaust and got tremendous performance gains, as well as 4 mpg better on the highway.

My vote would be for a Dodge, partly because the engine rocks, and partly because of the price... they seem to be a little less expensive than the Fords.
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Old July 3rd, 2003, 09:44   #7
SxS16ga
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I have to chime in here. I have 1995 Chevy 6.5 turbo Diesel that I bought new and I have 147,000 miles and have spent about $700 in non-routine maintance. I had on injector pump replaced by GM at 27,000 miles at NO cost. I tow a trailer almost daily in the summer and 2 days a week in the winter with a 450 gallon water tank. The Chevy rides better than either the Ford or the Dodge which has the ruffest ride of the three. Chevy has lowest step in height. The Ford has the highest cost of parts, Dodge next then Chevy. Fuel injectors for the Power Stroke $194 EACH X 8, Dodge about $55 X 6 and Chevy $40 X 8. The Dodge &amp; Ford Automatic Transmissions blow up behind the Diesel, GM Diesel Auto's are tough. Dodge maunuals I have driven the first 3 gears are very close because of the very low RPM band of the Cummins, it's like shift gears in a semi. Some Cummins Red line as low as 2300 RPM, Power Stroke red line is about 3200 RPM and 6.5 GM 3,500 RPM the Ford and Chevy drive more like a gaser. The Dodge is the very LOUD in and out of the Truck, Ford next GM quietest. I get 15 -16 mpg hauling water and around town, 19.8mpg at 75 empty. If I was looking at towning a 10,000 lb plus trailer I'd look at a Ford or Dodge, But for daily drive and going to Home Center, to the dump and trail heads and modest towing I'd go GM. If you want more pull then and want to convert FUEL INTO NOISE, keep a chiropractor busy then go with a Dodge. Personally I'd buy a Ford before Dodge dispite the higher purchase and parts cost. Again for the things you want to do I think you would be well served by a Chevy or GMC and some people have had problems with the 6.5 but many people have had good service with them. I expect to run my to 300,000 miles and know for a number that have gone well into the 400,000 miles with reasonable maintaince. I think many people who have problems with the 6.5 don't understand the differences in runing a Diesel vs a gaser and don't at a fuel additive to the fuel. (keeps the pump and injectors going longer) And don't do the maintaince need to keep them runing well. If you get a 1992 or 1993 GM it has a mechanical Injector Pump if you go 94 on look for a Green Tag or on the pump that is the best of the electronic pumps. 94, 95, 96 and came with a blue lable or tag on the pump. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
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Old July 3rd, 2003, 16:06   #8
Dante
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Hmmm . . . the economics of the GMs are pretty compelling. If I decide to shop for a GM, what year(s) should I look for? '92-'93 (mechanical pump) or '94 (better electronic pump)?

I might just decide what I'm willing to pay for the GM and for the Dodge (probably a '92-'93) and then jump on the first good example I find. I'm not in a big hurry, but I've been wanting a dump and trailhead vehicle for a long time.
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Old July 3rd, 2003, 21:56   #9
TDIMiser
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Quote:
Hmmm . . . the economics of the GMs are pretty compelling. If I decide to shop for a GM, what year(s) should I look for? '92-'93 (mechanical pump) or '94 (better electronic pump)?
You may not find the economics of owning a GM diesel that compelling after you get socked for a fuel injection pump replacement (rebuilt) at ~$1500 from the stea ... dealer. But they are available for ~$1000 from other sources. There's good reason that the warranty was extended to 7 yrs/120K miles -- can you say a high failure rate. There's not much to understand there (except perhaps shades of the GM 350 diesel).

I owned a '95 K3500 6.5L TD (TurboDiesel) HO (High Output) for a relatively brief time (thankfully) about a year &amp; half ago &amp; I wasn't at all impressed! And I was very particular about maintenance (preventative included), fuel additives, fuel filters, etc. Even went so far as to install a relatively expensive Racor auxiliary fuel filter/water separator at ~$110. Became so disgusted with it I gave it to my brother -- that's right I gave it away!

I've done quite a bit of research on diesels &amp; here are some other weaknesses of the 6.5L:
*Almost universally cracked heads. Vehicle operation doesn't appear to be affected tho. At least to a noticeable degree.
*One of the cylinder's is very prone to cracking. I think it's #8. Problem may be cooling related &amp; the cooling upgrade (see below) may eliminate or significantly reduce the likelihood of occurrence.
*Vehicles prior to '97 sometimes had cooling problems, especially when towing. '97 on up went to higher volume water pump, 130gpm (vs 100?gpm), with dual thermostats. This upgrade can be retrofitted to older vehicles at a cost of something like ~$400.
*'97 on up vehicle engines were upgraded to piston cooling but original design weakened the ??? (don't remember what part of the engine) which could lead to engine failure. I'm guessing unlikely unless heavily stressed. Re-design in '98 or '99 fixed the weakness. FWIW, the Duramax was introduced in '00.

Other notes:
*The Cummins (Dodge) diesel engine is the ONLY medium duty diesel engine in a light duty truck. It's actually been de-tuned for the application.
*The 6.5L is supposedly the quietest diesel of the 3 (GM, Dodge &amp; Ford) but I wasn't impressed. I didn't think it was much quieter than an older Dodge diesel. I can't stand noise &amp; I'm definitely no 'dieselhead' but I can tell you that, based on what I now know about the big 3 diesel engines, I'd of gladly put up with the slightly increased noise of the Cummins (Dodge).
*Once the electronic fuel injection pump fails (&amp; it will fail -- guar-darn-tee it) I'd definitely switch to the mechanical version as it's ~$400 less rebuilt &amp; is far more reliable. Conversion would require modifying (or replacing) throttle linkage &amp; perhaps pump to engine interface.
*The NV4500 manual tranny was common to both Dodges &amp; GM's from '94 on up so any negatives would apply to both. The Dodge version is slightly better with synchronized reverse. 1st gear is 'steep' at initially 6.34 then 5.61 so it's only intended for getting heavy loads moving or idling over rough/bad terrain. Weaknesses common to both installations was 5th gear nut coming off &amp; input? (or output, can't remember) shaft damage. Usually only a concern on, I think, highly stressed vehicles.

If you do settle on a GM, I'd look for a '95 &amp; later for the better interiors. '94 &amp; earlier trux have a boxy/squared off driver's side dash. The '95's on up are much more nicely contoured IMO. Much more contemporary looking (if that's important). FWIW, in '96 on up vehicles the passenger side tray/cup holders was replaced with an ugly hump containing the passenger side airbag. Another FWIW, '96 &amp; later gas vehicles are OBDII compliant but I don't know whether diesel versions were as well. I think the main advantage is better engine monitoring.

Also keep in mind that the GM diesel was also available in 1/2 tons (1500 series). A 1500 would probably offer a more comfy ride compared to a 3/4 ton or 1 ton but tradeoff is lower carrying capacity &amp; lighter frame. I wrote "probably" bc my old K3500 (1 ton) crewcab longbed single rear wheels rode/rides better than my current vehicle, a '95 K2500 (3/4 ton) Suburban. Go figure! Actually the explanation I've read is that my old 1 ton had 2-stage rear leaf springs while my current 3/4 ton only has single-stage rear leaf springs. Whatever the reason, I can't stand the ride in my K2500 &amp; the K3500's ride was/is soooo cushy in comparison.

You should be able to find a GM within your budget as they tend to sell for less than the Dodges. 1/2 ton, regular cabs tend to sell cheapest (applies across all makes but the diesel was only available in 3/4 &amp; 1 tons for Dodge &amp; Ford). Crew cabs (not available from Dodge -- at least for under $10K) with duallies bring the most. Manual tranny equipped GM diesels are pretty rare, so keep that in mind when shopping.

Good luck.
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Old July 3rd, 2003, 22:07   #10
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I agree with MrMopar 100%!

Got so caught up in comparing vehicles that I lost sight of that.

It's very (very) hard to justify a diesel for only occasional use. If it was going to be a DD (Daily Driver) driven for relatively long distances then that'd be a different story.

Plus, you won't have to pay the diesel engine "premium" (especially with the Dodge).
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Old July 7th, 2003, 08:51   #11
SxS16ga
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Default Best Used Full-Size 4x4 Diesel Pickup < $10K

I agree with MR Mopar about lsoing sight of the mission at hand. You might even consider a full size truck with a V-6.
Many of those will get MPG equal to a Diesel with out the added cost. Infact you can usally buy one used very reasonable because not that many people want a full size pickup with a V-6. Or you might consider a Dodge Dakota with a V-6 the seem to ride better than full size Dodges and are larger than the Ranger, S-10, Toyota Tacoma, or Nissian kind of truck.
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Old July 7th, 2003, 10:05   #12
Rob_from_Elkmont
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Default Best Used Full-Size 4x4 Diesel Pickup < $10K

While the Dakota is a fine truck, the 3.9L V-6 guzzles fuel at a rate just about equal to the V-8. The new 4.7L V-8 in this application would be preferable since it is of a newer design and a lot more refined.

Best Regards,
Rob
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Old July 7th, 2003, 10:14   #13
Dante
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Default Best Used Full-Size 4x4 Diesel Pickup < $10K

Thanks for all the responses, everyone!

I should have added "feed my Diesel addiction and biodiesel interest" to the mission I know a gasser would be better for my application, but I want another Diesel for non-economic reasons. Maybe I'll regret it, but I want something to tide me over until I can replace our Toyota Sienna with a Chaimler Sprinter or Vito.

It sounds like I'll be getting a Cummins (unless I wise up and get a gasser). The short trips won't do it any good, but my hiking trips can take me pretty far afield.

P.S. The reason I want a full-size truck is that I hike with two other people often enough to need seating for three adults. A bench seat in a full-size pick-up is big enough for my purposes. A small or mid-sized truck would be too tight. I could put off the purchase until the four-door small and mid-sized trucks (Dakota, Tacoma, Frontier, etc.) get cheap enough, but then I'd have to buy a gasser.
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Old July 7th, 2003, 16:10   #14
arrowman
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Well, hear is what I know, and I follow the pickup truck market pretty close.

Dodge w/ Cummins engine = Great engine, excellent w/ manual transmission. Not so good auto transmission, somewhat crappy drivetrain and body on older models.

Chevy/GMC with pre-duramax diesels = BAD (in general). While the truck itself would hold up fine, the engines were known for being terrible. There's a reason why GM didn't sell many diesels prior to the duramax coming out. After that, they didn't try to design their own engine again. The duramax is supposedly much better, but it will cost you more than 10 grand.

Ford w/ PowerStroke Diesel = Pretty good. Good engine, with decent power and torque. Transmissions were also pretty good. The PSD is actually made for Ford by International/Navistar, and ford puts their own computer and sensors on it. The truck bodies also hold up pretty well. There's a lot of Ford diesels on the road today. This might, however, cost a bit more than a dodge.

So, if I were looking for a diesel truck for less than 10 grand, I'd get a properly equipped dodge or a Ford.
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Old July 7th, 2003, 17:51   #15
sassyrel
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the auto trans in the ford holds up just fine--you might find a rare few with bad trans--but few--the trans went thru updats to late 97--very few issues from then on--and normally only on people that tried to pull freight trains with them!!!!!! most of the 94-97 trans got updated-----
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