Best used Diesel Pickup

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Frank B

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I'm starting some research on diesel 3/4 ton pickups as a possible upgrade to replace our aging 94 Chev K1500.  I'm probably looking between 2000 and 2004 depending on what I can get, and what we can afford.  While our Chevy has been great with independent front suspension, I am becoming somewhat partial to the 24 valve Dodge Cummins despite their solid axle front ends in their 3/4 ton 4x4 product.

We're looking for a well-appointed 4wd crew cab, long box.

I tried searching the web for some information, but only found a 2004 comparison article on the 1/2 ton gas models from Edmunds.  I was unable to locate any good comparison articles on true tow vehicles from the big three.  Can anyone point me to a comparison article of the diesels from the point of view of the person looking for a tow vehicle for a small to medium 5er?

Thanks.

Frank.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I's hard to go wrong with any of the 3/4 ton diesels. All three are excellent.  The Dodge Cummins seems to have the edge in fuel economy, especially compared to the 7.3L Ford Powerstroke in the model years you are looking at. The Chevy Duromax is usually in between the Dodge and Ford on economy and equal otherwise.  The Chevy will have the excellent 5 speed Allison transmission, which is a plus over both Ford and Dodge.  But it's mosty a matter of which you like best.

If you don't want to go with a dualie, may I suggest looking for a 1 ton in the SRW (Single Rear Wheel) configuration. You get a somewhat more robust suspension and a bit more capacity than the 3/4 ton but in terms on length it's the same as a 3/4 ton.
 

BruceinFL

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I think you will find that the Ford in the year models in which you are interested will have better GVWR, GAWR and GCWR ratings than the Chevy or Dodges. Also, some of the earlier year model Dodges had weak transmissions.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I'm partial to the Fords myself. Had a 1999 Superduty diesel that was an awesome truck, both potent and comfortable.

I see according to the review article that the new 6.0L Powerstroke and 5 speed was tested. As I recall, that combination wasn't widely available til later in 2004, but if  Frank can find one it's a great truck. A buddy has one in the form of a custom hauler from Western Haulers and it is superb. Smooth, comfortable and quiet (at least on he inside).

I also didn't realize the 300 HP Cummins was allowed with the 4 speed auto - in previous years you could only get the High Output 300 HP with a six speed manual.

I would take either of the 5 speed auto tranny models over a four speed - or a stick either, for that matter. In 2000-2003 that probably means the Chevy/GMC. However, the Ford 4 speed (4R100) performs pretty well with the diesel behind it, much better than it does with a gas engine. Different shift points and more torque available throughout the ranges.
 

Frank B

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Gary:

>I'm partial to the Fords myself. Had a 1999 Superduty diesel that was an awesome truck, both potent and comfortable.<

I had a 1991 Ford F-150 with that old 300 cu in inline six, and I loved it.  That was our first tow vehicle, and it performed quite well with that small 18.5'  fifth wheel Okanagan we had.  In my line of work we've fixed enough Ford Super Duty models for bent door hinges that I'm not fussy about them.  The door is way too heavy for the hinges and the door 'stop' mechanism.  When they bend, they bend the cab frame AND the door frame, putting a little 'slice' in the outside door skin where it gets forced over the door stop mechanism.

>If you don't want to go with a dualie, may I suggest looking for a 1 ton in the SRW (Single Rear Wheel) configuration. You get a somewhat more robust suspension and a bit more capacity than the 3/4 ton but in terms on length it's the same as a 3/4 ton.<

Isn't the ride rougher when empty?  Or is the difference from the 3/4 ton so small that it is worth the added discomfort for the additional payload?

I am considering the Chev because of the independent front-end, even in the one-ton 4wd models.  They tend to be a LOT more money used, however, than the Ford or Dodge.  The Chev has a much bigger cab in the crew cab model -- another plus over the Dodge, which even in the 4 door crew model is little more than an extended cab.

The only thing that I wonder about is the longevity of that relatively new Isuzu diesel.  We tend to buy a car, and then drive it till it drops.  I had my 86 Pontiac for over 10 years before we moved on.  The Cummins has proved itself over many years, and has a much longer time to rebuild figure than either the Ford or the Chev.  It also turns at lower RPM, which should also give it an edge in reliability, all other things being equal.

Any thoughts on the longevity of the Isuzu / Allison combination vs the Cummins / Chrysler pair?

Our current rig weighs only 4300 lbs, so it is not going to put a strain on either unit.  However, one tends to upgrade with time, and we've never been able to afford an upgrade to trailer AND truck at the same time.  I'm hoping to overbuy this time for 'future considerations.'

Thanks.

Frank.
 

Frank B

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Bruce:

>Also, some of the earlier year model Dodges had weak transmissions.<

Any information on which years?  That would be very helpful to know.

I probably won't consider a Dodge built before 2003, because that was when they started that pilot injection system on the Cummins.  The earlier Cummins are just too noisy.

Frank.
 

BruceinFL

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Also,  the 7.3 Fords got better mileage than the 6.0. Have had both so I know. I'm getting 3 mpg less on the 6.0 than I got on the 7.3 and it adds up after a while at $3/gal.  :mad:  But I sure do like the GVWR, GAWR and GCWR of my '05 6.0 F350 SRW. However, the max allowable weights on my previous Ford 7.3 diesels were better than the Dodges and Chevys for the equivalent model years.

Not sure of the year on the Dodge transmissions...believe it was prior to 2003. Had two co-workers that had Dodges and both had their transmissions go tango uniform.
 

motojavaphil

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I favor the cummins motor.  It is simple, efficent and great to tow with.  I have had an 01 and an 04 Dodge and had no complaints.  The Turbo-Diesel Registry adds a great addition to the Dodge.  I had the Chevy 6.5 before and have never gone back to Chevy for that reason.  The current Chevy has not tempted me.  Fords are Fords and if you want a good tow rig they are fine.  The Cummins in the package Dodge offers is just too awesome.  Good luck on your search
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The only thing that I wonder about is the longevity of that relatively new Isuzu diesel.  We tend to buy a car, and then drive it till it drops.  I had my 86 Pontiac for over 10 years before we moved on.

Best I can offer is that I have a friend who has towed a 36 foot Carriage over 100K miles with the Isuzu/Duramax, without a single problem. He is religious about maintenance, though, and gets good service out of any mechanical product he owns. I have the Allison 5 speed in my gas motorhome an dit performs well there too.
 

Griff

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The Isuzu diesels may be reletively new to the pickup market but they are anything but a newcomer to the light-medium duty diesel engine market.  The isuzu and GMC cube vans have put hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of miles on them.  When GM introduced the Isuzu engines I had family and friends in the logging industry scrambling to get in line because they had a lot of experience with them in line machines, log loaders etc... and said they just ran and ran...all you had to do was keep the oil changed!

Good luck in your quest!
 
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