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Need suggestions on most reliable trucks or SUV


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#1 mtn dog

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 10:28 PM

Before the end of this year, I'll be buying a 4WD for hunting (of course) that will also become my family's main travel & camping vehicle. I'm open to either a pick-up or SUV as long as it has comfortable backseat room for adult passengers and enough power to easily tow a tent-trailer. I'd prefer a slightly used, recent model year. I don't need the biggest and baddest. Some reasonable gas (or diesel) mileage would be good as long as I'm not the slowest rig on the highway who is always looking for a pullout to let the big boys get past me! I DO NOT miss my 94 4Runner and it's reputation for blown gaskets. My Suzuki XL7 doesn't hold enough gear and stays mostly on pavement. Time to get a better vehicle. In terms of solid dependability, what do any of you recommend. OR what do you think I should avoid? I know this is like asking "What's the best beer" but I just want to get some feedback so I can shop intelligently and avoid those vehicles (or engines) that make repair shops rich. :wedgie[1]:
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#2 Bisley

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 11:31 PM

I know this may start a war, but I will tell you this anyways, if you do go with a diesel, DO NOT get a Ford Powerstroke. I love my F-150, but Ford just does not cut the mustard when it comes to their diesel. They make a great truck, just not a great motor. Growing up in a diesel family the performance and milage just weren't there for us. We've had a few Dodge Cummins' in the family and they are hard to beat. The Chevy diesel has a great tranny with the Allison in it too. But I wouldn't recommend buying a diesel unless you do an awful lot of towing. The fuel price versus the milage increase is not worth it unless you plan on towing a bunch. This is why I now own a gasoline powered truck since I no longer have the trailer or camper. Good luck with what ever you do end up going with.

#3 mtn dog

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 06:28 AM

Thanks, Bisley. That's EXACTLY the type of "been-there-done-that" opinion I'm looking for. Don't worry about starting a war. I'll sort through whatever info comes in.
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#4 Braz

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 07:06 AM

Well, here's my two cents worth. A little over a year ago i was shopping for a 4x4 pickup. I had a diesel, but it was 2x4 and I needed 4x4. So I started shopping. I first decided on my criteria. Mine had to be a 1/2 ton, have 4 full size doors, decent pulling capicity, etc, etc. Once I knew what I was looking for I started hitting the craigslist and others doing shopping. I didn't care if it was ford, chevy, dodge, etc. as I think they are all built with great parts and care these days. I shopped for several months and looked at everything. I happened on a Lincoln Mark LT, built in 2006 which I didn't know anything about. Come to find out it's a gussey up 150. Well, it was an 06 model with 15K miles on it. Yep, 15K. Heck, the warrenty was still in effect. And the piece was a low blue book price. I bought it. My suggestion is to determine what you want the vehicle to have first. You know, the options that it must have, the ones that it would be nice to have. What kind of milage would be acceptable, ie, used or new. Used will save you a bunch of money and most of the time, if the milage is low, there is still some warrenty on the vehilce. Then, start shopping. But don't be in a hurry. There willo always be another one tomorrow so take your time. I don't really feel it will matter which company you buy, they are all good today.
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#5 mtn dog

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 07:23 AM

My suggestion is to determine what you want the vehicle to have first.

I agree, Braz. I think I have that pretty well dialed in. In fact the '06 truck you described would do nicely. Are you still happy with it? :wedgie[1]: Since I'm months away from purchase, I'll check around about the tow weight on tent trailers to make sure I buy enough engine. Part of my reason to go with a tent trailer is the low wind resistance and ease of towing.
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#6 CoyoteHuntress

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 07:31 AM

Obviously opinions are gonna run amuck here... me personally-- Ford powerstroke. crew cab...big enough for 6 with leg room comfortable etc... plus can pull whatever you want-- rated at 12500. the one Im in is getting 16.25 in town.. unknown what its getting highway. A friend has his up to 22 in town.. he has a few mods..Also you cant just knock alll power strokes.. the 7.3 is pretty much indestructable... the 6.0 has a known head gasket issue that a set of studs fix nicely. Been driving those "horrible" power strokes now for around 18 yrs... wouldnt trade it for anything and certainly not a chevy duramax... biggest chunk of scrap around.. least the dodge has a decent engine even if the truck is seriously lacking in the comfort department.
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#7 Baja_Traveler

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 09:00 AM

Exactly - the 7.3L Powerstroke was an International engine and is indestructible. My F250 gets 15mpg around town and 17/18 highway if I keep my foot out of it. Its just over 10 years old now with 245,000 miles and going strong.

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#8 Frank

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 09:57 AM

But don't be in a hurry. There willo always be another one tomorrow so take your time.

Exactly... Great adivce!Other than that, every man needs a pickup truck IMHO. They just plain cannot be beat. Plus you keep the mess outside the cab unlike an SUV... And I owned an SUV for 17 yrs. It was nice, but my pickup(s) have been / are nicer. Like already stated, just pick out whatever your needs & wants are and go from there. I "think" chevy & Tundra are at the top of my list? However, I currently own a Dodge Ram 4x4 for 11 1/2 yrs now. Was getting ready to replace it, but other unexpected expenses came up along with Uncle Sam wanting more $$ than I also expected. :wedgie[1]: Anyway, most, if not all, are very well made in today's world. Probably cannot go wrong with any/most. Take your time and good luck in your decision.Frank

#9 Bisley

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 10:29 AM

Exactly - the 7.3L Powerstroke was an International engine and is indestructible. My F250 gets 15mpg around town and 17/18 highway if I keep my foot out of it. Its just over 10 years old now with 245,000 miles and going strong.

Again, not to argue, but, the current '03 cummins still in the family is pulling 21-22mpg empty and 12-13mpg with and old heavy '80s 35' fifth wheel! And when we compare this to the co-workers brand spanking new Powerstroke pulling 16mpg on a good day empty, it's not a tough choice. That's a hell of a difference. Needless to say, he is not a happy man. The Chevy isn't the greatest motor, but you absolutely can not beat the Allison transmission.Not trying to dog the Ford motor (like I said, I love my F-150) just trying to prevent regret. I've had the luxury of growing up in a diesel family. Pops drove a rig for 20+ years while racking up nearly 1.5 million miles on it doing most all his own mechanicing to boot. Uncle spent 30 years as a diesel mechanic for Owl Rock. The family knows diesels, and every one tells us the same, avoid the Powerstroke. Hell, I even got a nice personal tour of the Banks (Gale Banks) performance shop here in Azusa. Even their head mechanic told me the same thing, "They will work, but take the most money to get anything out of them. Highly inefficient intercoolers to start with and the more cylinders with smaller bores is just not what a diesel is about", his words, not mine.I am sure the Fords work fine for those that have them, not saying they won't. What I can tell you though is that we have been lucky to be around all three over the years and see real world results. It's one of those things where you don't know what you're missing until you've tried something better situations. I have nothing to lose myself, so it doesn't really matter to me what gets bought, I have just seen what it's like to have friends disappointed and be stuck with something. Take it for what it's worth, again, it's your decision in the end. Good luck on whatever you do end up with.Almost forgot, if you do go gasoline, the '90s and early 2000 Dodges had very weak transmissions. I do not know if they have changed (I'm sure they have by now but check first), but that used to be their weak link. It is a totally different trans than the diesel motors.

#10 Frank

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 11:12 AM

if you do go gasoline, the '90s and early 2000 Dodges had very weak transmissions. I do not know if they have changed

AMEN to that... I have a 2000 (made in '99) Dodge Ram and am on my 3rd Transmision. Although this last tranny has a little over 100,000 miles on it. I keep a candle lit at all times. lol Many folks will disagree about Dodge bad trans just because their Dodge never had the problem. AND?? It still doesn't change the fact that they are bad & a little research will bare this out for them. It is also why they kept overhauling & finally replaced mine for FREE... even AFTER the warranty had expired. Ugh! I cannot recall what I've heard or read about on today's Dodge trans.

#11 Baja_Traveler

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 11:58 AM

Agreed the new Powerstrokes lack much fuel economy. A friend of mine has a beautiful King Ranch, but he will never get close to me economy wise - and I dont consider mine to get that great economy itself... Now if only we could put that Cummins engine in the new King Ranch we'd have a winner!

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#12 mtn dog

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 01:06 PM

:popcorn: I'm loving this thread! Better info than I hoped for! More, please?
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#13 Bisley

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 01:51 PM

Agreed the new Powerstrokes lack much fuel economy. A friend of mine has a beautiful King Ranch, but he will never get close to me economy wise - and I dont consider mine to get that great economy itself... Now if only we could put that Cummins engine in the new King Ranch we'd have a winner!

Cummins motor in a King Ranch with the Allison transmission!!! One can only dream of such a truck. I get all tingly just thinking about it.Hey Frank, 100,000 miles is the magic number on them Dodges. I've had a few and loved them except for that. Good luck. Only two types of Dodge light truck owners, those that have replaced the trans, and those who are about too :popcorn: We seem to be talking a lot about diesels, but like I said earlier, if you don't tow much with them it's just not worth it. Which is hard to understand since diesel actually costs less to refine. But that's a whole other rant!I will also say this as far as vehicle choice, get the biggest you can and still feel comfortable with. If you get a truck, get a long bed. Jeeps are nice, but Blazers or Suburbans offer WAY more space. We all tend to worry about turn radius and high centering, but truth be told, 99% of us can do everything we need in a large vehicle. I don't think many of us hunt the Rubicon trail, but I guarantee that all of us wish we had more space after our vehicles get packed. This holds even more true as you mention it will be the "FAMILY" travel and camping vehicle. Unless your wife and kids are different from everybody else on the planet's, you Will need that extra space.I would also tend to stick to a vehicle that as stock as possible. You never know who put the lift kits in. Oversized tires usually = ball joint problems or insufficient braking. Aftermarket rims are NEVER needed. And look for something with a factory installed tow kit. Notice I say "factory installed". That is because when the factory does it, they add the extra trans cooler, heavier fan clutches, etc.... You don't get that when it is installed later by the owner.Sorry for the long novel, I just hate to see others make mistakes I've both seen and done over the years. Hope it helps.

#14 jawbreaker

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 04:04 PM

If you are not towing something big then don't get hung up on a diesel and if you are using it for a family vehicle also then you might want to look at an SUV. I have an F-350 diesel crewcab a Jeep Cherokee and Suburban and I will have to say the suburban is the best vehicle for a family by far. I personally would rather drive a truck but I don't mind when I have to drive the wifes SUV. You don't have that much advantage with a diesel if you aren't towwing or hauling large loads.

#15 DirtyDave

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 05:20 PM

1/2 ton gas powered truck is all you need if you are just towing a tent-trailer. My 99 GMC 4x4 has the 5.3l with 290k on it and still going strong. Get one in a 4dr and you are set.My 92 GMC had 260k on the 5.7l when I sold it. I know the kid that bought it and it is still going strong.Suburbans are nice too, but I prefer trucks.
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#16 lif2fsh

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 05:54 PM

Chevy 2500 hd 4x4 need i say more?have had two in the last 10 years only trouble was self inflected.

#17 Single Six

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 07:43 PM

I'm a gearhead. Between my brother and I and the family business, we've owned/built/broke/fixed old stuff, new stuff, big stuff, little stuff, and then there's our buddy's stuff. Jeep, have had a couple - not enough room, though for a one man rig I really like the Unlimited Wrangler Rubicon on 35s my buddy has, but mileage is bad, big tires or no. Goes anywhere comfortably, and you can sleep inside. Cherokees better, but maybe not as reliable as Toyotas. Dodge 1/2 ton trucks, auto transmissions, not very good. Cummins + NV4500, not Getrag = my favorite, I have a '95 that is a monster, goes anywhere, does anything and everything, just not cheaply. http://s142.photobuc...odge/?start=allFord 1/2 ton 4 door crewcab very handy, but not very mileage friendly. 7.3 diesels good, but gettin' old. 6.0 is a pain in the butt. Head gaskets, emissions fixes, all expensive, I hate the 2 we have at the shop...but if you want lots of room, ford superduty or dodge megacab is the way to go. 6 adults easy. Chevy - good vehicles, very car-like, which is just fine if you're not going to beat it off road, Duramax pretty good, gas engine mileage ain't gonna be good.Toyota Tacoma or 4runner gets it done quick and efficiently, just not the really big stuff. We've had 2 4runners, love them. 1998 and 2004, V6s, really like the room in the 2004. It's quick, quiet, comfy, affordable for our family of 4....and if you're hunting, you can sleep in the back. My brother's had a Tacoma since it was new in '01 and beats the wee out of it and it doesn't care, no problems. I see no point in a diesel for a tent trailer. Tundras are good, 'bout like a Chevy to me. Pretty comfy quiet, reliable, but mileage won't be great. Probably better than Chevy or Ford. I'd look into a Tacoma 4 door. I know you said you weren't thrilled with your last yota, but that was the 3.0 I believe, which was toyota's only turd I know of. My buddy (same guy with the Wrangler) has a newer Tacoma 4 door, just recently took it on family vaca with a tent trailer all over the west. Blew thru the mountains with the cruise on getting 21 mpg overall average. That's hard to beat.

#18 mtn dog

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 07:59 PM

Single,My problem with the 94 4Runner I had was two blown head gaskets and I heard they were prone to that. Otherwise, it was a good vehicle. If the new Tacoma is more a better engine, I could be happy with that.I'm definitely NOT a gear head. That's why I'm asking these questions of folks who know more than me.All of you who have contributed here are awesome! I'm learning a lot.
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#19 Bisley

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 01:23 AM

Okay, I've waited all day for the question, to no avail, so somebody had to ask it. HAVE YOU CONSIDERED A BRIGHT YELLOW MINI COOPER??? :popcorn: :popcorn:

#20 Single Six

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 06:10 AM

Single,My problem with the 94 4Runner I had was two blown head gaskets and I heard they were prone to that. Otherwise, it was a good vehicle. If the new Tacoma is more a better engine, I could be happy with that.I'm definitely NOT a gear head. That's why I'm asking these questions of folks who know more than me.All of you who have contributed here are awesome! I'm learning a lot.

Yeah, those 3.0s weren't very awesome. Our 98 was a 3.4 5speed, much bettter. If you want to, I can PM you my buddy's number, I'm sure he'd be happy to talk to you.

#21 mtn dog

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 06:20 AM

Okay, I've waited all day for the question, to no avail, so somebody had to ask it. HAVE YOU CONSIDERED A BRIGHT YELLOW MINI COOPER??? :popcorn: :sport037fn4:

I think a bright yellow mini cooper would be handy as a wheel chock when I need to park my new hunting rig on a slope.
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#22 DirtyDave

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 10:56 AM

1/2 ton gas powered truck is all you need if you are just towing a tent-trailer. My 99 GMC 4x4 has the 5.3l with 290k on it and still going strong. Get one in a 4dr and you are set.My 92 GMC had 260k on the 5.7l when I sold it. I know the kid that bought it and it is still going strong.Suburbans are nice too, but I prefer trucks.

Oh yeah, forgot to add my 99 gets 15mpg with a 3" lift and 35" tires
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#23 Pogo

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 11:16 AM

Sounds like everyone has thier own opinion! Guess that is why we are not all driving the same thing. So, I'll throw my $0.02 in as well.If your not going to be towing a lot we LOVE our 1/2 ton Chevy crew cabs. I actually liked the 03 better than the 08, but it is a great pickup as well. They ride like a car, but are a very capable full size pickup. The V-8 is peppy and with the wife driving hwy is close to 20 mpg... when I drive that goes down signifigantly... :sport037fn4: Lots of room for the family. Since my wife needs a pickup for the farm, her's double duties as the family car. Works great for both. Unless you need a diesel, that is what I'd buy.As far as heavier duty pickups go, there is nothing at all wrong with a 7.3 Powerstroke powered Ford. Those as durable as they come. Low mile clean 7.3's are getting hard to find, and pricey however, because everyone wants one. I put a lot of miles on them without an issue, my old 6.9 ford (ancient ancestor to the 7.3) is still going strong in the second pickup, the first pickup fell apart at 270,000 ish hard miles. No one I know had had good luck with anything newer from Ford. I'm currently on my second Duramax powered Chevy, I like the older ones, 2002-2006. You cannot beat the ride and drivability of the Chevy's. I feel the Duramax's are a good engine, all I've ever done is a water pump and change oil. Probably not as durable as a 7.3 Ford or a Cummins engine, but the rest of the pickups make up for it. People dog the IFS, the lower ground clearance, etc, but we use the heck out of them farming and they hold up better than anything else and are comfortable enough to do it in all day.
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#24 CoyoteHuntress

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 05:02 PM

Agreed the new Powerstrokes lack much fuel economy. A friend of mine has a beautiful King Ranch, but he will never get close to me economy wise - and I dont consider mine to get that great economy itself... Now if only we could put that Cummins engine in the new King Ranch we'd have a winner!

Ummmm totally possible they have the conversion kits now to drop the cummins into a ford :sport037fn4: I cant see how 16 in town for a F350 crew cab long bed 4x4 is all that bad??
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#25 Single Six

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 05:58 PM

Seems I heard somebody is dropping cummins into fords with chevy allisons. HA! Like I always say, no one brand is really perfect, they all have their good and bad points esp the Big Three. Just like people...heck, they're build by people, what do you expect? I can't find much if anything bad to say about toyota.

#26 DirtyDave

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 08:42 PM

If your not going to be towing a lot we LOVE our 1/2 ton Chevy crew cabs. I actually liked the 03 better than the 08, but it is a great pickup as well.

That's funny you mention that. I have a 99 Z71 and my chick has an 05 Z71. Other than hers being A LOT cleaner than mine, mine seems like it is just a better truck. Better power, Better mileage, Better trans (I had it built), Better feel in the steering.
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#27 Bisley

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 08:56 PM

I can't find much if anything bad to say about toyota.

Put a huge fifth wheel trailer behind a Toyota and I'm sure you will come up with a few new words not in the English or slang dictionary!!! You are trying to compare mice (gas powered pickups, ie Toyota) to elephants (diesel powered tucks). I would love to see a "Toy"ota wth a fifth wheel (or LARGE trailer) behind it :sport037fn4:. Especially repeatedly. If you look a little closer, most everybody is happy with all the Big Three gas powered trucks they own.I know I hit a sore spot CH, but 16mpg with an long bed extended cab 4x4 around town is what I pull with a gas motor at almost $1 dollar less per gallon. It is also only 2-3 more mpg than we get pulling a 35 foot fifth wheel. Not what one would expect out of a diesel. Please understand, I am not saying it WON'T do it, just said it doesn't do it nearly as efficiently. Huge difference. And milage is a key factor for buying a diesel, especially these days at $5 a gallon! I also never said they don't last. The Powerstroke may outlive every diesel out there, but it will continually pull worse milage during it's longer life. Sorry, it's just the way it is. Every Ford diesel owner I know will admit it too. I was simply relaying knowledge. That was what was asked for. Didn't mean to step on anybody's toes (I believe I said I already knew this would happen in my first post). :) Hate the facts, not the poster :popcorn: .

#28 Desert Fox

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 10:02 PM

Who ever did the work on your 3.0VZ engine did not do a good job. I have the same engine on my '94 T100, and the gasket gave up after 90K mile. Crown Toyota sent a tow truck and replace the head gasket. That was 13 years ago. My truck now has 370,000 miles and still averaging 22 miles/gallon... and yes, I hunt with it. Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImageI just bought a used '95 Toyota 4 Runner 4X4 with similar engine, and yes the 3.0 VZ gave up it's ghost at around 90K also. It has already 12 K on the newly reworked engine and it runs pretty good. The previous owner took good care of the car that it's in very pristine condition. I only paid $5200 for it and comes with Belstein shock, BF Goodrich TA, Magnaflow muffler, raised rear spring and an Alpine Stereo. If you want diesel power then look no farther than Duramax/Allison. Posted Image
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#29 Single Six

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 06:08 AM

Put a huge fifth wheel trailer behind a Toyota and I'm sure you will come up with a few new words not in the English or slang dictionary!!! You are trying to compare mice (gas powered pickups, ie Toyota) to elephants (diesel powered tucks). I would love to see a "Toy"ota wth a fifth wheel (or LARGE trailer) behind it :roflmao3[1]:. Especially repeatedly. If you look a little closer, most everybody is happy with all the Big Three gas powered trucks they own.I know I hit a sore spot CH, but 16mpg with an long bed extended cab 4x4 around town is what I pull with a gas motor at almost $1 dollar less per gallon. It is also only 2-3 more mpg than we get pulling a 35 foot fifth wheel. Not what one would expect out of a diesel. Please understand, I am not saying it WON'T do it, just said it doesn't do it nearly as efficiently. Huge difference. And milage is a key factor for buying a diesel, especially these days at $5 a gallon! I also never said they don't last. The Powerstroke may outlive every diesel out there, but it will continually pull worse milage during it's longer life. Sorry, it's just the way it is. Every Ford diesel owner I know will admit it too. I was simply relaying knowledge. That was what was asked for. Didn't mean to step on anybody's toes (I believe I said I already knew this would happen in my first post). :smiley-sorry: Hate the facts, not the poster :unsure: .

I'm not comparing mice to elephants, and besides, the newer Tacomas are almost as big as a 1/2 ton. I mentioned previously that yotas were great, "just not the for big stuff". He's talking about towing a tent trailer. I fully understand the difference between a horse and an ox. I have everything between a 4cyl ranger and an F-700. As far as having anything bad to say about Toyota, I was referring to quality. My daily driver is a manual trans diesel Dodge and since it's been down, an F250. I love the Dodge, Ford is OK, but my wife's 4runner is the most pleasant thing to drive. Quick, quiet, light, comfortable, easy to drive, and affordable.

#30 Single Six

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 06:14 AM

I have no use for fullsize gas trucks except offroad toys. if you're going to get something that big, just get a diesel and get better mileage, more room (in the case of Ford) longevity, and be able to tow anything.




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