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Bargain Truck Advice


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#1 Condition Write

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 08:33 PM

I'm well aware that all-wheel drive doesn't mean all-wheel stop, but I got a moderately expensive lesson in that principle tonight. Caught a sheet of ice - in the post office parking lot, of all places - and smacked the curb hard enough to bend something in my Subaru's suspension. The traction control electronics may also be hosed.

This has prompted me and Mrs. Write to renew our discussion of selling the household's third car - a Japanese smartbomb with the approximate winter handling capability of a three-legged alligator - and acquiring a more practical backup vehicle. To support my shooting-at-rural-ranges habit and her gardening and home improvement habits in equal measure, and to handle the usual range of Kentuckistani weather, we're thinking about something in the light pickup class. 4WD, automatic transmission, high reliability. Projected budget, once the aforementioned riceburner is sold, is probably sub-$10k. This would be a first truck for me so I don't know what I don't know.

So I call upon the collective automotive expertise of ITS. Gentlemen, start your recommendations.


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#2 mangeface

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 10:17 PM

Hmm...well I got a hell of a steal on my truck. It's a 2006 GMC Sierra SLT Z71. It was easily a $40K+ truck brand new. I got it in 2009 for $24.5K (after talking the dealer down $4K) and it had 22K miles on it. It really varies on where you live and the amount of dealerships on how much you can really bargain.

Now, if you're wanting something super dependable and reasonably priced, I suggest looking for a Toyota Tacoma or Tundra. The Tacoma is the successor to the Hilux, and if you've seen any video footage of those middle eastern civil wars, you've probably seen the Hilux. The truck is a monster and damn near indestructible (proven by Top Gear UK testing).

The 2nd generation Tacoma is the better of the 2. Either an I4 or V6 engine and more transmission options (4 or 5 speed in automatic or manual).

Edited by mangeface, 05 February 2014 - 10:21 PM.

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#3 Scuba CN

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 01:09 PM

My family has never had a problem with any of the 3 Ford Explorers we've had; my '07 Explorer was purchased used from a dealer for $7,000 two years ago and is great. Our previous one, a '98 I think, was used for everything form hauling firewood, wood pellets, lugage, and putting a 20' heavy-ass dock and 28' pontoon boat into and out of a lake from an often very muddy landing; the only reason we got rid of it was because it had something like 270,000 miles on it and the transmission went. Of course, I have only owned Explorers so I can't really give any helpful data points on Ford's pickups if your heart is truly set on a pickup.



#4 mangeface

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 02:18 PM

I think you jinxed me. Lost traction this morning pulling out of a gas station and smoked a curb. Just scraped the rim and knocked out my alignment though.

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#5 Probablytaken

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 10:03 PM

In light pickups, I have to second the Tacoma, you can generally still find a nice SR5 for under $10k I believe.


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#6 Davis

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 10:43 PM

I am personally a Ford guy when it comes to trucks so I would suggest looking for a clean older Ford F-150, you should be able to easily find one in your sub 10K price range. 


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#7 Scuba CN

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 11:32 PM

I think you jinxed me. Lost traction this morning pulling out of a gas station and smoked a curb. Just scraped the rim and knocked out my alignment though.

 

Sorry 'bout that :D ; of course I might not have jinxed you but rather stole your luck this morning when I bulldozed our fixer-upper Excursion through 9 or so inch deep iced-covered snow to bring some firewood round to the basement, and that damn thing doesn't have any power stearing right now so that was a breeze compared to plowing our 900' driveway yesterday :o. I can't wait to get that thing fixed up so I can get that beast out on the road.

 

In regards to this thread's original purpose, Condition Write, the Excursion was bought used for $2500 (I think) from a neighbor but I don't yet know what it will cost to get everything back in tip-top shape so I would guess that it might be around the same price we paid for the Explorer.


Edited by Scuba CN, 06 February 2014 - 11:33 PM.


#8 Direwolf

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:46 AM

I am very pro Jeep.  I think that the Wrangler is one of the best out there(IMHO). Only thing is that it may be too light for driving on ice.


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#9 Condition Write

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 07:30 PM

Gentlemen, thank you very much for the advice.  The Tacoma is definitely at the top of the list - that seems to be a near-universal recommendation in any thread I find on this topic.

 

Mangeface, sorry to hear about my luck being contagious.  Hopefully the alignment job won't be too expensive.  I will confess that I've seen those same episodes of Top Gear UK, and I'm more than a little annoyed that Toyota doesn't sell the Hilux's diesel engine in the US market.  Other than that, are there any sigificant differences between the Tacoma and the Hilux?

 

Direwolf, I hear ya on the Wrangler's off-road capability, but it would be a net loss in cargo space compared to my Outback (which will likely remain in the household as my daily driver for at least another five years).  I'm focusing on a pickup over an SUV for the flexibility of an open bed versus an enclosed cargo bay.


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#10 mangeface

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 07:34 PM

I wouldn't say there's many huge changes between the Tacoma and Hilux. Except that the Hilux (which is still made and sold overseas) has diesel engine options and cosmetic differences.

And no worries, I was just heckling you on the luck factor. I know a local automotive school that can do one for about $20. I'm just hoping I don't have to replace the wheel, as a good deal of metal on the lip was shaved off and may throw the balance off too much.

Edited by mangeface, 08 February 2014 - 07:37 PM.

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#11 DeathwatchDoc

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 07:45 PM

That sucks Mangeface.

I love Top Gear, and the Hilux series of events was awesome. New season starts Monday on BBC America.

Edited by DeathwatchDoc, 08 February 2014 - 07:45 PM.

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#12 Beaucoup VC

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 12:10 AM

I would strongly recommend picking up a first generation, mid model Toyota Tacoma. The first generation Tacoma 4WD from 2000+ had the automatic differential disconnect system. You can pick up a TRD Off-Road or SR5 trim for around your budget. Also, if you want to deviate slightly from the light truck class, you could probably grab a first generation Toyota Tundra Limited 4WD or SR5 4WD for less cash. The curb weight difference isn't that much compared to the Tacoma and still a thousand pounds and some lighter than a domestic half-ton four-by pickup. 

 

I had a 2005 Tacoma SR5 double-cab. That vehicle was amazing.

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You are in a very lucky position to be shopping for 4WD Tacomas!



#13 Direwolf

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:26 AM


Direwolf, I hear ya on the Wrangler's off-road capability, but it would be a net loss in cargo space compared to my Outback (which will likely remain in the household as my daily driver for at least another five years).  I'm focusing on a pickup over an SUV for the flexibility of an open bed versus an enclosed cargo bay.

Yes that is one of the drawbacks.  I started looking into finding an old M416 type trailer I can modify. If anyone knows where I could find one near Orlando, that'd be nice.  If not, I gotta do a little traveling.


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#14 mangeface

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:35 AM

Yes that is one of the drawbacks. I started looking into finding an old M416 type trailer I can modify. If anyone knows where I could find one near Orlando, that'd be nice. If not, I gotta do a little traveling.

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Edited by mangeface, 10 February 2014 - 11:37 AM.

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#15 hcm004

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 08:40 PM

I was in the truck market a few months ago after an accident.  I found a 2001 Land Rover Discovery II with about 88k miles for $4k. I couldn't be happier with it. There's a great community online with a lot of knowledge and experience that will help guide you through any difficulties. There are members on Land Rover enthusiast forums with over 200,000 miles on their trucks, and they're still daily drivers.  I haven't taken mine off-road yet, but I'm looking forward to my first trip in the coming months. Aside from one minor problem when I blew my windshield wiper fuse driving home in 6 inches of snow, it's been smooth sailing (knocking on wood as I type this...).

There's a great post on another forum about what to look for when shopping for Discoveries. I'm wary of posting links to other forums, but I'll be glad to share via PM.  There are a few things to look out for, and certain maintenance that needs to be done between 60k-100k miles which should be checked if you're looking at one.



#16 mangeface

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 06:31 PM

Shoot, I may be looking for a new truck also. Just took mine today to get everything checked out. Holy f*cked. Right front wheel is 1/4" aft of where it should be. Possibilities are the brackets that hold the axle to the frame are bent, the frame is cracked or the axle cracked. I have to take it to a frame specialist to have them investigate. 

 

Found out the bearing for the right front is all but destroyed and my left front is also bad, although bearings in the front wheels of GM trucks are notorious for going bad so I'm not surprised by this.

 

Also had my buddy rebalance all of my tires (needed to be done anyways) and the one that was on the right front needed 11 oz. of weights to balance it out. I have to replace it now, as it's slightly bent and has a 2" crack near the lip.

 

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  :mad:  :mad:  :mad:  :mad:  :mad:


Edited by mangeface, 12 February 2014 - 06:35 PM.

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#17 Davis

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 06:37 PM

Shoot, I may be looking for a new truck also. Just took mine today to get everything checked out. Holy f*cked. Right front wheel is 1/4" aft of where it should be. Possibilities are the brackets that hold the axle to the frame are bent, the frame is cracked or the axle cracked. I have to take it to a frame specialist to have them investigate. 

 

Found out the bearing for the right front is all but destroyed and my left front is also bad, although bearings in the front wheels of GM trucks are notorious for going bad so I'm not surprised by this.

 

Also had my buddy rebalance all of my tires (needed to be done anyways) and the one that was on the right front needed 11 oz. of weights to balance it out. I have to replace it now, as it's slightly bent and has a 2" crack near the lip.

 

  :mad:  :mad:  :mad:  :mad:  :mad:

 

That sucks big time bro... anytime the words "truck" and "maintenance" and "specialist" are used in the same conversation large dollar signs start making my wallet panic!


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#18 mangeface

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 06:44 PM

That sucks big time bro... anytime the words "truck" and "maintenance" and "specialist" are used in the same conversation large dollar signs start making my wallet panic!

Definitely do. I'm waiting on another one of my buddies to call me. He works at a local Toyota dealership and is in charge of the maintenance dept. and also heads outsourcing work that the dealership can't do.

 

If repairs run higher than $750, I'm taking the hit and claiming this with my insurance (which I really see this going over the edge and hitting the $2,000+ mark).


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#19 DeathwatchDoc

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 07:06 PM

Sorry to hear it Mangeface, hope it all works out in your favor.

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#20 Scuba CN

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 10:30 AM

Shoot, I may be looking for a new truck also. Just took mine today to get everything checked out. Holy f*cked. Right front wheel is 1/4" aft of where it should be. Possibilities are the brackets that hold the axle to the frame are bent, the frame is cracked or the axle cracked. I have to take it to a frame specialist to have them investigate. 

 

Found out the bearing for the right front is all but destroyed and my left front is also bad, although bearings in the front wheels of GM trucks are notorious for going bad so I'm not surprised by this.

 

Also had my buddy rebalance all of my tires (needed to be done anyways) and the one that was on the right front needed 11 oz. of weights to balance it out. I have to replace it now, as it's slightly bent and has a 2" crack near the lip.

 

 

 

  :mad:  :mad:  :mad:  :mad:  :mad:

 

Sorry about your truck. No matter how you look at it having the tire out of place like that isn't good, and that tire rim looks pretty bad. Would it be worth throwing the spare on in its place until you can get it in the shop?






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