Good First Diesel Truck

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dcn2112, Nov 27, 2016.

Opinion: Best First Diesel

  1. 1st Gen 12v Cummins

    3 vote(s)
    20.0%
  2. 2nd Gen 12v Cummins

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
  3. 2nd Gen 24v Cummins

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. 6.0l Powerstroke

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
  5. 7.3l Powerstroke

    3 vote(s)
    20.0%
  6. 6.9 IH

    9 vote(s)
    60.0%
  7. 6.5/6.2 GM

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. dcn2112

    dcn2112 Registered User

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    Hi I am looking to purchase my first diesel but I wanted to get some opinions on what would be a good first truck. I don't have tons of money to blow and I would like a truck that's relatively easy to work on. Higher mileage does not scare me. I'm wondering what things I should look for in a prospective truck and things to ask the current owner so I don't end up with a total lemon. I apreciate your help and knowledge!
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
  2. 79jasper

    79jasper Chickenhawk

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    You want a medium Duty? Or a pickup?

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk
     
  3. satx78247

    satx78247 Full Access Member

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    dcn2112,

    ImVho, as a longtime "diesel head", there is NO BETTER first/last PU than a 6.9/7.3 IDI with a manual 4 or 5 speed manual transmission, that is no more than a 2-owner with mileage under 200,000.
    (The PU that I recently purchased/currently own is a 1990 F250 7.3 with ZF & 184,000 actual miles. - I fully expect, absent another wreck that totals it, for it to be the LAST truck that I have to buy.)

    While many here may disagree, the IDI is by far the easiest PU for an owner to maintain themselves. - Cheap to buy, cheap to drive, tough, cheap to maintain & reasonably-priced parts accurately describes the old IDI PUs.

    Imo, their sole weakness is that they are NOT fast.
    - My 1990 will run happily all day at 80MPH in OD & tops out at about 95MPH, according to the TX Highway Patrol.

    yours, satx
     
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  4. Eason

    Eason Full Access Member

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    I have to agree with satx. I have a 1983 F-250, 6.9 4sp, 4wd, and it's been dead reliable. Also have a 92 4wd, auto 7.3 XLT both are regular cabs and the 92 being an XLT is quieter and better on trips with cruise and auto OD but the 83 will out tow it due to the 4 spd. The 83 has 170,000 & the 92 has 187,000 with approx. 30,000 on a rebuild due to a dropped valve.
     
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  5. teletech

    teletech Registered User

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    If you want an inexpensive truck with cheap and easy spares, I'd look really hard at the F-250 with an IDI.
    If you want a truck that will go a bit farther and get better mileage, then it's time to get more serious.

    I've owned one 6.9 (ATS turbo kit) and two 7.3s (N/A). I generally like the engines even if I'm not crazy about replacing the fuel return T-s and O-rings every few years and IPs every 5. I do think they make pretty good engines if you aren't used to diesels. They seem to last most of 400,000 miles if you don't abuse them too much. My 6.9 just might be the most work I've ever gotten out a motor in my life, certainly for the price I paid for the truck.

    All that said, I feel like they are a bit hard to work on when things go wrong. A straight-6 is *much* easier to do head work on for instance... just the one head and you don't have to yank the injection pumps off to pull the head, etc. The IDI motors without a turbo are real dogs on the hills and the turbo kits work but they tend to be a bit kludgey and make it harder to work on the rest of the motor. I gave up on my 6.9 after what I believe is about 390000 (I only put the last 100000 on it and it only goes to 6-figures so I'm guessing) It squirted a head gasket and checking compression and oil pressure the whole motor is tired.
     
  6. satx78247

    satx78247 Full Access Member

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    teletech

    Given the generally LOW prices in IDI PUs, I suspect that it didn't owe you much after 100K.

    Including replacing several parts, I have about 3000.oo in my 1990 Super-Cab.

    yours, satx
     
  7. teletech

    teletech Registered User

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    I mis-spoke, mine is actually an E350 and for whatever reason they are in high demand out in CA and I did put a new GV overdrive in it just before it gave up. Even with all that, the vehicle owes me NOTHING. I just can't decide between a repower and parting it for all the good bits.
     
  8. satx78247

    satx78247 Full Access Member

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    teletech,

    It's very likely worth a great deal more in parts IF you have a place to disassemble the F350 & to part it out.

    ImVho, I'd part it out & then look for another IDI in AZ, NM, NV or TX, where these trucks (even low-mileage/one owner examples) are CHEAP.

    Right now, I know where at least a dozen are here in south TX for 3,000.oo or less & in GREAT condition.

    yours, satx
     
  9. gunz

    gunz Full Access Member

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    I believe you have some misconceptions there. Some things are easier to work on the inline 6. Some are definitely not easier. Don't let simply pulling the head make your decision for you.

    We really need to know how much weight you are pulling and how often you expect to pull that weight to realistically tell you a good truck for your use.
     
  10. IH_Diesel

    IH_Diesel Registered User

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    I am going to suggest you look for a 1999-2002 7.3 Power stroke.
    The idi's are great. But the P.S. are nicer in many ways. First off, still very reliable, 2nd nicer creature comforts.
    Easy to find parts. Reasonably cheap parts, unlike 2003 and newer.
    Plus its in a Ford.I look at the other brands as throw away trucks. They make decent pickup box trailers.
     
  11. IH_Diesel

    IH_Diesel Registered User

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    Oh 2nd thought.
    Check car gurus.
    Get car fax on them.
    You will get an idea pretty quickly how it was taken care of. Check the oil, look underneath it, check for receipts in glove box.
     
  12. satx78247

    satx78247 Full Access Member

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    IH_Diesel,

    Can you tell me HOW the early PS diesels have more creature comforts than the 1992-93 IDI trucks??
    (I would rate my old 1993 IDI as equally comfortable as ANY stock PS pickup & it was MUCH easier to maintain/work on. Further, the IDI engine is easy to run for a very long time on "French fry grease". Had it not eventually "rusted out" from the salt when I was stationed "up North" with the Army, I'd still be driving it.)

    yours, satx
     
  13. IDIoit

    IDIoit MachinistFabricator Supporting Member

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    the first diesel I bought was a 01 7.3 PSD.
    if you want something cheap , easy to work on, and reliable I would not go with a powerstroke.
    you MUST use motorcraft parts, and at 150-250$ per sensor, and 400 bucks to do valve cover gaskets,
    it gets pretty damn expensive, not to mention the 2500 for injectors should you need them.
    and when the CEL comes on, the first thing you need is a scanner.

    I have a 98 E350 with 330k on the clock, that's been a straight beast and has needed nothing but a water pump.
    my 01 SD has needed everything under the sun. with only 189 on the clock.

    IDI's are super cheap, reliable, and I get double the fuel consumption out of the IDI's vs my PSD's.
    they can be built to have the same comfort and power as a PSD, but youre talking lots of work and money.

    I have built my 87 F350, and I get 22 mph doing the speed limit, but I mostly cruise at 80-85, without an issue.

    as far as comforts, the powerstroke wins hands down, the SD line is pure comfort. I love the interior.
    but you can also take that interior and slap it in any other truck.

    I put 96 interior in my 87, and I have the same comfort level as any of the early PS's
    and it bolted right in with the exception of the dash.

    we had a saying in the military...
    choose your rate you choose your fate.

    ideally, I want a 87-91 F350 with a DT 360/466 in it.
     
  14. satx78247

    satx78247 Full Access Member

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    IDIoit,

    YEP. = Inasmuch as I'm about to get an insurance check for my 1990 F-250 extended cab with ZF that was stolen (in broad daylight, btw), I'll be looking for another nice IDI, rather than "something newer".

    yours, satx
     
  15. IDIoit

    IDIoit MachinistFabricator Supporting Member

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    for the price of a decent powerstroke,
    and the same amount I would have lost driving a new vehicle off the lot,
    I built this.

    15723641_1602611263089309_2540097233963541301_o.jpg
     
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