Used Pickup Truck...Advice

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Dec 30, 2003.

  1. I'm in the market for a small used pickup truck. I'm looking for an older model (late 80's to early 90's), 4wd, standard trans. I prefer an older model simply because I have no use for CD players and electric windows and such.
    This will be used for hauling stuff (buckets of manure, gravel, lumber, small stock, etc) on looong road trips, so good gas mileage would be nice. It will also be my just buzzing around town vehicle, so it has to be reliable.
    Anyway, I'm looking for the voice of experience on what's a good small pickup and what to stay away from. Most of the ones I see around here are Ford, Chevy, GMC...a few Mazdas, a few Toyotas...any strong opinions on models/makers to avoid? Thanks.
     
  2. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    S-10s have been good to me. 200k plus with expected maintance. At that point I usually give them to someone for labor so the have a dependable ride to work for me.

    mikell
     

  3. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    you want small 4wd thats iorn tough and pretty simple to keep running well, get a nissan, and avoid the fuel injected Z24 engines if you can, they all have Z24's but the carberated models can be stripped down and better carbs and stuff bolted on, the fuel injected version sare computer controled ignition and fuel delivery min short a pain in the tookas. For a farmin truck, a lil early 80's nissan 720 pickup rocks. and they are so cheap, if you keep your eyes opn you can always pick up another for parts.. or 2. I have had a few and my present one i have clocked over 225k on it and besides the fact the cab is rotting away its a mule... frame is solid, everything is A1. those damn sheep tim boodies rot first, as they all do. if your not real fussy, spray the frame and everything uner it with transmission fliud or light motor oil once a year, it helps keep the rust away. mine was already on its way to rot when I got it so the oil would have made any welding I had planned to do impossible... now I think I should have sprayed it anyhow, i never did have to weld the body up and now its so shot I need a new cab...BUT as an example, i found an 864wd some kid has and he destroyed the top end of the engine by not checking his oil, So his perfect body and drivetrain and my rebuilt engine and new clutch will drop right in, and whala I got a new truck!!
    well my mom does, I needed a bigger one so i'm finishing my old 65 ford 250 up.
    Ive had and know peeople who own toyota pU's from the 80'S and i have worked on them a lot, besides being complicated fuel injected computer controled, they are amazingly long wearing and tough... much tougher than the nissans, the drivetrains are better, but the nissansd are easier to work on.. its a trade off.
    I dont like lil ford rangers, they are underpowered and have weak suspensions if its stock, but you can beef them up.
    others I havent had nor worked on save a few mazdas and I would pay you good money for any otf them... mitsubisi's my sister had, they engine s are junk.. touchy junk. Im not crazy about the s-10 chevys engines, they dont take being overheated at all well, and once is enough to warp the whole damn engine, seen THAT one to many times. Older chevy V 8's are good and solid but thats a full size truck engine.
    and the toyotas and nissans get excellet MPG's when tuned right. my 86 nissan gets 27MPG when its freshly tuned up. the toyotas get a little less, they are geared lower, and they have live axles in front that cause a bit of a drag... unless you find one with lock outs, then thats better.
    Ive decided i will trade the MPG's for solid power and siple cheap repair costs, thus my 65 ford is getting a new lease on its life. it has a piggy 390, but its easier to fix than my garden tractors.... its a "real" truck.

    still, I find it tought to part with my nissan... it nevr ever fails to run, even if it runs badly sometimes it can be kicked ot tweaked to get running smooth with a minimum of $$.
    if you get one first thing to do is trash that stock carb and get an aftermarket holly or weber carb. THEn you can rip ALL the computer driven crap out of it, (well you have to relace the ignition system, minor surgery)
    BUT dont let that scare ya, the stock stuff on it will serve ya for a log time with a minimum of bother...
     
  4. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    Mazda pickups were excellent vehicles if you wanted a bare bones small vehicle. I had a 1988 and it got 35 mpg. Many of the trucks made prior to 1986 had problems with the frame rusting out. And in 1994, Ford destroyed the truck. The last Mazda pickup was built in 1993. Today, there is no such thing as a Mazda pickup. Its a Ford Ranger. It might say Mazda on the truck, but underneath, its ford junk. Obviously the corporate philosophy of Ford is: If you can't build a better vehicle than your competition, buy the company out and destroy it.


    That leaves Nissan & Toyota as your only choices. Both good.

    Chevy, Ford, GM & Dodge all make decent full size trucks. But when it comes to small trucks, they aren't even close.

    With Toyota and Nissan entering the full size truck market, look for the domestic manufacturers to upgrade their products. Competition is good for the consumer.
     
  5. ducktapehero

    ducktapehero Active Member

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    No Hoop, the reason Mazda started rebadging Ford Rangers was because their old trucks were crap and had NO resale value. People weren't buying them because they were losing their ass when they tried to sell them. 1993 was the last year of the old Mazda trucks, 1994 was the 1st year of the rebadged Rangers, go to the kelly blue book website and look at the 1993 2200 and the 1994 2300 with the same options and same miles. I was figuring short bed trucks with 100,000 miles and no options except for am/fm stereo. The 1993 value is $2400 and the 1994 is $3250. Over $800 difference but the difference between the 1992 and 1993 is less than $300. That's why Mazda did what they did. There is nothing wrong with domestic small trucks. If they were junk they wouldn't have sold so well for so long. Check your facts a little better.
     
  6. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    If you can find one of last Toyota 4wd unmodified with solid front axle and carb fuel system in good shape for reasonable price, that is way to go. Since thats next to impossible, Nissans are reliable although I dont know much about their 4wd system. They are a definite bargain pricewise compared to Toyota and their four cylinder is just as durable in my opinion.

    Nobody has spoken positively about Ford Ranger yet. I dont know lot about the early ones, but have some experience with early 90's version with 2.5 4cyl. The 2wd version is geared for economy. Still amazes me to drive one and see tach show 1500rpm at 65mph in 5th gear. Pretty good low end torque. Empty, it will hold highway speed in 5th until you get to BIG hill. 22 to 26 mpg for 2wd version. By way most other manufacturers stopped offering 4cyl with 4wd. Ford has also but held out long time. Thats way I would go if I could find one. Frankly that 2.5 liter engine should be excellent for real 4wd use with its good low end torque. Also that Ford 4cyl is one of cheapest engines to rebuild. and has been around long time. Started out in 2.3 liter version in Pinto back in early seventies. Had some cam lube problems and cylinder scuffing problems in early years but havent heard of this being usual for couple decades now. Its not as high a quality as Toyota or Nissan pickup engines but then you should get 200k with reasonable care. Can also rebuild it twice for what it would cost you to rebuild the Japanese engines once. Couple annoyances. In 2wd first gear is awkward with big load. First gear should be lower in my opinion. Trucks now are designed for urban/suburban use not farm use. Not big deal in 4wd since you have low range. Also like most modern engines, its a pain to do some things. I had to replace leaking oil sender unit for friend. Sounds simple until I tell you I had to remove intake/fuel injection to get to it. There is no excuse for something like that.
     
  7. Herb.

    Herb. Well-Known Member

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    You might want to check the trucks weight limits if you are going to haul or pull very much, you may need to move up to a full size truck. I like the Ford Ranger, Toyota, and Dodge Dakota for small ones. The Chevy's and GMC's don't seem to have engines that hold up well. The Nissan's I know almost nothing about so no opinion. Do not get a Mazda made before Ford got involved with them, afterwards their ok. You can get 1/2 ton trucks in that date range that have a lot more room and comfort but will suffer a little on gas mileage, try to find a large six cylinder or a small V8, may take some "after market" parts but you can get some decent gas mileage from a small Chevy V8 and if you ever have to replace an engine small Chevy V8's and Small Fords are from 1/2 to 1/3 the price of others, especially foreign ones.
     
  8. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Think our government put heavy tariff on light utility vehicles imported with 2 doors. 2 door SUVs suddenly came with 4 doors. As to pickups Toyota and Nissan had the volume to justify building factories here to assemble them and avoid the tariff that way. Mazda and Isuzu didnt have the volume of sales necessary and Ford owns big share of Mazda and GM owns big share of Isuzu so they just relabled the Ranger and S10 and changed grill a bit. Hey the old Chevy Luv was a rebadged Isuzu and Ford Courier a rebadged Mazda. Times just changed a bit and situation reversed. Have no idea how Mitsubishi worked things out. They have car assembly plant here, maybe they assemble trucks there also????? Mitsubishi is large conglomerate so they have resources to do what they want.
     
  9. Thanks guys. Right now I'm looking at a 1990 Mazda 4wd which just came up for sale today. Only 86,000 miles on it, recently replaced cv joints and starter, so hopefully it's in good condition. Taking it for a test drive, visit to my friendly neighborhood mechanic tomorrow. The price is a bit steep, $4,500, but I guess if it's really a good reliable truck I can live with that.
    I am a bit worried about the power for going up hills with a load. I don't plan to haul trailers or anything, but there are two 3,000 foot passes between here and my land and I don't want the truck to whimp out half way up. Guess the only way to find out is by testing it.
    Thanks again for your help. :)
     
  10. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    While I totally believe imports are far superior to anything engineered out of Detroit, that doesn't mean I believe one should pay too much for a used vehicle, regardless of the manufacturer. The price you gave for the Mazda sounded high. Go over to the Kelly Blue Book website at www.kbb.com and see exactly what the trade-in, private party, and full retail prices are for ANY vehicle you are considering. Use these figures to negotiate.

    Competition is great for the consumer and I am happy to see Toyota and Nissan in the full size truck market. My only hope is that Honda also decides to extend there quality line of vehicles to include full size pickup trucks.

    I have long thought that Ford makes the best TV commercials money can buy, while the imports spend there money in engineering. There is no question Ford is the undisputed leader in making the best TV commercials.
     
  11. Yikes...not only was the price on the Mazda too high, it was waaaaay too high. The truck was a junk heap held together by rust and tape, and the registration paperwork revealed that it was one of the newer Ford Mazdas, not a 1990 as the sale sign advertised. Every one of those 86,000 miles must have been off road through salt water swamps. The mechanic just looked at it and laughed.
    Thanks for the link, Hoop. I'll check it out.
    So I'm still shopping. There's a little Nissan out behind the general store under three feet of snow I think I'll ask about since ComfortablyNumb says they're so great. :)
    One more question...have any of you guys put an exhaust header on a small pickup? Are they worth the expense for the increased power and lower mileage? Is it a labor intensive job or relatively quick and simple?
     
  12. johnkl

    johnkl Well-Known Member

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    In fairness to Ford, I drive a ford E-250 van every day for work, We have a fleet of them and several have well over 300,000 miles and a few with almost 500,000 miles, all with original engines and trannies. At our base in Green Bay there are several 99s with over 700,000 miles, also with original engines and some with replacement trannies. The engines are the V-6 and when fairly fresh will deliver gas mileage in the mid twenties.
     
  13. Ohiosteve

    Ohiosteve Well-Known Member

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    Beware of the folks who tout only one make. Brand loyalty is really silly.
    I have had many makes of pickups Ford-Chevy-Mazda and Dodge. The
    only one I wasn't happy with was the Dodge. A far better indicator is its history.
    How was it used and maintained? Considering your needs I would reccomend
    a Ford Ranger with a 3.0 or 4.0 V6. They are snappy little trucks and deliver
    great MPG.
     
  14. Bluecreekrog

    Bluecreekrog Well-Known Member

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    Best car I have ever owned was a Nissan, 15 yrs and it NEVER failed. My GMC pickup is attempting to unseat the Nissan. 10 yrs old and over 200,000 miles. Keep the oil changed!!!
     
  15. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    I have 2 fords now but have had a dakota and several S-10s. I will be getting another S-10 this spring. I only would buy something it's easy to get parts for and fuel injection is the ONLY way to go unless you like working on things.


    mikell
     
  16. mikeg

    mikeg Active Member

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    Find something that costs around 750 to 1000 and run it till it dies. Most any thing that dosn't smoke will last you a year or two. Then sell it for scrap and buy another one, you can do this for several years and save the cost of a new one in ten years. Don't buy from a kid and don't put any big money in it.