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Posted: 7/22/2010 8:35:04 AM EDT
I've never owned a pickup, but family needs dictate we get rid of one of our cars and get a crew cab pickup. I've narrowed down my choices, and we will get either a Ford or Chevy/GMC half ton, gasoline,  4x4 crew/quad cab. The cab needs to have a back seat so I can haul my three kids around (two full size booster seats and one booster seat bottom) as well as a front seat passenger. Dodge is not an option, so don't even bring it up. I have no problems with owning a Dodge, but our family plans include moving to an area with no support for Dodge products, hence we're not getting one.

I'll be buying used and paying cash, up to about$13k-$14k. I see a fair amount of these trucks available, but many have up to 150k miles (for a 2003 to 2005 model year). Obviously the more miles on the truck, the less I pay. How many miles is too much? I'm assuming a five year old car with 150k miles has a lot of highway miles, and the ones I'm seeing look virtually new, so they didn't rack up 30k miles a year at a construction site. I'm not afraid of high miles per se, and new engines are better able to handle higher miles, but how much is too much?

Do the 2003 and newer F-150/CK1500s have any known issues I should be aware of? If taken care of properly, how many miles will these newer style engines do without failure? I won't be doing much towing (if any for now), but some commuting and some minor hauling (sand, boxes, etc..... nothing too heavy). Even if I have to replace an engine in a few years, a new crate engine is only a few g's (last time I checked.....), which I could tolerate if needed. I'd rather go that route and put off the cost in order to get a brand new engine as opposed to spending that money up front for an engine with 75k miles.

Any advice for a first time pickup buyer?
Link Posted: 7/22/2010 9:17:59 AM EDT
[#1]
Inquire about the vehicles towing history.  Compare that with transmission maintenance service.  

Check for the remains of a gooseneck hitch, although I doubt you'll see one in a 1/2-ton.  

Towing can be brutal on transmissions and if the owner never bothered to change the fluid, it could cause problems.

I've always liked GM vehicles, but IMO, the 2004+ F-150s have nicer interiors than their GM counterparts.  

Don't get the V6 in either.  I've found the 4.6L in the Ford to be a bit anemic.  I've never driven or rode in a 4.3L V6 or 4.8L V8 Silverado, even when I worked for a Chevy dealer.  The 4.3L was a pig in the S-10 Blazer, it must be glued to the ground in a Silverado.  The 5.3L is a common engine, but the larger 6.0L and 6.2L really have some power behind them.
Link Posted: 7/22/2010 9:52:00 AM EDT
[#2]
Good info. When I sell my car, I'll take the cash from that plus what I have available and go shopping. I will look for a private party sale first, then hit some of the reputable used dealers if I can't find any private sellers. I'm not the most trusting person, so I doubt I'll get a straight answer from a dealer about the truck's towing history. I'll be sure, regardless, to find out about the transmission maintenance.

I don't plan on towing much, but will use the truck for moving things around that are too big for my car's trunk, which is a lot of stuff. I will get some kind of V8, but I don't know how many engine choices were available for a half ton 4x4.

Being a 4x4, I should be able to get on my hands and knees and look at the undercarriage and see if it's beat up. Are there any visible signs of heavy use that I should look for that the average Joe wouldn't know?
Link Posted: 7/22/2010 10:10:01 AM EDT
[#3]
Quoted:
Good info. When I sell my car, I'll take the cash from that plus what I have available and go shopping. I will look for a private party sale first, then hit some of the reputable used dealers if I can't find any private sellers. I'm not the most trusting person, so I doubt I'll get a straight answer from a dealer about the truck's towing history. I'll be sure, regardless, to find out about the transmission maintenance.

I don't plan on towing much, but will use the truck for moving things around that are too big for my car's trunk, which is a lot of stuff. I will get some kind of V8, but I don't know how many engine choices were available for a half ton 4x4.

Being a 4x4, I should be able to get on my hands and knees and look at the undercarriage and see if it's beat up. Are there any visible signs of heavy use that I should look for that the average Joe wouldn't know?


Don't assume they're all 4x4.  Look for the transfer case control switch and make sure it works.  If this is your first 4x4, just be aware that the driveline will bind on dry pavement.

Look for aftermarket lift kits and wheel spacers.  Look for scrapes on the frame, suspension parts, nerf bars, etc.

Visit the wikipedia pages - that'll tell you what engines were available.

Visit some owners forums and ask about problem areas each model has.
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