Reliable used pick-up trucks

I know this isn't quite a garden question, but it is related. And I wanted to draw upon the sizeable collective wisdom of this group.
I am looking to buy a small to medium used pick-up truck between now and next May. I've only got about $3,000 to $4,000 to spend, but I'm hoping to squeeze about five good years out of this truck until I can get a good full-time job.
I've heard Toyota Tacomas are good trucks, but those seem kind of expensive, even in the 1996-1997 model years. Ford Rangers look pretty good, but I don't know how reliable they are.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
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On Fri, 06 Jul 2007 19:42:21 -0000, breaksthenews

There are truck conferences you can check. The word "reliable" and "used" should not be in the same sentence. When buying a vehicle over 5+ years set aside $3000 for repairs. Tacomas hold value longer than Ford Rangers, and they do have better reliability. Look for less than 50,000 miles. One less repair with a 2-wheel drive (if you can find one). The Honda truck is well-built (but ugly). Stay away from Dodge and Chevy or any vehicle driven by a teen. Spend $200 for a mechanic look-over. Check repos at credit unions/banks.
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Tacomas are awesome (hubby has a 1998) but I love my Ready Ranger. It's a 2001, and I drive it daily. It's been very reliable. I think I have about 98,000 on it right now.
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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look at my reply in the other group.
for those here. my 1986 F150 died finaly at 200k+ miles(might be 300, old odometer)
i'd fix it, but i got my $400(plus $1000 in mechanic work) out of it. looking at another F150
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On Fri, 06 Jul 2007 19:42:21 -0000, breaksthenews

My boys have had two Rangers, yeah I know, they were teenagers.
Both trucks rolled when they slid into ditches, yeah, I know, they were teenagers.
One was an '86 Ranger, the other was a '93 ranger. Don't know if they have changed the wheel base width since then or not, but they were narrow enough and top heavy enough that they rolled when a wider truck likely wouldn't have.
Pretty cramped if you have any size to you.
Older Yoders (toyotas) are still going around these parts, even some mid to late eighties models, with going on and over two hundred thousand on them. Kinda rusty, but Joe Bageant would love 'em.
Charlie
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Charlie wrote:

my step-dad and i love his little ranger. my mom & sis do too. man, if i could only fit two car seats in it. I had a chevy s-10 extended cab limited edition '97. loved that thing too. lost it when a car side-swiped me and sent me flying. flipped 6 times, it's a wonder i lived.........
oh yeah, i was a teenager then too.
rae
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Charlie expounded:

I have never, ever heard of anyone having problems with rolling Rangers. Methinks they were driving a bit too fast.....

Well, I'll have to disagree. I have the extended cab (but still two doors), and I've had my 6'4" 280 lb husband in the front seat, and my 6'5" and 6' sons in the jump seats. *That* was cramped <G>
I find there's more room in that Ranger than in hubby's extended cab Tacoma.
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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Yeah I've driven Rangers my whole life, absolutely love those trucks. Doesn't mean I wouldn't drive an S-10 or Colorado or whatever Chevy calls them these days. I stick to American vehicles only, but Toyota does make excellent trucks no doubt about it. For home repair and light yard detail my Ranger pickup is perfect, the engine is solid, the bed will hold a 4x8 sheet of drywall or plywood, and it will haul 10 6x6 treated raised garden bed posts.
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On 7/7/07 9:54 AM, in article e9WdnSqc7N1gBxLbnZ2dnUVZ snipped-for-privacy@comcast.com,

I'd be very careful with Ford trucks now. The old maintenance schedule and the newer ones are hugely different. Spark plugs are now on the schedule at 100K miles. Too bad the spark plugs only last 5OK miles and frequently self destruct. A lot of the changes are aimed at bringing you in for big buck repairs instead of scheduled maintenance....
I'm never buying another Ford product once I dump my previously loved F150
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Not to you, Cheryl, but anyone who pays attention to those ridiculous maintenance schedules deserves to have their vehicle die on them. I'm still a firm believer in 3,000 mile oil changes and spark plug changes at around 40K. You're absolutely right, they're trying to get you for repairs, letting maintenance slip that long will definitely bring in the business.
As far as using dealers for maintenance, surely you jest! <G> They don't call them stealers for nothing.
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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On 7/7/07 12:58 PM, in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com,

was on top of things and would give a heads up for things that weren't quite right. And frankly, I assumed the spark plugs were changed at 50K, just like my Ranger's were. Heck I'm now wondering if the filters were changed or just blown out. (I paid for the "new filters" option.)
Cheryl
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You do what makes you feel comfortable, its only a truck, but I have more confidence in the newer Fords now than I ever have. I won't be getting rid of my 2000 for another 10 years, unless something expensive finally breaks, but even then I'll still probably keep it and drive something else to work and use it for dirty jobs. The owner's manual is the vehicle's Bible, the person who wrote it knows more about that particular model than anyone else - including that crusty mechanic who still works on his Hudson, and it doesn't matter what he thinks.
As to the maintenance guide, well that's another story. But I hazard every vehicle in the known universe has plenty of outrageously expensive tips for you - where do you think the dealer and the manufacturer makes its money? I've taken a look at the Honda one, not exactly a cheap high by any means! They're just vehicles, religious belief in one is silly, use what works for you.
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Teeenage boys driving too fast? surely not. ;-)

I can imagine! Packing all of us in our standard size extended cab now is a problem. Yeah, yeah, I know, it isn't the greenest machine to be driving, but seriously, we drive it less than 3000 miles per year. We just don't go much of anywhere anymore and work is where we live, so...

Both Rnagers were the standard cabs, they were tight.
sounds as if your guys are about the size of all us guys. I'm 6'3" and both boys have me by at least an inch. I have them on the weight thing, unfortunately. :-(
Charlie
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wrote:

Datsun had their s**t together back in the day. We drove a '76 B210 Hatchback in our early married years until the boys outgrew the backseat. Sold that little baby with 190,000 on it and stll going strong. 42 mpg highway.......
Charlie
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On Jul 6, 8:43 pm, Charlie wrote:

that problem
unless yer a teenager :)
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