Reliable used pick-up trucks

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This isn't quite a home repair question, but it is related. Plus, I knew I could count on the 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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breaksthenews wrote:

Get a mid-70's Chevy C20 with a 350 engine, and have money left over for gas. They are *very* reliable work trucks, and cheap to work on when they break. The only reason I got rid of mine is it finally rusted apart (I assume someone is still driving it anyway.) It got 15 MPG, which is about the same as my 2001 Chevy half-ton that is /supposed/ to get over 20.
Bob
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I bought a 98 Mazada B2500 with 36K miles on it about 6-7 years ago. It's the 2WD/Manual Transmission, 4 Cylinder, extended cab version, and it's now got 175K+ miles on it.
It's been great, I've had to replace the shocks, a couple of the front steering components, and 2 sets of tires, and that's about it. You could probably find a late 90's now for your price range.
They are made in the same factory as the Rangers, and it's pretty much the same truck.
M.
It's the same truck as the Ford ranger.
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wrote:

I also had a Mazda with long bed for over 20 years - was super reliable but no power.
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breaksthenews wrote:

The nice thing about pickups is they are (generally) built sturdier than autos by the same maker. That is, don't judge pickups by the same expectations you would have for a car. A ten-year old pickup is probably in the same shape as a five-year old car. You should be okay with just about any (assuming the usual cautions).
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For used vehicles, I think reliable is defined not so much by the vehicle as by the kind of mechanic who works on your cars. If you get your work done by the dealer, nobody important is familiar with the history of your car. The service writer is a salesman, so he's not important to you. You have no relationship with the mechanic. On the other hand, if you've got a good independent shop where you can deal directly with the person who'll work on your car. So, for example, when my 92 Taurus began to melt down in 2004, my mechanic said "Yeah, I could fix it, but knowing the way you are, and knowing the next 3 things that are likely to break, you should be looking for a new car."
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

Hmm. I get my truck worked on by the dealership. Their computer keeps track of every smidgen ("Replaced door weather-stripping"). This accomodates both porus memories and porus borders.
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Between the 1980s and the mid 1990s we used to buy used Toyotas and used them daily for a small business. We had had good satisfaction and reliability in this harsh corrosive and long winter climate climate. Although wiring was occasionally a problem. Then we bought a brand new 1992 Toyota pick up and in a few years it became a disappointment. Engine sensor etc. wiring problems. Strange because other Toyotas (cars) owned by other family have been excellent.
In 1997W we bought a a used 1995 Nissan (30,000 miles), our first extra cab pickup. Not much extra cab room but you could squeeze in a couple of people and or children for a few mile trip and/or excellent for keeping your tool boxes locked in the cab behind the two front seats.
We also acquired a well used 1991 Nissan (plain cab) It was the best vehicle, not only truck, that we have EVER owned. Four cylinder, manual 2WD pickup. It had no extras whatsoever. No power steering, one speed wipers, no radio, no fancy locks or electric windows; further it had been manufactured in Japan and never had even the few minor problems that the 1997 manufactured/assembled in the USA has had. e.g. the wiper linkage broke! Economical, good load hauler and simple to maintain. It's only concession to modernity was fuel injection controlled by engine computer and a catalytic converter.
We were the fourth owner of the 91. A year later the third owner wanted to buy it back again being dissatisfied with their brand new vehicle! We wish we could buy that 1991 again! Maybe the Chinese or the Koreans will eventually make a good simple cheap truck?
It finally rusted out in 2003 a with some 300,000 kilometres (about 200,000 miles) having cost us a total of less than $6000 to acquire and do maintenance, spare winter wheels and tyres, which included a new paint job when we got it, but not including insurance, registration or insurance and operating costs. We used it for a small business and for my son to drive daily to technical college for over three years. We used it for about six years and then 'threw it away' for an average cost of less than $80 per month.
The latest vehicle is a 2002 Nissan Frontier V6, a gas hog compared to the 4 bangers and with more unnecessary gadgets and gizmos than needed. It is also very low geared (for hot acceleration maybe?) Just more to go wrong and affect the environment! Although very reliable; the dealer is 'So-so'; one problem being they handle many brands. We might buy Nissan but probably not this style truck, again.
We mention all this because one neighbour has and oldish 1993 or 95 GMC S-15 which has a 4.6? V6. It's gas consumption is about same as our newer Nissan V6, he hardly ever drives it, so few repairs. Another neighbour family has two full size GMC V8s both pretty new and seems to spend a lot more on repairs than we ever do. Their two trucks are used on road to and from work. Never for hauling on-site construction materials or towing etc. But every few months they have to do work on either the brakes or the front suspension/steering. Based on that we would stay away from GMC/Chevrolet.
If the smaller pickup is OK buy a good used (and simple) Japanese product.
Nissan and Toyota are now into newer bigger pickups (Titan etc.); not familiar with them and while both reputed to be good IMHO still somewhat unproven?
Our 2 cents.
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terry wrote: ...

Have multiple Chevy C15/20's which _do_ get used for heavy farm work and driven on nothing but gravel roads -- need brake job on the '98 sometime in the foreseeable future, but that will be the first. '99 not yet. Other than an alignment once on the 4x4, nothing needed done on the front end (or anything else, for that matter). Had nothing _but_ Chevy trucks since granddad got the first motorized truck on the place (a '28 wooden spoke wheel little flat bed that I learned to drive in in the mid-50's) and not one has ever been a maintenance hog. And, we work the snot out of 'em. Only moderately unsatisfactory one was the mid-70s body style that was so prone to rust-out.
Everybody has their preferences, of course, but I certainly can say our/my experience w/ GM is topnotch. Probably more farm pickups out here are now Dodge than GM, but the oil patch folks are Chevy/Ford, I'd guess in that order but they buy in fleet-buy bid purchases, not as individuals.
--

--

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there's been a lot of F-150 fires....
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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On Fri, 6 Jul 2007 18:15:00 -0400, "Charles"

Me either. My '94 Bronco did have a recall for the cruise control. Apparently, a fire could start even without the engine running. We were advised to not even park near/close to the home - like in a garage. They disconnected the wire and had no solution at the time. I still have to take her in for the fix, at no cost..
-- Oren
"My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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several people have lost their homes when their F-150 ignited in their garages. there was a big recall for a bad cruise control switch.
--
Jim Yanik
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Quite a statement - "several people"?
Please tell me where I can verify this.
Frankly, I think you are full of BS.
Bob-tx
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http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/flaming_fords_suit.html http://www.rvappraisals.com/ford-fires.htm http://www.wesh.com/news/4419420/detail.html http://www.vehicle-injuries.com/ford-150-fire.htm http://www.fordfires.com/ford_cruise_control_switch_fires/index.html http://www.kerrysteigerwalt.com/public/f150-recall/garagefire.html http://www.poynter.org/dg.lts/id.2/aid.77582/column.htm http://www.autosafety.org/article.php?scid 9&did33
That enough? there's more if you really want,or you can Google them yourself.
where have you been,in a cave or somewhere where there's no news?
--
Jim Yanik
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Interesting article. Among other things, it reveals a reason why one or more designers should be taken to a dark alley for a Sopranos-style beating:
A Ford spokeswoman said that without the F-150, there's no way of knowing whether the switch was responsible. "It is critical to investigate the fire scene before responsibly reaching a conclusion about the cause and origin of the fire," said Kristen Kinley of Ford.
Excuse me? Why would a cruise control switch have power going to it when the vehicle is shut off?
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On Sat, 07 Jul 2007 20:53:36 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"

I ask myself this exact question. Oren, why are they doing this and telling me not to park near or in the garage? A fire may start!!?
With the engine OFF..
Search recall for a 1994 Eddie Bauer Bronco cruise control.
The work is under the hood....!
-- Oren
..through the use of electrical or duct tape, achieve the configuration in the photo..
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Jim Yanik wrote:

Wow! Do you think my Pinto's safe?
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Bob wrote:

Make : FORD     Model : F150     Year : 1995 Manufacturer : FORD MOTOR COMPANY      NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number : 05V388000     Mfr's Report Date : SEP 07, 2005 Component: VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL Potential Number Of Units Affected : 3800000
This from a search at NHTSA. Don't know how many actually had house fires in addition to vehicle fires and NTHSA doesn't report the numbers of actual incidents in these summary reports (but I presume you can probably find that data if you care to look/ask), but I do remember the story on the news when a couple of years ago...
--
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wrote:

Start with your government:
http://www.recalls.gov /
-- Oren
..through the use of electrical or duct tape, achieve the configuration in the photo..
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My F150 is just about dead. took (2-3)00,000 miles to do so. was at over (1-2)80k when i bought it.
for $400.00 took it to a good shop and had them do $800.00 of work on it. then drove it for 5+years
Dad has only had F150 trucks while i've been alive. all went over 200k before he sold them off.
my next truck will be another F150
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