OT: trucks

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Have a leased 2003 Ranger of which I am going to be looking for a replacement in about a year. Have been considering a van (Freestar). I carry wood and other things that I am concerned would tear up a van's interior. I have not found any good "bed liners" for a van. I am concerned about being able to carry what I do now. However, carrying bicycles was better with a van and it was easier to carry things I did not want exposed. Anyone have a van now and can compare how it services them vs. a Ranger sized truck?
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John,
I have always been a Ford truck owner, so I am not sure of the other brands. I think it will mainly depend on what you plan to haul in the truck no matter which vendor. If you are not planning on anything more than sheet goods, I would recommend a F-150 (1/2 ton) truck. Personally, I decided to go for a F-250 that has a much beefier 1 ton suspension. There are times when I carry well over a ton in the back of this truck, so it makes sense to go to the larger capacity of the 3/4 ton truck.
IMO, going with a heavier duty truck you will foresake smoothness of ride. I will admit, a friends 2004 F-350 rides smoother than my 96' F-250, but on the whole it will not ride as smooth as it is designed to carry heavy loads. They ride much better when loaded down. Most of the time, an F-150 would be fine for what I do with the truck.
As for the extended cab as well as the automatic and cruise control, I highly recommend them not only for comfort and space for kids, but also in an extended cab, you can store more vaulables / things you want to keep out of the weather (depending on your bed cover). Taking the truck on longer trips to visit family has proven to be very fruitful in getting rid of stuff from our house and not having the entire family crammed in the front of the truck makes it much nicer. We picked up a portable DVD TV by Sylvania ($169) that let's the kids watch movies on the longer trips.
Since you are not looking to buy new, I would assume you have a set budget limit in mind. I searched www.autotrader.com for a couple of months until I found what I wanted in my price range. If you widen the search to nation-wide, you can find some incredible deals, you just have to be willing to go and get the truck.
Hope this helps,
David
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A couple of things to think about...
Why a truck? If you aren't needing it day-to-day than it is a cost that might not be needed. Rent them when you need them. Seriously, look at the number of times you use it in a year and do the math. Include gas costs Vs. a car.
Why not an SUV? I have an explorer (company provided) the new ones are 48" internal width. With both back seats folded down, sheet goods hang out about 20 inches. When I'm not hauling sheet goods, the fully enclosed space means that whatever I'm running errands I don't have to worry as much about crap getting stolen out of the back.
Another consideration, get a car AND an old, cheap pickup. Liability only on the pickup, use only when needed. Regular cab will work just fine, and you can get the long bed.
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John T wrote: snip

Sounds like you need to consider a few things. A supercab isn't enough room once the legs start to grow, so a crewcab would be a better idea. If you need to drag large objects behind you, you'll probably want a F-250 or the compettitors rather than a F-150. Balancing things to make over-long boards stay in the bed is a bad idea, an 8' bed is a better idea, that gives you 10' with the gate down. Buying a used vehicle is always dicey, wait until the dealers are getting rid of the old models and bet a basic vehicle instead.
My two sense, Dave in Fairfax
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Dave Leader
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I bought a GMC Sierra 1500 extended cab, with the towing package, summer of 1999. It got a new tranny after 343 total miles. Since then, 137,000 miles later, NO major mechanical work needed. Couple of power window related issues, one of them probably related to the lowlife that decided he needed my son's wallet from the driver's door pocket. I'd buy another one. And I've owned GMC or Chevy pickup trucks for 40 years. But I'm not a contractor - just a homeowner.
Semi-on topic: A couple of Saturdays ago, a fellow from the woodworker's club responded to a posting I had for an extra firedoor/new benchtop to give away. He wants to know how large it is, so he can take it home in the trunk of his car. I offer to put it in the truck, and take it to his place, since he's only 10 miles away or so. No. he thinks it will be all right.
Shows up with, and we load it into the trunk of, a Mercedes S600. The big V12 model. It only hangs out maybe 30". Red flag, bungees, and Bob's etc.
So get what you want to drive. Kids fit fine in the back of an extended cab truck. At least until they are teenagers.
Patriarch
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On Tue, 08 Mar 2005 12:55:19 -0600, John T

I (legally) hauled some 16' long 8" x 12" timbers in my '86 Suburban by dropping the tailgate and rear seats and sticking the beams betwwen the bucket seats up against the windshield. Couldn't have moved them with a PU. But I digress...

All of the manufacturers call them about the same thing. With four full-sized doors, they're "crew cabs" with no or smaller doors, they're extra cabs, or extended cabs.
I know more about GMs since I've owned several and am a GM retiree so I get preferential pricing on new ones. The truck "belongs to" SWMBO and the Camaro is "mine." She likes, and feels safer in, her big vehicle. "Her" current truck is a '98 Chevy 2500HD, 4X4, extended cab/short bed (6 1/2'), with a 454 cid and 4L80E transmission. She would like a full crew cab that would be more comfy for guest passengers. Don't blame her, but I would want to stay with a short bed cuz my workshop shares space with the vehicles and a workbench and drill press would have to move to get a long bed truck in the garage.
We also tow a 23' fifth wheel trailer, so towing capacity is a concern for us too. We looked at a 2004 Silverado but it only had a 6 liter engine and frankly SWMBO preferred her truck. I am tempted to look at a Ford V-10, although have not done so yet.
I personally would not ever consider a Dodge, nor would I be socially irresponsible and buy a diesel of any stripe. (The first stage of exhaust filtration on diesels should be to run the exhaust into the cab before releasing it into the atmosphere.) To diesel owners who would like argue this point I make the following offer. *You* can drive my Camaro with the t-tops off and windows down and *I* will drive your truck. We will drive side-by-side in traffic and do a few stop and goes at traffic lights. Unfortunately for you I will remove my firearms from the car before doing this experiment.
Used trucks are a bargain at the moment, since new ones are coming with so many incentives. One other reason we didn't buy the new one was the low-ball trade-in offer.
Check the NHTSA web site for gripes for any vehicles that you might consider. For example the brakes on my truck suck and it's a birth defect, seeming beyond GM's capability to fix. Likewise an engine (454) knock problem at cold start. GM transmissions (the "E"s) however, are almost bullet proof to my knowledge. They self-diagnose and self-protect nearly flawlessly.
If you are considering serious towing then don't skimp on GVWR or horsepower. Too many folks are towing with too much tail and too little dog. Also consider that you have a couple of little ones and a couple of mpg difference isn't important if a larger vehicle offers more safety.
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Any of the Chevy's or Fords from 98 or so come in the "extended cab" and all are fairly easy to find in just about any configuration. The crew cab comes with a FULL four doors and the extended cabs come with the partial doors and I don't find the partial doors to be any show stopper. The full crew cabs get TOP money on resell.
Small kids like yours will do fine in a "standard" extended cab.
I would not fool with the "smaller trucks" since you can get a full size for about the same money.
John T wrote:

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Tue, Mar 8, 2005, 12:55pm (EST-1) snipped-for-privacy@charter-for-hire.net (JohnT) eclaims: The ol' minivan needs service again. Me and the wife are seriously considering trading in one of our cars for something newer (the car is a '95 grand-am, the van a '96 windstar). <snip>
My daily driver is a '79 GMC pickup. The "new" truck is a '80 Chevy Luv, if the kid ever finishes working on the damn thing, that is. But, he has a "modern" truck, that if he ever gets rid of, I want first dibs on, a '86 Suburban 4X4. There's a nice truck for sale in town I'm thinking about checking on, '60s Chevy pickup, shortbed, stepside, 4X4. And, once the garage gets up, I'll be working on my '69 VW. That stoped making good looking vehicle long ago.
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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"John T" <said

I have a 2003 Chevrolet crew cab, 4x4 dually. All the comforts of home. Honda just introduced the new Ridgeline. It looks like a scaled down Avalanche.
Used trucks are difficult to find in good condition, many times there are programs available on new trucks that make it easier to afford.
Check with your local dealer for current programs before getting your mind set.
Dave
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<snip>

One of the reasons I buy trucks is that I believe that they generally will go 200k+ miles, before becoming economically non-viable.
The fact that I can haul my hobbies stuff: tools, lumber, gardening crap, dump run, etc. is pretty much gravy.
That said, the next vehicle is a convertible. I missed the midlife crisis thing. My wife says I get a convertible as a reward for keeping her. (I think the best reward is that I don't HAVE to replace her.)
Patriarch
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"Patriarch"

Shiney new Corvette?
Dave
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<snip>

Naw. Prolly Euro something. Gotta have a place for golf clubs and a weekend bag. And fit a big guy. Mebbe an Audi.
Patriarch
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Tue, Mar 8, 2005, 8:10pm (EST-1) snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcast.dot.net (Patriarch) says: Naw. Prolly Euro something. Gotta have a place for golf clubs and a weekend bag. And fit a big guy. Mebbe an Audi.
Well, Hell. If all you wants to haul is a set of clubs for cow pasture pool, do it with style and class.
http://www.strangevehicles.com/images/content/105107.jpg
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote in

That's truly unfortunate...
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Wed, Mar 9, 2005, 10:15am (EST-1) snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcast.dot.net (Patriarch) says: That's truly unfortunate...
Nah, it's not an early Vette, but it is a replicat of the original show car Nomad wagon.
You want a real Vette wagon, here you go.
http://www.vettewagon.com/hammock/hammock_1.jpg
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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On Thu, 10 Mar 2005 02:02:48 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

===================================The Nomad replica would be welcome in my Garage ...the 80-82 Vette wagon (could not tell the exact year) would never be in my Garage.... (I have room one one more & am looking)
Bob Griffiths 68 SS 396 Chevelle 62 64 72 76 & 95 Corvettes
Oh...I drive a Dodge Dakota every day....makes this on topic lol and itb hauls lumber then any of the others...
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I have wanted a truck for a long time. Due to periods of unemployment I put it off. Now that gasoline will likely reach $3 a gallon, I'm more likely to keep my Honda Civic and pay for an occasional delivery or truck rental. Glad my PM 66 does not use gasoline!
On Tue, 08 Mar 2005 20:10:32 -0600, Patriarch

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Tue, Mar 8, 2005, 4:14pm (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@teamcasadot.org (TeamCasa) wonders: Shiney new Corvette?
OK.
http://hvtm.totalcar.hu/car/m/chevrolet/136277.jpg
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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On Wed, 9 Mar 2005 01:58:41 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

But that's not an 8' bed. :-(
Bill Waller New Eagle, PA
snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net
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Wed, Mar 9, 2005, 7:01am snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (BillWaller) laments: But that's not an 8' bed. :-(
No, that's the sport model. To get the 8' bed, you move up to the 3 axle model, but then the flame job is not an option.
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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