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Old 08-26-2013, 11:53 AM   #21
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Go find a 2007-2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD.
Awesome Fuel economy
Small/Easy to maneuver
3.0L CRD Mercedes Diesel engine (Easy to work on)
Will tow ~6500lbs with ease

The budget part will be the rough one here...but could be possible.

Even a Jeep Liberty CRD might do the trick for you but would be maxed out towing camper/miata....
example: http://lancaster.craigslist.org/cto/4021962301.html
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:15 PM   #22
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Even a Jeep Liberty CRD might do the trick for you but would be maxed out towing camper/miata....
No. Just no. Stay away from Liberty. All years, all models. Trust me, I learned the hard way, and I didn't even get shafted nearly as badly as most people.

Jeep Liberty is one of the worst vehicles of all time. Do not get one, even as a gift.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:20 PM   #23
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I absolutely HATE the Liberty. I'm a sucker for a diesel engine in pretty much anything but I really do need to stick with pickups in this case. No SUVs or vans.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:20 PM   #24
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The axles and other components are pretty rusty but the frame looks great with the exception of one spot shown in the 2nd photo.
That frame looks perfect for a truck that old. Around here, you get rust worse than that in 3-5 years if it hasn't been washed weekly.

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It has a brake controller mounted on the dash so I assume it was used for some serious towing.
Brake controllers are also used for small trailers. Like utility models and pop-ups. Just because it has a controller doesn't really mean anything. I have one for my 2000# camper, because it makes it so much nicer to tow with one. I wouldn't let that color your decision much.
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:26 PM   #25
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Any Tundra experts out there (Sixshooter sounds like you are one)?

I'm still on the lookout for a truck, and am getting very serious. I test drove two first gen Tundras this weekend. One was beat up pretty good and he was asking way too much for what it was, so I'm not going to bother wasting any more time with him.

The second one I looked at is a 2003 with 98,300 miles on it. SR5, access cab, towing package, power windows/locks, plastic bedliner. It's in decent shape. It has some scratches, dents, and a dashboard rattle but it's a 10 year old truck. The frame was inspected and sprayed (not replaced) by a local Toyota dealership. The axles and other components are pretty rusty but the frame looks great with the exception of one spot shown in the 2nd photo.

They have no records of a timing belt change so it's probably overdue and this is an interference engine. It has a brake controller mounted on the dash so I assume it was used for some serious towing.

I think by 2003 most of the issues other than the frame had been worked out (brakes, exhaust manifold and transmission) but it's hard to say how hard the trans has been worked in the past. It didn't shift smooth as butter but it wasn't rough either. I think it's probably typical based on the other Tundra I drove.

What's its real value?
Edmunds will tell you what the value is. I can't tell you much about that. I can tell you that the little bit of rust on the axle is not important. The frame rust doesn't look terrible either. I would strip it to bare metal and treat it to make the surface inert and prevent any future progression, but it looks okay. It sounds like your access cab SR5 will be very similar to mine. Mine had 108k when I first changed the timing belt and 218k the second time. It has 228k now and is tight and great.
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:39 PM   #26
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Yeah there is a huge gap between Edmunds TMV (~$7,758) and KBB ($13,037) which really is strange. I'm used to some difference but not that much.

Is the timing belt difficult to DIY? I've only ever done one on my miata.
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:47 PM   #27
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Mid 90's single cab 8' bed cummins 2500 ram.
Then again, you live near me, so you obviously understand that diesel trucks are the new Honda civics. Every high school kid near us has one with a bully dog kit on it and they "coal" everything and thing they have hotrods.
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:32 PM   #28
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Yeah there is a huge gap between Edmunds TMV (~$7,758) and KBB ($13,037) which really is strange. I'm used to some difference but not that much.

Is the timing belt difficult to DIY? I've only ever done one on my miata.
I would expect 9 to 10k ish. Isn't TMV trade-in value? That'll be less than retail.

The timing belt is easier than on the Miata. If you get the belt from Toyota it will have labels, marks, and arrows for the left cam, right cam, and crank pulley to help line everything up right the first time. And the factory belts are reasonably cheap and long-lasting.
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:44 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
I would expect 9 to 10k ish. Isn't TMV trade-in value? That'll be less than retail.

The timing belt is easier than on the Miata. If you get the belt from Toyota it will have labels, marks, and arrows for the left cam, right cam, and crank pulley to help line everything up right the first time. And the factory belts are reasonably cheap and long-lasting.
Good to know!

BTW the Edmunds TMV is the True Market Value. That figure was the TMV for private party sale.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:31 PM   #30
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Just a little food for thought.

My dads 96 Silverado has over 300k miles on it. It just has the gas 5.7l and has always used dyno oil, and a fram filter. Has towed the boat and camper it's entire life as well as a daily commute. The trans had to be rebuilt around 270k but honestly that says something. The 4L60E is one of the weaker "short" transmissions GM had at the time, though all the chevy fanboys will swear by it and say it's the best one on earth.

Either way, the truck just goes and goes and goes. Weather it's 0F out, or 100+ towing the boat. It just does it's job and doesn't complain.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:34 PM   #31
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Adam, did I mention that my 2000 silverado has 194,000 miles + on it? I had the trans rebuild about 30,000 miles ago...that's about the only major thing it took. You know how I abuse that thing too...pulling jeeps on a car trailer to VW, hauling over 1 ton making the truck want to pop a wheelie. I abuse that truck, and I'll swear by GM. Not that I'm saying "go buy a truck like mine". I'm just telling you what to expect if you'd buy one.
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:31 PM   #32
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Ive been looking for a DD. Ive been looking at S197s and other sporty cars and the other day my dad picked up an 93 suburban to replace his old one that I wrecked years ago. He loved that truck and when i wrecked it it had just over 300K. After on his new one for him, I gave up on owning another sporty car and just want to find another OBS GM truck, they are such good trucks, cheap to keep running, super useful, reliable, and cheap to buy. Everyone I know that has had one liked it. They are getting hard to find clean though

I had a 96 Z71 that I beat the hell out of. Outside of killing a few transmissions due to a shitty rebuild, it was dead nuts reliable and I sold it with 296K miles.

Really the only common problems with the OBS (old body style) GM trucks, is idler arms and pitman arms (easy), ball joints on 4wds they dont fail often but they are a bitch to do(all the big 3s 4WD trucks need ball joints occasionally with ford having the highest failure rate), and transmissions (they are hit and miss as said earlier but one good rebuild which arent expensive and your done).

Pops lucked out, bought this one without even a test drive, got it for less than 4K, has 100K miles and I just checked it out today, brakes are new, ac works, 4wd engages quickly, front end is tight, even the alignment is in spec, rides and drives well.

Bought it like this.


No thank you sir. Saturday I pulled off some of the decals on the sides.

Still needed to pull off the running boards and the lower stickers. Which by the way were 20 yrs old and each one was a separate stripe. took lots of heat, elbow grease, and many burnt finger tips.
Final Product.


Plans are later style grille, GM flares, 285/75s/16s, brush guard, bilsteins, and maybe a small lift.
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:47 PM   #33
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I've had...

3) 22R Toyota trucks all sold with > 250k all good trucks

96 Ford F250 truck
97 GMC 2500 van
2001 Ford F250 7.3 diesel 4x4 truck
2005 Chevy 2500 diesel 4x4 truck
2010 Dodge 2500 diesel 4x4 truck

All of these vehicles had their pluses and minuses. None were "better" than the others, just different. Find a well taken care of truck and you'll probably be fine.

Unless your in Flordia or Kansas (didn't look) I'd stay away from anything not full sized. Six months from now your neighbor may want to sell you his totally bitchen enclosed 26' trailer with a fully prepped track car in it for $3000. You won't want to pass this up because your Tacoma wont pull it. Or at least he says you can borrow it, it's nice to have the ability to do it if you want.

Lastly, regarding KBB and Edmunds values. I only use these as starting points. For instance KBB's value for a 2007 Subaru Forester XT with a 5 speed is WAY lower than its going rate, due to the cars fanatic following. I like to do a very large, sometimes even country wide search for the vehicle I'm interested in on Autotrader etc. to get an idea of what people are asking for. To me, this is a better indicator of a cars value.

Last edited by dstn2bdoa; 08-28-2013 at 03:31 AM.
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:19 PM   #34
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Thanks everyone.

With all this Chevy talk in mind, I test drove a 1994 K1500 tonight with an extended cab at 5.7L and automatic. The thing drove like a ocean going vessel navigating a barnyard.

I wasn't very impressed with how it drove, stopped, or the power behind the old throttle body 350. Thirdgen's got me convinced to look at 1999+ if I'm looking at GM pickups, if nothing else, for the better engine. I've driven an early 2000s Silverado 2500 and it handled a lot better then the wore out one I drove tonight, so I know it's possible to not hate the handling every GM truck.
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:24 PM   #35
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I'd stay away from anything not full sized.
Noted! I've ruled out Frontier and Tacomas, even though they are great trucks, just because I don't want to leave any towing/hauling capacity on the table.
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:52 PM   #36
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I can no longer recommend a Tundra. My 2001 with 228k+ miles just had a failure of the factory cassette deck which necessitated the purchase of a replacement off of ebay for $25. I am so ashamed.

Meanwhile, I delivered a 4,000 lb scrap handling grapple with my Tundra yesterday on a 2,000 lb trailer. It was a little over gross weight, but I made it.



Yep, that's a full size Ford conversion van.
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:51 PM   #37
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Ok, time to close the loop on this thread. I bought a truck.

But it was nothing like I intended, most of the criteria in post #1 went out the window. I just couldn't see selling the Vibe, its too good of a car and I need a useful and economical car a whole lot more often than a gas hog truck. So, I decided to keep the Vibe and lower the bar on the truck requirements.

I picked up a early 90's GMC K1500 with 158,000 off craigslist. It's extended cab, has a 350, the Z71 off road package, towing package, "heavy duty chassis" upgrade, newish tires, posi rear end, and has already had the cab corners replaced (and they look quite good actually).

As you could imagine it needs a few things. The passenger rocker will need replaced eventually, but more pressing is the rear broken shock mount (and need for new shocks all around) and slow drips of gasoline coming out of the plastic cover around the gas tank. Oh yeah, and there is a stumble at low RPMs I need to hunt down. Probably more stuff will pop up when I really get a chance to comb over it, but I've already used it for few trips to the feed store and that's what I've observed so far.

I think it will be really good as a beater truck and with a truck like this I won't care if it gets scratched up. Maybe I'll get a Tundra next time.
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:54 PM   #38
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A vote for something Toyota. Anything Toyota really. Though I do really like my '92 long bed F-150. Plenty of power, big bed, two tanks for a lot of range, fuel economy not too horrible, but not great either. And it's reliable. Only down side is it's not 4x4. Bought it off of my grandfathers friend who rarely drove it and kept it garaged. Paint is excellent, interior is spotless, and it runs like a champ. $3500.

n/m, didn't read above ^ Hope you like it.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:07 PM   #39
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Bilsteins are pretty cheap for the OBS trucks, not much more than the monroe stuff people normally use.

Ive had good luck with monroe reflexes but better luck with the bilsteins.
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