Ok, so I don't post very often and generally just lurk, but I couldn't find a thread covering this topic lol.
Right now I have a 98 Dodge 2500 turbo diesel. I really like it, never had a serious problem out of it, but I'm needing to move up to a dually. I'm not a truck person, so I'm kinda clueless as to what to get now. As such, it needs to be reliable Definitely a used truck, preferably under 20k. I'd like to stick with a diesel also. Any years that are particularly good? Years to stay away from? Opinions on whether 4WD is worth the extra cost? Basically any advice or personal experience you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
You may not be putting in the right search terms, because there have been numerous threads about trucks/towing. I can't chime in on diesel trucks since mine is gas, but I will say 4WD is definitely worth the cost!
In a truck for hauling horses 4WD is not a need to have but is certainly a nice to have. It will get you out of some difficulties. Of course, don't let it lead you into "harm's way."
Used trucks right now seem to be holding value very well. I've got a 2008 Chevy Duramax dually and it is depreciating very slowly. I'm told the reason is that the late model used trucks do not have the DEF system (urea, or "pee", tank) that is found on 2011 and newer Fords and GMs. Dodge will have them in 2013.
Be careful of Fords. They have had four engines in 12 years. The 7.3L series engines were very good, but were phased out in 2003 (IIRC). They were succeeded by the 6.0L series. This engine was a disaster in the Ford (but was successful in many other industrial and marine uses). The 6.4L series followed (2008-2010, IIRC). It was a good engine if properly maintained, but was also "finicky" about servicing. The current 6.7L seems to be doing OK, but its history is short.
Dodge and GM have had a much more stable engine history.
Plan on spending pretty close to your budget to get a good one. Of course do all the "due diligence" you need to do when buying a used truck (shop around; cruise the 'Net to get a feel for price (using Edumnds, Kelley, etc.); have a mechanic lined up to do an inspection (pay him for his time); etc.).
Don't get "stampeded," but be prepared to move if you find "the one." Buy a used truck can be as frustrating as horse shopping. So be as prepared when you shop for the truck as you are when you go looking for a horse!!!
I searched and cyber-stalked 2 local Used-Truck-Only places near me FOR A YEAR. From my research here on COTH and elsewhere, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wanted a GM/Chevy Silverado 3500 dually, 2005 or newer, with 4WD if at all possible.
We, too, wanted under $20,000 - It took patience but it paid off waiting. Last Friday we picked up our 2005 Bid Bad Truck! I ADORE the dually... so stable to drive. Tons of pull in her.
And --this is key: Know what transmission you want. If you can and like to drive a manual, feel free to stay with Dodge or Chevy. If you can drive a manual but prefer automatic (like me), do not deviate from the GM/Chevy with the Allison Transmission. They can hold up to the loads they're put under.
<>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- "When they try to tell you these are your Golden years, don't believe 'em.... It's rust."
This is the backwoods yokel in me talking but you *could* just put a dual axle on the truck you already have.
I have a '95 Dodge diesel and i loooooooooove it! I've been through a lot of gas rigs before I finally bit the bullet and got the 12 valve diesel. If you like everything else about your '98, why get rid of it??
I have the dreaded 6.0L diesel in my '06 F-250. It hasn't given me a speck of trouble! I love love love the truck. It's comfortable and handles great, as well as being a beast towing and in the snow. I got a great deal on it because it was a work truck and has some minor cosmetic damage (dents, scratches, etc). It has 140k miles and still runs like it's brand new.