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Old 04-12-2021, 09:28 PM   #1
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Reliable used 3/4 ton around $20,000?

Hey folks;

Just looking for some used truck advice. We can't spend $50K or more on one, so just wanted to see what other options are out there. So, here are the details.

The trailer will be an on order Rockwood Mini Lite 2509S, 26 ft, dry weight 5500 lbs, 7000 gross. We have a 2nd vehicle for around town, but I would like to use this for both. Down the road, we don't see ourselves getting anything larger than a 30 ft trailer. Cargo and passengers will be 900-1500 lbs. After reading a bunch of posts I'm leaning toward a used 3/4 ton. Budget is $20-$30K. I'm not mechanically inclined so if it needs any work, I'll be taking it in. We will be towing it 20-30 times a year, doing 100-500 mile trips around our home base of Oregon. I haven't decided on gas vs diesel, but leaning toward gas. I do appreciate some creature comforts and newer tech, like trailer hitch view camera, heated seats, and bluetooth, but I don't need a moon roof or most of the newer safety tech, although trailer blind spot monitoring sounds nice. It needs to be crew cab, 4x4. Please help me filter down my search. For each make/model you suggest, please provide the following;

1. Range of years I should search for
2. Engine type (gas or diesel, displacement), people seem to like the Ford 6.2, but I'm sure there are others
3. Mileage to stay under
4. Trim levels, packages, options you consider important for towing

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 04-12-2021, 09:58 PM   #2
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I doubt that you'll find a 3/4 ton with all those creature comforts and newer tech for $20k. I've been looking myself and I've only been able to find 1/2 tons with those before $20k.
My 2014 F150 SCREW 3.5 Ecoboost with Max Tow package and 83k mileage would sell for over $20k.
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Old 04-12-2021, 10:39 PM   #3
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I'm partial to the F250 6.2 because that's what I have. Our trailer is 30' total length and 7500lbs fully loaded. The truck handles it well with room to spare. Our travels are based out of WA and cover OR, ID and MT.

Year, 2011 or newer. In '17 Ford did a whole new generation but that will be out of your price range.

Mileage, I'd buy anything up to 125k if it's well cared for. It will still have at least another 125k left in the engine and tranny.

Trims, whatever makes you happy. I like my XLT but it's pretty basic.

In all, it's a basic engine that seems to work well. There's never an issue towing at 65mph (my comfortable limit). I also came from an F150 Ecoboost and prefer the 6.2. Towing, they get the same mpg.
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Old 04-12-2021, 11:05 PM   #4
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I feel so fortunate to still use a 2005 Ram diesel with a 6 speed manual tranny. (8 foot bed) It has 88k miles on it. I may need to replace the original battery set this spring.

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Old 04-12-2021, 11:36 PM   #5
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I cruised several dealerships a few days ago and they were pretty much devoid of any new pickups. I see other people posting the same thing. Some guys have said they sold their fairly new trucks for more than they paid for it. This can only mean upward pressure on the price of used trucks. $20k certainly isn't going to get you any towing tech right now. I just priced out my 2016 Silverado LTZ 1500 on NADA and clean retail is $38,150. The factory sticker price was $52,430. I was out the door in June 2016 at $36,622 plus $280 for title and two year registration. That was for a brand new truck with 12 miles on the odo and no trade-in to obfuscate the price. That's how crazy it is out there right now.
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Old 04-13-2021, 05:10 AM   #6
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Hmmmmm.......late model well maintained used trucks cost as much as new. You may be in a conundrum there my friend. Trucks are in demand and people are paying a premium. In fact, trucks for well over a decade for a well maintained one has been rather expensive even prior to Covid creating shortages.
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Old 04-13-2021, 05:59 AM   #7
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Donít rule out the GM 6.0L trucks. I have one and it is more than capable.

I was in the same spot as you last fall. Everything with reasonable mileage was sky high, in my price range had 200,000 plus miles. I ended stumbling on a 2013 GMC 2500HD, 6.0L gas, 68,000 miles for $25,000. I jumped on that baby!! Still waiting for some unseen defect to rear its ugly head! LOL

Good luck on your search.
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Old 04-13-2021, 06:34 AM   #8
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That is a hard number to fit a reliable truck into. Well, reliable without some work. I know Ford mostly. GM trucks are pretty solid too. Stay away from Ram for towing. They have questionable transmissions up till 2019.

Ford- go for a gas 2011- 2012 if you can find it. Steer clear of the 2011-2013 diesels. Maybe even up to '14. There were issues with turbo bearings and glow plugs. Unless, of course the one you are looking at has docs on replacing the glow plugs and a 15-up turbo conversion. The 7.3 diesel is not fun to drive. It is not quick or responsive. But.... with a little work it is very reliable. Those trucks have no tech though.
I did a quick nationwide search and found 3 such trucks for under $25,000. Folks don't flip these trucks like the smaller half ton or cars. You either see 3 year old ones or 25 year old ones. Or, inbetween that have had the snot beat out of them.
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Old 04-13-2021, 06:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Evil Twin View Post
That is a hard number to fit a reliable truck into. Well, reliable without some work. I know Ford mostly. GM trucks are pretty solid too. Stay away from Ram for towing. They have questionable transmissions up till 2019.

Ford- go for a gas 2011- 2012 if you can find it. Steer clear of the 2011-2013 diesels. Maybe even up to '14. There were issues with turbo bearings and glow plugs. Unless, of course the one you are looking at has docs on replacing the glow plugs and a 15-up turbo conversion. The 7.3 diesel is not fun to drive. It is not quick or responsive. But.... with a little work it is very reliable. Those trucks have no tech though.
I did a quick nationwide search and found 3 such trucks for under $25,000. Folks don't flip these trucks like the smaller half ton or cars. You either see 3 year old ones or 25 year old ones. Or, inbetween that have had the snot beat out of them.
Ford hasn't used glow plugs since the 90's. The majority of hot shot trucks pulling new travel trailers, out of Indiana manufacturers, are driving Ram trucks..
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Old 04-13-2021, 07:00 AM   #10
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I have a 2013 Chevy Silverado 2500HD LTZ diesel with 150k miles on it. It has all the creature comforts you mention except back up camera. It's book value is right around $26k. My truck is not for sale but I mention it to show you there are trucks out there that meet your criteria if you don't mind a higher mileage vehicle.
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Old 04-13-2021, 07:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Evil Twin View Post
That is a hard number to fit a reliable truck into. Well, reliable without some work. I know Ford mostly. GM trucks are pretty solid too. Stay away from Ram for towing. They have questionable transmissions up till 2019.

Ford- go for a gas 2011- 2012 if you can find it. Steer clear of the 2011-2013 diesels. Maybe even up to '14. There were issues with turbo bearings and glow plugs. Unless, of course the one you are looking at has docs on replacing the glow plugs and a 15-up turbo conversion. The 7.3 diesel is not fun to drive. It is not quick or responsive. But.... with a little work it is very reliable. Those trucks have no tech though.
I did a quick nationwide search and found 3 such trucks for under $25,000. Folks don't flip these trucks like the smaller half ton or cars. You either see 3 year old ones or 25 year old ones. Or, inbetween that have had the snot beat out of them.


I had two local, highly reputable and certified Ford Diesel repair shops tell me to stay away from the 6.4 diesels ('08 to '10). When I was in the market to upgrade from my F250 6.0 diesel to a one ton two years ago, they both recommended a 6.7 diesel from 2012 on up as most reliable to look for.

Bought my 2013 diesel two years ago for $27k and has been nothing less than a most reliable truck. It's a basic work truck XL that had only a few options on it, but over the last couple of years, I added a number of creature comforts it was missing.

Took it in last month for some new brakes and serpentine belt and the diesel mechanic told me the truck's still in excellent shape and has a solid engine.
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Old 04-13-2021, 07:23 AM   #12
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My Coachman has about the same specs as your TT. After a lot of searching, I picked up a 2013 Silveraldo 1500 LTZ 5.3L with 93,000 miles for 25,000 giver or take. Only a half ton, but I have had no issues towing in New England and got between 11-12 MPG. I would prefer as much truck as I can get, but it is what it is.
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Old 04-13-2021, 07:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timfromma View Post
I have a 2013 Chevy Silverado 2500HD LTZ diesel with 150k miles on it. It has all the creature comforts you mention except back up camera. It's book value is right around $26k. My truck is not for sale but I mention it to show you there are trucks out there that meet your criteria if you don't mind a higher mileage vehicle.

Mine did not have many creature comforts, like a backup camera, but I added to the truck a new Pioneer head unit with two camera inputs. There are after-market backup cameras that can be added to the tailgate and connected to these head units. Works just as good as one from the factory.

I added a second camera to the cargo light and connected to the second video input and can see the entire bed of the truck, which works great when connecting my 5'er to the hitch in the bed.

I guess the point is if you have to get a less expensive truck with little creature comforts on it, there are tons of after market upgrades you can add to it down the road.
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Old 04-13-2021, 07:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1100mike View Post
Ford hasn't used glow plugs since the 90's. The majority of hot shot trucks pulling new travel trailers, out of Indiana manufacturers, are driving Ram trucks..

I'm just telling the OP that the fact is Ram has a history of trans problems and my opinion of them. I too have had the Ram transmission. So I know.
Not sure where you are getting your Ford data from. Here is a link to the part for my 6.7.
https://www.injectorsdirect.com/product/6-7-glow-plugs/


and to the 2008-2010 engine:
https://www.injectorsdirect.com/product/6-4-glow-plugs/



Quote:
Originally Posted by GPs37FLH View Post
I had two local, highly reputable and certified Ford Diesel repair shops tell me to stay away from the 6.4 diesels ('08 to '10). When I was in the market to upgrade from my F250 6.0 diesel to a one ton two years ago, they both recommended a 6.7 diesel from 2012 on up as most reliable to look for.

Bought my 2013 diesel two years ago for $27k and has been nothing less than a most reliable truck. It's a basic work truck XL that had only a few options on it, but over the last couple of years, I added a number of creature comforts it was missing.

Took it in last month for some new brakes and serpentine belt and the diesel mechanic told me the truck's still in excellent shape and has a solid engine.
I'm not saying pre 14's are going to blow up. Just that there is a well documented problem with the ceramic bearings on the turbo and they drop glow plugs. I have a good friend with over 200k on his completely stock 2013. Only had to replace the vacuum pump gasket and the DEF pump. Thing is, there are enough cases of turbo failures in pre 14's to warrant caution. Fortunately it is an easy fix. There are kits for adding the 15-up in its place.
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Old 04-13-2021, 10:19 AM   #15
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3 years ago I landed a 2015 F150 Supercab fully loaded at a dealership with a one year warranty. 40k miles. 30k out the door. I hear the used market is red hot right now.
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Old 04-13-2021, 12:20 PM   #16
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In Nov 2020 I bought a used 2017 Ram 2500 with the 6.4L V8 (more torque and hp than of the other gassers) for about $23k. It has over 150k miles but that is the only way to get into this type of truck at that price point.

I did a ton of research and landed on the Ram 2500. I was not partial to any particular brand but found the Ram to be the biggest bang for your buck.
It pulls our 32' Salem TT like it's not even there.
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Old 04-13-2021, 12:24 PM   #17
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3 years ago I landed a 2015 F150 Supercab fully loaded at a dealership with a one year warranty. 40k miles. 30k out the door. I hear the used market is red hot right now.
The used AND new truck market is hot.
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Old 04-13-2021, 12:39 PM   #18
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I bought my F350 used a year ago. Just had it in for an oil change and dealer offered me $10,000 more cash outright than I paid for it. I asked what he had on the lot that I could buy and he said "there are no trucks on my lot that's why I want yours". I doubt you find much for the $20 - $30 K.
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Old 04-13-2021, 02:02 PM   #19
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I went with a 2018 Ram 2500 Tradesman Hemi 6.4 last year; 105k miles for right at $25k. Needed a little work but nothing that got in the way of pulling. Pulling a 33’ bumper pull Wildwood around north Alabama and the southeast. Has backup camera, Bluetooth, tow mirrors, 4x4. Does everything I need it to. Vinyl seats and floors make it easy to clean, esp with pets in the woods! Been happy with it.
I debated the gas vs diesel and went gas route, mainly for cost of maintaining.
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Old 04-13-2021, 02:14 PM   #20
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I have my 2012 RAM 2500 for sale. It's a little over your price at 35K but has been an excellent truck for me. 117,800 miles. Just upgraded the tranny pan with deep extra oil capacity and replaced both filters. This truck is before RAM added DEF it just had the DPF but I removed it because the burn cycle would dilute the oil because it sends so much extra fuel to clean the filter. So it has a tuner that I set to tow haul mode before it died. It also has an engine brake that saved my rig when my trailer brakes went out and I was going over Vail pass and through the Eisenhower tunnel with no problem, I could keep my speed under 45mph bulling a 40' 5er. Has all the options, leather heated front and rear seats, cooled front seats, automatic heavy duty bumper rear air bags, cruise, GPS Alpine radio and speakers with sub wolfer all stock.
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