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How to Pick a Pickup

NancieNancie Posts: 13
My parents are looking for pickup truck. They've sorted out the
reasons why they need one, but it's hard to know which make and models
to look at first. Of course, we'll start here on edmunds.com by
looking at the picks for hottest trucks. But, a little feedback from
other truck owners would be helpful. Any ideas? What things should
my parents keep in mind before beginning their search? Which make and
model would you steer us to first?
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Comments

  • Hiya, Nancie...

    Well, I'd need to know a little more about what their intended use
    is. For example, if they plan on hauling a 5th wheel trailer, they'd
    better go for a full-size, beefed-up suspension with the biggest
    engine available. I'd also recommend 4-wheel drive.

    However, if they are like many folks who simply want a utility
    vehicle that also hauls "stuff," then perhaps a 6 cylinder short-bed
    will do the trick.

    If, like my friend Snake, they just want to look cool and impress the
    neighbors, they need professional help or, like Snake, perhaps
    incarceration.

    Assuming that's not the case, however, there's a whole world of
    differences in what's available. That's the wonderful thing about
    trucks: Each manufacturer makes something for every application, and
    the name on the hood is often the only thing in common with the rest
    of their line.

    If you can give me some examples of what they're going to rely on the
    truck for, I'd be happy to make recommendations, as I'm sure other
    visitors to the site will also be happy to do.

    Motormouth
  • NancieNancie Posts: 13
    Hi, Gerry. My mother is a professional furniture mover...not that she makes money at this. She just likes to rearrange furniture and she's got lots of it. She's apt to move everything in her living room from her home in Delware to her beach place in Maryland just for a change. Then, of course, there's the furniture she "lends" me from the furniture lending library.

    Really, some of this is true. Mom and Dad like to move end tables, a chair now and again...presents for the grandkids. They antique so they like being able to take things home right away at those auctions.
    So...what do you say? Any suggestions? All are welcome.
  • Well, Nancie, considering the amount of furniture she moves, and the distance, I'd recommend she go with a full size pickup with a V-8 engine.

    Howeverm, since you can't always plan on the weather cooperating, she may want to consider a full-size SUV. You can haul lots of stuff in the full-size ones, plus you don't have to have an additional "family vehicle."

    On the other hand, if she's hauling sizable items (like sofas etc.), she'd be best to stay with the idea of a good ol' Pickup... and just be sure to hold on to enough change to buy a good tarp to cover everything with.

    In the Pickup category, I'd recommend she look at the Dodge Ram. Truly, all the major manufacturers have good products, but for some reason I am just drawn to the Ram like a moth to a flame. It is a think of beauty and, with the V-8, should be more than able to handle what your folks give it, and it will be all smiles.

    Check out the New Trucks section and you'll see that it can be a bit pricey to purchase new, so they may want to check into a lease.

    Oh, one more thing: I'd recommend staying away from the 4x4 in any truck unless you REALLY NEED IT. It adds significantly to the cost of operation plus the insurance is a lot higher!

    I hope this helps.

    Anyone else have some suggestions for Nancie's folks?
  • Hi Nancie;
    I guess I am like your dad I just like driving a pickup. Like the song states I'm a pickup man. I have ordered a 98 Dodge 1500 club cab long box with a V8 . I did not order 4wheel drive or the Quad doors because I don't think I need them. I looked at the Ford but they look kind of Whimpish looking so I picked the Dodge. I do not even consider General Motors they only make city pickups
  • My apologies if this is a repeat question to those of you out there. I am looking to buy a new pickup in the spring of '98' and have narrowed my choices to the Dodge Ram Quad Cab or the Ford F150 Extended cab w/third door. I am partial to Ford vehicles but really liked what I saw when I went and test drove the Dodge. There is no question that it's features and look are superior to the Ford but my real concern is in the reliability of the engines in either of the vehicles. Anyone out there have an opinion on which truck is the most reliable. I realize I will hear from biased Ford and Dodge owners, please share your war stories with either maker. I have heard far to many war stories about Dodge transmissions and would like to have a better idea how prevelant these problems are. Thanks to any one who responds.

    Rick
  • Interesting comment, rportello. I recently looked at the Dodge Quad door. I almost fell in love (ALMOST, I SAID!) with the truck. The only thing that saved me was no diesel was available at the time. The ride was ROUGH, especially on the CA concrete freeways. I bounce fairly badly in my F-250, even with softened rear springs. Then I saw the picture of the '98 F-250 HD shown at SEMA in Las Vegas. The 7.3 l diesel specs were listed as 500 ft/lbs of torque and almost as much bhp as the 7.5 l gas engine. The article in Autoweek (11/17 or 24) said that it was to have a quad door arrangement. Everyone has said that the ride of the SLA suspension of the new style Ford is like going from a truck to a Towncar(?).

    Anyway, I'm waiting to be able to order the new Ford model.

    Rich
  • Rich,

    Thanks for your response, it's the kind of feed back I am looking for before I purchase. I took
    a look at the F250 HD and was very impressed. It
    sounds like you lean more towards buying Ford. I am sure I will end up buying Ford again but I wanted to get the general feeling from pickup truck owners, how Dodge rates out there. The
    Ram series of Trucks is the first Dodge truck in a long time that has turned the heads of Ford owners that I know. My brother-in-law was a die hard Ford truck owner and swore he would never buy another truck other than Ford. It really surprised me when he said he was considering a Ram Pickup. I quess I want to make sure I am not overlooking a potentially better vehicle. I am an engineer and my nature is to research things to death, especially the quality and reliability aspects of a product. My gut feel is that Ford has been and will remain the most reliable truck on the road. Any opinions agreeing or disagreeing are welcome. Thanks again Rich

    Rick
  • I have been looking at the big 3 trucks,too. The Chevy/GMC is really beginning to show its age, and I plan to hang onto this truck for a while. I think the Ram is the best looking truck out there, but I don't like the fact that the V-8s are actually the old 318 and 360 cube gas hogs from the sixties.
    I've spoken to a few people with their new trucks, and according to them (and the EPA stickers), an F-150 with the new V8 gets the same gas mileage as a V6 Dakota! Overall, I think I'm sold on the Ford. I would appreciate any comments.
  • mharde2mharde2 Posts: 278
    Im with you diahatsubill. When you drive the others, they are nice, but there just seems to be something missing. You just don't feel the quality that you feel in a Ford. If you know what I mean...
  • daihatsubill,

    Interesting comments, I WAS only considering the F150 or the Dodge Ram series trucks for my purchase in the spring. I agree with you on the look of the Dodge Rams, they are the best looking truck, but I have heard way to many bad stories about Dodge Trucks in general and believe me I have asked a great number of people their opinion.
    If it wasn't problems with the transmission it was problems with the brakes, uncharacteristic tire wear due to alignment problems, I mean just too many things to even mention. To be fair, I have heard problem stories about all trucks made out there but most have been about the Dodges. I will be going with the Ford, I own an Explorer and have had good luck so far with it. Besides that I have at least five friends that have owned or still own F150s and they all say they would buy another one. I haven't heard that yet from the Dodge owners I talked to. My apologies to the Dodge owners out there, these are my opiniions and I welcome one and all to disagree or even give me a reason to reconsider the Dodge.

    Rick
  • I am a big fan of the new Dodge Ram series, and I would consider buying one unless I heard a lot of the stories you relate; but I've heard only a few. In Dodge's defense, however, these were stories that were NOT from the owners, but stories "so-and-so heard from so-and-so. Most of the stories I've seen here are also just that: stories that have been passed on from one person to another. And stories have a way of getting embellished as they get passed from one person on to the next.

    However, here's a story from the person who experienced it FIRST HAND this past week-end:

    I was moving some items from a home in Maine back to Massachusetts. My Jeep Cherokee got stuck trying to pull the trailer up the tiniest incline as I was leaving. Poor weight distribution of the load? Nope. Disconnected the trailer and was still barely able to move up the incline. Stopped over at a friend's house and he lent me his 1996 Ford 4x4 F-150. I hooked up the trailer to it, and walked right out of the driveway, up a snow covered driveway and onto the pavement. No sweat. Oh, by the way, he already has 73,000 miles on the 96 F-150. He swears by it, and I can see why.

    As for my Cherokee? Well, it's nice for groceries. And as for the Dodge, don't get me wrong... I appreciate your comments. But I want to hear those criticisms from a few more owners to see if it's a trend rather than possibly just a bad truck or two.
  • Reference the comments about Dodge's problems: I truly believe Chrysler has a problem with quality control of their products (too many new vehicles fielded in too short a time). I own a 1995 Dodge Caravan and the automatic transmission needed to be rebuilt after 25,000 miles (I did not tow anything; no heavy loads either). One of my friends owns a 1995 Plymouth Voyager and his tranny needed rebuilding after 36,000 miles. Another friend had major problems with the brakes/tranny with his 1995 Dodge Ram Pickup. And, at least two Consumer magazines I've read highlight the problems Chrysler has had with its vehicles. I realize that the Caravan and Voyager have been around since the Mid-eighties, but they are Chrysler products. There are at least two other people I know who have had similar problems with their Chrysler vehicles. It is because of these cases that I will not consider the Dodge Ram as a truck I would care to own ("Dodge" is "Dodge", whether it's a Ram or Caravan). What really drove home the "point" was the Chrylser rep in Dearborn, MI telling me ...."sir, it is still under warranty".... I guess that may be a solution as far as they are concerned, but it makes it easy for me to decide. My Dodge was taken in to the dealership ten times during a two-year span. Buyer beware! Hello, Ford F-150!
  • All these bad Dodge notes are scaring me. I was strongly considering a 98 Dakota. I liked the Ford F150 super cab better but it costs a lot more. Also gas mileage may be better on the Dakota.
  • deiseldeisel Posts: 16
    I just got back from a dealership in ashboro n.c.
    My dad who is an ex-dealer (chevy) went with me to
    look and help. I drove one used 5-speed standard
    and cranked up another automatic the big dodge
    with the cummins engine took about 5 or 6 trys to
    crank and it worried me. I heard someone say that
    a dealer can pull the VIN and find out about any
    warrenty problems on a vehicle will they do that for a possible sale too?? Can a dealer decline a
    request for such a thing?? I'd like to know
  • spispi Posts: 2
    My father just bought a '97 Dodge RAM this spring.
    It is a 1500 with the 360 V-8. Right away, he began to have problems with the front axle making "grinding noises" when he turned slow tight corners in town. Dodge replace the axle and hasn't had any more noises, but shortly after that, his fuel pump started acting up and the pump wasn't keeping the fuel line primed. Had to crank for 10 seconds before the engine would start. Replace by dealer and since has had no problems. Was deer hunting last weekend and did some heavy 4 wheeling and the RAM performed great in some heavy snow and mud. But with the mechanical problems he had with a brand new truck, it kind of makes you wonder.
  • Seasons Greetings, Everyone! Being new to chat lines I'm still just figuring out how everything works. The old '88 E-150 is just about done in. 225000 plus miles and pretty much the only problems have been because an ex-boyfriend drove it over a retaining wall and the front end just was never the same. So I'm looking into a new F-150. Sorry those Dodges are dirt ugly. I'll need to pull a horse trailer occasionally and transport my sorry butt for a 35 mile one way commute everyday. My brother-in-law says I should be in an automatic. I lean to manual transmission. 4.6L 5speed manual OD comes standard. Is this going to be enough for the hills of New England?
  • I have a 3/4 ton light duty, 5 speed, extended cab, 2wd, short bed, silverado package, only 35,800 miles...what is it worth...i bought in march of 96 but it is a 95.....
    i want a new one, 1/2 ton, 5 speed optional, 4wd, silverado package, short bed, 3rd door...what should i pay...i will probably get a 97 on a 98 lot...it seems they want to get rid of them....i have to look a bit but thats how i got my last one...
  • Well, for my two bits worth, you need to buy a chevy. the ford and chevy are close on quality but the chevy has a little stronger engine since they brought out their vortex designs. that 350 cu is a very strong and reliable engine and should out last most others on the road. ford has a new engine that is a 5.4 liter but not enough info on that one yet. its hard to belive they have it rated at 330 lbs torque, same as the chevy 5.7 liter. course the chevy has more hp.
    chevy rides very well too and for a 10 yr old design, i still think is the neatest looking truck on the road. when i bought my '94 3/4 ton, i was going to buy a ford, but the chevy pulled another 500 lbs than the ford and I needed that to pull my travel trailer.
    keep in mind that a 2 wheel drive will pull heavier trailers than a 4 wheel drive and a 1/2 ton will pull heavier loads than 3/4 ton. thats because the 4wd and 3/4 ton weigh more which takes away from the weight of the trailer it will pull.
    have fun with what ever u buy.
  • JUST A NOTE ON THE DODGE. A CO-WORKER OF MINE A BOTH A DODGE DISEL AND A FORD DISEL BOTH FAIRLY NEW. SHE HAS HAD A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH HER DODGE (I THINK THE TRANSMISSION) AND HASN'T HAD ANY PROBLEMS WITH HER FORD. MY DAD HAS ONE OF THE NEWER STYLE DODGES AND TO MY KNOWLEDGE HASN'T HAD ANY PROBLEMS YET. I PERSONALLY LIKE THE STYLE OF THE NEW DODGES BUT DEEP IN HART I AM A FORD MAN. IN REALITY I'LL DRIVE ANYTHING THAT IS DEPENDABLE. THAT'S THE PROBLEM SOMETIMES BECAUSE EVERY MAKE AND MODEL HAS THEIR LEMONS AND NON-LEMONS. YOU JUST HAVE TO TRY TO PICK A VEHICLE THAT STATISTICALLY SPEAKING HAS FAR LESS LEMONS, AND HOPE.

    DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO PULL UP CONSUMER REPORTS ON THE INTERNET? IF YOU DO PLEASE LET ME KNOW, I THINK IT WILL GREATLY HELP MYSELF AND A LOT OF US IN MAKING A DECISION ON WHICH VEHICLE TO PURCHASE.
    I AM LOOKING AT BYING AN 89-92 FORD RANGER X-CAB 4X4 WITH 4.0 ENGINE. ANY COMMENTS?
  • Sorry I missed your note earlier, farmer, but if you look around our site, you will see you can click on "Used Vehicles" in the upper left hand corner of THIS page. It will take you to an area where you can check the value of your used vehicle.

    Or, click on this hot link:
    Used Car Buyer Information

    Darkwing... same thing. You can check reviews of any vehicle you want. Click on USED VEHICLES, then select the year and make of the vehicle you are interested in, then look for the hot link to articles and reviews of the vehicle.

    If you want to check out reviews for NEW VEHICLES, do the same thing but after you have clicked on "NEW VEHICLES."

    Good luck!
  • Nancie,
    I have read the responses to your note of Oct. 12, 97. I am wondering if a truck was purchased yet and if so what make? I am planning to purchase a 1997 Ranger 2WD, but I honestly do not know what is good out there. Salesmen all say their product is the best. What did your parents use to decide which vehicle was worth buying?

    This is the first time I have used a conference room so if I have stepped on anyone's toes, I am sorry. Thanks.
  • could some one pass on any usefull advise concerning the Mazdas line of trucks the 2500 and/or 3000 series
  • idgieidgie Posts: 2
    Darkwing,
    Consumer Reports just went online but you have to subscribe to get their reports. I use the library to compare their ratings on pickups.
  • There's a lot of info to be had on the Mazda products right here. You just have to make a little effort to get to it.

    Start at New Vehicles, then click on the hot link to Mazda. Then, from the Mazda area, click on the model you're interested in.

    When that page comes up, you will see lots of info available, including articles that have been written etc.
  • bigdogbigdog Posts: 4
    Hello I am also in the market for a new truck. I am looking for a 4 door gas ford or chev. I took a spin in both ,The chev is so much smother and the ford is more money. I need help...:-(
  • dburrowdburrow Posts: 11
    You know, you guys sure seem to know a lot of people with Dodge horror stories. Of the dozens and dozens(maybe hundreds) of Dodge owners I talk to every year, I have made note of exactly two people who have had these kinds of problems. I personally think that the big three trucks all have advantages and disadvantages, and it comes down to individual preferences. I will say this, however. If I was going to do a lot of towing, I would lean toward the Ford F 250 deisel because of the Allison transmission.
  • xrayjay - The Mazda trucks are Ford Rangers with different bodywork. Mechanicals are the same - made by Ford. They started this with the last restyling of the Ranger (not counting the '98 model restyle).
  • consumer reports recommended the Ranger in that class of truck.
  • beltaobeltao Posts: 9
    ....D I E S E L.....
  • alookalook Posts: 2
    Hi folks. Looking for owner's info on the mpg & reliability of 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, '95-'96.
This discussion has been closed.