Home Forums Truck Camper Adventure Forum Choosing a used diesel pickup truck

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    • #15479
      Coly Hope
      Participant

      Any tips on what to look for when buying a used diesel truck? I am looking to purchase a 3/4 ton truck but would buy a one ton truck if I could afford it.

    • #15519
      Freespool
      Participant

      Wow, that’s a difficult question. The new diesels are so good but they are very expensive. I always like to do my research, but admittedly it takes many hours to develop the knowledge you need to possess before you decide. Since you want to buy used, money is probably the main reason, so decide what’s available in your price range and research related truck forums. Truck owners will offer you all the information you can process. I would stick with Chevy/GMC models. The next guy will no doubt say Ford, all the way and the next guy will recommend Dodge. I have had several Fords and one Dodge and they were all crap. My new GMC is the best truck I have ever owned. Good luck

    • #15729
      Jefe4x4
      Moderator

      I guess I’m that next in line to say my 2001 Dodge HO-CTD is the best vehicle I have ever owned, (of the 44 vehicles I’ve owned) but I’m actually not moniker specific. Almost all of that is the legendary performance of the Cummins lashed to the stoutest, trouble free drivetrain available at the time. A good deal is a good deal, whatever the brand. Your problem is used diesel trucks depreciate VERY slowly, and most owners think they own a gold mine. That means you will look for a long time to find anything you can afford (whatever that is) that is not clapped. My neighbor Jim bought a truck similar to mine with 278K miles on it for $7000. Recently he turned 300K miles and the thing runs and looks great with no woes. Unfortunately, the best buy on a diesel is new from a discount dealer. Do not be afraid of high mileage trucks just because of high mileage. Be afraid of poorly maintained trucks with high mileage. So, that means you need to know what you are looking at. Very occasionally you might run into a great deal that is too good to pass up. Just be careful. If you do not plan on putting extreme miles on said truck, consider a gasser. The breakeven point on a diesel vs. a gasser is somewhere between 150K miles and 250K miles. Be prepared to travel some to inspect a good buy.
      jefe

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

    • #15824
      Jefe4x4
      Moderator

      Upon further cogitation of your predicament, I would ask you to examine your overall strategy and reasons for buying a diesel truck. This is a semi-hard core truck camper forum. The truck is more than half of that equation. If you are young and cash strapped, but very good with tools and car stuff, I would council buying an older gas truck and camper together. I would call this the entry-level TC. You will learn the great lessons of TC-dum from that rig. If the diesel truck is your only objective here, then you are on the wrong forum.

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

    • #16016
      Coly Hope
      Participant

      Thanks for your reply. I am not really good with tools or repairing cars however I do own a class a rv so I am familiar with the basics of how a camper works.

      I am looking to buy a truck camper with a dry weight of no more than 2800 pounds and so far the Bigfoot 1500 series has my eye. I am also interested in Hallmarks and Northern Lites. I believe the 3/4 ton truck will be enough truck to handle these campers but I have heard that the Chevrolet Silverado does not have much of a payload.

    • #16052
      Bruce
      Participant

      There is very little difference in price between a 3/4 & 1-ton truck, so in that regard buy whichever is the right platform for your needs. If indeed you are looking for a camper in the 2800 pound range, you may find it will likely be at or over the payload capacity of a 3/4 ton, so I would strongly consider a 1-ton. When I bought my truck, I started to look at used, but was frustrated by so many being lifted, have had tuners installed or kind of beat up. That and the generally high resale value of diesel trucks and not a lot of time to look, led me to buy new. If you have time there are deals to be had so look around.

      Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji and Suki
      2017 Eagle Cap 1165
      2015 Ram Big Horn CC 3500 TD, DRW, AISIN Tranny and 3:73 Gearing

    • #16253
      Mello Mike
      Keymaster

      You’ve gotten great advice so far. Get a one-ton, especially if want a truck with a diesel. Diesel engines weigh about 600-700 pounds more than a gasser. This results in a much lower payload rating for 3/4-ton trucks which are already payload challenged in may cases. Be safe, and buy a one-ton.

      2021 Bundutec Roadrunner
      2013 Ram 3500 4x4
      2015 Toyota 4Runner

    • #16291
      Coly Hope
      Participant

      Thanks for all the advice. If I buy a one ton then I have more options one what truck camper to own. Any thoughts on DRW? Are they worth the cost or is SRW good enough for truck campers.

    • #16312
      Bruce
      Participant

      Based on your post indicating you are looking for a max weight of 2800 pounds, you should be fine with a SRW. If however your needs/wants have changed to a larger unit you may get into DRW territory depending on how large you want to go. The way to confirm your payload ability is to look in any truck you consider glove compartment or drivers side door pillar which should have a label indicating the max payload of the truck. Then match that number up with the wet weight of the TC plus perhaps another 700 to 1000 pounds for all the gear you will likely carry.

      Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji and Suki
      2017 Eagle Cap 1165
      2015 Ram Big Horn CC 3500 TD, DRW, AISIN Tranny and 3:73 Gearing

    • #16324
      Jefe4x4
      Moderator

      About duals. If…you are going on any two track at all, the track of your rear axle will be too wide. When I was using 16 inch wide tires on 12 inch wide rims; aka: super singles on the rear axle, which are about 4 inches narrower than a set of duals, it was too wide.

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

    • #16537
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Since your looking at 2800# dry weight max, take a look at a used Lance 815. Bought mine back in 2002 and still have it and fits on a 3/4 ton with no problems weight wise.

    • #16552
      Wheeldog
      Participant

      I have a 2016 1 ton SRW Silverado 4×4 diesel. The book says it can handle 4,000 lbs cargo, BUT there is a sticker in the glove box that says 2,900 is the max weight for a slide in camper. I am not sure how they come up with those figures??? I do know the S&S camper weighed more than that and I was pulling a trailer with no problems at all. I have a stock suspension…….actually stock everything.

      I am not a Chevy guy……like Ford. What sold me on this truck is it came with a lifetime power train warranty, unlimited mileage. Always been afraid I would spend lots of money on a nice truck and would have expensive problems with it down the road. I did see used vehicles in their lot with the lifetime warranty. That might be something to look into when buying your rig.

      I agree with the others……buy a 1 ton if you can afford it.

      2016 3500 HD Durmax

      1994 S and S 9.5' Camper (SOLD)
      1999 S and S 9.5 Camper

    • #16555
      Craig
      Participant

      I have a 2016 1 ton SRW Silverado 4×4 diesel. The book says it can handle 4,000 lbs cargo, BUT there is a sticker in the glove box that says 2,900 is the max weight for a slide in camper. I am not sure how they come up with those figures??? I do know the S&S camper weighed more than that and I was pulling a trailer with no problems at all. I have a stock suspension…….actually stock everything.

      The book is probably missing a few options you have taking away payload. But the big one is they assume there will be someone sitting in every seat at an average of 150lbs each. Only way to know your real payload is to weigh your truck when it is set up ready to load your camper. That number is your real payload limit, if you want to stay within the specs of your truck that is.

      2008 2500hd Silverado Duramax
      2011 Northern Lite 8.5 lite
      2006 Wildcat 27bhwb fifth wheel
      2009 Lance 830 (sold)

    • #16578
      Jefe4x4
      Moderator

      The assumption on all three big mfgrs. is tire loading. They de rate the maximum payload to have a large ‘margin of safety’ taking the tire loading into account. The de rating can also have something to do with wheel max; spring rate and optional secondary springs; and axle strength, mostly due to bearing load and housing strength; and transmission strength. From my perspective, there is one other factor: The Corps of Lawyers who work night and day to avoid any appearance of impropriety that ‘might’ lead to litigation. Also from my perspective is how close Ford, Gm, and Mopar get to the max rating line when developing a number. Ford is the clear winner as the company claims a loading number that i call “honest but dangerously close to the line” when inventorying their trucks. GM is about in the middle, while Mopar under rates their equipment as far as loading is concerned. This contest changes constantly, year by year with one of the big 3 jumping out in front with 32K pounds of towing ability or such. Much of that has to do with the strength and durability of the transmission that year.

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

    • #16588
      Coly Hope
      Participant

      Thanks for all the advice. I am at that stage where I want one truck camper and seem set on that one then find another one I like better.

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