Here are the latest Reader Qs, along with my Answers!
Mario asks –
I want the best value used pickup truck (light duty-1/2 ton) I can buy for $10,000. Any suggestions?
My answer –
How far back are you willing to go?
Recent vintage 1500s are both expensive new and used. They are also expensive to fix – a real issue for the prospective used buyer. Your budget restricts you to higher-miles used trucks that are likely to soon need – or already need – expensive repairs.
Which is why I will suggest that you go back in time and look for a truck made in the early-mid 1990s. Not only will your budget get you a better truck, you will be able to buy a truck that is still a relatively straightforward truck. One sans the electric puffery that afflicts the new/recent vintage ones.
There will be no turbos or direct injection or ten speed transmissions or aluminum bodies.
One of my favorites from the ’90s is the Chevy 1500. It will have the excellent small block Chevy V8 under its hood, fed fuel by a simple, very reliable (and cheap to fix, if it ever needs it) throttle body injection system. It will have either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic (and GM automatics from that era are outstanding). It will have a simple, rugged 4WD system (assuming you want 4WD) as well as reasonable bed wall height; no step ladder needed to get in.
Dodge trucks from that era are ok – except for bodies (and frames) that seem more than normally rust-prone. The engines are generally good.
Ford went over to the 4.6/5.4 “modular” overhead cam V8 during the mid-’90s. These engines are torque-deficient and also more complex than the old 5.0 and 5.8 pushrod V8s. If you can can find an F-150 with either of the latter (or a straight six) and it’s otherwise solid, snap it up!
Hope this helps!
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