Buying a Used Diesel Truck: Everything You Need to Know


Whether the goal is to tow, haul, commute or compete, the endless versatility of a modern diesel truck makes it the do-anything vehicle of the 21st century. No other vehicle gives you the capability to lug 20,000 pounds through the mountains, hold the same as a compact sedan in the foundation, glean 20 mpg out of 4 a great deal of moving mass or take down on the local pony vehicles at the keep tabs on without changing something. With so much utility built into them, it’s no think about diesels have exploded in attractiveness within the last 15 years. Everyone wishes one. However, not everyone wishes to fork over 70K for a new one. Hence the booming used diesel vehicle market: a smorgasbord packed with everything from lightly used/great condition prospects to run-into-the floor/basket cases.

Just how do you decide in case a Ford, GM or Ram, Electricity Stroke, Duramax or Cummins is right for you? Which model years tend to be more reliable than others? Which transmission would be better, and should I look for an computerized or a manual? What forms of trouble signs must i look for on the engine, in the cab or under your body? What pickup trucks must i avoid at all costs? With so much to consider, locating the perfect used diesel for your requirements can be an intimidating process. Our advice? Read this article and then conduct your own, comprehensive research. Consult with owners of every make, model and engine unit brand you’re considering, along with people who work on them for a living (they won’t sugarcoat anything). Look for the bad but don’t forget the good and make the best decision. Visit:

If you’re heading to be towing heavy, we recommend you get an ’11-newer GM or Ford, or a ’13-newer Ram. Reason being, these pickup trucks were constructed with GCWR supremacy in mind-a war that’s been waged between your Big Three but that basically kicked into high items in the ’11-’13 timeframe. On these vehicles you’ll find beefier frames and suspension system components, torquier engines, exhaust brakes and an all-around more confident towing experience.

Miles Aren’t Everything
Remember, a long way aren’t everything. Particularly when thinking of buying a used service, energy or fleet vehicle, engine unit hours-be it idle time, steady-state highway cruising or stop-and-go city driving-are a lot more revealing to than an odometer could ever before imagine being. Because 1 hour of idle time is add up to 25 miles driven, a pickup truck that has put in the majority of its life idling might have the same as 400,000 a long way on the engine unit but only show 100,000 kilometers on the odometer. Moreover, a service truck’s olive oil change intervals should be based and performed corresponding to engine hours, not kilometers. Unfortunately, learning this information might not exactly continually be possible rather than all trucks own an engine hour meter (especially more aged models).

Be forewarned that emissions-related issues run rampant on diesel pickup trucks produced after ’07. Because of stricter EPA emissions benchmarks targeting nitrogen oxide (NOx) productivity, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) emerged as standard equipment on ’03 Fords prepared with the 6.0L Power Stroke and ’04.5 GMs equipped with the LLY Duramax. A few years later, another authorities drive for cleaner emissions (this time around for reduced particulate matter) led to Ford, GM and Ram saddling their engines (the 6.4L Power Stroke, LMM Duramax and 6.7L Cummins, respectively) with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) in addition to EGR. The most recent pollution-fighting method (further concentrating on NOx lowering), selective catalytic decrease (SCR), was put into the combination on ’11 model calendar year Fords and GMs, while Ram added it to its 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks in ’13. As of yet, EGR, DPF and SCR systems continue to be the most typical triggers for breakdowns, downtime and hampered performance on late-model diesels.

With engines capable of living practically forever, it’s the rest of these trucks you’ll need to worry about, namely rust. Locating a clean prospect is key, making southern and western climates the perfect hunting earth. Some surface rust underneath is Acceptable (and is probable unavoidable when interacting with 10 to 15-year-old vehicles), just make sure you’re not buying a car with structural components that’ve approved the idea of repair (i.e. bubbling fenders, brittle leaf springtime shackles or hangers, dilapidated radiator central works with, etc.). Check the within of the structure, not just the outside. Also, never buy a vehicle sight unseen. This is often a dangerous game today with so many pick up truck sales occurring online, but we’d never commit to buying until we could inspect the vehicle in person.

Use the Fine-Tooth Comb
Corroded Body Mount

While replacing items such as body mounts, U-joints and leaf springtime bushings aren’t tall orders for the common vehicle guy, if you’re searching for a turn-key used diesel vehicle steer clear of something like this. This rusted body support has been painted over in an effort to hide the scope of its dilapidated condition, potentially to deceive a potential buyer.

Paper Trails Are Good
Diesel Service Records

Any time the dog owner hands over a folder packed with service receipts, it’s a good signal that he / she has kept the truck appropriately. Keeping detailed records shows that the prior owner truly cared about the truck-and if you wish to unload the same pick up truck 1 day it behooves you to keep adding your own receipts to the vehicle’s credible newspaper trail.

LB7 Injector Issues
LB7 Duramax Fuel Injector

Being a pre-emissions engine unit (meaning no EGR, DPF, SCR or perhaps a variable geometry turbo), the LB7 Duramax found in ’01-’04 GM HD pickup trucks is the easiest and arguably the most dependable of the number. However, its one major flaw exists in its manufacturing plant injectors, that are predisposed to failure. Specifically, the injector bodies split, leak and dump abnormal fuel in-cylinder, which in turn causes a continuous haze out the tailpipe. With the injectors being proudly located beneath the valve comforters on the LB7 (false on LLY and later engines), injector substitute is neither cheap nor easy. Although improved injectors now can be found for the LB7, injector substitute is something almost no Duramax-equipped GM built between ’01 and ’04 can get away from.

High Kilometers and Programmers
Blown head gaskets

With aftermarket coding with the capacity of adding more than 200hp to some diesels, it’s no think about most trucks are interfaced with a tuner. Alas, this took its toll as elderly vehicles rack up the mls. After dealing with the added cylinder pressure, boost pressure and drive pressure for thousands of a long way, things usually culminate in a blown head gasket. This is also true for tuned Duramax and Power Stroke mills, but it effects the Cummins crowd, too.

Bad Vibrations
Wire Harness issues

For years, folks have been lured into buying used ’03-’07 Ford Super Dutys by low resale prices and because they could be “bulletproofed.” We begins by saying that these pickup trucks are cheap for a reason-and no engine unit can be bulletproofed. There are a great number of problems that will either take place with time or have to be addressed instantly on a 6.0L. EGR issues run rampant, the essential oil coolers plug up, brain bolts extend, turbos stay, FICMs are unsuccessful and the high-pressure oil injection system is nowhere near as reliable as the system employed on the 7.3L.

Inspection Pointers
Look for excessive blowby (cylinder wall, piston, piston band health).
Look for white residue on the coolant overflow reservoir/degas bottle (indicative of your blown head gasket).
Check for worn ball joints, inordinate levels of rust and oil, fuel, coolant or transmission smooth leaks.
Inspect how dirty (or clean) the air conditioning filter is.
Don’t accept any answer for why the Engine motor Light (CEL) is illuminated unless you can browse the code yourself.
When possible, witness a cool start.
Listen for just about any kind of lope or miss at idle and when dropped into products (may be the signal associated with an injector concern). If you hear any noises that frustrate you, contemplate it a worst case scenario and leave.
Pay attention to how long it requires for an automated transmission to engage after making your equipment selection.

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