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Looking at a "new" truck, opinions wanted


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#1 Vic Harder

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 06:53 AM

I'm quite happy with my 2006 GMC 3500 LBZ access cab/long box truck, except that I have over 440K Km on it and before I spend any monies to get a flat deck for it, I'd like to have a truck with less miles on it as the base platform.  Plus mine is a bare bones (vinyl floor, manual windows and manual 4x4 shift), and I and my wife would both like electric windows and 4x4 shift on the fly.

 

I've been hunting for another one for 2 years with no joy.... the access cab (supercab for the fords) are not very popular, and I really don't want an even longer truck (crew cab turning radius is a full 10' more)!  

 

And just last week a 1999 F-350 supercab long box with 200K km on it popped up.  It is SUPER well kept and near mint. I intend to go test drive it this week.  

 

I know nothing of Fords, but I hear people say things like the 7.3L is bomb proof, the transmission sucks ( it IS only a 4 speed compared to the 6 speed Allison I have now) and it drives more like a "truck" than the GM's.  Other than the "bomb proof" comment, I don't like giving up on the 6 speed (that Allison is practically psychic, I love how it shifts), nor do I want to give up handling and put up with more noise.

 

Honestly, my biggest concern is the ability to cruise at decent highway speeds.  I hear the 7.3L likes to cruise at 1900 RPM (right about where my LBZ cruises too) but that is only about 60 mph.  In my LBZ that's more like 70mph, and I usually drive at 73 mph or higher on the interstates, especially when the speed limit is 80 or more!  Plus I know that I can easily accelerate quickly and pass up steep hills at over 90 mph if needed.  And I still average 16 mpg doing that with the camper on.  I get a bit worried when the speedo on the F-350 tops out at 100 mph.  Seems kinda low?

 

So, I'm looking for opinions from GM and Ford folks who may have experience with either or both of the trucks I'm talking about.  Should I wait for the right 2006 GM to show up?  Switch to 1999-2002 Ford?  

 

Thanks for chiming in.

 


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#2 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 02:05 PM

Vic, I’m a Ford guy, but after reading your thoughts, I would recommend you wait for the GM truck that you really want.   I believe you’ll be more comfortable with something you’re familiar with.  Not to mention the F350 is 22 years old.

 

Edit:  I don’t remember if my 7.3 was turning 1900 at cruise, but it did fine at speed.  BTW, my 16 year avg MPG for all kinds of load was just over 15 mpg.


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#3 Foy

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 04:15 PM

My 2002 F350 SRW Crew Cab long bed 7.3 4R100 auto 3.73 axle ratio turns just a shade under 2000 rpm in Overdrive w/ TC locked @ 70 mph on the speedo. With taller than OEM tires (315s, so arouind 34.5" tall), I dial it back to around 64 on the speedo and she's then turning around around 1800-1850 revs and still running right at 71 mph in actuality. For fuel economy purposes it makes a big difference keeping it down to 70 mph or less if conditions allow. Having the aerodynamics of a cinder block means something at higher speeds, and it's not good.

 

Without the camper trailer she'll pull all but the steeper grades in overdrive (OD is either 25 or 30%--can't recall exactly).  The 4R100 has a torque converter lockup like most auto transmissions have had since the early 90s and including the TQ lock up as an upshift (which is the way it drives) the OD then upshifts and drives like a 5th gear.

 

Dunno for sure where 2000 turns is along the 7.3's torque curve but it must be well up there because it holds top gear on most Interstate hills.  The annoying thing about the 4R100 is the way it kicks down out of OD--left to her own devices, she kicks down to 3rd w/out the TC locked, so upon kickdown she's really kicking down two steps.  She normally immediately "upshifts" back into TC lockup in 3rd so there's a huge roar and kick in the tail and a quick upshift to TC lock again.  It's disconcerting enough that I normally hit the OD off button on the shifter at the bottom of the steeper hills and pull them in 3rd with the TC locked.  For some reason when I do it manually like that, the TC never unlocks so it's a smoother downshift and upshift at the top of the grade.

 

Our old War Wagon is now 19 model years old and had 286,000 miles. Neither the 7.3 nor the 4R100 have ever been gone in to. My only real complaint is the front leaf springs--I replaced the leaf springs on all 4 corners 5 years ago and while the rears are still good the fronts have flattened out more than I'd like.  Must be that 1,200 lbs of engine over them.

 

Foy


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#4 Vic Harder

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 06:01 PM

thanks for you input guys.  The age of the truck doesn't bother me.  Everything rubber/brittle can be replaced (wish i could say the same about my parts!)  and both these trucks are very popular with huge aftermarket followings.

 

Foy, what size rims are you running those 315's on?  Any rubbing issues?  


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#5 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 06:58 PM

Plus 1 regarding the down shifting.   I did the same as Foy, took it out of OD, and off cruise before a climb.  The two gear drop was quite a hammer.

 

My transmission was dropped twice.  Once for a pinched O Ring, once for a cracked torque converter.   Watch your trans temps, and they do fine.


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#6 Foy

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 08:04 PM

Vic, I'm on the aftermarket 9.0" or 9.5" wheels.  Don't recall which since I'm at the office. Think they're 9.5". Believe the OEM alloys were 8.5" and Discount Tire told me they wouldn't put the 315s on wheels that narrow. Wider wheels weren't too expensive so I decided to buy them with the tires and as a result I was able to sell the 4 OEM wheels and the Michelin ATX 10 plys with about 10/32s of remaining tread for $500 to a guy around the corner whose F-250 badly needed rubber.

 

Yeah, I've got rubbing issues.  The new front springs and a 1" spacer block were intended to solve them and did for a time.  Now the flattening has brought them back, but not as bad as before. Put it this way: I haven't torn the fender liner out--yet.

 

WS, I always scan my OEM trans temp gauge frequently even though long ago I was told its primary purpose was to show you the precise moment at which you'd cooked your transmission.  But next month marks 17 years that I've had it and over dozens of 400 mile round trips to either Chesapeake Bay or the Blue Ridge during the dog days of summer, and 5 round trips to Montana (2 towing the trailer) I've rarely seen it budge, and then just a bit.  Well, at least until climbing out of Two Calf Creek on a glorified goat trail in the Missouri Breaks towing the trailer on a 100 degree day in August 2020. But there was nothing normal about that little escapade. I need to post a much belated TR including that, as painful as it is to recall even 8 months later.  I thought for sure I'd ruined the 4R100 that day, a mere 2,300 miles from home.

 

Foy


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#7 Vic Harder

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 04:52 AM

Well, took the truck for a spin today.  Not my cup of tea.  That said, the truck IS in near mint condition, and if someone here is inclined towards F-350 7.3L Powerstrokes, this would be worth following up on.

 

Why not my cup of tea?

- Way less power than my 7 year newer truck.  This can be remedied via the aftermarket though

- The engine is way noisier in cab that my truck

-  A bit more wind noise at speed

- Speaking of speed, it really does feel like 65 mph is a good cruising speed.  That put it at 2000 RPM.  In comparison, at 2000 RPM my truck is doing 80 mph and just loafing along.

- Going faster than that feels like really pushing it.


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#8 GroovyDad

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 05:43 PM

You're not considering the Dodge Ram?

 

I just picked up a Ram 2004  5.9L Cummins diesel with only 133k miles on it and it's gorgeous and runs like a top AND, it gets better mileage than my Tacoma.  It took a few months of consistent looking, but it finally popped up.

 

I'm planning a flatbed build early next year.


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#9 Vic Harder

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 02:46 AM

Around here folks say the cummins is an awesome engine... unfortunately, it comes with a dodge truck.   :blink:

 

Had not been looking at them seriously.  Owned a 2002 Ram 1500 gasser, thing drank fuel, the steering sucked, and the transmission was constantly in the shop.

 

Learn me otherwise, Groovy!


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#10 Vic Harder

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 07:51 AM

Another question:  I have a Puma/Grandby in an 8' bed.  Access cab trucks are very hard to find.  Will the extra foot of wheelbase in a full crew cab make the truck that much less trailworthy that I really should not consider them?


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