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Old 12-02-2014, 09:59 AM   #1
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Question about diesel?

I have a question for everyone, and I am not trying to get into a brand battle with this post. Just a simple question on your thoughts about a situation.

I currently have a 2007 Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab 6.0L truck with about 102,000 miles on it. It has done well for me pulling my current 30ft travel trailer. I have been casually looking for a fifth wheel, and my current gas motor setup somewhat has me worried.

I came across a 2005 Ram 2500 crew cab with the 5.9L Cummins. The truck is spotless, but has about 156,000 miles on it. No fifth wheel hitch has ever been installed. Dealer said that the truck was used to pull no more than a 20ft enclosed trailer with some 4 wheelers in it.

I know it is going back in years, and up in miles, but would this be something worth considering? Would anyone have any issues buying a diesel with 156,000 miles on it?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:14 AM   #2
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I will share my thoughts:

Depending on price, maybe. The 5.9L is bulletproof, and my buddy has roughly 250K on his 1997. Don't buy dealer BS on what it towed, though. He will say anything to sell it.

If it is a good deal, and the truck is in good shape, I would consider it - but find a reputable mechanic that specializes in diesels and have them give it a good look-see.

The 6.0L Chevy is a good motor, too. While you are "entertaining" the idea of a 5th wheel, it may be worth looking around a lot or saving for a newer diesel with less miles. If you even get another year out of the Chevy, it certainly can help "up" the range you are looking at for the replacement.
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:22 AM   #3
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I guess I should probably give a little more information on my situation. I currently put about 5,000 to 6,000 miles on my truck a year. It is really only used in the winter for 4 wheel drive, and then when I am pulling my trailer. I would say that out of the miles per year, 2,000 of it is probably pulling the trailer around. So it isn't driven a lot.

I have been looking at the possibility of getting a Sunset Trail SF28BH, or now the SF29BH, fifth wheel for a while. I put a post on here about it a while ago, and the reviews were mixed. A few said I would have no problem pulling this trailer with my gas motor, and others recommended I go to a diesel.

I know that if I spend the money and go for a diesel, i won't regret it, but I just don't have $35,000 to $40,000 to drop on a gently used diesel, and then get a new 5th wheel in the next year or so.
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:27 AM   #4
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Thanks for the quick reply Eddy. I do agree with your comment about never trusting a dealer on what it towed. That is why I asked him to give me the previous owner information, and he did. So I will be giving the guy a call tonight to ask him about the truck.

From what I can tell, the truck is spotless. There is no rust on this truck at all, and the dealer is asking about $17,500 for the truck. For around here, that is a very fair price for the condition of the truck. That is really the only reason I started looking to begin with. The miles though are question for me. I just don't want to purchase this truck, and then have it start nickel and dimeing me to death. I know the engine is strong, and there are brand new tires on it. But i don't want bearing issues, transmission issues, suspension issues, or anything like that to creep up shortly after I purchase it.

I guess I will find out a lot of info tonight when I talk to the previous owner. Hopefully he has some good maintenance records that he can show me as well.
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:01 AM   #5
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We purchased our truck used with over 100,000 miles on it about 4 years ago. The nice thing about diesels is that you can get a lot more miles out of them than a gas engine. We took our truck to a shop and had them go over the whole thing to make sure it was in good shape. That included doing a scan of the motor and drive train, I wanted to know what I was getting. It cost me roughly around $100.00 for them to check everything but also gave me a bargaining chip when it came to the price also. We currently have over 215,000 on our truck now and still going strong. When you get an older truck gas or diesel you can figure you will have to do some work on it sooner or later (brakes, bearings, seals, suspension, etc.), everything wears out over time. By buying a newer truck you are just prolonging it a little more, but if the truck has been well maintained you shouldn't have to do a lot of that for some time. Personally I wouldn't hesitate purchasing another diesel with over 100,000 miles as long as it was well taken care of.
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Old 12-02-2014, 01:37 PM   #6
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I purchased my 03 Ram 2500 desiel back in 08 with 75K on it. Was the best investment I made to tow my 11K 5th wheel. I now only have 127K on it and now tow a new SF32RL fiver. I love the power it has and the mileage is double (6mpg to 13mpg) what my gasser used to get towing. The motor still runs strong after 11+ years. Just had to replace the tranny this summer which is a known problem with Dodge. Other than that I wouldn't hesitate buying it if it's in good shape. A desiel doesn't get broken in until 100,000 miles, so it's still like new.
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Old 12-02-2014, 02:09 PM   #7
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I don't know where the idea comes from that a diesel isn't broken in until it has 100,000 mi. on it. I think they are broken in well before that. There might even be a lot of maintenance happening by then, and the maintenance on a diesel is more expensive then a gas engine.
Granted, they will normally have a longer life span then a gas engine--if, they are properly maintained.

In my opinion, for the amount of miles you say you put on towing, I would keep the gas truck for another year or two.
If you have your heart set on a diesel, just keep your eyes open, something newer with less miles will pop up for a price you won't be able to pass on.
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Old 12-02-2014, 02:54 PM   #8
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I see you are in WI. Do they use salt on your roads ? That truck is 10 years old (or will be very soon). That means the brake lines, the trans lines, the fuel lines have 10 years of salt/weather exposure.

Do you have the mechanical ability to replace the lines yourself ? If not, that gets real expensive in a hurry

In fact, if your current truck has seen salt, you are getting close to the time that GM brake lines rot out. We (the trailer we on this site) had a discussion recently about stainless lines.

Knowing now what I know, I wouldn't put a trailer behind a 10 year old truck that comes from the rust belt without new brake lines on it.

With that said, my truck is an 04.5, and does the job just fine, that truck would also,

as long as you go over it and bring it back up to code and not take a chance on a critical failure while towing.
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:59 PM   #9
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Sounds like a good truck - be prepared to rebuild and bulletproof the transmission - usually about $3K. Ask the previous owner if it's been done. It's really the only weak link in that truck. Once rebuilt properly (which should have been done at the factory before they were ever sold but wasn't), you should get a lot of years out of that truck.
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:05 PM   #10
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I have mixed opinions on this, A gently used diesel at that milage may be fine.
But many diesel engines at that mileage have problems that can run into the thousands of dollars. fuel pumps, injectors, turbos ect.....
Alot can depend on maintainance, driving conditions. You could be buying a motor that will go another 100,000 miles or one that is getting ready to have a alot of problems in the near future. I have yet to own a diesel engine in a pickup that was cheap to work on.
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by concreteman View Post
I have yet to own a diesel engine in a pickup that was cheap to work on.
this is one of the most astute, truthful statements yet. they are not cheap. oil changes aren't cheap, fuel filters aren't cheap, air filters not cheap.

parts are really not cheap.

to be honestly truthful, when we bought ours, I would have been better off to have bought the 8.1 with Allison trans. we would have been 1000's ahead of the game

since 2001, all three brands have suffered engineering failures to a degree. they are getting better and better, but the changes that they have had to do with emissions have caused lots of issues over the years, especially with GM products.
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:58 PM   #12
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IMHO, no matter the shape of the engine/drivetrain...
everything else around it is 10+ years old...

My stepson borrowed my 2013 truck and utility trailer to go hunting in colorado and I am STUNNED in a week how much rust showed up on my truck and trailer !!!!

the chemicals must have been out in full force !
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:40 PM   #13
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One thing not mentioned above. Double check payload capacities on that truck per door jam sticker to make sure you will be within specs. Nothing worse than buying a truck and then finding out you needed more truck. It will probably be fine with a sunset trail but with heavier fivers it may not be.
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Old 12-03-2014, 05:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnboytoo View Post
IMHO, no matter the shape of the engine/drivetrain...
everything else around it is 10+ years old...

My stepson borrowed my 2013 truck and utility trailer to go hunting in colorado and I am STUNNED in a week how much rust showed up on my truck and trailer !!!!

the chemicals must have been out in full force !
that is exactly why I mentioned about brake,fuel & transmission lines.

thanks for saying it again to re-iterate the point !

I have not driven our truck in the winter in a few years now and have kept it undercoated since new, but it is a constant chore to keep the rust away.

I blew a brake line with the trailer attached, fortunately it was in the driveway when I was jockeying the trailer around getting it ready for camping. I had the stainless brake lines at the house, so there was not a mad scramble, but it did ruin the weekend. It would have been worse had we made it out of the drive two days later.

when buying a used truck, sometimes you are further off ahead to buy from a stealership and get an extended warranty on the truck (if available)
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Old 12-03-2014, 06:35 AM   #15
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We have friends that have an '07 2500HD with the 6.0L. It is 2wd extended cab, but I don't know what axle ratio. They are full-timers and tow a Columbus 320RS fiver, dry weights are around 2100 lbs pin and 10,800 lbs total. As full-timers, they probably carry more gear than average. Anyway, the truck seems to do fine towing that fiver. We were together last summer in Buena Vista, Co. and they didn't complain about towing in the mtns.

For the small amount of towing you do, I would recommend keeping the truck you have. Diesels don't do as well as a gasser sitting idle for weeks and weeks. Maybe even keep the trailer you have and save money for the future. The big advantage of a fiver is more stable towing and less driver fatigue which will be more critical when towing distances increase.
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Old 12-03-2014, 09:52 AM   #16
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6,000 miles a year and 2000 towing.

I would have a hard time justifying going to an older higher mileage truck even if it is a diesel.

You are no where close to enough miles to justify a diesel.

Your current truck should be good for 200,000 miles so it still has about 15 good years left.
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Old 12-03-2014, 10:25 AM   #17
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Concrete and Cook are correct about their statements. You won't have to worry about the Dodge nickel and diming you - you will need quarters and silver dollars!

I would LOVE to own a diesel. I have always wanted a diesel (dunno why, just love the sound, smell, what have you). I too am in the "look and dream" stage, but will be buying gas. I will not be getting a diesel due to fuel and maintenance costs. My truck will be a daily driver, and the high costs of a diesel out weigh any benefits in my mind.

That is my opinion, and you will get many different ones here, all with good info to back them up. Good luck!
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:16 PM   #18
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Not sure if this matters, but I know diesel trucks cost more to buy, but the resale value also holds up better. At least that is for now the market can change. I know every time I drive past the gas station and see gas for $2.50 and diesel for $3.75 it ticks me off because diesel should not be this high. I send my oil to BlackStone Labs and I called to talk about my report and he said the rings could take up to 100,000 miles to be fully seated. So maybe there is some truth to a diesels not being broke in till 100,000, I find this hard to believe but I would think a guy that tests oils for a living would know what he is talking about.
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:35 PM   #19
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Just an update on this. I talked to the previous owner last night. He said nothing was wrong with the truck, just traded it in on a new Ford. He said that he never plowed with it, or towed anything more than a 20ft trailer with 4-wheelers (I guess the dealer was telling the truth! ) He said there has never been any transmission work done, so that was bothersome for me to hear. He said the truck should be completely stock.

The more I read on this, and the more research I do, I am not 100% sold on the diesel trucks yet. Well, for my application anyway. Years down the road when I retire and we decide to travel extensively, I will definitely be getting a 1 ton dually. But for right now, I am somewhat leaning toward keeping my current truck. I have taken real good care of it, and it has plenty of power to do what I need it to do now.

Here in Wisconsin, I am not traveling over mountains, so I don't need to worry about that at all. The only thing I do worry about is how much the trailer can tow. The truck has 3.73 gears in, so my tow capacity lists out at only 9800 lbs. That really limits the fifth wheels that I can tow, but hopefully my truck can handle the weight of the Sunset Trail SF29BH, if that should be the fifth wheel that I end up purchasing.
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Old 12-03-2014, 02:49 PM   #20
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Here in Wisconsin, I am not traveling over mountains, so I don't need to worry about that at all. The only thing I do worry about is how much the trailer can tow. The truck has 3.73 gears in, so my tow capacity lists out at only 9800 lbs. That really limits the fifth wheels that I can tow, but hopefully my truck can handle the weight of the Sunset Trail SF29BH, if that should be the fifth wheel that I end up purchasing.
Towing capacity is probably the least understood spec. Basically it is performance based, how fast the truck can accelerate under load or how well it can maintain speed on a grade. Each manufacturer has their own method for establishing towing capacity. And each owner has their own tolerance for performance of a loaded combo. Many trucks routinely pull weights far above the manufacturer's towing capacity number. But part of that is understanding that the truck brakes do not stop the trailer. Anyway, if you are not towing in the mountains, at high elevations or towing many miles per year, you can probably tow any fifth wheel that doesn't exceed the other specs.

With fifth wheels, since basically 100% of the pin weight sits on the rear axle and there is no WD capability, keeping under the RGAWR becomes the biggest challenge. That is especially true since RGAWR is almost always limited by tire capacity.
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