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Hauling Horses - gas or diesel?

I am shopping for a pick-up truck to haul horses with. I thought I wanted a diesel because 1. the engines last longer 2. they get better gas mileage 3. they have more pulling power 4. I thought it would be more environmentally conscientious to use bio-diesel. Now I am having second thoughts as the price of diesel goes up and up and I just heard that things "grow" in biodiesel fuel in the summer and can clog your engine, etc. Need help deciding what to do! Want to be able to haul 2-3 horses, up steep hills (Colorado) and am buying used so need to keep it under $15K. Any advice greatly appreciated!!!


  • edited March 2008
    Definitely diesel. The big-block V8's and V10's that you need to haul with a gasoline engine are terrible gas-hogs empty and are absurdly bad when you're actually towing. The diesel won't take nearly the hit fuel economy-wise and the towing doesn't stress the engine mechanically nearly as much as it does the gasoline versions. And don't worry about the price of diesel-- the prices are not going to get higher enough to offset the MPG advantage a diesel has.

    As for the biofuel question, commercially refined bio-diesel is generally okay for most newer diesel engines, although it can damage some seals on older ones. What's usually more problematic is people who use waste-vegetable oil in their diesels, which with modifications and carefully home-refining can also be okay. What you really need to consider about biofuels is their dubious "green" credentials-- in recent months there have been a series of studies demonstrating that most biofuels end up taking a great deal more energy to produce than they yield and have other secondary consequences such as increasing food prices and encouraging deforestation. I personally would say that the higher fuel economy and lower carbon emissions would make a diesel green enough just running on regular diesel, especially with the new ultra-low sulfur diesel being sold here now.
  • edited March 2008
    I recommend buying gasoline engine powered trucks for that price. I would think that you won't find a decent diesel in that range. Not every dealer can work on them. The dealer will fumble your parts order like Wendy's does with their dine in meals. Unfortunately, the dealer doesn't have a drive through window to make up for their ineptitude. The horses probably won't like the diesel exhaust either. I too, don't like where diesel fuel prices are going.
  • edited March 2008
    Things grow in bio-diesel? First I have heard of that. I doubt that is true, and even if it were, it would not happen in your engine. Between the tank and the engine is a filter that is so fine that it blocks all but the most minute of particles. And then there is between the filter and the engine there is really no place for anything to grow. Do not
    base your decisions on some stupid person's silly claim. Instead, base your decision on facts that you research yourself.
    Decide on what pickup you would buy, then research the engines, compare torque, fuel mileage and reliability
    reports. Note, torque is important because that is needed to haul the load.
    Then you can make a good decision
  • edited March 2008
    Well I would suggest just a few things.

    Diesels get great gas mileage, in fact it is infinite. They use diesel ;-)

    BioDiesel does have some problems with cold etc. I don't believe it is more likely than regular diesel to get algae growth, which is a problem with diesel that may have a little moisture around and sits for a while. The greenness of bio is iffy. Some, like reclaimed cooking oil is green but the stuff made from corn seems to have mixed reviews. The researchers hired by the corn growers say it is good but most others indicate otherwise.

    All that aside, I think I would choose diesel for the other reasons you noted.
  • edited March 2008
    Have you bought the horse trailer yet? Post up what the weight of the trailer + horses is.

    I would probably buy a diesel if the weight is over 5,000lb and you will be towing on a weekly basis. The frequency that you tow is a big factor too.

    If you go with a gas rig then at least get a ?-ton with lower axle ratios.
  • edited March 2008
    There are storage issues with biodiesel, Particulary B100. This is more of a concern for fuel producers and distributors than the consumer though?so I?m not going to get into it:)

    For most people, B20 (20% bio, 80% LSD) is the most appropriate route if they want to run bio. Running B100 may require fuel system and injector modifications and exhibits high gel temps (some B100 fuels are as high as 30 - 40 deg F!) Dyno testing with B100 has also demonstrated higher NOx emissions than conventional or LSD fuels, but the tests are less conclusive in ?real world? tests. Still a lot of research being done in the bio fuel world?which is another good reason for the average consumer to stick with B20.

    Bio fuel does offer better lubricity than the LSD fuels, so mixing a 2-5% bio with LSD can solve the lubrication issues associated with LSD and ULSD fuels.
  • edited March 2008
    I went with a used, low miles F350 V10 gas. My father in law went with a used F250 diesel. We are both happy, so far. We both tow roughly the same loads.

    What got me rethinking about diesel was this experience. One year I took a relative's Dodge diesel to Colorado with my four horse trailer and got about 10 mpg. I then bought my V10, paid decent price for it because people believe it is a gas guzzler, and took it the next year. Got 9.5 mpg. Roughly the same load. Don't see how I can pay for the extra cost of the diesel engine or fuel at that small savings. Without the trailer, the Dodge got 16 mpg and my V10 gets about 15. I believe my father in law gets about 17-18 without his trailer in his 7.3L diesel engine.

    I can only speak to my own experience. I don't haul this trailer daily, but I would almost have to use it daily to cover the extra diesel costs, best I can tell.
  • edited March 2008
    A turbocharged diesel is the way to go. Normally aspirated engines, especially gas engines, lose power at high altitudes. Since there are no turbocharged gas engines, you are left with diesels.
  • edited March 2008
    Engine type is not I believe a consideration in the $15K range. Look for the 3/4 ton truck/suv with the fewest towing miles. You'r not spending enough to even consider gas/diesel w/o buying the truck with the fewest miles.
  • edited March 2008
    Given a choice go diesel, you?re going to need the torque that a diesel offers when pulling a horse trailer (been there done that). But for under 15K the shape of the truck is going to be more important then engine type, really. A 2001 Dodge quad cab 2500 diesel with 75,000 miles, would sell for about 17k to 18k+ in my area. But in my area Dodges are not the popular and they tend to lose a lot of value quickly.

    My dad used to be a long haul truck driver; he never had a problem with algae growing in his fuel tanks. Diesel won?t grow algae in it what happens is that as diesel breaks down if forms Asphaltenes. Asphaltenes are brown and slimy and resemble algae. Also algae need light to grow, how much light get through a fuel tank? None. Now stations that don?t move a lot of fuel can have a problem with asphaltenes. Just to be clear you can have bacteria and fungus growing in diesel fuel, but as long as you don?t have water in your fuel it won?t be a problem, just buy your fuel from a station that sells a lot and you won?t have a problem.

    Now the price of diesel fuel, a diesel engine will have between 20?40% better fuel economy then a gasoline engine, so if gasoline is sell for $4.00 you could pay up to $4.80 for diesel and still come out the same if not better dollar wise.

    My opinions are subject to change with new facts.
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