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Buying a truck- Gas or Diesel

I am about to trade up from my 1/2 ton GMC- looking at Ford F250’s and Chevy/GMC 2500’s. (I live in CO and pull a horse trailer, so I want a bit more whoa and go in the mountains.) I have been trying to buy used, under 50,000 miles, and am having a hard time finding what I want with a gas engine. I originally ruled out Diesel because mean my truck lives outside and I keep hearing how hard diesels are when it’s cold. Also, Diesel Fuel is pricier that gas these days, but I am having a REALLY hard time finding a 3/4 ton that uses gas and has the other particulars I am looking for. See tons in Diesel though. Any one have any insight on the diesel to gas conundrum??? Also- I have had great luck with GMC trucks, but see few of those on the market. Any advice on Ford VS GMC.


Thomi Q

Buy the diesel, a block heater and extension cord.

I think diesel is far superior for pulling a lot of weight. A full sized pickup truck pulling a horse trailer is definitely a job for a diesel. The 30 passenger school bus that I drive weighs about 10,000 lbs. empty and it takes hills better than some cars I’ve driven!

What about a Dodge Ram 2500? The standard engine has 375 HP/345 ft-lb torque. That’s 15% more torque than either V8 from Ford or GM. If you need more, then you want the diesel.

I’m real partial to GMC/Chevy diesel trucks. Would recommend them first and Powerstroke from Ford second if you found one in really great shape for a better price. You will have NO problems starting either of these trucks with winter additives and heater on colder nights. My diesels have never failed me with just a little precaution.

Yeah what he said…You want a Diesel with Oil Pan and Block Heater

The tradeoff for the slightly higher cost of diesel fuel (about 30 cents a gallon where I live) in a heavier light duty truck like this is a whole lot more pulling power and better fuel economy. If you regularly pull a lot of weight, a diesel engine makes sense. As far as the winter goes, diesels are very cold blooded, but as long as you keep the block heater plugged in and make sure your batteries (diesel trucks usually have two) are nice and strong, you should have no problems in the winter. However, the first time you forget to plug that block heater in on a cold winter night will be the last time you forget to do that…

Just an aside about diesels. Sorry for stating the obvious but, In the winter, I’ve found they need to be used if you want to minimize problems. There seems to be no substitute for regular use in cold weather. There are 4 of us with diesels. In cold weather the heater gets plugged in if isn’t used every day.

Expand your search to one tons and Ford V10’s, also. I got my F350 crew, short bed with 48K miles by doing some careful shopping, at a time when gas was approaching the current highs. Folks seemed to start to unload during high gas prices. I originally wanted a long bed, but compromised because the price was OK. Depending on where you are, it may be prudent to widen your search geographically.

That may also be why you are seeming more diesels. Unless you use the truck daily, pay back on the initial Diesel mark up, plus the higher cost in Diesel fuel may be causing folks to start to sell.

My father in law got his best deal for this diesel from Ebay, and traveled to Dallas, TX to purchase it. He lives in CO. I don’t recommend this kind of purchase, but it illustrates the issues he had in finding a truck he wanted at the price he was willing to pay in CO.

Thanks- wish I could find one with a short bed as that is what I want- then it has a prayer of fitting in my garage. Resale is not much of an issue as I am not so young and tend to keep vehicles forever- also, it mostly gets used for towing and bad CO weather as I have a little football helmet car for the rest of the time. One worry with diesel for me is I take the truck for skiing where it is very cold and not at home to plug in overnight- how do you deal with that?

“I take the truck for skiing where it is very cold and not at home to plug in overnight- how do you deal with that?”

If you stay at a hotel, ask them when you make the reservation if they have an outdoor plug that you can use. If they do, carry a long extension cord. Try several hotels if you don’t find one right away. And you can’t go through the 800 number for this. You’ll have to call the hotel directly.