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I'm buying an old diesel In San Diego Need a before U buy X question check up for diesel

Hi, I’m in San Diego. Head gasket blew on my beloved toyota mini winni motor home after 10,000 miles. Owner won’t honor the Warantee. don’t use A New View Automotive. Anyway, that’s another story. $50 a day is $$$ I’m spending on a rental car. So, Right now, I’m going to buy an old diesel either truck or mini bus. (let me know asap if U have one for sale. ) I think there are places that do pre-sale check a veichle something like 30 points on a form? I would be good if it was a chain bcs I’m looking at a bus in Oceanside but he won’t bring the bus down to San diego etc. It has to be a place that will check diesels. If you know abt this, all info is appreciated. Recomendations of these places in a 60 mile radius of San Diego would be appreciated. Also recomendations of who I should avoid. I would love it if you would give me a check list of things I should check or have checked.

BTW, I am a senior slightly disabled lady with a body that doesn’t keep up wi my mind. I have 4 huge dogs. I’m the originator of Giant Schnoodles see: I also do rescue for the county of San diego so if I get a truck, it needs to have an extended cab to fit my dogs. I’m looking at a ford wi a king cab wi an 8 foot bed. I really only need a 6 ft bed but the price is right. Its 20 ft long. I’m used to my mini wini 19 ft. That 1 foot can make a biiiig difference when paralel parking in a meter spot. This little rental car is scaring me to death. I keep seeing me & my dogs smushed on the freeway when those 18 wheelers pass me on the freeway. I need a big old truck fast! My ultimate goal is to covert my beloved toyota mini winni motor home into a cooking oil veichel which everyone tells me is impossible. So until the angel who can do it comes along, I need an old, cheap diesel to get me around. If I never find the angel, then, the veichle I buy will be a diesel that I can have converted to cooking oil. If its a truck, I want to put a self contained camper (not camper shell) on it. If I buy a bus, I’d have it converted like my motor home. Sort of my back up plan. I need to buy that back up veichle in a hurry bcs I’m paying $50 day rental Ouch!!! All help appreciated. I have a fantasy of being on the road wi Willy Nelson & cooking oil. On the Road Again dum dum dum dum dum… Puppy love from Tipppytoes & furry folk

Old Diesels tend to be the most expensive to operate vehicle you will ever own…Find an old Dodge Caravan or similar and take the back seats out to make the dogs happy…Forget the cooking oil…

Don’t get too hung up on diesel. The small fuel-sipping diesel trucks you are imagining are all over the world, but not here (and especially not in California). Diesel trucks you buy here are huge-engined behemoths made for towing, which they do quite well. But if you don’t tow, and don’t tow a lot (both weight and frequency) you really don’t need one. They command a huge price premium, they’re more expensive to maintain and there’s practically no significant fuel savings except when towing. If you’re buying a full size pickup just to toodle around in and haul dogs with, look for one with a 6-cylinder engine.

I would generally agree with Caddyman, especially with the veggie oil. Processing the stuff is a total pain in the butt and it’s become competetive enough that it’s definitely not a matter of just pulling up behind the burger joint and filling 'er up-- in some places where veggie oil is popular (I’m guessing you live in one) it ends up costing you almost as much as diesel. It is definitely a young person’s folly.

Edited to add: Also, to answer your question, buying an old diesel you’ll definitely want to get a compression test. You need a special compression tester that can handle higher numbers, so a regular mechanic isn’t likely to have one. If you can’t find a regular mechanic who regularly works on diesel trucks, your best bet might be calling around to places that work on semi trucks or heavy equipment and asking if they can just do a compression test for you and then have a regular mechanic check out the rest of the vehicle.

Thx, That info is very valuable. I will definitely get a compression test. I just drove this old V8 truck with a king cab. Really cheap, noisy & smelly but seems a lot safer than the little death trap I’m renting. But not so easy to park. I guess I should have mentioned that I am an inventor & eutrepeneur & political activist. I have been fascinated wi the cooking oil idea for a long time. I have been kicking myself since the 1st time the head gasket blew & I didn’t go diesel. I can’t describe the mix of feelings when it blew this time. I was a combination of oh sh-t & relief that I have a another chance, if not the money to go diesel this time. I think its the up & coming thing. That appeals to the euntrepeneur part. Its new & innovative which of course appeals to inventor. Those parts feel the need to experience it. The other part has to do with every time I fill up at a gas station & the feeling that goes through me when I know that I am paying to support the people who killed my best friend’s son (& ultimately her) at 9/11. A day will come when we will all be on our death beds. I don’t want to be on my death bed & regret that I didn’t try it. I know its a pain. I know & wish I was younger & more physically able but I’ll find a way to do it. I should have mentioned that I am not really disabled. I am alter abled. I find an altered way of doing what all you able bods do. see me at You will see my altered way of building a business out of my dogs pulling me in a dog chariot. Hmmm definitely not diesel more like dog food fuel LOL. So I need to do this thing & I’d appreciate any help you knowledgeable people can give me. So pls keep the info coming to this creative, idealistic, activistic, tie dye
t-shirt wearing hippy who dreams of traveling with Willy Nelson on cooking oil. Puppy Love from Tipppytoes & furry folk (btw, does anyone know who Tippytoes is? Hint - Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, & I’ve never met anyone who remembers Tipppytoes)

I like your dog harness; that’s very creative. If you do use biodiesel made from waste cooking oil, remember that you have to pay a fuel tax. It is your responsability to keep track of the gallons used and pay the taxes. I’m not sure whether the Department of Transportation or the Internal Revenue Service collects them, but you need to find out. Cali may want a piece of the action, too. You could just let it go, ut when you are caught, you will owe all back taxes an undoubtedly a penalty. The longer it takes to catch you, the higher the bill gets.

I think you need to reassess your plan. Your dogs will not like the 8 ft self contained slide in camper. You can go to 10’ or so with rear overhang, but I think your Mini-Winnie has more space than that. If you ultimately want a self contained RV, then go that route and visit RV dealers (the market is still down in that department and you might get a heck of a deal), and consider a diesel version a plum if you find one. Taking this chassis and adding a self contained full length camper is more expensive than buying an RV in the first place, be it gas or diesel. If you are going to add any kind of camper to this truck, make sure it is a Ford F250 or F350, not an F150. Your cost to convert a vehicle to an RV can far exceed the cost of just looking around and buying one that fits your needs in the first place.

Hi JT & JayHawk, Thx for the compliment on my dog aparel. Actually the harness is underneath. I made the red coat out of heavy terry towel which I keep wet when its hot out. I think that’s really good imput. Don’t want to think abt taxes right now, but ur right. The reason I like the slide out camper is bcs if I had hydraulic thingamajigs, I could take it off & use the pick up. On the other hand after thinking all night, I only like to have 1 veichle (other than my portable office which is a 40 ft 1977 diesel school bus) & this truck is awfully big. Is there such a thing as a Nissan or Toyota diesel? Or a vw truck that’s big enough for a camper? I was also thinking a bubble top van but an american car that isn’t a diesel isn’t much good after 100,000 miles. I was also thinking old veichle wi new motor. They can go very cheap. especially if they need a paint job. $300 for my color choice to match the dog coats LOL! What is the difference in the F250, 350 & 150? Are those numbers relevant & the same in all makes or only Ford? Can you suggest a checklist for checking out diesel & gas veichles? Anyone know of a chain that does pre-sal checks? If not, hey there’s a business opportunity for someone! Thanks for your help. Every bit of info is really useful & new to me. Pls keep it coming. Tipppytoes & the Furry folk

La-La Land…

I don’t know if you can pay for a new truck, but the Ford Transit Connect looks like just what you want, even though it’s a gas powered truck. They start at about $21,000. Take a look at them and see what you think.

For a slide in camper, you need to be looking at 3/4 ton and one ton trucks. Brand isn’t as important as condition and how it was maintained. Trucks tend to be used and abused, and you need to look for the good one in amongst the abused ones.

Depend on your local mechanic for the pre-purchase inspections. Talk to him about your intentions first.

Ask the following question of more than one mechanic, preferably those who know Toyotas but fresh viewpoints are good too: Why did my Toyota head gasket fail? Is the head warped? Is it possible that the repair was botched in some way? Do the headbolts need retorquing after initial warmup and was that done? What is the root cause of head gasket failure on my Toyota?

If there is a reason, then you can have it repaired correctly to keep your known and otherwise satisfactory vehicle.

Keep in mind too, that the origin of biodiesel is traceable in no small way to farm products that require diesel fuel from foreign oil.

Hi It, Thx for the info. Do those smaller trucks like the toyotas come in 3/4 ton & 1 ton? Are those smaller Japanese such as Nissan, big enough for the slide in? If its just American, I should take that big Ford I looked at. I have to decide today if he hasn’t already sold it bcs he’s going to Mexico for a week leaving tomorrow. But those American trucks are so big to park. But that king cab is really great for dogs & friends. It was also really comfortable & felt really safe in an accident. But a smaller Japanese would be much easier to park. Round & round at $50 per day rental! Re the mechanic. Would you believe, the same day as my head gasket blew, my mechanic dropped dead of a heart attack. He was only 55 yrs. Terrible for his family of course. But to my self centeredness, its like gee, one more thing happening to me. Also reminds me what was said by the founder of He said “when I started Amazon, I knew I could fail. But on my death bed, I would never regret trying & failing but I would regret never trying” . I found another mechanic that I’m really impressed wi but he doesn’t do diesel. The guy that does diesel charges a lot (you guys were righ!) but wants 2 days lead time for an appointment. How do you do that when your buying a truck? Go figure.

Very interesting. I saw it in auto trading for the 1st time yesterday. I liked it. But alas, no 20,000 right now. But we are on the same wave. I remember when the Toyota Tundra came out. I thought, I’ll wait on that til the used ones are around & don’t cost much LOL. Of course we are there now, but my thoughts were when gas was $1 & before 9/11

to answer your question about F250, F350, and F150 differneces. Most of the 150 (and 1500, if Dodge) are only 1/2 ton trucks, they wont safely support the weight of a slide-in camper. The 250 (2500 if Dodge) are 3/4 ton and are better equipped to handle the weight, the 350’s and 3500s are 1 tons and may be beefier than you really need.
If your going to do a slide-out you probably want something in the 3/4 ton range.

But I’m tending to agree with “Wha Who?”, if your happy with your Toyota except for it’s recent mishaps, find the issue and fix it. It will be cheaper then embarking on a new path.