I have a 1997 Ford F-250 Light Duty with the 6 in the VIN number. This is the oddball of oddballs when it comes to trucks. It has the 7 lug wheels and all kinds of other odd things you won’t find in any other model. It also has 300,000 miles and a decent amount of rust but has overall been a good truck. The engine runs well and the transmission is solid. It was a mess when I got it and I called it the “Fix Or Repair Daily” for a while and this wasn’t an exaggeration. Something was always going wrong. Once I got it in shape, it has been a decent truck and worked pretty well for 10 years without much going wrong. It never left me stranded even in its bad days when I first got it. I used to curse it for being hard to find parts for, etc. and being such an oddball but it really hasn’t been a bad truck once all the problems were fixed. I thought I was getting a good deal by trading a laptop and a rifle for it but I definitely spent more than it was worth after it got done nickel and dimeing me.
This is my farm truck, firewood truck, take it to the river truck, haul in scrap metal truck, haul hay truck. I don’t expect it to be perfect but I have recently started to have a few problems. A wheel bearing started to growl so I took it in to the shop. Recently I was moving firewood on my farm and the brakes quite working. The reservoir was empty and then I noticed fluid all over the underside which ended up being the oil lines leaking. These were replaced 10 years ago and have a lifetime warranty so am replacing them myself tomorrow. The brake issue appears to be a blown wheel cylinder which doesn’t look to be a huge deal either. I will just redo the rear brakes and be done with it.
I kinda got the bug to maybe get a slightly newer truck with less miles but then started to look at the prices! Man, used trucks are pretty high right now! Even older models with quite a few miles are going for good money. I found some 15-18 year old trucks that look pretty cosmetically perfect in pictures for $12,000 or more. I really don’t want to spend that much on something that is going to be a work truck and not kept nice with what I use it for.
I like manual transmission vehicles and would like to get another one if I replace this. I know they are rare these days so that is something to consider. I definitely want 4WD if I replace this one. I would also like extended cab which my current truck isn’t.
Anyway, I looked at a pretty decent 2000 F-250 Super Duty today and the price was right ($3500). It has been through a tornado so was pretty banged up in places but pretty much didn’t have a spec of rust and only has 90,000 miles. It is also not a salvage or rebuilt title. This truck has the 5.4L engine which I understand was pretty decent in this era. It had problems later when the cam phasers came along and the plugs started blowing out of the heads but the earlier models were more reliable even if less powerful and not as efficient. The truck was 4WD which was my requirement as well as the manual transmission which was one of my 2 “wants.” It isn’t an extended cab which was my other “want.” I get the feeling the clutch may be about worn out but am not sure. It seems to engage pretty high compared to my 1997 which got a new clutch right after I got it. Both are hydraulic clutches. I also got the feeling some front-end component might be wearing out. It looks like all the tie-rod ends as well as the upper and lower left ball joints have been replaced. The right side ball joints are original and I think there is some slack. I hear clunks when going over bumps. The 4WD on the 2000 is also the electronic engagement which I wonder about. How reliable has this been? My 1997 still has the mechanical transfer case lever on the floor which I like. I know the front hubs have an electronic and vacuum actuated system which can cause problems but I haven’t had any trouble with them. The hubs on the 2000 have an auto and manual lockout setting on the hubs. The guy has left them in manual so the front diff is always turning, putting more wear on it and killing the mileage for him. The transfer case is disengaged of course. Does this put much wear on the diff? He said he has only put like 6000 miles on it since he got it, moving firewood and such like I plan to do.
Here are the good and bad thing about my truck.
-Overall solid and reliable. I has never left me walking and the main systems like the engine and transmission seem sound.
-Had many parts replaced since I got it and probably can’t remember them all (ignition coils, clutch, rear main seal (preventative during clutch replacement), power steering pump, power steering box, entire front end, new front brakes, alternator, nice LED headlights, vacuum lines, various sensors, Ford OEM fuel pump, fuel filter, one front wheel bearing, you name it)
-All fluids were changed (differential, transmission, etc.) when I got it, whether due to me doing this to make sure they were good or during replacement of parts (power steering, etc.)
-Oil has been changed once a year with synthetic no matter how few miles it gets
-Engine doesn’t burn oil
-I like the manual transmission
-I like the mechanical transfer case engagement
-Truck is overall pretty simple for something in the OBD II era
-I know the good and bad points about the truck.
-Truck is high mileage and I have started to experience some minor failures once again
-Truck is pretty rusty in places although the frame appears solid
-Truck will need new tires based on age and wear within next couple years (possible replacement truck I looked at is similar in this regard)
-AC quit working
-AC problem made more frustrating by fact that driver window (electronic) will no longer roll down which is a very recent problem. The motor and switch are fine. It is something with the electronic modules and I may bypass this. The potential replacement truck has manual windows which I like. The AC also works fine.
Something else about my truck vs. this one. Mine must have pretty tall gears for a 4WD truck. The mileage still stinks but you can tell it is geared very high. It sometimes seems like you need to be going 70MPH before it is time to shift into 5th gear, especially if going up any kind of grade. I kinda didn’t like this at first but just use it in 4 low while moving wood or hay on my farm and have no issues with it now that I am used to it. The potential replacement truck with the 5.4L is geared super low. 1st gear felt like being in 4 low on my truck. I shifted to 5th gear at 45MPH and this seemed fine. Of course it is a larger and more powerful engine than my 4.6L and likely slightly newer technology as well. What kind of mileage would I expect out of something like this? I know it won’t be good but I won’t be putting many miles on it either so am not super concerned about this.
It seems that trucks along what I am looking for are not very common. Something reliable with low mileage for the age but not expensive is not real common. How likely is it that I will get a truck with a manual transmission, 4WD, and extended cab? The guy with the 2000 is pretty sick of trying to sell this thing because of all the lowball offers (It looks like a fair price) and worthless trade offers he has been getting. I don’t think it will go anywhere too fast so don’t need to be in a rush if I end up wanting this truck. This is another fear of mine. I have gotten to where I would rather throw something away or recycle it if I can’t donate it, rather than try to sell on a site like Facebook or Craigslist. It seems people on these sites have just gotten so entitled and asinine. Then most of the contacts you get end up being scams or just time wasters. Getting rid of the old one might be a problem, especially since it isn’t a later model vehicle of high value. It is a rough old truck as I have mentioned. I fear I am going to lure in the real low-lifes trying to sell this thing. I have gotten quite fast at blocking people on Facebook but there seems to be an endless supply of nuts these days.
I would prefer a Chevy or Ford and not a Dodge/RAM if I replace this. I am not tied to Ford but that is what my current truck is and the one I looked at today is just a newer version. I am not a fan of MOPAR products but might consider a Cummins model as these seem pretty solid.