F-250 diesel trucks, ...I need schooling

radarmonkey

Let's go Brandon
Supporting Member
Special Hen Supporter
Joined
Jul 4, 2009
Messages
2,815
Reaction score
2,489
Location
Edmond, Ok
Hi all,
I thinking of an F-250 diesel truck and I'm looking for OSA wisdom.

I currently have an older Ford Escape, and an older Chevy C2500 3/4 ton pickup.
The Escape (AWD) is great as a daily driver and does awesome! (summer/winter, doesn't matter) The Escape (daily driver) gets good mileage and I can get 80% of the stuff I need in the back. Occasionally I use the factory roof rack.
The 3/4 ton truck get used maybe 4-5 times a year - only when it's needed for heavy loads/ pulling the trailer/etc. The truck gets 12 mpg empty or loaded, so I only drive it when needed. The downside is that since it doesn't get used often - the mice will build nests and eat wires. (I've repaired the same set of wiring 3 times!) So I started loading the engine compartment with mouse poision, and periodically check it for refilling purposes. That seems to help.

The wife has been hinting that I should sell both vehicles, and just buy 1 pickup to replace both - so we can reduce the number of vehicles, insurance, and maintenance hassles.
I'm a Ford guy, so I'm playing with the idea of an F-250, diesel, 4x4, crew-cab. ....Short-bed preferred, but not a deal breaker.


This will be my first diesel, and geez - there's a steep learning curve for which one to get (or stay away from). 7.3/6.0/6.4/etc....
Reliable, durability, and ease of maintenance is paramount. (I can do wrenching when needed)
Low-mileage/high-mileage, older/newer models, pros/cons?

I'm currently leaning towards an older (1999-2003) 7.3 power-stroke for the sole purpose that they never die.
But a 6.0 deleted diesel makes stupid power, and can get decent mileage!


I'm completely new to Ford diesel trucks.
So - I'm looking to the wisdom of OSA diesel gear-heads.
Please type slowly and use small words - otherwise you'll loose me. :)

If you had to buy a Ford diesel truck (1999 or newer) knowing ALL of its strengths and weaknesses (engine/trans/etc) - and plan to keep it for 15 years - what would you get? and why? Where's the best-value balance?
Oh - and has the crazy truck prices leveled out at all? Or is this still a sellers market?

Thanks.
Good luck with the hunt. If you are of a mind to sell that Chevy 3/4 ton, please keep me in mind.
 

SoonerP226

Sharpshooter
Special Hen
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
9,517
Reaction score
6,245
Location
Norman
Unless you're really towing heavy, for those 4-5 times per year you mentioned, you'd probably be better served with a max tow F-150. The Super Duty is going to get you some pretty serious advantages if you're towing/hauling on a regular basis, but for as little usage as you're describing, a properly equipped F-150 can get the job done and is going to be a better daily driver, to boot.
 

MR.T.

Sharpshooter
Special Hen
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
1,948
Reaction score
3,616
Location
Newkirk
Always have enough vehicle to tow the trailer. & im not talking about horsepower. I'm talking about mass, suspension, brakes, etc.
A F150 isn't big enough to pull much more than a 16 or 18 foot trailer.
If your pulling a camper trailer bigger than 18ft, anywhere, you will want a 3/4 ton or heavier.
 

Ryan500L

Sharpshooter
Special Hen
Joined
Jan 23, 2017
Messages
969
Reaction score
467
Location
oklahoma
Here is my response.
In 2017 we had a Tundra 1/2 ton gasser. 383 HP with 430 lbs of torque, 6 speed tranny.
We towed a 29' bumper pull RV that weighed 12,000 lbs loaded as weighed on a CAT scale.
Pulled that rig thousands of miles at highway speeds needing an air bag set up to keep the bed level with zero issues except for one on a 8 degree grade where we had to stop mid climb so the wife could take a pic. Speed limit 65, we could only get to 60.
In the years traveling while pulling RV's, with a Toyota gasser always wondered if a diesel would be better. More torque, equal HP.
In 2019 we summered at an RV park in Antinito Co for two months. During that two months, three diesels, one a chevy and the other ford lost engines to intercoolers, with the other ford to losing head gaskets. Chevy guy had to sell his two year old back to a dealer for chump change and buy a new truck as he had to get home.
Ford guy that lost gaskets was next to me. He spent a month tearing it down, putting the parts on the picnic table and rebuilding it on the spot. He got it running and left.
Next ford guy losing intercooler was a friend with the 6. something. Zero diesel mechanics in the area even at dealerships. He finally found some guy that used to be a diesel mechanic that currently worked for the highway dept. Said he would work on it on weekends. A month later, it was ready with a $9000 tab.....not really fixed but it ran. When getting it back to South Tx it cost buddy another $3000 to get all the BS the guy in Colorado screwed up fixed. Now we are looking at $12K for an older truck that wasn't worth that much but they had to get home a month later than planned.
Last year we bought a new rv and f-250 Super Duty with the 7.3 liter gasser, 10 speed tranny and 4:30 pulling gears.
5th wheel Rig weighs in at a tad more than 16,000 lbs depending on how we load it.
I can set the cruise on 70 mph and drive all day long going up mountains in the western states we visited this summer while maintaining the 70 mph speeds. Never had an issue with the 430 hp and 480 lb torque.
IMHO, the 10 speed transmission is the star of the game for pulling loads. Impressive.
If for instance I cratered the 7,3 gasser, I can buy a complete engine installed for around 7K, and every dealership can do it vs the diesel where limited dealerships can do it.
So, to the OP, this is my personal experience. Unbiased as I thought I would need a diesel to pull the load we have now, but in reality, we didn't need one.
Others may disagree, and I'll respect their opinions.
We have pulled that rig 24,000 miles since last August when taking possession of the truck so not speaking of some weekend pulling.
Here is my response.
In 2017 we had a Tundra 1/2 ton gasser. 383 HP with 430 lbs of torque, 6 speed tranny.
We towed a 29' bumper pull RV that weighed 12,000 lbs loaded as weighed on a CAT scale.
Pulled that rig thousands of miles at highway speeds needing an air bag set up to keep the bed level with zero issues except for one on a 8 degree grade where we had to stop mid climb so the wife could take a pic. Speed limit 65, we could only get to 60.
In the years traveling while pulling RV's, with a Toyota gasser always wondered if a diesel would be better. More torque, equal HP.
In 2019 we summered at an RV park in Antinito Co for two months. During that two months, three diesels, one a chevy and the other ford lost engines to intercoolers, with the other ford to losing head gaskets. Chevy guy had to sell his two year old back to a dealer for chump change and buy a new truck as he had to get home.
Ford guy that lost gaskets was next to me. He spent a month tearing it down, putting the parts on the picnic table and rebuilding it on the spot. He got it running and left.
Next ford guy losing intercooler was a friend with the 6. something. Zero diesel mechanics in the area even at dealerships. He finally found some guy that used to be a diesel mechanic that currently worked for the highway dept. Said he would work on it on weekends. A month later, it was ready with a $9000 tab.....not really fixed but it ran. When getting it back to South Tx it cost buddy another $3000 to get all the BS the guy in Colorado screwed up fixed. Now we are looking at $12K for an older truck that wasn't worth that much but they had to get home a month later than planned.
Last year we bought a new rv and f-250 Super Duty with the 7.3 liter gasser, 10 speed tranny and 4:30 pulling gears.
5th wheel Rig weighs in at a tad more than 16,000 lbs depending on how we load it.
I can set the cruise on 70 mph and drive all day long going up mountains in the western states we visited this summer while maintaining the 70 mph speeds. Never had an issue with the 430 hp and 480 lb torque.
IMHO, the 10 speed transmission is the star of the game for pulling loads. Impressive.
If for instance I cratered the 7,3 gasser, I can buy a complete engine installed for around 7K, and every dealership can do it vs the diesel where limited dealerships can do it.
So, to the OP, this is my personal experience. Unbiased as I thought I would need a diesel to pull the load we have now, but in reality, we didn't need one.
Others may disagree, and I'll respect their opinions.
We have pulled that rig 24,000 miles since last August when taking possession of the truck so not speaking of some weekend pulling.
Just curious what kind of fuel mileage are you getting pulling the loaded fifth wheel? I haven't talked to anyone that owns a new 7.3 yet.
 

dennishoddy

Sharpshooter
Supporting Member
Special Hen Supporter
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
76,707
Reaction score
40,268
Location
Ponca City Ok
Just curious what kind of fuel mileage are you getting pulling the loaded fifth wheel? I haven't talked to anyone that owns a new 7.3 yet.
Of course it depends on the terrain and the wind pulling a high profile vehicle. Ours is 13.5' tall and 101" wide, weighing plus or minus 16,000 lbs depending on how heavy we load it.
With zero wind coming from OKC to Ponca I got 10.3 mpg through rolling hills. With a light tail wind, 10.9.
With a 30 mph headwind it's down to the high 8 mpg.
Unloaded with a little in town driving and a lot of highway, I'm getting an average of 13.3 with 4:30 gears.
My cousin bought a 7.3 Gasser with the 3:55 gear ratio thinking he was going to get better gas mileage.
Not so. He gets identical to me with the 4:30 gears. How you may ask?
Its all in the computer and the 10 speed transmission. Top gears have engine rpm's running the same no matter what gear ratio is in the truck.
The magic of the 4:30 gears is getting your load moving and up to speed in the lower gears faster than one with a higher gear ratio.
It's reflected in the tow rating.
3.55, 21,800
4.3, 28,000
 

dennishoddy

Sharpshooter
Supporting Member
Special Hen Supporter
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
76,707
Reaction score
40,268
Location
Ponca City Ok
7.3 all the way! Keep in mind if you buy a 4x4 F250, you better strap in when you leave the driveway. I love my 2000, but it is easily the roughest riding truck I've ever owned, and I have replaced all front end parts, so yeah... they are just rough.
We have 10 ply Michelins on our 2020. They have improved the suspension on the newer models and improved the seating to improve the ride comfort, so it's not so bad. When not pulling, I reduce the pressure in the tires to the 35 psi range and it really makes it ride smooth. Not F-150 smooth, but a marked increase in comfort from the earlier F-250's. The bucket seats are really ergonomic.
 

dennishoddy

Sharpshooter
Supporting Member
Special Hen Supporter
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
76,707
Reaction score
40,268
Location
Ponca City Ok
Always have enough vehicle to tow the trailer. & im not talking about horsepower. I'm talking about mass, suspension, brakes, etc.
A F150 isn't big enough to pull much more than a 16 or 18 foot trailer.
If your pulling a camper trailer bigger than 18ft, anywhere, you will want a 3/4 ton or heavier.
Depending on the tow vehicle. We pulled a 36' bumper pull with a Tundra rated 1.5 ton. BUT, the brakes, rear end ring and pinion, etc on the Tundra were the same size as the competitors 3/4 ton, they just didn't have the heavy suspension. We had to add air bags to get the ride level, but it pulled/stopped great.
Edit: pulled that 36 footer close to 50,000 miles over three years.
 
Last edited:

SoonerP226

Sharpshooter
Special Hen
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
9,517
Reaction score
6,245
Location
Norman
Always have enough vehicle to tow the trailer. & im not talking about horsepower. I'm talking about mass, suspension, brakes, etc.
A F150 isn't big enough to pull much more than a 16 or 18 foot trailer.
If your pulling a camper trailer bigger than 18ft, anywhere, you will want a 3/4 ton or heavier.
Agreed; that's why I said unless you're pulling heavy. A modern half-ton is more capable than a 3/4- or 1-ton from 20 years ago (my dad's '20 F-150 has a 2,000+lb payload capacity, making it a literal 1-ton), but the last thing you want is the trailer running the show.
 

PBramble

Let's Eat
Special Hen
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
2,074
Reaction score
2,513
Location
OKC
I'm seriously laughing at all the people who buy 3/4 and 1 ton dump trucks then ***** about the ride quality. Go buy a car. And stop swerving into the oncoming traffic trying to avoid potholes.

OP, nobody buys a Ford anymore to keep for 15 plus years. Most of the DD diesels are owned by people who just want the newest. When they start adding up tires and oil changes, turbo and oil pump replacement and the ocassional intercooler, they all sell them. Start adding in fuel and DEF and the cost keeps rising. Now add all that to the note of the truck. Is it really that much better than your current truck? BTW, I only got about 16 MPG in my 04 6.0 loaded or unloaded. So the mileage compared to your current 3/4 ton is moot. Whatever mileage a Dodge owner tells you they get, subtract 20 from it and that's closer to the truth. Most gas engines are adequate for towing these days and cost less to own over the life of the vehicle. Bells and whistles are a preference thing, but like I already said, your looking for a dump truck to drive daily. Don't expect it to be a smooth ride.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom