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Diesel (bio?) with 4wd and M/T under $12k

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I'm looking for a 2nd car for our family of 4. My wife has a 2006 Highlander Hybrid to commute to work. I bike to work. We have two boys, 4 and 2.

I need a vehicle once or twice a month, but most importantly I'm looking for a vehicle to take camping/hunting about 12+ times a year. I'm not off roading in the way some may mean it - no lifts, no winches, etc. I'm taking forest and logging roads to access BLM and Forest Service land. Nothing too crazy. A Subaru would do it, but I've got this thing in my mind about a diesel. My dad had a diesel wagon when I was growing up and I have fond memories of it. I want this vehicle to last "forever". I've only owned two cars in my life - an 87 VW Golf GTI in high school and college, and then a 95 Wrangler up until I learned I'd be a dad. I hold onto vehicles.

I'm looking at a 1988-2003 Ford F250 with 7.3L diesel. Also the 1994-2002 Dodge Ram 2500 with 5.9L Cummins. Finally, we have the GM 6.2L or 6.5L (probably can't afford a 6.6L Duramax)... this is where I could use your help. What years (198?-200?) for a Chevy/GMC Blazer, Tahoe, Yukon, K2500. I'm confused with what's available here that has 4wd and a stick. Was there a K1500 diesel? When did the Suburban lose the manual?

As a wild card I'm also considering a 2000-2003 VW Jetta Wagon with 1.9L TDI. I've thought about the 2005-2006 Jeep Liberty CRD but I really don't want to get an automatic. I hate driving automatics.

So what can I get for ~$10k? I'd prefer not to go over but I'd stretch to $12k for a rust free single owner truck. Talk to me. Thanks!

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Cargo capacity / Price or payments

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 200000
Maximum age: 30 years

Maximum price: US $ 12000

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Response from NormT

10:08 am January 2, 2018

Could you rent one? The cost in insurance and maintence would eat you up for a car to sit for 300 days per year.


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Response from jmol50

11:20 am January 2, 2018

I've rented several times a year over the last three years and I think the math comes out in favor of purchasing. There's also the extra perks of owning as I don't care about tree/brush limbs scratching paint, hunting "messes" in the back, etc.

A rental of this size (big SUV or truck) has consistently been about $100 a day with all taxes, fees, etc. 60 days at $100 is $6,000. I haven't called about specific insurance rates, but I'm guessing $1,200 a year. And $2,400 a year in maintenance seems reasonable. That still leaves $2,400 a year before I hit the rental figure.

I suppose depreciation could be another one, but I'm looking at vehicles that have been pretty well depreciated up to this point and the depreciation hit is also pretty minimal when you don't plan on selling the vehicle for 10+ years. Let's say I buy a 2001 diesl truck with 150,000 miles in 2018 for $10,000. In 12 years (2030) the truck would be 29 years old and have 210,000 miles. 29 year old diesel trucks today with 210,000 miles go for ~$5,000-10k depending on condition. For example, a 29 year old vehicle today is 1989. 1989 Chevy Blazers with the diesel, 1989 Dodge Cummins, 1989 Ford diesel, these all come in at that price. If you take the $10,000 purchase price and subtract the worst case of $5,000 price after 12 years, that's $5,000 of depreciation in 12 years. That's $600 a year.

Rental for 60 days is $6,000.
Owning is $4,200 ($1,200 for insurance, $2,400 for maintenance, and $600 for depreciation).

What am I missing?


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Response from LectroFuel

12:36 pm January 2, 2018

I definitely would buy a car, just a super cheap one. I'm not really knowledgeable on trucks, but here are some articles that could help.

Best Diesel Trucks

Best Diesel Trucks

Best Diesel Trucks

It looks like the GM diesel engines were never really competitive or reliable. The 7.3L Ford is supposed to be very durable. The Fords seem to be have the best engines in the early 2000s. If I were you, I'd get a Diesel Jetta Wagon unless you need to tow. They are more comfotable than all the trucks. The Toyota Pickup Diesel from the 80s are the most reliable and fuel efficient, but I doubt you would find or buy one.


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Response from jmol50

5:02 pm January 4, 2018

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