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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Getting ready to start my search for a used 4wd pickup truck. I want a full sized pickup auto V8 with 8'bed. I have never owned a 4wd before and my spending limit is $10,000 but may consider a "beater" if cheap enough.

what should I be looking out for?
I like chevy and ford should I consider dodge? I heard there are problems with the trans and rear ends of dodge.

And lastly (this may sound dumb) How do I know for sure that the 4wd is working when I test drive a used truck.

The only 4wd truck I have driven was a "full time" older chevy truck.
 

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Ed, I haven't forgot about you, I got in late today and this requires a bit of a lengthy reply and my head is killing me, so can I reply to this tomorrow? I should feel better then. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanx cheif, looking forward to your insite.

In a couple of weeks I plan on visiting some car lots to get a feel for pricing and test drive a few to see what I like. I may buy from a lot or a privite owner. I also have a friend that has a dealer's liesense and goes to auto auctions. He has invited me to go with him but it can be a gamble to buy there.

I need a truck for hauling and pulling my boat. The truck will not be a daily driver.
 

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If I remeber correctly, I believe Chief has a Dogde, so get ready to add another piece to your puzzle.

Looking forward to the information. I am also going to be looking for something in the near future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, I have already looked at ebay and trader on line.

Before I buy I need to educate myself on 4wd trucks.
 

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Originally posted by Ed_GT5000
Getting ready to start my search for a used 4wd pickup truck. I want a full sized pickup auto V8 with 8'bed. I have never owned a 4wd before and my spending limit is $10,000 but may consider a "beater" if cheap enough.

what should I be looking out for?
I like chevy and ford should I consider dodge? I heard there are problems with the trans and rear ends of dodge.

And lastly (this may sound dumb) How do I know for sure that the 4wd is working when I test drive a used truck.

The only 4wd truck I have driven was a "full time" older chevy truck.
As Spike has already said, I have a Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins diesel which is not in the price range you are looking for. I take it that you want a gas engine as it is likely that a diesel engine will push the price over the 10K mark in most cases.


I would recommend that you stick with the 1991 and older model Chevy and GMC trucks as they switched to the IFS suspension (independent front suspension). I would suggest that the 350 V-8 be the MINIMUM size engine you consider (bigger is better in this case) and I prefer the 3/4 ton K2500's for their beefier suspension, heavier duty axles, and slightly higher ride height.

The Ford & Dodge always had the straight axle front suspension and the same applies to them as above. Dodge uses the same Dana axles as Ford in the 3/4 ton and up trucks.

I can usually tell if the 4WD is engaged by how the front end wants to pull the truck forward, especially in turns. The shift on the fly type 4WD engagement seems to be fairly standard but you may come across some trucks with manual hubs that you must get out of the truck and manually engage the hub by turning the hub "lever" to the engaged postion. Most hubs are not of the manual design but a few are still around and some folks convert them back. They are more reliable but a PITA if you are already in sloppy conditions.

You also want a truck with a limited slip rear differential or the 4WD will not work as effective in slippery conditions.

DEFINITELY test drive the truck OFF ROAD or dirt road with the 4WD engaged and listen for any unusual knocking noises, especially in turns (could be worn steering U joints). Check the front and read drive shafts for being tight and cannot be moved (could be worn U joints) Be sure to check 4Lo and understand how to firmly AND postively engage the floor lever at a slow crawl speed or in Neutral; otherwise you will get gear clash. Drive it around in 4Lo and listen for any unusual transfer case noises. The transfer case make a certain amount of very subtle whining noise due to the straight cut gears. Check the steering suspension tie rods and ends, steerbox, pitman arm, etc. You may want to have a trusted garage or mechanic check this.

Your best bet is to find some guy who is a residential "Harry Home Owner" who rarely if ever used 4WD and took it easy on the truck.

They will ALL be gas toilets reguardless of brand.

I suggest you look at and demo ALL the brands and then narrow the choices down to the brand and year you like best as well as a particular truck that you find a very good condition. It could VERY well be worth the $20 - $40 to take the truck to a trusted AND competent mechanic or garage and have them give it a thorough inspection BEFORE buying as this inspection could reveal problems like leaking axle seals, brakes, transmission or transfer case problems, engine, or suspension problems.

Once you have the truck home; I strong recommend you change ALL the fluids AND filters to establish a known maintenance baseline and condition. (i.e. transmission oil & filter, transfer case oil, engine oil and filter, power steering oil, front & rear axle oil, engine anti-freeze, even the brake fluid if you have the equipment, check and grease all fittings & U joints, air filter, fuel filter) You may want to run the VIN# across one of the lemon/vehicle background check services too.

I am sure I missed a some areas to inspect or check on but this should get you off to a good start. I am sure some of the others will jump in here with some very good ideas & suggestions as well. Good luck and happy hunt!

:thumbsup:
 

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One other point on the older solid front axle chevy's, check the frame at the steering box mounting for cracks or signs of previous welding repairs, avoid "lifted" trucks. They ride much harder, tend to wander, and wear out parts like u-joints more often and also lead to cracks at the steering box even when a drop arm is installed. Bigger than OEM tires will wreack havoc on the front suspension also and check the frame in the rear over the axle for cracks and/or welds. You may also drive in figure 8's in a parking lot and listen for any chain noises in th NP transfer case. Also avoid ones that someone may have converted with a DIY kit from full time to locking hubs, it may or may not have been done correctly. Another thing to check is body mounts and cab sag this can usually be detected by the bed not lining up with the cab or doors that don't fit or close easily. Some people really use 4x4 and plowing is a sure way to kill them fast either by striking objects repeatedly or from the road salt, be sure to look under for rust. My tahoe has IFS and while I've owned a K5 blazer with solid axle I must say the ride is much better with the IFS. Unless you're getting into offroading it shouldn't be something to avoid.
 

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sixchows, very good points indeed! Buying a used vehicle is never an easy task and there are so many things to look for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Lots of good advice guys. Time is on my side here and I don't mind doing work such as u-joints or tie rod ends. I don't want to get in transfer case/transmission work though. I most definety will stay away from a truck that has been abused.
 

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Don't forget to check the tire tread. It could give some clues to the condition of the front end and how hard it has been run. Standing in the back corner of the bed and jumping up and down will tell you how loose the frame / body is. Of course some flex is normal. But creaking, and crunching sounds generally are not good. :D

Mark
 

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Re: Re: 4wd pickup what to look for

Originally posted by Chief

.

The Ford & Dodge always had the straight axle front suspension and the same applies to them as above. Dodge uses the same Dana axles as Ford in the 3/4 ton and up trucks.


:thumbsup:
Not quite . The older Fords mostly had the Twin Traction Beam fron axle. Not a solid. No real problem with it and IMHO toughter the a true IFS. You had to go to a REAL HD 3/4, or 1 ton to get the soild, or a newer superduty.
 

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Ed

I am not sure of your level of mechanical ability. Personally I would not be put off buying a GM 4x4 needing front end parts. I have found them extremely easy to work on. Complete replacement of steering related wear parts can be done in about a day. This includes upper and lower ball joints, inner and outer tie rod ends (I also replace the sleaves) , pitman arm, and idler arm. The cost for all the parts around $350-$400. If you also replace the half shafts from the front differential add $250 to do both sides. It is not rocket science.
The benifit is you have a new safe front end on the truck and I use the need for the work as a bargaining chip in negotiations when buying the vehicle.
 

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I got the impression that Ed had in mind a truck that was in good shape and not requiring a lot of maintenance, again, I can definitely see Slip's point here and a very good suggestion if you are inclined to take on some repair work and have an eye for what is diamond in the rough.
 

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Originally posted by Ed_GT5000
Getting ready to start my search for a used 4wd pickup truck. I want a full sized pickup auto V8 with 8'bed. I have never owned a 4wd before and my spending limit is $10,000 but may consider a "beater" if cheap enough.

I read the part about considering a beater, and thought that maybe just maybe Ed just might be at least a back yard mechanic. Because anyone considering a beater had better have skills, maybe not Mad skills, but wrenching ability at the very least if they buy a machine that has been used hard.
Myself, I have been known to take a vehicle down to it's frame and reassemble it. Relacing or repairing anything that needs done. Vehicles include bicycles all the to crawler dozers in my case.
 

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I guess I focused more on the $10,000. ;) :D I was thinking that would be a pretty nice beater. But you make some VERY good points Slip! :thumbsup: If I had the shop space and tools, I would consider your approach for sure.
 

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Ed, when you test drive the truck -- run it up and down a bit on dry pavment in 2 wheel drive for a second and see if it feels free and easy -- put 4 wheel high[ NOT LOW} on and see if it feels like you are bogged down and need more power - if so the 4 wheel is working and it is calling for more power - get a floor mounted hand lever engaged 4 wheel as opposed to electric buton or knob as it is simpler and more reliabale generally - do not run for more than a few yards on dry pavements - crawl under with a flashlight and look it all over for at least 5 minutes -- check for any leaks around both differentials and drive shafts - check joints at wheel shaft ends if it uses exposed u joints -- no broken parts and no ;loose parts -- check for welds at all a arms and suspension points - check frames all around front and back for welds - check it jacked up off of ground if they lat you to to check for excessive wheel play - look front and behind to see if wheels look even in whel wells - - to check for twisted axles on suspension mounts -- check all usual steering componenets - for wear any grease hanging out everywhere? look at tranny cooler good shape? big? you need big for wheel drive! any plow truck will have needed a front springs upgrade or damage will have bent front frame areas -- listen for timimg chain noise as it indicates a lot of hard use or idle time use -- ask for oil change records - these are just some of what you will look at -- I would buy a chevy or dodge first for a full size truck and then a toyota and then a ford ranger for a snmall truck -- be sure to check both engage and disengage several times == listen for severe clunking anywhere - good luck and oh yeah I agree , no raised or lowered trucks
 
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