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Vehicle power/reliability

6 posts in this topic

Seabass77 asked about SUV recommendations before - I thought I'd expand the topic a bit and ask for your PERSONAL EXPERIENCES with your SUVs and trucks. Please no speculation here, but actual experience owning these vehicles.

I've personally owned a number of SUVs/trucks and here's what I've found:

* 89 Jeep Cherokee 4x4 - auto/4.0 v6
Tranny went bad at 100K, ride was rough and had electrical problems
Overall rating 6/10
* 89 Ford Ranger 4x4 - auto/4.0 v6
Lots of minor problems before 75K miles, terrible mileage, but fun to drive
Rating 7.5/10
* 88 F150 4x4 - 5 spd/300 straight 6
Ran like a top, wish I could've kept it, sold with 212K miles and no problems
Rating 9.5/10
* 96 Chev K1500 4x4 - auto/350 v8
Power! A few dumb things broke (power seat, power window motor), 14-18mpg
Rating 9/10
* 00 F150 4x4 - auto/5.4 v8
Very solid truck, terrible mileage 12-13mpg, lacked the power and ride of the Chev
Rating 8.5/10
* 98 Suburban 4x4 - auto/350 v8
Great vehicle, tons of power for pulling, 13-18mpg but eats brakes continually
Rating 8.5/10
* 97 Explorer 4x4 - auto/4.0 v6
Ok commuter, Auto 4wd SUCKS, terrible mileage (12-13mpg), tranny has some play in it
Rating 7/10

Basic conclusion for me:
Chevy - good mileage, great power, lots of nickel and dime problems - my 1st choice right now
Ford - solid trucks, very reliable, but lack some power and just kinda plain/boring smile.gif - my 2nd choice
Jeep - never again after my Cherokee experience (also owned a MOPAR car once. Ugh.)

I'm hoping to get back to a truck and dump my Explorer sometime soon and would like to hear your input on different trucks. I'll probably go for a Chev or Ford, but I do like the idea though the new Dodges with the Hemi (but can't swing $30K for a NEW truck right now). I'm looking at late 90's trucks in particular ($10-15K) and am definitely interested in your experience with those trucks.

Thanks guys.

* FYI - my power comments relate to towing my 19' Crestliner

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If you liked the power of the 5.7L Chevy you should check out their newer 5.3L Vortec motors. I'm not sure what the horsepower rating is on the older 5.7's but the 5.3 Vortec I beleive is 285hp.

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I believe they 96-98 Vortec 350s were 255hp? I'd love a 6.0l Chev with the 300hp they crank out - my father-in-law pulls his 32' camper with his and loves it, and still gets 13-15mph during normal driving.

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5.7 88-95 225
5.7 96-98 255
5.3 99-00 275
5.3 01-current 285

Grip it and Rip it

I Fish For Walleyes

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I have 1990 Bronco that has been a great vehicle. Transmission (electronic OD)had some warranty work at 48000 miles. I replaced the engine (302) at 195,000 because I had the money and time, but it was not really necessary at the time.

It now has 270,000 miles and still runs very well, although it is a backup vehicle. It is great in the woods with its short wheelbase.

It has had three alternators and one fuel pump in the tank (PITA.)

It has been very good as a tow vehicle, towing a steel four place fully loaded sled trailer.

It is also very good on the off road stuff, having used it three times elk hunting in Colorado.

Drawbacks were rusting tailgates/body, which I had replaced and repaired. Milage was 13-16. Overall, I'd rate it 9 out of 10.

I had a 87 F150 (302)that I bought new that I would not wish on my worst enemy. Bad paint, oil leaks, electrical problems, fuelpumps, rear end, brakes etc. I gave up on it a 105,000. This one rated a 4 out of 10.

The wife has a 1990 Chevy half ton 4 x 4 with the 350/5 speed. It is running strong at 150,000. Fourth gear blew up at 110,000, but I suspect the former owner was not using the clutch on rolling shifts. Milage is in 16-17 range. Drawbacks is the IFS which is not as good a a solid front axle in the off road stuff. It does ride very smooth on the surface streets, however. I'd give this one a 9/10 also.

My current ride is a 2001 Dodge 2500 with the Cummins diesel. (5.7 liter, in line six, six speed manual)

This thing will pull what ever I hook up to, and I averave 18 MPG on winter fuel and 19.5 on summer fuel. I have 88,000 on it now, and it has only had minor warranty related problems. I plan on driving this rig till the body falls off. It is very good in the off road stuff, having been on the elk hunt twice now. One weak point is the fuel transfer pump between the tank and the injection pump. I have had one of those leave me in the driveway after a fuel filter change. I am a firm beliver in diesel power now. This one gets a 9.5 out of 10.

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Chevy all the way! I have a 1986 Chevy 1/2 ton short bed 4X4 pickup that I bought used. It has 190K miles on it. The second owner replaced the 305 V8 with a GM Goodwrench 350 V8 and it runs great. Gets around 16 MPG and that's with a four barrel carb. I like the truck so much I'm currently restoring it and hope to get another ten years out of it. I have other friends who have mid 90's vintage Blazers and pickups and they love them too. Go with Chevy and you can't go wrong...

Good Luck


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