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Old 03-03-2016, 07:59 AM   #1
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San Diego , California
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Diesel Longevity

Hello! I have been reading and absorbing information on this excellent site for several months, as my wife and I are in the planning phase for our retirement, and an Airstream is definitely under consideration.

The Tow vehicle choice represents perhaps the toughest and potentially costliest decision, so it has been very valuable to read the various and varied opinions expressed here by the members.

SO far for me it looks as though a diesel from "one of the big three" in a 250/2500 pickup would fit the bill, but it also seems that these diesels of various vintages but even brand new ones have a cloak of serious issues, major problems and low longevity associated with them. Some have opined (not here) that one shouldn't keep a modern diesel more than 3 years due to impending reliability issues.

What is the experience here? DO we need to trade our $70k diesels at 3 years? Is it a matter of poor maintenance, or driving them hard that make people recommend such a drastic and expensive approach to diesel ownership - or are such recommendations baloney?

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Old 03-03-2016, 08:05 AM   #2
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Baloney ...
We have a 99 F250 Superduty with a 7.3 with 160,000 miles that so far has not needed any major repairs. My brother-in-law and his sons are ranchers. They have milked 500,000 miles out of a Ford with no problems. And have had similar experience with Dodge and Chevy.

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Old 03-03-2016, 08:20 AM   #3
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We tow an Airstream so bought a Ram 1500 Ecodiesel for it (three days ago). Have had no concerns about the durability of the engine itself, but many about the systems that make it run. Too complex.

Ram has a 5 year 100K warranty on this diesel, 5 year 50K on the gas model. The complex fuel and exhaust systems are only covered for 3 year 36K diesel or gas as I understand it.

Our VW diesel has been trouble-free for 10 years, runs/looks like new, and we'll hang onto it. My sense is if this small Ram diesel goes along well through it's warranty period, it may be good for the long haul as well.
Doug and Cheryl
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Old 03-03-2016, 08:22 AM   #4
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I also have a 7.3 bullet proof 2003 F250. Just other normal maintenance issues, brakes, front end, tires, etc.

A search will quickly show that about year 2008 the EPA requirements (we neeeeed to do something about this Gobermint) made the 'smog' parts of the engine less reliable is the way I read it. I don't have one and plan a larger gas engine 1500 as an eventual replacement.

Others will have a more exact reply (or can correct me).

Not to mention that WE have to pay for the Government Requirements!!!
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Old 03-03-2016, 08:23 AM   #5
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If you can get a older Ford with the 7.3 engine or an older Dodge 12 valve pre computer controlled it will out live you. If you have to buy new the Duramax is your only choice.

There are ways around most of the shortcoming of the newer diesels but they are not well accepted in Calif. and are costly.
2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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Old 03-03-2016, 08:23 AM   #6
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The modern diesel and yes the older versions will last as long as you want provided you keep them properly maintained. The diesels in pick up trucks are different from the diesels one sees in Tractor Trailers, in those my company used to keep them for about 1,000,000 miles before a re-build OR replace. The pick up diesels should easily give you 500,000 miles. Not sure why years of ownership would have any impact at all, it's miles and use. The best use - drive them on the open road. The worst, city driving.

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Old 03-03-2016, 08:24 AM   #7
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We have 255k on our 2002 7.3 excursion. No major issues. We change the oil every 5k. If I were to need to purchase new, I'd be looking at the duramax/Allison from GM. That said, the Cummins is a great engine. Maintenence is the key to longevity. No need to swap every 3 years unless the ashtrays are full😃.

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Old 03-03-2016, 08:25 AM   #8
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I see that dkottem beat me to the punch.

And I believe that VW diesel tried to get around those EPA requirements and may have it's hand slapped too on the more recent ones.

Boy people are fast here.....
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Old 03-03-2016, 08:27 AM   #9
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From what I understand the 7.3 Fords were excellent, but they have not been made in a long time.

In our fleet we have a few Dodge Cummins, a couple of Duramaxes, and a Ford 6.0, the Cummins are pretty good for reliability, as of now, with less than 100,000 miles, the Ford and one of the DM's will both need new engines to run again.

The repairs for all of these diesels still running cost more than a new engine for the V-10 Fords we have in the same service.

We buy for the long term, for us, gas engined small tow vehicles are more reliable and have a much lower cost of ownership than the diesels.

Just for kicks, price a set of injectors or an injection pump for any of these vehicles and see for yourself.

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Old 03-03-2016, 08:30 AM   #10
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Looking at a Ford

If you are thinking about a Ford, here's a good video to watch. Based on what I know about the different engines over the years, the guy is fairly spot on. I have two 7.3's, a buddy a 6.0, sister 6.4. Pro's/Cons of each engine and the overall truck.

Paul Waddell
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Old 03-03-2016, 08:31 AM   #11
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I kinda remember years ago when emission controls appeared on vehicles the emission controls were usually warranty covered for 100k miles. Has that now gone away in general so its only 3yrs/36k miles.

Should a factory extended warranty be purchased for diesels just to cover any failures in the emission systems if you plan to keep it for a long time.

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Old 03-03-2016, 09:05 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by rideair View Post
If you are thinking about a Ford, here's a good video to watch. Based on what I know about the different engines over the years, the guy is fairly spot on. I have two 7.3's, a buddy a 6.0, sister 6.4. Pro's/Cons of each engine and the overall truck.


x2 on the 7.3L PowerStrokes, and I would not hesitate buying a bullet-proofed 6.0L from Mr. Hewitt. If you are patient, you can find a well-kept, low-mileage older truck.
If I ever need or want to replace our 1995 7.3L PowerStroke (only has 116K miles on it), I'll be talking with Mr. Hewitt.

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1995 Ford F250 7.3L PowerStroke

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Old 03-03-2016, 09:06 AM   #13
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A friend just bought a used Duramax with 306k miles. Maintenance records indicate an EGR valve replaced under warranty and my friend rebuilt the fuel regulator. It was an 06. I have a 15 Duramax with 40k miles and it's the best I've ever owned. I have friends with Ram and Ford with no issues as well. I have heard that GM will be dropping the Allison in 17 but I don't know if that is true.
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Old 03-03-2016, 09:15 AM   #14
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You can't believe everything you hear on MSNBC...

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