I've been running a 2001 with the 4.2 the last ten years. Bought it with 15K miles on it, it's now at 188K. It's been a VERY reliable truck. I did replace the transmission at 150K which I don't think is too bad for a work truck and that's pretty much the only repair it's ever had. I pull a semi-open 5X10 which loaded up weighs about 2500#. It wouldn't be able to hang too well in the mountains but its pretty flat out here. It feels a little under powered here and there but really, it gets the job done just fine. It is an auto trans. I've also heard those older Ford inline 6s are tough as nails. Starting out I don't think you'll go wrong with a 6 banger.
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