New/Used truck: Gas or Diesel: Opinions Please

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by elamey, Aug 11, 2005.

  1. elamey

    elamey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    I'm looking to get a newer truck thise winter. I'm debating going with diesel or a gas vehicle. My dad doesn't like diesels (yes I am 35 and still listen to my father). I'm thinking he is remembering all the early 80's diesel junk that GM produced. I'm positive that he thinks diesels are unreliable. I don't have the same opinion so i'd like to get some opinions from you guys. I don't have very much experience with diesel vehicles, I'm more experienced with gas vehicles. Could you guys provide some input?

    1. Reliabilty - Diesels vs. gas - Which vehicle has fewer repairs and which has more expensive repairs.

    2. Mileage - Gas mileage. Does the better gas mileage of Diesel actually save any money when compared to other operating costs?

    3. Life of truck - Which can I expect to get more miles out of ?

    4. Cost - Are diesel trucks more expensive?

    Any other opinions would be appreciated.
  2. efaubert1

    efaubert1 LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 109

    1. Diesels generally have less repairs, but yes the repairs can be more expensive.

    2.The fuel mileage WILL not save the average person anything, as most folks don't keep it long enough to recoup the extra cost of the diesel engine.

    3.You can expect more life/miles from a diesel. Gas engines will NEVER outlast a quality diesel engine, whether it is a Cummins, Power Stroke, or Duramax. My 1997 F350 4x4 Crew Cab had 185000 miles on it when I traded it. My 1999 F250 4x4 Ext Cab has 116,000 miles on it and still running strong.

    4.Yes, diesel trucks new, cost an average of about $5000 more than an identical truck with a gas engine.

    Diesels will out perform any gas engine YOU can get in a truck, and the maintenance cost really aren't that bad if your mechanically inclined. Say an oil change on a 7.3L Power Stroke, dealer gets $75, and I can do it for $45 at $2 a quart and $12 for the filter.
  3. jeffh1988

    jeffh1988 LawnSite Member
    from MS
    Messages: 112

    I drive a 97 F 250 ext. cab XLT. This truck has been has been through it all with the mileage hitting 305,000 on the powerstoke diesel a couple days ago. It is a great truck still pulls stronger than any gas truck. As far as reliability i believe in this truck but if it did break down i wouldn't know where to start working on it for the most part... I am like you i am more familiar with gas engines. Like posted above the average diesel costs 5k more than a gas and diesel prices atleast in mississippi are higher than gas.
  4. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,613

    Firstly, diesels of the 80's made by gm were crap, gum on a shoe compared to modern diesels. Now, they outpull, and flat out out perform a gasser.

    1. Diesels will have fewer repairs, but the few will cost more as mentioned above.

    2. Diesels get much better fuel economy when towing than a comprable gas engine. Also, resale even on a truck that you buy used will be higher than a gasser.

    3. I am not sure about other manufacturers, but, Cummins diesels will go 250,000 - 350,000 inbetween overhauls. Meaning once you hit that mark, you have it overhauled and it is like new.

    4. Diesels are more expensive but you must look at the big picture in this instance. A) I will save more on a diesel in fuel charges, tax right offs, and maintenance. B) I will only need to change oil every 7500 - 10000 miles. And fuel filter every 15000. And, C) Diesel trucks are built much better than gassers in terms of brakes, transmissions and the like.
  5. TWUllc

    TWUllc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 406

    I'd only buy a diesel engine brand new. Tried the used route, and it back fired on me. New Warranty lets me sleep well at night too. Thats just me.
  6. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    So you say you're looking at GM only? No Ford or Dodge? Manual or Auto? Manuals will give you a little more mileage if you want to shift, but that's personal preference. It would be nice if Ford still produced the 7.3, the 6.0 isn't quite what the 7.3 was and I'd hate to buy a Chevy just because I didn't like the engine in the Ford. Oh well, if step up to the F650, you can put whatever you want in it, Powerstroke, Cummins, Detroit, or Cat. Then you can choose Spicer, Ford, or Allison trannies, just to name a few. Wouldn't it be nice to have that many options on a 1 ton truck? :waving:

    Diesels will give you better mileage, but the cost of diesel per gallon is more expensive than regular gas, so that's something to consider. If you plan on driving the rig until it craps out buy a diesel, a gasser simply won't last as long.

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    Gm took a 350 cubic inch Oldsmobile gas engine and based it's early diesels from that. Hardly a good design, that is when we ran Fords with 6.9 diesels and C-6 automatics. They never should have dropped the C-6...

    As far as the age old arguement gas vs diesel. We run Duramax engines in GM trucks and Mack engines with Fuller trannies in heavy haulers. We have no gas engines in the fleet. With gas, you will have the hood up alot more, and those repairs will cost less. With diesel, we have yet to do anything other than |PM and the usual, but, there will come a time when an injection pump wears out, or you need new injectors, and, those are ankle holding adevntures. I have each fleet we maintained on a spread sheet and for comparison, if you choose to make your trucks high milage as we do, diesel will run farther longer on less fuel with more torque to pull what you need. For example, a 15,000 lb load behind a 3500 Chevy will roll up a 10° grade overa 3 mile run at 80 plus miles per hour. A gas engine will lug down into the low 50's, or high 40's.

    As we began to covert all of our fleet over to GM, and diesel, we factored in several things. Length of time we are keeping the trucks, tasks each truck performs, area and geographics it works in, and how long of a run each day that truck makes. If you run tight routes, not too much travel time, flat or relatively flat ground, you can get a gasser run it for 200K and never get a diesel to pencil out in favor of running for less. If you put 200 miles day on your trucks as we often do, gas will kill itself before the other parts in the truck wear out if you are pulling any kind of decent loads..

    If you take off all the terrain, or the distance and want shear power and pulling capacity, get a one ton truck and go diesel. I would not get any diesel truck made by GM that did not have a Duramax in it when you are in the light/medium duty class. Even though the 6.2 and 6.5 made some strides, they still were not there. And, in those years, you got garbage brakes. Now the brakes are guranteed for 100K, alot bigger, better system. The Duramax will run 500K with no trouble and has far more power than anything else in it's class. You also get the Allison transmission, which is bulletproof, unlike Ford which can't keep a tranny in for any length of time, and Dodge right about next to them.

    That is why we went to GM. There is no room for brand specific idiocy when one truck clearly will do the job for our company better than the next, even though there are some who remain traped inside the big blue bubble of toxic gasses.. If I were you, that is what I would look at then make your move.
  8. Itsgottobegreen

    Itsgottobegreen LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,177

    I just bought a diesel and its going to be all deisel here shortly. Its worth the money.
  9. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,613

    UNISCAPER, no stock slush box is bulletproof. If I were elamey, I would get a stick, they allow you to use all of the power a diesel will produce.
  10. elamey

    elamey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    This has been a very big help!!
    Thank you all for the information...I'm not doing anything until winter, but i'll post my decision to this thread when that happens

    Thanks again!!

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