Re: 2001 F250 dependability?
The used market is a whole different game than if you bought new. Check with the current owner and make sure you get all the maintenance history you can. Make sure the usual points have been serviced, especially if it was worked hard during that 90K. Consumer websites are a joke in themselves. Often, people will visit forums (like this one) and find nothing but problems about a certain vehicle in question, so it turns them away. Meanwhile, most of the people on forums are tryinn to solve problems, get advice or an opinion on a problem they have before they take it in for service. Every vehicle is essentially the same on the used market, it just all depends on how well it was taken care of by previous owners.
I wouldn't be too concerned with rust, unless its on the body panels. My durango has been 110% rust for the last seven of ten years and still runs like a champ. All I've replaced on the underbody were shocks and it was only oil coated twice.
Points that I would look at:
-check around engine bay for anything that looks damaged, check oil level, transmission level, brake fluid and power steering fluid both for clarity (if both are jet black, then inquire about this as these fluids are basic maintenance to change periodically). When you check the oil, providing it's cold, run your fingers over the oil on the end of the dipstick. If it feels gritty to the touch, walk away and don't continue.
- make sure all doors close properly, windows work, tailgate closes correctly, no abnormal noises
- Check the tires, make sure they're worn evenly across the width of the tread, if they're not, it could mean $$$ to fix suspension components. Is the front and rear tread depth the same, or close? If not, the owner hasn't been rotating regularly
- Look under the vehicle, check the shock absorbers for leaks (a sign of abuse), look at the rear axle (pumpkin) for any signs of leaks (some oil on the bottom is OK)
- If you can, have a look under the front of the vehicle beneath the cab to visually check the transfer case for leaks, and check all udnerbody components such as oil pans, etc for dents
- Start up the vehicle, make sure it goes down to a controlled idle. Check EVERYTHING electrical in the cab and make sure it functions. Even if it has a power seat, check that too.
- if any engine lights stay lit on the dash, ask the owner about them and why it hasn't been fixed. If the owner hesitates, it may be a costly repair which is why he hasn't fixed the problem
- Test drive time, a HD truck will have some axle hop over rough roads, drive on everything from pavement to gravel if you can. If the owner says 'no', ask why as he might be hiding something. Even empty the truck should feel rather planted on the road due to the 3.5 ton curb weight. While on pavement, and with no traffic around let go of the steering wheel briefly and make sure the truck doesn't pull too much left or right.
- get the vehicle up to 35-40mph and BRAKE fairly hard. If the steering wheel shakes, you'll have to consider replacing the rotors, or you can talk the owner down a bit in price as the rotors are most likely warped. If the wheel remains straight, that's a good sign; if you hear any noise when braking be sure to inquire with the owner
- there shouldn't be any noise on acceleration but with it being a turbo, you should hear the turbo (slight whistle sound that increases with rpm).
- find a gravel area or loose dirt path along a side road and pull onto it. Here, test the 4wd. Be sure to drive forward for at least 200m while turning the wheel slightly and then drive reverse for about 50m. Repeat this in 4LO and some light clunking noises are considered normal. Anything abrupt that you can feel your rear end reverberate from, inquire with the owner as it's not normal
Total test time should take 25-35minutes. But be sure you're thorough as I'm sure I'm missing some steps, but I'm sure you get the general idea. I own Ford, GM, Dodge, and never have I had any major problems with any of my vehicles.
'11 Ram Quad Cab 4x4 SXT 5.7L HEMI (stock); 48,500m
'06 Pontiac G6 GT 3.5L 220hp; 64,000m
'12 Chrysler 200 Limited 3.6L 283hp; 28,000m
'99 Taurus 3.0L 2V Vulcan 145hp; 154,300m - Traded
Amsoil in all vehicles!