View Full Version : Looking for a new Pick Up

Hal Flynt
07-29-2003, 3:44 PM
I am in the market for a new pick up (first one actually).

I plan on getting rid of my Bonneville and buying a full size pick up with an extended cab. I have always thought that I needed a full 8 foot bed, but most of the ones on the lots are 6.5 foot beds.

So how often do you need a bed longer than 6.5 feet hauling woodworking stuff? I'm concerned aout getting 4x8 feet sheets of hardwood plywood wet if I drive too far. Any work arounds?

Also we have a 4x4 Explorer since we live in hilly East Tennessee, but have only need 4x4 maybe 3 times since 1996, so Im wondering if a 4x2 with limited slip would be a better buy.

Any ideas or opinions would be appreciated.

Phil Phelps
07-29-2003, 5:39 PM
I had 8' beds till I bought a 94 GMC. It's a Xcab short bed. I do miss 8' material laying flat, inside the bed. You can tote 12' lumber safely in the short bed. I believe after this year, the big 3 will make x-cabs only. The only big drawback, to me, of the 8' x-cab is parking. Short cab wheel base is 127" as is, and it ain't no fun to park. Unless I really needed the long bed, I'll stay with the short bed. You owe it to yourself to drive both. Good luck. ( I'd rather bite a tiger in the *** than car shop :D )

Bob Lasley
07-29-2003, 5:56 PM

I have an extended cab F150 with the six foot bed and have not missed the other two feet many times. I haul sheet goods quite often and unless I have alot of sheets, I just leave the tailgate up and slide them over it. I regularly haul ten foot lumber. I do carry a red flag in the truck for those long loads. Before this truck, all my full size pickups had 8 foot beds and as Phil said, those x-cabs with long beds are a bear to park and maneuver in tight places. My next x-cab will also have a six foot bed.

Good luck,

Charles McKinley
07-29-2003, 7:25 PM
I'm firmly planted in the 8 foot bed camp. If you put a cross bed box in it you now only have a 4' bed. I had a 6' bed once.

If you have a level lot and never drive in your grass 2wd should be fine. We have a farm and wet grass on a slope with a trailer or wagon 4wd is required. Are you keeping the bronco so you will have 4wd if you need it?

If you are comfortable with the longer wheel base and it will fit in your garage get the 8' bed. Will your significant other drive it? Take her along.

Finding an 8' bed will take more searching and will give you less room to dicker because they know someone will want it.

Still driving 96 Chevy, ext cab, 8' bed 4x4, 350, auto, 176,000 miles and counting!

good luck

Hal Flynt
07-30-2003, 3:02 PM
I can't say that I've completely decided yet, but I am reconsidering the 8' bed until after I test drive some. I have a parking problem at home, no garage, live on a steep hill etc so the 4x4 seems valuable since I believe the wife will trade her Explorer soon.

I like strong motors (2 GTO's and a S/C Bonneville) so one of my associates is bringing her husband's RAM with the Hemi to convince me that 345 HP will remove my obsession of keeping the Bonneville.

I saw a plywood box that was made specifically to carry about 5 -7 sheets of plywood and keep it dry with the gate down. It used aluminum angles and a 1/2 " spacer on each side to make clearance for sliding full sheets in and out. Epoxy painted and gasketed door. It was a snug fit and left a flat surface to haul more stuff.

I'll let you know what I do.

Kevin Gerstenecker
07-30-2003, 6:40 PM
I have had a total of 15 Pick up trucks over the years...........which is probably a bunch considering I am 43 years young. Anyway, I have always owned Ford Pick-ups. While I admit I am partial to Ford Products, I think they still build the best full size Truck. I have owned every configuration of Cab/Bed there is. For a standard cab truck, an 8' bed is OK...........for an extended cab with an 8' bed, well..........you may as well drive a bus! They are looooong, hard to park, tough to fit in most garages, and I just don't care for the look of the 8' bed with an extended cab. I have had 4x4, and never really used it, so I have no need to buy it again. Unless you are off road often, it will go mostly unused. (I always said the 4 wheel drive will probably get me out of somewhere where I probably shouldn't have been in the first place!) :D
The last several full sized trucks have been 6' beds, and I have never missed the 8' bed. How often do you REALLY need to haul something longer than 12', and how important is it to haul a 4x8 sheet of anything and absolutely have to have the tailgate up? Not often, in my experience. Bottom line............I think Dodge is too pricey for what you get..........I know several guys who have had good luck with Chevy and GMC.........but I have had almost flawless experience with Ford Trucks, from F-150 to F-350 to my current Ranger.....of which I have had 4. Oh, and it helps that my Son is a Ford Technician, and we get the good discount when we need new wheels. Like anything mechanical, it will be a good as it's maintained. Good Luck on your Truck Buying adventure..........be sure to let us know what you decide. :)

Ron Meadows
07-30-2003, 8:09 PM

Not to hijack this thread but what do you mean, "dodge is a bit pricey for what you get"?? I have an 03 with a 345 HP, 370 lb-ft torque engine that you can't buy from anyother truck maker for ANY price. I agree that all the big 3 make nice trucks I just don't understand your comment. We all have likes/dislikes. Personally I think that the Ford and Cheby are pure ugly, but that's just me


Kevin Gerstenecker
07-30-2003, 8:27 PM
Ron, I said "I think Dodge is too pricey for what you get", not "Dodge is too pricey for what you get". I have several friends and an Uncle who drive Dodge Pick ups, and they like them. I know what they paid for them, and I just think they are overpriced. I was just expressing my opinion, that's all. I am not running any manufacturer into the ground. If you think that Ford and Chevy are ugly, that is your right...........I am not being critical of you for that comment............it is an opinion that you are entitled to, as am I. Sorry if I rubbed you the wrong way, that was not my intent.

Jason Roehl
07-30-2003, 8:43 PM
Guys, guys, guys. :rolleyes:

We're talking about TRUCKS here. One rule: bigger is better. As for the parking thing, see the above rule, and remember other handyman sayings, such as, "If it don't fit, force it!"

:D :D :D

Martin Shupe
07-30-2003, 9:09 PM
I drive a 1991 Ford Ranger 4 x 4 extended cab. Except for replacing the side view mirrors every couple years due to a design flaw (no set screw), I have been fairly happy. I did have to have the rear main seal replaced just out of warranty (50K miles), and now something is leaking oil again, but at 156K miles that is to be expected. By the way, how long should a clutch last? I had it replaced when they did the main seal, since they were in there anyway. I am thinking it is time to do it again, as I hope to get maybe two more years out of the truck before I buy new.

I had planned to buy an F150, until I saw their crash test results. Now, maybe the new one is safer, but the old one was abysmal, especially when compared to the Toyota Tundra. So the Tundra comes with a full double cab this fall, and I will compare it to the new F150, as well as anything the competitors offer. I am not brand loyal, but will try to get the most bang for the buck. I am thinking double cab (kids) and short bed with camper shell.

Would like to buy this fall, but I think I will have to wait at least a year, maybe two.

Paul Kunkel
07-30-2003, 11:02 PM
I was a Ford guy for a long time until their Quality went down. In '94 when the new style came out, I got a 2500 Cummins and havent had any regrets. Never thought I like diesel but the longevity and economy can't be beat. Virtually no repairs, 20+ mpg, power to spare, and creature comforts second to none. 150,000+ hard miles and probably good for a whole lot more. Look for a good used one with low miles-there out there. You won't be sorry. :D

Jim Becker
07-30-2003, 11:08 PM
So the Tundra comes with a full double cab this fall, and I will compare it to the new F150, as well as anything the competitors offer.

I have to say that I've been completely satisfied with my 2000 Tundra and was happy to see the new double cab coming out this fall with no reduction in the bed length. I haven't found the bed to be a problem, either as 8' material fits fully supported by the tailgate and if I need to carry really long stuff, I have an extender that rides in the hitch. I drove 4 different pickups before I chose this machine and found it to be the most comfortable. It's also been economical to drive...I'm getting 19mpg on the highway and about 15-16 ratting around. (With a K&N air filter, of course) The interior is as comfortable as my 300M was. My only complaint would be the angle, or lack thereof, in the back of the back seat...something that they appear to have corrected in the new double cab model.

I never owned a pickup before this machine and I'll never be without one at this point. It's a nice compliment to SWMBO's Prius hybrid... :D

Kevin Post
07-30-2003, 11:15 PM
I have a 2003 F150 SuperCrew 5.4L 4x4... It has the 6.5' bed and I've had little need for anything more. I carry sheet-goods with the tailgate down and hold everything in with ratchet straps. If it looks like rain I wrap everything in plastic before I put the straps around the material. I can fit a yard and a half of dirt in the back. When I need to haul 12' sheet rock, I borrow or rent a trailer. I had some 12' boards to haul a couple times and I just slid open the back window and slid them into the cab.

Regardless of whether you think you need 4x4, I think you should get a 4x4. This is because 4x2 trucks don't sell well in these parts due to the winter weather. This translates into lower resale value... I don't know what the winters are like in your neck of the woods so this may not be as much of a factor.

My F150 drives and rides like a dream. Like you, I traded in an Explorer for this vehicle. The wide turning radius took some getting used to. I can't even imagine what it would be like with an 8-foot bed. I was tempted into getting a Dodge RAM but my neighbor warned me about problems he had with brake rotors and transmission on his 2002 Dodge. We also had problems with the brake rotors in my wife's 1998 Dodge Caravan. The rotors on his truck and in our van pitted due to defects after only 2000 - 3000 miles. The dealer insisted they weren't covered by warranty because brake pads and rotors are excluded as wearable parts. He had decided to sell it because he relied on it for work and it was in the shop too much. He drives a Chevy now...

I test drove a Dodge and I didn't think the ride was as nice as the Ford. I also prefer the looks of the Ford to the trucks being offered by other manufacturers (others' opinions noted).

Shopping for a new vehicle is really a pain in the a$$ when it comes to dealing with sales people. Remember, you're in charge, not them. It's your money, not theirs. Do your research on pricing before you even talk to anyone at the dealer show room. There are lots of sites on the internet that will tell you the dealer invoice price and list all of the promotions and rebates. Believe it or not, there are still guys selling cars that will try to get you to pay sticker price. Keep shopping until you get the deal you want.

The best part is driving all of those vehicles. Especially the ones you know you can never afford to buy...

Happy hunting!


Terry Hatfield
07-31-2003, 12:58 AM
Here's my vote....

This is my first Dodge, but it won't be my last. We really pile up the miles on our vehicles. This truck is 14 months old and has 55,000 miles on it. I really like it!! Drove both Chevys and Fords before buying this one. Not sure how prices go other places, but the Dodge was atually quite a bit cheaper than the other brands in my market.

As some of you know I came from the body shop/ custom truck biz. Can't seem to leave well enough alone even now. Added the billet grille and bumper inserts. Stripped of all the pesky emblems and mouldings, tinted the windows, added the vent sshades and lowered it. Handles like no truck I have ever driven. Really fun to drive, but will still haul whatever I need to haul.


Hal Flynt
07-31-2003, 1:29 PM
Thanks for your input, cars and truck are emotional for guys. I will always remember my first car.

I just got back from lunch and a drive in one of my associates ne HEMI RAM 1500 work truck. In a word wow for power. I drive a Supercharged Bonne and let me tell you this truck would leave me at the light.

Now I have to remember what it is I am actually looking for. A hot rod or a truck? Hmmm maybe both.

Still in the hunt.

Ed Falis
07-31-2003, 2:45 PM

You figure the handling is from lowering the body, or just the way the truck comes?

- Ed

Jim Becker
07-31-2003, 3:17 PM
Now I have to remember what it is I am actually looking for. A hot rod or a truck? Hmmm maybe both.

Still in the hunt.

The best advise you can get from anyone is to sit in and drive them all. Sometimes is the little things that push you one way or the other. I had three trucks on my short list. Although one of them had everything I wanted in space, etc., the shape of the dashboard and the poor quality of the plastic made me walk away, leaving the list at two. The second choice was a fine machine in almost every way and actually had a much better back seat arrangement than what I bought. Unfortuantely, it also had a bed 6" shorter and a price tag $2K higher.

So look at the little things in addition to the "he-man power thing", etc. Pay attention to fuel economy, too...the price isn't getting any lower anytime soon.

Hal Flynt
07-31-2003, 5:12 PM
Yes Jim,

I will drive them all. I get like this every 10 years or so. Each one will have it srong and weak points. I will drive them all and spend time on their respective forums getting user info etc.

I've gone from absolutely no Idea what I wanted 2 weeks ago to, I like this about this one, that about that one etc.

Mileage is an issue, I average 13.5 now in a V-6 S/c, so even the hemi does better. The only way to get tools in and out of shop would be a 4x4. otherwise a 4x2 would do for 95% of the time. The back seat would be for grandkids and an occasional short trip with friends. I average driving a car less than 2 years OR more than 8, generally more than 8.

It's my compulsiveness that makes me always wait until I make up my mind and it doesn't change for a day or 2.

Dan McLaughlin
07-31-2003, 5:22 PM

You mentioned Grandkids. If they are of "Child seat" age, make sure the back seat of the truck can deal with the Child Seat, especially if the seat is a LATCH type. I have a 1995 Dodge Dakota (co-owned with my SIL) and we have decided that the truck is off-limits for his 2 year old daughter (and my granddaughter) because of the design of the backseat.

Ron Meadows
07-31-2003, 7:45 PM
Good point about the child seat. I haul my 2 year old around in mine and there plenty of room. The middle seat has a lap belt that is preferred when latching in a the seat.

My Hemi is getting between 15-16 MPG in mixed driving conditions. Best I've gotten so far is about 18.3 on a 600 mile round trip up to WV to visit my folks.

Terry Hatfield
07-31-2003, 8:00 PM

You figure the handling is from lowering the body, or just the way the truck comes?

- Ed


The answer is some of both.

I think Dodge's suspension configuration including the rack and pinion steering instead of the traditional steering gearbox has some to do with it. Dodge also has HUGE 4 wheel discs which really stop the truck great, matter of fact, Dodge only offers 17" wheels and 20" wheels on these trucks because the more traditional 15" or 16" wheels will not clear the rear calipers. Moving from my Tahoe to this Dodge took some getting used to. The Dodge has WAY better brakes.

The suspension kit I used is from Ground Force, a new supplier to me. We normally used kits from Bell Tech, but I have a buddy in the biz that sells Ground Force and they were the only ones that offered anything for the new Dodge a year ago when I bought it. The kit contains 4 new shocks specially valved for the lowered configuration of the truck. The new front springs are a higher rate than stock and everything that got replaced in the rear has urethane bushings instead of the rubber bushings like stock.

Every truck I have ever lowered handled better than stock, but none handled as good as this one, not even close. It's the most fun truck I have ever had, and the kit still leaves plenty of hauling/towing capacity whidh is usually a problem with any lowered truck.

Bottom line..... Dodge...good. Ground Force....good. Makes a really neat truck.


Carl Eyman
07-31-2003, 8:31 PM
When I wave at anyone under 60 years old she turns her head. Besides, my wife won't let me pick up anyone. Darn

Terry Hatfield
07-31-2003, 8:43 PM
Thanks for your input, cars and truck are emotional for guys. I will always remember my first car.

I just got back from lunch and a drive in one of my associates ne HEMI RAM 1500 work truck. In a word wow for power. I drive a Supercharged Bonne and let me tell you this truck would leave me at the light.

Now I have to remember what it is I am actually looking for. A hot rod or a truck? Hmmm maybe both.

Still in the hunt.


These days you "can" get both. It really neat to have a truck that runs and handles great, better than most cars. Are there toooo many choices now or what???


Ed Falis
08-01-2003, 2:01 PM

Thanks for the detailed extra info. We're going to be looking for a truck not too many months downstream. When my fiancee was working construction, she always had a loaner trcuck from work, so we were able to do without our own. But, things change ;-)

- Ed

Charles McKinley
08-02-2003, 9:47 PM
Hi Terry,
What does a 17 or 20 inch replacement tire cost? I know a decent 16 inch is $100+. This could add alot to the cost over the life of the truck.

How available are the tires? Are they available from more than one manufacture?


Terry Hatfield
08-02-2003, 9:59 PM

Good question. I actually decided against getting a truck with the 20's just because of the tire cost. Good 20" tires are over $300 each!!! Ouch!!!! I average 250 miles per day in my work wo that would be a big deal for me in a hurry.

I replaced the original tires a few months ago with Coopers. They ran about $140 each. Not cheap, but way less than the 20".

I feel that the advantages of the big brakes out weigh the tire cost, but it is a factor that should be considered.


Jim Young
08-02-2003, 10:19 PM
Here's my new truck. 2003 F150 w/5.4L reg cab and short bed. I'm not too concerned about the short bed since 4X8 sheets will lay flat when I have the tail gate open. As for them getting wet, I wouldn't pick up lumber in the rain any way.

My milage around town is 17-18MPH.

Charles, 17" tires aren't too expensive. The 18" and higher start around $200. For now 18" and higher tires are fairly low profile which will harshen your ride, most people don't loke that.

Terry, The more I see your posts the more I like you, even though you're an Arky. First a fellow woodworker and now I find out you are into trucks. Big brakes are great. I just ordered the Roush suspension, 18" wheels and electric fans for my truck.

Hal, If you want a sporty truck with some muscle check out a Lightning. With a supercharged 390HP 5.4L these things really haul. They do not come in extended cab though.

Kevin Gerstenecker
08-02-2003, 11:01 PM
Jim is right about the Ford Lighting. My Son drives a Lightning, and it is the most fun you will ever have driving a truck! The only setback is when your foot is in that thang, you can almost see the Gas Gauge fall! DAMHIKT. :D The first time I ever drove that beast, I was preparing to pass a slower car on a 2 lane paved road. I jumped on it BEFORE I was in the other lane to pass, and that thing took off so quick, I dang near hit the car in the Butt! Most Lighting Owners, including my Son, would look at you like you were NUTS if you asked them to haul something though! :rolleyes: Great Truck, fun to drive, but not an economical daily driver.............they REALLY like Gasoline! ;)

Hal Flynt
08-11-2003, 7:17 PM
Thanks for all the input.

I drove Chevy's, Ford's and Dodge's sat in all the seats. I looked under them all and in all the engine bays. I drove back roads, city streets and intersates. I did stop light to stop light time trials. I did braking from 70mph aall the way down. I saw all the options and the prices. BTW didn't get much work done.

I bought a 2003 Dodge Ram Hemi Quad Cab with short bed. Sliding rear window (thanks for that reminder), tow package, metal fold out floor pan that makes a nice level storage area in the dry. Sport Package, basically body color grill and bumpers, large towing mirrors. The back seat has 3 places for infant seats. I'm selling my 10 year old Supercharged Bonneville.

I'm going to LineX for a lifetime warranty spray in liner (more durable than Rhino). Since I usually keep vehicle over 8 years they may have some warranty adjustments. I know that I'll do the under the rail for sure and maybe let them go over the rails depending on what it looks like. I may go for another type of rail cover.

I will add mud flaps and some sort of steps, either stainless tubes or nerf. I went with the cloth interior, no sun roof and the standard stereo, and AC. Got the remote door locks and will add the alarm.

I paid a few hundred less than invoice and they took off the rebate and gave me a military appreciation discount too. I got to have the truck for the weekend before writing the check. I had them rebalance the 20" tires ($125 from Tire Rack), and there is no vibration anywhere up to 90.

The first thing I put in the bed was some maple and some poplar.

Oh and I joined some more message sites too.

Thanks again for all the great input!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hemi Hal

Ron Meadows
08-11-2003, 7:31 PM
Congrats Hal!!

Don't get too alarmed if your gas mileage sucks in the beginning. For the first couple tanks mine got a whopping 11.5 MPG. Now, 10,000 miles later, I get somewhere between 15 and 16 driving to work and back and about 18 on the interstate. Mine seems to get much better mileage and performance when burning Mobil gas. I've tried most of the other brands but Mobile works the best.

87 octane runs just fine, but I go up to 89 when towing.

Enjoy your new HEMI!!!!!!


Hal Flynt
08-11-2003, 7:41 PM
I have been getting 13.5 MPG in my S/C Bonne in town where I drive the most, and that 93 Octane. I believe in being courteous when I drive so I just get out of everyones way you see :cool:

First tank is about 12.5 of 87 octane. I put in 10 gals of 89 to see if I could tell any difference. I'm up to 460 miles and things seem very tight still.

At any rate it will be cheaper in town than what I'm used to, and it satisfies the need for power.

BTW my speed record is 1872 MPH on a clear day over the South China Sea in 1971 performing a test flight on a clean F-4 Phantom II with new engines.
Yes we had a tail wind which helped the numbers. :D

Ron Meadows
08-11-2003, 9:19 PM
I don't see any difference in mileage with either 89 or 92, but you can really feel the "seat of the pants" difference with the 92. I, like all HEMI owners, am anxiously awaiting the aftermarket programmer companies to get something out for the HEMI. You can tell that this motor is really being held back by the computer.....and the tranny shifts are far to soft for peak performance. Superchips/Hypertech are claiming release dates of sometime this fall with performance increases in the neighborhood of 35-40 HP, and about the same increase in torque.

Wishing that they'd hurry up,


Jason Roehl
08-11-2003, 11:57 PM
BTW my speed record is 1872 MPH on a clear day over the South China Sea in 1971 performing a test flight on a clean F-4 Phantom II with new engines.
Yes we had a tail wind which helped the numbers. :D

That wasn't very nice to throw in there, Hal...some of us don't have the eyes to get us in the seat of something like that. :(

Wishing I had the opportunity to push something to Mach 2.5 or so... :D

Although, I have hit 160 MPH on the ground... :D

Hal Flynt
08-12-2003, 12:36 PM
I no Longer have the eyes :cool: I usually have a couple of pairs of glasses to see things near and up close. That was 32 years ago and I will never forget the thrill. It kinda made up for getting shot at.

You got me on the ground.