: Pickup truck advice (New Daily Driver)

01-25-11, 11:35 PM
Now I am moving back to South Dakota in a few weeks (the reason I can't go to the Chicago Auto Show :-( ). When I get to South Dakota I have to drive 80 miles a day as I want to live in Castlwood and I will be working in Brookings. I drive a 1998 dodge ram 4x4 5.2 and I love this pickup. Now when I get out there I would rather not daily drive that as it gets 13-16 MPG I was thinking today how nice it would be to have a small pickup that is 4wd and gets closer to 20 MPG out there that would take over DD duties. There are two reasons I am thinking about another pickup,

1. the roads are horrible when the snow is blowing so a 4x4 DD would be handy
2. If I got a small pickup that I don't like all that much, I would be more likely to use it as a pickup unlike my ram which is too pretty to beat on.

Anybody have a pickup that you think would accomplish this and not be a big POS, something less then $5K is preferable.

Just looking for some ideas

Wish list:

Reliable reputation (so no S10)
as close to 20 MPG as possible
Manual tranny preferably
ext cab or at least a cab big enough for a 6'-3" 270# guy to fit in.

Let me know your ideas and experiences.

I've pretty much eliminated Ford rangers as I have owned almost ten over the years and while they are great pickups, I have never seen a 4x4 ranger that got better than 17. I hate 4x4 S10's as I have worked on them for several years. I would consider a 92-96 Dakota if it had a manual, but I am not sure what they get for mileage.

A mazda B2600i looks to be the best choice I can come up with, but they are hard to find.

Thanks for your help.


01-25-11, 11:51 PM
What about a Subaru Baja?

01-26-11, 12:04 AM
How about the Nissan Hardbody pickup?

01-26-11, 12:04 AM
Yeah, I was going to say older Mazda or Toyota....basically indestructible...

01-26-11, 12:07 AM
B-series are great trucks! We had a new one in the family years ago. The only problem it had was the AC water exhaust line that sometimes clogged and required a new drain hose to be installed under warranty. That was, of course, over 20 years ago.

01-26-11, 12:17 AM
I was going to mention the Nissan Hardbody but Austin beat me to it. However, upon further consideration, the Hardbodies are notorious for rusting since they're from that rusty Nissan era. The Toyotas are awesome but to find one in halfway decent condition usually entails plunking down more than 5K. I would never have even thought of the Mazda B2600 and it seems to me like the best choice in that category.

01-26-11, 01:06 AM
Under $5,000 is a real tough price point for a 4wd truck if you don't want a Ranger or S-10. Any Toyota for under that price is going to be a rusty POS, but you might luck out and find something, its definetly going to be 15-20+ years old though. I was thinking a Nissan hardbody, but up north those have all returned to their base elements, they rust way worse than the Toyotas.

Good luck, maybe you can find a nice southern truck somewhere that isn't all crusty.

Also, I know that you want a truck, but have you thought about a Suburu? You can find a 6-15 year old model Legacy or Impreza with lowish miles, in good condition for that $5,000 price. AWD is awesome in the winter, and they get great gas mileage(well 25mpg isn't all that great for an economy car, but way better than your truck)

01-26-11, 09:19 AM
The goal here is to get a pickup bed, if I wanted a car and 4x4 it would end up being a 1995-01 explorer. My 2000 explorer was the best vehicle I ever owned, got 20 mpg no matter how it was driven (not sure why though as it was a 4.0 auto with 4.10's, same as my 01 ranger which got 15-17 Mpg) was beat from the day it was bought, and I traded it in on the dodge with 180K miles with original ball joints, spark plugs, battery, and hubs. My Dad bought it new and I bought it from him in 2006 so I know the full history on it. I even got $2000 on trade for it. I never really liked that rig, but pound for pound it was the most reliable vehicle I ever owned. I would buy another one, but I would like a pickup bed. That is why I was speculating.

Oh an under $5000 is because I do not want to wipe out my savings on a beater. Pluse I am looking for ugly but reliable, that way there is no chance of me becoming attached to it like what happened with my Dodge. The Dodge was supposed to be a DD and a pickup that I wouldn't mind putting a dent in, now I love it and it is too pretty to be used for more than towing and cruising.

Thanks for your help.


01-26-11, 10:40 AM
If you get a later B-series you might hear some top-end clatter. Its just HLA noise. Completely harmless.

01-26-11, 10:57 AM
The Mazda p/u is a ranger with different trims and grill. For trucks, I'm VERY partial to Fords. The latest F150 has a high fuel milage V-6 version, but I know very little about it.

01-26-11, 11:15 AM
Not the B2600 or any mazda pickup made 1993 or before. The B2600 is a Mazda built and designed truck with a mazda 2.6 4 Cylinder engine and chassis. What you are thinking of is the later B-series, B2300, B2500 B3000, B4000 which is a ford ranger rebadged for mazda. All numbers after the B signify engine size (example: B4000= 4.0L)


01-26-11, 11:20 AM
I'll bite, I consider myself pretty car savy, but I have never heard HLA noise. A quick google only shows that it is common in miata's and has to do with lifters. What does HLA mean? :hide:

01-26-11, 11:52 AM
hydraulic lash adjuster

Its harmless if you hear a little clatter at startup or idle.

Back in the day, Ford's Courier pickup was made by Mazda.

01-26-11, 12:11 PM
Thanks Jesda, I was lost now it makes sense. My Buddy Jake had a 73 Courier that was dressed up 70's minitruckin style! It was so tiny that anybody over 5'-6 would be really intimate with the steering wheel just to drive

01-26-11, 01:43 PM
I was looking for a beater pickup today and I stumbled on this!



I think I am going to go look at this on Saturday and if it is as clean as looks it might be in my driveway. It is almost a dead ringer for my ’88 which was my first vehicle ever. The differences I see other than the wheels, are no tach, red pinstripe instead of blue, and the shifter is the older style (which I like better). Mine had pretty much the same shifter that you would get up until the late 90’s The listing has 292K miles, I can’t imagine that is true, so I am hoping it is just a typo.

http://hphotos-sjc1.fbcdn.net/hs357.snc3/29468_10150166024630462_519250461_12020975_2029523 _n.jpg

I know it is 4X2 but man this was my First vehicle. Who doesn't get attached to their first ride!

01-26-11, 01:53 PM
My first car was a Sentra. I hated it.

01-26-11, 01:54 PM
For the money, I say go for it! Stick a set of snow tires on it and some sand bags in the bed and keep on truckin'.

01-26-11, 01:55 PM
My first car was a Sentra. I hated it.

:histeric: ...I mean, sorry.

01-26-11, 02:20 PM
My first car was a Sentra. I hated it.

I grew up in a small Minnesota town, I was going to have a pickup if it killed me for a first vehicle. I did catch a lot of flack though for not having a 4x4 with a V8 but I loved my little ranger. Still mad I sold it.

01-26-11, 02:50 PM
Even though I'm not partial to ford, I used to have an early 90's ford ranger XLT, it was very comfortable and well trimmed, it was a great truck.

01-26-11, 03:38 PM
Hey, that looks pretty nice and the price is right! I managed to drive thru three (long, very snowy) Winters in a two wheel drive Nissan Cedric 2800 Speciale (Japanese equivalent to a Fleetwood at the time), it did have snow tires on all four wheels. The Northern Japanese island of Hokkaido has a climate similar to coastal Alaska with snow on the ground eight months out of the year. In those days, days the Japanese did not plow their roads of highways so one basically drove the ruts! I drove from where I was living 20 miles each way to Sapporo where I taught English to prospective interpreters for the '72 Winter Olympics. During the three Winters I mad that trip I ever once got stuck, nor did any damage to the car. I would think you would have equal success with that truck by putting a couple of bags of sand in the bed!

01-26-11, 05:23 PM
I hate 2WD trucks, yet somehow 2 of my 3 are. They find me like stray dogs. Oh well.