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  #1  
Old 03-08-2020, 10:44 AM
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new truck shopping

My '09 Ranger is showing the ravages of New England winters...doesn't look too bad on top, but the frame and core support are pretty crispy. I don't think it'll take an inspection sticker next winter and I don't think it's worth trying to patch it together- not saying I couldn't, just don't think it's worth the effort.

So, I'm starting to shop- not planning on buying for a few more months yet, but probably sometime over the summer.

Still definitely want a manual transmission, as my top, #1 requirement. Also need 4x4 and some ground clearance. A pickup is nice, but I don't need one all that often and I have a good little trailer (5x9 ramp gate) so an SUV that can pull it would be on the table too.

Which leaves me to the following list of options:
  • I could buy a new truck/SUV. On that shopping list would be:
    • Tacoma
    • Frontier
    • Jeep Gladiator
    • Wrangler 4-door
    • forthcoming Bronco??
  • I could look for something off the above list gently-used. (Which is really just a numbers game and all about what's out there and whether the price makes sense, case-by-case.)
  • I could look for a clean (really clean) older Ranger down south or out west, and put some money into making it nice. (Or non-Ranger...but I don't need a fullsize truck and so I'm not sure what else I'd want. I like my current Ranger, the only reason for replacing it is that it's rotting out.)

Also in the garage is a 2016 Mazda3 hatchback that I'm sort of neutral on keeping...it could get traded or sold, or kept.

Couple other factors:
  • I can afford to not be entirely rational. I work hard and make enough money to drive what I like, and I'm going to, even if it doesn't entirely make sense.
  • I would kind of like a ragtop. If I buy any of the non-Jeep options, there's a chance the Mazda could get sold and replaced with something used and cheap to scratch that itch.
  • The manual trans really and truly is non-negotiable.

TBH, the Gladiator is high on the list right now...too much tech crap built into it, costs too much, and the Jeep reliability is a concern...but the logistics of buying an old truck halfway across the country are a factor, and I just haven't liked the Tacomas I've been in. (Why is the seat right on the floor?)
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1997 Ranger XLT 4x2, 2.3L 4-cyl 5-speed (not running)-- 2009 Ranger XLT 4x4, 4.0L V-6 5-speed (gone)
1986 BMW R80 -- 2020 Tacoma TRD Sport 4x4 3.5L 6-cyl 6-speed

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  #2  
Old 03-08-2020, 12:26 PM
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I'm surprised the Ranger isn't on the new short list. But it looks like a manual transmission isn't even on the special order options.
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I think the lens of time is required to differentiate between the real milestones, and the detours along the way.
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Strippers, ammo and SKS, wow, that is almost sig worthy!!
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Old 03-08-2020, 03:35 PM
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Yep- that's the only reason it's not on the list, and probably at the top. Same for the Colorado- I'd rather drive a Chevy than a Toyota, but...

*I will also say I haven't been overwhelmed by the newest Ford we have at work, either. I like the '17 3/4 ton, and the '16 (?) F-550 bucket trucks, but the '19 F-150 is enormous in all the wrong ways, not that comfortable, and generally just not my favorite.
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1997 Ranger XLT 4x2, 2.3L 4-cyl 5-speed (not running)-- 2009 Ranger XLT 4x4, 4.0L V-6 5-speed (gone)
1986 BMW R80 -- 2020 Tacoma TRD Sport 4x4 3.5L 6-cyl 6-speed

The advantages of modern engineering are in many ways over balanced by the disadvantages of modern civilization.
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Old 03-08-2020, 06:21 PM
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Oh how time flies... I remember when the '09 was brand new.

Manual transmission limits your choices massively but you know that. I'd suggest maybe the Frontier... they're a solid truck and way behind everyone else technology and styling wise which probably appeals to you
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I have some other options if those don't work.

What's your view on sheep?
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Old 03-12-2020, 03:14 AM
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This may rock the boat a bit, but a friend of mine recently purchased a Jeep 4 door, (wagoneer?) with the diesel. I know very little about it, except it gets 33 mpg, and pulls his tandem axle enclosed car trailer with a car in it, with no trouble. It even self levels when you hook the trailer. ( Air Ride). It even drug the car and trailer up his gravel driveway, which is probably a 10% grade. I was impressed.

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Old 03-12-2020, 05:53 PM
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No manual behind the diesel...

A friend and I took his '14 Grand Cherokee (Hemi) halfway across the country to pickup a car one weekend a couple years ago...I did at least half the driving coming home with the trailer. I'm not sure how much was the air-ride suspension, but that thing was way more stable than I expected given how small it was relative to the trailer. (I've pulled UHaul car haulers behind several rigs, so I'm generally familiar with the dynamics.) Really nice tow rig.

I had a few extra minutes at lunchtime today just down the road from a Jeep dealer so I stopped in...just looked and sat as I didn't have much time. I wanted to like the Gladiator but it's a tough size to warm up to. Bigger than my Ranger by quite a bit- enough you'd notice it in tight spaces- but the bed is too short to hold a motorcycle and the only interior space is the seating compartments- not ideal for a toolbox, and the awkward crap I haul around far more often than multiple passengers. The four-door Wrangler was far more appealing when you park them side by side, especially since I think I'd end up needing a trailer for my "truck stuff" with either. (Not always- the Gladiator would be better for routine dump runs and such...but that's a pretty minor thing.)

Still waiting to hear the story on the 2020 Bronco, and I need to look at Frontiers and Tacomas...but I've got time. The Ranger still runs fine and it's inspected and registered through the end of the year.
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1997 Ranger XLT 4x2, 2.3L 4-cyl 5-speed (not running)-- 2009 Ranger XLT 4x4, 4.0L V-6 5-speed (gone)
1986 BMW R80 -- 2020 Tacoma TRD Sport 4x4 3.5L 6-cyl 6-speed

The advantages of modern engineering are in many ways over balanced by the disadvantages of modern civilization.
--Col. W.A. Roebling
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  #7  
Old 04-26-2020, 09:20 AM
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I've been running the web a bit, doing some research and emailing with dealers...you would think, given the COVID-19 stuff going on and pushing dealers to a lower-contact model, they might try to step up their game as far as email correspondence...but you'd be wrong. Dealers that hire employees who can read stand a better chance of getting my business.

Anyway...the Nissan appears off the list, at least if I want new. I'm really not sure what's going on with the Frontier- everything on lots anywhere seems to be a 2019, and although there's a manual in the online configurator, my local dealer indicated they're not available...and the nearest one I can find online is in Pennsylvania. I might go drive one, and then look for a good used one; not sure yet.

I drove a Tacoma yesterday- 2017 with 20k miles. Couple quirks with this particular truck but it was equipped pretty much exactly what I'd want if I were to buy new. Way better equipped than I really want, but they only offer the manual in the mid- and high-level trim packages. (Also: TRD? 14 year old me will always read that as "turd." Which might actually be a selling point...maturity is overrated.)

My impressions from a decade ago remain...it's a fine truck, and I'm sure I'd be happy with it. But it seems a really awkward blend of feeling like a big and small truck in all the worst ways. It is a lot bigger than a Ranger, and feels it in a tight parking lot- not that I mind, exactly, but it feels more like a half-ton than a compact in a parking lot...but the bed is still compact-size, the driver's compartment isn't really any roomier than a Ranger except the passenger is a little further away. You sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you, more like a car, less like a kitchen chair. And it still hops and squirms on rough pavement like a small truck.

3.5 V6 and 6-speed manual work fine...not a rocketship but quite adequate, at least empty.

Really curious about how it does towing...they say it'll pull 6400 (or maybe 6500?), which is more than double what my Ranger is rated for. I've had the Ranger at or over it's rated ~3100 a couple times, and although I think that number is a bit low (either the gearbox or clutch is the weak link on my truck-it would be rated higher with the auto...and with the 3.73 gears, hill starts and backing up is definitely hard on the clutch)...I'm also not sure I'd feel comfortable with over 3 ton behind a truck that size, at least not at high speeds over long distances.

Going to look at a Wrangler and Gladiator (at a different dealership) later this week...there's a recall out on the pressure plate, and they're diverting parts to vehicles already on the road, so I can't test-drive or buy a manual, but driving an automatic should give me at least some idea of whether I actually like the things, or just the idea of them. I haven't driven or even ridden in anything newer than a TJ...which, while I really do like them, are VERY uncivilized.
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-Ian

1997 Ranger XLT 4x2, 2.3L 4-cyl 5-speed (not running)-- 2009 Ranger XLT 4x4, 4.0L V-6 5-speed (gone)
1986 BMW R80 -- 2020 Tacoma TRD Sport 4x4 3.5L 6-cyl 6-speed

The advantages of modern engineering are in many ways over balanced by the disadvantages of modern civilization.
--Col. W.A. Roebling
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  #8  
Old 04-26-2020, 10:09 AM
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(Also: TRD? 14 year old me will always read that as "turd." Which might actually be a selling point...maturity is overrated.)

I don't know why, but this made me laugh. I had a friend that bought a new Tundra TRD, and he was so proud of that sticker on the truck that he paid extra money for.
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'78 F-150 Lariat

Quote:
Originally Posted by john112deere
I think the lens of time is required to differentiate between the real milestones, and the detours along the way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrxlh View Post
Strippers, ammo and SKS, wow, that is almost sig worthy!!
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  #9  
Old 04-26-2020, 10:32 AM
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That's funny, I always think "turd" when I see TRD.
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Old 04-26-2020, 10:50 AM
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I know I will now

I bought my wife a 2019 Tundra completely loaded, it has a 5.7 and she loves it. Her second day driving it she tested the automatic braking, they actually stopped her, and prevented her from getting a new hood ornament or totaling the new truck!

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