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Open Roads Forum  >  Tow Vehicles

 > Salt, Rust, and the value of a diesel engine

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Mickeyfan0805

SE Wisconsin

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Posted: 04/16/19 08:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OK - I don't want this to become a diesel vs. gas debate, so I'm going to try to be very specific with my question.

We might be in the market for a used truck in the next couple of years. Most gas or diesel HD trucks are going to be fine for our usage (we currently tow with a 2006 Suburban 2500). Many of the options out there, of course, are diesels, while some are gas. My question is simple...

We live in the great lakes region, which means salt (and thus body and underbody rust) are a norm to our vehicles. It looks like I'd be looking at trucks that are 7-10 years old, most with 100k or so in miles. I know a diesel engine will (theoretically, at least) last longer, but will the body and frame rust out from under it anyway? We won't put more than 12k a year on it, at most (only about 3-4k towing). Is it really worth buying a used diesel in this area, for that kind of usage, or will the truck's body and frame give in to rust before a gas engine runs out its life anyway?

ShinerBock

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Posted: 04/16/19 08:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If the gas engine runs out of its life by that time, can you still sell it? Can you still sell a diesel in the same time frame and get more money out of it? If you can sell both and get enough money back from the higher resale value and fuel economy to pay for the upfront cost then it is worth it. If not, then it isn't.

How long will it last may depend on you. I know some people religiously wash their undercarriage and some that do not. Some have a secondary beater for winter and others do not.

blownstang01

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Posted: 04/16/19 08:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not quite a answer to your specific question, I can weigh in on some history we have with these trucks. Being in upstate NY, we also have the salt / rust etc. We have a fleet of 14 trucks, Chevrolet 2500's. We for a while had a mix of both gas and diesel. We run our trucks until the rust underneath becomes basically unsafe, ex: brake lines, body panels, etc. Invariably this always seems to be around 250,000-300,000 miles. We maintain them religiously, and both the gas and diesel variations hit these miles with no major repairs. I mean, none. Out of about 40 trucks over the last 18 years, we've replaced 2 transmissions, and some broken exhaust studs on the gas ones..and that's it. Again, all having 250,000 plus miles when retired. So in my opinion, the extra cost of the diesels wasn't worth it by the time they rusted out and now just buy gas engine trucks. Of course we tend to haul heavy loads, but rarely pull a trailer so your needs may be different.

jmtandem

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Posted: 04/16/19 08:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

We live in the great lakes region, which means salt (and thus body and underbody rust) are a norm to our vehicles. It looks like I'd be looking at trucks that are 7-10 years old, most with 100k or so in miles. I know a diesel engine will (theoretically, at least) last longer, but will the body and frame rust out from under it anyway? We won't put more than 12k a year on it, at most (only about 3-4k towing). Is it really worth buying a used diesel in this area, for that kind of usage, or will the truck's body and frame give in to rust before a gas engine runs out its life anyway?



If you want a pre- owned diesel why not find one that has lived its life in Arizona, Texas, Florida, Nevada, etc. You are going to spend some serious coin, why limit yourself to just where you live?


'05 Dodge Cummins 4x4 dually 3500 white quadcab auto long bed.

midnightsadie

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Posted: 04/16/19 08:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

x2 out west theres some great older trucks , IF I was looking for a great used truck,or rv I,d head to the west. and I,d buy from a private owner.

ShinerBock

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Posted: 04/16/19 08:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

blownstang01 wrote:

Not quite a answer to your specific question, I can weigh in on some history we have with these trucks. Being in upstate NY, we also have the salt / rust etc. We have a fleet of 14 trucks, Chevrolet 2500's. We for a while had a mix of both gas and diesel. We run our trucks until the rust underneath becomes basically unsafe, ex: brake lines, body panels, etc. Invariably this always seems to be around 250,000-300,000 miles. We maintain them religiously, and both the gas and diesel variations hit these miles with no major repairs. I mean, none. Out of about 40 trucks over the last 18 years, we've replaced 2 transmissions, and some broken exhaust studs on the gas ones..and that's it. Again, all having 250,000 plus miles when retired. So in my opinion, the extra cost of the diesels wasn't worth it by the time they rusted out and now just buy gas engine trucks. Of course we tend to haul heavy loads, but rarely pull a trailer so your needs may be different.


When you retired these trucks, what did you do with them?

We have 500+ truck fleet from California to Pennsylvania. We retire our trucks at around 200-300 depending on location, engine and usage and sell them at the auction. In every case we get more money at auction for the diesel over the gas trucks unless it has a major issue. The amount of money we get back along with the fuel economy gained is more than enough to justify the upfront cost for almost all of the trucks. This is according to our data which we track on every vehicles, and yours may be different.

memtb

Wyoming

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Posted: 04/16/19 09:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jmtandem wrote:

Quote:

We live in the great lakes region, which means salt (and thus body and underbody rust) are a norm to our vehicles. It looks like I'd be looking at trucks that are 7-10 years old, most with 100k or so in miles. I know a diesel engine will (theoretically, at least) last longer, but will the body and frame rust out from under it anyway? We won't put more than 12k a year on it, at most (only about 3-4k towing). Is it really worth buying a used diesel in this area, for that kind of usage, or will the truck's body and frame give in to rust before a gas engine runs out its life anyway?



If you want a pre- owned diesel why not find one that has lived its life in Arizona, Texas, Florida, Nevada, etc. You are going to spend some serious coin, why limit yourself to just where you live?



^^^^^^^^^^^^^This^^^^^^^^^^^

Add Wyoming to the list.....little to no salt used on the roads! And, most everyone owns a diesel truck!


Todd & Marianne
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Super_Dave

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Posted: 04/16/19 09:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Do you see any early 2000 vintage trucks in your area? That might give you a glimpse into what your 7 - 10 year old truck will look like in another 7 - 10 years.


Truck: 2006 Dodge 3500 Dually
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naturist

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Posted: 04/16/19 09:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It’s a complex question without a simple answer. Since diesel and gas engines go into the same bodies and frames, I’d expect them to last the same. So it comes down to cost to buy vs resale along with operating costs. Into that last calculation, do note that gas prices rise over the summer compared to winter gas prices, whereas diesel prices rise in the winter over summer prices. If you plan to burn the most fuel in summer towing, and let it sit over winter, fuel per gallon cost is likely to be close to the same, thus giving a boost to the diesel fuel savings.





troubledwaters

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Posted: 04/16/19 10:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ShinerBock wrote:

blownstang01 wrote:

Not quite a answer to your specific question, I can weigh in on some history we have with these trucks. Being in upstate NY, we also have the salt / rust etc. We have a fleet of 14 trucks, Chevrolet 2500's. We for a while had a mix of both gas and diesel. We run our trucks until the rust underneath becomes basically unsafe, ex: brake lines, body panels, etc. Invariably this always seems to be around 250,000-300,000 miles. We maintain them religiously, and both the gas and diesel variations hit these miles with no major repairs. I mean, none. Out of about 40 trucks over the last 18 years, we've replaced 2 transmissions, and some broken exhaust studs on the gas ones..and that's it. Again, all having 250,000 plus miles when retired. So in my opinion, the extra cost of the diesels wasn't worth it by the time they rusted out and now just buy gas engine trucks. Of course we tend to haul heavy loads, but rarely pull a trailer so your needs may be different.


When you retired these trucks, what did you do with them?

We have 500+ truck fleet from California to Pennsylvania. We retire our trucks at around 200-300 depending on location, engine and usage and sell them at the auction. In every case we get more money at auction for the diesel over the gas trucks unless it has a major issue. The amount of money we get back along with the fuel economy gained is more than enough to justify the upfront cost for almost all of the trucks. This is according to our data which we track on every vehicles, and yours may be different.
Please provide the data that substantiates your assertions.

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