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the local ford fan
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey all , i will be getting my drivers license within the next couple of months so i am looking for advise on what make and model of mid/mini truck to buy when the time comes ? , i do have a few models in mind , but would be open to think about any options , the following trucks that i'm thinking about are (1) a toyota pick up perfer a 1989-1995 reg cab 4 cyl 5 speed manual 4x4 but might be interested in a older model then a 1989 , (2) a 1991-1996 dodge dakota most likely a v6 , perfer a manual transmission over a auto , extra cab 4x4 , (3) a 1986-1997 ford ranger , extra cab , v6 , 4x4 ,5 speed manual , (4) a 1986-1997 nissan 4 cyl , 5 speed manual , 4x4 , as yall can see most of the above trucks are extra cabs , the reason being is that i'm 6'4'' tall and can't easily fit in most reg cab mini trucks other then a toyota , and i would like to keep to vehicles from the 80s/90s if i can , thanks for any advise and thoughts on what would be a good buy :thanku:
 

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ford boy..........It doesnt matter what you get as long as you are happy.......But with the gas the way it is I would suggest you stick to a 4or6 cylinder for a start since you are just starting out......Good luck.............John........:trink40: :trink40:
 

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Of the ones you listed, my personal favorite is the Dakota, followed closely by the Toyota. I think you will be more comfortable in the Dakota than you would in the smaller trucks. I think they are built a little more like a full-size, although I have seen each of the other trucks mentioned haul incredible loads. The Toyota can't be killed unless you drop a grenade down the intake, but has a little more flimsy body. Test drive them all, if you can. Also, talk to an insurance agent and find out if any of them have a significant price advantage over the others.
 

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the local ford fan
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631 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Of the ones you listed, my personal favorite is the Dakota, followed closely by the Toyota. I think you will be more comfortable in the Dakota than you would in the smaller trucks. I think they are built a little more like a full-size, although I have seen each of the other trucks mentioned haul incredible loads. The Toyota can't be killed unless you drop a grenade down the intake, but has a little more flimsy body. Test drive them all, if you can. Also, talk to an insurance agent and find out if any of them have a significant price advantage over the others.
good advise , i'll check with a few insurance companys and compare the different makes and models and see where it comes out , i also like the dakotas just don't really know much about dodges period , but the dakotas seem to be good running vehicles from what i've herd , i did have a toyota as a farm beater truck a few years back and they seem like nice trucks , my specific toyota was beat on and never taken care of , but still pretty nice little trucks , thanks
 

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外人Geezer MTF Member
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2,218 Posts
I have a '93 Dakota, 3.9L V6 - this is the best vehicle of ANY I have ever owned! The thing has been just trouble free. Odometer broke about 7 years ago with 120,xxx miles, so I guess it might have over 200K now - I guess at oil change intervals now, about every 4-5 months the way I drive, and the thing does not use any oil, none!

So, I vote for a Dakota, if you can find a good used one. Mine is automatic transmission, and I have only had one minor problem ($300 fix) with it, and I tow a 5,000 lb trailer a lot with it. I like this truck so much, I am seriously considering keeping it until it just drops! And, maybe even restoring it then.
 

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Deere 330 Killer
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17,876 Posts
When it comes to the smaller pickups - Dakota's, S10's, Rangers, etc.. I really think that the Toyota is the best. I love GM dont get me wrong, and I dont mind the other two big boys either, but a Toyota will get beat to the ground and keep going, and get good fuel economy too. My truck is a 3/4 ton diesel, so I cannot speak from experience as others can, but based on my observations, a Toyota is a tough one to beat.
 

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My daughter now has a 1998 Ford Ranger 4x4 super cab standard transmission V6. It is a great little truck. about a month ago I was using it my self for work. It is great on gas. Here in Arizona the insurance is really low I don't know exactly because I have so many cars. They do what you need. The dakota is a good truck and all but I have seen parts really expensive for it. Toyota the same as it is an import. The S10 is my dad's favorite. Before his Colorado he had an S10 crew cab auto 4x4 that was great all around the only reason he got rid of it was because he wanted somehing newer. I would have to say the S10 or the Ranger really. My youngest brother has a 1984 Bronco 2 which is like the ranger and it is really good too. What ever you get is up to you it is your personallity I am just trying to give you some advice as I am an auto mechanic and experience working on theses types of trucks alot.
Trav
 

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Resident Man Of Many Hats
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My personal favorite would be the Toyota. I had a 91 Toyota V6 4wd 5 speed and it was a good little truck. Had almost 300k on the engine when I totalled it and it was trouble free up until it got destroyed. You see more of those with crazy high miles on the road than any other truck. The V6 is nice but the 4 cylinders are even better in regards to reliability, both are great though. My only gripe was the standard cab I had was just a bit tight, I'm 6'1 and it could have afforded just a bit leg room.

As you can tell from the screen name, I'm an s-10 freak. I have built so many of them, owned one myself for a while and my fiance still has a 94 ss. They are good little trucks to but can be annoying from time to time. They have their quirks but mostly stupid interior stuff breaking, especially on the third gens. Stay away from the 4 cylinder models they are gutless. All the ones I have messed with were either bagged show trucks or race projects, never left any of them alone so I cant speak for actually using them as a truck but they are a fun platform for mischief. My fiances will blow the doors off of anything we pull up next to but I'm not to sure how it would actually function as a truck :)
 

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the local ford fan
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631 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I have a '93 Dakota, 3.9L V6 - this is the best vehicle of ANY I have ever owned! The thing has been just trouble free. Odometer broke about 7 years ago with 120,xxx miles, so I guess it might have over 200K now - I guess at oil change intervals now, about every 4-5 months the way I drive, and the thing does not use any oil, none!

So, I vote for a Dakota, if you can find a good used one. Mine is automatic transmission, and I have only had one minor problem ($300 fix) with it, and I tow a 5,000 lb trailer a lot with it. I like this truck so much, I am seriously considering keeping it until it just drops! And, maybe even restoring it then.
thanks for the advise , if you don't mind me asking , what was the $300 fix ?

When it comes to the smaller pickups - Dakota's, S10's, Rangers, etc.. I really think that the Toyota is the best. I love GM dont get me wrong, and I dont mind the other two big boys either, but a Toyota will get beat to the ground and keep going, and get good fuel economy too. My truck is a 3/4 ton diesel, so I cannot speak from experience as others can, but based on my observations, a Toyota is a tough one to beat.
thanks for the advise , you have quite a few good points there

My daughter now has a 1998 Ford Ranger 4x4 super cab standard transmission V6. It is a great little truck. about a month ago I was using it my self for work. It is great on gas. Here in Arizona the insurance is really low I don't know exactly because I have so many cars. They do what you need. The dakota is a good truck and all but I have seen parts really expensive for it. Toyota the same as it is an import. The S10 is my dad's favorite. Before his Colorado he had an S10 crew cab auto 4x4 that was great all around the only reason he got rid of it was because he wanted somehing newer. I would have to say the S10 or the Ranger really. My youngest brother has a 1984 Bronco 2 which is like the ranger and it is really good too. What ever you get is up to you it is your personallity I am just trying to give you some advice as I am an auto mechanic and experience working on theses types of trucks alot.
Trav
as far as a s10 goes i'd rather pass on one of thoses , but a ranger would be a nice truck to have , thanks for the advise

My personal favorite would be the Toyota. I had a 91 Toyota V6 4wd 5 speed and it was a good little truck. Had almost 300k on the engine when I totalled it and it was trouble free up until it got destroyed. You see more of those with crazy high miles on the road than any other truck. The V6 is nice but the 4 cylinders are even better in regards to reliability, both are great though. My only gripe was the standard cab I had was just a bit tight, I'm 6'1 and it could have afforded just a bit leg room.

As you can tell from the screen name, I'm an s-10 freak. I have built so many of them, owned one myself for a while and my fiance still has a 94 ss. They are good little trucks to but can be annoying from time to time. They have their quirks but mostly stupid interior stuff breaking, especially on the third gens. Stay away from the 4 cylinder models they are gutless. All the ones I have messed with were either bagged show trucks or race projects, never left any of them alone so I cant speak for actually using them as a truck but they are a fun platform for mischief. My fiances will blow the doors off of anything we pull up next to but I'm not to sure how it would actually function as a truck :)
i've had a few s10s just as farm trucks in the past and over all they are not too bad , but they seem to have alot of qurkes and problems with them and to be honest i don't want to lay under whatever i get every weekend so i'm going to stay away from s10s , toyotas are nice little trucks it just seems hard to find one with little rust , thanks for the advise
 

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外人Geezer MTF Member
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2,218 Posts
ford boy, the $300 for the transmission repair was for some kind of valve I think. It has been about 7 years ago. I was pulling my 4500 lb trailer to Florida, and it would not change from 3rd gear.
 

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the local ford fan
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
ok , thanks for information
 

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I have a neighbor with a 95 ranger reg cab 4WD 4.0 auto tranny. I have maintained that truck for like the last 10 years. Motor and trans have been swapped, front end has been gone thru, rear shackles have been replaced (common to Rangers and F series here in the salt belt) It is still a decent truck, but one thing a Dakota has over it, is that it isnt quite the sardine can the Ranger is; I have ridden shotgun in the Ranger with him 300+ miles away to his hunting cottage many times; The dakota isnt a full size either but thegere is just enough more space in the cab to make a differemce. I have seen all of them with high high miles and still running with various amounts of work that it took to achieve the mileage. They all have their good and bad points,
I have experienced alot of them over 18 years from beneth a front end alignment rack.
I have gone from full size to Dakota and back now, a couple times, I now own 2 Dakota's. I miss the space and ride/handling of a full size though. I tend to stray away from the thought of a Toyota because I way prefer to stay with the traditional big 3 American companies. the thought of driving a nissan or Toyota still makes me gag and choke.
 

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Deere 330 Killer
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A buddy of mine had a short bed, ext. cab ranger, 4.0L, 5 speed, 4x4. He loved it and swore by it. Unfortunately, he lost it in the snow and ran it into a ditch. Now hes getting another, reg cab, long bed. He loves his rangers.
 

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The old Yota's are very tough/ fun trucks off road. There pretty much unmatched in the stock Mini truck segment, and they were factory off road rated.. Of course the rust eats them. If you find 1 that's solid enough you could fix it cheap. there not a bad deal. frame is the biggest issue as they crack/ rust out under the cab..

Rangers are probably the best mini truck all around. Dakota is a full size that wants to be a Mini. good for some, but not really a mini truck, and the S10 is a useless car with a bed.. Rangers are the Mini truck but do still carry a light duty 1/2 ton rating. I had 3 of them a '92 and 2 '98's a 2wd and a 4x4 4.0L, and only the last 1 had problems, but it was beat when I got it. I got it cause it was optioned like I wanted ( 4.0L Auto, 4x4 ex cab loaded. tow pkg ). I wrecked it when a power steering line blew early morning and the windshield got covered... After that I found my K1500 and havn't looked back
 

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2 stroke enthusiast
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I bought a 2011 crew cab Nissan Frontier 4x4 last year. I love it other than the fuel mileage. The 4.0 litre is pretty capable for it's size. I've driven all makes and models over the last few years ranging from 2002 to 2011. This truck fit my lifestyle the best, and since Nissan is my companie's second biggest customer, I'm supporting them by supporting me. I've driven Nissan now exclusively for 6 years. Quality, ride and comfort is top notch. I just found a nice 1996 Dakota standard cab, 3.9 for my son just starting to drive, with only 64,000 on the clock. It's a nice ride considering the $2,000 price tag. I agree. Buy what you can afford to drive. There really not a bad truck out there(within reason of pre-use condition).
 

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Toyotas = rusted and rotten frames
So can Dakota's, Rangers and S10's.. Toyota got the short end of the stick when they were required to recall all those Tacoma's for frame issues.. 1995+ Toyota's are pretty much garbage IMO, but the pre 1995 trucks ( not Tacoma ) were decent and very capable trucks.. I know theres 1 sitting in my driveway ( 91 4x4 ) with a perfect frame. box has seen it's better days tho
 

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the local ford fan
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
thanks for all the replys and opinions guys , i ended up getting a fullsized truck instead of a mid sized , (1992 ford f150 step side ) 302 small block v8 with an auto 4 speed OD transmission , i've herd that it should get around 16-18 mpg , although i have not driven it enough to tell , but anyhow i figured i would update this thread and tell yall what i ended up buying , thanks again guys Land vehicle Vehicle Car Pickup truck Motor vehicle
 
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