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Need help with buying a diesel car/truck

07-24-2013, 09:40 PM

I'm currently driving a Ford e150 passenger van attached to a 5x10 enclosed trailer (a little less than 10mpg) with music gear in it (for sure, less then 2000lbs all together. Maybe it's even less the 1500lbs).

I'm looking to switch to something smaller (only four sits are needed now) with better MPG that could still haul my trailer. I drive A LOT! I can do more than 5000 miles in three weeks. MPG and durability are the most important things for me because I'm a broke musician and a few hundred dollars a month would make a huge difference for me (I spend way over a thousand bucks a month right now)

What should I buy?


07-24-2013, 11:08 PM
Interesting question.
I presume you want to buy a used diesel vehicle.
Unfortunately, on the used market in the US,your diesel options are mostly limited to full-size light- trucks, like full size vans and pick-ups. Furthermore, they tend to be expensive to buy or completely worn-out and thrashed.

I an guessing a van is more useful than a pick-up because it has dry, lockable cargo area.
I think your best choice is a Dodge Sprinter diesel van (or the Mercedes equivalent). They are economical and have vast amounts of room. Unfortunately since both are Mercedes products, parts and service can be very expensive.

Ford and GM have excellent diesel vans. Just avoid the older GM diesels (6.2 and 6.5 liter). The newer Duramax diesel is much better.

Alternately, I suggest you keep your current van and look a a propane (dual fuel) conversion. This system keeps the original gasoline system, but adds a propane tank and carburetor. You fill and run on propane, (because its cheaper than gasoline,) then you switch to gasoline if the propane runs out.

I have used a couple of propane vehicles with great success. But realistically this only makes sense if automotive propane is widely available on your travels, and if the cheaper price makes it worthwhile.

07-24-2013, 11:22 PM
Thanks! Sprinters are so expensive (even used), so unfortunately they're out of the question.

Propane (dual fuel) conversion sounds interesting. Does it get better mpg (it's hard for me to calculate cost without knowing)?

07-24-2013, 11:42 PM
What do you think about this one?

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