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Early 90's small Pickups; Who made good ones and who made junk


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65 replies to this topic

#1 RallyKeith

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 11:40 AM

I'm soon in the market for a small automatic pickup truck. Don't try and sell me a brat, I already owned one and I loved it, but for what I want and need I need to be able to tow a small car on an dolly and haul 1000# of stone and dirt. So I'm looking at an early to mid 90's V6, possibly 4wd, automatic pickup. V6 for the towing power, and automatic for both towing and so that my wife can drive it. It seems to me that the Toyotas and Nissans are good and hold there value well which makes them cost a little more than what I'm looking to spend which is about $2500. The Ford Ranger though seems be lower in price and from what I can tell they seem to be pretty good little trucks. If I remember correctly at some point they partnered up with Mazda on them so that might have something to do with it.

So, thoughts for me as I start my looking?

Keith

#2 muffman

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 07:15 PM

Rangers seem to run forever. I had a 90 with around 100k miles and it ran and looked like new. My bro-in-law has a 94 with well over 200k and it still runs.

#3 grossgary

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 10:47 PM

I'm all about the F series, but I'd never own a Ranger. if they aren't holding their value (highly doubt it), there's a reason. My guess is they're priced under comparable nissan's/toyota's - again, there's a reason.

there are some great nissan and toyota trucks of that vintage in terms of reliability but i don't know much about the engines available. i wouldn't consider anything else if you can find the towing capacity you need from them.

#4 Loyale 2.7 Turbo

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 11:12 PM

Due to my Experince here, Repairin` some Frends` Cars and Sharing Experiences, let me Tell you that I Suggest to Avoid the Toyota Tacoma, `cos it has a very Bad Design in Steering Parts, they`re too Thin and Trend to Break easily! ... :eek: ... Also their V6 Swallows too much Gas...

The New HiLux is even Worse! ... Older -early nineties- HiLux would be Stronger & Better, but V6 automatic Swallows too much Gas... I Believe the 22R could Handle your Towing needs, but I`m not Sure about the Load...

Ford Rangers are Great Idea... they Runs Smooth and are very easy to Drive, it even got an Special front Suspension Mechanism that makes the car to incline several Degrees from side to side when you turn the Steerin` wheel, That`s Amazing! :) and Adds much more Safety to Drive, it Feels like a Plane.

The only Trouble that rangers has is the Plastic Radiators, They`re easy to got a Crack and had to be Changed to a Better one... (Metallic) ...and the Heather core got to fail too...

it Runs Soo Good, the only thing I Don`t Like from Rangers is the Blind Points it Has... Maybe I am Accustomed to my Loyale Wagons ... :) ... Plenty of Glass & Visibility!

Other Options to Consider is the F-150 Truck and the RAM 1500... Don`t you Like Diesel?

Kind Regards.

#5 nipper

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 11:54 PM

Ford rangers seem to run on duct tape and chicken wire. Nissans and toyotas do well, but I wonder about thier part costs. Rangers and Mazdas are the same.

nipper

#6 dhise

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 12:23 AM

personal experience here, I bought a new Chevy S10 in '91. Completely stripped of any options except a 2.8 v6 and I drove that thing forever! Just tires and brakes every 60-80k, one exhaust, wipers and bulbs, and regular fluid changes. Never once broke down in 175k miles I drove it and then I stupidly sold it...

#7 subiemech85

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 01:00 AM

isuzu :)

#8 Pontiac6KSTEAWD

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 01:09 AM

Dont bother with the Nissans. Great around town trucks, with a bit of offroading. But their trannys are weak, and their motors are entirely to expensive to work on.

Toyotas just had that huge recall on the frames, and I still dont trust a truck with a timing belt.

Rangers are ok with the 3.0, but way underpowered. The 4.0 is MUCH better, but you do pay for it in gas.

S-10 or S-15 (Chevy/GMC), with the 4.3, are just about bullet proof. Had a 92 back in 96 or so. 200k miles, and could easily outpull any of the dodge V-8/6 models, and get better gas milage doing it. Decent gas milage, but not great. If you are tall (5'10"+), make sure to get the extended cab.

Dakota's are good, lots of room under the hood to work on them. Decent gas milage. However, I fell they are underpowered foe me.

Ever considered a Baja?

#9 RallyKeith

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 06:52 AM

Ever considered a Baja?


Find me a Baja for around $2500 that can magically fit about 1000# of stone in the back and I'd buy it. Don't think you can do that though. :)

#10 bheinen74

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 09:29 AM

i just saw a early Ford ranger on the way to work to day parked in a front yard for sale. It looked ok, was red, but had some black flames on the front hood/fender area to the wheel wells. Had custom sport wheels. probably asking not much. Would need to look close to determine rustness.

#11 davebugs

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 09:44 AM

S-10, 4.3. Bullet proof, common (cheap and easy parts new and used).

I've had several - mostly 4WD's all through the 90's - 90's thru 99's. I still have a 90 2wd 35k and my dad has a 99? GMC Sonoma - also the Astro vans have much of the same running gear and I have a 97 Astro.

The S-10's will haul what you need to. And they (and the Astro) will pull a car trailer loaded pretty well - atleast 5k. Some day I gotta get an equalizing hitch.

Annoying issues someitimes. Intake gasket leaks (on the later 90's ones),
Sometimes (again on later 90's) wiper motor circuit board goes. Aftermarket available. Neither a real big deal.

Rangers are cheaper than S-10's and they should be. Dodge's are even cheaper - and they should be. I usually attend auctions weekly.

The Jap stuff is usually just too expensive to buy and maintain. Not as many interchangable parts as a Suby.

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#12 Ken_B

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 07:05 PM

Go with a 4.0 Ranger or a 4.3 S10, they have great engines and solid transmissions. The a 4.0 in the Ranger, because Ranger 3.0 does not make the power it should and is a HEAVY engine, Iron Heads and Block, that really runs its best on midgrade or higher gas, my buddy has one with 99,000 miles that has horrible detonation problems unless its got midgrade gas in it. Personally I would go for a 4.3 S10. I had a 1988 4.3 Auto 4x4 extended cab with 301,000 miles on it when I sold it, wish I hadn't, never really had any problems other that the tranny going around 200,000. One thing to watch with these is oil consumption if they burn oil on startup they have been run low on oil at some time in their life, other that that great trucks. The 4.3 is essentially a 350 with 2 cylinders lopped off.

#13 The Dude Abides

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 10:13 PM

I have had 2 small pickups. A 92 isuzu and a 93 s 10. The s 10 was great but had the doggy 2.8, and the isuzu was great to but body ate itself out before the engine did. I would recomend a full size vehicle though. I just dont know if i could trust something smaller then what i was useing to haul it. But if i were to pick somehting to haul around a small trailer or a quad it would be a s-10 with the 4.3

#14 Pontiac6KSTEAWD

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 11:16 PM

Thats actually a very good point. On cars, and pickups, you shouldnt tow more than the vehicle weighs without a weight distributing hitch. You are talking about towing a car with it once in awhile, and that car, plus trailer, is going to weigh more than the Small truck. What will happen is that you will be going downhill, and your trailer/car is going to pass you. Seen it more times than I care to count, and it never ends pretty.

Edit: If you flat tow (tow bar, and all 4 of the wheels on the vehicle are on the ground), you can get away with higher weights. It just becomes a matter of if the brakes can handle it in a normal, or emergency braking situation.

#15 lostinthe202

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 11:21 PM

Sooooo, Trucks are also like opinions. Everyone's got a farvorite! :)

moral of the story? If it's well maintained, in the power range you want, buy the name brand of your choice.

#16 nipper

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 11:23 PM

Sooooo, Trucks are also like opinions. Everyone's got a farvorite! :)

moral of the story? If it's well maintained, in the power range you want, buy the name brand of your choice.


Actually it seems like we are leaning towards an american product :)


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#17 RallyKeith

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 07:59 AM

Actually it seems like we are leaning towards an american product :)


nipper


Yep. Seems like it goes S-10 with the 4.3 then Ranger with the 4.0 Doesn't really surprise me. I've always thought the americans made better trucks up until recently. And from the get go something internally was leaning me towards a Ford Ranger.

As for towing... Thanks for the advice but I don't need it. Your talking to someone who has towed cars half way across the country. I'm going to be towing a little 1800 lbs triumph spitfire on a tow dolly. I could tow that with fuel injected Loyale if I really needed to. A 2800 lbs pickup with a V6 should have no issues with stopping or getting pushed around by that.

Thanks,
Keith

#18 lostinthe202

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 08:03 AM

Yep. Seems like it goes S-10 with the 4.3 then Ranger with the 4.0 Doesn't really surprise me.


No argument here, I like the S-10's

Good luck with your search!

#19 3eyedwagon

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 04:04 PM

Count me as another vote for the 4.3 powered S-10s. The 2.8 V6s are reliable, but they make about half the power of a 4.3.

The Ranger is a good pickup too. I've owned both a 3.0 liter model, and a 4.0 liter. They are virtually the same.

The v6 Toyota are a JOKE. That 3.0 liter made reasonable power, but go ahead and go buy ANY parts for them. There's a reason they are sitting in piles around the country, and can be found for free on Craigslist. The only thing a V6 Toyota pickup was good for is it's third memeber. If you want to pull something with a 4 cylinder Toy; you better have a bit of time on your hands.

The 4.3 S-10s and all of their drivetrain components are just far superior to anything else you could buy in that price range. The 4.3 is probably easily the best v6 ever made. It has been used in everything from police cars, to mail delivery trucks, to boats, to civilian conversion vans that weigh far too much, to everyday pickups. There are even racing series designed solely around that engine. It is an amazing motor. Parts are cheap, it's easy to tune, comes in a wide variety of fuel delivery configuartions (all of which are great), and it has an excellent aftermarket following. I'm not detracting anything from the Ford or Dodge small trucks, but GM definitely handed out a whooping when they released that motor in the S10.

#20 RallyKeith

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 01:08 PM

What about Frames and Frame Rust? Anything I should look out for?

Keith

#21 3eyedwagon

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 09:22 PM

The frames should all be just fine. But I'd give another vote for the s10 for the frame. It's alot stronger than the competitors. Just bend over and take a look under one to see what I mean. The ranger also has a solid frame, but s10 frames will be around long after you, and I are gone. They are hell for stout.

#22 WagonMan76

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 11:53 PM

Older Nissan's share Subaru parts and will run until your wife tells you to sell it, my 92 has 240K on it, and been treated badly by every member of the family for the last 12 years, but it always starts and has a real low gear rear end. The only problem you may have with these Nissan's are random people trying to buy them off you at stop lights.

Toyota's are over rated to say the least, mine had 120K when the timing belt went 1400$ later i was back on the road.

My uncle has newer Mazda and everything about it is awkward the way it drives shifts, everything, nothing natural. But it does start.

#23 hatchsub

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 05:32 PM

S-10s or Rangers. I would lean a bit towards the ranger myself because it actually rides like a truck should. My brother in law had one and loved it. Very good truck for him. He didnt consider the S10 cause he had driven them and they ride like cars. I have driven both a 2wd ranger and a 2wd S10 and the ranger rode way nicer. Both mid 90s trucks. Both 4 cylinders. Get a 6 for sure and you will be golden.

#24 The Scooby

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 02:21 PM

toyota or older mazda before ford took over.

i worked as a tech for ford and they are garbage. get a toyota and just like on Top Gear showed, they are indestructible.

#25 calebz

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 09:58 AM

....... older mazda before ford took over.


I don't think he is looking for something from the 60's ;)




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