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Anybody scrounge with a 4 cyl. truck?

Post in 'The Gear' started by pulldownclaw, Feb 22, 2008.

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  1. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw Feeling the Heat

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    I've got an aging full size truck that I use for scrounging and trips to the dump, etc., and a '93 honda civic I use as my everyday ride and it's got 200k on it. I'm going to milk both for all they're worth, but looking ahead I'd like to replace both with just one vehicle. I'm just wondering if it makes sense to get a 4 cyl. Tacoma or something to handle any scrounging opportunities (which would probably only add up to 5-10 days a year), and still get decent mpg, or am I fooling myself and should I make sure to just get at least a V6 vehicle to make sure it can handle the loads? I know there are a few folks out there with some smaller vehicles that use them for hauling, what do you guys think?

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  2. kevin fitzsimmons

    kevin fitzsimmons New Member

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    Most of my wood for the past three yeas was hauled with my Tacoma 2wd, it also has has numerous deer in the box. Sure its not turbo in the power dept, but it is economical and unless you are needing the towing/hauling capacity it can be done. I had to move up in the world when kid # 2 was on the scene. I would say that unless you wooding is a long way from home htne s small p up would do just fine. Most of the trucks around here (and there are a lot of them) are pretty much grocery go getters and their towing utility is never used.
  3. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Are you considering 4wd? If so you would be wise to compare the actual mpg figures since a mini 4x4 pickup with a 4 cylinder will only get slightly better mpg than a full sized chevy V8 truck. For example, I hit 20 mpg on freeway cruises and upper teens in the city with my 1998 1/2 ton chevy 4x4 pickup with the 350 V8. My old toyota 4x4 pickup was only slightly better which is why I went with a chevy full size truck. Ford and Dodge full size trucks are worse for mpg.

    2wd pickups are a little bit better with the nod going to the ford ranger at about double the mpg of an equivalent full sized. Perhaps a commuter 2wd toyota and then a big monster dually flatbed 4x4 pickup for wood hauling.

    Just be sure that you are getting a lot more mpg when you give up the many benefits of a full sized truck.
  4. Andre B.

    Andre B. New Member

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    First pickup I had was an 81 Toyota 4WD with all of 96HP. It would go anywhere I cared to go and haul anything I needed.
    Driving empty in 2WD it would get just under 30MPG (manual lockout hubs), loaded down mileage would drop unlike my current 3/4 ton which gets 12mpg regardless.
    Before I finally killed the toy I hauled two (at the same time) 55 gal. barrels full of cement, 8 miles on back roads. That was about 3 years after the frame rusted thru and one side broke and I welded it back together with much added reinforcement.

    Its not how much power you have its how slow a low gear you have.
  5. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

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    I think much of the 'need' for big trucks is ego and image. If you do a lot of hauling or towing, for safety sake, get a solid pickup. But if it's once a year hauling wood I think you will do just fine with small engine. Just keep AT out of overdrive, and shift down as necessary.

    Brakes, cooling, and transmission cooling are the limitations. Go slow, brake early, watch the road ahead, downshift a lot,

    Horsepower is speed up grades. For years and years Model T fords were mining trucks. The limitations were in braking and just running a lower gear allowed those 30 hp engines to haul several tons of rock, just really slow

    look at what other countries haul with teh 800cc minitrucks, or on Honda step through 90cc motorscooters....

    "I have this friend', (not me of course due to legal reasons) who pulls almost 9000 lbs with a 2900 lb isuzu trooper. Simply in low gear, low range, stop ahead, go 20 mph, etc. No jerking, don't pull the hitchout, etc.

    Most drivers are IMO idiots who aren't used to loads. If you drive like it is a car, big troubles. With skill and patience, for as much as you will haul a few times a year, it can work.

    There are legal load issues, might check with the DOT on how much you can haul.

    k
  6. wayneg

    wayneg Member

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    I scrounge with a 2WD Ford Ranger with the 2.3L 4 cylinder engine. I've had the bed totally full with chunks of wet wood and never had a problem. Granted, no speed records were broken, but the job got done. The truck gets a true 26 mpg on the highway. It's 3 years old, 21,500 miles, no problems at all yet.
  7. gary

    gary New Member

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    I use a 1982, 2WD, Toyota for going out into the timber. Purchased when you could by them new for $6000. For larger loads or long hauls, I hook a trailer made from a full size Ford pick-up bed to it. Think I paid about $80 for it ten years ago. I've hauled a lot of wood and other things with the two.
  8. whenley

    whenley Member

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    Highbeam is correct in his comments.
    I just went through buying a new truck. 4WD is a must where I live. I was looking for a 'small' truck to replace my '83 Datsun 720 4WD which finally succumbed to rust cancer. There is a thread over in the Green Room about searching for a decent MPG truck -
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/8579/

    I found it is hard to find a 'small' truck anymore. If you can get by with 2WD, the Taco or Frontier 4cyl are decent on gas and have enough power to do most of what you need to do. If you are amenable to buying used, the older Tacos and Nissan Hardbodys are good trucks - but slightly less powerful than the new models - but they are better on mpg.

    I wound up buying a 2008 Nissan Frontier 4WD 6cyl 6spd. It is a great truck, very strong, 3/4 ton, tows 6000lb, but tough on gas. Driving gently I can squeeze 20-21mpg out of it. Interestingly, the 08 Taco 4cyl 4WD only showed a couple MPG better on the EPA sticker. The Nissan was cheaper and 6cyl, so I went with it. I really wanted a smaller truck, but could not find one with 4WD.

    To answer your question - Can you scrounge with a 4cyl? Yes. But if you find a goldmine it will probably take two trips and/or a trailer.
  9. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    What is your current truck like? For the occasional use you will be giving it, the one you own is going to be the best bet. You already own it! The Honda might go another 50K, but there isn't going to be much left. How much do you value dependability? I have multiple used older cars for various purposes, so if one breaks, I go get the keys to another one. I'm a big fan of used cars, they alredy have the fastest depreciation past them. I don't think a car has proven itself 'till it hits 100K.

    You can find numerous examples of old American pickups with high mileage that you can get fixed anywhere inexpensively. Long term, you probably want to look for something that's a good commuter and grocery getter as that will be what you do with it the most. Good luck shopping.
  10. crazy_dan

    crazy_dan New Member

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    IMO unless you are going to be using it as every day driver mpg should not be the first thing to look at. I have both a 1990 dodge Dakota 6 banger 4x4, and a 1992 Chevy 3/4ton 4x4 5 speed. they both suck as far as MPG that is why I have a Saturn Vue as my daily driver. I bought the Dakota new and the Chevy I picked up for $800 put about $1,200 to get it up to par so I have about 2K in it, it was bought for 1 purpose hauling, and that is all it does.
    I would look at biggest bang for the buck and also cheap avalibilty of parts and service.
  11. ctlovell

    ctlovell New Member

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    I use a 2wd 4cyl. Toyota Tacoma for my hauling and scrounging. I stick to relatively local wood, drive slowly, downshift rather than brake and take my time. You would be amazed how much wood fits in a small bed P/U. If it doesn't fit then 2 trips is sometimes necessary. It works for me.
  12. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    Just keep the truck replace the car when needed. A 2nd car can be very help ful. I've been driving my 1990 truck while my car in the shop for the last three weeks. I would be in trouble if I did not have it.
  13. BotetourtSteve

    BotetourtSteve Member

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    On the flip side, I've got a Ford F-350 (1 ton suspension), V-10, 4x4, limited slip axle, 4:30 rear end gears, four door, and so on and so on. Fuel mileage you ask? Uh, its got a LOT of horsepower. What's that, fuel mileage? I've got really cool sounding dual exhaust - that V-10 has a sound all its own. Fuel mileage? I can put a load of wood in the bed stacked up to the top of the cab, and the truck doesn't squat, and gets up to speed like it is empty. What's that? Compensating? Well, I, uh...did I mention the horsepower? :red:
  14. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    There's a few of us scrounging with Rangers. Mine is 4WD, manual, 4cyl, no frills, gets about 23-24 MPG in 2WD in mostly highway driving. It's my commuting vehicle as well. Hauls about 1/3 cord or a little more if you stack it carefully. I have way overloaded mine a couple of times (1600lbs or 1800lbs of gravel once, forgot the exact number) with no problems. Engine size is generally not an issue unless you need to go up big hills. (Near the first thing I did with mine back in 96 was load it and a UHaul trailer up and drive from MI to DC, had to go 45 in 3rd gear up some of the hills in the mountainous sections.)
  15. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    1993 2WD Toyota Pickup here. Use it for just about everything, including scrounging. Only 85K miles on the clock (which reminds me I need to CHANGE MY OIL), but there hasn't been a hickup from the truck regardless of what I stuck in it. Deer, turkeys, wood, furniture. It's been a good little truck so far and if I ever think about replacing it (when it dies, most likely a LONG time from now), it will be with another 2WD toyota pickup, unless I'm living back up north again for some reason. Then it would be a 4WD Toyota pickup.
  16. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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    4 Cyl 4WD 99 Tacoma here, no problems at all.
  17. Turner-n-Burner

    Turner-n-Burner New Member

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    I think you've gotten a lot of good advice here.

    1) You won't save any money by replacing either vehicle until you have to!
    2) you can haul a lot without alot of horsepower as long as the rest of the vehicle is built for it, and you don't overdrive it.
    3) fuel mileage isn't necessarily your biggest concern. If you are going to keep a car as a commuter vehicle (like I do) fuel consumption doesn't matter much, you may be able to pick up a full size truck, or Tahoe/Suburban pretty cheaply. As fuel prices rise, those trucks are taking a real beating in value, so if you don't drive it often, you could get a lot of truck for a pretty small fuel cost. And if that means fewer scrounging trips, you could even save on fuel with a larger vehicle.
    4) scrounging might not be as cheap as you think. If you keep another vehicle (or drive a truck instead of a car) mostly to feed your stove, there are other options. You may be able to get log-lenght firewood dropped in your driveway for a pretty low price, or even free if you talk to loggers or tree trimmers. Last time I did it it was $200 for four cords, other guys on this board have scored truckloads (logging truckloads!) for beer money. You can't drive/fuel/insure/maintain even a 4-cylinder yard truck and compete with that kind of deal. Especially true if you put any value on your time.

    -Dan
  18. moshiersr

    moshiersr New Member

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    I haul my wood and plow my drive way with a 4 cyl Jeep TJ, its not a power house, but it gets the job done. I use a 5x13 trailer 3000GVW.. I've had ~4500lbs on the trailer with out too much issue, just take your time, its not a race.
  19. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

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    in my case the vehicles are cheap, it is the insurance that kills me.
  20. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for all the replies. I am planning on driving the Civic until it dies, I still gets mpg's in the low 30's after 200k. :)

    The truck is another issue. It still runs, but needs some exhaust work and the frame is rusting through. But, I only use it for scrounging and trips to the dump, etc.

    That's a great discussion over in the green room as well, thanks. I would love to have a 4 door truck, having a family of 4. When my vehicles are toast I will probably keep my eye out for a used 4 door Tacoma.

    Happy scrounging!
  21. buttaluv

    buttaluv New Member

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    If you dead set on toyota or nissan then so be it, but take a look at chevy: gmc full size 4 doors, in my looking I found I could get a full size, 4 door for about the same money, granted you'll lose a few mpg's (but not much), but you'll have more room, less miles on the truck (I know unbelievable) and more pulling power.

    granted I know it's ridiculous, but those little toy's and nissans, really hold their stinking value.
  22. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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    Here's my truck with a load of very heavy, totally green pine that I scored yesterday.

    Attached Files:

  23. fullbore

    fullbore New Member

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    I scrounge with a 99 Ram 2500. The 9" lift and 38.5" mud tires net a whooping 6 mpg when unloaded. I usually stay close to home! LOL.
  24. mikedengineer

    mikedengineer New Member

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    I have a 96 ranger 4cyl 5 sp. I haul about 1000 lbs in the bed and when I have alot to haul I take my trailer and put 1500-200 lbs. in it. I have a helper leaf installed. This is the max I do and it works just fine. I take it easy and take my time getting home. It has 167,000 miles with the original clutch. Keep in mind I have only hauled about 20 cords with it, but I love the truck.

    -Mike
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