In the past, there were some diesel pick up trucks, with engines that lasted 300,000 miles, that got very good fuel mileage. The Dodge Cummins diesel from 1997 was known to have a good engine, that lasted a long time, and it got about 23 miles per gallon. That is good fuel mileage for a 3/4 ton or 1 ton four wheel drive truck. My gas engine Dodge 1/2 ton truck gets about 14 miles per gallon.
Whether it was a Dodge, Ford, or Chevrolet, the diesel engine trucks had a higher towing capacity, got better fuel mileage, could go farther on a tank of fuel, and the engines were supposed to last longer. Farmers that had to tow heavy livestock trailers or heavy equipment trailers through muddy fields needed a heavy duty four wheel drive truck. Building contractors and heavy equipment operators needed a heavy duty four wheel drive truck to get equipment in and out of muddy job sites. These people had to have the highest towing capacity four wheel drive truck, sometimes even a dual rear wheel truck.
In order to not feel like a loser, many men went and bought a diesel Dodge Cummins 2500/3500 or a diesel Ford Power Stroke F250/350, four wheel drive, even though they did not own a boat, a travel trailer, a livestock trailer, an equipment trailer, or any kind of trailer, and had nothing to tow or haul. They lived in an apartment in Tampa, Dallas, or Phoenix and only ever had to drive on flat, dry, paved roads. They were envious of farmers, ranchers, building contractors, or heavy equipment operators, and they wanted to pretend to be one. Living in an apartment or a residential neighborhood and hearing a diesel Dodge Cummins start up and idle, I felt like saying, “Are you getting ready to take the pigs to market or something?” And all they would be able to say was, “No, I’m going to the 7-Eleven to get some milk.” Hey, “You’ll probably be O.K. keeping it in 4 high.”
I worked for a construction company in Dickinson and an oil field service company in Dickinson, that both owned a diesel Ford Power Stroke F350. In both of these trucks, the first engine had to be replaced at 100,000 miles, the second engine had to be replaced at 75,000 miles. These two F350s were from the late 1990s, and the engine replacement cost each time was $7,000 to $10,000.
A friend of mine showed me a detailed investigative report on the internet, where a guy bought a used 2006 diesel Ford F350 dually with 100,000 miles on it, from a car dealer for $25,000. Within a few months the engine failed. The Ford dealer service department told the buyer that he needed a new engine. New engine, parts, and labor was $16,000. (In comparison, my late 1990s Dodge truck gas engine costs $1,900, and my late 1990s Ford truck gas engine costs $4,200.)
This woman that I know at work in Dickinson, her dad bought a used 2011 diesel Dodge Cummins 3500 dually with 200,000 miles on it, about one year ago. The engine head gasket recently blew out, and the head gasket repair cost is $5,000.
What I am trying to explain, is that if you are a farmer, rancher, building contractor, or heavy equipment operator, you may have to own a diesel truck. After model year 2000, a diesel engine replacement will cost $10,000 to $16,000, and these engines do fail prematurely sometimes even though they aren’t supposed to. Many diesel truck engine repairs cost $2,000 to $6,000. Farmers, ranchers, and contractors are used to having equipment break downs and costly repairs, but they have to pay for these repairs and keep going in order to earn a living. If you are an idiot who lives in an apartment, and you went to a buy here/pay here used truck lot, and put $5,000 down on a $25,000 diesel truck and began making payments, what are you going to do if you need a new $16,000 engine? No, I mean it, if a $25,000 truck was the most expensive truck you could afford through financing it, and you just took all the money you had and made the down payment, what are you going to do when you need a $16,000 engine? Are you just going to walk away from the truck and let the dealer have it back? You still owe the dealer $20,000 and you have nothing.
If you move to North Dakota, don’t go buy a diesel truck just because you see everybody else driving a diesel truck. Some of them are farmers and they have to have one. Most of the other people are just trying to pretend that they need a big heavy duty truck.