Author Archive | Diesel Performance Truck

?2010 Top 10 Best Dating Cars for Guys

There is a saying: “”You have to dress to impress on your first date””. It is certainly true, but we all have to admit that for guys the most important thing on the first date should be their ride. Just picture this scene: you’re at her door in tuxedo with a bouquet of 25 roses (her favorites). She opens the door, takes you by the arm and you slowly walk her towards your Baby Blue color 1998 Toyota Corolla with multiple dings, scratches and a bumper sticker that says “”Nirvana””. If she is a smart and beautiful girl she will fake faint right there on the spot or will bolt and run away like Usain Bolt. Women don’t really care that much about your attire, flowers or manners. Your ride on the opposite will speak volumes to them and in most cases will make them totally blind to everything else. Now picture another scene: you’re at her door with one hand holding your falling down pants and in your other hand a 24 ounce can of “”Milwaukee’s Best”” wrapped in a brown paper bag. She opens the door and since she is a smart girl she is about to fake faint or almost ready to bolt like Mr. Bolt but she peeks over your right shoulder and sees your 2010 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Convertible parked in her driveway. And because she is a smart and beautiful girl she takes you by the arm and walks you down to your car. The rest of the story is up to your imagination.

It’s very simple my friends – your future and your wife to be is determined by Your Ride. Cruel but true, that’s why Date My Ride website came up with a list of 2010 Top 10 Best Dating Cars for Guys. Rides are not listed in any particular order or sequence. Those are simply the Top 10 must haves.

2010 Chevrolet Hurst/Camaro. This one is the perfect ride for the first date. The new 2010 Camaro will sure knock your date off her feet. Stylish body flow, aggressive grill, 20 inch rims (bling, bling) and 420-hp 6.2L V-8 powerful engine will absolutely close the deal on your first date. Plus this sweet ride is a huge ego booster – no girl will ever care of your looks or clothing when you are pulling into her driveway with this sweet new ride.
2010 Rolls -Royce Ghost. This one right of the bat makes a statement – I am over 60, I am filthy rich, I could die pretty soon and leave you fighting with my heirs over the money. With ride like this one – 212.6 inches long, price tag of over $300K, 536-hp 6.6L V-12 engine you will attract the hottest gold diggers from all over the world. The news flash for gramps – no gold digger will care about your looks, jaw implants, hearing aids or Alzheimer’s when you are proudly drooling behind the steering wheel of this bad ass coffin!
2010 Nissan GT-R. When chicks are going to see you in the ride such as 2010 Nissan GT-R two things will come to their minds – “”Fast and Furious and Vin Diesel.”” This ride will create an impression of you that you are as buff and tough like Mr. Diesel. Put few stripes or flames on the hood; throw in some monstrous speakers and this 485-hp 3.8L V-6 Turbo engine tow seater will become a love ride. No coed will ever say “”No”” to you when she sees you in this ride flying down the street or doing smoky wheelies. Plus you will be able to smoke every Civic or Corolla at the traffic light. The only bad news is that this ride isn’t cheap – $84K, so your part-time job at Chuck E Cheese’s won’t cut it.
2010 Audi R8. Even James Bond- Agent 007 wouldn’t be ashamed to ride in this baby. 2010 Audi R8 should be every man’s dream. If this is your ride you can be well assured that Miley Cyrus would be fighting Sarah Palin about who gets to go out on the date with you. With this ride even if you are resembling George Costanza from Seinfeld – short, bold, no job, living with parents you absolutely will be dating the most gorgeous women! 525-hp 5.2L V-10 humming engine will make any kitty purr in this powerful ride.
2011 Jaguar XJ – Series.You want to impress Desperate Housewives from LA, NY, NJ, and OC? Get this kitty cat – 510-hp 5.0L V-8 engines wouldn’t be bad for David Beckham either. The look of this car just says: “”I am in it to win it”” and “”Of course I am a Gentleman””. Somehow this ride asks you to dress nicely so you become part of the car. And because of all that Euro/British hype ladies would be expecting you to be at the par with this car. Two words to describe this ride: “”Gentlemen’s Choice””.
2010 Ferrari California.The name says it all – “”Ferrari California””. To have this ride you must a) live in LA, b) be one of those wanna be A list or at least B list celebrities c) “”have your dealer on a speed dial”” and oh, almost forgot d) you must be skinny. If you meet all of the above this 460-hp 4.3L V-8 engine convertible is Your ride. Just keep in mind you will be attracting certain types of women with those common elements: a) she lives in LA, b) she is one of those wanna be A list celebrities, c) “”she will have her dealer on a speed dial”” d) she will probably be a D size and oh, almost forgot e) she will be skinny.
2010 Ford F – 250 Super Duty.Smell of beer, wood, gun powder, dogs and fish mixed with other women’s perfume that is the smell of a real man driving this Bad Boy! Who cares that his ride is bigger than his 1966 modular home sitting on stilts. A real woman needs a real man and real men drive real bad as trucks such as 385-hp 6.2L V-8 engine Ford F-250 Super Duty! And the best thing about this ride is that you can literally hoard loads of women in its bed.
2010 Toyota Prius.You get this ride and every girl with “”Green Peace”” t-shirt will fall for you. Being “”green”” is fashionable these days. Even some actual A list Hollywood celebrities drive Priuses. But be forewarned that this 134-hp 1.8L engine bucket looking ride won’t score you any point with hot gold diggers, desperate housewives or girls from The Hills. Most likely you and your date will end up hugging the trees on a first date.
2010 BMW M3 Convertible.This ride is an ultimate must have date car for guys. It is amazing how the sound of three simple letters Be-eM-double U will sweep your date of her feet. You won’t even need to buy any alcohol, just give her a ride in this 414-hp 4.0L V-8 convertible and she will feel absolutely drunk. Any man becomes a superhero when he drops those three simple letters to the woman….Be, eM, double U….
2010 Mercedes -Benz CL65 AMG. No Top 10 car list is complete without the Benz. Women in all age groups, demographics and social levels will pay attention to you if you come to pick her up on a first date in this ride. We have to stress this again that you looks are not important if you are cruising down the street in this $200K plus, 604-hp 6.0L V-12 symbol of wealth. Get your date in a car, relax, adjust your hearing aid or pick piece of spinach from your braces and let this ride do its job.

?Ford Truck Performance: F-150 Engines

Since the late 1970s, the Ford F-150 has been the best selling full-size pickup truck line in America. That shouldn’t be a surprise – the automaker regularly updates and improves its iconic trucks to stay ahead of its competition.

And the F-150’s competition is stiff: formidable challengers include the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, the Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan. Each of these trucks brings something to the full-size pickup arena, offering customers plenty of power, storage capacity and interior room. But, Ford is clearly the winner and aims to stay in first place by refusing to rest upon its laurels.

New Engines

Last updated in 2009, Ford isn’t waiting for its next generational change before making important interim moves. Beginning with the 2011 model year, the Ford F-150 gains engines new to this model, once again throwing down the gauntlet for its competitors to pick up.

The four engines, mated to six-speed automatic transmissions, are:

3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 – Ford is offering the power of a V-8 and the fuel economy of a V-6 in its EcoBoost 3.5-liter twin-induction turbo-charged engine. Rated at 365 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque, this engine offers power equivalent to the outgoing 5.4-liter V-8. The EcoBoost offers 11,300 pounds of towing and 3,030 pounds of payload, and operates on regular gasoline.

3.7-liter four-valve V-6 – Base six-cylinder power can be found in this new to the F-150 engine, rated at 302 horsepower and producing 278 pound-feet of torque. E85 flex fuel capable, this engine also takes regular gasoline. This engine offers 6,100 pounds of towing capacity.

5.0-liter four-valve V-8 – This engine is similar to the one offered in the Ford Mustang, tweaked for truck use. Rated at 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque, the 5.0-liter V-8 takes regular gasoline or E85 fuel. Towing capacity is 10,000 pounds.

6.2-liter two-valve V-8 – The largest Ford F-150 engine is its most powerful one, rated at 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque. This engine runs on regular gasoline is standard on the SVT Raptor and is also used in the Super Duty. Towing capacity is 11,300 pounds.

Diesel Option

If you’re looking for a diesel engine, that 6.7-liter 32-valve Power Stroke turbo-diesel V-8 is reserved for Ford’s Super Duty truck line. Super Duty payload ratings are from 2,210 pounds to 7,070 pounds. Rated at 400 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque, this model can pull up to 24,400 pounds with 5th-wheel towing.

?Top Four Diesel Trucks For Sale

Are you searching for diesel trucks for your business perhaps, or maybe for outdoor activities such as camping? No matter what the use for the trucks really is, numerous different diesel trucks for sale are there for you. Depending upon your budget, you need to decide if you want new or used trucks. These trucks are feasible and ideal for off the road driving. More horsepower and low fuel costs are also one of the reasons why people prefer these trucks for their businesses. Four major companies offer such trucks for sale that are much popular amongst customers.


Dodge was introduced and founded as the Dodge Brothers Company in 1900 and was later sold to Chrysler Corporation in 1928.The company produced all sorts of cars including diesel trucks. Most of the trucks available in this brand have automatic transmission and are slightly expensive. A used 19998 Dodge Ram model can easily be available for around $12000 while a 2006 Dodge Dually Diesel can be purchased for around $33000.


Chevrolet also known as a Chevy was founded in 1911 by the General Motors. The company specializes in many different vehicles such as SUV’s, sedans and diesel trucks. Depending upon the year of the model and the condition of the trucks for sale, there are numerous different prices. A used 2006 Chevrolet LT3 Silverado can be purchased for $33900 while a 1998 Chevrolet K1500 Silverado can be purchased for as little as $7250.


The Ford Motor Company was incorporated in 1903 by Henry Ford. Even though the company is best known for its car mustang, the trucks are not far behind. There are multiple diesel trucks for sale at reasonable prices such as the Ford F-450 2008 model which is available for $37495 and the 2001 Crew Cab Ford F-350 HD which is available for $14,500.


General Motor Company was established in 1909 and since then has seen much success. There are numerous vehicles available including diesel trucks. The 1995 2 door GMC Yukon and the 2009 GMC 3500 are available for $400 and $35000 respectively. The GMC 3500 is much appreciated for businesses, as it is feasible with a lot of back end storage space.

Summing Up

There are numerous diesel trucks for sale easily available online and you can find the right one for yourself by browsing through different categories based on price and type.

?Finding Good Deals For Used Diesel Generators Isn’t Hard But it Does Require Research

Everyone knows that used diesel generators can be an expensive purchase. However, there are ways to ensure that you get a good deal. It’s important to know what you’re looking for and because you will need to do research, you should quite easily be able to get yourself a good deal. Spending any more than £8000 is a no no when it comes to these items so do your research properly.

Take your time to find out about what you need and whether or not it’s available on today’s market. Most of the time, you should find a company who stocks what you need whether it’s brand new or used. Used equipment is a much easier way of doing things because a reseller won’t sell bad equipment because they’re unable to – you can be sure that it’ll be in working order.

The other good thing with used equipment such as used diesel generators is that it’s probably be tested and recently put through a service to ensure it’s of good enough quality to resell. Sometimes you can buy from places that offer a guarantee as well which is good – it’s all about taking your time and finding the best dealers.

Used diesel generators are usually sold for about £5000 so make sure that you have set a budget that’s realistic and reasonable. You don’t want to over spend and you don’t want to end up in a situation where you might as well have bought the item from a brand new retailer.

Make sure that you know your stuff before you go shopping. Do a lot of research to find out what sort of thing you need and find out about all the different options available. This shouldn’t take long but don’t be afraid to set aside a few hours each day to find yourself a bargain.

Most used diesel generators are easy to find but if you don’t do your research, you can end up with a deal that’s simply not good enough. Take your time and make sure that you know exactly what you need – think about alternatives if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for.

?2010 GMC Sierra Announced

The 2010 GMC Sierra has been announced and it is expected to come with the latest V8 turbo diesel engine, but the vehicle’s launch has been delayed due to the General Motor’s weak financial position. The new Sierra from the GMC falls under the category of large size pickup trucks. The 2010 Sierra model, which is yet to be released, is modified to a good extent, and few major changes are expected over the previous Sierra model.

The model is offered in three different styles – the crew cab, extended cab and the regular cab style. The pickup truck shares most of the design features from the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 model.

The extended cab model comes with their usual rear hinged back doors that do not open the doors independently. The regular cabs have the capacity to accommodate three passengers, while the crew and the extended cabs come with six seating capacity. The vehicle is offered with two different interior styles, the “”luxury inspired”” and the “”pure pickup”” style.

The engines that will be made available to the 2010 Sierra include 4.3 liter V6 that produces 195 horse power, 4.8 liter V8 that produces 295 horse power, 5.3 liter V8 that produces 315 horse power and the 6.2 liter V8 engine that produces 403 horse power.

The GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid model comes with the 6.0 liter V8 engine that produces 332 horse power of throughout in tandem with an electric motor. The new Sierra will be able to make use of one or both power resources based on the needs. It will be offered in variable automatic transmissions, and its top towing capacity will be close to 6100 pounds.

?Dodge RAM 2500 Review

In 1994, the Dodge Ram changed the truck industry by showing customers that full-sized pickup trucks could resemble more than cinderblock shape. The Ram 2500 boasts rugged, muscular appearance that was inspired by big rig trucks, especially the prominent grill and shouldered fender design. When the Ram introduced revamped look in 1999, it caused sales to double in the US.

The Ram 2500 is the 3rd generation of this truck and boasts an even stronger engine and body lineup, along with a variety of cab styles. Aside from the standard cab, buyers can choose the four door cab or mega cab for extra space. The V8 5.7 liter engine is capable of 600 pound-feet of raw torque, making it the perfect truck for hauling heavy loads or driving through difficult terrain. The imposing style and impressive power of this vehicle has gained it a loyal set of fans amongst serious truckers.

Styling Options

Ram diesel trucks for sale come with four wheel or two wheel options. Buyers can also pick a variety of trim configurations and body styles. The mega cab will have a short storage bed, while the standard cab has a longer bed. The crew cab can be equipped with either one.

There are three trim levels: luxurious Laramie, volume-selling SLT, and basic ST. The higher trim levels provide optional and standard niceties such as a hard-drive navigational system, leather upholstery, Bluetooth, and automatic climate control. If you are buying used diesel trucks for sale, you can equip your ram with off-road packages for outdoor driving.


All Ram 2500 trucks are equipped with the standard 5.7 liter V8 engine. This hefty motor features a five speed automatic transmission, making it fairly easy to drive if you are not used to trucks. If you want additional towing capability, purchase the 6.7 turbo liter upgrade that produces 350 horsepower. Buyers can choose between a six speed automatic or manual transmission.


In summary, the Dodge Ram 2500 is an extremely capable and versatile heavy-duty truck. Its comfortable ride, wide variety of body style, and powerful engine make it a favorite amongst diehard truckers. The interior is better than most trucks, with materials and designs that you would expect to find on a luxury car or SUVs. An abundance of attractive accents and soft-touch materials almost make it too fancy for a utilitarian truck. However, it is more than able to survive in the roughest of environmental conditions.

?Pay For Truck Driving Jobs Takes Hit As Fuel Costs Increase

The high price of fuel affects all who currently have truck driving jobs, but is especially damaging to those owner/operators who must pay for all their fuel out of their own pockets. This almost always affects the price they have to charge their customers – or if that’s not economically possible, they must take the hit themselves and lose money to keep that account. The high cost of transporting goods to regional and national markets has been steadily increasing over the last few years, with those rising fuel costs being passed on to the end consumer. When people think of the high cost of fuel, they almost always make it about themselves. Though the cost of all fuels is steadily rising, most people only focus on the cost of gasoline for their own vehicles. They don’t realize how many things we use and need everyday are affected by the high cost of diesel fuel for transporting those items from manufacturers to the stores in our area. Many people don’t change their gasoline spending habits at all, preferring to drive the same amount and curbing their spending in other areas of their life, such as buying those extra items they want rather than the gasoline they need.

Without passing on the higher diesel fuel costs, many smaller transportation companies will have a very hard time staying in business. They won’t be able to pay better wages to their drivers in order to keep them and that will affect the number of drivers that will stay working for them when the amount of trucking work slows down due to high transportation costs. It’s definitely a vicious circle that affects every single person in the country in one way or another. When you go to the store and notice that most of the products you are buying cost more now, that will be the biggest reason. Many states have much higher fuel taxes than the national average but still expect the cost of their delivered bread and milk shipments to somehow still be competitive with the rest of the country. This makes for a very complex problem for the transportation company trying to stay in business with the high cost of fuel attacking them from all sides. Some companies have even equipped their vehicles with larger fuel tanks so that they can pass through these particular states without filling up, and saving money for the transport company. Many transport companies have also initiated special no-idling bonus plans for their drivers to keep fuel costs down.

At one point, back before diesel fuel was such a mainstay of the national fuel picture, it used to be tossed away as an unusable by-product. Now, granted, this was quite a few years ago, but the fact is that one of the first things that was chucked out when converting crude oil to gasoline was this thick, diesel mess. Somewhere along the way, it became hugely in demand for the rapidly expanding transportation industry and now costs even more than gasoline. Because of the high cost of diesel fuel, many truckers are even being robbed of their fuel while they sleep in their trucks, with hundreds of gallons of fuel being siphoned out by thieves in the middle of the night. This affects all truckers but is especially hard on owner/operators who must replace the cost of stolen fuel from their own pockets. When owner/operators have to spend more money on fuel costs, they have less money to spend on discretionary items, such as entertainment and clothing.

Most company truckers don’t pay attention to the high diesel fuel costs as they simply pull up and use the company gas card to fill up whenever they need fuel. It only begins to hit home when these drivers aren’t given the pay raises they should regularly get, because the company can’t afford to give their trucking staff raises anymore. Transportation companies will always cover the costs of staying in business first, and then pay their truckers better wages, second. That’s just the nature of doing business. Larger transportation companies may be able to weather the rise in fuel prices, but smaller companies will continue to struggle and will eventually simply fold up and fade away, putting more truckers out of work.

?Diesel Trucks – The New Mod Machines

The world of car modification or more commonly known as ‘modding’is one that has grown tremendously in popularity over the years. It involves
modifying or adding parts to the car to enhance either its looks, performance
or both.
This practice is commonly seen in sports sedans and hatchbacks. The ones who
are better off can even afford modding true sports cars and roadsters. Lately
though, diesel trucks have become a popular choice of car among motor-heads and
this has opened up a room for these trucks to be included into the modding
Some may not view trucks in the same category or species as normal everyday
cars but they are still metal boxes on four wheels. By simply being common in
that way, there is no restriction on diesel trucks to have their outsides,
insides and what gets them running from being modded.
Exterior modifications done on cars normally just include skirtings, bumpers,
hoods and aftermarket lamps. In the case of diesel trucks, there is a list of
different choices to add to the truck’s exterior. These include bed liners for pickups, bull bars, and high-powered
halogen lamps for the complete off-road effect. Parts like these of course, are
just impractical and may look ridiculous on normal hatchbacks and sedans.
On the inside however, the applicable modifications are very much the same in
all types of vehicles. That is with the exception of minor additions like truck
door sills. This is somewhat contributed by the fact that the diesel trucks of
today are designed to feel as close to driving a normal car as can be to lure
more people into liking and buying diesel trucks. These modifications include
fancy gauges, redesigned dashboard panels and leather finishes.
Under the hood is where modders show off their vehicle’s pride and joy and decide who the better modder is. Although this practice may
differ a little in diesel trucks, the essence of performance modification
remains the same. The number of addition and changes which can be done to a
diesel truck to enhance performance is a huge one and this type of modding
includes air intake modules, boost increase valves, performance inclined
clutches and most commonly in diesel trucks, turbochargers.
The involvement of diesel trucks in this field, though already at a respectable
level, is still far off from how it is in other types of cars. However, the
crowd is being more open to these vehicles as they are getting built to be more
likeable and stylish compared to the trucks of old which were simply built for
serving their purposes as trucks.
As diesel trucks make a name for themselves in the world of modding, you
shouldn’t be surprised to see more of these vehicles on the road in the near future
with roaring engines and fancy bodyworks. Who knows, maybe you might want to
give it a go as well.

?2010 Chevy Kodiak – Should You Buy the Monstrous Truck For $70K+ Or the New Traverse?

The 2010 Kodiak is a medium duty truck from the house of Chevrolet, which will be offered in both C5500 and C4500 regular cab models. Power to the model comes from the 35 gallon diesel fuel tank placed under the hood, but the new Traverse presents a more efficient option to the bulky Kodiak; here’s more.

The improvements to the 2010 Kodiak will include extra space for 2 passengers, air suspension seats for front passenger and driver and LED roof marker lights and these features will be made available in all the models of Kodiak. So as to utilize the fuel properly, the engine will be equipped with green fuel caps for diesel engines and revised rear cab mounts.

The 2010 Chevy Kodiak C4500 model will be offered as a 4�4 crew cab and regular cab, which can accommodate up to 6 passengers. The new Kodiak will be offered in V-8 turbo diesel and gasoline engines.

The 2010 Chevrolet Kodiak, Isuzu H-series and the GMC Topkick will look similar in terms of size and shape; all these models fall under the large truck class. The model will suit well as dump trucks, cargo haulers and work trucks. The next generation model is expected to be included with the features like powerful audio system and DVD navigation system.

Apart from the sound system, it will also be featured with all the safety amenities that include traction control, antilock braking system, seat belt pretensioners, rear view mirrors, antiskid brakes, four wheel disc brakes and electronic stability program. The starting price of the 2010 Kodiak will be $70,000.

On the other hand, the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse is available under the $60k mark, and presents a far efficient alternative to the bulky Kodiak; so what’s your take on these two trucks?

?Isuzu’s i-Series Trucks for 2007

Isuzu is still in the pickup truck business, selling their version of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon compact pickup. Isuzu’s version is a likeable truck, though the model range is limited.

At the first glance, the Isuzu i-series is often perceived, not quite correctly, as a warmed-over General Motors product. While the i-series is more or less identical to the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, the fact is that Isuzu did have a hand in the truck’s development. The deal was that Chevy and GMC would have first shot at selling the truck in North America while Isuzu would sell a slightly different diesel-powered version called the D-MAX in the Asia-Pacific region, which have been very marketable.

Isuzu started selling the i280 and i350 in the US in 2006, though sales were a fraction of those of the Colorado and Canyon. Part of the problem was lack of choice. The i-series came in just two versions: The four-cylinder manual-transmission extended-cab 4×2 i280 and the five-cylinder automatic crew-cab 4×4 i350. Chevy and GMC continued to sell their versions of the truck with a wide variety of cabs, bed, engine, transmission, and driveline combinations.

For this year, things have improved slightly. The four-cylinder Isuzu now offers an automatic transmission, while the five-cylinder model comes in both extended and crew cabs as well as with a 4×2 driveline, though the 4×4 is only available as a crew cab. Both trucks also get larger engines and new names: i290 and i370, reflecting their 2.9 and 3.7 liter engines.

There is no carpet and an AM/FM radio in the driver’s seat, though air conditioning and 4-wheel antilock brakes are part of the standard parts. The truck accessories, which contain cloth seats, carpets, rear jump seats, CD/MP3 player, floor mats, and tinted windows are worth $699 all in all. The automatic transmission is at $1,089 and the bottom line is at $19,500. It contains manual door locks and crank-up windows.

The i290’s extended cab has rear-opening doors on both sides for easier access to the second row, where there is are two fold-up jump seats with 3-point belts and LATCH child seat anchors. Like most compact pickup back seats, these are best suited for kids. Once seat are pulled up, one will find a handy plastic tool box that also flips forwards to provide flat load floor.

This year, the i-series offers side curtain airbags, a rare truck accessory in pickup trucks. They are optional on LS-model extended-cab Isuzus and standard equipment on the i370 with crew cab.

By far the high point of the i290 is its engine. At 2.9 liters, it is huge for a four-cylinder engine, and it shows in the numbers: 185 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque, the latter peaking at a usefully low 2800 RPM. Those numbers represent an increase of 10 hp and 5 lb-ft over last year’s 2.8 liter engine.

It would be easy to mistake the i290’s off-the-line performance for that of a six-cylinder truck. The truck loses some of its get-up-and-go at highway speeds, though passing acceleration (50 to 75 MPH) is adequate. The four-banger has enough torque to spin the rear wheels, even under moderate acceleration.

The i290 has a payload capacity of just over 1500 lbs, whose towing capacity is 2,100 with the manual and 3,100 with the automatic, more than enough to haul a small boat, a couple of ATVs, or a utility trailer. Its bed width is 4′ 9″”; bed length is 5′ for the crew cab and 6′ for the extended cab. Movable support cables allow the tailgate to be held half-way open and bear weight in this position.

The i290’s steering is light, good but not sporty. The ride is remarkably quiet at highway speeds. As mentioned earlier the i290 comes with standard antilock brakes but lacks advanced safety electronics such as electronic stability control, which is just starting to make their way into competitors’ products.

?Hybrid Cars – A Solar Future

To say that hybrid cars are hot at the moment would be a slight understatement. One need only look to the car companies that are launching hybrid this and hybrid that in just about every niche of car or truck line they can. While clean diesel cars are also making noise now given their great mileage, the next big deal in hybrid cars is going to be the solar car.

Ah, the solar car. It has been a bit of an eye roller for a very long time. The only time we’ve ever seen it is when various college groups build the cars in an effort to cover some distance. The cars usually look like something out of science fiction. While an interesting competition, the cars are not viable for practical purposes to say the least. This may, however, be about to change.

The solar car may become a viable option in the not to distant future. This is the result of some fundamental changes. The first is the success of hybrid cars has clearly established that there is a market for such vehicles. In short, build it and they will buy it. Second, the technology in the field of solar conversion is advancing in leaps and bounds. More about this in a minute. Third, the price of gasoline as derived from oil is going to continue to go up as the economic recovery creates more demand and supplies are put under pressure.

The second reason, solar technology advancements, is the key to the solar car. When you think solar, one inevitably pictures large panels on the roof of a home. Researchers, however, are looking at new approaches. Toyota is already building solar panels into the shape of the roof of the new Prius to generate power for the internal climate controls. The next step is the implementation of solar dots, which are microscopic solar panels. They are so small that they can be imbedded in paint. This would mean that anything that is painted could effectively become a complete solar panel. This would include your car.

Perhaps the most exciting thing on the solar car front are the car company denials. Honda and Toyota are rumored to be building solar powered electric cars that will not use gasoline at all. Both companies refuse to acknowledge they are building them, but also are not denying it. In the car industry, that is tantamount to admitting the cars are being developed!

?FSBO: For Sale By Owners Chapter IV [part 1]

Like a monarch, Red Haring reigned in the deep leather seat of his KenWorth cab–with its king-size sleeper. The 400 horsepower Caterpillar diesel engine droned apathetically as Red downshifted for the parking lot to his favorite Boise, Idaho roadside diner. He’d picked up a large 26,000 pound household move in Olympia, Washington, which he’d delivered to Baker City, Oregon.

Red’s company had a contract with BIG Van Lines to move households. Red Haring Trucking, Inc., he used his tractor to pull their trailers. He wore their crisp blue uniform jacket, blue pinstriped shirt, a BIG tie–scenic pictures and moving vans–when moving people’s family cargo.

Red’s traveling companion was a dog named Mercy. She had befriended him at a roadside rest area, four years previously. Apparently abandoned, Mercy seemed to be waiting for him. When Red hopped out of his cab to use the restroom, the dog had come over, sat down in front of him, looked him straight in the eyes, and barked twice. At 3:00 AM, there were no other vehicles in the rest area. That, too, was strange on an Interstate, no other trucks with drivers sleeping or cars that she could have jumped out of. Red had patted her on the head, more interested in why he had stopped than in a dog.

As he continued, the dog walked two steps behind him until they were about thirty feet from the concrete building with its doors to Men’s and Ladies’ rooms blocked open. Mercy raced ahead, went into the Men’s room, came back out, sat down by the door and waited for Red.

Again, as he approached, she looked him in the eyes and barked twice as if to say it was safe. She continued sitting there until he came out, barked once, rose to her feet and followed Red back to his van.Taking advantage of the stop to check the padlock, the mud flaps and the tires, Red was ready to mount the cab when the dog began barking franticly.

“”I’m not taking you with me, dog!”” Red told her.

The yellow, longhaired who-knows-what-dog seemed to understand what he said. She stopped barking, ran over between the tractor and trailer, sat down and resumed barking.

“”What is it, a squirrel or something I need to see?””

Two barks.

“”Okay, I’ll take a look.””

Red walked back to discover a large nut had fallen off his coupler to the trailer when he’d come to a stop. The dog had noticed it. Red knew that a potential disaster had been averted. Had his trailer come lose, on the Interstate, he couldn’t have done anything. This dog had saved him, and who knows how many other motorists. Red selected a wrench from behind a seat, replaced the nut and prepared to leave the rest stop.

“”Thanks, dog!”” I’ve really got to go, now.””

The dog whined. Red bent down. She was using those big brown eyes of hers to her best advantage.

“”You got a collar on? Dog tag? Maybe, we can find out who you belong to!””

There was no tag, only an inch-wide turquoise nylon collar on which someone had taken time to hand embroidery a word in red, MERCY.

“”Mercy! Is that your name?””

Two barks.

“”You look like you might be hungry, Mercy! You hungry?””

Two more barks.

“”Let me see if I’ve some hamburgers in the cab. Are World Burgers all right with you?””

Mercy sat up before he even opened the door. Red located a bag with three World-Burgers.

“”They’re kind of cold, Mercy. You don’t mind, do you?””

Mercy dropped down and whined, again.

“”What? You want me to put them into the microwave for thirty seconds before you get one?””

“”Woof! Woof!””

“”Okay Mercy. One hot World-Burger coming right up. But, I get two of them. Understand?””

Immediately, Mercy’s right paw shot forward. “”Woof! Woof!”” She agreed.

Red never planned getting a dog. A few long-haulers keep animals for company because it’s illegal to transport human passengers. Section 392.60 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations clearly reads: Unauthorized persons not to be transported. Dogs, cats, even parrots or boa constrictors are not forbidden. For Red Haring, the childhood memory of a car running over his dog had never been healed. He’d sworn never to become attached to another animal.

“”You must belong to a trucker, Mercy. Okay! Hop in! You can ride with me a little ways. We’ll get on the CB and find out where your owner is.””

Red tried to find Mercy’s owner. Three different truckers remembered a driver that used to travel with a yellow dog. Had a turquoise collar. He’d died on the highway, they’d heard. The year before! No mention of what became of his dog. The word would get passed along by CB radio for several days. Meanwhile, Red agreed he’d take good care of the animal. Within a week, Mercy would be inspecting Red’s truck and supervising his road-hire employees. Red was glad that Mercy had persuaded him to break his never-get-attached-to-another-animal vow. On his long hauls, Mercy was a must.

The small 5,500-pound load he’d taken on in Baker City, Red had unloaded alone in Boise. It had been mostly boxes, some small end tables, lamps, two bed frames, no mattresses or couches requiring two movers.

The man he’d hired in Baker City to help unload the truck was a good worker. Mercy had approved him. Wearing the clean BIG shirt Red provided, he’d looked presentable. Red used him to load the small move to Boise, before returning the worker to the truck stop where they’d met.

Red had offered him $15.00 an hour cash for five hours work. It had only taken 4 hours but Red had paid him $75.00 anyway. The worker signed a receipt for Red’s contract labor (independent contractor) that would be used for calculating expenses and taxes, collecting a phone number from the laborer so he could call ahead next haul to Baker City. Good, careful, workers are a moving van driver’s dream.

Red now had two Boise households loaded in the fifty-three foot long by eight and a half foot wide trailer ready for his transport to the Seattle area. The Larry and Moe team he’d hired at Boise BIG, the national affiliate, had insisted on taking rest breaks every forty-five minutes. He’d had to tell the Moe to wait until his break to smoke. At the second house, the lethargic loaders had taken a walk. Red had a good idea what they had been smoking.

Now, before they headed back to Washington State, Red and Mercy needed something to eat.

Idaho night was approaching as Red Haring located a safe place to park his consignment. He swung easily from the cab to the nearly full parking lot of the Chicken Out Restaurant and Lounge. Mercy yawned in the passenger seat sensing that chicken and dumplings were on their way. Dogs are not supposed to eat chicken bones, but neither she nor Red seemed to know that. Except when here in Idaho, Mercy preferred World Burgers. Sometimes, she sat cocking her head, holding her nose just so, barking twice to alert her master that a Burger World was nearby.

After a quick check of the trailer padlock, Red straightened his Big company tie before going in to claim the best chicken and dumplings in the Northwest United States.

All the tables and booths were occupied. He could see several hungry natives waiting. Red spotted an empty stool at the counter. It would do fine. Faster anyway.

The flawlessly toothy waitress greeted him with a jam-packed smile.

“”It’s been a while, Red. Are you staying over?””

“”If I’d known you’d invite me, I’d have planned better!””

“”I’ll forgive you this time. My new boyfriend wouldn’t understand anyway.””

“”Ah, he’s territorial! I can’t really blame him, Ruby.””

“”When did you get in?””

“”This morning, why?””

“”Curious. You write my song yet?””

“”Not yet. But, I will.””

“”You owe me one, Red.””

“”Do you know what I would like to do with you, Ruby?””

“”Yeah, take delivery of chicken and dumplings and drive off into the night.””

Red Haring flashed her some teeth of his own. Ruby slammed down a cup of black coffee before she disappeared into the kitchen to pick up an order. The guy on Red’s right in a suit shook his head and said “”Ouch.””

Maybe, it was his strong jaw line, or his cleft chin, or both. Women found Red tempting. He was a physical specimen, six three with rock-solid muscle of a kind not developed in a gymnasium. No combination of bench presses, tread mills, or twenty-five rep weight series could have sculptured Red’s lean body as had his twelve years in the moving business. Totally functional.

The man on the next stool was observant. He spoke to Red, again.


“”An old friend.””

“”Doesn’t seem very happy,”” the salesman observed.

“”I hope she is. She’s a nice lady. Deserves a heaping mound of happy.””

“”A happy alamode!””

“”I wish I could order her one,”” Red admitted .””

“”Me, too. I’ll bet she could make me happy! She looks like she likes your flavor better. Where you from?””

“”Seattle area. You?””

“”Chicago. Sell medical equipment.””

“”You married?””

“”Not if a woman asks,”” the salesman said slyly. My wife thinks I work late. Spend lots of nights in places like this. I can usually find a warm lonely to share a bed with me when I’m away on business.””

“”If I was married, I’d try to work closer to home. You might want to consider it,”” said Red confrontationally. “”I think that women have enough problems without getting messed around with by married men. Ruby sure as hell don’t need messed with.””

“”Well, I think I’ll examine the bar then. Have some new lines I have to try out.””

Ruby had overheard the exchange. She was more composed when she returned with a huge plate of chicken & dumplings.

“”Thank you, Red. I get so tired of guys like that. You look good tonight, Red.””

“”You always look good, Ruby.””

“”Are you heading back tonight?

“”I’ve got to deliver two households tomorrow. One in Seattle. One in Tacoma.””

“”I don’t get off until two in the morning, anyway. How about next time you’re in town? You’ve got my number.””

“”I’d like that, Ruby.”” Savoring the poultry, Red enjoyed watching Ruby. As he finished his last bite, she returned.

“”You want some coffee to take along with you?””

“”That would be great, Ruby. Large, Styrofoam.””

“”You won’t throw it out the window and kill my birds, will you?””

“”I don’t believe in throwing things out the window.””

“”You’d better not, Red,”” Ruby warned. She sat down a large steaming stay awake, picked up the twenty, and showed him her teeth. “”Oh, here you are, a ‘To-Go’ for Mercy. Drive careful, darlin.””

Chicken and dumplings to-go order in hand, Red returned to his truck, opened the driver’s door and tossed the container over to the passenger floor mat where it was well received by his patient pooch who opened the lid herself.

Styrofoam cup in one hand, chrome bar in the other, Red swung effortlessly up into his commanding cab. Securing the shoulder restraint, he skillfully maneuvered the truck-trailer rig between the utility pole and cars that only appeared to have boxed him in.

Soon, he was headed west on Interstate 84. As if it knew its way home, the 400-horse Cat diesel roared approvingly as it glided past other, less committed vehicles. The tractor had 90 gallons of diesel left in its 170-gallon tank, Red and Mercy had full stomachs. All three were content.

Red thought about Ruby and their conversation in the diner. He’d met her on another move. His truck had blown its transmission. It had taken seven days to locate the right parts necessary to complete repairs. The mechanic had said he’d have him back on the road in three. It was on the third night, after the guy told him it would be a few more days, Red had walked to the diner the mechanic said had great chicken and dumplings.

Discouraged, low on cash, he’d drank coffee at that same counter. Ruby had come on at 6:00 PM to find him not sure of what he’d do.

“”Cheer up, Red,”” she encouraged. “”You don’t mind that I call you Red?””

“”That’s my name. You can call me anytime.””

“”Can’t be that bad, Red! What’s hurting you tonight, Darlin?””

“”It isn’t your smile,”” he’d answered.

“”You got a good smile yourself, Red. You want the special?””

“”If you’re it!”” He volunteered half-hopingly.

“”Chicken and dumplings, for now, Darlin. I don’t even get off until 2:00 AM.””

“”The special is what I want, for now.””

For the next eight hours, Red had sipped countless coffees while Ruby had served the variety of patrons. While she waited on them, he waited on her. She brought him refills with just enough encouragement. Finally, the payoff.

“”Here’s some fresh strawberry pie. It’s on me.””

“”With whip cream, too?””

“”You’ll see. You might like it.””

I really did, Red remembered. Then, as now, it had been a cold, November night. When her shift was over, Ruby had invited him to share her warm waterbed. Red wished he had more time tonight.

Tires against the highway, wind, and the pulse of a healthy engine combine to create a unique music that a trucker could feel. Each song exclusive, tailored to the man who holds the big wheel. Red switched off the CB radio to hear it more clearly. His now hungry hand moved as expected, to locate the yellow pad. Inspired by the highway harmony, Red shifted into high gear and right brain. He would make good his pledge to a willing waitress. She’d not be disappointed next time he delivered to Boise. As the words came to him, he composed her promised song.

Diner Doll

She’s a lady of the light,

She serves coffee in the night

To the many men who spend their nights alone…

So, she warms them with her smile

For, she knows that in a while,

They must face the cold that haunts an empty home…

She’s the lady of the late,

When a man can’t find a date,

He wanders in, and now and then, gets rude…

But, she takes it in her stride

As she helps him find his pride,

She restores him with her super attitude…

She’s a lady all the time,

When a mans had too much wine,

When he plans to put his hands where he should not;

She can quickly move away

Then, if he still wants to play

She can, even quicker, put him in his spot…

She’s a lady every way,

Even knows just what to say

To every guy who has to try his line…

Yet, on the nights she’s off,

She can be so very soft;

When, best of all, this “”Diner Doll”” is mine…

The exit to a Pendleton, Oregon truck stop ahead, Red downshifted to left brain and fourth gear. In 222 miles, 3 hours 54 minutes of hard labor, he had given birth to a new song. He had to spank the baby. 12-string in his hand, he leaped down from his leather throne.

No one but Mercy was there to hear the review of ‘Diner Doll’ when Red put the cords to the beat he’d heard on the highway. His yellow pad bore evidence of the many word combinations, phrases that didn’t fit. By the seventh page, he had the final draft. He hardly glanced at the pad as his nimble fingers set up the correct strings to complement his moving voice.

“”Not too many cowboys lean against a truck to play guitars here at midnight,”” the cash attendant commented.

“”Most cowboys are truckers, but not all truckers are cowboys,”” Red replied.

Mercy barked twice.

By fifteen after midnight, fresh coffee in hand, Red was back on the road. He switched on the CB in hopes that a caravan would be coming up behind him. He was in luck.

“”Breaker, breaker. This is the Red Haring swimming west on 84–out of Pendleton–a little fish can get lonely out here. Over!””

“”Swim easy there, big Red. Lot of nets out, tonight. We’ve got a school of eleven, swimming your way. Over!””

“”Roger… I’ll just tread water until you show up. The Red Herring – over and out!””

Caravanning has been the driver’s defense since before there was radar. With higher cab elevation, good eyesight, and constant use of the CB radios, no smoky bear patrolman could set up a speed trap undetected.

Red cruised along at the speed limit until eleven assorted trucks caught up to him. He settled in and switched off the CB. It might take only moments for Red to begin to discern the loyal harmony.

It didn’t happen right away. He’d have nearly three hundred miles to make another musical baby.

He thought about the medical salesman he’d talked to at the Chicken Out diner. On the road, at these hours, there aren’t usually many people, other than truckers, who share the camaraderie.

Red’s mind slipped into his trucker’s world. Thoughts, conversations with other drivers, problems and pet peeves common to those who move American goods via the nation’s highways:

We pay thousands of dollars in road use taxes, spend millions of dollars for gas and diesel, and endure the scorn of most motorists who wish we’d stay off the road.

When we quit rolling, he mused, this country stops. Supermarket shelves soon empty, as do all of the other stores. Those motorists, who curse us on the highways, can’t even buy gas for their cars.

News crews are quick to cover the trucks that leave the roadways, spill loads, or catch on fire. Why don’t they ever report that the trucker involved had averted a disaster by choosing self-destruction rather than to crush the car that was responsible? Newspapers always put out a headline like:3 Dead in Car when hit by truck head on.

What they don’t say until way down in the story, if at all, is that the so called truck was really a Ford F150 pickup driven by a teenager who was high on drugs. The people read the truck headline, but not the story. Press people aren’t on hand to film the rescues when, hundreds of times each year, a real trucker sees an accident in progress on the opposite side of the turnpike, pulls over, dodges cars, drags the mother and children from a flaming car, and then leaves the scene to continue his time sensitive delivery. At least, the firefighters and police are finally getting some of the respect, appreciation they deserve. Someone should present our stories in a different forum.

Red was snapped out of his hypnotic trucker’s world by a flash of bright headlights in his mirrors. Lights blinked bright, then dimmed. An automobile driver had signaled that he was about to pass the truck on this beautiful stretch of wide open road. Flashing his trailer lights, as the signal to come ahead, Red watched in his door mirror as a burgundy Cadillac pulled alongside before moving on by.

The driver was wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and a broad striped tie with its knot loosened half way down his chest. Truckers see a lot more than most people think. Another salesman, change of clothes on the hangers in his rear seat, probably had to make an early appointment in some town up ahead. He was using the wee hours for his commute.

If the caravan had overtaken him, the Caddy might have ‘hitchhiked’, settled in between a couple of us feeling safe. Salesmen aren’t limited by the no more than ten hours following eight consecutive hours off duty Rule– or only logging fifteen hours in any twenty-four hour period– like we truckers are. Red felt his brain shift. The Cat Diesel started throbbing music again. So did Red. The seven-line chorus came first:

Truck Drivers and Salesmen


Truck drivers and salesmen are men of the road;

One ‘Loads his holler’,

While one ‘Hauls his load’…

Before you fall for one

It’s best that you knew:

Truck drivers and salesmen

Are just ‘Passing through’…

Verse 1:

It’s true that they do seem different, sometimes,

The way they may dress,

And, oh yes, different ‘Lines’…

But, they share the ‘Feel’ of the ‘Flight of the free’,

And, theirs is the ‘World’

That awaits them to ‘See’…


Verse 2:

Sometimes, they get lonely;

Sometimes, they get down…

They know that they’ve only

A short time in town…

Then, when they meet ‘Someone’,

As, sometimes, they do:

Truck drivers and salesmen

Are just ‘Passing through’…


Verse 3:

Yes, they must atone for the life that they’ve led,

They could have stayed home

With a ‘Sweet wife’, instead…

But, they’ve chosen ‘The road’,

Chose to ‘Follow a star’:

I suppose, that’s what makes them

The men that they are…


In his own altered state, Red Haring had become part of a caravan, traveled past The Dalles, through Portland, turned onto Interstate 5, missed two of his favorite truck stops, and was approaching Centralia, Washington before he realized that his lyrics were complete. I’ll try it out at Trolley’s.

The watch on his wrist said it was just after four in the morning. Making the left brain shift, Red recognized he’d had a great time. Even better than sex, he told himself. Lasted longer, too. I wonder if the ‘Lady McBest’ Realtor is back; if she liked the roses I sent her? The poem I knocked out for her wasn’t much. I know I’ll have to do better.

[Much of Chapter IV was cut to meet posting guidelines. Read complete Chapter in published “”FSBO.”” ]

?2009 Dodge Trucks – The Best and the Worst

Dodge is a division of the Chrysler Corporation and most people know this, but some may not be aware of it.

Dodge is known for their powerful Hemi engines and the ruggedness of their truck, and they seemed to be the first US truck maker to realize we needed so much storage in our cabs, even for our laptops, that these trucks are pretty tricked out.

Still, we hope the Dodge division of Chrysler also jumps on the environmental trail and comes out with something beyond what they call their hybrid-the diesel. We checked out two base pick-up trucks from the Dodge Division.

2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Regular Cab- The Best

Even the experts love this truck!

While the fuel efficiency isn’t great at only 16 miles to the gallon, it boasts basically two models with all sorts of options. The ST and the SLT and each comes with either a 3.7 liter, 6 cylinder engine or the 4.7 liter, 8 cylinder engine and even the 5.7 liter, 8 cylinder engine.

They range in price from $21,000 to $29,000, and with different packages you’ll get tons of interior options, well designed controls and a truck that performs. Their towing capacity is called the “”best in its class,”” and it feels like a truck is supposed to feel when you’re driving it.

We really liked this truck and so do consumers, especially if you choose the higher priced Hemi engine that will run you in the low to mid-$30’s. When they say “”It’s better in a Dodge,”” it is.

2009 Dodge Dakota Extended Cab – The Worst

While some consumers may like the Dodge Dakota, the experts say this truck is only “”adequate.””

They came out with 18 models on the Dakota in the last few years and we guess Dodge thinks by giving this truck fancy names, maybe it will attract more buyers. The models range from the ST to the BigHorn to the LoneStar to the Laramie and come with everything from the 3.7 liter, 6 cylinder engine to their 4.7 liter, 8 cylinder engine.

Depending on the model you can get these trucks in rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive and they range in price of $21,000 to $29,000.

It has no real unique features and this reviewer (a woman) hates to say this but Dodge promotes this vehicle as a “”ladies”” truck-whatever that means?

Summing Up Dodge

We were happy to find out that Dodge released a hybrid for 2009, the Dodge Durango and they call this a truck and it isn’t a truck. It’s an SUV, but they say no, it’s a truck-whatever!

Dodge Ram Trucks will always be in the forefront when it comes to the fight over which truck is better, a Dodge or a Chevy?

The Dodge Truck line-up is hard to beat , and when you pick the model that suits your needs, don’t forget to buy that Dodge extended warranty, because like we said, unless you have a Hemi engine, this American car maker only gives you 3 years, 36,000 miles on their warranty and an extended warranty can be gold for these trucks.

?Enough Hybrids – Lets Go Diesel

Last summer’s gas crisis made people wake up and realize that economic cars that get good gas millage and are less harmful to the environment are going to become more of a necessity in decades to come. Hybrids are all the rage, but they have plenty of downsides such as relative high costs, expensive to maintain, and well most of them are pretty lame. So what can we do to get good fuel economy and have cars that don’t suck? Get more diesel cars and make them affordable.

Do a search on cheap diesel cars and you will pretty much find a couple rabbits and Mercedes 300D’s and not much else in the US. New cars are coming out and some of them are actually pretty cool. Volkswagen is leading the trend with cars like the TDI Jetta and the Audi R8, while American car companies of course don’t have much of anything but large and quite expensive trucks.

While I still think electric cars can be the future for the time being Diesel engines provide us the ability to have crazy good fuel economy, solid reliability, and most of them utilize turbos which can make the potential to have more power and more fun easy to achieve.

The rest of the world has had a large selection of diesel cars for years and some even produced by none other than American car companies. So question is why can’t we get these? Maintenance and operating costs of diesels are relatively low and they tend to have the uncanny ability to rack up thousands of miles and take lots of abuse. If you do not agree just take a quick look at the average milage of the still running examples of the first two cars I mentioned before from VW and Mercedes. Chances are you can easily find several clean and perfectly good running examples with 300K plus miles.

So my call to the big three is take advantage of some of the cars that we have given to the rest of world and bring them here. If we don’t then I’m sure companies like Toyota and VW will lead the trend and leave us behind once again.

?The Best Bug-Out Vehicles For Surviving 2012

When the balloon goes up on 21 December 2012 you want to get yourself and your family to sanctuary as fast as possible. One of the best ways to do it is with a modified 4×4 SUV. But it can’t just be an old SUV for reasons I’m about to explain.

The first thing you need to consider is how many passengers you’ll have. For a family of three or more you’ll need to look at large 4WD SUVs to get enough seating and load space. Beyond that the main selection criteria is the three Rs: Reliability, Ruggedness, Readily available parts.

For all of these reasons we recommend either a 1970’s or 80’s Chevy Blazer or Suburban, or the Series 70 Toyota Landcruiser Station wagon.

These vehicles are common everywhere – they don’t scream Survival Bug-out Vehicle to everyone, and you can paint them in drab camo colours without attracting attention.

By the way, I have nothing against Ford, Dodge or anything else, but the two mentioned above are ultra-reliable, tough, uncomplicated, simple to work on and above all you can find parts for them just about anywhere. But there’s more to think about:

Diesel Power. I also strongly recommend that you choose a vehicle with a diesel engine. Diesel engines are better off-road than petrol engines because they produce a lot more torque at low revs. The fuel is much less volatile. Mileage per tank-full is much greater. Plus diesel engines can run on biodiesel or vegetable oil (aka drip oil).
Carburettors versus fuel injection. Electronic Fuel Injection is the default option on SUVs these days because it delivers more power earlier in the rev range, better economy and it is self-tuning for different driving and atmospheric conditions. However compared to carbs fuel injection is extremely complicated, making working on it in the wilderness difficult unless you are an expert. This is just another reason why I believe you are better off with an older truck. Carburettors are simple, reliable and easy to keep in working order yourself.
Auto vs Manual transmission. This is a tricky decision. Manual gearboxes are simple and robust. However they take skill to drive properly off-road and with an injured left foot or leg, can be impossible to drive at all.
Automatics are easier to drive – even kids can do it at a pinch, and many people think they are also superior off-road. On the other hand, they are massively complicated and if they break they are virtually impossible to fix in the field. So which do you choose? If you are travelling with several other adults I would go for a manual every time. But if it’s just you and the kids an auto might be the safer, easier choice. Just make sure it’s been properly serviced and thoroughly checked over by a transmission specialist. In fact that goes for the whole vehicle. Make sure it has regular services to keep the fluid levels up and fresh engine and transmission oil to reduce internal wear. You do most of this work yourself in an hour or two in the driveway.

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