I'm looking for a truck to purchase. What about models from the 70s-80s?

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I'm looking for a truck to purchase. What about models from the 70s-80s?

This is a discussion on I'm looking for a truck to purchase. What about models from the 70s-80s? within the Horse Trailers forums, part of the Barns, Boarding, and Farms category
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  • What truck to buy from 70s 80s

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    06-11-2014, 12:16 PM
I'm looking for a truck to purchase. What about models from the 70s-80s?

Hi, forum! I'm sorry if this is in the wrong section.

I'm looking for a truck to haul a 2-horse trailer. Based on advice I think I'm looking for a 3/4-ton Ford F250. I won't be hauling very often, so I don't care about interior features or fuel economy. I only need it to be safe.

I'm not planning to buy a trailer just yet (will be borrowing and renting), but the trailers I'll be hauling will be your average non-fancy 2-horse.

I'm hoping to spend less than $7,000 on the truck, and there doesn't seem to be any shortage of trucks for sale in that range from the 1970s through the late 1990s.

What I'm wondering is whether there's any reason NOT to get an old model. I love the look of the F250s from the 70s and 80s, and if it doesn't make a difference in terms of ability to safely haul the horse, I'd love to get one like this: 1970 Ford F250

If I find one that's been well-maintained and had parts replaced over the years, is there some reason I shouldn't get an old truck? Safety is my only requirement, and I'll get an ugly thing if it's safer, but if it doesn't matter, I'd rather have something I'll have fun looking at.
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    06-11-2014, 12:28 PM
I would gladly take a older one in a heartbeat that was taken care of and maintained.
Computers...not an issue which means if you are handy {husband, boyfriend, dad or brother} many repairs can be done by "YOU" not a repair shop.
You do need to know how to work on a vehicle that has no computer to tell you everything...brain power needed..

An older truck can be just as reliable as a new one with a shiny $$ associated to it.

Buy carefully and make sure what you see is what you get...check it out carefully and completely.

Enjoy the search and best of luck.

Be safe out there...

    06-11-2014, 03:48 PM
Personally-I wouldn't. I do not think they are as safe as the newer ones with traction control, ABS and airbags. We have come a long way. I would think one that is about 10 yrs old or even 15 would be a better bet than one that could be classified as an antique.

I am also not convinced you need a 250-I have always towed with Expedition size, but not tons of hills and not 2 draft horses. Handles really well.
churumbeque likes this.
    06-11-2014, 04:15 PM
Horselovingguy, thanks for the tip about the computer. Neither I nor a close friend knows cars. Is that something I should try to avoid? Is it likely it'll end up costing a ton more in maintenance and repairs (or I'll get worked over because I obv. Won't know what I'm looking at)?

Originally Posted by franknbeans    
Personally-I wouldn't. I do not think they are as safe as the newer ones with traction control, ABS and airbags. We have come a long way. I would think one that is about 10 yrs old or even 15 would be a better bet than one that could be classified as an antique.

I am also not convinced you need a 250-I have always towed with Expedition size, but not tons of hills and not 2 draft horses. Handles really well.
Thanks, I hadn't thought about the brake systems. That's exactly why I'm asking for advice!

As far as the 3/4 ton, I probably don't need it. I'll generally be hauling 1,100 pounds of horse (my 15.2 paint), and occasionally a max of 2,500 (mine plus a friend's gypsy). I read somewhere that you should give a 2,000 pound cushion between what you expect to haul and your tow rating.

My main concern is braking and hills. I live in Oregon, and while I won't be using this for high in the mountains, I will have to deal with hills and some rain (though I'll try to avoid hauling in the rain). I need to make sure I can stop reasonably without having a half mile's notice and the trailer won't push/pull me down the hill.

If I could afford to pay people to haul all the time, I would, because it's going to be really tough for me to trust myself hauling Sam, but we love getting off the farm. :)
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Wallaby likes this.
    06-11-2014, 05:36 PM
I have to tell you-I have had a trailer for almost 20 years. I have driven it less than 20 times because I really am not confident doing it-yet, when I do, I feel like I am a hero! I have even done 300+ mile hauls by myself. However-I do ALWAYS have a newer( it is now 10 yrs old) vehicle with a towing package, well maintained, and I carry US rider, which is like AAA for horse trailers. Other roadside assists will not help much if you have an issue. These folks are great and their first question is "are you and your horse ok?" If need be they find a place for the horse to overnight even or transport. That helped me get out of the driveway a bit. But-I am still a wimp. Honestly-costs me MORE to maintain the trailer annually than to have my horses taken where I want.
    06-11-2014, 05:40 PM
Sammy...honestly one of the biggest headaches you may find is because there is no computer on those older models. Computers didn't start to show till the early/mid 80's in cars and slightly later in trucks. Many mechanics won't know how to make proper repairs and adjustments to your engine... the word carburetor not fuel injection is what you will have...today's mechanics are far different from the mechanics of yesteryear who had to diagnose, not have a computer tell them what is wrong and how to correct it. You won't have traction control, ABS and a myriad of other things we have all become accustomed to on our cars and daily drivers...

As for brakes...any truck you get you for safety reasons need to have a trailer brake controller installed. You NEVER tow without trailer brakes on your horse trailer if you value your life and that of your cargo...
It just isn't smart...it is to much stress on the tow vehicle braking system.

Please remember that when you search for a truck yes you must take into account the weight of the horse inside plus the weight of the trailer and all the added stuff. Having enough "horsepower" under the hood {engine} is a must as you will be pulling hills and grades and having a strong /large enough braking system for stopping a heavy moving weight. Your trailer will have brakes, hopefully in good working order but the truck is still needed and required to control that trailer stopping or starting. Buying to lightweight is dangerous. A huge controversy about what a truck can, can't or shouldn't tow...much truly depends upon how that truck was originally made at the manufacturer.

F&B is right....technology has come a long way in making vehicles safer on the road. I do though see many older trucks in the years you mention still on the road. They are road safe and worthy, tow with no issue every single day faithfully loaded gooseneck and bumper-pull trailers...
As with anything, much will depend upon the vehicle itself, the maintenance it has had in the past, the maintenance it will have with you...and the person behind the wheel handling that trailer and truck combo.

I understand you liking the "look" of older trucks...I also understand that to acquire a older truck has got to be quite a savings than going out and spending, spending, spending for a occasional driver.
That occasional driver though needs to drive more than just occasionally to keep all parts in running condition...

I will acknowledge and agree I would not want to see you out there in a truck from the early 1970's...but a very late 70's at oldest through the late 90's....there were many fine and safe vehicles manufactured during that time. In fact, some of those years were safer and more problem free than those from the 2000 - current years... there have been some "lemon" years and problematic times in all makes and models...engines, front ends, transmissions, gearing, frames...many had/have something somewhere, some more than others...and some ongoing issues...

When you think you have found the year, the style of trim line {XL, XLT, Custom, Silverado, SL,SLT} do your research. Remember insuring one of these may not be as cheap as a newer vehicle...the newer the less expensive because safety features are built in...something many don't realize. Comfort levels have also changed from a truck being and riding like a truck to more of a creature comfort interior and ride for the occupants...all things to think about...

Good luck and enjoy your search.

churumbeque and SammysMom like this.
    06-11-2014, 07:34 PM
Pulling with an older truck is not something for me, tranny starts slipping, something else needs to be replaced, then something after that breaks down and on you go. Usually right before you have to haul somewhere. Headaches I can do without, I like to hook up and go, and have power.
franknbeans and churumbeque like this.
    06-11-2014, 11:30 PM
horselovinguy, thank you SO much. All your insight is extremely helpful. If a truck is advertised as having a towing package, does that mean it definitely has the brake controller? I thought it would be easy to do all the research myself, but it's turning out to be so confusing, between the different model packages and customizations and the fact that sellers include practically no information on most of these ads :p

I think what you're saying about the years makes sense. There are lots of trucks in my price range from the mid-80s to mid-90s with towing packages that have been well-maintained, so I should probably look in that range.

waresbear, that does paint an unpleasant picture. If only I could add a towing package to my Prius...

frank, hey, that's not what I want to hear!! ;) I have a feeling I'll never feel totally comfortable hauling, but I'm going to have Sam for a long time, and I really want us to have the freedom of being able to go on spur-of-the-moment adventures. I'm going to practice for a long time before I ever put horses in the trailer, and whenever I can I'll have a more experienced person do the driving. Two of the people I ride with most often have two-horse trailers but their trucks can only handle one horse. So ideally they'll be driving my truck with their trailers :)
    06-12-2014, 12:07 AM
Originally Posted by SammysMom    
horselovinguy, thank you SO much. All your insight is extremely helpful. If a truck is advertised as having a towing package, does that mean it definitely has the brake controller?

Honestly, I am unsure but my gut answer is "NO"...

I know with a towing package you usually get a heavy-duty transmission cooler, wiring done at the factory for trailer lights hook-up, a larger radiator...sometimes a larger alternator and a different suspension and larger brakes{beefier}... a hitch. I think some offered a larger gas/fuel tank...
Sometimes a truck is geared differently for power needed in pulling...not friendly for mileage though usually.
What I am unsure of is if there are different tow package options...

For towing a horse trailer you need a frame hitch, Class 3 at least or a Class 4...
You need a trailer brake controller installed in the truck.
You need a trailer plug that is compatible with what ever the trailer you have has...there are 7 prong flat or round pin plugs and receptacles...they have to match to work and fit together and the wiring done to work together too. {different trailer manufacturers sometimes wire slightly differently, a simple fix to a mechanic to do}
Towing mirrors are wonderful for better visibility and less blind spots...

Those are the biggies to me.

I have been blessed that near all of my tow vehicles I have been able to purchase new so that enabled me to custom order what exactly I wanted...or I had installed after I brought the truck home as to my liking.

There are many choices in brands for hitches, brake-controllers and such. Much of that is a personal choice and $$ afforded.

Oh...one other thing many don't know about...
When you do get all this together and get ready to hit the road...the actual ball you purchase for that trailer comes with a rating... I think it is by tongue weight/gross trailer weight but not positive. Make sure you buy the correct weighted/strength one or better so your hitch is as strong as it should be...a weak link can undo so much planning just because no one ever mentioned it or told you...
Here is a article from the Reese Hitch company that explains better than I what I refer to and some good guidelines about trailer and tow vehicle compatibility and matching...

Trailer Hitches, Hitch Accessories, Hitch Wiring

franknbeans likes this.
    06-12-2014, 06:12 AM
The brand new trucks are available with the controller built in. Other than that-it is separate, as horselovinguy said. The only think I would add-is sway bars.

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