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1,003 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've been patiently waiting and spotted something that seems right to me.

1990 F250 8cylinders 4wd gas 188kmi

I think I could haul quite a bit with this, but what does your experience tell you?

I also found this

2002 F350 8cylinders rwd diesel 292kmi dually

Both trucks are $5k. There are some slight differences between them, so I ask... Which would you go for and why?

81 Posts
I don't know anything about the 1990 model, but i bought a 2006 diesel F250 for $4500. Probably the US's least favorite diesel truck, which i didn't realize before i bought it 馃槀

So i know people prefer the 7.3 powerstroke over the truck i do have. I think it was before they started cracking down on emissions so much. The 2002 would be the last year of the 7.3 gen i believe.

I would look into typical repairs for each vehicle and see what you are more capable of repairing yourself or could afford someone to fix for you. It might be easier to find parts for the 2002. Diesels have more expensive parts if i remember correctly and compared to gas engines they tend to run longer. I think its easier to get around a 1990s engine compartment. Modern diesels don't really have any cost savings over modern gas. Im not sure 4 wheel drive makes a lot of difference unless you expect to get stuck frequently. How much are you towing if it is a lot of weight the 2002 might be the better option. Personal preference, i prefer the feeling of driving the diesel over gas while towing.

1,003 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Ah yes, I'd prefer diesel as well, power! I've heard from so many other forum member that 4wd is necessary for towing. This was my biggest wonder about this truck... well that and then the maintenance. I think the F350 would be better longer term in some ways but a bigger cost for the maintenance.

I'm planning to haul a 2 horse trailer with 2 horses... but I'd like to have the option of going up to something like a 3 horse with a little living space. Anyway, I think either of those trucks would be capable.

3,002 Posts
Without even taking the engine and year into account - the truck with 4wd, hands down.
I live in the South and it is mainly flat - but the 4wd saved me already several times getting back out of trail heads again...

1,016 Posts
I mean you aren't going to miss a gas station with a 1990 gas truck! I have a friend with a 90's F250 and boy does she spend money on gas. With its age she's starting to have a lot of issues as well, she had 2 major breakdowns this year on the highway and had to be rescued.

The 7.3's are the only Fords I would buy so I like the engine. Lots of miles though so other parts might be going bad. Not having 4wd scares me, although I'm in MN so it's very much a necessity here. However, we've needed it plenty of times in rain, mud, sand, etc in the summer so it's not just due to our weather here.

Honestly I'm not sure either of those are great. The truck market is insane right now, we paid $15,000 for our 06 diesel with 160k miles a year and a half ago and now they're selling for over $20k for the same/more miles.

575 Posts
I have a gas and a diesel Dodge 2500. I love the diesel and it is great both towing and empty. But, if you are going to be off the hard packed road the diesel is front heavy and really needs the 4 wheel drive in soft conditions.

Super Moderator
13,880 Posts
Is there grass and dirt where ever you are going to be towing?
Show grounds? Trailheads?
Where you park your trailer?
Damp grass is very slippery and loss of traction has many a 2WD truck needing to be towed out forget adding a trailer and cargo...
I would do 4WD and nothing else.

So the trucks...
1990 or 2002....
Different questions I will ask and many don't think about...
Original owners selling?{you are doing a background on it?}
Where was it registered and for how long?
How many owners?
Did it ever have a "TOTALED" or "SALVAGE" declared to it and was a "clean" title issued for it in another state?
Some states allow this, others do not and the laws are ever-changing so know the laws in your state...{this is where your insurance company reps helps you. Some states will not permit reregistering a vehicle if salvage ever existed to its vin.}}
Depending upon where it was registered, could it possibly been caught in flooding waters...water, especially salt ruins many components like wiring and rots all kinds of metals. Floods have been occurring all through the past since either vehicle was manufactured...
Was the state where it was registered a state where snow and ice occur? Has the truck chassis been undercoated and when, and if newer, who did it?
Are you sure under that pretty undercoating you not have swiss cheese for a frame? Is the frame integrity safe for towing a loaded horse trailer such as you plan? There is "road-safe" and there is "towing-safe" and they are not the same...

Without a solid frame under you it not make any difference of anything frame no go!
Mileage on the 1990 is far less per year than the diesel when you figure it out...
Diesels "last longer" its said, they however are more to service, require special additives to fuel and filters so the fuel not gum or gel...and fuel is more costly and probably will be forever more now.
Gas engines...they get you where you want to go same as a diesel, maybe not doing 80 nor should you be ever with livestock aboard...
No one should be jack-rabbit starting and stopping pulling any type of trailer if you're smart about safety so to me toss the diesel for power in the dumpster and think about longevity....
Longevity on both of them is about even truthfully.
The frame and body on the diesel is going to require more to maintain and fall apart sooner rather than later.
The age and engine of the gas truck also has the pitfalls of age against it and needing more costly repairs due to age, period.
Depending upon how either truck was maintained and had preventative maintenance done is what my choice would be...
I can tell you though, not having 4WD is a mistake you will regret after the first "I'm stuck..." trying to get out and home no matter where you are.
Towing by a tow company...expect for them to just come to you with a appropriate sized towing vehicle is going to cost you in excess of $100 easily if you are very lucky.
Finding someone nice enough to give a pull and get you moving, don't count on does happen but don't count on it.

Either truck is old...20 years or 30 years...sorry they are old and there are many safety updates that have taken place since either was manufactured.
Both are going to need more than routine maintenance because of their ages...that costs money.
Do your homework and check those car reports, car-fax reports and speak to your insurance company as they can run some stuff you will not be able to index.
Based on age alone, the 2002 even though a heavier truck so more expensive to plate and insure may also be about the same to insure as the lighter one because it has more current safety features mandated on it...
Much to think about...
For me/ 4WD is a deal breaker and not even considered when truck shopping.

For reference..
We had {long ago sold} a 1993 F-250 HD 4WD long bed, stick shift truck with a 351 gas engine...was a beast towing.
Towed a 8,500+ pound trailer up and down mountains, through deep sand and of course on paved roads...
It averaged 10 -12 miles towing and about 15 -17 around town for reference...hubby often threw a chain to the back bumper of the trailer and pulled buried/stuck 2WD out with no problem...
Go with getting 4WD, even if not this vehicle if you decide to pass on them for any strong suggestion.
Happy shopping and enjoy the journey.
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