Looking for a diesel truck

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    Hello! My wife and I are looking to find a good diesel truck for $15-20k to tow a 30′-34′ 5th wheel RV in order to start our RV lifestyle. If you come across one that you think is a solid truck for a reasonable price send it my way. I have cash and will pay a fair price. Someone trading up for a newer truck or exiting the RV lifestyle would be a good match as well as a little old lady that only drove it to church on Sundays. 😀

    Specs are: 4×4, full 4-door cab (car seats for toddler and infant), short bed, clean appearance, body and interior in good condition for the year but not flawless, data that indicates it will be a reliable truck, 3/4 or 1 ton models, only towing related modifications. I am most interested in GMC 2500  or 3500 duramax’s but any of the major brands I would consider- they all have pros and cons. The truck will probably be in the 2001 to 2006 range with no more than about 200k miles. I see a lot of trucks online in this price range but I prefer to buy from individuals instead of car lots.

    I live in Grand Junction, CO about 30 miles from Utah border. I would travel throughout the southwest to pick up the truck depending on the quality of the truck for the price.

    Call, text or email Dustin at 970-201-2088 or jenicapope@gmail.com



    I just found my own post and I thought it might be helpful to update it. I did end up buying a truck several months ago and so far it has been great!

    If you are looking for a diesel truck and have moderate wrenching and Google skills then you can find a good deal. Be patient. Learn the market. Know a deal when you see one. Kiss a few frogs- just dont take them home. Here is how I did it.

    After searching my regional Craigslist.com, car lots, etc. for a few months and learning what the market is for Duramax’s in my area (Grand Junction, Colorado has high demand for these trucks) we ended up buying a 2003 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Duramax (6.6L turbo diesel) off a private party on craigslist.com for $13,500. It had 170,000 miles, full crew cab, short bed, in good condition inside and out, 4×4 and met all my requirements I listed originally and for under budget. The best part is that it already had all injectors replaced at 150,000 miles which is the most expensive maintenance this era Duramax is likely to have.

    Before buying the truck, my dad, a friend who owns a similar duramax and myself went and test drove it then spent 2 hours in the sellers shop inspecting and checking things on it. Everything looked good for a truck of its milage and age with the exception below. The seller had recently bought a brand new Duramax and had chosen to sell the truck private instead of trade it in. He answered all of my questions in a way that I believed was honest and from his answers I determined that he probably took fairly good care of the truck and did reasonable maintenance himself (the truck hadnt seen a dealership since he bought it brand new).

    When I test drove the truck it was having difficulty shifting in and out of 2WD, 4hi and 4low. It would often just get stuck in one of those positions and not be able to shift back to 2WD. (In fact, on the test drive we shifted into 4low and it never would come back to hi range. We had to drive a few miles back to the sellers property in 4low- luckily on rural roads with no traffic) So, i got the price from $14,500 asking down to $13,500 because of this problem. I ended up diagnosing and fixing it on my own for $175 part and probably 8 hours of my time messing around with it. Thats all the work that was required to get it mechanically sound. It also didnt have any sound from the rear speakers.  I replaced them for $40 and bought a new blue tooth radio for $50 and now I have a very modern stereo in it for a few more hours of work.

    I chose to replace the headlights, grille, tail lights, fog lights, turn signal lights, and replace the bezel around the tail gate latch, for about $400 just to get it looking fairly like-new again. Most people would have left it alone but I hate when the headlights, etc. look sun faded.

    I have now put probably 8,000 miles on it since I bought it with no problems. I am now a firm believer in the older (2001 – 2007) Duramax trucks.

    In conclusion, I can say that it is very possible to get a solid diesel truck for $15k-$20k if you are patient and can tackle a couple issues with some wrenches, internet forums, and maybe a buddy.

    As for lessons learned and advice, I will say that if this truck were on a car lot here in Colorado it would have sold for probably $19k based on what I was seeing. So if you want a deal, you have to find a private seller. Car lot convenience comes at a $4,000 cost. Also, when you find a potential deal- move quickly. This truck was online for 2 months before I test drove it. Then I beat out another fuy to buy it by one day since I made arrangements to buy it but had to pick it up a few days later. Another truck did the same thing, sat online for months then me and another fuy both wanted it within 2 days of each other. That guy beat me to the punch on that one. So, if you think it might be the truck for you, start the process and notify the seller that you are a serious buyer.

    I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about this process or Duramax’s in general. Send me a message or reply to this post.

    Thanks for reading.

    Mike and Lesia

    Can you post some pics?


    Yes, I will try to take some photos during daytime hours in the next few days.


    Here are some photos of the truck.

    Mike and Lesia

    That is a good looking truck. I see that is has dual batteries, did it come from factory that way?


    I don’t know for sure about the dual batteries but I believe the Duramax’s all come that way. My friends has two as well. I think it is common for diesels.

    You looking to buy one?

    Mike and Lesia

    We were looking at trucks, just learning and kicking tires. Yesterday we bought one. 2006 Chevy 3500. It looks about the same color as yours.


    Congratulations on the truck! I hope it treats you as well as mine has! The exterior looks to be in good shape.

    Does it have the gas engine? I don’t think I can see the duramax badge on the side of the door.

    Do you have any plans for upgrades or outfitting it for traveling? What will you be pulling?

    Mike and Lesia

    Yes, it has the Duramax. It also has dual  batteries like yours, so maybe all Duramax have 2.

    We plan on getting a fifth wheel when we retire in 2 years. I want an exhaust brake of some kind, and it will need the hitch, it has a gooseneck setup now.

    It seems to have all the bells and whistles I can imagine we’ll ever want, the only thing we might change would be to change the bed. Those hauler beds with all the locking boxes sure look cool, but the price will be very hard to justify.


    Hi to all my fellow Duramax Diesel truck owners. I have a 2008 3/4 ton extended cab long bed. I use it to haul my 2015 Fuzion 325 Toy Hauler around. Yes on all the Duramaxs come with two batteries. If you have to change batteries change both of them at the same time or you will kill the older one.  I have had no problems out of my truck I now have 73,000 miles on it. I have the tow package and engine brake on it. Works very well in the hill country. I like the standard box bed because it can still be use for cargo even if you have your 5th wheel hook up. I did replace my headlamps because of the fading of the lenses. I purchased my from http://www.1aauto.com/ they have pretty good prices on after market products.

    Hope this helps James

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