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lookingforluck

Best ice fishing truck around $3000 ?????

20 posts in this topic

Hey guys,

I am looking to get a truck just for ice fishing and the occasional boat pulling. I will be using a portable sometimes and pulling a 8x6 wheelhouse the other times. I am looking to spend around $3000 dollars and I was looking for advice as to should I try to get a smaller truck or a fullsize and whether to go with a ford, dodge, ect. I was thinking to get a smaller truck because the less weight the better but I do not want to get something that will get stuck easy also and I am a big guy. Just looking to see what has worked well for others. Thanks!!!

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I would think that any of the truck brands that you mentioned would work out just fine. When you're dealing with an older truck I would think that the condition of the vehicle would be more important than who made it. Also, just because a truck is smaller/lighter doesn't necessarily mean it will be safer out on the ice. Wheelbase length should also be a consideration to better distribute the weight of the vehicle. There are a ton of trucks out there in this price range and I'm thinking about doing the same thing as you. Good luck in your looking.

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I too would be more concerned with the truck being mechanically sound. Especially the 4 wheel drive if ya know what I mean.

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If you are not a small guy, don't even consider a small truck. I had a Ranger once, and it was tiny. And I was smaller then than I am now wink.gif

A full sized bed would be nice, 8 footer. Also bench seat so 3 guys could ride up front. Good luck.

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Dunno what the going rate is, but my 94 Chev K-1500 Ext Cab has been a pretty reliable truck. At 200K miles, it's rusty but trusty as the saying goes...

Aside from the tranny having to be replaced at roughly 100 miles (completely under warranty, and no I hadn't been towing or any 4-wheeling, etc), it's been only a couple of small things like a starter, alternator, and blower motor. Blower motor still worked, but I couldn't stand intermittent squeaking noise any more.

Plus, it's got one helluva heater in it...

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If you're looking for a lighter weight truck + good tow vehicle, check out the Dakota. It's a mid size so you should still fit. You can get the 4.7 V8 for towing (mine has been pretty reliable so far) and get a regular or extended cab for reduced weight. Model change for Gen III was '97, so maybe look for a '98-00? Don't get the 3.9 V6, the fuel economy gain is minimal if any.

My '02 quad cab has had just a couple of small electrical problems (fan resistor block & blinker module) + the Dodge ball joint recall. Good luck

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Quote:

If you are not a small guy, don't even consider a small truck. I had a Ranger once, and it was tiny. And I was smaller then than I am now
wink.gif

A full sized bed would be nice, 8 footer. Also bench seat so 3 guys could ride up front. Good luck.


If you do go with a smaller truck just get the extended cab. You should have no problem fitting in then if you are a bigger guy.

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I have had extremely good luck, years many with a ½ ton 1986 Dodge short box. It had front and rear leafs, with a straight axle in front. I lifted suspension a little, the cheap way, got a free set of rusty American Racing directional slots (navel jellied) and threw on a set of BFG 33” new tires. She had a Meyer plow on it when I got it and I used the truck for plowing roads to shack and my drive way. I got the truck cheap and it was in pretty good condition. I how ever did buy it with shot trans, but quickly over hauled the 727 torque and added some strong upgrades. Used her for the last 9 years, until she blew a rusty brake line last winter. I also loved to hunt with the truck. The high up ness of truck got me threw a lot of problem area’s. She had a 318 motor in her, but if needed could be upgraded to 360 in a pinch. Easy to work on!

I do also love my 2000 Ford Expedition! I have two kids and wife and it works out great for every thing we do. It does suck a little gas, but hauls every thing I need and has had 118,000 problem free miles. I do take very good care of it, because it was my first “newer” car/truck when I bought her 5 years ago. It has third row seating, so for my winter trips to Mille Lacs, I fold down both rows in rear and slide my Otter Tail Med. right in back threw the rear hatch door. Plus, I have a black steel plat form (I forget name)that slides into rear hitch receiver and provides more room for hauling stuff and is perfect for when I am on ice and pulling portable. I throw my ice auger and propane on rear cargo rack/platform and rap rope for portable about entire plate form. I also have hookups for transducer for graph, to make it easier checking depths and for fish when we drive around. It also hauls my boat like a dream in summer time. Take the third row out and you still have plenty of room for 4-5 guys and all the stuff in rear. Plus hunting with this truck is cool too. I have plastic molded floor I lay down in third row area and have a 4’x4’ chain link kennel I used for my dog. All the guns go on top of kennel and I still have the middle row for other stuff and buddies. Good all around sport utility vehicle and still looks like new and cool. You could possibly pick up the first year of this model (1997) for around or little more than the dollar amount you posted.

The above is just my personal views/findings and not the rule. Always have a veh. looked over before buying. For God sakes at least test drive it with some one other than your self. Others tend to hear and find things better than a starrie eyed, about to drop some ching, soon to be owner.

Good Luck!

cool.gif

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Have you considered an SUV or a crossover? I have a 97 Mazda MPV All-Sport 4x4 and love it to death. There aren't many around, which makes it kind of a unique vehicle. It seats 8 and has a differential lock, which when put into 4WD you can either have part time 4x4 or all time 4WD. It also has a tranny cooler, which makes it great for towing. Rear heat, rear AC is a common option. I fold the back seat down and my Clam 5600 fits with enough room for all my other gear. You can pick one up for around $3000 in really good shape.

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I know what your thinking! Airjer is posting in a good vehicle post, here comes the toyota lecture! Your right!! grin.gif

If you consider a Dakota you may also want to check out the older T-100. You can find these with the V-6, 4x4, pretty clean, extended cab, and low miles (for a toyota) for around $3 - $4k.

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Every ones opinion is valuable! The more info FMer's can provide helps other FMer's make good decisions.

I forgot the name of the rear rack I have, so I thought I would throw a pic up of my ice rig! This could work with any SUV. It keeps gear nice and dry/warm and makes for easier and quicker set up. The rack helps me even when I am alone for loading shack. When going and coming from lake, I put auger and propane tank in truck. This keeps salt off of them, but when on lake, nothing is easier than tossing them right on rack. I have a rope that raps around rack and I pull my house be hind truck when I am on lake.

acezAV+tLATRv+PcE1tYdBATnjOHnqEv0300.jpg

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I love helping people spend their money. I would get an older F150 4x4 with the 4.9 straight six with a 4 speed manual. Will always get you home. I had one, never failed to get me off a lake or out of a ditch. Always started even one time on Mille Lacs at -25, I had to jump the Dodges and Chevys. You can get them for cheap and they are reliable.

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Quote:

I know what your thinking! Airjer is posting in a good vehicle post, here comes the toyota lecture! Your right!!


Only a matter of time my friend, only a matter of time! LOL tongue.gif

My take? Don't spend so much on the truck. Buy any older mini truck ya can find. 2WD even. I got around on the lakes for many years with a 2WD Nissan manual trans. Chains were the ticket. Most of the time I was on a plowed road anyhow, but whenever I did get in too deep it was so light I usualy could get her out.

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Trackerbrent is right, those older Ford straight sixes had the power of the GM 305 (near the HP and a bit more torque if my memory serves me) and were pretty bullet proof, particularly with the manual tranny.

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Quote:

Trackerbrent is right, those older Ford straight sixes had the power of the GM 305 (near the HP and a bit more torque if my memory serves me) and were pretty bullet proof, particularly with the manual tranny.


Might depend on the tranny though. Weren't the 4-speeds pretty good, but the 5-speeds sorta iffy? Could be wrong on that, but for some reason I have that in my head.

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Thanks for all the input guys! I was leaning towards a Dodge Dakota with the 318 in it, but you guys don't sound to high on that. Maybe a F150 wouldn't be bad and I am not familiar with the toyota trucks. Thanks again.

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You owe it to yourself to get acquainted with a Toyota. I've owned 9 over the last 28 years and several were bought with 80-150m miles and have been driven a total of over 500m. None have ever failed to start or failed on the road. Replacing a head gasket on a Corolla was the only repair beyond normal maintenance of exhaust, brakes, tuneups and oil changes. My daughter has attempted to do in her '85 Camry with 200m but even she can't kill it.

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I have to admit those old fords with the straight six and the manual where tough. A friend of my mothers bought one brand new in 89 or ninety. Drove it forever, had a gazillion miles on it and no major break downs or repairs.

Quote:

My daughter has attempted to do in her '85 Camry with 200m but even she can't kill it.


You need to run it out of oil or poke a hole in the radiator so it overheats (that no guarantee either). Running out of oil definitely works though! blush.gif

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Before I got my 86' dodge, I ran and 85' Ford F-150 with the 351w in it. It sucked gas, but back then gas was cheap.

It was a manual 4 speed.

I lived in ER then and just built my ice shack for Mille Lacs. Drove it up during very cold winters and she never did fail. She scared my a couple times with alt. failing at night and an over heating concern right at Prince Bait 3 times. But she made it.

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Honestly I haven't heard of too many engine problems with Dodge's 318 or 287, but some of the earlier tranny's could be problematic.

Sometime's tough to generalize one brand is better than another in those areas. My father in laws Chevy 350 broke down and needed a new tranny at 70k miles. I know people with rebuilt Ford tranny's as well. If you were initially looking at the Dakota, I would still include it in your search. It's a unique truck because of it's smaller size and optional 8 cylinder. Of course you will find robust 1/2 ton Chevy's and Ford's as well.

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