What is the best pre-emissions engine/truck combo?

Discussion in 'Trucks [ Eighteen Wheelers ]' started by angry_trucker, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. angry_trucker

    angry_trucker Light Load Member

    Aug 30, 2009
    Hi guys...just looking for some advice on a best pre 2002 truck and engine combo.

    Let me say straight of the bat, that i'm not looking for crazy horsepower, but rather longevity, durability and fuel economy...i would like to have a 13 speed behind it and i don't really care, if i have to drop few gears to climb a grade...

    I'm thinking about getting a decent used truck to do regional work (500 miles radius or so)
    I'm of the opinion, that engines used to be more reliable before this whole emissions frenzy got imposed on us, so i don't necessarily see getting into an older truck as a bad thing...

    Generally speaking a pre-emissions engine most likely already had an in-frame and other stuff done to it to keep it running, so i think there is some good reasonably priced equipment to be found, if i look hard enough....

    I have narrowed it down to 3 choices, but i'm open minded and i'm willing to consider others, if a reasonable argument can be made...

    So far here's what i think about the trucks and powerplants that i'm considering and also my reasoning behind it.

    1) Freightliner FLD 120 with Detroit 60 series or the Cummins N14...would consider a CAT, but don't know much about them.
    These trucks are still very common sight and i imagine that parts are cheap and easy to find.

    2) Volvo 610 or 660 with either Detroit 60 or the N14....i was warned about the Volvo engine...supposedly they are good, but hard to find good service and expensive parts..
    I like Volvo for their manuvrability, driver-friendly comfort, safety and the aerodynamic fuel saving shape.
    I have seen the crash tests done on those things, when they pound the cab with heavy iron weights suspended in air from all sides and the steel cab just takes the beating protecting the driver.

    3) Mack CX613...i have read some good reviews about the E7 engine being very reliable performer as long as you monitor the ph balance in your coolant...also these trucks are known to be able take a beating and keep on going...
    Of course they are not the most comfortable, but that's a trade-off i'm willing to make as durability is of more importance to me...especially with an older truck.

    I'm not a big fan of Internationals...so far every one that i ever drove suffered from poor build quality and they are probably my least favorite...

    I like the classic styling of the long nosed Kenworths and Petes, but i'm guessing that mpg's will suffer since they have the aerodynamic properties of a brick, so i have left them off the list for that reason...
    The T600 of course comes to mind, but i'm not that crazy about the narrow cabs, hovewer i would consider it, if it were in good shape

    Thank you in advance for any feedback.
  2. lovesthedrive

    lovesthedrive The Confuzeled

    Nov 11, 2008
    Sorrento, Maine
    You can open that window to 2007. After 2007 you get into the regen nightmares. A slight difference that you could also keep in mind is the Freightliner Coranado. The FLD is only one better than a Century, with Columbias being the cheapest variety of Freightliners. The Coranado still has the frame and the stacks of the FLD, yet has more of the creature comforts of the Century, and more items as it is the next step above the FLD.

    Just some words of thought. the picture is something I found online showing a good profile of the Coranado.
    The Challenger and Shakey52 Thank this.
  3. angry_trucker

    angry_trucker Light Load Member

    Aug 30, 2009
    I like Coronados for their looks, but i have never drove one...what is the year Coronado came into production?
  4. heavyhaulerss

    heavyhaulerss Road Train Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    I would say a ser 60 det would be the best on m.p.g. least expensive on parts/repairs. I have one without the e.g.r. 6.0-6.8 m.p.g. last 11 years. it is in a 95' intl coe. had the choice of upgrading to newer. not me. just got truck back yesterday, from complete inframe. 1 thing to consider. I am told on an n-14 cummins that if the cam goes bad you have to take the block out to get to it. my det has a overhead cam. you dont even have to take head off to get to it. some one on a forum posted it cost him $3900 for either 1 or 2 turbos on his cat. I can get a new one for my truck for $575.00 so part's & service cost should be compared, at least on the most likely items to go out. some have booko's of sensors too & some can be expensive. on mine there is only a couple that can shut my truck completely down.
    Shakey52 Thanks this.
  5. pyrosparks911

    pyrosparks911 Light Load Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    If you want a truck that last, pass on the Freightliner. The interior rattles apart, the interior panels "peel", and the doors will never shut right.

    I think your best best for a truck that will last inside and out, is either a t600 or t800. A t600 with a series 60 is a great fuel mileage set up.
  6. rollin coal

    rollin coal Road Train Member

    Mar 29, 2008
    I say keep your window to 2002 or older. Those diesels were the high water mark of engineering on fuel effieciency and durability. The 2003-07 'sare well known and documented to be the worst on fuel mileage. I cant help but laugh at truck paper adds that brag on a truck with a "pre emissions" 07 engine. Thats false advertising. The '03 & up detroits, cummins and volvos all have egr valves that are prone to failure, costly to replace, and costly for the fuel bill. They also run hotter which results in motors that have to be overhauled far sooner than the 1 million plus miles you could expect to get out of well maintained older engines. The 2003 Cat bridge motors and the Accerts from '04 up are weak and hard to get good fuel mileage out of. Many will argue with that and tell you the upgrades you can do to make them good but to my way of thinking an engine should run, pull and get good fuel mileage from the factory without a bunch of uneeded expense. I have a stock bridge motor myself and after working really hard at it have managed to get my mpg's up to 6.1 avg over the last two weeks running compared to 5.3 the previous 7 months ( Is winter blend fuel really that bad??) Anyways, stick with the pre '02 engine and you'll be way better off. The T600 or T800 gets my vote as the aero truck of choice. Yeah it is a little cramped but the visibility is excellent in this skinny cab and wouldnt trade all the room in the world for that. It's also a solidly built truck mines got 840,000 miles with no rattles/squeaks it's a tight truck.
    BeN DaViS and Shakey52 Thank this.
  7. bullhaulerswife

    bullhaulerswife Forum Leader/Admin Staff Member Administrator

    Jul 23, 2007
    We have an 01 FLD 120 with the N14 cummins and a super 10. We did a full inframe at 780,000. We also haul regional.

    I can tell you what our mileage has been, to give you an idea of what you can expect out of it.

    When hauling bull rack, hubby usually was 90,000lbs. We had special permits to haul this weight. His fuel mileage was about 4.5mpg.

    Now, hauling hopper, he's averaging about 5.68mpg. And we added an air dam and an APU to the truck. He still hauls as close to 80,000lbs as possible.

    I can tell you that pyro is correct about the interior and the doors. Our dash rattles and the way that they are put together, there's no fixing it without getting new pieces. Also, we have worked and worked on the doors, and they don't close properly, nor do they keep the air out, even with new seals. If you don't mind wind noise inside, then your golden. :biggrin_25523: It just seems that there isn't a good way to adjust them.

    Hope this helps in your decision. :biggrin_25525:
    lovesthedrive Thanks this.
  8. superhauler

    superhauler Super Crusty

    Jan 30, 2010
    i have and like my w900L 3406E cat had 1068000 on it when i overhauled it pre 2002 is a good idea on any motor or truck the twin turbo cats seem to have more problems than the single turbos. IMO
  9. heavyhaulerss

    heavyhaulerss Road Train Member

    Dec 23, 2009

    2 neighbors of mine have the t-600 1 a 93' the other a 95' both with the 12.7 470 det 60 ser & both get 6.5 ave m.p.g. loaded. both trucks have over 1 mil miles.
  10. angry_trucker

    angry_trucker Light Load Member

    Aug 30, 2009
    Thanx for all the info guys keep it coming...whatdo you think about 1994 350 E caterpiller engines....any good?
    Also the old White/Gmc trucks does anyone have any experience with those?
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