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Seven ft. 15 lb. Panels

Travel n corrals mounted on horse trailer

Peace of mind when horse camping


Auto Flex air ride suspensionComplete pickup truck leaf spring replacement with air bag suspension. Self levels, improves ride, braking, steering and handling. AutoFlex Review


Automated Safety Hitch Help for your Rear Truck Axle, an inline dually

Safety Hitch inline dually

Dramatic Trailer Braking & Turning for Safer Towing



Horse Trailer Super Store, shop open until midnight. Selling Cimarron, Logan Coach and Outlaw Conversions

EZ connector trailer wire connectionThis is the reliable weatherproof electrical connection for your trailer.

Logan Coach horse trailers

Strength of Steel Beauty of Aluminum

Whiz Proof Trailer Floors


BIGFOOT Hydraulic Trailer Jacks

Built to Outlast your Trailer, Steel Tank, covered leg

Big Foot steel enclosed foot trailer jack


Actuling electric over hydrauliic trailer brake actuator

DirecLink Trailer Brake Controller using your trucks computer with ABS brakes for your trailer from Tuson, best trailer brakes you can buy

Cimarron horse trailers

Cimarron Custom Aluminum Horse Trailers


Centramatic wheel automatic wheel balancers

Automatic Tire Balancers for Trucks and Trailers

25% to 50% longer tire life, eliminates cupping and tire vibration

Gander lock gooseneck lockGanderLock for Goosenecks: Protect your trailer as well as your expensive saddles, bridles, tools and flat screen TV. Goosenecks if you just lock the coupler, the thief's loosen the set bolts, slide out your adjustable coupler Read the Review
Express corralsExpress Corral Larger corral that goes up in 15 minutes, down in 10. For your trailer and pasture. Comes in a kit with an aluminum storage box. More.

Cattle and Horse Trailers, ask your neighbor

Titan stock trailer

New Polylast Floor video




Saddlematic power saddle rackMotorized Saddle Rack, save your back and shoulders and energy for your horse ride.


Step Above trailer ladderThe Safe heavy-duty trailer ladder you'll use. Read the story...

The Flip-Over Ball gooseneck hitch converts to smooth truck bed in seconds.



Maximum Trailer Braking Power for Serious Towing Trailer Brakes as fast as your Truck Brakes


Newly redesigned PopUp 2 Gooseneck Hitch. More info....


Weight Distributing

Weight Distributing Hitches for safe controlled trailer towing. Reviewing Equal-i-zer WDH Click.


Sulastic Rubber Springs are a cast hinge embedded with rubber. They greatly improve your trucks ride.

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Used Truck Judging 101 “Insider” Version 

Inspecting the truck, get help and a creeper.

Just like back in 4-H and FFA, you want to learn how to separate the Grand Champion “Bull” from the bum steer that someone is steering you toward when looking for your best-used truck!! Refer to the first report on the “Insider Club” home page, Report 1.0. A lot of good information there also related to buying a used truck.

This is the report that requires work. You are in charge. You are the customer. Find out the facts about the trucks that are important to you. Where I sold trucks last, if the customer had doubts about the condition of a used truck, I would drive it in the shop where there was room and get a creeper for the customer to roll under the truck and look for oil leaks and old mud caked in the frame from extreme off road use.


Some used vehicles tour auctions from around the country and come from the last hurricane, tornado or flood area. It’s a smart thing to wonder about a truck that has sand and mud stuck to the starter and where do you suppose the seaweed wrapped around the U-joint came from? When I was an auto broker with AAA Auto Club, some of the members we helped buy vehicles for, would bring along a mobile mechanic to check out a used vehicle. That’s a good idea, or take the used truck that you’ve narrowed down to a trusted mechanic. The mechanic will have list of checks to know if the truck's drive train is sound along the engines computers and sensors. If you are an AAA member, they have a great service to certify mechanics that you can trust.

Some dealers will let you take the truck home. Then you can take your time looking under and all over it. Take a large screwdriver or pry bar to pop off the rear hubcap if you are looking at ¾ tons. You will need to see if the truck has a full floating axle that sticks out on the Heavy Duties. GM and Ford have some years with light duty ¾ tons, (F250, 2500) which are ½ tons with more wheel bolts and higher rear spring ratings. Now get your creeper, flashlight, notepad and oil rag to have some fun on test-drives. And take long test-drives. Forget the short route with only right-hand turns that your salesperson was taught to take you on. It’s your money, your time, and your fun!

  • Shake rattle and role. Does the truck vibrate excessively at idle? Does it shimmy at highway speeds? Is it needing just tire balancing or bigger parts? Oil slicks, I thought the oil went INSIDE the engine.  Is oil dripping from the transmission, engine, differential, power steering, transfer case etc.? Are those same components wet with oil?  Any thing else leaking, gas, antifreeze, brake fluid? Any smoke from the exhaust? Is it black, blue or white? Any holes in the bed? Are they from toolboxes or a trailer hitch?
  • Go on my website and get the TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) on the truck you’re looking at. It will show the recalls and what modifications are sent to dealer service departments to fix known problems. Not all of it may pertain to your truck. If you’ve read my website you know what I think about getting your truck loan and warranty before you go shopping. Here are the links to refresh your memory. http://www.mrtruck.net/loans.htm  http://www.mrtruck.net/warranties.htm
  • Do a CarFax report on the truck. Some dealers are doing this now for you. You’ll want to know if the truck has a clean title or salvage title.  Also take the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number usually on the left base of the windshield) to a dealer for the brand of truck you are looking at and have the service department check the history with the brands national database. Then you will know if there are any open recalls or known problems. And they can tell you if there is any remaining factory warranty left. Don’t assume if the truck has less than 36,000 miles that there is warranty left. Some factory buy-back lemons go to auction and back to a car lot with low miles and no warranty.
  • Find out the rear axle ratio. Most trucks will have the axle code in the driver doorframe or in the inside of the glove box door. There is usually a tag on one of the differential bolts with the ratio info on it, (another reason for bringing your own creeper.) When in doubt get the service department to help you decode it. 3.55 rear axle ratio will pull smaller trailers with a ½ ton. 3.73 is better for medium loads and 4.10 does best for your biggest loads. 3.73-axle ratio is the only way the GM Duramax diesel comes. With Ford you have to get a F350 dually for the 4.10 option. Dodge diesel can have 3.55 or 4.10 in 2002 and older, 3.73 or 4.10 in the 2003 model.
  • Look under the surprisingly new bedliner to see what the bed floor really looks like. A lot of the time the new bedliner is to hide the holes from the hitch. Dealers quite often try to hide evidence of any kind of hitches. Some even take off the receiver hitches. I don’t worry if a truck has a rear receiver especially if it was part of a factory tow package. But a hole or holes in the bed where a fifth wheel or ball was attached might be a truck to avoid unless it’s exceptional in every other way. There is no way of knowing how big a trailer was pulled with the truck. Most of the folks I know, who pull trailers, usually pull a little too heavy. If the truck pulled a trailer that was thousands of pounds over the capacity, (like I would) it can strain the drive train and give you premature transmission, clutch, U-joint and axle replacement.
  • If you’re looking at an automatic transmission, be sure to look for an external tranny cooler. No I’m not talking about the lines that go through the radiator, but a separate cooler in front of the radiator. If you are sure the truck didn’t pull a trailer in a previous life, then you can ad an external tranny cooler if the rest of the truck checks out.
  • Don’t forget to use dealer math on figuring out how old the truck is. Instead of 2002 the current year, minus the year of the truck you’re looking at, 2000 equals 2 years. Dealer math goes something like this, model year 2003-2002-2001-2000 = 4 years old. Vehicles do a weird thing in the fall when the new model comes out. The used trucks all get a year older in September instead of January. Remember that, because book value will go down on your used trade in, so don’t forget to remind your opponent that the truck they are trying to sell you lost some value too. With 0% interest on new trucks, like last fall and this summer and fall, more trade-ins are flooding the used auto lots. Expect more selection and lower prices on trucks this fall. The price you get for your trade-in will certainly be lower. It works both ways don’t forget to remind the salesperson of that.
  • You’ve been told this for years, but it’s still true. Sell your trade yourself for the most money. And it’s easier to know where you are in the deal if you’re Colorado your sales tax is figured on the difference between your trade and what you are buying, except on a lease. Don’t forget to take your trade-in just working with the numbers on one truck, not a truck and a trade-in.  In times your tax area and ad that to what you are getting for your trade or asking for your trade if you sell it yourself to see the whole picture.
  • If you look at a diesel, don't forget to call the brand service department with the VIN again. The gas engine and truck has a 36,000 mile or 36 month factory warranty. The diesel by itself will have 5 year or 100,000 mile warranty. On a diesel it's important to have the mechanic check the radiator fluid and maybe have it tested for metal and oil. And the other side, check the oil and see if any water in it. With diesels it's important that the radiator fluid had a conditioner added at the right service interval. If the radiator fluid gets bad it can pit the sleeves and water jacket called cavitation.
  • If the VIN checks out and the service records show the truck is clean, bring your creeper and roll underneath and look for abnormalities in the frame and look for evidence of being used off-road a lot. You know, the caked in clay inside the frame channel and bent steel brake lines and rusted shocks. Make sure the differentials, transfer case, engine and transmission aren't leaking. If you have remaining factory warranty, what you find will be fixed, but if there are a lot of things wrong it will cost you too much time. Check the gaskets around the driver’s door, the threshold, the carpet and the pedals to see if the wear matches the miles on the odometer. Check the paint for over spray by the door hinges, hood hinges and where the fenders meet the liner. The fenders should match other body parts alignment and gap. Try each gear including reverse with the brake on to see how fast it engages each gear and how much play, (roll) it has. If it moves too much before you fill the axle move, you could have wear in the pinion gear or u-joints. If you hear too much noise in the tranny when you engage, then there is another problem. Once again if the truck has factory warranty, all these things can be fixed and you have peace of mind, I just don't want to see you with chronic problems. The mechanic can check how the tranny engages. And the normal stuff, seeing what comes out of the exhaust, water, oil or carbon monoxide. Checkout the 4x4, if a shift on the fly, engage the button or dial, put in 4x4 hi with the hubs in auto or lock and do the circle to see if it hops. This is what you want. Then stop the truck and put in 4x4 lo and drive slower in a circle. And if manual 4x4 do the same with the floor lever and the hubs engaged. Some 4x4 trucks have solid front hubs like a front wheel drive car, so they are always on and you just engage the transfer case with a lever or switch.

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Internet, the great Equalizer

  • You’ll be surprised at how many local auto dealers have ads in www.autotrader.com. I was surprised at many folks traveled over 200 miles to buy a used truck from me that found me on Auto Trader. If nothing else it’s a great research tool to see what other folks and dealers are asking for trucks like what you’re looking for. Also read my reports on online buying services and how to use them to your advantage, http://www.mrtruck.net/quote.htm. A good place to look for good prices and research are CarsDirect and Autoweb. Using all of these online free services will help you narrow down the best price of trucks you looking at. On the research section of the “Insider Club” home page is more details on narrowing down prices using the Internet. If you want to meet your opponent in person, the best place to deal with is the fleet or Internet department. Those salespeople usually get paid on everything, like holdback, finance, dealer handling, warranties and aftermarket accessories, so they don’t have to hold as much gross profit on each deal. And they usually deal in volume sales and no-nonsense customers like business owners. So the BS is optional! The normal run-around in the retail auto business is why I left the dealer retail and went to be an auto broker for AAA Auto Club. I came back to retail 3 years later, to catch up on bills. I was ticked to be able to sell in the Internet department of the last dealership I worked for my last 2 ½ years as a salesman. It was like being an auto broker again, making folks the right kind of deal and none of the “puppy dog shuffle,” of running back and forth to a manager to get the next “best offer.” When you are a retail salesperson, you are kept in the dark and are told what to say with little input or control. The Internet gives you, the customer control, don’t give it up!
  • The greatest weapon a salesperson has against you is your own emotions. Separate your excitement of a new to you truck. Salespeople are trained to ask about and use your “Hot Buttons.” Think of the truck as a chunk of metal and plastic, just like the salesperson does. Your opponent will use some logic to justify the emotional decisions they are pushing. Usually you will always find another great deal, so don’t get in a hurry. Make an educated, logical, wise economical decision. You can get all excited on the way home in your new to you truck and keep your kids college fund in your bank.
  • One way to look at buying a truck new or used is your future needs. Find the salesperson and dealership you trust and build a relationship. There are some good ones out there. I did discover if the dealership names itself “Friendly Motors” run. The month I got out of the business, my oldest son rolled his truck and we had to go truck shopping. I had forgotten how hard it was. We started out going dealer to dealer, reading the paper, looking on the Internet and I just tagged along as dumb ole dad playing with my granddaughter. After my son and daughter-in-law got tired of the search and after changing their mind several times on which vehicle would work for them, they felt like most folks car shopping, frustrated!  I got on the cell phone and called one of the veteran salespeople I bought from and trusted as an auto broker. I told him what they wanted and then we went and picked it up. Of course I have the advantage, knowing the dealer cost of vehicles and who to trust. But the point I was trying to make to my kids was, you’re going to buy a lot of vehicles over your lifetime. Find the salesperson and dealer you trust and build a relationship and send them your friends. You still need to do price research to keep everyone honest, and let me help you sort which truck is your best choice, but in the same areas of the country used and especially new, cost all the dealers very close to the same. I would think a positive relationship with a salesperson and dealer you trust would take some of the stress out of something you will do over and over again.

Used diesels and transmissions

Dodge Cummins lead the way for almost a decade with longevity; GM 5.7L, 6.2L and 6.5L lead the tail end with lack of longevity. Now in 2003, trucks are very competitive. There are still differences but you now have several good choices on a diesel truck Auto transmissions in diesels in the past was an expensive lesson. The problem wasn’t so much the tranny but diesels are hard on drive trains. With pulling maximum capacity loads I don’t recommend the Dodge diesel with an automatic transmission yet. With Fords only after the new model Super Duties in the 99 model and the new 4R100 auto tranny. With GM the years I recommend auto trannies with diesels starting with the 2001 model year behind the new Allison 1000 auto tranny. An auto transmission multiplies the torque from the engine through the torque converter. It's easier to manage your speed in reverse with an auto tranny, even though in a 4x4 you can put the transfer case in low range to help a manual transmission slow down. With the modern trucks and hydraulic clutches you can't tell the free play left on the pedal to check wear, but you can judge if the pedal backs almost all the way out before engaging. The farther out the clutch comes the more wear it has. The original factory warranty if still in effect will generally cover an automatic transmission repair, but rarely do warranties cover clutches.

I most cases I recommend to get at least a heavy-duty ¾ ton truck, (Dodge 2500, GM 2500 HD, Ford F250) this will give you the capacity to control your trailer and give you room for growth if you decide to move up to a bigger trailer. Trucks can last a long time, I keep mine a while and like to be versatile with choices. If you are looking at a gas engine, there are very little differences in price between ½ tons and HD ¾ tons and you get more choices with transmissions and axle ratio’s. HD ¾ ton trucks have a full floating axle with twice as many bearings in the rear axle and are designed to be loaded all the time with heavier springs, frames, shocks, tire ratings, etc. Even the way they ride has changed dramatically in the last 5 years. In the old days, a ¾ ton truck rode like a basketball and needed some weight in the bed to ride better. With used trucks you got to be careful with light duty ¾ tons because they are ½ tons with more wheel bolts and it’s not easy to tell them apart. If you want a diesel, then there are more factors to decide and which transmission. Trucks can be confusing and most people end up asking their truck salesperson these important questions, and that salesperson more than likely will not know because they just started selling yesterday or last week and if they don’t just make something up to tell you, then they will “TO” turn you over to a manager you will smoothly tell you anything you want to hear. Very few managers in the auto business know anything about trucks, they just know how to smile and manipulate you with, “what can I do to earn your business today” and “sure that truck will pull your trailer, my brother-in-law pulls his with that exact truck.” Read at least 90 pages of my website and you will know more than 90 percent of the auto salespeople you run into. Let knowledge be your first defense.

 I suggest you get an owners manual after you buy your truck, to know what the recommended service schedules are. Helm is a good place to order you manual. It’s where dealers order theirs. There is so much to say about buying a used truck that I will keep adding to this report. So check back and watch for the “Revised” on the end of the report. Good Deal’n. Kent

© Copyright 1999-2002 H. Kent Sundling and MrTruck.net. All rights reserved including digital rights.


Now here is my disclaimer: I drove a tractor in a circle summer fallowing for a couple of decades, so as I told the folks in Denver when I moved here 10 years ago, if you think I can spell or remember the grammar I learned in high school, you'd be incorrect. I don't know everything and can make mistakes. Just like listening to the preacher on Sunday, you better follow along in the Bible to be sure. Sorry for any mistakes they were not intentional. Make your own decisions, balance what you learn, hear and see.

© Copyright 1999-2002 H. Kent Sundling and MrTruck.net. All rights reserved including digital rights.