On this episode of “For a Few Bucks Less” we take our three cheap trucks on a 300-mile mountain road trip on our way to the Imogene Pass. The ultimate test will be going over this treacherous mountain off-road trail, but before that, we just need to get there.
This video series is brought to you by our friends at BFGoodrich Tires. All three of our trucks are wearing new BFGoodrich tires.
On our way, we must tackle several mountain highway passes, including Monarch Pass. It put our older and tired engines to the test on a hot summer day. After a spirited climb up the Monarch Pass, two of the three trucks are either smoking or throwing fault codes. Tommy decides to exercise the 4.7L V8 in the Grand Cherokee on the steep highway. He climbs the quickest but pays with the dreaded Transmission too hot warning light. Nathan and I are not far behind. The Mazda B4000 shows a climbing coolant temperature, but this little Ford Ranger never smokes or overheats. Nathan’s Chevy Blazer gives off some smoke (burning oil?) and requires a coolant top off.
After our nearly 300-mile journey from Boulder, CO to Montrose, CO – we measured our fuel economy at the pump (just for fun). We got some interesting results.
Tommy’s V8 Jeep result is 17.8 MPG with plenty of driving range left at the time of fill up. Not too bad, even by today’s standards. Nathan’s Chevy surprised us all with a 25.5 MPG result. None of us can really explain why the 4.3L V6 in this Chevy is so efficient after all of these miles. I had high hopes for the Mazda/Ford truck. It has a manual transmission is the smallest displacement engine (4.0L V6). The little Mazda returned 22.3 MPG efficiency.
Join the fun in the video below.
Episode 1: Buying cheap trucks
Episode 2: Assessing cheap trucks
Episode 3: Shaking down cheap trucks
Episode 4: Roadtripping cheap trucks
Episode 5: Season Finale: Off-road