The time has come for all of you habitual readers to end my COAL series. What on earth will Curbside do without all of these Volvo posts?! I think you will all live. Fear not though, I will still be buying after the series ends!
After many miles on the 2015 F-150, I was ready to move on. It was starting to develop a few hard shifts while I was towing. I noticed this at first when I was pulling the Highlander back from STL. If I downshifted from 6-4 it would slam into 4th. I feared that the outdated 6 speed, that Ford no longer uses, was on its way out again. My wife was really concerned about this issue, as I was well out of warranty on the drivetrain. So that was a great excuse to go car shopping!
This was well into COVID, and dealers were paying stupid prices for trade-in, especially on trucks. I really was not sure I wanted another Ford after the problems that I have had with my last one. I looked around for several different brands. I knew that I wanted a 360 degree camera, and that was about it. I looked at the new Tacoma as I first thought I wanted to downsize and get a smaller truck. I really liked it, but just could not find myself spending close to 50K on a small truck. Plus I was looking at used trucks at the time, and could not find a Tacoma Limited that had the 360 camera. Next, I looked at the GMC Canyon, and quickly ruled that out as it was just not comfortable, even in the Denali trim. Lastly, I looked at the Honda Ridgeline. I know there are some mixed feelings on the Honda, but I actually really liked it. The only thing it was missing was the 360 camera, which I came very close to forgetting about. In the end I just was not crazy about the options that Honda was offering. To get what I wanted in the exterior color, I would have had to order it, and I just did not want to do that. So in the end I searched for a F-150.
I found a low mileage 2018 at a dealer in Tulsa. At first I really wanted the dark red called Magma, but found this nice blue that Ford calls Blue Jeans. The deal was too good to pass up as well. I was getting a 2018 with around 20k miles for $42,000. Plus it was certified, and had more options than my 2015 had. I had been looking for a lower trim model F-150, just to save some money, but a Platinum at this price was hard for me to pass up. I called the dealer, sent pictures of my trade, and basically did the entire deal over the phone. All I had to do was look the truck over while they checked my trade out, and write them a check.
This truck has the 3.5 6 cylinder twin turbo engine. My dad has had this engine in his trucks for years, so I was used to it, but it was still different. I found it to be a little slow to get going, but once the turbos spooled it took off. It is also great for towing because once I get going, and need some extra power, it’s already there. My V8 had to find the right gear to downshift, and then provide the power without the help of any turbos. In the end I would prefer the Ecoboost over the V8, but either one gets the job done. The turbos rattle as part of the wastegate when I cold start. I have been to two dealers and they both say that is normal for the wastegate to rattle on cold starts. It eventually goes away, but is kind of weird to me.
One of the biggest selling points of this truck was the interior. I was getting tired of the black interior on my 2015. It would show dust and dirt easily, and I was constantly cleaning it. This one came with what Ford calls Marsala, which I think is supposed to be a brown, but is more reddish orange. Either way I liked it, as you do not see many of these trucks with that interior color.
About a month after I got the truck I was backing up a trailer at my in-laws’ house. I did not notice how close I was to their fire pit, and turned into toward the corner of it. I ended up denting the lower part of the door. To add dirt to the wound, later that night on my way home I hit the power tailgate release button on my key fob by accident, and the tailgate lowered onto the trailer jack. I drove the 30 miles home like this damaging the paint on the tailgate handle. Luckily I was about to source a new handle in the right color off eBay, as that was the only thing damaged. The door on the other hand needed some body work. My father-in-law is an insurance agent, and set me up with a body guy that was great, and I got a discount. They tried to pull the dent out, but the aluminum was just ripping, so they had to replace the door. $2300 later, and I was set.
As we are slowing returning to work, I am able to drive more and more. I would often just go for a drive after work to get out of the house. We also are camping more this year, and I think I like pulling our camper with this truck better. With the 360 camera coupled with the Pro-Trailer Backup Assist it makes it easy to back into the shop. Now, before we go on about how everyone can back up a trailer without any assistance, I can too, but the truck came with the feature, so why not use it? Well, actually I currently can’t use it. As I write, the truck is in the dealer getting repaired. Somehow the truck lost all of its camera measurements that are set at the factory, and would not work. The dealer has had it for about a month, and Ford is sending someone down to look at it and figure out how to get it back. Go figure. Oh well, things happen, and the dealer gave me a nice new Ranger to boot.
That’s it, readers – that’s all I have for you currently. I suspect that I will be writing again as I buy more cars, but until then thank you all for the comments and support! Thank you Paul and Jim for allowing me to flood the site with Volvo content. I really enjoy this COAL series, and find myself Googling “COALs” to read in my down time. I have read many great series by all of you, and they have inspired me to share my stories. I hope you all have enjoyed, and maybe I have inspired someone else to write!