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Hey all...

I'm new to the forum, and soon to be new to Duramax ownership; but I have a few questions before I make the plunge.

My background is with Ford, so my knowledge of GM products is lacking. I had a 1993 Ford F-150 Super Cab 4x4 5.8L XLT until last week. With 252,000 miles on the gas engine, it owed me nothing. Still, with all those miles on a light duty chassis, I've decided to get something a little more robust for my next rig. I'm considering anything from a 2003 to about 2005 truck, though this is pretty much because of budget. I have about $25K to spend on this truck.

Does anyone have a preferred reference for the trim packages available on GM trucks? I would like to get a truck with the center console and steering wheel radio/information system controls; but don't know what trim package that falls into.

I'm also interested in the differences between engines. I read elsewhere here that the older engines had some injector problems. Also that idling is a concern, and not as easily achieved in the older engines. Any thoughts on extreme cold weather starting and idling? Up here in Fairbanks, Alaska, the temps can be -40's, but typically run -20 to -30. Given the extreme cold, it is not at all unusual to allow a vehicle to run for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the interior to warm. All vehicles are plugged-in in winter with most vehicles having several engine heating pads, plus a battery warmer. A few have transmission warmers as well. Any thoughts on lubrication at such low temperatures?

Are there any significant differences between the (automatic) transmissions by year? Besides the obvious, are there any reasons to get a 5 or 6 speed over the other?

I'd like to get a truck with an existing manufacturers warranty of course, but I am also considering an aftermarket warranty. I've seen some companies advertise powertrain warranties for greater than 100,000 miles. As far as I understand, many of these companies aren't reputable. Any thoughts on this? Any recommendations?

What about buying a truck that is already over 100,000 miles and without warranty? Any advice or pitfalls to be cognizant of? Granted, I'm very leery of such a proposition; but still, it may put me into more truck for the buck... I just don't want to buy a lawn ornament for $25K...

I appreciate any help and insight!

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