Talking Trucks Tuesday: What Would You Change on Your Truck?

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By G.R. Whale

Contrary to what truck manufacturers might tell you, none of them build a perfect pickup truck. And we're not just thinking it would be perfect if it cost 10, 20 or 30 percent less.

Some folks will say 400-plus horsepower and 900-plus pounds-feet of torque is more than sufficient; others will say there is never enough grunt. Still others will want more towing or payload capacity, better fuel economy, higher or lower ride height, and so on.

Then there are the deal-breakers: little things that may seem rational to others, but drive you crazy. Here are some examples:

  • I want an interior that's not a shade of black or brown.
  • It doesn't offer the color combo I want.
  • Pickups don't offer cooled seats in back.
  • If it offered a 4.10:1 or 4.56:1 final-drive ratio, I'd buy it.
  • What, no Wi-Fi?
  • Why do I have to buy the super expensive luxury truck to get active safety equipment?
  • Have you seen how my employees drive?

You get the idea.

So, first, think about the truck you own. If you could change just one thing, no matter how big or small, what would it be? In the comment section below, be sure to mention the type, size and trim of your truck, because that manufacturer is listening.

Cars.com graphic by Paul Dolan; Cars.com image by Angela Conners

 

Comments

Change anything? No, I learned after almost ruining two perfectly acceptable vehicles with "modifications" that its best to leave well enough alone unless you are ready to go the full on custom route and all that that entails.

9 times out of 10 you are always going to be better off spending marginally more getting the trim/package that offers everything you need, very rarely will you get what you want going piecemeal. Case in point, I just recently priced out getting a well equipped F150 XLT Crew Cab 4x4, by the time I had selected the packages and line item options I wanted, I was within 3-5k of a moderately equipped Lariat that had everything I had optioned on the XLT plus some additional features that come standard, and that is before I had factored in 1200-1800 to put Katzkin leather in the XLT. It just doesnt make sense if you want those features.

Tires? Yeah, I will probably go a couple sizes larger and more aggressive tread with a leveling kit to clean it up a little, but otherwise, I bought the truck I wanted and intend to keep it that way. Exhaust, tuners, aftermarket radios, big lifts, light bars... all that stuff just clutters up the car for negligible benefit.

One thing for sure. In 2009 only the upgrade Silverados offered a 6-speed trans. The immortal GM four speed was standard.

The four speed has been smooth and trouble free but the LS came with a small V8 that would have been much more capable with some extra cogs.

The perfect option? A six speed manual but nobody's building a half ton with stick these days so the six speed auto remains on my wish list.

Then again, I could always try to find a wrecked late model Escalade in a junkyard and pinch the 6.2 and the six speed from the caddy and it should bolt right in to the Silverado.

Ridgeline...wish they offered their Canadian trim packages in the U.S.

i have a '15 RAM 1500 Big Horn CC. i special ordered with the ecodiesel, 6'4" bed, and bench seat. for some reason, i couldnt get the factory spray in bed liner with the bench seat, but switch to the bucket seats and it was ok. i called FCA about it but never got a meaningful intelligent response; what gives?

ended up having to travel 1 hour to the nearest linex dealer to have them do it. it could have cost $400 from the factory with no personal time or down time. instead i had to spend closer to $500, plus 2 hours of personal time for travel, plus 2 days without my truck.

2015 RAM 1500 regular cab short box m- lowered 2/4 WITH AIR BAG suspension.

Only thing I'd change is a sticker on the back window. It would say "The only thing that works on a Ford is the owners mouth, unless they talked to a GM, RAM, Toyota, or Nissan owner. Than chances are not even that works anymore". :D

I have a 2014 GMC P/U and have been fortunate enough to have had my dealer upgrade my headlights, so they are a great deal better than original. If, i had my druthers I would REALLY appreciate better headlights on a truck. I live in rural Montana and headlights are critical to not hiitting wildlife, perhaps the option of additional lighting would suffice.

@ ajb3015

Sorry about the hassle with your RAM but you made the right move with the Linex. Mine has been a real peach. No more rubber bed mats or plastic liners at my house.

I have a '14 silverado 1500 5.3 that I love, but would've purchased the 6.2L if I couldve gotten it on the LT trim. GM better be listening that that engine should be available across all trim levels!

My wants are probably unique to me(GM guy), but since you asked...
On crew cabs add air vents and maybe climate control with heated seats, make 6.2 the standard SLT/LTZ engine, how about a GM Raptor competitor, Front facing camera for parking, how about 360 camera like the F150, capability to add larger tires so maybe a larger wheels well like Ram, Bluray player like Tahoe, auto drop tail gate with key fob... That's a start

My last post on the first comment that was directed towards the rear seats.

Only thing I'd change is a sticker on the back window. It would say "The only thing that works on a Ford is the owners mouth, unless they talked to a GM, RAM, Toyota, or Nissan owner. Than chances are not even that works anymore". :D


Posted by: johnny doe | Mar 21, 2017 1:59:46 PM

Thanks. I just got dumber reading that weirdly structured sentence.

On my 2016 Tundra Platinum, the major thing I'd change is HID or LED (2018s) headlights from the factory. I ended up retrofitting HID's into my factory headlights on my 2016. A few more MPGs would be nice, but it's not worth trading drivability or power for an extra MPG or two. Also more in cab storage would be nice.

I'd buy a GM 1500 truck if you were able to get the 6.2 AND max tow package on the color matched LTZ Z71 or High Country. It sucks that the only way to get the 6.2 and the max tow package is to get a LTZ full of chrome.
I've driven a 2016 Silverado 1500 (5.3L) LT W/All Star package and it was very sluggish, no way I could I daily drive that truck or tow with it. But it did get 23 MPG highway which is nice.

Hey jonny shut your mouth instead.

2016 Colorado CC, how about a button for the garage door opener, and key less entry and start, and make the sliding rear window a stand alone option. Did not want it nor need it but I got it.....oh and easily removable back seats and back rest. A Z71 with rubber flooring would be nice.

Take a full-size RAM truck with the 40.3" leg room crew section and 6'4" bed, and both move the cab forward 3-4" and reduce the front end 3-4". A total savings of 6"-8" will fit in a standard 235" max length garage. Take the comparable Chevy, Ford, Nissan, Toyota full-sizer's and do the same, but to fit them in the garage it's more like 8"-10" total reduction.

On my fully loaded F150 I would like to have the air suspension from a Ram, a step for getting in the bed with a trailer attached and a tool storage area that does not take space in the cab. The auxilary attachment switches and larger storage in the console from the Super Dutys would be great as well. One more thing, since I would like to tow mine behind a motor home have a pigtail for attaching the brakes an lights like a trailer uses.

I wish my Nissan Frontier had a longer box and less wasted space in the king cab. The jump seats are worthless. A single cab Frontier with a 7 foot bed is what I want.

So the manufacture is listening huh? So like that's going to make them address problems? I own a 15' GMC Sierra 4x4 crew, 5.3 L. This is a big problem, GM fix our transmission shift points so my trans knows when to shift! The programing on the trans sucks, it hunts for gears upon acceleration and when it decelerates (especially into 2nd gear). Affects hundreds of thousands of these trucks chevy/GMC. Read the forums GM. Take the truck to a dealership and the standard b.s., the truck is operating as normal. This is the first and last gm product I will ever buy.

Colorado 4x4 long bed (6.2) Z71 ext. cab with a 2.8 diesel. You make in gas why not a diesel?

@ Angelo Pietroforte

Or just get a regular cab truck. Until the late 1990s most of us drove reg. cab models and thought nothing of it.

I would make my regular cab truck have a seat back that can recline enough to sleep comfortably all night.

Less crazy gadgets and no floor carpet on upper trim levels. Nobody puts carpet at the entrance area of thier house, why put it in a pickup? I use my truck on the farm and for family vacations. I don't like those expensive mats either. Carpet in trucks sucks.

When i bought my 15 Prospector i wanted to get a sunroof and Ram boxes. I would have had to order the truck to get them (6 to 8 weeks) so i bought the one they had on the lot. Ram boxes are awesome. Need them for my fishing poles and Rifle. Now im going to build holders on the bed sides for my axe, shovel and fishing poles. The prospector is a very tall truck so it would have been a little tuff to get to everything inside but i do wish i had them. Other than that the truck is awesome. People take pics and give me the thumbs up on the road. When i stop for gas they all want to know what my snorkel does.

If I were ordering a new truck I would get a block heater--they are not the expensive to add and living in a cold climate it would be good. Also I would get it fully rust proofed. I have gotten use to most of the packages offered on vehicles but I would like the option of a tan interior instead of the all black interiors which most of the midsize trucks are now offering. Black is hot in the summer. Otherwise I have been satisfied with most of what comes on most vehicles.

@papajim--I would get a 2017 Ridgeline with a big block heater.

The fake Jeff S has a real obsession with the Ridgeline. Maybe he has posters of one in his parents basement.

The fake Jeff S has a real obsession with the Ridgeline. Maybe he has posters of one in his parents basement.

The fake Jeff S has a real obsession with the Ridgeline. Maybe he has posters of one in his parents basement.

The fake Jeff S has a real obsession with the Ridgeline. Maybe he has posters of one in his parents basement.

The fake Jeff S has a real obsession with the Ridgeline. Maybe he has posters of one in his parents basement.

@Jeff S
Honda make a good reliable product, but there are products that are much better than Honda out there and they are cheaper.


I would like a suspension quite similar to what has been done to some BT50s.

To the guy who wants to race down off-road with an air suspension.

You've made a comment with no support evidence to validate it.

What and how are the shock absorbers valved and tuned. This is what will help it go down dirt roads better.

Maybe you need a small AWD CUV? Some of them do well on dirt roads. You don't need a pickup truck.

The painted bumper on my 2012 FX4 that Ford made out of scrap metal. I need to get it repainted because there are places the size of gold balls where paint has flaked off due to rust. The rest of the body is absolutely perfect.

@Big Willy--I have no problem with the Ridgeline. The fake Jeff S is responding to a prior post where I said that I liked Honda products and thought they were very reliable. I still like Hondas but I also like Fords, GMs, and many other brands. I am not that tied to a brand nor am I that picky about what comes on my vehicles. Most base vehicles today have more features than the fully loaded models from not that long ago. I guess it depends on what you are use to but most of today's new vehicles more than meet my requirements.

I would make my regular cab truck have a seat back that can recline enough to sleep comfortably all night.
Posted by: juanfo

@Juanfo

If you're less than 5'4" that should be no problem.

How about a level Colorado/Canyon, instead of nose down from the factory. They look so much better when they have had a leveling kit put on them, should not have to.

I believe all brands have come a long way with comfort features & loving it. The next step I would like to see is all crew cab configurations should allow rear seats to recline - it would be perfect for more comfort especially long cross country drives with my family.

I know this will be near impossible for RAMs (except mega cabs) but others could figure out a way including maybe the seats could slide forward to allow a bit of room to recline...my 2 cents.

Square wheel wells need to be round

I'm probably in a minority that say this, but what's wrong with a front bench seat on larger cabs? They're almost impossible to find in this area. In my experience, a console just tends to become a black hole where everything gets lost (especially if my wife drives it), and I like having that extra seat just in case. Also, could we see more crew cabs with storage under AND behind the rear seat?

"So, first, think about the truck you own. If you could change just ONE THING, no matter how big or small, what would it be?"

ANS: Bigger V-8 that gives > 400 HP and > 400 lb.-ft torque.

"In the comment section below, be sure to mention the type, size and trim of your truck, because that manufacturer is listening."

ANS: 1996 1/2-ton, Dodge Ram 1500 Club Cab, 6.5-ft box, Laramie SLT trim.

=========================

My trucks are not that current so any suggestions about changes to them would not matter. I do agree with the bench seat comment above. Most things in consoles do tend to get lost and many items drop between the bucket seats and the console and get lost. I prefer a split bench seat with a fold down arm rest. Most new cars don't have bench seats either. It is possible that one of the reasons is that manufacturers don't want you to carry a passenger in the middle for safety reasons--just a theory because there are many who would buy a vehicle with a bench seat. Also I mourn the loss of manual transmissions in most vehicles which have been in a steady decline. Most vehicles that offer manual transmissions are either bare bones models or sports cars but even they are offering manuals less. I don't want to dwell on those things but yes I miss split bench seats and manual transmissions which will eventually disappear completely along with crank windows. I miss the front vent windows which were discontinued in automobiles long before trucks. There are many features on modern vehicles such as fuel injection, disc brakes, and other features that far outweigh the features that I miss in the vehicles of the past.

I would love to have a remote video cam in the engine compartment so I could see if the service technician changed my oil filter or not and still charge me for a new filter

i just bought a 2016 F150 FX4 (im sure all half tons might have same thing?) but i wish they were more level, i dont like the sling shot dragster look. I am currently looking into leveling kits, but if you could get it from the factory it would be sweet
Also agree on some of the comments about stand alone items that shouldn't have to be rolled into a package like the rear window slider comment and the chevy 6.2/6 spd avail across the line, sometimes we dont want the fancy truck but some of those safety features would be nice to have on the less fancy trucks.

I do have to say this is the best commentary i have seen in a very long time other than johnny doe comment, the way it should be !!! civil and to the point and a discussion going on

I own a 2015 silverado 1500 wt with 4.3.
I would change the auto to manual. It can be done. In the manual it has a 5spd with the 4.3. Apparently only for mexico.
The other thing I would love to have from the factory would be front and rear elockers offered on WT trim.

I don't understand why some want their truck to be level when empty unless they also a self leveling suspension or never expect to carry anything. It is purely personal but I think that nothing looks worse than a truck loaded with its nose in the air.

I agree with those that want a full bench up front. The only reason I got a console on mine was that I had to in order to get certain other features that I wanted.

How about adding a few rows of defroster element to the lower edge of the windshield for some of us in the colder climates as part of a "snowplow" package. The constant buildup of snow in this area is a pain while plowing light snow that blows up onto the windshield. It would also help keep the wiper blades clear of snow and ice. I've seen this on some of the mini vans so i'm sure it could be done.

CARPET DELETE...... I've had to spend extra $$$ for Weather Tech or Husky Floor liners because carpeting makes no sense in pickups. (Just like putting carpet in Jeep Wranglers? FAIL)

Make color matched rubber/vinyl flooring standard and carpeting an option.

Owners of $70,000 pickups wear dirty boots too.

"Read the forums GM. Take the truck to a dealership and the standard b.s., the truck is operating as normal. This is the first and last gm product I will ever buy.


Posted by: J19HOOK | Mar 21, 2017 5:03:45 PM"

Ah yes... read the forums GM, duh, ignore your engineers that you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to, Cletus Spuckler and his gang of community college dropouts on their GM forum echo chamber know soooo much more about your product... think of all the money you could save!

'97 Ranger. Need a tach (has manual transmission), extended cab and about 30 more horses (dual-electronic ignition I-4.)



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