Gary Mueller’s 2002 Ford F-350 Super Duty has more than 1,020,000 miles, and he says he has no plans – or reason – to retire the truck.
The reason, Mueller says, is that his F-350 maintains its durability, reliability and comfort, along with the special bond some truck owners seem to have with their vehicles.
“This truck isn’t just a truck; it’s an extension of me,” said Mueller. “I take care of it and it returns the favor. I see no reason at all to think about retiring it.”
Mueller isn’t the only one driving a Ford F-Series truck with a lot of miles. In fact, Ford has more full-size pickup trucks on the road with at least 250,000 miles than any other automaker.
“Trucks like Mr. Mueller’s prove time and time again that Built Ford Tough is more than just a slogan; it’s a promise of proven durability and reliability,” said Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager.
Taking the scenic route to 1 million
Meuller planned to travel the country when he retired, but when the market crashed, Mueller lost 70 percent of the “fun money” he invested in stocks.
Then a relative told him about a friend who was seeing the country on the cheap by towing large recreational vehicle campers, or RVs, and delivering them to buyers.
After going on a test trip as a passenger, Mueller was hooked. He bought a truck and launched his new career as an RV hauler. After around 18 months, Mueller decided he needed a new truck. That’s when he bought the new 2002 Ford F-350 Super Duty with a 7.3-liter Power Stroke® diesel V8 that has been his companion ever since.
Mueller travels between 600 and 800 miles most days and has been to 48 states and seven provinces in Canada.
The RV trailers he tows start at about 11,000 pounds, a sizeable load for most pickups but not even testing Super Duty’s maximum trailer tow capability. The 2002 model F-350 Super Duty had a maximum tow capability of 14,400 pounds. Showing the ever-improving nature of Ford F-Series trucks, the 2011 F-350 Super Duty has a maximum tow capability of 22,600 pounds.
“For years we’ve had a huge advantage over the competition when it comes to towing weight,” said Scott. “That’s why if you’re going to do a job like this, there’s only one vehicle that can handle it day in and day out with confidence and that’s the Ford Super Duty.”
Truck delivers RVs – and fuel efficiency
Mueller said that his F-350 Super Duty gets about 20 mpg when delivering RVs – a crucial number to him since he is responsible for most of the expenses.
“As long as I can keep getting 20 mpg, I’ll keep hauling,” Mueller said. “That’s the only way it makes economic sense.”
With its 7.3-liter Power Stroke diesel, Mueller’s truck is equipped with the first generation of the Power Stroke engine, available between 1994 and 2002. It produces 275 horsepower and 520 lb.-ft. of torque.
By comparison, the fourth-generation Power Stroke diesel – the 6.7-liter version introduced in the 2011 F-Series Super Duty – produces 400 horsepower and a whopping 800 lb.-ft. of torque.
Among the features of the prior generation engine in Mueller’s truck are direct injection and turbocharging, which help deliver improved fuel economy with the high torque required of a powerful tow vehicle. The 2011 Super Duty with the all-new 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel engine has further refined fuel injection turbocharging technology for even higher levels of efficiency.
Mueller said he also maintains the truck properly. He has had the oil changed more than 100 times and the tires have been replaced 10 times.
An office on wheels
Mueller said another reason he has been able to log more than 1 million miles on his truck is because of its comfort level.
His truck features cloth seats along with the XLT package that includes power seats, windows and mirrors.
“I wouldn’t have been able to put so many miles on it if I was uncomfortable,” Mueller said.
Considering the Super Duty’s combination of comfort and fuel efficiency, and the way Mueller knows exactly how his truck will respond to certain conditions and driving actions, he said he hopes to continue his sightseeing while delivering those big RVs throughout the U.S. and Canada.
“I don’t think I could be any happier with a truck,” said Mueller.