First off, welcome to the forum. Search around and you will see lots of comments regarding your question.
As for a dependable truck, everything from 04 to current (and some 03) is equipped with emissions. Dealers will try to tell you that a 04-07 is non emissions, but that is not true (they have EGR, which was full of problems). My suggestion is to avoid any emissions truck up to at least 2012, and I personally won't touch one older than 2015. I have a non emissions truck, and I will be watching how the newer trucks perform long term before making my decision on my next truck a few years down the road.
You can get the truck you are looking for, in the forum of a non emissions Glider, only it is a new truck. Fitzgerald sold T660's, not sure if they do anymore as KW is stopping production of them. That said, if they have them, you can get one with a 13 speed, and with a Cummins N-14 (rebuilt by Cummins). If your credit is good at the time you want to purchase, it is much easier to finance a Glider than it is a new truck from a dealer.
used, I would be looking at 03 or older, or an used Glider.
I'm interested, have you already bought a truck? If not, take a look at this one 2015 Kenworth T680. These two are very similar and you are really down to a personal preference here. However, I took a tour of both and I found T680 more spacious and I don't know, just kinda felt its spirit, if you know what I mean.
As an O/O I wouldn’t touch an emissions truck. Like Mike
said 2004-2014-ish was pretty rocky for emissions trucks. The newer ones may be better. Want proof? CAT quit building on the road motors for a reason.
As far as dependability, non-emission motors won’t derate, threaten a parked regen, plug DPFs, **** and moan about DEF, or any other bullshit. If it’s running, leave it running it’ll get you home.
I carry a scan tool. I have access to the same software the dealer does. If I’m on the road I can look up the exact same info as any mechanic.
We’ve had a couple of good discussions on preventative maintenance. In my opinion, it’s better to replace parts at home, before they fail. Instead of trying to maximize service life from a part and having it fail on the road.
Another wallet grabber are tow trucks. $750-1500 for a tow kinda hurts. Knock on wood mines not been on a hook yet.
I carry tools, spare parts and fluids. Buying fluids OTR is expensive. mndriver
argued that if your truck is well maintained you shouldn’t need spares and fluids on the truck. I see his point and agree with him
For newer trucks, reliability goes to Freightliner/Westernstar trucks with the DD series engines. Comparable Pererbilt and Kenworth trucks are still having problems in fleet reliability ratings.
The emissions systems in heavy duty trucks require actual maintenance. They've become a lot more reliable, but if not taken care of can cause problems related in other posts. Unfortunately, many treat these systems like mufflers on a car... yeah, its down there - and no other thought is given. Left maintained, they can cause all sorts of performance issues, including derating. If you're going to pull freight in California, you will need a newer truck to comply with emissions laws.
If you don't have the resources for a 2012 or newer emissions truck, then look for a '03 or older truck that can be rebuilt and made road- worthy. '03 was the transition year after which trucks were equipped with EGR emission systems that started the trouble. Some worked well, others were a disaster - across both manufacturers and within the same model/engine/drivetrain types. '03s must be approached with caution because some were equipped with EGR engines as manufacturers ran out of stock on the older engines.
If you're buying a used truck, the mechanical condition is paramount. New tires, a shiny paint job mean nothing. Look for reasons not to buy the truck. The condition of the steering suspension and equipment will tell you a lot about how the truck was treated during its life. Download the trucks ECM, and review the report. Try to get an oil analysis before the oil is changed.
I know the cascadia I bounce around all day has been darn near bulletproof. since may 8th 2016
1 radiator (60K)
1 def sensor (240K) on back of tank froze and cracked after somebody topped off tank in 20 below weather
294k now knock on wood, no codes or lights other then above doesnt leak a drop or eat coolant