I have a 2006 F-250 King Ranch for sale
It sounds like you're like me and don't need a truck but just like a truck, correct? I daily drive probably the worst daily driver lol, I have a 2011 F-350 crew cab long bed. To be honest I'm a Ford guy so I don't know much about the other brands but here's what I know. Ford, Chevy, Dodge, it doesn't matter which you choose they all have their issues.
Ford now is obviously aluminum but I don't think the aluminum trucks are in your budget. Right off the bat, stay away from the 04-08 F-150 5.4L's, they had a bad design to get oil to the cam phasers and are notorious for going out which is an expensive repair. 09/10 also uses a 5.4 but they say the cam phasers aren't an issue, I however still wouldn't trust it. Also stay away from the V10's as they are known to pretty much make it to 200k miles and blow up at 200,001 lol. A big issue was the spark plugs would blow out and it's an expensive repair to re tap a spark plug hole. Also if it's automatic it's going to be paired with a 4R100 trans which is a small trans for that big of an engine and is known to go out. As for what's a good option, the 11-14 F-150's are good trucks, I would look for either the 5.0 or the 3.5 ecoboost. There is a base model 3.5 but it doesn't have a turbo so it's pretty slow. The 3.5 is the fasted but it also has more moving parts therefore probably more prone to issues later on. The 5.0 is a pig gas wise but it's a NA engine that's pretty easy to work on.
Diesel wise stay away from the 6.4, don't even look for one. This is the year range they made it a requirement to have a DPF and this engine pretty much over heats when it goes into a regen cycle. There are so many lawsuits over this engine, it is pretty much a 150k mile throw away engine. Once it goes out there is pretty much no usable parts to build off of. The 2011+ 6.7's are good engines, but the 2011-12's are known to have turbo issues due to ceramic bearings in the turbo and the first build date 2011's also occasionally have problems with blowing piston seats. 2013+ are pretty rock solid though. The 6.0 is rolling the dice. You will get a really good one or a really bad one. I had an '06 and it was the best truck I ever had despite being stock. To make these trucks reliable people will tell you to bulletproof it which is about a $8k deal. Mine is not bulletproofed and just rolled over 195k miles. I would stay away from the 03/04's though because they used a combination of not the best parts which were revised in 05. Basically the 6.0's downfalls are the EGR cooler, and they used head bolts instead of studs so what happens is the EGR cooler plugs up, the truck get hot, stretches the head bolts and blows head gaskets. To fix the head gaskets the cab gets lifted off the frame. People will say the 7.3 is a good engine and for the most part it is but I will never own one. The auto trans is the 4R100 which is WAY too small for a diesel, they are loud, slow, leak every fluid known to man, but they will run for ever. You'll go through 5 transmissions for every engine.
I don't know much about Dodge so I can't give you a decent break down like Ford, but Dodge has always had the death wobble in the solid axle trucks, they always have bad paint (due to their clear coat process), they are known to go through ball joints like no tomorrow, have bad transmissions and are plagued with electrical issues. There's probably a ton of people getting ready to say "my papaw's 12v manual has had no problems and has over a million miles" and there are those trucks out there, but these are just known problems that are associated with Dodge. Also on their newer trucks they decided to put coil springs in the rear which is good for ride but not hauling.
Like with Dodge, I don't know much about Chevy / GM but I do know that instead of E-coating, they wax coat the frame. This is an issue because once you scratch that wax it will begin to rust. In 10 years that wax will not be around and your frame will be rotting away. I don't know a whole lot about their gas trucks but I do know that I will never own one of their diesels. They use a independent front suspension which is mainly for light duty trucks. The weight of the tires alone tear the front ends apart. They also use some of the best fuel injectors, but fuel injectors in a diesel are one of those things that you know you will need to replace at some point if you choose to keep the truck for a long time. What's the cost for injectors on my Powerstroke? About $1500. A set of Bosch injectors for a Duramax? About $4k. I don't know much about the gassers, but out work truck a 2015 Chevy 2500, we travel the country for work so it gets a lot of miles. It's over 225k currently and all we do it put gas and oil in it. The thing has never let us down and is one hell of a truck.
I was going to be looking for a truck soon before I bought my 2011, what I decided on was a 2011-14 F-150 Platinum with the 3.5 ecoboost or a 2010+ Ram 2500 Powerwagon. Why get rid of my 2006 F-250? Well honestly I'm just making a lot of money and want a newer truck. Why the F-150? They are fast, fuel efficient, and do everything I need. Did I mention turbo noises? Why the Powerwagon? It's the 3/4 ton truck I like that has all the off road goodies I like but never use (factory winch, disconnectable sway bars, slightly lifted, etc.) I only keep vehicles for a couple years so I wasn't anticipating the long term issues associated with Dodge or the long term issues that might rise up with either truck. Why did I end up with a 2011 F-350 diesel? Well the deal was just too good to pass up. Honestly this was the truck I wanted however these trucks are out of the price range I'm in so I never considered one until this one came up. It has some damage so the lady took it to an auto body shop to get a quote, and took that price off the KBB price so I got a $35k+ truck for $23k. The only thing it actually needs is a bumper.
Sorry for the long read but I hope it helps!