Well the answer to 1&2, if youíre getting an 03+, there is little to worry about as far as reliability (as long as the truck was not seriously abused.) Only thing I can think of is the driverís seat may show premature wear. Just be sure that it has a stock pulley (usually crank), if not make sure that it has a good tune from a chip or a tuner.
#3 gas is not too bad considering you have 400 horsepower. I drive a lot on the highway and can get upwards of 17mpg when the wind is calm on 91(no 93 here) @ 60-62mph. If the Eggbeater is not turning, you can get pretty decent mileage on the highway.
#4 Pulley, chip, and a wideband dyno tune to make sure the A/f is in check.
4# or 6# pulleys are the most common. Many say that the 6# pulleys over spin the Eaton. Iím planning on a 4# if I get one.
#5 My truck is a Daily driver when its nice out, I havenít towed anything, but I had a friend tow an 03 Cobra from Florida on a trailer with his Lightning with no trouble except gas mileage dropped to 9-10mpg.
Be sure to check on insurance and also remember that the Lightnings use 295-45zr 18ís which are only made by four companies, and all have low tread wear ratings and all are pricey. The Stock Goodyear Eagle F1s fro example are 300 tread wear (20,000 miles if you drive very lightly.) and cost roughly $215 a piece.
My first lightning was a black used 01 that looked great with 19k miles on her I took it for a test drive and Wow! did it move... but I was compairing it to my 98 F-150 XLT with a V-6 that I bought new BBBaaadddd choice, after buying it and after 3 days I started to hear knocking when I made a sharp turn and that was just the start, a BIG LEMON... the first owner must of beat it to death,
List of problems,
1- clutch pack in the rear was shot
2- Tires were 2/3's gone and never been rotated
3- Sometimes at cold start up it would puff a white smoke out
4- Belt started to squeel loud
5-On a flat road it would pull hard to the left or right
6-All four brake pade were wasted & the front rotor's were shot
7-I bought the truck friday night and checked the oil Sunday morning and it did not' even show on the dip stick!!!
8- So then I went under the truck and BAM!! the A frame was bent so bad that it had pushed the stearing rod so close to the frame that it would rub on it in a sharp turn... the truck had been in a front end wreck and the intire frame was twisted so bad no one could fix it.
9- Man did I leard a lession, so on the thired day which was Monday I took the truck back and handed them the keys and said I wanted my old truck back ( which was still in there parking lot) plus my down payment, they said it was to late that it was the forth day, I said Sunday diden't count because they were closed, that's when they said thet would replace everything for free including fixing the twisted frame, so they did except for the tires and craked front shield, when it was done I had to take it back 5 more times and just gave up and waxed it all up and nice and went to another Ford dealer and traded it in for a new 04 red Lightning with 14 miles on it so now 12,000 later and a few add on's it makes 477 hp and 496 #'s of foot torque and could not be happer
I hope this helps you with things to look for when you buy a used auto mostly a Lightning only because you can't resist to put the pedal to the metal.. I know... I was fulish, Lair116.
04 here with 34,000 trouble free miles. With a 4/lb pulley, Predator custom tune, CAI, and exhaust the truck makes 408hp and 513 ft/lbs. Itís absolutely, hands-down, the most fun you can have in a pickup. Mileage is poor, but then you donít by a factory drag truck for gas mileage anyway. The 03-04 Lightningís have normal weight capacity, and they tow up to 5,000 just fine.