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Old 12-28-2008, 06:38 PM   #1
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janetpowell
Your Favorite Tow Vehicle

Howdy all! Post Christmas time on our hands.... Fred and I are considering a newer tow vehicle. We are pushing our Dodge Ram 1500 probably too much and it has shown a couple indications that we should start looking. So, I was wondering, what is your favorite tow vehicle? We have a 2006 T2553/ When we have it packed to the max we don't have the trailer packed to the gills, but we do have 4 kayaks and 2 bikes in the bed of the truck, there in lies the issue. After the wonderful workshop by John at this year's Meet and Greet we did some investigating and a newer vehicle would make good sense.
Sooooo, what would your choice for a newer tow vehicle be?
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:56 PM   #2
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Old 12-28-2008, 11:17 PM   #3
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I'll agree with Kitty here.

Any of the Ford F-250's on up to the F-550's will pull your coach without blinking an eye!

We bought our 2003 F-250 with the 6.0L Powerstroke Diesel and have yet to have anything done but oil changes and fuel filters changed out which is basic maintinence

Now we have pulled up 14% grades and come sliding down grades that steep on gravel and never once had a problem. We did have Airlift Airbags installed because after our first year of having the Sunline (2499) loaded up non-stop, the rear springs were starting to sag a little.

I'd recommend this truck to anyone and have yet to find a flaw with it. I'd love to find something to increase the fuel mileage, but that would mean taking off have the stuff we bring with us and I cant see that happening anytime soon.

I'm very envious of Norm with his Honda Pilot, but to completely re-outfit ourselves around a better economy vehicle right now isnt in our budget.



Feel free to browse through our site where we go into detail about the truck and the mulitple add-on's we've installed to live out of it fulltime.

I know the ARE cap was expensive, but boy does it give piece of mind when everything is locked up safe and sound and out of site. It hauls the kayaks, the mountain bikes and never whines about anything we load into it.

Good Luck with your search
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:29 AM   #4
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We have the GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax diesel/Alison transmission. It never tacs above 1700 in the mountains of the east, and the alison holds us at whatever mph we want while coming down a steep grade. Our miles per gallon has been 13.3, but on this mostly flat trip down to Charleston we got 13.7. (we went down I81 to 64 so a little mountains in there) We normally have the kayak on the roof and 3 bicycles in the back and you can forget you're towing anything at all!!! Another nice thing is that the exhaust fumes don't really smell like a diesel.

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Old 12-29-2008, 08:08 AM   #5
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I've almost always owned Fords being that my father worked for Ford, but I worked at GM for 3 years as a grounds maintinence supervisor. We were provided GMC trucks for all our work vehicles and I loved them.

Like Pam said, the diesels are very quiet and have tons of power. The one thing I've always liked about the GM trucks is their turning radius. IF we were plowing snow in the winters, we could make a full 180 degree turn inside a row without having to do the 3 point turns like we did with our Ford Plow trucks.

Probably the only reason we own a Ford is becuase of the fact that they we found one used at a great price. If I could have found a GM at a comparable price, I wouldnt have heistated to get one of them.

Dodge Diesels are known for their dependable Cummings motors, but I've never liked the loudness of them. We can be sitting at a stop light in our F-250 and have a Dodge Cummings pull up beside us and the noise of the Cummings will drown out our motor, our radio and usually our sanity

Not trying to start a argument between the companies and owners of these trucks just my .02 cents
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:55 AM   #6
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Pat and Cindy,

I really don't belong in this discussion because people love their trucks but I have a Honda CRV not a Honda Pilot. Though if we get a heavier trailer we might go with a Pilot.

People are amazed whenever we stop for the night; always coming up asking us about our towing ability. After 10,000 miles the Honda still seems to be going strong, approaching 100,000 miles on the Honda.

Still getting around 20 Mpg, easily maintaining speed, typically 55 mph along the hilly coast road which is the speed limit for vehicles in tow.

I will say we've driven this route four times, typically in Jan/Feb, and this December has been a lot colder than either of those months were. We continue to head south looking for Global warming.

Interestingly people are also amazed that we've survived in such a small rig for 3 plus months. We haven't had any problem, no claustrophobia (sp) and have come to love our little Sunline.

Happy New Year to all,

Norm and Ginny MIlliard
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:31 AM   #7
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I also have a 2553. I am pulling with a 2500HD with 6.0L gas engine and 4 spd heavy duty tranny. It pulls the Sunny just fine. If I could do it over again, I would again go with a 2500HD, or possibly 3500HD but - I would get the allison transmission. The allison with either the duramax diesel or even the 8.0L gas engine would make a great TV. I read that the 8.0L gas with the Allison transmission gets the same gas mileage as my 6.0L gas engine with the 4spd. The reason being that the 8.0L and Allison will usually have a 3.73 rear end, same as the duramax/allison combo usually. My 6.0L requires a 4.11(or 4.10 not sure), which allows it to pull well but guzzles gas.

What you get will depend on how you will use your TV. If it is an every day vehicle, your decision points may differ. A heavier truck will have a 'firmer' ride than a standard truck. Your gas mileage will not be as good on a truck spec'd out for towing verses a light duty truck either.

If you take a lot of long trips, consider a full 8ft bed as they often have larger fuel tanks.

Obviously - you should consider gas verses diesel. Diesel owners love their diesels and swear by them. And duramax/allison owners love them even more. But diesels do cost more, with some cost being offset by a different maintenance costs and fuel costs. (Maybe a diesel owner can provide some info here.) When diesel prices shot up, I read a lot of posts about people liking their larger gas engines.

There is not one right answer, but many good options. I think you should be able to find some good deals right now, but would not expect much in trade for a truck either.

Good luck!

Later,
David

UPDATE

I told my wife if I ever found a good deal on a diesel I would trade. Well she found me one and we now have a new 2008 2500HD D/A long bed. She found a dealer in the country that was sitting on a couple of 2008 diesels and was ready to move them.

Still in the break in period but I am sure we are going to love it. When going from a 1500 to a 2500HD, I was surprised at how much more truck I had. I think the same can be said going from 6.0L gas to Duramax/Allison. I cannot wait to get it out on the road a bit more. And WOW - does the larger fuel tank on the long bed add to the range of one tank of fuel.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:40 AM   #8
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Well, I went a different way in making a decision on a new TV.

First, I did NOT want a diesel. No way was I going to spend $7K for the option that would mean noise, hard winter starting, permanently higher fuel cost, much higher maintenance costs, etc, etc... On top of that any series truck 250 and higher would not fit in my garage (door clearance issues). Even on top of that, in NY State any 250 and higher series truck cannot get a passenger plate, which a 150 can. That may not be any advantage when towing but it SURE is an advantage when not towing, particularly around my area with restricted roads.

Ok, that brought me to 1/2 tons. Would they be capable? I bought my 2007 F150 FX4 with tow package and the included HD off road suspension. I made sure it had the optional 3.73 rear and optional LT tires. It has a tow rating of around 9K lbs. I will admit, I was apprehensive how the truck would handle it, but after a tow through the steep hills on the Mass Pike to Maine, I can say that it handled the Sunline T2499 with EASE. There was never a time that I was wanting for more power even on long hills. Many Tractor trailers could verify that. A 3/4" increase in throttle and I was topping the hills at 60-62 mph.

Amazingly, even with the steep long hills, I still averaged 10.3 mpg. I did not use overdrive to get this mpg, either. I would be confident that it would deliver better than that in an area with flatter terrain. The very stiff frame of the F150 also provides excellent control and stability of the package. All in all, I'm absolutely happy with the choice of the F150. I think that the key to that satisfaction is heavily linked to being sure that my truck had all the necessary HD options. As I said just another opinion on how to go when selecting a new TV.

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Old 12-29-2008, 09:43 AM   #9
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janetpowell
new tow vehicle

wow! We were hoping for a response and you haven't let us down! We are of course, searching for a good deal. From our intial search we won't find any good deals on a new one! We would like to make a trade, so we're kind of stuck with dealers. Sure won't get much for our truck even though it's in excellent condition with less than 70,000 miles on a 2000. We bought it from an individual that took excellent care of it.
We plan on more traveling with more real mountains, so upgrading seems wise. Certainly can't leave our toys behind!!!
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:48 AM   #10
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Our 2006 Chevy 2500HD Duramax/Allison is a towing champ. We traded in our Tahoe for it because the Tahoe just didnít have the gumption to haul our 2499 around the Rockies where we spend a lot of our vacation time. The difference in towing ease is night and day. Being able to effortlessly keep up speed over mountain passes and to pass when necessary makes towing with the D/A combo a breeze. The Allison transmission is an electronic-mechanical marvel. Itís so smart it has its own ownerís manual. The hill-braking function alone is worth the cost of the Allison (in tow mode, the transmission will hold a gear or downshift to maintain a constant downhill speed). We barely use our brakes when traveling I-80 through the mountains. Add to this the better mileage of the diesel (for us, 12 to 15 mpg with the diesel, around 10 mpg with a gas engine). On the other hand, diesel fuel is harder to find sometimes, especially if you travel in remote locations. However, we have a 45 gallon tank and have never even come close to running out of fuel. We, like most diesel owners we know, employ the half-full rule: never let your tank get below half full before filling up. The other fuel-related inconveniences are that diesel pumps can be located in hard-to-reach locations, the pumps and the ground around them can be greasy and messy, and they are frequently of the older type that doesnít accept credit cards.

The basic question is are the towing benefits of a diesel worth the added cost of ownership? You pay more for a diesel engine than you do a gas engine and the price of diesel fuel is higher than gasoline (and from everything Iíve read, the price is likely to stay that way). The higher mileage of a diesel helps balance the cost/benefit ratio somewhat, but unless you put a lot of miles on your vehicle, the better mileage is not likely to offset the premium paid for the diesel in any meaningful way. In any case, the math is easy to do so you can figure out for yourself the costs and benefits of diesel ownership.

From my point of view, the better question to ask is, is the ease of driving with a diesel worth the premium? In other words, does the diesel improve my quality of driving life enough to make the higher payments worthwhile? Well, to my way of thinking a diesel engine is like air conditioning: once you have it you canít live without it. Picking a speed and having the truck stay at that speed as if the trailer wasnít there makes six hour drives something to look forward to rather than to dread. For that reason we consider the premium paid for a diesel engine money well spent.

Of course, what works for us may not work for you. For example, if you plan to tow a moderately sized trailer on flat land only, then a diesel may not be your best choice. Iím not interested in starting a diesel vs. gas argument (I stopped participating in RV.net because such threads degenerated into name-calling and general stupidity), but if you spend much time towing you may find the diesel option worth looking into.

Hope this helps.
Don
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:55 AM   #11
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I use a a Dodge 2500 with a V10 8.0L gas engine. It was in good shape and it was a steal, and best of all it is payed for. It does like the taste of gasoline. All of the trucks others have listed are good choices.

Ford has the employee discount going again. I got my F-150 the last time for 15,100 for the XL work truck edition. With air and automatic.

There are some great deals out there right now
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:02 AM   #12
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Don, you're absolutely right! Everyone's circumstance dictates their choice between gas and diesel. There is no absolute answer, for that reason.

One thing IS absolute, the deals on new trucks ARE SMOKIN"!!!!! Anyone buying now can get an incredibly super deal on the new truck of their choice! It still pays to shop around, particularly for financing, but there has NEVER been a better time to buy a new truck!
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:47 PM   #13
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janetpowell
newer truck

Again thanks for the input. Lots of information! Too bad there isn't a truck that will pull 12,000# and get 20 mpg!
It gets dark so early now, there is lots of time for looking. Eventually we will have to venture out and see what is on the lots in our area.
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:56 PM   #14
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Too bad there's not a wet, well-designed 3000 pound trailer that could be towed by a vehicle that gets 20 mpg.

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