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Old 05-28-2020, 11:21 AM   #1
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mssunline is an unknown quantity at this point
Fix it or Replace it?

Well, my truck is in the shop and I don't have the list yet but the mechanic is saying it will be "well over $1k" to get it up to towing.
The trailer is a 276sr
My truck is a 97' GMC Sierra K2500. It's a fine work truck and runs well. The guy said its fine for driving around town he just isn't recommending towing unless we get it repaired. I guess I was expecting 500-800 for some repairs but not "we are already well over a grand".
I'm concerned with the fact that it is an older truck anyways. And it's not exactly an efficient creature. Would it be better to look for another (used) vehicle? I'm waiting to get final info but I'm looking at

A- fixing the truck
B- looking for another tow vehicle. I'm not packing a lot of stuff, I don't need a truck to be the pull vehicle if there is a better option out there.
C- Scrapping it all and selling the trailer. We weren't looking for a trailer, a friend gave it to us.
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Old 05-28-2020, 11:43 AM   #2
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Hi mssunline

I find this statement from your mechanic very interesting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mssunline View Post
... The guy said its fine for driving around town he just isn't recommending towing unless we get it repaired. ...
I'm curious on what repairs the mechanic is recommending for towing vs normal driving around town.

My recommendation at this time is wait to see what actually the mechanic says needs repairing and what the cost of repair is before making any decision.

Once you have that information, I'm sure the fine people on the forum here can provide you with additional recommendations and opinions for you.

You also mentioned:
Quote:
Originally Posted by mssunline View Post
... We weren't looking for a trailer, a friend gave it to us. ...
How much do you think you would use the trailer?

Good luck.
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Old 05-28-2020, 12:06 PM   #3
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SUN #11894
mssunline is an unknown quantity at this point
Thanks for responding. Basically he wants the front end rebuilt. Said a bunch of stuff fast enough I couldn't write it down but kept focusing on the front wheel upper control arm is damaged causing a slight shake in the wheel.
There are some leaks and other normal stuff like needs oil change and sept belt needs replacing, charge AC etc. But he is saying 1K to start the front end up to 1500 or more. I can't tell if he thinks it's not worth repairing but I asked him a couple of times and told him if he isn't interested in doing the work that is fine too but he said he would try to figure out a close estimate.

I guess I don't know if it's worth repairing the old truck to pull the trailer or if there are much better vehicles out there I should price. Or just give up.

I'm only looking to use the trailer a few times a year. I mean, maybe 6-8 weekend trips I'm guessing. Mostly within a 2-5 hour drive but occasionally might drive to a neighboring state, something I can drive to in a day.
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Old 05-28-2020, 05:17 PM   #4
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Depends on how much you want to spend on another truck. Jump up 10 years newer and you will see a night and day difference in towing performance. Jump up 20 years newer and you'll be totally amazed at what the new trucks can do.
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Old 05-28-2020, 05:42 PM   #5
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So I can't just go out and buy a new truck. Besides the financial impossibility, even if I had disposable income, It also would also be stupid for me spend 50grand on a vehicle that will get bags of grain every 6 weeks and haul a trailer 5 hours 6 times a year.

The truck repair will be about 2grand. The mechanic is mostly pushing against it because the truck is 23 years old with 160k miles. He admitted that a 10 or 15 year old truck could leave as stranded just as fast as a 23 year old truck but says that a newer truck is... you know... newer. I've had it about 4 years. We don't do much with it. It's mostly just a work truck, and gets grain every 6 weeks. picks up a couch here and there. Moves my little 2 horse or an equipment trailer every once in a blue moon. It is not a daily driver. I take care of it but I don't know anything about it's life before we got it.

If I got a replacement I could spend MAYBE MAX 8-10g. But that is really pushing it, only if I was able to sell this truck and honestly a really bad idea right now as we have been trying for over a year to get a house built. That looks to get me a 10-15 year old truck. Will that change my MPG? Should I be looking into something other than a truck? Is there something perfect I should be looking into instead? Do People haul with a 23 year old truck?

The other option is I give up on the trailer.
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Old 05-29-2020, 07:20 PM   #6
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Hi,

I'll add some here that hopefully can help you think through this. I just went through a somewhat similar situation, just I went about how to do this differently. We have a 16 year old (15 model year old) truck with 120K miles on it. It does every pulling need and weight carrying need we have, just it has a mid life of miles on it, some body and frame rust that needs to be dealt with and it is well, close to 16 years old. The cost to replace this truck with new is a lot of funds. I know in time that will come, but I wanted the ability to get another 5 dependable years out of it (another 100K miles out it) before new time comes.

The need is, cross country travel with a reliable tow vehicle that will not leave us in dire repair needs at the mercy of full shop costs days away from home. This distance is a lot more than yours, but the need is similar. Here is my post on the forum. Maintaining an older camper tow vehicle (pic heavy)

In my case, I have the ability to do my own work and a shop to do it in. To hire this level of work out at shop prices is not practical. I do not have a complete total yet in parts cost, but it is close to $5K by the time I will be done with it. Part of this is dealing with rust from living in the midwest with road salt winters. Your truck if it lived in AZ all it's life, may not have that issue. I feel good about my restoration project that I now have a reliable cross country tow vehicle for a lot less cost then new and or even a 3 to 5 year old one.

In your case, if you trust your mechanic and he says $2K will make the truck tow worthy, that is not a lot of work for parts and labor compared to anything you can buy used. I would not really trust getting a 3/4 ton tow vehicle with the engine size you have for anything less than $2K or even double or triple $2K, maybe even 5 times that. Getting a good sound ready to tow 3/4 ton truck with enough engine for your size camper is going to be in the $10 to $12K starting price and it may be 15 years old. $15K may buy you a well kept, well maintained vehicle from a private party on a year 2000 to 2003 ish 2500HD Chevy with 4 wheel drive and a 6.0 liter engine. Newer and the cost keeps going up and even then, is it tow ready or does it need all new fluid changes and other 100K mile replacements?

A question to the mechanic, if you spend the $2K, what truck life can you expect going forward with say, 3,000 towing miles per year? 1 year, 3 years, 5 years? Also a need is, what does the detail list call out? What I'm getting at, spending $2K on an older truck to get a reliable tow vehicle for 3,000 miles a year towing is not a lot in the big picture. But it also all depends on what that quote includes. Front end work can cost a good amount in parts. Then there is brakes, fluid changes throughout the truck that come into the ability to be good for towing etc.

I know the $2K may be a lot of money right now, ask the mechanic, does all the work need to be done at once or can part of it be now and then part of it 1,000 to 1,500 miles from now? What would the cost split be? This may help spread the cost but at the end of the year or early next, then you may have a reliable tow vehicle.

Mileage, in the big picture towing mileage is not going to change a lot. Maybe 2 to the most 4 mpg on a 5 year old 3/4 ton gas truck verses yours. It is just going to take fuel to tow a camper of your size. The newer truck may ride better, have more get up and go, but the fuel is not going to change a lot. Mine only gets 7 to 8.5 MPG towing, a brand new one is not going to get a lot more in large gasser engine. Maybe they hit 10mpg but, that is not a constant given large mountains and wind pulling my size camper.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mssunline View Post
So I can't just go out and buy a new truck. Besides the financial impossibility, even if I had disposable income, It also would also be stupid for me spend 50grand on a vehicle that will get bags of grain every 6 weeks and haul a trailer 5 hours 6 times a year.

The truck repair will be about 2grand. The mechanic is mostly pushing against it because the truck is 23 years old with 160k miles. He admitted that a 10 or 15 year old truck could leave as stranded just as fast as a 23 year old truck but says that a newer truck is... you know... newer. I've had it about 4 years. We don't do much with it. It's mostly just a work truck, and gets grain every 6 weeks. picks up a couch here and there. Moves my little 2 horse or an equipment trailer every once in a blue moon. It is not a daily driver. I take care of it but I don't know anything about it's life before we got it.

If I got a replacement I could spend MAYBE MAX 8-10g. But that is really pushing it, only if I was able to sell this truck and honestly a really bad idea right now as we have been trying for over a year to get a house built. That looks to get me a 10-15 year old truck. Will that change my MPG? Should I be looking into something other than a truck? Is there something perfect I should be looking into instead? Do People haul with a 23 year old truck?

The other option is I give up on the trailer.
I have a 1989 Ford Bronco II with 207,000 miles I pull a 19" Sunline with. You just don't get in a hurry. If you mechanic says 2k will fix it; why spend 8k on something you don't have any history with?

Dick
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Old 06-04-2020, 02:16 PM   #8
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I have a 2006 GMC Sierra 2500hd. It's been well maintained. Granted there is some rust since I live in the rust belt of Ohio. I tow with it every summer. Granted something can break but sometimes thing break on brand new vehicle. A few years ago I towed my T2553 to Florida and back. That's when the odometer broke 500,000. Still towing, mostly 1 to 2 he trips but I still do an upper Michigan run every year. Do what you feel comfortable with.
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