The RV Forum Community

RVing message boards => Towing and towables => Topic started by: Graycat on September 06, 2017, 06:29:16 PM

Title: Is this the place to ask about tow vehicles?
Post by: Graycat on September 06, 2017, 06:29:16 PM
If not, I hope the moderators will move it to the appropriate forum.

We bought a 5th wheel and now have to replace our pickup.  We have been looking and have decided that a used 2500 diesel Chevy or GMC will best suit our towing needs and checkbook.  We have two questions.  1).  Does a diesel engine still outlast a gasoline engine, and by how much?  2) How many diesel miles are considered low mileage?

It seems that everything we've looked at in the 2010-2012 age range has over 200K miles on it.
Title: Re: Is this the place to ask about tow vehicles?
Post by: Tom on September 06, 2017, 06:33:54 PM
This place is fine. Diesel engines will last several times gas engines. I speak from boating experience, where gas engines need complete overhaul before the CAT techs think our diesel engines are broken in.
Title: Re: Is this the place to ask about tow vehicles?
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on September 06, 2017, 07:34:35 PM
A modern gas engine in a car or light truck should last 200k or more miles, and I would expect the light duty diesels in pick-ups to maybe go 2x that. However, you need to be aware that this refers to the time between rebuilds of the basic engine block, crankcase & pistons. There are many other moving parts in and on an engine and few of them last that long. I'm talking about water pumps, fuel pumps (injector pump of a diesel), fuel injectors (one per cylinder), starter, alternator, coolant fan, etc. You should expect to replace those well before the engine block wears out, and the component lifespan of those items is not any different on a diesel than on a gas engine.  You should also expect that the cooling system (radiator) will need work before the diesel engine is worn out.

One diesel repair that seems common in pick-up truck diesels is fuel injector replacement.  From what I hear/see here and from friends who own them, you can expect to replace injectors at least a couple times in the working life of a pick-up truck diesel.

Most owners/drivers lump all these things under "engine", cause if any of them fail, you are stranded until they are fixed.
Title: Re: Is this the place to ask about tow vehicles?
Post by: bailer6334 on September 07, 2017, 10:52:32 AM
Depending the size, weight, payload etc your 5th wheel is, you may require a diesel vs a gas engine.  Let us know the specs of your 5th wheel and we can give more accurate advice. Generally speaking a diesel engine is not broken in until around 50k miles.
Title: Re: Is this the place to ask about tow vehicles?
Post by: RVRAC on September 07, 2017, 12:34:07 PM
Make sure that the 2500 can handle a FW.  My son's 2500 diesel Silverado cannot handle most of the FWs.
Title: Re: Is this the place to ask about tow vehicles?
Post by: Dorian on September 07, 2017, 01:36:35 PM
Diesel is the way to go.  I'm actually looking at picking up a used 1999-2000 F-350 with the 7.3L Powerstroke.  Those engines are legendary and will easily do 500k.  The rest of the truck will rust away before the engine dies lol Cummins from certain years also have good reputations.

But, if you're looking for something newer that you'd like to keep a long time, the new F250's have the aluminum bodies, so it's lighter, and no rust.  My F-150 has the new aluminum body and it's much lighter than the old half-tons.  You can get a new F250 in the low 30k's (Canadian dollars).  Used are even cheaper.
Title: Re: Is this the place to ask about tow vehicles?
Post by: Tom on September 07, 2017, 05:49:01 PM
Many years ago, an acquaintance who owned a trucking company mentioned that he'd just bought a new tractor for his big rig (tractor/trailer) fleet, and received a 750,000 mile warranty. He added that he typically kept his trucks for 1.25M miles.
Title: Re: Is this the place to ask about tow vehicles?
Post by: grashley on September 07, 2017, 08:47:46 PM
A diesel is NOT required, but will get better fuel mileage and pull long hills much better than a gasser.  It is also a bit more expensive for routine maintenance.  And they cost $7K - $8K more.

Those miles sound high, but I have not shopped recently.  I would like something under 150K for that age, but a well maintained 200K diesel still has a lot of miles left in it.

What is the GVWR of your new FW?  It should be on a label on the left front of the camper.  That will determine how much truck you need.  As a general rule, 2500 pickups run into issues when GVWR exceeds about 12,000#  Here is why and how to see what you need.

A FW places about 20% of its weight on the truck via pin weight.  If you have a 12,000# Fw, this means 2400# pin wt.  Your tow vehicle MUST have the capacity (Payload) to carry this weight PLUS 200# for  FW hitch PLUS the weight of all passengers, pets, tools, firewood and other cargo carried in the truck.  While there are exceptions, many nicely equipped 2500 pickups will have a payload of around 2500#.

Moving up to a 3500 SRW will give you the same truck with a heavier suspension and higher truck GVWR and higher payload - by 1000# or more.  Used 3500 are about the same price as their 2500 cousins.
Title: Re: Is this the place to ask about tow vehicles?
Post by: supermanotorious on September 07, 2017, 09:16:57 PM
just to chime in, I will tell you my 2003 496ci 4x4 Chevrolet Avalanche 8.1L 2500 tows my 27' toy hauler of slightly under 12,000 lbs just OK, flat and downhill it's great, sometimes going uphill puts us at close to 4,000 RPMs and 40 MPH tops, not fun but better than periodically pulling over at the request of the tranny temp in my 2011 GMC Sierra 1500

obviously a newer 3/4 ton will have better compression, better performance for sure but that will fade over time, AND I am completely jealous of my old man's 2016 Sierra Denali diesel 2500 4x4 which could pull peace on earth without breaking a sweat