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RVing message boards => Newcomers' Corner => Topic started by: Bobbyg on February 03, 2018, 09:58:51 PM

Title: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Bobbyg on February 03, 2018, 09:58:51 PM
We are thinking of purchasing a Dodge Durango Limited 6 cylinder SUV.  The recommendation has been to look for GVWR of 7200 lbs. for our trailer.  The Durango seems to meet those needs.  Any thoughts from the group would be appreciated? 6 cylinders enough, or should we go for an 8 cylinder?  We plan on some lengthy trips around the country.
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: donn on February 03, 2018, 10:01:25 PM
Get the V8.  The y simply will not move the load at any reasonably comfortable speeds
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: 2kGeorgieBoy on February 03, 2018, 11:16:18 PM
Just remember to look here for advice, as you have done. Don't rely/trust the dealer to give you the straight story.  Their mission in life is to sell cars/trucks. PERIOD!
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Arch Hoagland on February 03, 2018, 11:29:45 PM
What kind of trailer do you have, how big is it and how much does it weigh?

Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Bobbyg on February 04, 2018, 07:31:20 AM
Our trailer is a Coachmen Apex 215RBK.  It is 25 ft long and the GVWR is 6500 lbs.  The actual trailer weight is 4325 lbs. An earlier forum recommendation was for a tow rating on the tow vehicle of 7200 lbs as a minimum. 
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: steveblonde on February 04, 2018, 08:57:11 AM
I would look at a Yukon or Tahoe or even a Suburban new or used sorry but the Durango does not have the greatest of reputations
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on February 04, 2018, 09:15:22 AM
Yeah, I would say that a 7200 lb tow capacity was the minimum for towing that trailer, and that assumes a modest size (weight) family in the SUV.

A Durango with the V6 won't be rated that high - Dodge towing charts show that it maxes out at 6200. You need the 5.7L V8 models to  get to 7200 or the 6,4L for 8700 lbs. Typically, SUVs are noticeably stressed in ride & handling when loaded to their max limits.

Dodge Towing (from their website):
https://www.dodge.com/en/towing_payload/2016/ (https://www.dodge.com/en/towing_payload/2016/)
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: chaosfamily on February 04, 2018, 07:11:01 PM
We had a 2002 Durango.  It served us well, but even with the 4.7 V8, itís towing ability was modest.  If you keep vehicles, I will say look at most 10yesr old Durangoís around.  They all have the same rust patterns on the tail gates, front fenders and doors.
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: mn blue skies II on February 05, 2018, 09:09:39 AM
We had a 2008 durango with the small v-8 pulling a 21 foot North Trail.  Was adequate here in the flat Midwest but struggled on long hills,  Might have been ok with the hemi but I do not know for sure.  Upgraded to Ram 1500   
hemi before our trip to Yellowstone and it handled to grades with out any problems.  Other things matter other than engine size. frame, transmission, gear ratio are also important.  Unless you need the third seat I would look at a pickup,  as nice an interior not much bigger and with a cap looks as nice. 
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: steelmooch on February 09, 2018, 08:54:38 AM
We found ourselves in a similar situation...not sure about your experiences or feelings about used vehicles, but the $70K+ stickers on new Suburbans and the like turned us toward other options pretty quickly. 

We ended up with a full-size van...V8..."passenger" version so it's nice for touring and travel...8500 lb tow rating...has held its own during PA winters with sensible driving and decent snow tires on it...for 1/2 the price of the 4x4 SUVs...new. 

Might be worth checking out.  Now that we've taken the van on a 3,000 mile travel trailer trip, I really can't see us taking such a trip in any other type of vehicle. 

Good luck! 
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Bobbyg on February 09, 2018, 08:12:43 PM
Thanks for all the advice.  I have started looking at trucks.  A van had not occurred to me.  I will definitely check that option out. This is a real shift in my vehicle outlook.  We are definitely looking used.  Many are fleet vehicles.  Good or bad?  I am thinking good because it would have been well cared for.  But bad also because the operators may have beaten it up.  Any thoughts on that?
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: RedandSilver on February 10, 2018, 08:06:22 AM
I would pass on fleet vehicles.
Not only do you not know how they were driven (as with any used vehicle) but I think most
have been abused because so many different drivers have used it.  Many have a different mindset
when it isn't theirs and they are paying to drive it.

Then there is the issue that fleet vehicles often are different from ones sent to dealers.
Some is they are not loaded with as many options to keep costs down but unseen things are also
not the same - maybe less insulation or other electronics are deleted to reduce costs.  Some don't
include a jack - things like that.  There are little differences that most wouldn't notice especially when buying one.


Find someone that is upgrading to a bigger truck because they now have a 5th wheel.

Take your time - there's one out there for you it just takes time to find it.
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: steveblonde on February 10, 2018, 10:27:40 AM
If looking at Fleet vehicles look at the higher trim levels ie Chev LTZ execs often lease fleet vehicles and look after them the base model units are often used and abused by the grunts lol - my buddy leases high end trucks and they most often come back prestine the base models not so much
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Kemo on February 12, 2018, 04:22:30 AM
Ok after reading this thread I'm thinking I made the right choice to go with my F350 SuperDuty to pull my Montana FW.  Good stuff on the forum.
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Bobbyg on April 08, 2018, 08:17:32 PM
Okay so we finally chose the tow vehicle.  A 2015 Chevy Silverado V8 4x4 crew cab LT pickup.  It has much of what we wanted.  One missing item is the electronic break controller on the dash.  I am thinking I should add that.  From the reading I have done it seems important for safety.  What does the group think?
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Larry N. on April 08, 2018, 08:30:54 PM
Without the brake controller you can't operate the trailer's brakes. So yes, add a controller -- you need it for safety, as well as for legal reasons.
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: butchiiii on April 08, 2018, 09:55:10 PM
Ok after reading this thread I'm thinking I made the right choice to go with my F350 SuperDuty to pull my Montana FW.  Good stuff on the forum.

Hi Kemo,
How do you like your Montana 5er. Did you get a DRW or SRW truck to tow it with? Curious as we are researching the
Montana 3731 and the Ram 1 ton trucks. Any insight you can give would be greatly appreciated. TIA
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Oldgator73 on April 09, 2018, 06:51:50 AM
We found ourselves in a similar situation...not sure about your experiences or feelings about used vehicles, but the $70K+ stickers on new Suburbans and the like turned us toward other options pretty quickly. 

We ended up with a full-size van...V8..."passenger" version so it's nice for touring and travel...8500 lb tow rating...has held its own during PA winters with sensible driving and decent snow tires on it...for 1/2 the price of the 4x4 SUVs...new. 

Might be worth checking out.  Now that we've taken the van on a 3,000 mile travel trailer trip, I really can't see us taking such a trip in any other type of vehicle. 

Good luck!

We are looking at purchasing a larger TT next year. Maybe an Outdoor RV or Lance. We will also need a different tow vehicle. Looking at Chevy/GMC 3/4 or 1 ton cargo van. I have built and priced online and a fully loaded, 6.1L, heavy duty tow package, all the bells and whistles comes just shy of $35k. The payload was a bit over 4,000lbs and tow rating of 10,000. We think the van will be more versatile and comfortable than a truck. We will order it w/o rear seats and equip as we see fit.
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Senator on April 09, 2018, 07:26:45 AM
I would get larger than you need.  You will want the power for climbing hills, or even the extra braking power.

Get a 3/4 ton pickup, or larger.  Since a 1-ton truck is (nearly) the same price as a 1/2 ton, get the 1-ton.
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Bobbyg on April 12, 2018, 08:16:50 PM
This weekend marks2 weeks with the new truck.  I am embarrassed to admit I am failing parking in this big ass truck, or as my wife says BAT.   It is the largest vehicle I have ever driven.  Each attempt to park is a new adventure.  Those lines just wonít stay put.  I will never ever complain about a poorly parked pickup again.  And I apologize to all who will have to wait while I pull in and out to get the truck parked right.  It is clear that choice of spot is the most important factor in parking success.  I am getting better.  One recommendation was backing in, if your truck has a backup camera, that helps.  And you can use the side mirrors to see the lines. 

Does anyone have other tips?
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: msw3113 on April 13, 2018, 05:25:05 AM
I hear you loud and clear.  Ours is also the largest vehicle I ever have driven, and parking is a challenge.  We try to look at the bright side: we're getting more walking exercise because we tend to park 'way back in the far reaches of any parking lot.  Where we also find other large vehicles.

Our outside mirrors have a remotely-movable top section and a fixed convex bottom section.  I've learned to aim the bottom sections a bit lower so that I can see the ground; the upper sections let me watch the body and the trailer.

We also suspect that parking spots are shrinking in size. 
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Dreamsend on April 13, 2018, 05:58:25 AM
I am embarrassed to admit I am failing parking in this big ass truck, or as my wife says BAT.   It is the largest vehicle I have ever driven.  Each attempt to park is a new adventure.  Those lines just wonít stay put.   Does anyone have other tips?

I also have a BAT and it is super tall also. The 5- way cameras are the only thing that saves me when parking.  I use the cameras to put the truck between the lines, to see how close I am to another vehicle parked in the spot in front of me, and when backing out to determine if my turning radius will clear vehicles parked next to me.  There is absolutely no way I could know how to maneuver parking without the cameras.  I've come to think that this is the reason for the cameras--they are not just a toy, but are a necessity for maneuvering because those huge hoods block views of the ground.
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Oldgator73 on April 13, 2018, 06:57:38 AM
I can parallel park a truck with trailer but I cannot put any car/truck straight inside the lines of a parking space. I can back a 5th wheel or TT into a parking place with no problems.
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Larry N. on April 13, 2018, 08:19:21 AM
A pickup (especially a crew cab) is long enough that many parking areas don't have quite enough space for you to swing wide enough to get the rear wheels nearly to the first parking line before turning into the parking spot, thus the rear wheels don't have room to get straight behind the front ones without some jockeying. So you're not completely alone in this. It's a similar principle to that on a motorhome, except the length you compensate for isn't as long.  It also doesn't help that so many vehicles today have angled lines on the hood, throwing off you judgement of "straight."
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: vinceherman on April 13, 2018, 03:28:10 PM
Parking gets easier with practice.  I frequently make a 3 point (or 5 point) turn in tighter lots.
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Bobbyg on April 14, 2018, 09:04:01 PM
Thanks for the reassurance that I am not alone in parking problems.   I will continue to practice.  Next up is hooking up and trying to move the trailer. The hooking up is my new stumbling point.  When we purchased the trailer, the previous owner offered to tow it to where I was going to store it.  He unhooked it, handing me the pieces as they came off.  I should have taken pictures as he did it, but of course I did not.  I have watched several videos and hope it is as easy and straight forward as they make it seem.  Presuming I get it hitched correctly, what should I check before I pull away?  Breaks, lights, turn signals, anything else?  First trip will just be a few miles to our driveway.  Any pointers would be appreciated. 
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: viceprice on April 14, 2018, 10:09:39 PM
Take wide turns - especially the right hand turns.  The wheels of the trailer will track in a shorter radius when turning and there are often poles and signs near the edge of the road on the right side at intersections that are easy to hit/scrape. Left turns can also be problematic but it easier to see the left side in the mirrors and sometimes by looking back over your should and/or out the driver's window.

Sometimes you need to take up some of the lane to the left to make the right turn - I straddle the line and take enough of the right lane also so no one comes in on my right and gets pinched as I am making the turn.   Take a look at at these types of situations as you are casually driving without your trainer - it helps increase awareness and starts the muscle memory. Watch tractor trailers maneuver through intersections and traffic. A walkie-talkie and a spotter outside should be considered if in tight situations - there is no honor in trying to be over-confident and then end up with damage!  I have found other drivers to be very understanding and will give room in these tight situations.  Look up some You Tube videos on this topic - I bet there are some.
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Dreamsend on April 14, 2018, 10:53:15 PM
Presuming I get it hitched correctly, what should I check before I pull away?  Breaks, lights, turn signals, anything else?  First trip will just be a few miles to our driveway.  Any pointers would be appreciated.

When you are logged into the Forum, look at the line of links above the advertizing.  Click on the tab labeled Library and then click "Checklists".  You will find several articles that enumerate procedures for both TT arrival and departure at parking locations.  They pretty much list everything, or you can use them to make your own.  You'll also find many more relevent articles in the Library that are useful for us newbies and looking at them may save you a couple Goggle searches..
Title: Re: Tow vehicle decisions
Post by: Bobbyg on April 15, 2018, 11:08:13 AM
Thanks Vice Price.  All good suggestions.  I will let all know how this goes.