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Fishspike

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May 24, 2021
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Wi
We are getting ready to start RVing pulling a travel trailer. We have a 1500 Silverado but looking to upgrade to 2500. The word diesel keeps popping up in upgrading. I know opinions will be all over the place but just looking for some sage advice. The travel trailer will be approximately 30 over all. Just my wife and I. To diesel or not. I also tow a 4000 lbs Ranger boat so have trailered that quite a bit. Any opinions would be welcome.
thanks
 

edjunior

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Welcome Fishspike. First of all, we need weight, not length. You need the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of (GVWR) of the trailer. That's where we start. Some of this decision will be on where you intend tow? Mountains, flatlands, some combination thereof? Some part of the decision will be the maintenance of the truck (diesel is typically more to maintain). And then there there is a little personal choice also. The diesel is more powerful and better in the mountains. And there is also what you may do in the future. Many people when starting their RV life find that what they started with, just isn't enough. So they end up getting bigger. Which usually means heavier. Generally. So it's a lot more complicated than just the length of the trailer.
 

donn

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Run right past a 2500 and get a 3500. For a few dollars more up front you pretty much upgrade proof your RV. With a 2500 when you decide on more you will be limited. With a 3500 you could upgrade to a moderate size fifth wheel if you so choose.
Gas/diesel is a debate you have to make on your own. Gas motors are cheaper, but you will pay at the pump. Diesels are a lot more expensive, but save a lot at the pump. Diesels will pull much easier day in and day out.
 
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Fishspike

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Wi
Thanks for the info. These are the exact things I was looking for. Very much appreciated
 

steveblonde

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Run right past a 2500 and get a 3500. For a few dollars more up front you pretty much upgrade proof your RV. With a 2500 when you decide on more you will be limited. With a 3500 you could upgrade to a moderate size fifth wheel if you so choose.
Gas/diesel is a debate you have to make on your own. Gas motors are cheaper, but you will pay at the pump. Diesels are a lot more expensive, but save a lot at the pump. Diesels will pull much easier day in and day out.
Donn is on the money
 

IBTripping

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Virginia
this is what we are looking at
Dry weight6,350 lbs
Dry weight is useless in addressing what tow vehicle is needed. As edjunior noted, you need to know the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) which is the maximum weight of the trailer and contents.
 

donn

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Well with that trailer a 2500 gas motor would be just fine. But what happens in 2-3 years and you want a bigger trailer? You going to also trade your near new truck for a bigger truck too? Thats why I advocate for a 3500 SRW truck.
 

Aaron5er

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Sep 10, 2021
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NE Georgia
I started pulling 5th wheels in the late 80s with a gas burner, went to a diesel in the mid 90's and never went back.
Bought a new Ram 2500 SRW in 2004, put 300K miles on it.
In a new dually now and love it.
Diesels are towing machines.
It's hard to have too much truck and easy to have too much trailer.
 

Carbonation

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The gas/diesel debate has gone on since the internal combustion engine was designed.
Gas: cheaper (slightly) to maintain, more stops for fuel, less torque overall.
Diesel: Higher torque, (possible) higher maintenance, longer life, retains value.
If 7796 is your GVWR, a 2500 gas engine will do just fine.
You are going to have to think hard though about future wants and needs. If you think you'll ever go larger, (and most of us have), you may want to consider getting the tow vehicle out of the way now. Moving from a 2500 to a 3500 (or 250 to 350 for Ford nuts) is not much more spaced out over a trucks lifespan. And, if you are ever going bigger, moving to a dual wheel 3500 now can pay off in the long run.
In my experience, (not much, 27 years of towing and camping now) I've had a 1500 to tow our popup (great!) and moved to a 28 foot (OK). Moving to the 30, the 1500 didn't cut it at all, but a F250 was OK with the 5.4 Triton, except on grades. Then it screamed in low gears, and lost speed quickly. "Torque is what I need!" says me, and I jump in the diesel pool.
Towed that 30 with an F250 with ease.
Traded for a 33 Jayco, 9200 pounds, upgraded to a larger diesel in a 2016 F250 . Zero problems, I could drag the moon right next to the earth if I could get it hooked up.
Currently have a 21 F350 Dually to tow the new 40 foot 5'er at 18k, and again, I'm not hesitant to go anywhere. 475 HP, 1050 foot pounds of torque. Aluminum body, (no rust) and heavy duty options (springs, axle, etc).
You'll find similar specs in RAM and Chevy, with GM trailing the pack slightly on torque and HP specs. No matter, they do just fine, frankly the Powerstroke and Cummins are just overkill unless you are at towing capacity limits.
If you have maintenance done, the diesel will cost more. Oil changes are gallons, not quarts, diesel has a tendency to be bit more because of the trucking industry. DEF (dieseI exhaust fluid) will add about 20 dollars every 4000 miles. Diesel fuel adds to combat water and keep things clean add a couple dollars to every fillup. Brakes are more stout as you go up in class, but cost more to replace.
I get right at 13MPG towing the 18K, a gas engine would be killing me at less than 9MPG. IMO, though, in light of the awareness on environment, and switching to electric in many areas, diesel will continue to be available for trucking... there just is no substitute. Gas will slowly dwindle, and supply and demand says it will go no where but up in price.
Aeron 5'er is right on. Can't have too much truck, easy to have too much trailer.
Go drive a diesel, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
This is where we get to the "you can't have too much truck" discussion.

A 30 ft, 7700 lb travel trailer is at the outer limits of what you will want to tow with a half-ton (1500/F150) truck. And you will be happier towing it with a diesel engine than gas, though either one will do the job. So a 2500 or 3500 diesel would be ideal, at least technically. Whether you are willing to pay the extra price to get better towing performance and future flexibility is a different question.

Personally I like diesel trucks and see the upfront cost as the only reason NOT to have one.
 

Scott 3

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Jan 17, 2016
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If you think a 5th wheel could be in your future definitely go 350/3500. If not test drive a Ram 2500 and compare to the others. Intentionally go over speed bumps or rough roads. The coil springs in the Ram 2500 make the ride considerably nicer IMHO. I have the 6.4 gas and my pet peeve is the range when towing. My trailer is 29' and about 8-8.5k loaded. Depending upon towing conditions I get anywhere from 7.7 to 10/11 mpg with 8-9 more common. That means filling up between 160 and 200 miles on average. Diesels will give you more mpg and range as well as power. Diesels have higher up front costs and higher maintenance costs. Diesels seem to be plagued with DEF problems but I am no expert. Diesels can be problematic in extreme cold if that is a concern for you. We tend to explore remote areas even when not RVing and diesel at gas stations is not guaranteed although it seems like it is getting better.
 

steveblonde

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Diesels cost more to buy but sell at a higher value than gas, 350s can carry more weight in the box than 250s and like the deisel have a higher resale value. FORD is the best selling truck in the world forcthe last 40 yrs for a reason. RAM has 3 trucks on the 10 trucks to avoid list

Ford and Gm also have there share lol ( not picking on Rams) yes i am lol

Diesels DO NOT cost more to maintain - the services are more expensive but less frequent, but if the do brake yeah its gonna cost you BUT they are more reliable, diesel trucks usually have larger fuel tanks than gas trucks because they used more often for towing.
Payloads vary buy INDIVIDUAL trucks not brands check the door decal on EVERY truck you consider because PAYLOAD NOT TOWING CAPACITY is king. Deisel fuel is cheaper than gas most places and mileage is better and it goes on.
After 17 Chevs i now drive Fords after 10 trailers from popup tent trailers, to bumper pulls to 5th wheels. My advise plan for the future, and dont even bother with a 250/2500 of any brand, the cost of a 350 with the right payload capacity is so marginal over a sub par 250 its not worth looking at the 250s in todays market. A 350 will give you 1000 lbs more payload for less than $1000 on a $60,000 truck
 

jackiemac

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Scotland
We love our gas truck and it pulls our 10,000lb trailer very well. We get around 9mpg when towing.

We travel out West mostly and have managed without issue on the mountain roads. Worst was a 14% where we had to put truck into 4low for a short distance, but that is very unusual.

We did have to look around to get a good CCC on truck which is important as Steveblonde says.

If you are likely to move up to a longer trailer or 5th wheel, go for a bigger truck.
 

Carbonation

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May 30, 2021
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Midwest
If you think a 5th wheel could be in your future definitely go 350/3500. If not test drive a Ram 2500 and compare to the others. Intentionally go over speed bumps or rough roads. The coil springs in the Ram 2500 make the ride considerably nicer IMHO. I have the 6.4 gas and my pet peeve is the range when towing. My trailer is 29' and about 8-8.5k loaded. Depending upon towing conditions I get anywhere from 7.7 to 10/11 mpg with 8-9 more common. That means filling up between 160 and 200 miles on average. Diesels will give you more mpg and range as well as power. Diesels have higher up front costs and higher maintenance costs. Diesels seem to be plagued with DEF problems but I am no expert. Diesels can be problematic in extreme cold if that is a concern for you. We tend to explore remote areas even when not RVing and diesel at gas stations is not guaranteed although it seems like it is getting better.
There have been documented cases of DEF system failures, but if you drill down, many of those are operator error where you go through habits at the pump and not looking, add diesel to the DEF system. Or DEF to the diesel tank. The DEF/SCR/DPF/EPA emissions system has come a long way, and for the most part is very reliable. There have been a small percentage of heater system failures. Both GM and RAM use an external injector for regen, Ford injects diesel on the exhaust stroke, reducing oil life a small amount.
Diesels USED to be problems in cold. Really not so much anymore. There have been many times I've gone out in 10 degree weather, (or less) turned the key to warm the glow plugs, and the Powerstroke fires right off. Any newer diesel is so good at starting that block heaters have become an option. Ford only installs heaters from the factory when a cold weather kit is ordered like an Alaska or Canadian dealer would do. Now I do plan for cold snaps if I know I'm going to need the truck at some point. Fuel is doped with an add that keeps it from turning to gel, keeps slime from growing, and deals with water. And, proper oil for cold starts. Old diesels, especially mechanical fuel injection had some trouble in cold. Newer common rail diesels run extremely high fuel pressure, and multiple injector pulses during each combustion cycle for starting and running efficiency, and less noise. Most of the clatter found in old diesels is gone in the new engines. Bigger fuel tanks usually go hand in hand with towing beasts. My Ford has a 49 gallon tank. The sftermarket steps in for all trucks, and tanks can be huge... 60 gallons or more for better range.
Oil changes are more expensive, like I stated. The oil minder in the Ford ( if you follow it) will let you run anywhere from 7500 to 9000. Ford takes 13 (or so) quarts of oil. If you do it yourself, and shop the sales, an oil change will cost you about 50. A dealer will get 139. GM and Cummins can go a bit longer. GM is 10k, Cummins (if using approved oil) can go a whopping 15k miles on an oil change.
 

BoiseRules

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May 20, 2019
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89
Short-tripping is a large part of the problem with recent generation diesels. Keeping fresh DEF in the tank and long drives will keep the emission system clean & happy...
 

rbrdriver

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May 23, 2016
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309
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Visalia, CA
Another thing I like about diesels is the engine brake. Sure makes it nice when descending a long downgrade and not having to use your regular brakes all that much................
 

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