Do I need a Diesel?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

larryseals

Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2006
Posts
5
Location
Milford Ohio
I?m agonizing over the need to buy a new truck and could use some advice from someone with equipment similar to mine.  This Fall I traded my popup for a 2006 Jayco Feather EXP 23B with a Gross Vehicle Weight of 4950 lbs and a cargo capacity of 915 lbs for a total GVRW of about 6000lbs.  My tow vehicle is a 2002 Ford F-150 Supercab,  4X4, 5.4 liter V8,  3.55 axle ratio, rated for towing a loaded trailer weight of 7,500 lbs.  Towing the popup I averaged about 15 mpg on the highway.  After purchase I towed the new trailer to a nearby campground for a shakedown cruise, but have not had it on a long distance trip yet.  I live in Ohio and typically make 2 trips to Florida each year and another 6 to 8 trips each year to Lake Cumberland in Kentucky (4 hrs each  way).  I read in the Forum that the F-150 is not a great (stable) tow vehicle and am considering stepping up to a F-250 Diesel but I keep having 2nd thoughts.  Especially about the economics.  Any idea what I can expect in the way of gas mileage with my current truck and new trailer?8-9 mpg?  Will the mileage of the Diesel be in the 13-14 mpg range?  Is the 1500 lb cushion (difference between tow capacity and GVRW) enough to provide a safe ride?  Thanks for any and all comments.       
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,522
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
I read in the Forum that the F-150 is not a great (stable) tow vehicle and am considering stepping up to a F-250 Diesel but I keep having 2nd thoughts.

I'm sorry we gave you that impression. There is nothing "unstable" about an F150 as long as you live within its limits.  We recommend caution about them because it is a car-like vehicle but most owners tend to treat it as though it were a heavy duty truck. It's not - it's a car with a open back.  But if you stay 10% or more under the tow rating (and make sure you counted all the weight being carried/towed and not just the trailer dry weight), it is fine. At  6000 for your trailer (max load) and allowing another 500 for passengers and gear, you are edging up towards what I would consider its practical limits, but I would not consider it "unsafe", "unstable" or any words like that.

Will the mileage of the Diesel be in the 13-14 mpg range?
With that light a trailer I would expect the diesel to be in the 16-19 mpg range.  I don't know exactly what the mpg on the Ford 6.0L diesel would be without the trailer, but the diesel probably wouldn't even notice a 6000 lb trailer behind it.
 

N Smock

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 9, 2005
Posts
246
Location
Long Branch, NJ
The only reason the truck might be unstable, given the weights are within limits is you do not have a weight distributing hitch to place the tounge weight on all fours rather than the rear axel. I always get frighted when I see a van or truck towing a trailer headed down the highway with the nose up in the air, always try to get away as quick as possible.

Nelson
 

Jim Dick

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Posts
7,651
Location
Titusville, FL
Nelson,

My part time job at the RV dealership is orientation/PDI. Part of that job requires me to hook up the trailers for the customer so the weight distribution is correct. I really become frightened when I'm traveling down the highway and see a trailer nose to the road and the towing vehicle looking at the sky and THEY HAVE A WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION HITCH INSTALLED!!!!! :( Either the dealership never told them how to use it or they purchased used without any instructions.
 

digger490

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2006
Posts
5
We had an f150 and towed a 18ft Pioneer. It seemed like the truck would struggle towing more than it should. I traded for an 05 Dodge with a Cummins and I could not belive the difference. In my opinion I would go with a diesel if you could, I would alos advise you to test drive a Dodge before you buy. You will see why.
Shane
 

kbfeip

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Posts
148
Location
Discovery Bay, CA
I pondered this same thing for a very long time before I made my recent purchase of a Dodge 1500 Ram with Hemi.  I really wanted a "street truck" that would be comfortable and sporty when not towing.  I'm really glad I made the decision I did.

IMO the Hemi has plenty of engine output power to tow your trailer.  I tow a Z303 Zeppelin, and although we're absolute rookies at towing, we feel very confident with our setup after just one trip. 

If you didn't mind the stiffer suspension of a Ram 2500, then that might be an ever better selection with the Hemi.  I found it difficult to justify the added expense ($5500) of the diesel, especially given the higher cost of fuel.  Don't get me wrong, if you tow a monster 5'er or full time, get the Cummins hands down.  But for a weekender like me who wants a sport truck the majority of the time, the 1500/Hemi combo is great.
 

Ron

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Posts
18,082
Location
Home is where we park it
But for a weekender like me who wants a sport truck the majority of the time, the 1500/Hemi combo is great.

I guess I am wondering if your combination of the Dodge 1500 and your trailer is within the manufacturers weight limits.  If not is the money you saved on the 1500 vs the 2500 worth putting yourself and others safety in jeopardy?  If you are within the manufacturers weight limits thus being legal then all is well.
 

kbfeip

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Posts
148
Location
Discovery Bay, CA
I think all is well, at least so far anyway.

We beat the issue around quite a bit, (See my thread under "Lightweight Travel Trailer Purchase") and my conclusion is that as long as I'm careful about how much I load up with cargo, I'm within the 20" margin that "conservative Carl" wants to see.  ;D

No, I didn't gain his outright blessing....but think that I might make a friend anyway if I bring over a six pack.
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
No, I didn't gain his outright blessing....but think that I might make a friend anyway if I bring over a six pack.

Make that a bottle of Jack in the Black and I'll be right over.  ;D
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
This Fall I traded my popup for a 2006 Jayco Feather EXP 23B with a Gross Vehicle Weight of 4950 lbs and a cargo capacity of 915 lbs for a total GVRW of about 6000lbs.
 

Whoa Nellie!   You have those numbers all wrong.   The 23B EXP has a dry weight of 4035 lbs, a cargo capacity of 915 lbs, and a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 4950 lbs.   That is per the Jayco website.  THat GVWR rating is what counts for figuring the suitability of a tow vehicle.

Your F-150 has a tow rating of 7,500 lbs.   Your trailer's GVWR is only 66% of that. 

Your F-150 is an entirely appropriate tow vehicle for your trailer anywhere in North America.    That includes Colorado and the mountain passes of the west -- Florida is no sweat.   

Save your money  -- enjoy your F-150.


 

larryseals

Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2006
Posts
5
Location
Milford Ohio
Thanks Carl, and everyone else who replied.  My son's car finally died and he had been eyeballing my truck so I sold it to him and bought a Dodge 2500 SLT with the Cummings Diesel.  Gives me plenty of room to move up in RV size in the future and also made my son a "happy camper" (excuse the pun).  Can't wait to venture out and see some of those sights you guys have been talking about.

Thanks again!
 
Top Bottom