Hi Fellas... I need some good tow vehicle advice!

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CandyNelson

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Aug 19, 2006
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Hello friends...

I am purchasing a 31' Northwood Arctic Fox travel trailer with a maximum towing capacity of 11,700 lbs. I am adding on a Hensley Arrow hitch.

I'd like to purchase the best 2007 gasoline pickup truck I can. The vehicle will be used 70% of the time for town non-towing travel and 30% of the time for towing to my next location.

While I know diesel pickups are touted to pull better... they are too loud, provide more vibration, have some odor, not all gas stations carry diesel, they are higher in maintenance costs, have a higher cost of gas per gallon, and I am concerned about any unknown 2007 low sulfer diesel gas change-over issues. So for now diesel is off the table. Gasoline it is!

Unless anyone knows of a better selection I have narrowed my choices down to the following gasoline tow vehicles:

FORD F350 XLT
6.8 V10 automatic
4x4
regular cab
8' box
single rear wheels
4.30 limited slip

or the....

GMC 2500 or 3500 SLE (not sure on the difference yet)
8.1 V8 automatic
4x4
regular cab
8' box
single rear wheels
(unknown) limited slip

Can you please give your opinion as to which one might tow better, be more reliable and perform better for my needs?

Thank you all! See you on the road.... Candy Nelson
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Why Candy, I think you may be prejudiced against diesels!  ;)  Seriously, a diesel will give you better fuel economy than that V10 (towing or around town), especially with that 4.30 axle.  That should easily compensate for the per gallon price difference. And diesel is not at all hard to find.  However, I'll agree the 2007 low sulphur fuel issue is a bit worrisome at this time.

The 2006 Ford Towing Guide shows a maximum trailer weight of 12,500 lbs for a regular cab F350 V10 with SRW.  That's really insufficient for the size trailer you are looking at, so you should go for DRW (dual wheels), which ups the rating to 15,000 lbs.  Those max trailer weight numbers are generally a fiction, becasue they apply only to an empty tow vehicle (driver and fuel only) and nobody travels that way.  Even the weight of the hitch itself has to be subtracted from the max tow number, so the 12,500 is in reality more like 11,500-12,000 right from the get-go. On top of that, we recommend at least a 10% margin with gas engines and as much as a 20% margin if you will tow in the steep western mountain areas).  Adding in that safety & performance marin puts the F350 SRW into the seriously shortfall category. Even the DRW is barely OK if you have to allow a 20% margin.

The GM/Chevy 2500 is equivalent to a Ford F250; the 3500 is equivalent to an F350. Therefore you need to be looking at 3500's. But a regular cab 3500 with 8.1L engine and 4.10 axle is rated at a max of 12,000 lbs, so it falls even more short than the F350 above.




 

Carl L

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Candy,

That is one big TT!  ::)

Using the 2006 Trailer Life tables I see nothing in the GMC line that could handle it, period.  For the mountain and Pacific west you would need a tow rating of at least 14,500 lbs.  The big gasser or the 6.0L TD Ford F-350s can do the job with the proper rear end.  Tho I drive a gasser myself, with that trailer I would opt for the diesel -- better torque characteristics and altitude handling with a blown engine.    You will need some sort of engine brake tho for those 10 mile downgrades.

The Hensley is a wise choice for your rig, but be sure that your receiver is a Class V.
 

Alaskansnowbirds

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Camp Verde, AZ
Carl,

And Candy, this isn't aimed at you just a question I have. But you're welcome to add your comments.

I've never owned a 5er or TT so have never looked for a truck to pull one. That said, for education I read most of the posts from people asking questions about them. One trend that I see, that I don't understand, is why the majority of folks looking for a truck want a 4X4. Unless they will be traveling in snow or using the truck where there is a lot of mud I don't see the need for a 4X4. They cost more, there is more maintenance, they get poorer fuel mileage, they're heavier so that subtracts from their towing capacity. I don't understand the reasoning.

Your thoughts?

Hi to Cindy.
 

Carl L

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Alaskansnowbirds said:
Carl,

I've never owned a 5er or TT so have never looked for a truck to pull one. That said, for education I read most of the posts from people asking questions about them. One trend that I see, that I don't understand, is why the majority of folks looking for a truck want a 4X4. Unless they will be traveling in snow or using the truck where there is a lot of mud I don't see the need for a 4X4. They cost more, there is more maintenance, they get poorer fuel mileage, they're heavier so that subtracts from their towing capacity. I don't understand the reasoning.

Your thoughts?

Hi to Cindy.

I live in the SW USA.  Have a 4WD truck pulling TT.  It is a Ford Bronco.  I bought the Bronc for back country desert exploration and have used it for that for the past 10 years.  Its tow rating (6600 lbs) allows a lightweight TT.

Other than that the only reason for a 4WD would be possibly in snow country.  But then I am not in snow country so what do I know.    ::)
 

N Smock

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Long Branch, NJ
Carl

I live in the East (Jersey), I have a 4X4. My reason was several campground here are grass and of course when grass gets wet it gets slippery. Usually it's my luck to have the rain vist me. Sometimes it's difficult to get a heavy load moving on the wet grass. The other benefit is that when it snows I don't need to plow the drive. :)

Nelson
 

Lowell

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I have a 4x4 because I use it to go elk and deer hunting.  Some of those hunts take me back on forest roads in winter weather.  In general, 4X4s don't require more maintenance than a 2x4.  4x4s do lose 1-2 mpg due to the additional weight carried for the 4 wheel drive equipment.
 

Carl L

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N Smock said:
Carl

I live in the East (Jersey), I have a 4X4. My reason was several campground here are grass and of course when grass gets wet it gets slippery. Usually it's my luck to have the rain vist me. Sometimes it's difficult to get a heavy load moving on the wet grass. The other benefit is that when it snows I don't need to plow the drive. :)

Nelson

I can dig it.  However, I would be careful about towing with 4WD engaged.  The transfer case on my truck is a chain drive.  I have no idea what the tow rating of that chain is when engaged in turning the front axle.   

Any of our 4WD gurus around here have an idea?  ???
 

N Smock

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Long Branch, NJ
Carl


The transfer case on my GMC is the part time variety not the full time like the old Jeep quadra track (Grand Wagoneer, nice truck, gas hog). That said I only run the 4X4 when there is slippage for the wheels to unload the tension in the transfer case. As soon as the load is moving and on solid ground I diengage the transfer case. I understand your concern for the chain tension under heavy load.

Nelson

 

2006F350

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If you are conserned about the ultra-low sulfer diesel, why not look for an '06. They are about as on-sale as can be as the dealers are trying to get rid of the them for the '07's that they are receiving. Here in Memphis, they have an '06 F350 Crew Cab 8' Box, DRW King Ranch FX4 with a $3000 discount (ya, but it's $51K before hand) which is just about where my '06 was when I got it last fall (but more off with the price wars that the big 3 had going). I pay about the same as the mid-grade gas at Exxon for cost, but when towing, I'll get better milage that a V10 (I get 12.2MPG towing a 37' Everest 5w - 13,000 Empty). Sure the maintenance is higher, but personally, I don't think it that bad.

Larry
 

jamesnaddie

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Location
College Station, TX
I had a 2002 Suburban with the 8.1 that used oil from the first day.  GM has service bulletins on the problem but nothing worked and I traded it for a 2004 Chevy Diesel 2500HD. Its got 60,000 miles on it and has never been back to the dealer except for a fuel filter change (free).  Its much better than the 8.1 gas engine was and get 50% better mileage loaded and unloaded.  I pull a 29 foot toybox bumper pull and it is a great package.  That said I'm moving up to a diesel pusher motorhome.
 

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