Need advice on best tow vehicle purchase

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ncpatriot65

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We're upgrading from a popup and mini-van to a 26 ft. Terry travel trailer (824Z Lite), so I need a bigger tow vehicle of course. The GVWR on the trailer is 5600# and Dry Weight is 3810#.  I have been considering several vehicles -- a Ford Explorer SUV, Explorer Sport Trac, and other SUVS. I like the features of the 2003 Sport Trac, but am wondering if the power is enough, in the typical V-6 in those. I hope I can avoid a tank-size SUV (like a Expedition) and gas guzzler. We usually travel in non-mountainous areas, mostly at the beach. Your suggestions are appreciated. Stability and safety concerns me more than power and speed.
 

Carl L

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That is a nice light unit so you should have a reasonable range of vehicles to choose from.    With a GVWR of 5600 lbs, go for a truck that has a tow rating of at least 6220 lbs.  If you would ever tow in the mountain or Pacific west, make that 7000 lbs.  Actually you should have no problems with finding a unit to tow the last number.  Use the Trailer Life Tow Ratings tables -- the 2007 table should be out in January, the 2006 on back tables are on their website in the Tech Section.

You will need a weight distributing Class IV hitch system and a anti-sway system like the Reese Dual Cam for lateral stability so include that add on cost factor in your search for a unit.

 

Shayne

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Son pulled with an Explorer V8 and ordered it strictly for towing    Did a great job until one morning not towing the Rear end decided it had ehough after the warranty was gone.  1300 bucks later  and then 18 months later it happened again    No longer has the unit.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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What do you think of the Dodge Durango or Ford Explorer (with a V-8)?

Check the tow ratings, not the brand name. Engine size, brakes, rear axle ratio, suspension, and frame stiffness all enter into the tow rating. It's not just an engine game.

In general, though, a bigger displacement engine (more liters or cubic inches) is better for towing, so most V8's and V10's will outperfrom and outlast V6's that are working hard to do the job. Unfortunately, the bigger displacement gas engine tends to get poorer fuel economy.

Personally I prefer a body-on-frame design rather than unit body (unibody) for a tow vehicle. A real chassis underneath is generally stronger than a unibody with respect to the stresses of trailering.
 

kbfeip

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The Dodge Hemi puts out significant power.  345 HP and 375 lb. ft. of torque.  If it's an SUV you're looking for, the Durango meets that need. 

The really cool feature with this engine is the MDS. (multi-displacement system)  At hwy speeds (or when not using significant HP) the engine shuts down to 4 cylinders in less than 4 milliseconds.  You absolutely cannot tell when this is happening, and it provides pretty impressive mileage.

My 2006 Dodge Ram got 19.5 MPG coming back from Los Angeles on I5 at 75 MPH.  (Carl, I promise I won't tow at this speed!)  In addition, Dodge is blowing out their 2006 with some pretty significant rebates/incentives.  I purchased my Ram 1500 4X2 Quad Cab Hemi with 20" OEM wheels for $19,995.  The MSRP was $31,305.  It's a lot of truck for the $, and less than what used were going for.

The dealer I purchased from had several hundred models left.  No hassle, bottom line pricing.
 

Carl L

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My 2006 Dodge Ram got 19.5 MPG coming back from Los Angeles on I5 at 75 MPH.  (Carl, I promise I won't tow at this speed!)  In addition, Dodge is blowing out their 2006 with some pretty significant rebates/incentives.  I purchased my Ram 1500 4X2 Quad Cab Hemi with 20" OEM wheels for $19,995.  The MSRP was $31,305.  It's a lot of truck for the $, and less than what used were going for.

I ain't your problem son.  The Highway Patrol is.  The speed limiit for towing anything is 55 in California.  That 75 would be a fat juicy ticket for the Bear in the Sky over the I-5 and a racing trailer is a easy make.
 

ncpatriot65

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kbfeip said:
I purchased my Ram 1500 4X2 Quad Cab Hemi with 20" OEM wheels for $19,995.  The MSRP was $31,305.  It's a lot of truck for the $, and less than what used were going for.

The dealer I purchased from had several hundred models left.  No hassle, bottom line pricing.

I heard about this blowout deal on Clark Howard's radio show a few weeks ago. Great idea! WHat setup did you get on the truck? Hemi? Tow pckg?
 

kbfeip

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Racing trailer!  I like that Carl!  ...maybe some racing stripes down the side...  8)

I purchased the Big Horn Package.  It comes with the Hemi, Quad Cab 1500 4 X 2, Satellite Radio w/ MP3 port, 3.92:1 axel, 5 speed auto, and 20" wheels, light Khaki color.  Beautiful truck!

$19,995 at Folsom Lake Dodge, and used trucks were selling for more.
 

ncpatriot65

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I'm searching for the same, but few are still available. Like the MDS in the Hemi. Much better value than the overpriced GM/Chevy trucks.
 

slpdave

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ncpatriot65 said:
We're upgrading from a popup and mini-van to a 26 ft. Terry travel trailer (824Z Lite), so I need a bigger tow vehicle of course. The GVWR on the trailer is 5600# and Dry Weight is 3810#.  I have been considering several vehicles -- a Ford Explorer SUV, Explorer Sport Trac, and other SUVS. I like the features of the 2003 Sport Trac, but am wondering if the power is enough, in the typical V-6 in those. I hope I can avoid a tank-size SUV (like a Expedition) and gas guzzler. We usually travel in non-mountainous areas, mostly at the beach. Your suggestions are appreciated. Stability and safety concerns me more than power and speed.

I drive a Ford Explorer 2000xlt and am a member over at www.explorerforum.com. explorerforum.com is a great forum group like rv forum is.

the Explorers are not rated for that kind of towing, your total tow=Vehicle plus camper plus you and your frinds family and stuff is the max weight your towing, it's not just the weight of the camper you need to worry about.  My explorer with a 4.0 litre SOHC can pull about 6500lbs. the vehicle eats 3000 of that, so the camper I was looking at was at max 3000 pounds.  If you go over the weight limit the drive train or tranny will fail.

you need something bigger than an Explorer.
 

Carl L

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the Explorers are not rated for that kind of towing, your total tow=Vehicle plus camper plus you and your frinds family and stuff is the max weight your towing, it's not just the weight of the camper you need to worry about.
 

Hate to disagree but that is not so.  Standard truck weight is not part of tow rating.  All trucks have a Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating GCVWR which combines truck + trailer weights.  The tow portion of that number is essentially the remainder after the weight of the specified vehicle + driver + full fuel tank is subtracted.  In using the tow ratings in the tables you need make only two corrections.  The first is altitude for normally aspirated engines.  The other is for truck payload beyond driver + fuel.    To account for excess truck payloads I like to give a 10% reduction in tow ratings but if you want to calculate the weights of families and their junque go ahead -- I'm lazy.

There are explorers capable of pulling ncpatriout's trailer.  In the Trailer Life 2007 tables, most of the 4.6L V8 units are with tow ratings in the 7000s.  None of the 4.0L are tho with their ratings in the low 5000s.
 

slpdave

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Carl Lundquist said:
 

Hate to disagree but that is not so.   Standard truck weight is not part of tow rating.   All trucks have a Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating GCVWR which combines truck + trailer weights.   The tow portion of that number is essentially the remainder after the weight of the specified vehicle + driver + full fuel tank is subtracted.   In using the tow ratings in the tables you need make only two corrections.   The first is altitude for normally aspirated engines.   The other is for truck payload beyond driver + fuel.    To account for excess truck payloads I like to give a 10% reduction in tow ratings but if you want to calculate the weights of families and their junque go ahead -- I'm lazy.

There are explorers capable of pulling ncpatriout's trailer.  In the Trailer Life 2007 tables, most of the 4.6L V8 units are with tow ratings in the 7000s.   None of the 4.0L are tho with their ratings in the low 5000s.

I digress, I was refering to 4.0Litre SOHC which is a V6 with either a 5r55e or a 4rsomthingorother transmission. I apologize for not being more clear.
 

mountainman

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Shayne said:
Son pulled with an Explorer V8 and ordered it strictly for towing    Did a great job until one morning not towing the Rear end decided it had ehough after the warranty was gone.   1300 bucks later  and then 18 months later it happened again    No longer has the unit.

Blowing a transmission towing with a 1/2 rated vehicle is not that unusual.  I have had both a 1999 Tahoe with a 5.3ci  373.1 and an earlier model Suburban which I towed light weight trailers  and dropped the transmissions on both of them.  The 1/2 tons in the GM trucks are really not up to the task for long term towing.
 

kbfeip

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Are the transmissions different between 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton models?

I understand that suspensions, axles, brakes, etc. may differ, but trannies?

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Depends on the powertrain, not the size of the vehicle. A 3/4 ton diesel has a different engine and tranny than a 1/2 ton gas, but if the two trucks both had the same engine, they would also have the same tranny.
 

kbfeip

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As I suspected.  When making the comparison, and in asking the question, I was referring to a model with the same gas engine.

I suspect that the difference between 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton models alone is not sufficient to target a failure of a particular component.  Some 1/2 ton gas models have more substantial powertrain components and as a result, higher torque output than others.

I also believe that if selected carefully, a 1/2 ton truck can do the job if tow limits are heeded.

 

Shayne

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JMHO   Forget the trailer and truck   Get a class A and a decent toad  You'll be 300 percent better off and more comfortable.  Any half ton is stricly a pleasure vehicle and not made for towing anything.  Sold them for years and the public just will not believe they will tear them up hauling.  If you have pleanty of money buy one, but buy another half dozen so you have one to drive while the others are being repaired.  Not only is the chassis too lite but so is the Tranny and the Brakes.  Nothing you can do to improve either.  Everyone in here has given the reasons not too but if you are that determined to defy logic,  go ahead and use the halfer and pay the consequences.  Many of us have been there and done that.  That's the reason we say NO  JMHO
 

Lowell

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Shayne,  I've owned a number 1/2 ton pickups of different makes  and put over 100,000 miles on each of them and didn't have problems,  When you make comments lsuch as the following you lose credibility:
Shayne said:
Any half ton is stricly a pleasure vehicle and not made for towing anything.  Sold them for years and the public just will not believe they will tear them up hauling.  

But then if you were a salesman, maybe that explaines your wild comment.
;D Lowell
 
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