Taking the Plunge!

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Mike Goad

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Posts
307
I'm including some links related to trailers and tow vehicles at the end of this post.

After looking for several months now at both trailers and tow vehicles, we have taken the plunge on the truck. 

For various reasons, our choice in a tow vehicle is the General Motors 2500 truck (Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD or GMC Sierra 2500HD) with its Duromax diesel and 6 speed automatic transmission. 

I have friends that have relatively new Dodge (Ram 2500), Chevrolet, and Ford (F-250) diesel tow vehicles.  They all have good experiences with towing.  The guy with the Chevy seems to get better fuel economy and power. 

The bed of Ford and Dodge trucks in the four wheel drive versions sits higher than those of General Motors and will be more likely to require adjustment of the trailer wheels or springs to make sure it is level when connected to the truck and prevent extra hitch weight.

One good thing about the Ford truck is that it has an optional trailer brake controller, which the others do not have.

We are buying new, though we do not yet have it.  The dealer didn't quite have a vehicle that met our minimum requirements, so I asked if he could locate one for us.  Turned out that there was one that fit our desires at a dealership north of Nashville, Tennessee (We're in west-central Arkansas).

Now "new" doesn't mean MSRP sticker price and high payments.  I work for a company that supplies to GM, Ford and Dodge, so we got about 10% off MSRP for that.  The truck had been reduced in price $1500, and after payoff, the trade-in on the Avalanche was worth about 10% of the supplier cost as a down payment.  Combine that with a zero percent interest loan for 72 months and our monthly payment is going to be less than what the payment is for the Avalanche.

What are we getting?  Almost forgot until I was checking the preview.  It's a "Fire Red" 2006 GMC Sierra 2500 HD extended cab, with the Duromax diesel and Allison 6 speed transmission (Karen got to pick the color).  Options that that we were specifically looking for were mostly related to towing, such as manually extendable camping mirrors.

We're supposed to pick it up on Manday and Karen is already asking where I'm planning to go on the 4th.  It's almost a tradition that we take a long drive with every new vehicle. 

We plan to get our trailer sometime in the fall or winter.  I'm planning to take my 2007 vacation in March and April... and early retire April 30th.

Some towing info links that looked useful:

Towing a Trailer, Being Equipped for Safety - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, US DOT
Towing a trailer - US DOT
Towing Your Trailer Safely - California DMV
Trailer Towing Safety Pilot Training Course - EPA (Note: this one is for government employees and contractors, but there is a lot of useful information and definitions. 48 pages)
How to Tow a Trailer - Edmunds.com
Trailer Towing Q&A - Edmunds.com
Trailer Life Annual Towing Guides
 

John From Detroit

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Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
24,764
Location
Davison Michigan
RE: Ford v/s Chevy

I happen to beileve that when it comes to brakes you need the best, and in the trailer towing industry the best is Tekonsha Engineering (Currently the Prodgey if I've spelled the model right, I know I got Tekonsha right)

So if that is not the one Ford offers as an option.... Forget that difference.  Get the GM and get the Best!

And if you ever get to Teknosha.... I grew up at 3635 14 Mile Road
 

Carl L

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Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
The bed of Ford and Dodge trucks in the four wheel drive versions sits higher than those of General Motors and will be more likely to require adjustment of the trailer wheels or springs to make sure it is level when connected to the truck and prevent extra hitch weight.

That is true of 5th wheel trailers.  With travel trailers and other conventionally hitched towables, one simple buys an adjustable ball mount,  or in the case of Class I  and II hitches a stepped down drawbar, to accomodate the height of the 4WD frame.
 

Mike Goad

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Posts
307
Carl,

That is true of 5th wheel trailers.  With travel trailers and other conventionally hitched towables, one simple buys an adjustable ball mount,  or in the case of Class I  and II hitches a stepped down drawbar, to accomodate the height of the 4WD frame.

Thanks for the clarification.  That's exactly what I meant but didn't say. 

We are planning to buy a fifth wheel trailer.
 

N Smock

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Joined
Mar 9, 2005
Posts
246
Location
Long Branch, NJ
Mike


The GMC comes prewired for the brake controller if you get the tow package. GM provides a harness pig tail to plug into the block on the firewall after connecting the wires from the controller. I agree that the Prodigy controller is the best going.


Nelson
 

Mike Goad

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Posts
307
The GMC comes prewired for the brake controller if you get the tow package. GM provides a harness pig tail to plug into the block on the firewall after connecting the wires from the controller.

Nelson, thanks.

After you mentioned that, I remembered that the Avalanche had come with some kind of extra wiring connector.  Sure enough, when I checked it was a the pigtail you mentioned for the brake controller.

Then, of course, I couldn't remember what all was on the new truck!  We had to run into town to get a new chain for the chain saw and, while we were there, we swung by the dealership to see if the truck had come in.  They were closed, of course, but the truck was there and it had everything on it that we wanted, including the heavy duty towing package. 

(The only thing that it didn't have was running boards which Karen will need sometimes to climb into the truck.  Hopefully we'll be able to get them installed tomorrow and we'll be able to pick it up sometime in the afternoon, after we've waded through all of the paperwork, of course.)

Once we have the truck we'll have to get serious about the trailer!
 
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