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Old 08-31-2016, 10:18 PM   #1
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Baton Rouge , Louisiana
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Tow Vehicle

Just took our first long trip in our new 1994 Excella 25' to the Grand Tetons.
My tow vehicle is a 2010 Tundra 5.7 L V8 with towing package.
Vehicle struggled in mountains.
Thinking of trading for a diesel truck and 4 wheel drive.
Will this make it easier?
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:04 AM   #2
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Depends on how it struggled, but in general yes.
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Old 09-01-2016, 05:06 AM   #3
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A diesel is a completely different animal. Our first TV was a Ford F150 5.4 It was OK until we got into the hills then it wasn't happy. After a couple of years we bought a F250 diesel. This thing didn't know the trailer was there. Fast forward 5 years and we just took delivery of a 2017 F250 diesel.
Its hard to describe but I find it more relaxing to drive a truck that effortlessly goes about its business.
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Old 09-01-2016, 06:12 AM   #4
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What is the weight of your Excella?

I just got back from a 6,000 mile trip out west (Tetons included) with my 28' Airstream. I thought the power was great the entire trip, minus Teton Pass (30mph @ top)which I had no business being on, 10% grade for 6 miles. My only white knuckled period was coming down Teton Pass where my brakes got hot.
If 381 HP and 410 torque is not enough for you and a 25', then maybe a deisel is best for you. I was hoping Toyota would get their deisel out soon, but it does not look good right now.
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Old 09-01-2016, 06:47 AM   #5
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You betcha, it will make the trips more enjoyable.
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Old 09-01-2016, 07:06 AM   #6
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Is it struggling in the mountains of Louisiana? That's the point, is it wise to spend big purchase and upkeep expenses for a vehicle to improve maybe 1% of its use. Four wheel drive has nothing to do with helping struggle, a little more weight to pull and stop.
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Old 09-01-2016, 08:02 AM   #7
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The simple answer to your question is YES.

We have two tow vehicles. A 2005 3/4 ton Suburban with the 6.0 liter gasoline engine and a 2001 Silverado 3500 with the Duramax Diesel engine. Both are four wheel drive.

We have had two 25FB Airstreams over the last ten years. Each weighed in at around 7,400# ready to camp.

We have traveled extensively (1,700+ nights/160,000 miles) all over the United States and Canada.

Our Airstreams have been towed by the Suburban about 100,000 miles. The Diesel Silverado has pulled the Airstreams about 60,000 miles.

Here is my long term evaluation of the gas vs. Diesel tow vehicle situation. I have always found the Suburban a very adequate tow vehicle for my Airstreams. The Suburban does struggle on long significant upgrades. There have been occasions where I was forced to get in the slow truck lane and plod along at 25 or 30 mph. On the downgrade side, there have been instances where I have experienced the "runaway train" syndrome which can become a little scary. My Diesel tow vehicle does not experience any of these negatives. My Diesel can accelerate up any grade not only towing the Airstream, but with a 3,200# truck camper in the bed. On the downgrade side, the Diesel exhaust brake eases my 19,000# payload down the hills with hardly applying the brakes.

To put all of this in perspective, each of us has to decide how their individual situation impacts the tow vehicle dilemma. Diesel tow vehicles are more expensive to buy and maintain. Gasoline tow vehicles are less expensive and usually make better daily drivers.

The bottom line is that the decision is up to you based upon your wants and needs and camping style.

Brian
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Old 09-12-2016, 10:43 PM   #8
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Think it all depends on what it's worth to you! I'd love a diesel truck but my 2010 Tundra is just fine for the three or four times per year I'll use it for towing my 5,000 lb trailer. We went to 8,000' in the Sierra this summer, did the engine rev? sure but it's a very high tech Toyota engine, let it rev. We could maintain 50 easily. If I were traveling all over full time, maybe I'd step up to a diesel then.
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Old 09-13-2016, 04:45 AM   #9
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There's a difference between "struggling" and "working as intended". If the engine was revving on an incline, but you're still getting up that incline at a reasonable speed, that's working as intended.
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