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Old 05-03-2013, 02:55 PM   #1
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Tow Vehicles

What vehicle is best for towing a 30ft A/S?

A 3/4 ton pickup (F250 or Chevy 2500) has the towing capacity -

1- Gas or more recent model diesel? The newer diesels are very quiet - is their better mpg, better durability (assumed) and higher torque justify the higher price (+ $7500)? Will be on the road pretty much fulltime - 10K miles/year or so. Many of the used units I've seen have lots of miles on them - 150K +; how many miles is too much?

2- 2 or 4 wheel drive? Some I've talked to think the 4x4 is worth the mileage hit, higher cost and harder ride while others say you don't need it unless you're going seriously off road. And the Ford and Dodge 4x4 are solid front axle, which I've been told effects tire wear.

3- Brand - recent Ford, Chev/GMC or Dodge.

Thanks
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Old 05-03-2013, 03:31 PM   #2
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We have towed with a 2500 Dodge Diesel 4x4 for the last 6 years and love it. But as we age we have some issues. The 4x4 is very high to get in and out of. I have used the 4x4 once towing and a couple of times solo. It is comforting to know it is there because a pickup with strong springs and a heavy front can get stuck on dew when not towing. It rides very stiff on bad roads. Smooth on a smooth highway though. We have driven the truck 113000 miles in 6 years with probably 40000 or more of that towing. I think the diesel has paid for the difference in fuel costs. We changed tires at 55000 and 110000. They still had a fair thickness of tread left and perfectly uniform wear both times. First time I got a screw in one. Second time I was just ready and saw a sale. We got our truck at a good price. I was looking at a ford gas 2500 when I found the diesel discounted. I do not think we could have gotten a gas truck much cheaper at that time. Now the diesels seem to be at a real premium. I towed a little with a 150 before we bought the diesel. The 150 got 9-11 towing and 15 running empty. It shifted down a lot and we went up hills slow. The diesel gets 15 towing and 19 or so just driving. I can make it get 21 or 22 on the highway not towing but I do not like to go that slow. New trucks will probably get less than that. I am sorta hooked on the diesel.
I have a friend who is head of a equipment company and that knows trucks and he bought a 2 wheel drive gas 3/4 ton to pull his 28 footer because he did not think the diesel and the 4 wheel added anything for him. He loves his truck too. He upgraded from a 1/2 ton. I knew we were going to log a lot of miles quick when we got ours. First trip was to Alaska. Resale on the diesel trucks looks pretty good right now. That is bad if you are buying one. I think that trend will hold for a while. The truck was the first new vehicle we had bought in 45 years. I was just afraid to buy a used diesel.
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Old 05-03-2013, 03:35 PM   #3
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Don't rule out an SUV unless you need the pickup bed. With the correct hitch an SUV will readily do the job while offering better comfort and maneuverability both hitched and unhitched. See my avatar and do a search on "withidl" for more info.
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Old 06-01-2013, 04:08 PM   #4
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Nothing will pull a load like a diesel period.The diesel will cost more up front but the resale is also much better at resale time.4wd is my preference and allows me to camp where I want.
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Old 06-01-2013, 04:32 PM   #5
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I have a 2012 Chevy 2500HD 6.0 gas engine, 4X4 crew cab. I have owned three new 3/4 ton trucks and have thought long and hard about buying a diesel each time I bought a 3/4 ton truck. I own a boat with a diesel engine but have never owned a truck with a diesel engine.

For my use the 3/4 ton 4X4 makes sense. I use the 4X4 on a regular basis for normal transportation activities. I really like the huge brakes on the 3/4 ton trucks and have been glad to have the big brakes when my trailer brakes failed on me once.

My logic for not buying a diesel:
-Up front cost is considerable
-Clean air equipment on newer trucks has nearly canceled the mpg advantage of the diesel.
-Diesel fuel is more expensive per gallon in most states
-Routine maintenance, filters & oil and urea costs more than routine maintenance on a gas engine.
-Diesel fuel is not available at all service stations
-Gas engine has plenty of power and torque for my purposes

Diesel truck owners may have some different perspective to share with you about my logic for not buying a diesel.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:31 PM   #6
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We have pulled Lucy (25FB/7,400#) well over 100,000 miles now in all of the lower 48 states. Most of that has been with two different 3/4 ton Suburbans, both with the 6.0 liter gasoline engine. The towing experience with these tow vehicles has been satisfactory, even though significant hill climbs were somewhat sluggish.

In 2011 we decided that we needed a pop-up truck camper to enhance our camping experience, and allow us to venture into the back country for several days at a time. As our new truck camper weighs 3,000# and Lucy still had to be towed, we purchased a one ton long bed Silverado. Since we would be carrying/towing well over 10,000#, we felt that the Dmax was an absolute necessity. Our whole rig including the truck weighs in at 19,000+ pounds.

The new truck has now covered about 45,000 miles, virtually all of it with the truck camper on board and about half of that also towing the Airstream.

The diesel is most impressive. It is head and shoulders above the gasoline engines. I can now accelerate on 7% grades where the 3/4 ton Suburbans struggled to maintain 55 mph. The diesel's engine braking also makes down grades much more manageable. I don't miss that "runaway train" feeling that I sometimes experienced with the gas Suburbans.

The bottom line is that I am now a diesel aficionado. I doubt that I will ever own another gasoline powered tow vehicle.

Brian
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:01 PM   #7
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A gasoline tow vehicle will get the job done for less money. Diesels are more expensive to purchase, more expensive to maintain, and the fuel is more expensive. The newer ones really don't make much better fuel mileage than gasoline vehicle, if any. You have to add urea to the newer Diesels. Diesels take special, more expensive oil than a gas truck. Diesel trucks need their fuel filters changed more often the gas vehicles.

But, if you ever tow with a Diesel, you'll never have a gas tow vehicle again.

Yes you will probably find you need a 3/4 ton with a 30 footer to not exceed the GVW of the truck. Yes, four wheel drive is really nice when you need it, and you most likely will need it some time in the life of the vehicle.

Good luck with whatever you choose.
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vito98103 View Post
What vehicle is best for towing a 30ft A/S?

A 3/4 ton pickup (F250 or Chevy 2500) has the towing capacity -

1- Gas or more recent model diesel? The newer diesels are very quiet - is their better mpg, better durability (assumed) and higher torque justify the higher price (+ $7500)? Will be on the road pretty much fulltime - 10K miles/year or so. Many of the used units I've seen have lots of miles on them - 150K +; how many miles is too much?

2- 2 or 4 wheel drive? Some I've talked to think the 4x4 is worth the mileage hit, higher cost and harder ride while others say you don't need it unless you're going seriously off road. And the Ford and Dodge 4x4 are solid front axle, which I've been told effects tire wear.

3- Brand - recent Ford, Chev/GMC or Dodge.

Thanks
My vote is for the three quarter ton if you carry a generator, tool box, fuel can, and passengers that would max out the payload of a half ton, though you can with a half ton if you travel light. If you look closely at the ratings, there is not a lot of difference in the tow capacity ratings between a half ton and a three quarter ton if they are equipped with similar gas engines, gearing, and transmissions. The difference that is really important is the payload capacity. If you study the ratings you will also see that the combined weight rating is less than the total of the sum of the maximum towing capacity and the maximum gross weight rating. (if you tow a maximum weight trailer you have to give up some payload in the tow vehicle)

I have never been able to justify the addition cost of a diesel for what I tow. I never owned one, so I can't share any experience. Many of my friends love theirs.

For the last 20 years I have towed with 4 wheel drive vehicles. I got stuck on grass that was wet with dew, while trying to pull up a slight incline. I had to wait until the sun got up and dried the dew before I could get out of my camp site.

I have been driving Chevy's for the last 30+ years, before that Fords mostly. Also had a Toyota and a Nisan. Never owned a Dodge. I have not had a mechanical problem with any truck I have owned. I have no favorite. I'm thinking about a Dodge next time, if that 6 cyl diesel and 8 speed works out.
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:34 AM   #9
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If you live out west and travel through the rockies....a 3/4 ton, 4X4 diesel.

If you live in the eastern half and travel primarily in the east....a 3/4 ton, 4X4, gas will suffice.

We've owned them both and after recently purchasing an F250 gas model we can say the diesel would be the best if you travel the entire country for its sheer ease in towing and the Chevy Duramax is the better vehicle IMHO.
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:46 AM   #10
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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

For us...

1. Burbs... 2500 LT, 8.1. 2006, 4.10, Autoride, w/o auto leveling. 11.2mpg towing average. Payload+,Comfort+, and most importantly...my co-pilot loves it.

2. 4wd...too many slippery slopes, WNY Winters.
Not sure what the MPG "hit" is but it's not a concern for us.
Better to have more than you need....than need more than you have.

Bob
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vito98103 View Post
What vehicle is best for towing a 30ft A/S?

A 3/4 ton pickup (F250 or Chevy 2500) has the towing capacity -

1- Gas or more recent model diesel? The newer diesels are very quiet - is their better mpg, better durability (assumed) and higher torque justify the higher price (+ $7500)? Will be on the road pretty much fulltime - 10K miles/year or so. Many of the used units I've seen have lots of miles on them - 150K +; how many miles is too much?

2- 2 or 4 wheel drive? Some I've talked to think the 4x4 is worth the mileage hit, higher cost and harder ride while others say you don't need it unless you're going seriously off road. And the Ford and Dodge 4x4 are solid front axle, which I've been told effects tire wear.

3- Brand - recent Ford, Chev/GMC or Dodge.

Thanks
This question has been asked, and answered, many times. The OP will find a wealth of experience in reading old threads, mainly that his questions will be better formulated. In turn, even more specific replies can be solicited to the point that one is quite close to a sub-set of others in TT use, thus TV selection.

Pare away deadwood, in other words.

.
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