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Old 08-18-2004, 06:32 PM   #1
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Question Tow Vehicle question

I had read somewhere that one ton trucks (Dodge 3500, Ford 350 etc) has suspensions that may be too rough for pulling a bambi. I am not sure if the statement implied that a one ton truck was too rough for the occupants of the truck, or the lack of suspension movement was too rough for the trailer. Is there some damage that could occur to the trailer from using a heavy duty truck to haul it? I'm planning on a purchase of a dodge 3500, dual axel,with cummins diesel. The only other cars we have are two toyota camry's so by default, I would want to use the diesel to haul the trailer.
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Old 08-18-2004, 07:16 PM   #2
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You are correct. The truck will beat up you, your kidneys, and the trailer.
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Old 08-18-2004, 07:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dryan
I had read somewhere that one ton trucks (Dodge 3500, Ford 350 etc) has suspensions that may be too rough for pulling a bambi.......
Dryan:

I would suggest you take a couple of trial rides in the unit you are interested in. I have an E-350 dually, and have no problem at all with the ride.

As far as tongue action goes, from the problems described here on the forum pertaining to axel problems and tire imbalance, I infer that it would require a REALLY rough ride to duplicate the harshness and vibration transmitted to the trailer from various tire problems. Members have described screws coming undone, shelves falling off, and lenses falling out.

If you are still undecided, take a short ride in the trailer while it is being towed as a "test" of the potential tow vehicle. If you are dissatisfied with the test ride, try it again with a vehicle with a soft suspension - you may (or may not) be surprised by the ride of the Airstream.

My Opinion Only.
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Old 08-18-2004, 07:50 PM   #4
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The 1 ton will do the job, but it is way, way, way, way overkill and will have more jounce for both passenger and trailer.
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Old 08-18-2004, 07:54 PM   #5
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Thanks for the information. I am presently towing the 19 bambi with a Ford F 150 supercab with the "small" 4.6 liter V8 engine. It has 212000 miles on the odometer and to be frank, seems to struggle a lot, especially on hills. I shut off the overdrive when towing, but even so, with what feels like inadequate power and a suspension that seems challenged by the 4500 pounds of the bambi, the ride effect is sometimes slightly scarry. That is why I am looking at the cummins engine, and something with a little more suspension. I thought about the dodge 2500, but I will be carrying a generator in the bed of the truck as well as an extra 50 gallon water tank for longer term boondocking. I am presently only carrying the generator in the ford. I've test driven the dodge 3500, both in single rear wheel and double wheel versions and am quite satisified with the ride. Of course, this is a test drive with no trailer attached. So the comfort level in the cab is fine with me,,, I am only concerned with the trailer. I'll be on interstates for the most part and when I get off onto the backroads, will be driving very slowly and carefully.
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Old 08-18-2004, 08:43 PM   #6
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The dually is overkill - but the stability and driving pleasure afforded by the "overkill" can't be beat on a good interstate. Back roads (---read "secondary") can be a bit hard on the truck passengers. I've yet to see that the trailer is suffering but I'm watching it closely for loose rivets and the like. Most of the time, all of the fragile cargo in the kitchen and bathroom seem to travel with very little signs of trauma. One weird example is that my wife accidentally left a half-full can of coke on the dinette following a lunch stop. The can actually slid off the dinette onto the floor of the trailer, landed upright, and was sitting prim and pretty when we stopped for the night - still half full! I searched for at least 5 minutes trying to find a wet spot on the carpet - but to no avail! I think that the load-equilizer setup has a lot to do with cushioning the interaction between the truck and trailer.
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Old 08-19-2004, 12:18 PM   #7
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Our 1 ton Ford E-350 diesel tows great with air shocks. One problem is that the transmission is a bit on the puny side. Towing up a long grade it overheats using Fords Mercon OEM ATF. We replaced the Mercon with Mobil 1 ATF and the problem of overheating went away. We use ear plugs on long trips so we're not so worn out from the noise of the diesel.
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Old 08-19-2004, 03:35 PM   #8
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**One Ton**

I have a one ton and I couldn't be happier. I know that my towing may be a little different than yours since I have a 31 footer but I can't express how much better I feel when towing with it. The dually, big engine, long wheel base all work together for a comfortable towing experience.

I have one bad interior fender well which I'm not sure what caused it but I suspect a lot of dishes on a thin shelf might have been the culprit. That has been there for a while and I won't hesitate to tow with the one ton. I have yet to see any rivets coming loose.

Once when I was towing with a previous ĺ ton Van I had the rock guards work loose. Saw them before they came loose and went bouncing down the highway! That concerned me a little but vibration can happen towing with any vehicle.
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Old 08-20-2004, 10:11 AM   #9
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Three Cheers for Duallys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinky
I have a one ton and I couldn't be happier. I know that my towing may be a little different than yours since I have a 31 footer but I can't express how much better I feel when towing with it. The dually, big engine, long wheel base all work together for a comfortable towing experience.

I have one bad interior fender well which I'm not sure what caused it but I suspect a lot of dishes on a thin shelf might have been the culprit. That has been there for a while and I won't hesitate to tow with the one ton. I have yet to see any rivets coming loose.

Once when I was towing with a previous ĺ ton Van I had the rock guards work loose. Saw them before they came loose and went bouncing down the highway! That concerned me a little but vibration can happen towing with any vehicle.
Silvertwinky:

I didn't understand your comment about the fender well??? How much weight do you carry in your truck bed? Short of actual scale weights, I'm guessing that I carry about 500 pounds. It would be nice to have a "Cadillac" ride - but the more I look into suspension modifications the more I like having the kick in the rear end to keep me awake! A simple modification, that might have favorable results, would be a switch to Bilstein shocks. I think that I'll post a new thread to see what others think.
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Old 08-20-2004, 10:27 AM   #10
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I tow a 30 foot slide classic with a one ton 4wd dually dodge cummins and see no adverse effects , have also towed a 25 safari six sleeper with this truck and had a 3/4 ton 2wd dodge cummins an towed the safari , gearing allowed the 3/4 better milage while towing the safari but ride qaulity between the 2 felt the same to me. check out www.DieselTruckResource.com
look for a used second genaration truck let somebody else eat the depriciation. and they look better i think. but you will love the cummins
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Old 08-20-2004, 09:09 PM   #11
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I still think a 3500 dually is overkill, but it is certainly your choice. Many of those touting the benefits of a dually are pulling twice the weight you will be, which softens things up. One place they are rough are the concrete freeways in Calif and some other states - was just on a part of I-90 in Montana - same thing - short, choppy pavement sections that beat you up if the suspension is too stiff. And sometimes a stiff truck feels ok on an hour drive, but after a day in it you are exhausted. Another factor, probably not an issue there but certainly is out here, is maneuvering in congested areas.

I am sure that you are reacting to your current overloaded situation, however. Remember, the 4.6 is only about 260 cu in - very small with not much torque. However I would have thought it would do fine with a Bambi. My guess is your rear-end gears are too high (numerically low), ie 3.31 or 3.55. Small motors need 3.73 or better yet, 4.10 gears to spin them up a bit more. Ford puts too tall gearing in their trucks, especially with the tall overdrive they use (30% over) in a false attempt to get better mpg - doesn't work except under easiest conditions - flat terrain, no load, etc.

I tow a 23' Safari at 5000 lbs effortlessly with an F250 w/ 5.4 and 4.10 gears. I'm in OD 90% of the time, even out here in the west, and am averaging just under 12mpg over several thousand miles towing in mostly mtns. I often feel like I have TOO MUCH truck and felt I could have done fine with an F150 with the 5.4 and HD package, but wanted the gvwr for a possible truck camper someday. I also have a topper, tools, bikes and other gear in my bed.

Sounds like you got your money's worth out of the old girl - good luck on your next choice.

-john
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