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Old 09-01-2016, 10:00 PM   #1
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Alma , Kansas
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Post Looking for a TV under $15k that hauls 8k+

Looking for recommendations!

We are in need of a Tow Vehicle. We will be full timing and are looking for something Under $15k that can haul 8,000lbs+. We have two kids, both in car seats, so ample back seat space is a must! Help us out!

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Old 09-01-2016, 11:03 PM   #2
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An older used crew cab diesel like a ford 6.0. Is probably the best thing in that price range.

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Old 09-01-2016, 11:04 PM   #3
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Getting into the 8k weight realm sounds like a need for a turbo diesel.

Car seats are tight, but a second get Dodge Cummins would be in the budget and have plenty of power and durability.

You may be able to find a good third gen Dodge Quad cab. starting in 2003; this would be my choice even if I had to stretch the budget a bit.

A bigger cab option would be a 6 Pack Ford with a Power Stroke. I would look for pre Super Duty model and my favorites being 1995-1998.

If you didn't have car seats, I would suggest a first generation Dodge Cummins. You could always build a crew conversion though
1971 Overlander Twin bed, rear bath.

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Old 09-02-2016, 05:05 PM   #4
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20 year old trucks offer little, if any, protection in a rollover accident. I would not trust them with my kids.
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Old 09-02-2016, 06:45 PM   #5
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At $15k you should be able to find a 2011/12 F150 crew cab with the 5.0 V8. basically the same truck I have. if you get one with the 3.73 gears it should pull well. mine is 3.55 and is pretty good.

It's the same engine still used in the new F150s and the body style is only one generation old.

Downside is at that price it will have over 100k miles, so I'd look for at clean one.
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Old 09-02-2016, 06:49 PM   #6
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We had real good luck with our 2001 Ford E-350 van. It had the V-10 engine, and we kept E load rated truck tires on it. It was rated to pull 10,000 pound trailer if I recall correctly. It made a great family vehicle for our family trips with or without the Airstream. And talk about interior room, we had it in spades. We ran it about 8 years and about 150,000 miles and sold it for $5000 in 2012. Someone got a great deal. Ours was in good shape.

I always liked the van as a tow vehicle as the hitch to rear axle distance was shorter than on a pickup truck. By the way, the full size van is built on a truck chassis. I liked the power of the V-10 and didn't like the V-8 as well.

The down side of our vans (we had a 98 for a while) was the open differential on the rear axle. I called it the one wheel drive wonder. The van was not all that great in the snow. A limited slip differential would be better. And it is a high profile vehicle which gets pushed around a bit in strong cross winds.

There, I recommend the Ford E-350 as a lower cost alternative to keep the kids safe and pull your trailer. And I will be the only one with this recommendation!

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Old 09-02-2016, 06:55 PM   #7
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My wife and I recently purchased a 2005 Ford Excursion with the V10 in it for less then 11k when it was all said and done. We are towing a 30ft Airstream Safari. We have two little girls, ages 2 and 3 weeks. PLENTY of carseat space along with storage area for all that comes with having 2 children. If you're looking for advice from a 2 year-old, my daughter LOVES it. She always asks to "a ride inna big truck daddy." We've lovingly named it "Exxon" as it loves the taste of good ol' unleaded 87. It's tough finding them with low mileage but they go forever and their diesel counterparts are too pricy IMHO. If someone could direct me on how to post a picture I'd upload one for you showing the carseats. I put a link to my instagram where there is a picture of it but I don't know if that will work.

What are y'all pulling?
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:19 PM   #8
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I second the Excursion! I have a 2000 excursion with the V10 motor. I am about to roll over 300k miles. I have 2 little girls and we all have plenty of room!
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:01 PM   #9
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Monmouth , Oregon
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Rollover wrecks are only a fraction of all accident and even less for vehicles towing travel trailers. Yes, an older pickup if rolled is not the best vehicle to be in. However, there are plenty of other ways to have accidents and also being in any rollover is not cool. I have been in one as a passenger

Being broke down on the side of the road and getting tagged by a driver who doesn't see you in the dark, trailer sway that causes the loss of control of a short wheelbased vehicle, limited engine breaking while traveling downgrade with a smaller displacement engine, losing gears from an overheated transmission while traveling down a grade, smoked brakes from smaller and thinner brake calibers, are all a few ways one could get into an accident while towing.

Personnally, I would be more conserned with a front collision in my suggested vehicles. The second gen Dodge's front impact rating it horrible, but hey it is a good reminder not to tailgate and leave space. Like most things automotive, more safety costs more money. I drove a 1985 crew cab for years with my family, but I am certainly happy to have my new rig with better accident protection.

The number one factor in motor vehicle accidents is driver error. Drive the best you can and no matter what vehicle you are driving you will be better off. As one State Trooper put it, "most wrecks are caused by "impatience and disregard."

The Excursion also had a Power Stroke.

I have a friend who pulls a pop up with a Honda Oddessey. He readily admits he wouldn't trust it with his kid pulling anything bigger.

Lastly, don't buy a non turbo diesel like the pre Duramax GMs.
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Old 09-03-2016, 05:38 AM   #10
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Our current tow vehicle is a 2006 F160 crew cab with a 5.4 and 4wd. Tow capacity is 9500 pounds.
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Old 09-03-2016, 05:53 AM   #11
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I guess for an 8000# plus camper, a Diesel HD truck will perform the best. However, the newer the vehicle, usually, the safer they are. So, if safety is a higher priority than towing ease, the 2011/12 F150 that SCOTTinNJ suggested would be a good choice, specially if you do not do much mountain towing.

As Thiss mentioned roll over accidents are rare (< 3% of all accidents), and usually are the result of driver error. Most roll over fatalities involve alcohol and seat belt not being fastened. So, if you drive attentively, do not drink, and fasten your seat belt, the roll over risk is minimal (though its hugely exaggerated in this forum) .

We could also worry endlessly about other type of crashes. Please see the video below. Some might argue we should NEVER ride a sedan and should get a raised pickup instead

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Old 09-03-2016, 06:48 AM   #12
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Dbj216 mentioned "one wheel wonder." I would never buy a tow vehicle without 4 wheel drive or a true locker in the rear. just last week I backed into a downhill spot at a state park. the weather was dry. when I tried to leave I broke traction pulling the trailer up the hill. had I no 4 wheel drive to engage I would have had to work harder to get out.

Same is true on wet grass.
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:43 AM   #13
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Need more info. Are you talking 8,000 lb (loaded) Airstream, or box trailer?What gear (weight) do you plan to carry in the tow vehicle? Are you familiar with towing trailers, and the operation of trailering equipment such as weight distribution/sway control hitches and brake controllers? Can you do repairs on a tow vehicle yourself? Do you plan to travel most of the time or now and then? And for braking and climbing ability, do you plan to travel in high altitudes?

$15,000 is a pretty tight budget for a reliable, highly capable tow vehicle that will be comfortable to ride in and drive every day.

Your best chance is probably a base model, late model V8 half-ton pickup and a very good hitch and hitch setup. There will be limits in weight carrying ability in the truck, and braking and climbing steep grades ought to be slow for economy and safety. Look at axle (and tire) ratings and the weight of the truck to help determine if it can carry your trailer tongue weight, passengers and gear. Plan to use a capable weight distribution hitch to distribute the load evenly on the truck's axles, and some to the trailer axles.

When you choose a travel trailer, check the load carrying capacity so you can carry most of your gear in the trailer rather than in your tow vehicle. Know that Airstreams have towing advantages. Independent suspension allows better handling and low center of gravity, this low profile and it's streamlined design has less wind resistance going ahead, and less movement from strong, gusting side winds and passing semi trucks. Good travel trailer and hitch performance improves the towing performance of your tow vehicle greatly.
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Old 09-03-2016, 08:13 AM   #14
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Last time I was looking for a good truck I bought a '96 Suburban diesel and had it delivered from Texas. Cost me less than $4k and I put $2k in it to make it rock solid dependable. Might be a little old for some people but I have some mechanic skills and from Texas there was no rust so bolts were easy to wrench on! The 6.5 is a Detroit Diesel product and pulled very well. I even replaced the glow plugs myself and they came out easily. It was on a 1 ton chassis and would pull anything.

You could go a bit newer and still be under $15k. Unless you are really handy I would go with a big block gas motor though. I recently saw a '95 Dodge Cummins, brought up from Texas, for $20k. It had 300k miles and I'm guessing could go another 200k. (Inwould consider that before a gasser!)

I would not buy a budget truck in the rust belt at any price. The mid-2000s trucks command a really high price, especially 4x4s, and can hide some serious rust issues. I've even seen frame failures on some of the trucks I've looked at.

As far as the safety question, weight is your friend. Just remember there's always something bigger on the road!

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