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Old 08-17-2014, 05:33 PM   #1
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Nissan Titan 5.6L vs Ford F250 diesel

Found a 2008 Nissan Titan SE V8 with a towing capacity of 9,100 lbs and a GVW of 7,200 lbs, 385 torque @ 3400 rpm. Is that good enough? A bit lower than a 2013 F150's towing capacity but a great price on 34k mileage. My truck driver friend advises me to go diesel, say a Ford F250. The Nissan is $24k and the Ford F250s w/mileage between 75k and 100k go for about $40k. Aside from the increased life of the diesel truck, will I notice towing performance when towing a 2005 AS International 28-footer? Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 08-17-2014, 05:53 PM   #2
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Get ready for a can of worms and personal preferences. Is it good enough? Well, what gear ratio does it have? Transmission cooler? Most 3/4 tons are setup for towing. When it comes to the 1/2 tons you need to make sure it is setup properly.

Comparatively, there are a number of folks towing with Toyota Tundra's. We'll be towing a 27ft with a Dodge Ram 1500.

You'll need to determine the variables that work for you. I didn't want a 10yr old diesel personally, and you're right about the 40K. If I wanted newer in my price range it came with 200K miles already. So I went with a gasser, got the options and payload I needed for my setup at the price I could afford.
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Old 08-17-2014, 06:18 PM   #3
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I don't know trucks much. What's a good gear ratio? If there isn't a transmission cooler, can it be easily installed by a mechanic? I'm trying to stay away from dealers. Thanks!
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Old 08-17-2014, 07:02 PM   #4
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It seems that tractor trailer drivers prefer diesel over gas, I wonder why? I have a 2005 F250 with a 6.8 V10 and a 4.10 rear end gear. I got it last year for $13,000 with only 38,000 miles on it. It does a great job towing our 1987 25' Sovereign and the mpg is the same as our old 2001 F150 5.4 V8 with a 3.55 rear end gear. Both trucks tow the trailer well but the F250 is much more stable.

You said that the Nissan was rated at 385 torque @ 3400rpm. When I am towing at 55mph my tach is at 1800 rpm. I do not want to think about what the speed would be at a rpm of 3400 in top gear towing 600 lbs. of Airstream.

I seem to be rambling here. To the point. 1. a diesel has a higher maintenance cost and fuel cost per gallon. 2. I believe that the rear end gear should be 3.55 or larger. 3. Your question "is that good enough" My thinking is that you should always have more than enough because someday you will need that extra somewhere in your travels.
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:21 PM   #5
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Great stuff there msmcv51 - thanks! I walked away from the Nissan. I'm focusing now between F150 gas vs F250 diesel vs Toyota Tundra. When I hit the road, I won't be bouncing from site to site as much as others 'cuz we'll be stopping to find work, so I'm thinking I could get away with a gas F150 or Tundra. I guess I'll have to find one of those I can afford. I sorta shy away from private party purchases 'cuz I'm not very experienced with trucks and am relying on a dealer (i.e., Carmax) to fulfill the proper inspection.
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Old 08-17-2014, 09:18 PM   #6
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It's always best to get the Airstream first, then a truck to match the loads. Especially in the used Airstream market, you never know when a better deal on a different size may come along.
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Old 08-17-2014, 09:35 PM   #7
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I have towed my '31 Sovereign over 55000 miles with a 2004 Titan. Total miles 174000. Tows like a champ but I have a fairly low payload so I have to be very careful about how I load the truck bed.

The newer Titans, properly equipped, have nearly 2000 pounds of payload which would be quite an improvement over mine.

Diesel torque is great, no doubt about it but my truck has taken me all over the States on regular gas with nary as much as a hiccup.


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Old 08-17-2014, 10:12 PM   #8
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Diesel engines deliver more torque at lower RPMs. It makes them more fuel efficient for towing. I noticed a huge shift in my towing fuel costs after I switched from gas (Ford F250 7.5L) to diesel (BMW X5d). A typical weekend camping trip to the Sierras went from ~$300 to ~$80 with fuel left to spare when I got home.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:08 AM   #9
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The energy density of diesel is, in deed, greater but so is the price. Depending on your region, the cost per B.T.U. In cents is about equal.

Again, that big torque is very useful on a steep climb but how often are you climbing a significant grade?

My choice is much quieter engine, cheaper routine maintenance, fuel everywhere and if the engine wears out in 10 years/200000 miles, time for a new truck anyway.

Now, I will say that the Ford Ecoboost with all that low rpm torque in a gasser is an intriguing possibility...

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Old 08-18-2014, 10:10 AM   #10
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Nissan Titan 5.6L vs Ford F250 diesel

In my 25 plus years of fleet experience, overall cost per mile is going to be lower with a gas engine pickup, especially one you already own.

Has anyone noticed that UPS and FedEx are dumping their diesel delivery vehicles?
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:10 AM   #11
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You haven't stated which diesel engine you are considering. Ford has sub-contracted for several diesels and built one for the newer versions. The early 6.9 was a dog but ran forever. The 7.3 was a very good motor but the 6.0 and the 6.4 not so much. The new 6.7 is very very good. I've owned most of them.
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:13 AM   #12
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Technology changes the equation

A few years ago I replaced my old 3/4 ton diesel with a newer 3/4ton gas. It's used to pull a cargo trailer (sometimes 10,000 lbs but often lighter), a saltwater boat, and the Airstream.

I am a big diesel fan - especially the high pressure rail technology. But technology advances in gas trucks have made me decide I'll probably not own another diesel for the relatively light towing we do.

Given enough cubic inches, fuel type is no longer the biggest factor IMO. The transmission, vehicle sensors, and engine/tranny controllers are.

Yes diesels have more torque, and at lower rpms. However any newer big block gas fuel injection motor has plenty of torque for Airstream towing.

New transmissions and integrated engine/tranny software control systems put the torque where you need it, when you need it. For example... throttle and inclination sensors tell the truck I am accelerating uphill and aggressively downshift to keep it on the torque curve.

I've no complaints with the gas engine & 6 speed tranny combination towing in the 5,000 to 10,000 lb range. Mountain driving included.

I miss a diesel - its just that I do not need one anymore.
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:16 AM   #13
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My trailer weighs about 6500 lbs, pulling power is not an issue with my little truck with a little 5.3 L engine.

Now some on this site have said I am lying about this..... Oh well....
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Old 08-18-2014, 11:09 AM   #14
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Here's my 2 cents worth.... 7 to 9 miles per gallon : Nissan

Diesel..... (my dodge)... 11 to 14 miles per gallon : Diesel

And these are towing mpg's. w/o towing 18 - 20 miles per gallon.

Depending on your foot ! lol
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