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Old 12-19-2013, 09:37 AM   #57
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Like switz, I tow motorbikes in the truck with lots of gear, so payload is critical. 4x4 is also important, as we live amongst lots of passes and have regular snowfall in the winter.

Torque is far more important to me than horsepower. Heading up a pass, with the trailer loaded and 800 labs of bike and gear in the back, plus 4 passengers, you want to be able to harness as much as possible. Brakes are also critical, and the engine braking capability of a diesel is important.

Diesel trucks in the past few years are quite unlike their predecessors. The smoke is gone, courtesy of urea and the EPA regs, which also impact mileage. If you see a late model truck belching smoke, the owner has modified the exhaust and egr, deleting the particulate filters in order to increase gas mileage. It's illegal, voids warranty, but is common. Newer 2013 and later trucks with urea don't benefit from deletes.

My RAM has only 375hp, but 800 lb Ft torque. For me, this is optimal power. I could not pull up the passes, passing semis and slower RV's, loaded as described, nor could I average close to 14mpg, with a gas pickup, and certainly not in a half ton truck. Those who can manage with a gasser likely do not have the same towing needs or payload as I do, so I can appreciate how a gas powered tow vehicle is the better choice for them.
't
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:41 AM   #58
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Quoting Tater:
We are not ordering 4WD as we do not plan to do off road traveling.

I agree. It is a matter of risk. We travel a lot in the shoulder seasons, and we live in a snowy area of Montana. So many is the time
I have come home to a snow storm, and 4WD was VERY helpful in pulling out
of parking lots, and stabilizing travel when we followed the snow plow lights. However, it reduces mileage and costs more. And it makes turning more difficult. However, this morning I was backing out of the driveway to answer a fire call, got stuck, and 4WD got me right out.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:47 AM   #59
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I found maneuvering in unimproved sites much easier with 4WD. Yes it was safer too.

Better to have ammo you don't need than to need and not have. The cost of one tow out will shock the average checkbook.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:52 AM   #60
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For fun I just spec'd a new 2014 F-250 diesel 4x4 on Fords build and price. Nicely equipped, the way I'd like it, came to 62k MSRP.

Wow!
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:02 PM   #61
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I didn't go 4WD as I don't off-road with or without the trailer. I have Good Sam Roadside Assistancee so if I somehow ended up needing to be towed out of someplace I shouldn't have been, I'm covered.

Gas or diesel, half-ton or 3/4 ton is an endless debate so, in the end, it is up to you.

The most important safety factor in the Airstream experience is found behind the steering wheel of whatever TV you end up with.

Enjoy the journey,

Mike
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:19 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
Gas or diesel, half-ton or 3/4 ton is an endless debate so, in the end, it is up to you.

The most important safety factor in the Airstream experience is found behind the steering wheel of whatever TV you end up with.

Enjoy the journey,

Mike
Amen.
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Old 12-20-2013, 05:41 PM   #63
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Quote:
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........... could be the reason gas engines can have shorter lifespans?
YMMV
I am not sure this is an issue anymore. New trucks seem to die of old age before the motor/drive train gives up. Anything that ain't wore out when they go to the salvage yard is wasted money so the builders spend a lot of time engineering things such that pretty much everything goes at the same time. I think the key factor is time and that time seems to be about 10 years. Mileage seems to be irrelevant.

My last suburban looked and ran like a new car at 10 years, 135,000 miles. By the time I sold it four years later at 175,000 miles, the dash had cracked, the headliner fell out, neither back door lock worked, one back door window had quit, several of the control knobs broke off and I sold it for $3,000. It was 4WD and there were no issues with the drive train except that the button to put it into 4WD fell out and had to be held in place to use it.

200,000 miles is nothing on a work truck in texas these days.
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:46 AM   #64
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I probably never get another truck, but if I ever get another truck or suv it will be 4WD. I have been stuck in wet grass...
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Old 12-21-2013, 07:23 AM   #65
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The cost efficiency of light truck diesels is likely past except for those pulling a 15k trailer (or greater). One needs to look at the higher initial price and separate it from any potential fuel economy savings.

Design life on GM and FORD istill around 225k miles. DODGE, 385k (speaking of L10 life) for the 3/4 and 1T trucks. I doubt any 1/2T will much exceed 225k.

Todays impressively sophisticated gasoline engines will match that lifespan at a much lower initial cost.

When my 2004 truck was new (in sig; L10 was 350k) gasoline engines were still behind 3+1 automatics. I compared mine to an otherwise identical gasser owned by an RV'er with a near identical TT. Adjusting for solo and towing miles the costs were a wash so long as diesel was no more than 50-cents higher per gallon than gasoline. The difference -- the big one -- was in lifespan. Only past 200k miles would the diesel be the winner.

Today, with even better auto transmissions -- and the much higher cost and complexity of the diesel engines to meet stricter emissions requirements (two cooling systems, etc) -- the gassers have pulled ahead.

As Andrew_T points out along with others, the vehicle best suited to solo duty that can also pull the TT is the place to start. Spec'ng a vehicle for 3% of expected use is a bad match. Higher cost, a poor safety record and more trouble to drive around is not smart.

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Old 12-21-2013, 08:51 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
As Andrew_T points out along with others, the vehicle best suited to solo duty that can also pull the TT is the place to start. Spec'ng a vehicle for 3% of expected use is a bad match. Higher cost, a poor safety record and more trouble to drive around is not smart.

.
Since "not smart" tends to equal "stupid", let me suggest a preference to say rather that the decision may or may not be "optimal". There are a myriad of factors that go in to a decision like this, some are rational, some are not, financial constraints, long term goals that might push that 3% to 50% in a few years, and many other factors ultimately determine the optimal choice for each person and absolutely, everyone's mileage varies widely here.
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Old 12-21-2013, 11:14 AM   #67
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The numbers really change when the truck is a "dedicated to towing the Airstream or picking up large or heavy bulky items" because of more fuel efficient vehicles (cars and motorcycles) in the the home fleet for daily drivers. I never expect to wear out the truck towing at my age.
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Old 12-22-2013, 01:30 PM   #68
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Quote:
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The numbers really change when the truck is a "dedicated to towing the Airstream or picking up large or heavy bulky items" because of more fuel efficient vehicles (cars and motorcycles) in the the home fleet for daily drivers. I never expect to wear out the truck towing at my age.
Our truck gets driven when we have to move stuff, or pull the Airstream. I commute on a motorcycle (sometimes a bike, but it's 19 miles) and my wife uses a bicycle for her 3 miles jaunt. The TDI Jetta handles other trips where we don't need to haul a ton of stuff.

One very practical approach is to buy a used truck as a tow vehicle, and confine its use to those cases when nothing else will do. This changes the economic equation considerably... just as buying a vintage airstream works really well for a lot of folks.

I'm used to this - after all, the engine in our steam launch is about 120 years old .

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Old 12-22-2013, 04:57 PM   #69
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For the most part our truck stays under the carport. It is primarily a camper puller. I mostly go to work on a motorcycle. The truck is used to get to work on cold or rainy days and as a backup when our smaller, more fuel efficient daily driver is in the shop for service. That is how I owe 5 payments (tomorrow it will be 4 payments) on a 32,000 mile truck. April 23, 2014 is the day I am looking for. Woohoo!
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:40 PM   #70
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Gas wise Ford is without doubt the best truck out there. Diesel wise I would lean towards the Dodge (because of the Cummins engine only). I don't think there is an Airstream made that the Ford EchoBoost could not handle.
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