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Old 12-15-2014, 02:57 PM   #1
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Towing Recommendations?

Your recommendations, please. I potentially need a used, quad style, gasoline fueled pick-up truck that will pull a 6000 lb loaded airstream trailer, and carry a 1500-2000 lb payload capacity. As I will use the pickup for possibly 18,000 miles of independent driving and 2000 miles of towing per year (20, 000 miles total), I want to find the most fuel efficient “beast” possible. Of course, I also want it to tow well. Short bed vs. long bed? Four wheel vs. two wheel rear drive? Please, provide rationale.
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Old 12-15-2014, 03:01 PM   #2
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Do you want to carry 1500-2000 lb payload PLUS the trailer tongue weight?

How much do you want to spend?
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Old 12-15-2014, 04:43 PM   #3
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Just a little general guidance:

1. All else being equal, longer wheelbases track better than shorter ones. But you'll have to balance that with being able to get around. Although, if you're hauling that much stuff in the bed, a short bed is probably out of the question anyway.

2. 2000lbs in the bed, with the trailer as well...you're going to probably want a stout 3/4 ton or maybe even a 1 ton truck.

3. If it's 2000lbs in the bed, or the trailer, then a 3/4 ton truck would be OK. Most of the newer 3/4's actually can carry a lot more than "3/4 ton" in the back.

4. If it's 2000lbs in the bed plus the trailer, you're probably looking at a one ton dually. With a gas engine....man you're talking 8mpg towing and maybe 13mpg empty. My one friend went from a 3/4 ton Ram Quad Cab long bed diesel pulling his 37' Carriage fifth wheel (got 12mpg towing and 22mpg empty) to the same truck but with a Hemi gas engine and he gets 7mpg towing now. The Airstream is lighter, so you may do better. But if you have a dually, they are usually geared lower and so the engine spins at higher rev's for a given speed = burn more gas in general.

5. two wheel drive typically gets a little better mileage than four wheel drive, just because of the reduced weight and system "friction". But it depends on where you want to go with it. Where I live, virtually no one gets a two wheel drive truck just to prevent getting stuck. Although, my friend above had a 2wd diesel and loved it. Though, he couldn't get the trailer into his own driveway with it. Dad had to park it for him with his 4x4.

6. You could pull that Airstream easily with a half ton truck. It's the 2000lbs in the bed that pushes you to the heavier one.

If it were me, I would look at a Ram Hemi powered 3/4 ton with 3:73 gears and 4x4, long bed. GM's V8 in the 3/4 ton trucks is pretty good too, and their Allison transmission is excellent. Their crew cab is a little bigger than Dodge's quad cab, but Dodge's Mega Cab is bigger than both of them.

Or, if you don't mind going back a little bit, get a Chevy or GMC with the 496 gasser and the Allison tranny in a crew cab short bed or long bed. Make you a nice truck and you can pick them up fairly reasonably.

Personally, I'm a "Hummin' Cummins" kind of guy and REALLY like my turbodiesel. But if you want gasser, that's my two cents worth.

See you on the road!
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Old 12-15-2014, 07:09 PM   #4
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I needed a larger pickup for our business that would also be a good choice for towing a 28-35' TT. I wanted the longest life at the lowest per mile cost with the highest amount of work capacity with the greatest reliability. The only one which would meet that was a Dodge turbodiesel in 2WD with manual transmission and 8' bed. 305HP/555TQ engine.

24mpg solo hwy or higher under any condition and 15 towing. 21mpg average all miles the past 47k (50/50 city/hwy). Truck is loaded 1000-lbs over base or higher. At 201k miles have spent $300 in repairs. Tires and brakes last over 100k. Etc.

But a truck without a turbodiesel is not ever going to to get high numbers. Given a 30% fuel price differential a gasser ought to see 17 highway, 13 city and 11 towing for a close comp.

A 1T that can handle 2k in payload PLUS trailer tongue weight would be my starting point. A shortbed is fairly worthless for carrying anything. If the spec is less then a half ton is easier to live with.
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Old 12-18-2014, 05:31 PM   #5
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One more thing to keep in mind - the longer/bigger the vehicle, any vehicle, the harder it is to manoeuvre into small sites. Especially if you enjoy camping in State or Provincial Parks, this can make the difference between making it into a site or not.

We had several occasions last summer where we just made it in, and only because our TV is relatively manoeuvrable.

4WD, while useful at times, can affect your turning ability, so can the suspension setup.
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Old 12-18-2014, 06:34 PM   #6
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This may sound very weird to the heavy pick-up crowd. But, I'm gonna say it anyway. Years ago, it was all about our immature family with our three young children. We stretched and bought a heavy, older, boxy used travel trailer. Not knowing any better, we casually hooked it up and towed it with a six-cylinder, short-wheel based, 2-door full-sized Ford Bronco. We used a round-bar leveler hitch, but no "towing package." We headed up the mountain for a two-hour 3,000-foot elevation gain on a regular basis, to visit our favorite campground location. We never had a bit of trouble with anything. In a few years we sold the Bronco and purchased a big and heavy V-8 Jeep Grand Wagonaire with a long wheel base. Yuk ... it towed like a potatoe, and labored on grades and scared us to death on the downhill. The moral of my spending any time typing this? ... It is just that I still am not convinced by the long wheel-base arguments I hear, or that the heft of the TV being as important as the overall package arrangement. There must be some formula that I probably don't understand. By the way, we loved the old trailer experience so much that it motivated us to buy our AS, 30-years later. No kids now, nice larger SUV to tow it, a towing package, and plenty of capacity. We did tons of research on everything before we hooked up. Of course, now that we actually can afford problems, we worry about every little thing, doing everything by the book. Ah, to be young and naïve, again. Then, just go camping without a care in the world!
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Old 12-18-2014, 08:38 PM   #7
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No one liked the Wagoneer for towing. Yes, wheelbase is not everything, as overhang is important on a TV. Some shorties Ctually have greT proportions for towing.
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Old 12-19-2014, 08:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
No one liked the Wagoneer for towing. Yes, wheelbase is not everything, as overhang is important on a TV. Some shorties Ctually have greT proportions for towing.

ShameShame.......

My DW loved towing with her GW.




Bob
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Old 12-19-2014, 05:56 PM   #9
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I liked the vehicle despite its lack of reliability. Maybe it fared better in your cool climate. It didn't do well down here. Nor was it good as a travel trailer TV. I'm sticking to that.
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Old 12-19-2014, 08:03 PM   #10
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I, too, loved my 1984 Grand Wagoneer as a tow vehicle. It was stable with my Over lander using a Reese Dual Can setup. My only complaint was its 170 cruising range when towing. Its Four Wheel Drive was far superior to either my 1995 Chevrolet or my 1999 GMC.

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Old 12-19-2014, 10:41 PM   #11
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Wow! I wonder what we were doing wrong? Robert's looks just like ours, except ours was white. I loved the looks of that rig. However, we only managed about 8 mpg on the road. It may be that the levelers were maladjusted (?) on ours. Oh well, past history is just that and current happiness prevails. Thanks for the input, though. Dave
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Old 12-20-2014, 12:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlepperson View Post
Your recommendations, please. I potentially need a used, quad style, gasoline fueled pick-up truck that will pull a 6000 lb loaded airstream trailer, and carry a 1500-2000 lb payload capacity. As I will use the pickup for possibly 18,000 miles of independent driving and 2000 miles of towing per year (20, 000 miles total), I want to find the most fuel efficient “beast” possible. Of course, I also want it to tow well. Short bed vs. long bed? Four wheel vs. two wheel rear drive? Please, provide rationale.
I have a 2009 F150 with the 5.4 liter and it's a pretty tough truck. It's a work truck straight cab long bed 4x4 and I am sure I will have it for many years. It gets 16-17 mpg on the highway. I think you couldn't go wrong with a crew cab of this truck. There may be better options but it just seams there are tons of these out there and plenty of places know how to keep them going.
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Old 12-20-2014, 06:39 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Dave-Nancy View Post
Wow! I wonder what we were doing wrong? Robert's looks just like ours, except ours was white. I loved the looks of that rig. However, we only managed about 8 mpg on the road. It may be that the levelers were maladjusted (?) on ours. Oh well, past history is just that and current happiness prevails. Thanks for the input, though. Dave
Maybe it would have been more accurate had I said......She loved how "KOOL" it looked towing a 63 Safari, while she was driving.

For me...not so much.

It's funny though how many GW's you see in tv commercials, even today, all these years later.

You want a real surprise......ck out these, $$$$$$$

To this day I hear......"you should have never sold it". Is she is right?

Bob
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Old 12-20-2014, 08:51 AM   #14
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Bob

Loved the Grand Wagoneers along with anything International. However a turbo diesel engine transplant would be number one mod if I were to buy one. Seriously loved the GW's.

Cheers
Tony
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