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Old 09-16-2011, 11:37 AM   #43
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Those fuel mileages may be true, but it does nothing for the added cost of the fuel itself, oil change costs, fuel filter costs, and fuel addative costs.

The other thing is, I am not going to buy an eight year old truck with a million miles on it, with no creature comforts, just to get a few percentage points better fuel mileage.

Then, I've heard it said, "there's two things men will lie about...fuel mileage and sex".
This is long, but it may help.

One may wish to trade every few years. With that, no comparison of numbers is relevant, on any sort of truck, one versus another, as depreciation alone kills any idea (much more the reality) of "economy". Longest life with lowest cost and highest reliability was my yardstick when I set out to buy a truck. And my analysis has been correct in so far as it extends.

If one's plan is to tow the TT but 5-10K annually over a period of no more than 6-7 years, then I will be the first to agree that a diesel may not make sense. Nor a truck, for that matter, if it has no income-offsetting or income-generating use (per IRS rules). The high propensity of rollover-caused injuries, alone, make it a poor choice, not when so many other vehicles can be fitted to to tow an A/S (as with what we did in younger years, what CAN AM does now) with better combination and solo performance. So, anticipated use over time & miles should be the overriding TV calculation.

And I expect my approach to both trailer and truck is different than yours, perhaps of many on this board. My retort above about "wrong brand" was goading, but only by taking advantage of the idea that we are all in competition on this subject of mpg. We're not, unless a particular definition fits us both.

I see A/S ownership as being three groups. And let's use Harley owners as a comparison:

- The first loves shiny & cool. A good excuse for a party, a good time. The Rolex riders. (That otherwise bogus term, lifestyle mystifying real differences among these three).

- The second are those who wish the longest term, lowest cost method of high-perfomance travel. The largest group, I suspect, both represented here and not (sheer numbers). Those for whom the Harley is the primary mode of transportation (but the smaller of the above two, instead of the largest).

- Third are those for whom an classic aero all-aluminum trailer is as much their home as any other construction-type. But mobile. The analogy here is to extra-legal business-men for whom a Harley and tattoo's are tribal signifiers of consequence. In this light, mobile and long-term low cost TT/TV with high performance means the same: a necessity.

Of these (or another construction) which fits?

Mpg:

I've run the numbers I generate against those of others. All types. I corresponded with a man who had my same spec and near-model year truck, but with a gas motor; in a similar climate & terrain, who used it in the same way (same trailer type plus annual towing miles of same). Importantly, he kept, as I do, extensive records. Very few keep records worthy for comparison purposes. One must take into account: truck brand and specification, climate, and terrain to make any of it meaningful.

I found that -- against that man -- so long as diesel was no more than 50-cents/gl higher than gasoline, the immediate fuel cost was the same on a cents-per-mile basis. The differences (his being an automatic, mine a manual) and the shorter working life of a gasoline engine were the largest differences. And which play out over longer ownership. Once that gasoline motor loses power -- and it will -- working it hard will have a deleterious, cascading effect on all other systems. A new engine (and other expensive repairs) cancel any benefit to the gas motored truck above and beyond the intial purchase price differential.

My mpg numbers are consistent with more than a half-dozen reporting owners around here (28-34' trailers) with the same basic truck. And, if we include earlier Duramax trucks, there are even more. The problem is that there is more to truck ownership than towing mpg.

A comparison of factory maintenance schedules -- hard use -- show that the difference is not so high between gas & diesel if one bought the correct brand, specification and year model. The diesel can be less. Mine certainly has. And my parts/supplies cost -- compared to what is shown above -- is lower. The advantage of a CTD is not illusory, while the statement that "they" are all about the same, just pick your brand, is.

The comparison of reliability/longevity matters more. Much more. Higher mpg is icing on the cake (and great for jabbing the MaxiPad and Powerjoke owners).

You may fib about your fuel mileage -- per tank highs, or lows, are fairly meaningless -- I track every gallon used. And have improved my use of the truck to burn less fuel to accomplish the same work over time. Fuel burn is a useful indicator of overall truck condition: any increase of 10%, alone, is cause for investigation. It's been my interest for forty years or more to use less fuel (beating EPA estimates on mpg was always easy), and I did a lot of homework over a lot of years. And have been a commercial driver for long periods. Call others a liar if you will -- that man in the mirror -- but some of us work at this from a standpoint I think unfamiliar to you.

"Percentage points?" If an generic diesel truck, solo, sees but 15-mpg overall calendar average, compared to my 22-mpg average, then the difference over 300k miles at $4/gl is $26,000. That's just in fuel, with no depreciation or other disincentives to trading every few years.

It's a given for an ordinary American man that his two highest costs in life will be a home mortgage and transportation if he has to buy automobiles. (We may now add to that the scandal of higher education). So it behooves me to choose well and wisely. My truck was built 8/03 -- and with depreciation schedules generally showing a bottom at 15-years (when dealerships and chain parts stores reduce inventory on model years) I expected to keep this truck in use that long, or to 360k miles; roughly 2018. I now see that this truck will surpass that due to it's low overall cost per mile of ownership & operational expenses (you do know yours, right? As a cents-per-mile calculation?) and expect to carry it further than this in both time & miles. Any major repairs are easily subsumed by this low overall cpm.

Living on the US Gulf Coast, with the ever-present threat of hurricanes with attendant mandatory evacuations makes a high mpg truck able to pull a variety of heavy trailers a necessity in my mind. Insurance would never completely cover the cost of loss of a home. (Etc.) The more expensive-to-operate 1/2T I owned previously falls fatally short in ability on this examination.

This truck and trailer (now, the future one) are not toys for us.

Other:

Lubrication to offset ULSD is a misunderstanding of the fuel. If one wants to "make" premium fuel, fine, but some investigation into the topic will reveal that it is otherwise unwarranted. (And that there are additives with a long track record, and a low per-gallon cost). One should consult big truck engine manufacturers on this.

"Million-mile"? Granted that a B50 life -- MTBO, Mean Time Between Overhauls -- Ford or GM is 250k miles, while a Cummins is 360k. This isn't partisanship, but the way the engines were designed. The number of TSB's on Ford/GM diesel engines indicates (not suggests) that this is the case (beyond other references). It may be that a Dodge doesn't ride as well as a GM (acknowledged as best, perhaps) but that does not mean that one cannot go to the aftermarket to improve this. Again, with a lower overall cost, one can afford to make some changes. Without cpm penalty in comparison to other brands is the salient point.

Texas is indicated as being the "home" of diesel powered pickup trucks, that availability, spec, etc, are harder to find elsewhere. This is true. And South Texas is the state epicenter. One does not find GM trucks in commercial service nearly at all (only RV'ers), and Fords (due to their incredibly poor reliability record for nearly ten years) are not often used to "tow heavy". It is Dodge, again, and again, and again that is selected by individual and small fleer owners to tow heavy loads commercially: an 8k-lb empty 40' GN trailer with a 15k-lb load on it is common in oilfield hotshot. A 3-400k-mile truck at 3-5 years of age.

One has the opportunity to ask owners. Some are actually quite conversant with business numbers as regard a vehicle. Many are not. But trucks out-of-service due to unscheduled repairs & maintenance (a business killer) are quickly sold or traded. Dodge is the one to have. This may change as time goes on, but it has been reliable choice for many, many years now.

I would suggest -- as in the above -- to apply a larger context to TV comparisons. Fuel economy is but one cost, and one in which making trade-offs is worthwhile to some owners (if indeed the trade-off is real) has to be seen against fixed costs which decide and win any comparisons. And, as also in the above, the only realistic comparisons are against what other TV's one might choose as against a pickup truck. These are major, the truck differences minor.

It is not how I feel about it, it is about what it costs me.

Same for trailers, over the longest span of time. If we only intend to use one for about ten years, it is harder (by no means impossible) to justify the expense of a new A/S. But used aero aluminum trailers are an excellent choice as we all know. As are also some brands/specification of pickup trucks. For the very long term, and hard use.

We paid cash for used truck & trailer. And spent about $10k before I ran out of things to do. This was under $40k total. Had we bought a comparable A/S our initial and repair/upgrade costs would have been higher. Try seeing your combination in this light -- over projected years of use -- is what I am suggesting in main. For my purposes of business and personal use -- past and present -- this model has worked very well on a $$ basis.

One must decide whether these are assets to ones family, or just high dollar toys. After that, all the rest is easy. For us, TT and TV should both, as a "matched pair" be capable of a 400k-mile life. Which is why I read both here and on Dodge forums to keep abreast of problems, solutions and potential upgrades. Other enthusiasts (as a catch-all term) may have different motivations (and be in the majority), but we learn from all of them to improve what is important as we see it, and as we use it..


.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:41 PM   #44
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Did anyone read thru all that to see if Rednax even addressed the increased cost of oil changes, and fuel filters?
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Old 09-16-2011, 05:09 PM   #45
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I still fit my own demographic.....

06 8.1 Burb 38k, thats used mostly for towing. If and when it reaches 150k, I will be 95, and most likely..... pretty worn out myself.

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Old 09-16-2011, 10:25 PM   #46
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Bob, doesn't that make you about 80 now?

Rednax, given your approach to this, your combination makes sense for you if I understand you. Not having any experience with RV's, we chose a new Airstream. I wouldn't do that again, but don't plan to sell our trailer and have another bite at it. As for the truck, we bought for reliability, high resale value and towing ability. We didn't want to deal with a diesel and don't want to keep a truck for more than 6 to 10 years. I get tired of looking at it and find things start breaking too often. With the miles we are racking up, I suspect it will be close to 6 years.

I'm hoping substantially better gas mileage will be coming soon with newer trucks, but unsure it will happen in our timeline. We could use the truck less for just driving around, but the miles on the SUV are piling up too—living in a rural area, lots of miles are a necessity. I could learn more about how to do things to increase mileage and do most of the repairs myself, but don't want to. I've fixed my cars and trucks over the years, but have no interest in doing it now and I'm not even as old as Bob must be. I save money on buying houses that need remodeling, fix them up, sell at a substantial profit—in the present housing climate that's not working too well. With trucks I don't want much maintenance, worries, hassles on the road. Your experience as a professional driver and lots of years with RV's give you a definite advantage in this.

In my subjective experience, motor vehicles start to look shabby at some point in their lives. Resale value goes down faster then. Our previous Toyotas started to show early signs of that at about 6 years and may have been fine for another year or two. Without doing the numbers (those pesky records take too much time to look up), previous brands we have owned got little money at 9 to 10 years and selling earlier may have made more sense. Toyotas used to have such a good reputation that selling on our own (not a trade in) was worth $1,000 to $2,000 more than trading. People look for used Toyotas that are in good shape and we do our best to keep them that way. Used vehicle buyers are buying potential problemless vehicles, but all good things come to an end sometime and I don't want find out when that happens. A transmission or engine job 3,000 miles from home is not something I want to deal with.

What worries me is that Toyotas aren't as well made as they used to be and resale may be more difficult. Our 2002 Tundra was so desirable that the dealer offered us a high trade in without even driving it. Figuring the difference between selling it ourselves (costs to us for advertising, sales tax difference) meant there was little difference in selling it ourselves and no hassles. Everybody won on that one.

So, I don't know if we fit into any of your 3 classifications. We try to do this sensibly, hopefully we do.

Gene
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Old 09-17-2011, 12:36 AM   #47
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re. TV values. Something we all need to keep in mind relative to depreciation and residual values. We have been, and will continue to be in an unusual time when calculating when is the best trade time. Think about it. residual values, by in large are dependent on the supply of used vehicles in the market. Most fleet and retail leases (which make up about 30 - 40% of all vehicles delivered. Fleets are very high in leasing and make up about 25% of all new vehicle deliveries) What happened 34 months ago? Nobody could get financing for leases nor purchases on installments. Right now, because the industry fell, 34 months ago, from 17,000,000 vehicles (on an annualized rate) a year (new vehicle sales) to 9,000,000, and we are just now entering the time when those 36 month leases WOULD'VE been entering the used stream......they ain't there! Used prices are getting STUPID high.

Check it out if you are thinking, even remotely, about trading. You'll be amazed what your old rig is worth! BTW, this high used value thing is going to last for 2 - 3 years.
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:42 AM   #48
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Interesting.....and I know you are right because I've heard it elsewhere about the shortage of good used vehicles. Just didn't know the main reason behind it.

The truck I have now (listed in my sig) I bought used, and it now has about 85K miles on it. I normally drive a vehicle to 100K, and trade, but this being a DIESEL, figured I would drive it to 200K. I've been driving about 30K a year, so that would not put me in your estimated time frame of good tradein value, so might have to reconsider. Thanks.
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Old 09-17-2011, 09:45 AM   #49
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I have been reading a most interesting exchange here you guys all have valuable points of view. Hats off to all for your views, I still tow and drive every day my OG 1989 ford F350 7.3 IHL non turbo, she has about 500,000 miles on her engine has been rebuilt 68,000 ago, for us the older truck fits our bill we are full timers live and drive the road everyday with it, pulls our 31ft, also carry about 1,000lb in bed. has never left us, millage 10mpg loaded or empty, only hard time was in the rockies 45mph up some of them hills. would we buy a new one not a chance, would we but a used one oh yes more like a vintage truck that I can install this engine in, just my view not rich not poor just happy to have what I have and loving my full time life in a Airstream.
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Old 09-17-2011, 09:50 AM   #50
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just happy to have what I have and loving my full time life in a Airstream.
Really, how much better could it get?
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Old 09-17-2011, 12:00 PM   #51
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Do you all find that when you are looking to buy a vehicle from a dealer, they let you tow your AS around a bit to check it out?
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Old 09-17-2011, 12:14 PM   #52
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Do you all find that when you are looking to buy a vehicle from a dealer, they let you tow your AS around a bit to check it out?
Uzzah,


Before retiring,(2yrs ago), the Chevy store I worked at did allow towing road tests. We sold a lot of trucks and were a utility trailer dealer also. A lot of commercial and motor-sports customers. The whole sales/serv dept's filled with drag racers.
Best advise...look for a dealer with a lot of trucks on the lot, (mostly in rural areas). In a slow market you may find more dealers willing to co-operate.

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Old 09-17-2011, 12:24 PM   #53
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Hmmm, interesting. I'd not really thought about checking rural. That actually makes a lot of sence. I keep looking at dealers in town here, and all they seem to have are 1/2 tons and tahoes. Of course i suppose i should first figure out if a 1/2 ton is capable of towing a 31 foot trailer. This is a great thread, it really shows how geography plays into car/truck buying trends. Here in the Northwest, it's Ford country (as far as i can tell).
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Old 09-17-2011, 09:31 PM   #54
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Most interesting thread!

Tonight I finally finished (well, got pretty close) a project that I started a couple of weeks ago. Some time ago I picked up a 2010 Ford RV & Trailer Towing Guide that has lots of numbers in it. I made a spreadsheet for the F150, F250, F350, and F450, calculating weights for the various iterations. I didn't try to put all of them in there (too many possibilities), just to see what I would need to tow a 30-34' Airstream. I'm using 10,000 pounds for the trailer and a hitch weight of 1,000 pounds in my calculations. I understand that any truck I buy will have individual numbers that I'll have to use, but at least I can see how much truck I ought to be looking at so I don't buy one that isn't capable of safely doing the job or one that is far too much truck.

Based on these numbers, an F250 diesel will do the job just fine. The smaller gas engine will be on the low end of acceptable, and the diesel on the high end. Fuel use for towing seems to be in the 10-15 mpg range, depending on the weight of the right foot, the engine, and the terrain. Without the trailer it goes up some, to 15-22 or so.

We're calculating our FT use as 5000 miles/year in the RV and 10,000 miles/year without it. We are still looking at Airstreams, 5th wheels, and diesel pusher motor homes as possibilities for us. When my DW saw the spreadsheet and realized that any FW that we would want for FT living will pretty much require the F450 I think she saw what I've been telling her for a while now, and is with me on focusing on either an Airstream or a DP.

Uzzah, I doubt that a 1/2 ton pickup will safely tow your trailer. Yes, it may well pull it, at least for a while, but will it be able to stop it? I'm guessing that it would be marginal at best.

Back when Wally Byam was writing his books, he said something about the trailer should not weigh more than the tow vehicle. That may or may not still be true, but in my opinion there ought to be a fairly small difference between them. He also said something about a weight to horsepower ratio of less than 60:1, and I don't know how current engines come out on that, either.

We're about as rural as it gets here. The only new vehicle dealership in the county is less than two miles from here and sells both Chrysler and Ford products. There are lots of pickups (both Dodge and Ford) out front, some Jeeps, and a couple of cars. The trucks go from half ton to one ton models.
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Old 09-17-2011, 10:15 PM   #55
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Uzzah,


Before retiring,(2yrs ago), the Chevy store I worked at did allow towing road tests. We sold a lot of trucks and were a utility trailer dealer also. A lot of commercial and motor-sports customers. The whole sales/serv dept's filled with drag racers.
Best advise...look for a dealer with a lot of trucks on the lot, (mostly in rural areas). In a slow market you may find more dealers willing to co-operate.

Bob
Yup, if you want to find truck guys who know what they are doing, look for rows of white paint. Don't know what I mean? Just ask!
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Old 09-18-2011, 05:31 AM   #56
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dz is exactly white right.....

Bob
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