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Old 06-20-2014, 12:33 PM   #1
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Tow Vehicle/STOW Vehicle for Full-Timers

Request for more information - from the "Here's Bessie" thread....

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ie-121273.html


Pagey's post just smacked me right between the eyes. I've been keeping a darned storage locker for years - to stow tools, and some stuff that just can't go IN a Fulltimer's Airstream. I also get a lot of work done by a local Airstream repairman because I can afford it, and I can't manage the logistics of having to make 7 trips back and forth from storage for the right tools, ladder, etc, etc. etc.

I also realize that I know NOTHING about bigger trucks. The Freightliner that is pictured here looks great, but the price is slightly more than I'd be comfortable with. I did a little internet browsing yesterday and found a whole load of various F-350's, E-350's and equivalent Chevy trucks, then ones like the Freightliner.

Anyone else tow with one of these monsters? Other pro's and cons that I'm not aware of? Suggestions about how to educate myself? Buying used... Good idea or disaster?

Paula
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:40 PM   #2
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We tow with a dodge 3500 one ton. Same size as a half ton. Four door, short bed, two wheel drive. Would go with a long bed next time! We like the diesel and all the cargo capacity. Jim
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Old 06-20-2014, 05:26 PM   #3
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Great question, I'm cleaning out a garage of tools! We are going full-time by the end of the year. I plan on being on the road Jan 1st 2015. Being somewhat of both a car guy and coming from an Expo rig setup, I've been trying to figure what I will carry and how much I actually need.



I keep coming down to the realization that I probably don't need to haul an air compressor and impact tools and etc around. Or do I??

How often do you need access to your tools?
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Old 06-20-2014, 05:54 PM   #4
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I want the utility bed! I want to carry a ton of stuff!

I am vertically challenged. I want to wear a parachute when exiting the door of a 1 ton truck.

I've had a Silverado 2500 long bed diesel, and my current vehicle is a F-150 Ecoboost, but add the 3000 Handi Generator and 20 other little 15 lb. things I need and... Overloaded! Plus getting TO the stuff in a long bed, ooof! A good covered utility bed. Wow. Now it may seem a bit odd coming from a woman, but I'm getting an urge to arrange the "cupboards" in the utility bed - floor jack, tool shelves, charcoal, volcano cooker, cast iron cookware, blocks for the jackpost and stabilizers, roll up aluminum table, lawn chairs, generator, gas can, gerry cans for water, maybe even a blue boy. (And even a mattress for the nephews after they've had baked beans as the main course for dinner!)
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:27 PM   #5
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The main reason we went with the Freightliner, other than my husband's 2000 lb toolbox, is the theory of last truck first. The motor should last us a million miles, it can stop us and the trailer going downhill in the mountains without burning up, and it has a 55 degree turning radius. One of these costs less than two 350s, which will not last nearly as long.
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:28 PM   #6
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Plus, it has a built in compressor.
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Old 06-23-2014, 02:45 PM   #7
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Please see post # 19 here:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...-121273-2.html

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Old 06-23-2014, 03:20 PM   #8
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I would be very tempted to get the new Ford Transit van with the EcoBoost engine. Can tow up to 7,500 pounds plus has a huge payload rating. Probably easier to drive than the huge pickups/medium-duty trucks too.

2015 Ford Transit | View Towing Specifications | Ford.com

Tom
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:52 PM   #9
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Wow! Those transit van's have HUGE payload! Some bigger than trucks and even the E-Series vans. 4000lb payload rating in a few configurations!
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:21 PM   #10
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Truck service bodies have come a long way. The KSS body by Knapheide is a contoured service body with lots of storage.

We have a topper and bedslide drawer now, but I think a service body would be great on a full-time tow vehicle.


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Old 06-24-2014, 03:10 PM   #11
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I've also considered having a service body put on my F250 if I went full time. Might have to go with a fully enclosed model (like a heavy gauge metal cap but with all the compartments on the sides) since I like being able to secure items in the bed.

Making a downsized version of Bessie, so to speak.
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Old 06-28-2014, 10:48 AM   #12
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Love/Hate relationship with my EcoBoost

Conclusion first - explanation later. If you ever need a tow vehicle in a hurry - buy a cheap piece of crap that will last one to two years. I wrecked one year ago this month, and as a fulltimer had to replace both the trailer and the tow vehicle. Now I'm sorta kinda stuck with a very nice 1/2 ton Ford EcoBoost. Reading this forum has caused me to start buying lottery tickets - one ticket per drawing - the odds don't appreciably improve even if you buy 100 and I do get a buck's worth of mental entertainment.

Trouble is I keep reading Airforums and seeing other people's solutions which make me yearn.... If I had a piece of crap tow vehicle I'd be totally buying another one today, and it wouldn't be an EcoBoost.

First I see the perfect fulltimer's tow vehicle, a Freightliner with a utility bed - which can carry a ton of well organized, easy to reach stuff. Then SmokelessJoe has his Argosy,Sprinter,MiniCooper combo for sale - all as one or separately. Drool again. (I seem to do that a lot.) That Sprinter flatbed has a lot of the benefits of a "ut bed" PLUS a little gas efficient car. I did like the "bed" option in the Freightliner's enclosed utility bed. A private "guest room" is something I'd rarely use, but would be worth it's weight in gold once in a while. Oooh... why do I always get the hots for other people's stuff?

Then a series of random ideas hit about how flexible Smokeless Joe's rig could be. I just read another thread where an owner of a 30 footer was considering a rather dicey tow into a remote Yellowstone campground. If I DID have Smokeless Joe's rig, I could have the towing situation every Airstream owner dreams of "Longer when parked, shorter when towing." On a long trip where remote sites were part of the deal, leave the Mini home and put a teardrop or other tiny camper on the bed. Any overnight side trip with a comfy bed would then be possible... Switchbacks here we come! Of course I could snooze in the Freightliner's covered bed too.

However in the end, my "cheeeep" genes must prevail. At 65 I cannot whack my retirement fund enough to spend big bucks on either Sergei's rig or another new tow vehicle. And the Freightliner's expected lifespan of 20 years isn't a turn-on for someone who is 65... Realistically a one ton truck will probably outlive my remaining towing years.

Of course I can't put a big ut-bed on the Ecoboost. It's a nice tow vehicle but it's got all it can comfortably handle with the Eddie Bauer.

DISCLAIMER - I full time and am considering the best way to carry heavy tools, generator, out of season clothes (1000 lbs of stuff I have to keep in storage now). An EcoBoost is a great all purpose vehicle for those who still live in sticks and bricks and want a more general purpose vehicle that can be a daily driver. BTW it's not all that hot as a daily driver in town - about 16 mpg. In a family I'd go with a true economy car for the first vehicle and use the EcoBoost for the "mom car" which any "Mr. Mom" would truly love.

Paula
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Old 06-28-2014, 11:20 AM   #13
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My FL60 Freightliner, a class 6 medium duty truck is the biggest you can go without a commercial license. My insurance $2300 annual, registration $500+, 9mpg towing the Alfa, 10 - 11 towing the AS, 12 empty. It is geared to haul @ 65 mph (sweet spot in the power band), max speed 72 before the driveline starts to vibrate. Engine is a 3126 cat with a 7 speed spicer manual. I wish it had more gears for better milage empty. Before I replaced the shocks, I felt like a pea in a whistle, rattling around in the cab. The ride not so bad now, but it still has a leaf spring straight axle under the front, air under the back. You still feel beat after 500 mile days on the road.
To complete my downsize, I'm looking at '06 duramax utility trucks, first year of the 6 speed allison.
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Old 06-28-2014, 01:55 PM   #14
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If I had the payload I would carry every too I could imagine I would need or could use and then work backwards from there, eliminating not necessary things as I went.if I were full timing. Jim
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