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Old 03-19-2008, 10:49 AM   #15
Tom, the Uber Disney Fan
 
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Welcome to the forums Cat. I have one of the seemingly rare 2X4 Crew Cab '08 F-250's. I previously had a '95 F-150 for 11 years that I put 186K miles on and sold to my neighbor who is still driving it. I kept it a year after buying my '05 F-250 PSD because it was such a good truck.

I was really impressed with my '05 F-250 except for the seats and general ride. It was my daily driver and I have a back injury from about 20 years ago that flares up every once in a while. Last fall I spent 6 weeks in physical therapy and the hard ride and less than form fitting seats of my '05 led me to try out the newly designed '08's. I also contacted Brad (nilesrob above) for advise on the ride and comfort of his recently purchased '08 F-250. In December I traded my '05 for an '08. The great thing about diesels is that they hold their value much better than gassers seem to.

When we camp, we have our two sons and our cocker spaniel with us so I needed the full bench seat in the rear so we went with the Lariat (one trim level below the King Ranch which has bucket seats in the rear) so I would have a place for the dog to ride.

I have put a little over 6K miles on my '08 F-250 so far and can tell you from a ride and comfort stand point I made the right decision. When I sat down in the captain's chair and used the power inflate lumbar support, it fit my back perfectly. I can tow for 8 hours without being totally wiped out when I arrive at our destination. I came to the realization the other day that actually enjoy driving this truck where as I didn't enjoy driving my '05.

The noise level is considerably less than the noise my 6.0L '05 made. From an environmental stand point, the 6.4L diesel's emissions are the same as a gasoline engine. The down side is that my '05 got between 18-19 MPG on my daily commute (half interstate and half stop-n-go) and I got 12.6 MPG towing on the interstate. With my '08 I get between 16-17 on the same daily commute and my towing MPG's started out at 9.6 MPG's. I had the Ford dealer do a programming update and that has delivered another 1-1.5 MPG's towing on the interstate and my regular service writer told me that the mileage would improve when it got broken in. He didn't make any claims as to how much. But, my most recent fill up was at $3.89/gallon and 24 gallons cost me $97 so any improvement will be greatly appreciated.

I have had trucks for 13 years now and have never needed 4X4, but we don't have any significant snow and I don't do off-road. When my salesman did an inventory search for an '08 F-250 Lariat with navigation system and sunroof (both were deal breakers for me) I told him that I was neutral on the 4X4, but I would prefer the 2X4. He found the truck I have in a 2X4, and I actually preferred it that way since it would be one less expensive thing to break down and would be less weight to haul around.

The power fold mirrors are to die for! My wife's Expedition has them and they really do come in handy. On my '08 F-250 they power fold and power telescope. I fold them when I park in the parking deck at work so they aren't in someone's way getting in and out of their car when they park next to me. Because of the wide turning radius, I back into the parking space so I can get out of the space without 10 minutes of backing up and pulling forward to reposition in the aisle to get clear of the parking space. The mirrors would be more likely to be in someone's way at the rear of their car as they go past them to get to their front doors. However, the mirrors are expensive to replace. My mirrors are heated and have the turn signal on the outer edge. One morning on the way to work I was in the right hand lane of a narrow street with the utility poles directly behind the curb. I was passing a garbage truck and got a little too close to the curb and my passenger side mirror hit one of the utility poles. The impact ripped the mirror off and it was dangling by the wires running to the electricals in the mirror when I got to work. Cost of replacement would have been $618 for the mirror and $90 for labor but I do a lot of business with my local Ford dealer and my service writer requested a discount from the service manager and saved me over $100. However, the mirrors are made in Australia and the ones with the heater and power fold/extend and turn signals were on back order with a delivery date of over a month away. The only one available was at a dealer in N.C. My local dealer got it transferred and installed the following Friday. It pays to establish a relationship with your local dealer.

I have no real experience with GM trucks except my father had two Chevy's. He was a Ford man through-n-through and, even though he enjoyed his two Chevy's and had no bad experiences with them, he always went back to Fords. Chevy trucks, in my opinion, are every bit as good as a Ford and I would say the same for Dodges. However, my personal experiences have all been with Ford trucks and they have all been good ones. I have no doubts that I would say the same about Chevy and Dodge if I had owned one, or two, of them. It really comes down to personal preferences and aesthetics when you purchase your first one. My wife went from a Honda Civic to an Expedition in '99 and after a week she said she would never go back to a sub-compact. When it was time to replace it last spring, she tried out a Lexus 400h, Volvo XC90, and an Explorer and went back to the Expedition again. Once you get used to the larger vehicle (and as 2air said, that takes about a week) you'll probably never want to go back. That's why so many full sized SUV's have been sold.

Good luck with your decision.

BTW, my personal opinion: A half ton will pull you 28' Safari, but I personally think that when you pass the 25' mark, you have really entered the 3/4 ton arena as far as comfortable towing.
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Old 03-19-2008, 11:31 AM   #16
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Minnie really summed up the whole thing pretty well.

I'll add; one is not “better” than the other (gas vs. diesel)…it really depends on your usage. But I have run both gas and diesel, and even with the cost of diesel today, I am still ahead of the game. Highway and towing mpg are much better with diesel. Around town, they are about the same. Look at some of the other threads for more detailed analysis.

Hope this helps.

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Old 03-19-2008, 11:45 AM   #17
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Red face

Wow. I really didn't realize how long winded I was.
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Old 03-19-2008, 12:11 PM   #18
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Minnie's post is a very good one.

We're an odd couple (in more ways than just this one!) in that I have an '05 F250 with the 6.0 diesel, and Ben has an '07 GMC 2500HD with the 6.6L Duramax. Therefore, we both have the previous generation of our respective makes/models, but the comparisons between the two are inevitable in our family. Both are crew cab shortbed models; mine's a Lariat, and his is the more mid-level SLE.

In a nutshell:
  • The GMC rides smoother and sits lower
  • The GMC is quieter, and the Allison transmission is a wonderful thing
  • The GMC gets slightly better fuel economy
  • The way the GMC seat folds in the back is preferable to us, but I think for '08 they fold the same way as the Ford
  • The Ford's interior is better quality - better materials and ergonomics, no rattles
  • The Ford mirrors are head and shoulders better
  • The Ford seats aren't quite as comfortable
  • The integrated brake control on the Ford is outstanding, although on our Classic with disc brakes, the readout malfunctions (the controller itself works fine)
  • The Ford cab feels bigger
  • Both trucks are great pullers
Both have been good trucks; the GMC has been in the shop slightly more than the Ford (pinched transmission line, blown radio speaker for the GMC, bad ignition computer on the Ford). They have almost equal mileage, as the Ford is used more for pulling the Airstreams and casual driving, whereas the GMC is more of a daily driver for Ben (well, was until diesel hit $3.90 a gallon and he started driving his beater gas truck).

It's hard to go wrong with either. The GM powertrain is more proven, but we've been happier with the interior, paint, and body build quality of the Ford.
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Old 03-19-2008, 12:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
Wow. I really didn't realize how long winded I was.
BTW, my personal opinion: A half ton will pull you 28' Safari, but I personally think that when you pass the 25' mark, you have really entered the 3/4 ton arena as far as comfortable towing.
Nothing wrong with long winded - particularly since you shared a LOT of good information in your response!

Clearly, I would have more pulling power with a F-250. But - I think I may be OK with the F-150. Time will tell. I may be back to this thread in a few months saying "guess what? I just bought a 250" Then again, maybe not.

As for the 28 footer throwing me into the F-250 arena... conider this... the difference in the UBW unloaded base weight between the 25' Safari SS and the 28' Safari is only 115 pounds (yes 115 - I didn't leave out any digits) They both have a GVWR of 7300#. I was surprised to see a difference of only #115 when one is 2 feet longer (25'-11" vs 27'-11").

I guess the difference is so small because the 28 has less cabinetry and casework than the 25. Less casework & cabinets = less storage = less junk hauled! The 28" may actually be lighter to pull!!! I think the 28 ft Classic is a whole 'nuther story though.

Since the truck is used every day I have to take the fuel costs into consideration. I still hold the opinion that mile for mile I'll be better off with my F-150 with the 5.4L V8 - but I could be wrong.
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Old 03-19-2008, 01:15 PM   #20
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One of the factors in my "25 foot" rule of thumb is the length of the trailer vs. the length of the truck. The F-150 has a little shorter wheel base than the F-250 so there is a little of the tail wagging the dog scenario should you ever have to make emergency maneuvers. The F-250 is also a good deal heavier than an F-150 which off-sets this phenomenon to some degree. Also, take into consideration that 3/4 ton trucks typically have heavier duty brakes, suspensions, and transmissions, I just think they make more durable tow vehicles.

A lot will have to do with towing styles when you decide which is better for your situation. A 1/2 truck will ride better as a daily commuter because of the softer suspension. If you tow less often and not in mountains, the 1/2 ton should be satisfactory. If you take lots of short weekend trips, you may eventually decide the 1/2 ton is too lite or needs more power. If you tow in higher altitudes or on steeper grades, you will appreciate the steady power curve of the diesel over the gasoline engine. You have to really get high up in altitude before the diesel will be affected where as the gasoline engine will be affected at lower altitudes.

Our Appalachian Mountains don't compare to the Rockies in steepness or height, but in our first summer I towed our 30' Safari on the interstate through the Blue Ridge Mountains through Tennessee and Kentucky with the cruise set and the air conditioner set on 72 degrees in July with an outdoor temp in the upper 90's and never lost speed even on one particularly long steep stretch in Kentucky. Half ton trucks with smaller SOB's were falling behind.

I am not trying to say that everyone should have a 3/4 ton diesel. I don't think they are for everyone. But, for me it is the preferred set up. I appreciate being able to put my 1,000 LB golf cart in the bed of the truck, load up for a week long camping trip and head down to Ft. Wilderness and not have to worry about having the truck over loaded or not being able to keep up with the flow of traffic. I also like having enough heft in the truck that there is no tail-wagging-the-dog experiences when a semi passes and when braking.

A few months down the road, you may come back to this thread and post that your F-150 is performing satisfactorily and you don't see the need for anything larger. That wouldn't surprise me at all. There are lots of folks towing with 1/2 ton trucks and 1/2 ton SUV's that do so with great pleasure and satisfaction. For a lot of Airstreams, a 3/4 ton tow vehicle is overkill. You just have to weigh all of the factors to the best of your abilities and decide for yourself.
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Old 03-19-2008, 01:47 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
One of the factors in my "25 foot" rule of thumb is the length of the trailer vs. the length of the truck....
Again - you've made some excellent points.

My F-150 has the longest available wheel base in it's class 144" (at least I think it's the longest available). Going to an F-250 SuperCab.with the same 5.4L V8 and axel ratio only gives me an extra 100 pounds of towing capacity. Jumping to the 6.8L V10 buys me 3200# more towing capacity but cuts my gas milage too.

There is no possible way that I could tow extra toys like a golf cart (although it would be cool to be able to do that) Ft Wilderness with a golf cart sounds like a LOT of fun!!! If I get to that point, then for sure I'd be making a trip to the Ford dealer
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Old 03-19-2008, 02:19 PM   #22
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Molly, you and Ben need to go out and buy 2 new trucks (2008's) so you can reply more accurately to this post!

I have never known anyone else that had a better opportunity to reply to the Ford vs. GM debate...that was great!

kudos your way!

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Old 03-19-2008, 02:47 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
Wow. I really didn't realize how long winded I was.
M M, That was a serious post!!! Wow.
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:15 PM   #24
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Bill,

Thanks...it is a unique thing to have both brands of diesels at home, and they're both such good trucks that we wouldn't have a problem with an '08 of either variety. We each had a Ford diesel for a while, but when it came time to replace Ben's, GM's 0% financing and 100K-mile warranty on a really good truck swayed him toward the GMC. Plus, knowing Ford was leaving the 6.0 behind and moving to the 6.4L made us leary of the first model year for the new motor.

In the same vein, I think it comes down to your personal preferences in terms of choosing one over the other, as they really are both good trucks, and our diesel trucks (these are numbers 5 and 6 respectively) have almost always been good, capable vehicles that are often (knock on wood) more trouble-free than our cars.

When we're going to run into town for something, we take the GMC. When we're going on a trip with one of the Airstreams, we take the Ford. But it comes down more to the Ford having a topper and the GMC not having one than anything else, although we both think the GMC is more comfortable but prefer the Ford for towing with its mirrors, visibility, taller ride height, and integrated brake control.

I can't speak for 2008s, but I think it comes down to the GM trucks having a softer ride and more proven drivetrain and the Fords having a higher stance and better interior build quality and materials but an evolving drivetrain with fewer proven miles behind it. We wouldn't hesitate to take either cross-country right now with any of our trailers, and we wouldn't hesitate to buy either a Ford or GM new. And either will be up to the task of towing any Airstream.
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Old 03-20-2008, 01:40 AM   #25
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Ford F250 10+K miles towing...

Hi,

Last Thursday we completed a trip that started November 4. We took delivery of our 2008 F250 FX4 (4x4) 6.4 liter diesel with manual transmission October 15. We managed to put 800 miles on it prior to our departure.

We drove from Medford, Oregon to Colonial Airstream in New Jersey in 6 days to collect our new 30' Classic.

From the time of purchase to our arrival in New Jersey we covered 4097 miles and averaged 16.22 MPG. In Nevada we drove at 70 to 75 MPH. In Wyoming we drove at 75 to 80. FWIW, these are legal posted speeds in these states. In the remaining states we drove 65 to 75 MPH.

The absolute best we have gotten in 14,775 miles is 19.6 MPG from Homestead, Florida to Key West and back. Note that the posted speeds on this road are 45 with a short stretch at 55 MPH.

All of the above is just the two of us in the truck, but all of our gear in the bed of the truck. We have a Leer cap on the truck. The truck front axle weighs 5320 lbs. and the rear axle weight 5100 lbs. Ya, we hauled all of our stuff with us to New Jersey and then loaded the trailer. The weight here is AFTER the stuff was moved into the trailer. It was heavier prior to that.

You have probably already figured out that we hauled the trailer from New Jersey to Florida. From there we went west to San Diego and north to Medford Oregon; roughly 10,000 miles with the 8.800 lb. trailer behind us.

The worst mileage we got was going from St. Augustine, Florida to Pensacola, Florida to attend the Can Opener. 9.4 MPG. I attribute this to the severe head wind we encountered. During the course of our trip we estimate that headwinds cost us 2 MPG. The best we got was 15.4 on mostly flat land with a strong tail wind.

Having said this, we were very lucky weather wise. We did not encounter a lot of bad weather, unless you want to count the snow on the last day of our return going over a 5,100 foot pass between Klamath Falls and Medford.

In Nevada we went over some higher passes but until we encountered the 4,000 foot pass going from Yuma to San Diego we were only in what we here in the west call hills.

The best mileage we got during out trip while towing was 15.4 MPG. Our average towing the trailer was 11.0.

Please note that these mileage figures are calculated by recording the mileage and fuel at each purchase. The "lie-o-meter" in the vehicle is very much something that will not give accurate results.

As for the noise level in the cab. My father in laws' 1989 Beaver Motor Coach (rear diesel pusher) is much louder at the drivers seat. When I took him for a ride he was amazed at how quit the truck is.Also, there is not one spot of soot on my exhaust. So, this diesel is much more friendly to the environment; but, at a cost - reduced fuel mileage.

If we did not have four wheel drive we would still be in a camp ground in Georgia. There was just enough of an incline in our camp space that the rear wheels just spun in the gravel and soft earth when it was time to depart. It was dry and there was not any sign of moisture in the soil that was dug up. We encountered this several times on our trip. I bought a four wheel drive just for this reason and am very happy I did.

We also got the Sirius satellite radio option in both the truck and Classic and are very happy we did. Especially when in Big Bend National Park and other such remote places. The solar system kept our batteries fully charged and the only time we ran our generator was to exercise it to keep the battery charged. It should be noted that we like to boondock and we do so often.

The down side of the truck is, IMNSHO, the manual gear box. There needs to be at least two more gears; one between 2nd and 3rd and another between 4th and 5th. This became an issue when we started towing in the mountains. Please note that this means 6% or grater grades. When starting from a stop on such a grade the shift from 2nd to 3rd really taxes the drive train. The same conditions cause similar issues when traveling at speed. We wind up in 5th gear at 50 MPH and 2,000 RPM on freeways many times if it is more than 6% and longer than a half mile. 6th gear causes the RPM to drop too much in these conditions. I am giving serious consideration to installing an over/under transmission that will solve this issue very nicely. The torque output of the engine is awesome; it will pull stumps.

I don't know if this will provide any info that will help with your decision or not. Good luck!!!

Jim
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Old 03-20-2008, 07:16 AM   #26
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Wow!!! and Thank You very much!

You are all terrific, knowledeable, welcoming, generous and kind, and we are SO very grateful!

Thank you for all for the encouragement, the links, the real world comparisons and the sharing of recent experience with exactly the year and engine we are considering. Thank you so much!!! This is all so very helpful to us as we make such a huge decision and purchase.

We were told that by purchasing an AS we were not just buying a trailer but we were joining a wonderful community, and you here in the forums have certainly proven that to be true

With gratitude and appreciation,
Cat and the guys


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Old 03-20-2008, 07:19 AM   #27
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cat, you are so right-lot's o good Folk here! (And good info)

norsea, great post, and great trip.
I think you will find, as we did and many others, that your mpg will improve with a few more miles on the truck. Ironicaly, many of todays automatics get better mpg than their standard shift brethren. I know I would much rather stick the Alli in "D" and go...I'll keep my shiftin' to 2 wheels...

4wd is mandatory for those of us in snow country...can't see buying a truck without.

Thanx for the update, sounds like you've got a great setup.

Stream on,
Bill
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Old 03-20-2008, 02:10 PM   #28
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thanks for the great post Norsea. It was great to have you at the Can Opener and hope you will be able to make it again next year.
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