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Old 12-27-2010, 08:14 AM   #1
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5K budget tow vehicle

I have about 5K to purchase a tow vehicle for a 27' Airstream. Had an 88 F250 once, but it was dangerously sluggish on the grades in the Rockies. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks.

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Old 12-27-2010, 09:20 AM   #2
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I would look in private ads in the newspaper, craigslist: dallas / fort worth classifieds for jobs, apartments, personals, for sale, services, community, and events, etc, to try to find a vehicle from a private party. Some of your better deals may be found this way. One thing to keep in mind, the F-250 in 1988 was still a carburetor engine and not as powerful as a fuel injected one.

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Old 12-27-2010, 10:00 AM   #3
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That is a tough one as you are talking about a vehicle that must perform well to tow safely. Pickup trucks and heavy duty suvs in this price range are generally in rough condition and need work to put them in good mechanical condition.
Keep in mind that expenses other than purchase price enter the equation.
If your 5k vehicle needs repairs it may be ultimately more expensive than one more expensive.
If you double your budget look at 2002-2004 Tahoes. Look for one in top mechanical condition with appearance issues. They are cheap and may tow a lighter, older 27 footer. Pickups are usually more expensive.
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:02 AM   #4
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I personally would go to a reputable independent dealer and buy a $10,000+ truck with a 50% downpayment.
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:59 AM   #5
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Bought a 2000 F250 power stroke for 10,000 last July. 2nd trip out lost the trans in VA Beach. $4000 later and a Ford reman. I guess you get what you pay for. Sal.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:04 PM   #6
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That bites. Sorry you got unlucky.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:43 PM   #7
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"work truck"

MUCH caution - but scads of contractors including plumbers, electricians and all carpentry related trades have downsized or closed their businesses. I personally know a plumber who bought a new building and five new vans just a few months before the fertilizer impacted the ventilator.

He's now finally just given up on keeping the building and told the bank to foreclose, and he's still trying to unload two of the trucks. There his finance company was pretty reasonable.... they let other buyers take over the loan obligation and the title. Two others have aged an additional two years while he's tried to keep going. At his high point he had 27 vehicles and 45 employees. Now he has two employees, the two newer trucks and a huge number of "beater" trucks that are 4-7 years old with hundreds of thousands of miles on each. All are "for sale" but he wants to end up with one decent truck... someone who's picky could get a great deal... but it's got a big vinyl wrap & sign that the buyer will have to remove.

Construction vehicles see heavy usage, but on a newer one with decent care can still be a bargain!.
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:09 PM   #8
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I'd take a well-maintained higher mileage work truck over an unknown history personal truck with maybe very infrequent oil changes and never a transmission fluid/filter change, any day.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:34 AM   #9
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Arizona seems to have a lot of older vehicles that can be in good shape, if you shop around. When we got a new pickup a couple of years ago, our old 1978 Chevy with 454 V8 was worth a little under $5k. We finally gave it to another family member instead of selling it. But, when we let it go, it had two new mufflers, shocks, battery, tires, rebuilt carburetor, and fairly new radiator, water pump and fan clutch. Plus, it was already equipped for towing an Airstream. Being an Arizona vehicle since new it had only been in snow and salt a few times on vacation; thus, it had no rust at all and only needed polish and wax to clean it up.

There are a lot of vehicles like this down here, but they're old. Some like ours have been well-cared for, but the 454 sucked gas (3-5 mpg in the Rockies and 7-8 on the flats, with or without our 19-foot Bambi in tow). However, we're a long way from Connecticut; and any savings purchasing here would get eaten up in fuel trying to get it home.

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