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Old 08-15-2011, 10:57 AM   #1
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2004 25' Safari
Lafayette , California
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Best $12,000 TV ?

Hello all, TOW VEHICLE not television....

First, it's hard to imagine this hasn't been explored before, but couldn't find it using "search". Just direct me to an old thread if there is one.

A/S= 2004 25' Safari- about 6,500# loaded to go.

Need= Mostly our A/S sits in our daughter's driveway, and is a "cabin" for when we visit. For the next 5 years or so ('til I retire) we would like to make occasional trips around California, probably less than 4-5,000 miles/yr. Willing to take longer getting someplace (pulling over for those behind us) rather than have an enormous truck "all the time".

1) safety
2) capability to tow as above
3) comfort
4) Economy- Don't want to have more than about $12K tied up in a vehicle that gets used so infrequently, and just sits and depreciates. So, cost of operation (gas, maintenance, etc.) gets weighed against value at the end of 5 yrs.

History- have looked at the '07 5.7L Tundras, but all above $19K. Not sure the 4.7L Tundra will meet the mission. Also looked at F-150's and 250's, but seem much less comfortable (especially pre-'04 models). Would like to stick with a truck that the "construction crowd" will always provide a ready market for, used.

Thanks in advance,


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Old 08-15-2011, 11:06 AM   #2
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When I first read the title of this post my first thought was "why would someone want to pay $12K for a television"... Me thinks I need to get out more.

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Old 08-15-2011, 11:16 AM   #3
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I've towed my 25 Safari with a '99 F250 diesel, and the 5.7 Tundra. If I were buying another truck I'd certainly want at least the 5.3 Chevrolet or 5.4 Ford for at least some ability to move. With short enough gearing to somewhat adequately move the load (3.73 or 4.11). To me in a used vehicle individual condition trumps brand name. It wouldn't hurt to pre qualify a wide range of SUVs and pickups based on tow ratings in case something nice popped up.

I'm actually in a similar boat, use my trailer about 2-3K per year. And the truck is pretty much for towing only. My last Ford and the Tundra basically sit in the garage for weeks on end. I feel it does extend their life to a reliable 10+ years. I drive it weekly for at least 20 consecutive miles, never put it away wet, and keep it serviced. I drive a Camry for everyday use, it prefer to drive it in town, and the cost per mile is lower. I feel these town cars at least double the life in years of the pickup trucks.
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:43 PM   #4
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Best $12,000 TV?

Given your desires, my suggestion would be to look toward a 2001 to 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe or GMC Yukon without the four-wheel drive option -- but most definitely with the heavy duty fractory towing package. For the slight additional cost, I would look toward the Suburban or Yukon XL for the greater comfort and increased towing capability. I know that these are large vehicles with less than stellar fuel economy, but they are exceptionally durable . . . my 1999 Suburban has been trouble-free for 200,000 miles and 13 years other than the four wheel drive system -- and I am still anticipating another 10 years plus another 100,000 miles.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:55 PM   #5
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Just about any good used pickup 150 or bigger with a v8 ought to do the job. As said above, you buy the best individual unit you can find and put less dependence on brand. I drive a 1997 F150 4wd drive everyday and find it most comfortable. We towed our 25' excella with it for a year before we bought a new TV. It towed fine. Got about 10 mpg. Downshifted lots on hills. Handled the trailer fine. You should have a good hitch and trailer brakes that work. Try to find one with the tow package on it. I think new Toyota's are good vechile. I think used Toyota trucks are very expensive. But there are a lot of Dodge, Chev, Ford trucks out there. If you can afford it up front you might be better off to put more in it up front and then figure the resale in 5 years against the cost. That way you could put 20 in a Toyota if that is what you want. (I wouldn't). Overall cost might be a little higher but I guarantee you you will have a better, more reliable TV that way.
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Old 08-15-2011, 03:59 PM   #6
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I tow my 25 Safari identical to yours with a 2000 diesel Ford Excursion. It has been a near perfect tow vehicle for 195,000 miles. I appreciate the torque and size as we live in Colorado and tow up and down the mountains at high elevation.
While it is a bigger hammer than needed for a 25 foot trailer, a Ford 3/4 ton Power Stroke is worth considering if you use it only for towing. Many, 2003 and older are available in your price range. They are pains to take into the city and park in a garage as they are high and huge.
Just about any half ton or bigger vehicle will work particularly if you tow mainly on the flat. Condition rather than brand is the determining factor in your price range.
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Old 08-15-2011, 05:27 PM   #7
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Consider a 3/4 ton Chevy (2500) or GMC van. You can probably find a 2007 in that price range. They will tow around 10,000 lbs (model dependent). If you can find the cargo version (no rear seats) you will especially like being able to put bikes and muddy stuff in the back easily without having to climb up into a truck bed.
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Old 08-15-2011, 05:27 PM   #8
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My first thought is a 2003+ Expedition or Navigator. I know you wanted to stick to a truck for resale, but the SUVs are more comfortable than most $12k trucks. If you get the SUV with the optional AdvanceTrac stability control, they're safer too.

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Old 08-15-2011, 06:06 PM   #9
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I know its a bit of an overkill, however... Look at an older excursion, F250/F350 in the 7.3 turbo deisel or v10. The 7.3 would be my first pick. I have many of these on my construction sites that get abused and worked hard. Many have well over 250K on the odometer and still running strong. These superduty trucks are built to be workhorses. I have found that the used trucks tend to be more expensive and used a little harder than the suv's/excursions. I use my excursion 4x4 on the jobsite every day. It does very well on and off road. Very comfortable tv as well. I have seen excursions at or below $12k in good condition.
Good luck on your search!
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:34 PM   #10
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I love my 2008 Tundra 5.7L motor with the six speed transmission. It is comfortable to ride in and tows very well. However, I don't think you will come close to finding one for 12k unless it is very high milage. That would be an option for me though. I would not recommend the 4.7L motor with the 5 speed.

For 12k, I would probably look for a high milage F250 with the 7.3L Turbo diesel that has been well cared for. I might also look for a Dodge 5.9L turbo diesel- again high milage with great care.

I am not afraid of high milage. My 10 year old BMW 330 coupe has almost 200k miles and looks and runs almost like it is new. 250k miles is nothing on a well cared for and well designed truck in mho.
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:16 AM   #11
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For comparison, a couple months ago, we bought a 2006 F-250 with 94,000 miles (6.0 Powerstroke diesel) for $20,000. Like others have said, you're looking at some sort of vehicle with pretty high miles and/or pretty old. Given your other requirements, I think you've set the $12K too low. Maybe a smaller SUV that has sufficient tow rating could work...
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Old 08-16-2011, 02:56 PM   #12
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A half-ton truck will be fine. And easiest to find. A 2WD Quadcab 3/4T Ram with Hemi would be better (with potentially fewer buyers). My preference is for a long bed.

Here's one in the relative ballpark. A higher mileage example ought to be a more exact fit as to price. The potential future buyer will be a contractor (who will travel to get a nice one), more likely with a long bed.

1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 10-cpm solo, 18-cpm towing
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:29 PM   #13
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Some time during the model run of the 1st generation Tundra, the V8 engine was upped in HP and torque—I think. If that is true and you can check it out, it might be ok for towing. People tow 25's and more with the 1st gen. Tundra and say it works.

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Old 08-16-2011, 04:07 PM   #14
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Age old topic... Lots of Opinions...

And on opinions, ya know everyone has one!

And here's mine. I bought a Expedition (4.6) with the thought of my original 19 foot A/S. Sold the 1963 for one that I could use Now ('90 25')

Well the Expy brought it home fine and actually took me to some local places. I found it was the Tail Wagging The Dog syndrome. Great for have to requirements, but a pain when 18 wheelers passed.

Enter a 2500 Suburban. Different animal. now I'm in control. But decided to sell and got a

2003 F250 with 7.3 couple years ago. Man even that is a big upgrade. Ok downside is it's not the best go to the grocery store, post office (very local) vehicle. It doesn't even get warm.

But on the road you can relax and enjoy the ride.... And that to me trumps the difference.

Part of the deal is in the tires. One definitely needs Truck tires, not the "P" rated ones. Second is some power. And TV length does make a difference. Also the # of forward gears will make a difference. I'm not sure I'd go 7-8K more just to get from 4 to 6 speed in a used vehicle, but it will reduce the requirement of greater power.

Hope that (adds to the confusion) helps!


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