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Old 01-04-2005, 10:32 PM   #1
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Big Three - which is best used?

I'm getting a 22 ft. CCD and to do that have to buy a used tow vehicle. All y'all have convinced me that I should buy domestic. If you were buying between a 1995 and 2000 vehicle which of the big three would you choose.

Thanks for renewing this topic... I know it's been debated before, but I'm interested in getting something that's durable and won't live in the shop!
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Old 01-04-2005, 10:50 PM   #2
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Big Three - which is best used?

Greetings Paula!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulaFord
I'm getting a 22 ft. CCD and to do that have to buy a used tow vehicle. All y'all have convinced me that I should buy domestic. If you were buying between a 1995 and 2000 vehicle which of the big three would you choose.

Thanks for renewing this topic... I know it's been debated before, but I'm interested in getting something that's durable and won't live in the shop!
Other than temperamental four wheel drive systems, I am exceptionally well satisfied with my '99 K2500 Suburban - - it now has in excess of 140,000 trouble-free miles and I expect at least 300,000 before replacing the engine/transmission or trading. I special ordered the truck with 7400 VORTEC and 4.10 differentials - - it is overkill for either of my coaches (10,000 pound trailer tow rating), but I never feel that I am pushing its capacities regardless of elevation or road condition. Based on my experience with a '95 K1500 Chevrolet K1500 Club Cab with the pre VORTEC 5.7 liter, I would definitely look for a VORTEC equipped truck whether 5700 or 7400 - - pre-VORTEC 5.7 liter struggled to make the grade in the Rocky Mountains towing my 6,000 pound Overlander. I would suggest a 2500 series with the 7400 VORTEC for the extra security of knowing that it will not be over-stressed by your coach - - the solo fuel economy in my experience is only slightly lower (less than 2 MPG lower); and the towing fuel economy is actually better by about 2 MPG. Unless you are just determined to have 4 WD, I would suggest passing on this option - - it has been the one problem area with both my '95 K1500 (transfer case was constantly plagued with problems shifting ranges - - often got stuck in 4-Low) - - the '99 K2500 has been through eight circuit boards for the electronic four-wheel drive transfer case (warranty has covered most, but when it didn't the cost was in the vicinity of $700 for parts - - when it fails you are stuck in whatever range the transfer case happens to be in - - fortunately, mine only got stuck in 4-Hi once otherwise always 2-Hi when it failed). When and if the Suburban must be replaced, its replacement WILL NOT have four wheel drive - - for its limited necessity (now that it isn't required to get to work) the costs are far in excess of benefits for me.

Good luck with your research!

Kevin
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Old 01-04-2005, 11:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulaFord
I'm getting a 22 ft. CCD and to do that have to buy a used tow vehicle. All y'all have convinced me that I should buy domestic. If you were buying between a 1995 and 2000 vehicle which of the big three would you choose.

Thanks for renewing this topic... I know it's been debated before, but I'm interested in getting something that's durable and won't live in the shop!
We seem to have wandered rather far afield from the original topic, and perhaps this ought to be given its own heading and thread. Moderator?

I think the above discussion has been concerned with larger coaches than your 22' CCD. I should think some of the late model full size Nissan and Toyota trucks would be, or at least could be, made a very nice match.

For a choice among the domestics I really believe there is no good answer to your question. My experiences with GM have been almost uniformly excellent these past 25 years. My experiences with Ford have been uniformly unhappy. Yet many, many people have had the exact opposite results.

There must be a reason for this, but I have never been able to figure it out.

There is a lot of information in the archives about engine and transmission choices from all manufacturers. Whatever you do, do the homework to make sure you have the capacity to tow your load AND passengers AND "stuff" and still stay within both gvw and gcwr.

Good luck in whatever choice you make.

Mark
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Old 01-05-2005, 08:52 AM   #4
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Paula, unfortuneatley there is no correct answer to 'which of the big 3'. I'm sure you can find each with it's own supporters and bashers. Its almost like trying to argue who's the most beautiful or handsome poster to this forum -- lots of opinions out there.

You should go for the cleanest, low milage vehicle you can afford, and above all make sure it fits your needs. I happen to be a fan of Ford, but again that's just me and I've had nothing but great success with them. Regardless of the make, you might just want to go with whatever floats your boat; and, although I'm also not a big fan of extended warrenties, this may be an exception. An extended powertrain warranty on a late model tow vehicle shouldn't be too costly and may provide you with some extra peice of mind.
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Old 01-05-2005, 09:00 AM   #5
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Totally agree with Camp dog. That question is sort of like asking what religion or political party is best. I've sent you my comments offlline on my pref (not that most folks round here don't know it already..just don't want to start a big Ford, Chevy, Dodge thing).
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Old 01-05-2005, 09:09 AM   #6
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FWIW, There are 3 families in the group that I go camping with on a regular basis, One is a Dodge fan, one is a GM guy, and me with the Ford. I don't think any one of us are any better off than the other (although I do get better fuel milage). Besides, it makes for some fun -friendly- debates sometimes while sitting around the fire at night. Bottom line is get something that is adequate to the task and you too should be happy with your decision.
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Old 01-05-2005, 05:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j54mark
For a choice among the domestics I really believe there is no good answer to your question. My experiences with GM have been almost uniformly excellent these past 25 years. My experiences with Ford have been uniformly unhappy. Yet many, many people have had the exact opposite results.

There must be a reason for this, but I have never been able to figure it out.
I too have spent my fair share of time thinking about this phenomenon. I have to admit, that I grew up a huge Ford kid. Family was all Ford. Grandfather owned the first Ford V8 in the county and loved Fords from that point on. He had the fastest car and even raced (and beat) the teacher to school. I now own a Suburban (sorry Grandfather), and find myself looking for noises and sounds that I know I religiously overlooked in the Fords I have driven. In my mind, I know that the Suburban is a great truck and I know I am nitpicking, but I just can’t seem to keep from looking for the flaws.



There is certainly a combination of Confirmation Bias and maybe some Selection Bias at work on this topic. Anyone willing to proclaim an allegiance to this brand automobile or that brand, ends up mentally minimizing the imperfections or fixes required to automobiles of the brand of choice. They however focus on those same imperfections or fixes that they or others experience with this brand or that that isn’t in their proclaimed best brand. They have proclaimed their allegiance to the “best” and feel the need to find evidence that they are correct in their proclamation.



This isn’t intended to suggest that there aren’t open-minded people that have had bad experiences. The reality of the relative fiscal size of the purchase and the relatively few number of times we make an automotive purchase in our lives tends to reduce the sample size to less than statistical for any given buyer. Very few of us will end up owning more than 20 new vehicles, let alone 20 of the same vehicle made by the same company, from the same factory, with the same workers, in our lives. It takes a sample of 20 to have any statistical significance, and all of other factors, I just listed, can be proven to have a statistically significant correlation to the quality rating of any car. There is plenty of research and engineering studies out there to prove this.



I know, I know…What in the world are you talking about? Get to the point, and preferably in English this time!



I think we, as humans, are victims of seeing what we want to see (confirmation bias) when it comes to the brand of car we profess to be the best. The point at which we publicly profess an allegiance, results in the need to find evidence that supports our claim. That evidence usually is a few hard luck stories of bad things that have happened to owners of the “other” brands, followed by statements of having had “great luck” with cars of the “best” brand.



I know, I know…”Thanks Cliff Clavin, now pass the beernuts”
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Old 01-05-2005, 07:56 PM   #8
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There is no absoute answer to this question.

Currently, we have GM, Ford and Dodge SUV's and one Chrysler Crossfire (my toy). Only the Dodge is capable of towing our A/S, the others are too small. And that is what I suggest to you is find a vehicle that is up to the task you want to use it for, regardless of the brand. I believe you'll be satisfied regardless of the name as long as the vehicle meets the qualifications that you want to use it for.

Dennis
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Old 01-05-2005, 07:56 PM   #9
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I dunno Mark, seems oversimplified and projective. Unless I read you wrong (which is entirely possible), I think that is the case for some folks, but being an avid car nut, I can easliy say that although there is the mentality of my daddy can beat your daddy out there, I think those folks are in the small minority (those folks being the ones with the blinders on). I think most of the folks I encounter are very open about issues with their brands of choice. Most of us are interested in the upgrade or repair process of our favorite brands to make the exp even better.

As for needing a samle of 20 for a good litmus test, I'm not totaly sure I agree. I mean with the advent of the Internet, no one person ever really needs to buy 20 new cars in their lifetime. There are hundreds..no, strike that, thousands of folks that have the same year, make and model made by the same folks at darn near the same times talking openly about them on forums like this one. If you take a look at:

www.impalassforum.com

--OR--

www.thedieselplace.com

I think you'll get a sense of what I'm talking about.

To keep this Airstream related...this forum alone, I met at least 3 or 4 folks that bought 2004 Airstreams that were either built the same week ours was or at least in some cases the same month and there are fewer Airstreams built in a given week than cars or trucks. Imagine the huge cross section sampling you can come across on the forums.

Getting back to the question at hand, any brand will do if it meets the criteria needed. Each person must draw their own conclusions based on feedback given...and this is a very subjective topic in which as most have said there are few wrong answers...well, ok one for sure and that's the Intrepid that tows a 34' Airstream, but I don't wanna bring up that can of worms again!

At any rate, it's possible that I misunderstood your post, but either way, it was a good post as it did make me think.
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Old 01-05-2005, 08:11 PM   #10
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You have such a wide variety of vechicles to choose from, suv's, vans, pick-ups and I saw a caddy pulling a new 34' in Mrytle Beach two weeks ago. Whatever you choose will do the job as long as you stay within the manufacture's specifications. Its a lot of fun shopping. Best of luck
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Old 01-05-2005, 08:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarheel
You have such a wide variety of vechicles to choose from, suv's, vans, pick-ups and I saw a caddy pulling a new 34' in Mrytle Beach two weeks ago. Whatever you choose will do the job as long as you stay within the manufacture's specifications. Its a lot of fun shopping. Best of luck
Speaking of within spec, based on GMs '05 Caddy site, the max any Caddy can tow is 8100lbs found here:

http://www.cadillac.com/cadillacjsp/...wertrain&year=

Interesting when the base weight of any newer 34' Airstream is at least 7990.

So this guy you saw was most likely pushing the envelope by at least a 1000lbs, prob more. Maybe he didn't pack any clothes, water, food, etc.
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Old 01-05-2005, 11:28 PM   #12
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CANAM is susposed to have a magic wand that they pass over vechicles so that they can pull anything. I talked with the man and he was tickled pink with how it pulled from Toronto to Mrytle Beach. Not sure how many times it will make the pull but then thats his problem not mine. All I know was he was doing it and he was happy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Speaking of within spec, based on GMs '05 Caddy site, the max any Caddy can tow is 8100lbs found here:

http://www.cadillac.com/cadillacjsp/...wertrain&year=

Interesting when the base weight of any newer 34' Airstream is at least 7990.

So this guy you saw was most likely pushing the envelope by at least a 1000lbs, prob more. Maybe he didn't pack any clothes, water, food, etc.
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Old 01-06-2005, 08:48 AM   #13
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I agree that one can look at the many thousands of (insert any manufactured or measured product here) widgets, and measure their quality across those widgets. One key to my post is that the measurement system must be exactly the same, have the same bias, have the same quality points, etc.

While the manufacturing facility may well have quality specs that are relevent across many widgets, it is very hard to argue that the measurement system across many people will be the same. e.g. I may well be willing to ignore the blower noise, or the dash rattle and focus on drivetrain problems, where someone who doesn't like my brand may not be able to get past the dash noise. "Sounds cheap".

That is why I presented the sample being a single owner of 20 widgets (in this case cars). Variation in the measurement system will invalidate many statistical samples in our discussion.

This is the reason why businesses like Consumer Reports and J.D. Powers are of value and try to create a common measurement system across brands.

I certainly don't want to present myself as an expert. I thank you for the "thinking" as well. I welcome anyone that has a thought they would like to share. I love learning through great discussion!
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Old 01-06-2005, 09:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sovereignrwe

That is why I presented the sample being a single owner of 20 widgets (in this case cars). Variation in the measurement system will invalidate many statistical samples in our discussion.

This is the reason why businesses like Consumer Reports and J.D. Powers are of value and try to create a common measurement system across brands.

I certainly don't want to present myself as an expert. I thank you for the "thinking" as well. I welcome anyone that has a thought they would like to share. I love learning through great discussion!
I see what you mean. I agree. A fair number of folks on said forum sites can also be like fisherman spinning fish tales about the "big fish" at times (even the most open minded folks)....and you're right consistency is key, which on a public forum is not realistic or easy to sift through to find the most pure data.

Though I agree, JD Power ( www.jdpower.com ) does have some general info on some of the cars I own (1996 Caprice and a 2004 Suburban), the info in some areas I find lacking. For example on the '96 service experience, overall quality, overall dependability all are listed for that car as "no data". The 2004 Suburban, has even more key areas that are listed as "no data". Some on the Suburban I would consider significant key areas like Mechanical Reliability, Mechanical Dependability, Feature & Accessory Reliability, Overall Dependability. Now maybe 1996 was too old and perhaps 2004 is too new, however the 2002 and 2003 Suburban has nearly the same if not the same JD Power feedback which I found interesting.

What I'm getting at is that both forums I mentioned gave real word feedback on what the car or truck was doing out on the street. For example, the Caprice/Impala had issues like incorrect differential cover gasket that would cause premature wear on the axle bearings, aux batter post on pre '96 models that would melt under certain conditions, air pump that would develop water and pump it into the secondary air injection system. On the 2002 and 2003 GM trucks, there was tons of talk about piston slap on some gas engines. Some propaganda for it can be found at www.pistonslap.com None of this was on JD Powers list, or even rated by any type of mechanical rating.

Anyway, I guess the bottom line is that each consumer needs to do their homework. JD Power is a good resource as are some forums that can also be great resources in helping understand quality issues both good and no so good (if used correctly). The only issue with the forums though as you pointed out, is that one has to approach the data carefully and have good analytical skills to sift through the data to weed out fact vs. fiction. I think both used together make for a well-informed consumer.

Thanks for the reply.
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