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Old 10-19-2018, 12:48 PM   #1
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Deciding Between Two Very Different TVs

Hello Airstream Forums!

We are very close (almost ready to book the flight, just finishing up final details) to buying our first AS next week. We found the unit of our dreams, have gotten it inspected, done LOTS of research, and are excited to start this journey. We will be full-timing with two adults, two kids, and a 70 lb Great Dane/Boxer mix. We currently do not have a TV, and will be purchasing one. The seller of the AS we fell in love with also have a TV for sale for what I think is a pretty good price. However, it's quite old and I'm not finding towing specs for it very easily. We also have a newer truck picked out that I know would handle what we need. Here's the specs on everything:

Airstream:
- 1995 Airstream Excella 1000 34ft
- 8900 lbs GVWR (according to Airstream's historical docs)

TV #1:
- 1999 F-350 7.3 Diesel Dually
- 4x2
- Reese Hitch 10,000 lbs with 2 inch ball (We plan on buying a Hensley, but might delay a bit if we experience decent towing with the Reese)
- A few upgrades (mud flaps, running boards, etc.)
- Auxiliary Transmission Cooler
- Tow Brake Controller
- Factory Tow Package
- $15,000 asking
- Crew Cab
- Regular Bed
- Private Seller
- This particular truck towed the AS we would be buying
- 64,000 miles
- From the research I've done (stats that far back are kind of hard to find) F-350 crew cab SD DRW 7.3 TD has a Tow Rating of 13,200 lbs
- GCWR is around 20,000 I think? Again, can't find solid specs.

TV #2:
- 2014 Dodge Ram 2500 SLT 5.7
- 4x4
- No Hitch (we plan on buying a Hensley)
- Lots of upgrades compared to the 1999 truck since it's quite a few years newer
- Auxiliary Transmission Cooler
- Not positive about the Automatic Transmission Cooler (waiting to hear back from the dealer)
- Not positive about the Two Brake Controller (waiting to hear back from the dealer)
- Not positive about the Factory Tow Package (waiting to hear back from the dealer)
- $31,998 asking
- Crew Cab
- Regular Bed
- Dealer
- Hasn't towed before as far as I know, was used as a rental vehicle
- 42,000 miles
- Tow Rating 17,030 lbs
- GCWR 18,000

My question is...which is the better buy? Would I be safe in either? I've used the Husky Tow Calculator and I think either would be fine, but this will be my first time towing. I obviously love the price on the older truck and a diesel with that few miles on it is practically brand new, but I worry about the tow capacity. We are also used to the creature comforts of a much newer vehicle, so I wonder if I would regret the decision if we went with the older one. Does the price difference outweigh all the cons of the older truck? What do you think?
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Old 10-19-2018, 12:54 PM   #2
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Old 10-19-2018, 01:04 PM   #3
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Good luck on all counts. Not having seen the truck but I think many ford owners wish ford had stuck with the 7.3L and just refined it. It ainít the fastest but AFAIK has a good following if reasonably taken care of.
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Old 10-19-2018, 03:03 PM   #4
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Go a little higher in price and find a Dodge with the Cummins. 7.3s are nice too.
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Old 10-19-2018, 04:21 PM   #5
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Either of those TV's have plenty of capacity for the Airstream listed.

Will you have another vehicle for running around or will the TV be your everyday ride also? Will you pull the trailer a whole lot or only move it every few months. Do you expect to carry a heavy load in the truck bed? Like a motorcycle or something. Eastern or Western US?. It is a 2 5/16 ball to tow an Airstream. I use a Reese straight line hitch. I have no desire to "upgrade" to a Hensley.

I do not know much about Ford diesels. I have never owned a dually. I drive a Dodge diesel. It is also my everyday ride. There is more maintenance, tire costs, and probably more risk of a large expenditure for repair for the Ford diesel in question. The increased fuel millage from a diesel tow will only accumulate if you are towing a lot. But it is a good ride. If I were you I would consider making an offer on the Ford if I had enough cash in reserve to fix it if it breaks or to take a loss and sell it. If finances are really tight I might not take the chance.

My diesel is 11 years old, has 220000 miles on it, and I carry the title on long trips. But I certainly am not going to sell it unless something bad happens. I would rather have the risk and keep a vehicle I like than to take the certain depreciation from a new one.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:26 PM   #6
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I would go with the Ram 2500 as it is plenty of truck for your needs
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:29 PM   #7
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Two Tow Vehicle Choices

Greetings cballard!

You certainly do have a choice ahead of you. While I wouldn't immediately discount either of your options, you might want to do a little research on the Ford with the Diesel. The diesel motor in that truck was designed and manufacturer by International Harvester/Navastar. There is a rather detailed summary of the history of this motor at this link. It may not be as sophisticated nor as powerful as some of the motors 20 years its junior, it is a durable motor -- the box truck that we have on the farm has the normally aspirated version of this motor with more than 240,000 miles and it still starts, runs, and performs flawlessly. While not terribly complete, I did find some fairly detailed specifications for this (the one you are considering) truck at this link. The regularly scheduled maintenance is about twice as expensive as a comparable gasoline V8, but it is only required about half as often to the cost tends to balance out unless you find yourself performing recommended service on a time rather than mileage schedule.


I have several of friends who own Dodges with the 5.7 Liter Hemi, and they are quite pleased with its performance as a tow vehicle but their trailers are mostly around 7,000 pounds. The only grumbles that I haver heard from them is the labor cost for a comprehensive tune-up on the Hemi.


Good luck with your investigation!


Kevin
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:29 PM   #8
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I pull a '94 34' with a 3/4 ton Duramax, 2012 model. My previous truck was a 2002 3/4 ton Duramax. Mileage on the 2002 model was approx 14 mpg (imperial gallon) and with the 2012 I am getting approx 16 mpg (imperial gallon). A good friend pulls his '95 34' Excella with a Ram 1500 with a 5.7 Hemi. He tells me his mileage averages approx 8 mpg (imperial gallon) when towing. I am partial to diesel for pulling this size of trailer. You will get many different opinions on tow vehicles, just look back at the many threads on this topic in the forum. Good luck with whatever you choose, and welcome to the forum and Airstreaming! Chris
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:30 AM   #9
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Two TVs

Ford. The 7.3 is the most sought-after diesel that Ford ever made. Great for pulling.
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:51 AM   #10
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Reading the OP, all that comes to mind is wow.........


Best regards and safe travels
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbowman View Post
Reading the OP, all that comes to mind is wow.........


Best regards and safe travels
Ha! Yes - it's going to be tight. We're looking forward to an adventure though, and if we hate it, we can always go back!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CBWELL View Post
I pull a '94 34' with a 3/4 ton Duramax, 2012 model. My previous truck was a 2002 3/4 ton Duramax. Mileage on the 2002 model was approx 14 mpg (imperial gallon) and with the 2012 I am getting approx 16 mpg (imperial gallon). A good friend pulls his '95 34' Excella with a Ram 1500 with a 5.7 Hemi. He tells me his mileage averages approx 8 mpg (imperial gallon) when towing. I am partial to diesel for pulling this size of trailer. You will get many different opinions on tow vehicles, just look back at the many threads on this topic in the forum. Good luck with whatever you choose, and welcome to the forum and Airstreaming! Chris
Thank you for the info! I hadn't considered fuel economy, so that's great to know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64 View Post
Greetings cballard!

You certainly do have a choice ahead of you. While I wouldn't immediately discount either of your options, you might want to do a little research on the Ford with the Diesel. The diesel motor in that truck was designed and manufacturer by International Harvester/Navastar. There is a rather detailed summary of the history of this motor at this link. It may not be as sophisticated nor as powerful as some of the motors 20 years its junior, it is a durable motor -- the box truck that we have on the farm has the normally aspirated version of this motor with more than 240,000 miles and it still starts, runs, and performs flawlessly. While not terribly complete, I did find some fairly detailed specifications for this (the one you are considering) truck at this link. The regularly scheduled maintenance is about twice as expensive as a comparable gasoline V8, but it is only required about half as often to the cost tends to balance out unless you find yourself performing recommended service on a time rather than mileage schedule.


I have several of friends who own Dodges with the 5.7 Liter Hemi, and they are quite pleased with its performance as a tow vehicle but their trailers are mostly around 7,000 pounds. The only grumbles that I haver heard from them is the labor cost for a comprehensive tune-up on the Hemi.


Good luck with your investigation!


Kevin
Thank you so much for those links - I learned a ton!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GCinSC2 View Post
Good luck on all counts. Not having seen the truck but I think many ford owners wish ford had stuck with the 7.3L and just refined it. It ainít the fastest but AFAIK has a good following if reasonably taken care of.
I've definitely heard that as well. People seem less than thrilled with the ecoboost.
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Old 10-20-2018, 12:02 PM   #12
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Just an update for everyone - we were ready to book the flight to go get the airstream, but at the last minute had to pull out of the deal. We need to finance for 2-3 months until we sell our house, and somehow I didn't realize that you can't finance a 1995 Airstream. (I totally understand why, but it still breaks my heart). We even thought about getting a personal loan for it, but the interest rates were terrible.

We'll keep looking for now at the newer models (so we can finance for a few months before we sell our house to pay it off) and I'll continue to look for a tow vehicle. Thank you all for the knowledge you gave me! I learned a lot, and will continue to do research to make sure I can provide my family with the safest possible TV.

Thank you everyone!
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Old 10-20-2018, 12:18 PM   #13
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The Ford is a fair deal and will be trouble free. No Hensley required either. The Dodge is a gas hog compared to the Ford and less reliable once miles start adding up. The 7.3 will go 3-4 hundred thousand miles no problems. The 5.7 Heim about half that at best.
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Old 10-20-2018, 12:49 PM   #14
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Hi

You will have the same issue with financing a 1999 truck. Once you get past a certain age (car, boat, truck, trailer, motor home ....) the banks really don't want to deal with working out what a proper valuation is. There is no way to say you can "never" finance any of these past some magic year cutoff, but that's the way it works in the vast majority of cases. Yes, it also carries over into insurance hassles (on all of them ....).

=====

Getting back to the truck - a very basic (but fully tow capable / with tow package) "no fancy options" truck can be had brand new from any of the big three for < $35,000. Just how bad do you need those other options?

Bob
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