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Old 05-12-2016, 04:06 AM   #1
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Dodge Durango--three quick questions

I'm looking at 2014 Durangos as a new tow vehicle. I'm only looking at 8 cylinders. Three quick questions:

1. I have a 22' Sport. Do I need the 3.45 rear axle or is the 3.09 sufficient?

2. What's your experience with Durangos? Are they durable? Fit and finish?

3. Would you buy a "new" one with at/near 100,000 miles on it? Is there any other similar SUV (Sequoia, Tahoe, Expedition) that you would buy with at/near 100,000 miles?

Thanks in advance for your time.
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Old 05-12-2016, 05:47 AM   #2
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I have a 2012 semi with the tow package. Love it towing a 25'. I don't know what ratio it has, but I only have a 6 speed trans where the '14s have an 8.

I have 70,000 miles on mine and have had a few repairs- two minor, the biggest being a new vacuum booster for the brakes.

Can't say about buying at 100k, I just don't do that. But at 70k the vehicle is fine and I don't feel I have to get rid of it anytime soon. I'm confidently heading across the country in it again this year.
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Old 05-12-2016, 07:06 AM   #3
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I have 2 Durangos I have towed my 23' single axle Safari with. Both are 5.9. Don't know the axle. Both are very capable. One is has significant performance upgrades and will easily tow and stop at ludicrous speeds. I don't do that anymore (I gotten smarter).

Watch out for tailgate rust.

At 100k, I would be looking at the suspension, steering, and brakes. Engine and drivetrain should be OK.

I would hope your getting a real good deal on it, or I would reconsider.

I currently tow with a 20 year old suburban. It tow's better, hauls more, get better gas mileage and the chicks dig it.
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Old 05-12-2016, 07:28 AM   #4
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We tow a 34' triple axel International with ours, a 2014 R/T with the 8 gear transmission.

We just upgraded to it for this season, but from my first tows with it, it's an amazing vehicle. Independent suspension all round and a strong unibody mean that it doesn't wallow in corners like most body on frame vehicles. Power to spare, very stable with a Hensley hitch.

For your 22, the 6 cylinder engine would be plenty.
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Old 05-12-2016, 08:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
.....snip.....

Independent suspension all round and a strong unibody mean that it doesn't wallow in corners like most body on frame vehicles.....

snip......


....heh, heh....those danged body on frame designs. The work of the devil I tell 'ya !!
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Old 05-12-2016, 08:41 AM   #6
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....heh, heh....those danged body on frame designs. The work of the devil I tell 'ya !!
When it comes to roadholding and cornering ability, yes, most body on frame SUVs and trucks I've driven are pretty terrible.
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:25 AM   #7
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When it comes to roadholding and cornering ability, yes, most body on frame SUVs and trucks I've driven are pretty terrible.
You realize what you say about body on frame SUVs/trucks can also be said about your Durango. I rented a Durango for a long trip. Compared to a sedan, Durango (due to it being top heavy) has significant body roll in the corners, yet you consider it safe and still use it. Same thing for body on frame SUVs/trucks. Many people use it.
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:42 AM   #8
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I can speak from experience for the 5.7 Hemi engine in our 2012 Ram pickup. Strong, smooth and very reliable with excellent fuel economy. We towed our 25 with it in all western states and much of the east and it did a good job.

It had 120" wheelbase similar to Durango, we use a ProPride hitch to ensure rock solid stability in all road, traffic and weather conditions. As Andy mentioned our truck had body on frame construction with a solid rear axle. The Durango is better with unibody and full independent suspension, no frame flex allowing a more controlled handling and stability, and steady weight distribution.

The hitch receiver could be reinforced for a larger trailer like ours but you should be fine. Use a weight distribution hitch with tapered w.d. bars because this connection is a place where flexibility is easier on your receiver and trailer A-frame.

We were shopping for a new Durango Hemi when we bought our new truck recently. They are limited quantity and high demand, the dealer had one Durango Hemi in stock and 256 pickups. They wouldn't deal, $3k discount on the Durango, $10k on the pickup with 0% financing and 100k lie powertrain warranty, 29 mpg highway. Being a lifelong cheapskate, we bought the pickup.

Here's our Hemi, similar weight and dimensions to the Durango.
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Old 05-12-2016, 10:24 AM   #9
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Oh, I forgot you asked about axle ratio. We had the 3.55 axle in our Ram Hemi with 6-speed transmission. A 3.92 axle would have given more hill climbing power and better engine compression braking but we had plenty of power using the transmission as needed. With your small aerodynamic and low profile Airstream you won't have power issues, especially with the 8-speed transmission, using either axle ratio.
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Old 05-12-2016, 11:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belbein View Post
I'm looking at 2014 Durangos as a new tow vehicle. I'm only looking at 8 cylinders. Three quick questions:

1. I have a 22' Sport. Do I need the 3.45 rear axle or is the 3.09 sufficient?

2. What's your experience with Durangos? Are they durable? Fit and finish?

3. Would you buy a "new" one with at/near 100,000 miles on it? Is there any other similar SUV (Sequoia, Tahoe, Expedition) that you would buy with at/near 100,000 miles?

Thanks in advance for your time.
Hi, I looked at Durango and following consumers reports recommendations opted for a 2012 Sequoia, with 100,000 miles, which had much better predicted reliability than all other possible tow vehicles. Just completed our first tour with it and it towed great and gas mileage was not as bad as I thought it would be. Could tow for 3-4 hours between fill-ups even with hills. It has the small 8 cyl. Newer ones with the larger 8 I am told are worse on gas consumption. Hope this helps. Jim
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Old 05-12-2016, 11:46 AM   #11
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I don't think the axle ratio will matter if you have a 5.7 Hemi engine and 8 speed transmission. There are enough ratios and combined with the torque multiplication of the automatic, you should be fine.

Not to hijack the thread but the Durango will have a lower center of gravity than a pickup, the Durango will be higher than a passenger car, but try to use one and you will be jumped on by those who think that manufacturers recommendations come from Mt. Sinai and they are the word of God. A Tesla will have an even lower center of gravity.

I think it would be interesting to compare the center of gravity of various vehicle types and also factor in track with to come up with a tippy scale, for comparison between vehicles only. But you would probably need to factor in suspension softness and tires.

Bill
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Old 05-12-2016, 11:52 AM   #12
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Although I do not own the Durango, I do have a Jeep GC and to have the heavy duty tow package you would get the 3:45 vs the 3:09. The 3:45 is the way you should go. As far as the other tow vehicles you mentioned, all would be great ones but personally would want a V8 vs V6 engine for that size of trailer. Also, unless you know who owned a vehicle with a 100,000 miles on it, I would not buy the high a mileage vehicle to tow with as you won't know how it has been used or possibly taken care of mechanically. That's just my two cents. We have owned many Airstreams over the years but currently do.
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Old 05-12-2016, 01:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rostam View Post
You realize what you say about body on frame SUVs/trucks can also be said about your Durango. I rented a Durango for a long trip. Compared to a sedan, Durango (due to it being top heavy) has significant body roll in the corners, yet you consider it safe and still use it. Same thing for body on frame SUVs/trucks. Many people use it.
Every single review I've read before test driving it told me that there is little to no body roll with the Durango, even during hard cornering. My own experience backs those reviews up.

I test drove all of the big SUVs before settling on the Durango. The full size body on frame models couldn't even hold a straight line at 65, much less corner at speed.

Quote:
In corners, the Durango feels more like a crossover. Its front-to-rear weight distribution is 50-50, with some trim levels even tipping toward a slight rear weight bias. BMW makes a big deal of its cars’ 50-50 balance, so it’s impressive to see a Dodge S.U.V. achieve that handling-friendly balance.
Quote:
The Durango's confidence-inspiring steering yields arrow-straight tracking and smooth lane changes, aiding highway cruising comfort.
Quote:
An extremely stiff structure means that the suspension can focus on corralling its high-riding mass and delivering satisfying dynamics rather than compensating for torsional flex, and body motions are indeed well controlled in all situations, even during hard cornering.
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It may not offer the interior storage space of vehicles like the Honda Pilot and the Toyota Highlander, but the Durango makes up for its shortcomings with excellent driving dynamics and a long list of available features.
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Old 05-12-2016, 01:52 PM   #14
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Buy a Suburban.

I have a 2001, 1500 Suburban with a 5.3 liter engine (was it a 327 before liters got vogue?) and a high speed differential (not a 3.14, something like a 2.83), and I have pulled a 28' International CCD 28 for over 100,000 miles since new in 2004, all over Alaska (twice), Canada, the southwest, northeast, south, Newfoundland, you name it. Not one problem. Also have an 2006 Escalade and have put another 50,000 on the trailer with it. This business of buying huge pick-up trucks to pull Airstreams is a bunch of crock. I think my trailer weighs in at 7,300# and the tongue weight is 1,000 lbs (measured). Buy yourself a pull vehicle that's pleasant to ride in without a trailer hooked to it and something you can go to church is on Sunday and not look like a red neck. I could never understand how someone could buy a $75,000 Airstream and pull it with a pickup truck. I've ridden in many other friends pull vehicle at caravan lunches and dinners and always hated the ride. Everybody always wanted to ride with me because our "fifteen hundreds" with their coil spring suspensions were comfortable to ride in.
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