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Old 08-13-2010, 08:44 AM   #1
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I am beginning the process of shopping for a new tow vehicle for Lucy. Lucy is a 2005 Safari 25FB who weighs 7400# ready to camp. Her static tongue weight on a truck scale is 1130#.

We are also planning on adding a new dimension to our camping experience. We are planning to purchase a pop-up truck camper for side trips away from Lucy while on one of our adventures. We are looking at fully self contained units from Hallmark and Outfitter. These units are for long bed (8') pick-ups and weigh around 1500# dry. We figure that they will go 2500#+ ready to camp. These units would not overhang the rear bumper, and our Hensley could mount directly to the truck's receiver.

We would need a 1 ton (350/3500) pick-up. It will take a one ton to handle the truck camper plus Lucy's tongue weight. We want a single rear wheel truck for better wilderness access. We are looking at a crew cab, but would consider an extended cab. It is most always just SuEllyn and I in the vehicle, but we do occasionally carry passengers.

So, here is what we are looking at. We are shopping a 1 ton, long bed, crew cab pick-up from one of the big three. We have always had GM tow vehicles, but are not married to them. We prefer a gasser but are not sure if it can handle the load. The Dodge 3500 comes only in diesel.

I have priced all three new using diesel. All three were priced on-line for a base level truck (vinyl seat/rubber floor covering) as this is what we would like to have, adding the options that we wanted. All of these figures are MSRP. The Ford came in at $47,800, the Dodge came in at $44,300, and the Chevrolet came in at $46,300. We have not shopped the dealers to see who will come off what % of MSRP. We do have a $3500 GM MasterCard rebate, making the Chevy the most attractive, price-wise.

We would like to hear your opinions on the different makes, gas vs. diesel, prices, bargaining strategies, etc.


SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2018 Silverado 2500 (Lillian)
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:48 AM   #2
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Here is one vote for the Ford 2011 F250 Diesel. I am very happy. More power, quieter, better gas mileage and no more International engines.

(yes, its a torque monster, but can you ever really have enough torque ? )

"Ever notice that anyone going slower than you is an idiot, but anyone going faster is a maniac?" - George Carlin

2007 AS 23ft SE, Front lounge
2011 F250 CC 4wd Diesel
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:37 AM   #3
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Brian, I have not shopped trucks in a couple of years so I do not know who is winning the payload wars at this time. Historically it has been Ford, but I understand the new GM’s have greatly increased payload capacity.
With any of the big trucks, gas will give you greater payload capacity than diesel (diesel engine much more robust/heavy). Having said that, if it were me, I would make the weight numbers work with diesel, there is no question diesel will be a significant enhancement to pulling around all that weight. I will not own another truck that is not diesel, even if it means moving up to a 4500 series.
Do some searches and ask some more detailed questions on the other forum. You may be surprised how heavy the pop-ups can be when fully speced out. Unless you get a real stripper (no bath, etc...) you will probably be closer to 3000#. You could always do things like move gear, H2o, etc into the TC after you drop off Lucy. This will help with weight, but could be a minor inconvenience.
You are on the right track with the long bed truck and 8’ camper…having no overhang will make towing much easier.
You may consider dropping the haha for something lighter (how much do those things weigh?) as this will give you more payload to play with.
You will most likely exceed GVWR. Do not exceed axle/tire/wheel ratings. Even if it means upgrading to Ricksons. GAWR may be the limiter with a single axle.The numbers you have listed are probably right around max payload for a single axle.

I have been down this road, so if you have more ?, contact me via PM/email.
*Life is Good-Camping all around the Continent*
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:09 AM   #4
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Brian, this is quite a solution to searching for mooses. How about a flatbed with a Bambi loaded on it plus your Safari? Or a commercial tractor with a sleeper?

This summer I have heard of two Ford diesels with turbo problems. I don't know if this indicates a problem with new ones, old ones, or is simply anecdotal. Seems worth checking on. I don't know if Fiat is committed to Dodge trucks for the future and I'd wonder about that if I were looking for a bigger truck.

Glad you are considering campers from Colorado companies. Outfitter was started about 9 years ago by some of the family that owned Hallmark. Their product looked pretty good and was much lighter than other campers. We bought one, but delivery was delayed over and over and when we finally got it, it had many, many problems. It was so bad, we took it back. It seemed they had not worked out the bugs and some of their workers were not competent. One of their so-called experienced employees could not install airbags properly and I had to fix that after one blew out. The pop up gears were undersized and I fixed that too. There were plenty more issues. That was 8 years ago and I hope they have cleaned up their act. That they have remained in business makes me hopeful. The reason the principals in Outfitter left Hallmark was because they believed Hallmark was stuck in the past. Hallmark at the time had a good reputation, but, again, I haven't kept up on the camper market.

Our experience with the camper in the short time we had it was that it was much too small for us. Everyone has different perceptions of what is the best size, of course. In the end, it was best for us that we took it back because of QC because we would not have liked it after a while.

Now that model years are changing, this is a good time to buy new, especially if you are going to keep it for a long time. I'd check Edmunds for info on discounts, rebates, holdbacks, wholesale vs. retail, etc. I almost always sell my vehicles myself since I can usually get more that way. I always negotiate only the price of a new vehicle. If I want to trade I negotiate that separately so that the two deals don't get mixed together. If you are financing, come with that prearranged from somewhere else because the deal is usually better. The exception may be 0% financing, but usually there's an alternative rebate that may be a better deal. If financed, don't take the new one until all is arranged. I refuse to negotiate through a salesman—I demand to see the sales manager and work directly with him. I ask for the invoice (which may or may not be genuine). This is all about posturing. Last guy that said to me "what kind of profit do you think we should make?" got this answer: I don't care whether you make a profit or not—that's your business. Then I offered a price based on wholesale minus holdbacks, dealer prep, ad fees and other crap. The manager got so frustrated he excused himself so he could calm down, but he finally came back with the invoice.

Don't be afraid of pushing these guys. This is what they do. They respect toughness because they have to be tough to survive. Next time I went to that store a year later, he gave me an invoice to start, I got an even better price for another vehicle. They hate to give up holdbacks and ad money, but I did get some of that—those are just profit with weird names. He wanted our other truck so badly he gave me a high price for it. My wife is smart enough to stay out of negotiations because she is not good at them. Sometimes these guys will try to focus on your wife to undercut you because they know a lot of women are conflict adverse. Be prepared for that. The end of the month is a good time to look because the loans on vehicles often expire on the last day (as do rebates) and dealers don't want to refinance the stuff on the lot. I also avoid weekends and evenings because they are too busy to spend a lot of time working out a deal.

I love to negotiate with dealers. I wish I could buy trucks every few months. Not everyone is made for this. AAA will do a pretty good job getting a good price for people—they get fleet prices and don't pay dealer prep. They add in a small fee (they refuse to acknowledge it's a fee for some reason), but it isn't much.

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Old 08-13-2010, 11:50 AM   #5
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Diesel vs. Gas ?

I'm looking at the new 2011 FORD F-250's with 4 wheel drive and a crew cab. One has the new 6.7L diesel and the other has the new 6.2L gas engine. Although both models will pull anything made by Airstream, the diesel model has the longer warranty, most towing capacity and probably the best fuel economy. I'm going to hold off buying till the end of the year. Maybe by that time there will be more user comments regarding the new 2011 FORD Superduty models. Several people on this forum have already purchased one and appear real happy. However, at the moment the tract record of both of these new engines is pretty short.
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by moosetags View Post

We would need a 1 ton (350/3500) pick-up. It will take a one ton to handle the truck camper plus Lucy's tongue weight...
hi moose...

i recently shopped ALL THREE and here are some quick distinctions, from a guy with NO loyalty to any of them.

ALL based on diesels...

1-i quickly eliminated the chevy/gm because...

-- NO ONE stocked 1 ton long bed SRW versions (( could not find ONE to test drive in ~25 dealerships))

--- the integrated brake controller doesn't WORK with my brakes and it's in the WRONG location.

---- the RECEIVER continues to be SUSPECT and not beefy enough.

2-came VERY VERY CLOSE to buying the dodge, the cummins is nice.

-it doesn't have the UREA/DEF yet so operating costs will be a tad better than EITHER of the others (about 50-100$/yearly)

--the REAR AXLE/spring rating for the 3500 srw dodge is LESS than the ford.

---it's ~500lb less but the reason to by a 1 ton is PAYLOAD. the dodge has less payload capacity than the ford.

---- the brake controller WORKS (i tried it with my stream) on the dodge,

------ BUT it's located in the LOWER LEFT DASH (right in front of your LEFT KNEE)
i don't know anyone that mounts their after market controllers on the lower left.

((that's also where the chevy brake controller is))

fords is RIGHT side, just below the hvac controls.

------ the RECEIVER on the dodge is only rated to 1000/10,000.

that's right its a ONE TON TRUCK with a large towing capacity but an UNDERRATED receiver

(even the dually comes with the UNDER rated receiver)

------ SO, one would need to BUY higher rated receiver for a heavier stream.

--------the mirrors are nice but a little ODD getting used to ((they ROTATE instead of extending out))

---------the dodge has some VERY creative interior features,

BUT the rear seat UNDER storage is mostly used up by the stereo and the set BACK doesn't till forward (so there is LESS storage space)

----------the CREW CAB is a tiny bit SMALLER on the dodge, in fact the rear set is SHORTER by about 3 inches.

((this is the FIRST YEAR for dodge to offer LONG BED/CREW CAB))

3. ford--look it is just READY for towing, no add ons, no apologies, no UPgrades needed for towing.

-brake controller WORKS and is properly located, mirrors are AWESOME (fold, telescope/heat all by REMOTE control)

--more payload, higher rated axles, larger/BEEFIER receiver (1250/12,500 OR 1500/15,000)

---it IS the first year for the new mota' so that's an issue.

but at just about EVERY towing related issue/parameter the ford had better specs/features/setup.

there are LOTS of issues to compare/contrast and that whole "loyalty" thing.

for me the ford was READY to tow and has MORE BEEF.

the RIDE continues to improve these trucks are MUCH smoother than just 4-5 years ago...MUCH smoother.

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:23 PM   #7
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reconsider a dually

Having started RVing with a 10' slide-in on a 3/4T 4x4 SRW (of course) Cummins towing a flatbed tandem axle with toys...if I went that route again, I'd definitely go dually 1T longbed 4x2.

The single biggest reason is camper sway and tire/axle loading. The thought of a blow-out on a rear wheel with all that weight and relatively high CG made me cringe...often. I had extra heavy duty front and rear sway bars, airbags and LRE tires and it was still kinda dicey.

The 4x4 was nice but the higher CG and extra weight and stiffer front end beat the slide-in (and us) mercilessly.

I am still in a 4x4 3/4T longbed but a newer, more gentler version and I don't have a slide-in or a toy trailer anymore so I am extremely happy and relaxed on the road. I'm partial to the Cummins engine because of it's relative simplicity/ease of maintenance compared to the others...everything else is very nearly splitting hairs and comes down to personal preference.
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:25 PM   #8
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I exclude the Dodges because you just don't see very many 20 year old Dodges on the road.

I exclude the GMs because they don't have great specs. There's just too many things not rated for that grade of truck.
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Old 08-13-2010, 04:10 PM   #9
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If you can find a 2010 F350 crew cab with a V10 that would be the way to go IMHO.
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:40 PM   #10
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Mine is a 2004 2WD Dodge, SRW/Quadcab/longbed. 170,000 miles next month. One repair (u-joints). Quiet, no squeaks, no rattles. HVAC starting to leak. Will need second set of replacement tires & brakes at about 250k at present wear rates. Could not ask for a more reliable truck, with a perfect blend of economy & power, the Cummins turns out to be (surprise) the icing on the cake . . plenty of these 305/555 ISB trucks available at below $20k now, with low mileage. I paid cash, had IRS deductible miles, and now have very little into it (purchased used at a verrry low price). Can sell for nearly what I paid for it at a genuine profit.

Have a hard time understanding purchasing new when so many fine used trucks are available (at least, here in Texas and South Central US). Granted, all used Fords are a crapshoot the past ten years, and GM motors need work long before Dodge. An 80-110,000 mile CTD is a bargain.

And there are a lot more Dodge diesels on the road down here than the competition, still working hard.

It "appears" you are set on buying new. So, consider the (RV) darkhorse. No reason to be in love with Ford over minor details or GM for it's supposedly better ride. Do some serious test drives. (The trailer brake SHOULD be on the left . . the right hand has the job of shifting either auto or manual transmission. In driving, both feet and hands have their own responsibilities. ).

Check five-year depreciation, first. And then factor in probable expenditures. These trucks are all .95-1.05 per mile to operate (purchased new; mine is at 55 cpm).

If the truck won't go over 100k with you, then the rest is irrelevant. They'll all be about the same (fingers crossed on new Ford motor) for someone who trades/sells before 10-yrs/200k. Tossing 30 grand into the wind means it's entirely an emotional decision. If so, then listen to the inner child and keep the chrome polished. (Detailed at least twice annually).
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
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Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
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Old 08-13-2010, 08:05 PM   #11
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one can argue about itbc location.

but the LOWER LEFT is 1. not easily seen 2. and not easy to reach.

and almost NOone is shifting these modern trucks WHILE driving (more likely eating, texting, phoning or smokin')

there are NO modern safety devices, idiot lights or controller located on the lower left, BELOW the steering column.

it's just NOT a great location for a control that MIGHT be touched or adjusted (in a world of R handed people)

there is SO little space on the lower left, the control is essentially outta sight (not a good thing)

ya gotta DRIVE them and try it to understand OR decide...

a good case can be made for the v10 gasser from last year, OR the new v8.

since BOTH are lighter than the diesel, the PAYLOAD is typically 400-600 lbs higher on gas 1 ton trucks.

gearing becomes more critical to derive MAX towing parameters,

and mpg might be lower, but the new gassers have a boat load of torque and hp...

a good case can also be made for a dually, since that adds another 1000-2000 lbs of payload...

and a rear end (axle/springs) UPrated 2-3,000 lbs over the SRW versions...

so this means exploring and understanding HOW MUCH the slide in camper will weigh...

i like the dually versions of the the ford and dodge, very much...

(dodge offers a short bed OR long bed dually, and no one else does the short bed version)...


suggesting folks who BUY NEW are making emotional decisions is tripe.

keeping an old truck, buying a new truck or ANY option in between...

can be logical, rational, soundly financial OR emotional depending whos doing the judging.

details matter.

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 08-13-2010, 08:16 PM   #12
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If buying new, consider the power band and torque on a gas engine. The new diesels have the DEF system adding $ to the previous price. Also, regeneration may be an issue depending on the type/length of off-road trips. Manf claims the DEF lasts from oil change to oil change under 'normal' conditions. Towing and off-road don't qualify as normal. Powertrain warranties of the big 3 are worth comparing and noting. I'm not a believer of ext warranties.

If buying used diesel, stay away from Ford's 6.0 & 6.4. A gasser will have more power & torque than the 6 & 6.4 (not to mention their other issues).
With the your homework done, you should have no regrets with your final decision. Good luck
Larry & Sandy
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Old 08-13-2010, 08:54 PM   #13
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I have been following your thread on the search for a new truck. One other thing that has not been mentioned yet, but maybe you have already considered is the fact that a crew-cab truck with a eight foot bed will be a fairly long rig. Have you thought about if this may restrict your use and access into some of the areas you like to frequent? As my dad likes to say " It may take a acre or so to turn the thing around". Just thinking.
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:12 PM   #14
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filter this as needed...
I have liked the GM stuff 'cause they are fitted like a car...
I bought a Dodge for the Cummins...(120,000 miles)
I have a new 2011 Ford 6.7 Diesel at work to tow a Emergency Response Trailer (toy hauler) and...
It's pretty friggin' awesum!

Hi Ho Silver RV! Vernon, Sarah, Mac the Border Collie -
A honkin' long 34' named AlumaTherapy
and a 26' '63 Overlander, Dolly
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