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Old 11-08-2012, 10:48 PM   #1
2006 25' Safari
Florence , Oregon
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 19
Duramax or Tundra?

This seems like a silly title for a post but here is my dilemma. We just bought a Safari 25 after selling our big 5th wheel. We have the tow vehicle from the 5th wheel which is a big GMC 3500 Duramax long bed with a 50 gallon Transfer Flow fuel tank addition in the bed for a total of 85 gallons. I know this truck is over-kill for the AS and have considered selling it and buying a new Tundra 5.7 gas rig. I can buy the Tundra for what I can sell the Duramax for. Duramax only has 31,000 miles and is perfect condition, I just don't like the huge turning radius and the difficulty of driving it around town. Any thoughts on what I should do would help. I already have an offer on the truck so need to decide quickly. Thanks.

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Old 11-08-2012, 11:04 PM   #2
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2005 25' Safari
Salem , Oregon
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Hi, welcome to the forum. I also think that your one ton truck is a bit too much and you should be more than happy with the Toyota. There are some other forum members who tow a 25'er with a Toyota Tundra.


2005 Safari 25-B
"Le Petit Chateau Argent"
[ Small Silver Castle ]
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:06 PM   #3
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1988 32' Excella
Bonita , California
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Posts: 323
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Well the Duramax is over kill and the Tundra is a nice truck with a hitch camera. You decide.
Happiness only real when shared.
Christopher Johnson McCandless
2/12/68 - 8/18/92
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:07 AM   #4
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Berlin , Maryland
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,055
This will be a persoanl choice however I just went from a Yukon to the Ford 250 diesel. I did this primarily for two reasons. First the Yukon was a great vehicle but it was getting a little long in the tooth at 126K miles and second it was a sluggish going up steep grades. On the flat is it was great.

I chose diesel because of the incentives and the gas prices for premium, which is recommended when towing with an F150 (the other TV I was looking at) was not significantly different in price.

I agree about the turning radius and driving in the city. I now park further away but the exercise is good.

My bottom line would be to stick with the duramax as it is barely broken in for a diesel and is probably paid for.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:38 AM   #5
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
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You are raising the ultimate question in towable RV's. Yes, the Tundra will do the job with a 25 foot Safari. Will it do it as well as a Duramax? Not really. Will any short bed crew cab pick-up truck be more easily maneuverable than a crew cab long bed pick-up truck? Probably so.

That being said, I have my own opinions based on extensive (over 100,000 miles of towing our Airstream) personal experience. We currently have two tow vehicles for our 2005 Safari 25FB (7,400# ready to camp). One is a 2005 GMC Yukon XL 2500 with the 6.0 liter gasoline engine. This tow vehicle is the four wheel drive, four wheel steering (Quadrasteer) version. It's strengths are good maneuverability and adequate towing power. Of course, the Quadrasteer gives it the turning radius of a Honda Civic. Its weaknesses are that it struggles on significant upgrades, and also wants to run away on significant down grades. Even though both of these situations are manageable, they are slightly uncomfortable.

Our other tow vehicle is a 2011 Chevrolet 3500 Duramax crew cab long bed pick-up truck. This truck is the single rear wheel version. We bought this truck last year primarily because we got a 3,000# Outfitter pop-up truck camper and we tow the Airstream while the truck camper is on-board. For our purposes, this rather large truck is necessary. We have now logged over 25,000 miles of towing the Airstream with our truck camper rig.

The difference between our two tow vehicles is significant. The Duramax easily maintains its speed on significant upgrades. The Duramax can actually accelerate on a 7% upgrade carrying the truck camper while towing the Airstream. Its towing power continues to amaze me. The Duramax is also amazing on severe downgrades. Between the exhaust brake function and the Allison transmission, I can now ease down significant mountain roads with complete confidence. With the Duramax, I have never gotten that "runaway train" feeling that I have sometimes experienced with the Suburban.

The bottom line is that a Toyota Tundra pick-up truck could make a very adequate tow vehicle for a 25 foot Airstream, especially if you don't tow far or often. I am now a diesel tow vehicle fan. Even if I were to discontinue carrying a truck camper, I think that I will always have a diesel powered tow vehicle in thew future.

My advice is to keep the Duramax; you already own it. Get a nice topper for the bed. You'll be able to carry virtually anything you'd like along on your trips.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:47 AM   #6
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Wauwatosa , Wisconsin
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For what is worth, I tow a 28ft with my 08 Tundra 5.7 I use a WD hitch w/sway control. I also must have the brake control set up correctly because I barely notice it's behind me half the time. I average 15.4 mpg not towing and 12.7 towing.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:26 AM   #7
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
Spokane , Washington
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Posts: 1,014
I am towing my 25 footer with an '08 Tundra 5.7 with the tow package. I have driven all through the west and over all the major mountain ranges. Let there be no doubt, this truck can tow a 25 foot Airstream without any problem. I don't slow way down on the hills either. I am getting in the high 11 mpg range while towing on average. I just took a long trip without the trailer and got 19 mpg.

This is a half ton and you will be limited by payload. If you are the type that packs lots of stuff with you every time you go out you might run into trouble. Moostags loves his diesels but he has a very good reason to do so. He is full timing and often brings his truck camper with him. You can't do that in a Tundra or any other half ton.

This is a life style decision. If you plan to load up the truck you can forget any half ton. Just go with a 3/4 ton. We typically pack some wood, our generator, some extra water and two bikes and it is just the wife and I. We usually go out for 4 to 5 days at a time but have taken a few longer trip up to a month in length. We are happy with our combination.
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:47 AM   #8
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Like Moosetags has analyzed, you will miss your duramax for the overall towability benefits. A 25' AS tt is not that light. When towing with the duramax you can run it up to 6th gear, set the cruise control, and not be annoyed by the transmission down shifting for slight grades. As you are probably used to ample storage with the 5th wheel you had, you may now need your duramax's weight and storage capabilities for carrying along your generator and gas cans, your heavy tool box, barbecue, motorcycle, bicycles, aircompressor, bottlejack, vacuum cleaner, etc. The large storage area when the backseat is folded down in the crewcab is great for dry storage.You will miss your aux fuel tank and ability to carry the weight of the fuel in it.
Sun City Center, FL
1988 25' Excella
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:39 PM   #9
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2005 19' Safari
Phoenix , Arizona
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We had a 1978 Chevy, 3/4 ton, long-bed, crew cab pickup with a 454-V8 and 50 gallon bed tank (in addition to two, 16-gallon saddle tanks). It was a great tow vehicle; but it sucked gas, had a huge turning radius, was extremely long and unwieldy in traffic, was hard to park, and there was never any doubt that you were driving a long, stiff/heavy-riding pickup truck.

We replaced the Chevy with a Tundra CrewMax, 5.7L V8 that has a hard tonneau cover; and it drives like a very comfortable (albeit, tall and wide) limo with a huge trunk. In addition, the Tundra has a relatively short turning radius, handles and parks like a large sedan and has a scary amount of power. We get 13.5-16.5 mpg towing our 19-foot Bambi, depending on terrain; and 14-17 city, and 18-23 highway, when not towing. With heated leather seats, navigation system, upgraded electronics, moon roof, slide-down rear window, and reclining rear seats with almost double the foot room of the front seats, we are extremely happy with it; and we would never go back to a 3/4 ton pickup, unless what we were towing required it. Also, in the four years since 2008, we have done absolutely nothing to it other than routine maintenance (oil changes, tires, etc.), while the Chevy broke down several times a year. However, to be fair, a lot of the Chevy repairs were probably due to age.

That being said, if you already own a 1-ton GMC; I'm not sure it would be worth it to switch. Is the Tundra you are considering a new vehicle?

Personally, I wouldn't switch unless you are absolutely certain you will never (within the life of the tow vehicle) go back to a trailer that would require the larger pickup. And, the Tundra should be new (or nearly new and in perfect condition).
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:21 PM   #10
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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We travel far, stay out a long time, and also dislike trying to get around with big pickup. Went from a 4.7 Tundra to this reg cab 120" wheelbase Ram 5.7 Hemi Express 4x4. Wonderful to tow and to drive about when we get there, and $24k with year-end discounts.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:43 PM   #11
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
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Keep the Chevy till the warrantee runs out and buy the Tundra then.

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Old 11-09-2012, 05:54 PM   #12
2006 25' Safari
Florence , Oregon
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 19
Thanks everyone for the thoughtful comments. We have decided to buy a canopy for the truck and keep it for a year to see how everything works out before making any major tow vehicle decisions. Looking forward to getting to know our new trailer,,,and you nice folks too.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:18 PM   #13
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Corpus Christi , Texas
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FWIW, a 7k TT is sort of a dividing line between 1/2T (or alternative TVs) and the 1T trucks in the minds of many of us. Sort of comes down to how many nights aboard annually plus amount of junk carried around.

There are a few threads around here on bed toppers [brands]. Mine is a LEER (no side windows) and works well giving all weather 130c/f capacity over a MOPAR plastic bed liner. I use plastic tubs and stack them. I can slide them around, and use a pair of Load Locks (a square bar type I prefer sourced at LOVES Truck Stops) to keep them in place. A recommended kind of combo.

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 03-16-2013, 02:35 PM   #14
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2007 25' Classic
SW Florida , Florida
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 68
I just happened to run up on this thread. I am also faced with the same decision with getting rid of a 40' 21,000 5 th wheel an 11 GMC 3500 Duramax and a 25' Classic. The 2011 Duramax and the Allison is such a great tv that pulls the Airstream effortlessly. Considering I have taken a lot of the depreciation and when we get to the shure enough mountains heading west ...well nuff said. I think Monday we are going to purchase a high top wedge style topper the bikes should push right in the generator can run under cover....on and on.... to much truck ? not for me this year.

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