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Old 07-22-2002, 11:13 AM   #1
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F250 tow vehicle or flatbed?

I sure could use some advice. I've been working on getting my 31' excella 500 on the road by fall for a loooong trip and it's past time to purchase my tow vehicle. I've got it somewhat narrowed down, and the ideal vehicle I've been looking for would be an F350 turbo-diesel 4x4 7.3L engine with a long bed (for the motorcycle) I'm still not sure if I need an automatic or manual. And my mind is still open on the whole thing. One thing's for sure, I'm just not willing to go over $15,000 and I'm a stubborn, stubborn woman. I've also been attracted lately to the idea of a flatbed... I don't know why, don't ask me, there's no rhyme or reason.
So, I'm looking at two vehicles in the next couple of days. One is probably less power than I need, and the other is probably too much. The first is a '96 4x4 F250 power stroke diesel with a short box. (I could just get real good at driving the bike up into a 6' bed.) It has been well maintained and I would really like to just impulse buy it because I like the color. (Duh.) And the price, which is $11,700. (By the way, to those who live elsewhere, the Pacific Northwest is expensive, so keep that in mind when you're judging the prices. I could get the same truck in Missouri or someplace for a lot less. If I get a really good deal, I don't mind the prospect of shopping in a different state for a new truck.)
The other is an '88 F350 1 ton flatbed 7.3L engine with rebuilt engine and tranny because the boss borrowed the truck and put unleaded in it instead of diesel. The whole truck has 137,000 miles on it which is low for an '88 and then the comparatively new engine and tranny, And it's only $4250. That would save me so much. I haven't seen it yet, but I hope it's not too huge. I don't want to drive something too huge.
The trailer is 8800 pounds GPW... what does that mean again? Fully loaded with the tanks full, right? But what does it stand for, Gross Pounds Wattage? Great pair of wackos? Sorry, I digress. This is why I'm always behind schedule.
Please advise, guys. And don't spare me the acidic comments, I can take it. -Cheryl
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Old 07-22-2002, 11:28 AM   #2
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I'd go for a F250. The F350 would have a stiffer ride that maybe hard on the Airstream. A lot of viberation from the truck to the A/S. Would seem like for up to $15K, you shoud be able too find a pretty nice 3/4 ton pickup.
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Old 07-22-2002, 11:33 AM   #3
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Hi Cheryl,

i think the 350 ( 1ton) is a better tow vehicle, but i would be careful of a flatbed, unless you know the owners. Flatbeds are often used for very heavy duty commercial purposes, and therefore sustain a lot of abuse every day. Maybe a can of worms once you get it. Been there......
Also, the 350, or 1 ton truck would have an easier time lugging your bike and teh trailer.
If i was in your position, i would get a 1-ton long bed whatever truck with a 454 ora big diesel. They say the Dodges with the Cummins turbo Diesel work well. They should have them in the classifieds in your price range.
I personally use a 1ton van for towing our 25ft. Trade Wind. It has a 360V8 which makes it a little slow going, but otherwise I am happy with it. Would not work well for a bike, though.
I encourage your first choice, the long F350 with the big Diesel should work well. they pass me all the time going up the long grades east of Los Angeles.
Good luck!
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Old 07-22-2002, 12:00 PM   #4
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Truck for towing

I also went thru some checking and trying trucks. We finally decided on a Ford F350 CC dual rear wheels, long bed. The Ford has an automatic trans and the super 7.3 diesel with turbo. These are THE truck for work. It pulls our '79 Airstream 31 ft like playing. One time I pulled our trailer and another dead truck with 18 ft trailer up steep grade out of traffic. Not a problem. Ford diesels can be modified to give big horsepower, as much as 418 HP. Don't even think gas, not enough torque....... We carry extra batteries, inverter, and gen set in the back of truck.....back seat area is for some tools and driving comforts.....
It is a fun job towing the 8500 pound Airstream...... Oh yea. It is GVW which means Gross Vehicle Weight.....This is the total weight as ready for the road..
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Old 07-22-2002, 01:03 PM   #5
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When we fulltimed we had a truck just like Frank's except we had a cap on it so we could carry all the stuff that was required for seasonal changes. This also kept the trailer closer to GVWR. We also carried a honda scooter in the back and the cap kept it cleaner. I would avoid the 4X4 unless you really think you will be needing it. The F 350 RWD rode nice and smooth. I would be concerned about harshness with a 4X4. Not only for you and passengers but for the damage to the Airstream that can be caused by the stiff suspension. You would be better served paying for a good sam membership to pull you out than to carry the 4X4 weight around all the time. 4X4 trucks usally get poorer mileage as well as the fact you have an additional transmission to maintain and the additional front axle/hub maintenece as well.

If you are willing to travel to but a truck you may want to look in the Dakotas. we had ours seviced there while at an International rally and it was common to see many 4 door dually trucks on the street. It was also about half as much to do the kigpins as back in WI. If you get a diesel spend the money and get one with a turbo, you will not regret it.

In the transmission arena I would say get what you are comfortable with. In a F350 the transmission will be strong enough to do what you are planning. The automatics are nice because it is just drop and go. I would reccomend getting a transmission temp gauge if you get an automatic so you can monitor it though.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 07-22-2002, 02:35 PM   #6
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If you are talking about a motorcycle bike, I would measure very carefully. A short bed is very tight when hauling a motorcycle, often have to be set at an angle in the bed. Once you do that and tie down, there will not be much bed left.

John
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Old 07-23-2002, 02:15 AM   #7
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Thanks folks. I feel a lot clearer about what I want now. I just wish I had it now because I still need to bring the old girl home from the RV hospital, dump the tank on the way and have her all set up for visitors in 3 days. Why do I always wait until the last minute?
Anyway, your advice makes all kinds of sense and I'm going for the big engine, turbo-diesel, smooth ride, long-bed truck of my dreams. - Cheryl
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Old 07-23-2002, 12:42 PM   #8
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Ford diesel Trucks

Time is money...... A quick buy will always cost more....... Just look at Ebay.......
The 1995 and up Powerstroke Ford are the answer. With a computer chip for $350 and big exhaust, the power is awsome....er. uh real good.......... Dual wheels is great for pullin' and the F-350 brakes are the best. Nope, our trailer brakes are not needed. With rear air bags, the ride is very comfy......



A wish truck.
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Old 07-23-2002, 03:19 PM   #9
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THAT'S THE TRUCK! I MUST HAVE IT... MY LIFE IS MEANINGLESS WITHOUT IT. OK, that might be a little dramatic, but seriously, that's the truck. -Cheryl
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Old 08-14-2007, 07:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheryl
I sure could use some advice.
The trailer is 8800 pounds GPW... But what does it stand for, Great pair of wackos?
Please advise, guys. And don't spare me the acidic comments, I can take it. -Cheryl
How'd you guess? Sounds to me like you got spasoranctum!

Unless you're going to be hauling a welding rig, really don't need the flat bed - especially if you're carrying stuff and don't want it to fall out. Go with a long-bed for your motorcycle and then still be able to carry stuff securely. With the weight of the trailer, fluids, people, stuff and bike, a 350 may be more comfortable, especially going up BIG hills... We have a 250 turbo diesel which is perfect... but we don't carry a motorcycle.
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Old 08-14-2007, 07:10 PM   #11
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Bill, I hate to tell you, but Cheryl hasn't been here since 2002...
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Old 08-14-2007, 07:23 PM   #12
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i love it when those old threads get accidently dug up.

i don't know why but it brings a smile to my face everytime
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Old 08-14-2007, 07:38 PM   #13
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Yeah... well, better late than never... besides, was hoping she'd explain "a great pair of wackos" at 8800 lbs!
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Old 08-14-2007, 09:40 PM   #14
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Go for the F-250. F-350 has too stiff a suspension.
I have F-250 with a 6.0L diesel and it has not problems with my classic 31. You will be nowhere near the trucks towing capacity.
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