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Old 02-15-2012, 11:37 PM   #1
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Full timing: Tundra vs F250

This spring my Wife, my dog and I plan to depart on an epic adventure. We plan to travel and live in our 25'er fulltime. We bought our Airstream last summer and are just now beginning to search for a proper tow vehicle. The plan is to never stay anywhere for too long and do a lot of sightseeing. We will be spending a lot of time in the truck and want to get something that will fit us. Large enough to tow the Airstream safely and easily, but small enough that parking it isn't a hassle when we go exploring.

I have narrowed it down to either a Tundra or a F250. We would be looking at used ones with 60,000 or less miles.

I am heavily leaning towards the Tundra, folks here on the forums seem to love it, it is obviously smaller and supposedly would have a smoother ride than the F250. The payload capacity is the only thing that worries me. 1500lbs is going to be right on the edge. I imagine the trailer will be packed, thus having a tongue weight of 800-1000lbs. (We have a Hensely hitch and want to add a few extra batteries). Passenger plus a dog is another 200+. Truck Cap must weight about 100 or more. That leaves ~200-300 for anything we put in the back. I would think we would end up right at the payload capacity.

How worried should I be about the payload pacity and being right up against it? How different in the F250 in terms of ride and everyday use? Is the 5.7L F250 engine enough for the Airstream? Any other thoughts?

Thanks...
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:19 AM   #2
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I pulled my 25 with both my 99 F250 diesel and my 11 Tundra 5.7.
The diesel averaged about 3 mpg better than the gas Tundra. At best about 15 for the diesel under steady 60 MPH cruise, 12 for Tundra.

The Tundra seems better in steering precision and handling, much sharper and less vague steering both towing and non towing. Its easier to locate the vehicle accurately. For whatever reason my Tundra has much less tendency to porpoise when towing on concrete freeways than the F250 did. It is night and day and makes some of my towing much more pleasurable.

The vehicles are approx the same size, take up as much room in garage-super cab F250 and double cab Tundra.

I tend to drive solo and load the truck lightly but payload issues are worth exploring.
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:20 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by timmaah View Post
This spring my Wife, my dog and I plan to depart on an epic adventure. We plan to travel and live in our 25'er fulltime. We bought our Airstream last summer and are just now beginning to search for a proper tow vehicle. The plan is to never stay anywhere for too long and do a lot of sightseeing. We will be spending a lot of time in the truck and want to get something that will fit us. Large enough to tow the Airstream safely and easily, but small enough that parking it isn't a hassle when we go exploring.

I have narrowed it down to either a Tundra or a F250. We would be looking at used ones with 60,000 or less miles.

I am heavily leaning towards the Tundra, folks here on the forums seem to love it, it is obviously smaller and supposedly would have a smoother ride than the F250. The payload capacity is the only thing that worries me. 1500lbs is going to be right on the edge. I imagine the trailer will be packed, thus having a tongue weight of 800-1000lbs. (We have a Hensely hitch and want to add a few extra batteries). Passenger plus a dog is another 200+. Truck Cap must weight about 100 or more. That leaves ~200-300 for anything we put in the back. I would think we would end up right at the payload capacity.

How worried should I be about the payload pacity and being right up against it? How different in the F250 in terms of ride and everyday use? Is the 5.7L F250 engine enough for the Airstream? Any other thoughts?

Thanks...
You have more factors to weigh:

How long are you going to do this?
How much to you expect to travel (miles/month)?
Where are you expecting to go? Mountains? flats?
Will you be doing lots of trips w/o the trailer, or
more just local stuff?

I'd look for a vehicle that has enough capacity to take you & yours + your stuff and still have 500 lbs left over, particularly if full-timing. Consider a diesel if you're going to be doing a lot of miles.

- Bart
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barts View Post
You have more factors to weigh:

How long are you going to do this?
How much to you expect to travel (miles/month)?
Where are you expecting to go? Mountains? flats?
Will you be doing lots of trips w/o the trailer, or
more just local stuff?

I'd look for a vehicle that has enough capacity to take you & yours + your stuff and still have 500 lbs left over, particularly if full-timing. Consider a diesel if you're going to be doing a lot of miles.

- Bart
Hopefully a few years and probably close to 20,000 miles a year. And going all over the US.. big mtns included.

What would be the rationale for leaving 500 lbs to spare? Safety or just not as harsh on the truck?

Our list of things to bring is not very long. We plan on living pretty simply, but the list does include things like grill and small generator..
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:08 AM   #5
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There are two Tundras. 1st generation (smaller) up to 2006, and 2nd generation 2007 to present. They are not the same. F250 is in a different category than Tundra. I have had all three. Assuming that you are comparing 2nd gen Tundra with a F250 I think you will find both trucks have plenty of power for the task. As you suspect, the Tundra will be loaded-up before the F250. My wife can't handle the firm ride of the F250 on a long trip so for us its the Tundra. Both are good and hard to wrong with either one unless you're going to overload the Tundra. Plan on using WD bars with the tundra. before you get a Tundra ( or any truck? ) take note of the mirrors. The extended tow mirrors are what you want and if it doesn't have them it may or may not be easy to add them.
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:11 AM   #6
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I've been full-timing (more or less) for the past 3 years with my 1963 24' Avion and a 2003 4.7L Tundra w/4WD and tow package. The '03 Tundra is about the same size as the '12 Tacoma. My smaller Tundra has performed almost perfectly towing 4500# and a full payload.
The only issues I had were on very steep hills where I could have used a little more power and a bit of rear sag when fully loaded.
Seriously at 70,000 miles of hard travel I only had to replace an oxygen sensor, very reliable.

Blake
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2003 Toyota Tundra
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:50 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by timmaah View Post
Hopefully a few years and probably close to 20,000 miles a year. And going all over the US.. big mtns included.

What would be the rationale for leaving 500 lbs to spare? Safety or just not as harsh on the truck?

Our list of things to bring is not very long. We plan on living pretty simply, but the list does include things like grill and small generator..
My experience is that things.... accumulate. You get a flat, and decide it's nice to have a proper jack or other tools along... and you want a spare propane cylinder... or extra water, or ... 3/4 ton trucks are a lot more heavily built than 1/2 ton ones - brakes, transmission, etc. tend to be larger and designed to tow. The tires on a 3/4 ton truck are of much heavier construction than 1/2 ton vehicles as well, which means that you're less likely to have problems there.

- Bart
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Blakradish View Post
I've been full-timing (more or less) for the past 3 years with my 1963 24' Avion and a 2003 4.7L Tundra w/4WD and tow package. The '03 Tundra is about the same size as the '12 Tacoma. My smaller Tundra has performed almost perfectly towing 4500# and a full payload.
The only issues I had were on very steep hills where I could have used a little more power and a bit of rear sag when fully loaded.
Seriously at 70,000 miles of hard travel I only had to replace an oxygen sensor, very reliable.

Blake
'63 Avion H-24
2003 Toyota Tundra
The 1999 Safari has a gross vehicle weight of 6300 lbs, and prob. 2x the tongue weight of your Avion. I'm not saying it won't work; it just seems... marginal.

- Bart
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:39 AM   #9
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I started out with a tundra with my 2011 30' internationl. I found that with all the stuff I wanted to take with me, I was at the limits of the payload for the truck, I just upgraded to a f250. Now I think I can take all the stuff and people and dog and not worry about overloading.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:01 AM   #10
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You would think Toyota would make a 3/4 ton truck. I am sure that driving the Tundra would be more pleasant than the Ford but then again driving a sports car is more pleasant than a Tundra etc. I would say you are going to reach the limits of the Tundra especially in the mountains and in high wind situations. The more massive the tow vehicle the less likely it is going to become unstable. You got to look at braking capacity as well. Can the Tundra stop your trailer on a 10-15% grade going downhill if the trailer brakes fail. The argument about tire capacity and transmission size is a valid one. Rated towing capacity is more of a sales pitch than reality. Personally, I don't but the 11,000 Tow rating of the F-150. My Ford Excursion is only rated for 10,000lb and it has the drive train of an F-250/350. I am sure the Tundra would be fine for short weekend trips but for full timing, I think it is going to be outmatched.

Perry
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:15 AM   #11
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Difficult choice

Good luck deciding which truck to go with. You might want to read a blog called Weaselmouth.com They are full timing and went from a new Tundra to a new F250. You could also ask them here on the forums. His profile page is here.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:55 AM   #12
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Hmm.. I follow the Weaselmouth blog. I'm surprised they never mentioned switching to their new Ford.

Perry.. Looking at the curb weight of both trucks, the F250 is only ~400 lbs more than the Tundra. I can't see how that would make too much of a difference where wind..etc is concerned.

Two opinions that the Tundra is more comfortable and a nicer drive. That combined with the lower price of the Tundra and lack of F250 inventory still has mena leaning towards the Tundra.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:08 AM   #13
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A few years ago, I was considering the same thing. A truck enthusiast neighbor directed me to a truck web site and a video of a testing company that ran these vehicles over some staggered bumps to test frame stiffness. Ford fared the best. It looked like the bed on the Tundra was about to fly off. You might search the truck sites to find this.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:32 AM   #14
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There are a number of us that use Ford Excursions and we like them as a tow vehicle. They are a little more comfortable than a pickup. The bad is you are going to have to settle for a used one. The V10 versions are solid and reliable and low maintenance but the gas miliage is not great 8-10 MPG towing. The best diesel versions are the 7.3l but the 6.0l can be made reliable by removing the EGR system which you may not be able to do in some states. The good is many times you can get them cheap because they are put into the gas hog SUV catagory. I paid $7000 for mine and a comparable pickup truck of that age would have been twice that. If you want a diesel pickup you might also consider a used Dodge with the Cummins engine. I don't like the newer diesels because of the DEF tank which is another add on for EPA purposes that increases cost and lowers performance and reliability.

Perry
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