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Old 07-21-2004, 06:56 PM   #1
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Question Help with Tow Vehicle

I know that it's not much, but what should I be looking for in the $5-$6 K price range. I'd like to just pay cash, but if this is totally unrealistic the 5 or 6 can become a down payment.
Jack
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Old 07-21-2004, 07:16 PM   #2
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What are you towing?
Used Suburbans fall into your price range.
I always thought that 3/4 ton or 1ton vans were excellent values. Ford's E250 with V8 and tow package makes a nice driver. I used to tow with a Dodge B350 Maxivan, and liked it well.
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Old 07-21-2004, 07:45 PM   #3
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Help with Tow Vehicle

Greetings Jack!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craftsman
I know that it's not much, but what should I be looking for in the $5-$6 K price range. I'd like to just pay cash, but if this is totally unrealistic the 5 or 6 can become a down payment.
Jack
If you happen to be active or are planning on becoming involved in your local WBCCI Unit, you might try spreading the word there that you are looking for a good tow vehicle. Often, there will be a member who either is retiring from traveling or upgrading to a motorhome who will offer his/her tow vehicle to Unit members at a reasonable price. This is often a method of finding a tow vehicle that is ready to go and has been well-maintained by a particular owner. I know of several in the Vintage Club who have found tow vehicles in this manner.

Good luck with your search!

Kevin
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Old 07-21-2004, 07:52 PM   #4
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If you want low miles, leather interior, like new bodywork, and a new set of tires, you are talking down payment.

On the other hand, the nice thing about heavier trucks and vans is that they can take the miles and years better than a car. Really, really good 3/4 ton vans, Suburbans, pickups (especially standard cabs) can be had within your budget from the early to mid 90's. But condition is everything, and you will want one that was well maintained. Include at least $1500 in your budget for the unexpected.

Good luck,

Mark
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Old 07-21-2004, 08:09 PM   #5
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I'll be towing a76 31' Sovereign. Thanks to everyone that has already replied.
Jack
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Old 07-21-2004, 09:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craftsman
I'll be towing a76 31' Sovereign. Thanks to everyone that has already replied.
Jack
Jack, you would probably be needing a 3/4 ton Suburban, or a Ford E250, almost any 3/4 ton pickup, extended cab a plus, or a 1 ton Dodge or GM van. I passed on a nice 1996 Suburban 4x4 for $8,000, so you are in the ballpark of money. Vans seem to be the most truck for the dollar right now, everyone wants SUV's, and dealers are almost giving away vans.
Let us know what yo wind up getting.
Terry
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Old 07-23-2004, 10:49 AM   #7
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I spotted a 95 Suburban on ebay. It's a 2500 6.5 litre diesel. It looks pretty nice. Anyone have an opinion on a vechile as a every day driver and tow vehicle? It has 151,000iles on it. The item # is 2485232661, if any one cares to take a look.
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Old 07-23-2004, 11:33 AM   #8
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I, as a chevy guy, steer clear of anything deisel that predates the Durmax, cummins and Power stroke. that 6.5 is a dog if it's not a turbo and if it's a turbo they have a nasty habit of snapping cranks.

The Pre powerstroke ford is a good engine but the power strok is more powerfull and better economy. Cumins is just flat out a good engine BUT dodge had some Transimmsions issues with the auto. The Manuals are pretty stout. Your going to be hard pressed to find any of those motors in any very good condition vehcile for the price your looking at.

I picked up a 88 454 R20 (2500) Suburban with 72k on it for $5k. Paid a little more then I was hopeing but it's a good truck and it was relatively well maintained.

That said I did end up putting a little money in it after buying it. I had to replace Starter, Alternator and a Radiator with in the first 6 months I owned it. I also went through and replaced all the coolant hoses and vacuum hoses. Found a bad gasket on the throttle body that caused a serge.

Now it's completly up to to date and I would not think twice about taking it cross country. It took an additional $600 to do that. That was parts, I do my own labor. It wasn't that the PO didn't take care of the truck it was just age issues. The truck had not been in heavy use for a couple of years and time just caught up with it.

Unfortunalty I would expect to have to put a little money into most older vehicles you look at and I would take that into concideration when shoping. I would make sure it has good shifting transmission and make sure the fluid looks good and is not showing a bunch of metal flakes. Take a look at the coolant and make sure it's Bright green or pink/red if it uses the new coolant. GM dates their OEM hoses. Look at that. If you see original hoses then I would figure that into the maintance. If it has original hoses and it's low miles it might possibly have original coolant in it. Coolant should be replaced every 2-3 years. look in the radiator and see if the fluid is clear enough to see the ends of the tubes and look for deposits. Deposits are BAD and if you can see them it's probably worse the deeper into the radiator you go. $300 for a Radiator plus installation if you can't do it your self.

I went with the 3/4 ton because of the stronger transmission and rear end. You really don't need the stronger suspension for towing a Airstream but you cant get that axle without it. The E rated tires are also better for towing.

My next tow vehcile will be a crew cab short bed F250 Super Duty Powerstroke ford around a 98 -2002 vintage. Heck of a truck. $5k would be a very good down payment on one of those.
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Old 07-23-2004, 11:47 AM   #9
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Not to talk bad about diesels but the Powerstroke can be very expensive to work on. Injectors (as I can remember) are about $300 ea. Also there is a vacuum pump that can go out and if it does while you are driving you have no brakes. If the rig has 125,000 miles or more it is going to be in the neighborhood of having some of that type stuff done. I have to agree about the vans value wise. I would make sure that if it were a Ford van that it have the 460 engine.
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Old 07-24-2004, 12:15 PM   #10
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O.K. The wife says no pick-up but she'll go for a Suburban- and we've increased what we can spend ( around $20,000.00) what should I be looking for and what should I avoid? Help- need to buy soon and pick up my 1976 31' Sovereign in MI.

Jack
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Old 07-24-2004, 01:36 PM   #11
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Help with Tow Vehicle

Greetings Jack!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craftsman
O.K. The wife says no pick-up but she'll go for a Suburban- and we've increased what we can spend ( around $20,000.00) what should I be looking for and what should I avoid? Help- need to buy soon and pick up my 1976 31' Sovereign in MI.

Jack
Based upon my experience with the '99 Suburban that I have owned since it was new (April, 1998), there is only one thing that I wouldn't order on a new one nor want on a previously owned rig - - the Automatic Four Wheel Drive - - it has been a constant problem on mine since the odometer hit 15,000 miles and every 10,000 to 15,000 miles until it hit 75,000 miles - - then the trouble interval increased to 24,000 miles. The electronic circuit board that controlls the transfer case fails, and the shifting mechanism either prevents the four-wheel-drive from being engaged if it is in 2-hi, or if it is in four-wheel-drive it often will not permit 2-hi to be selected - - the replacement board with labor to install approaches $800 if the trouble interval exceeds the 12,000 miles for which the part is warranted by GM. The part is currently out on the truck, and my intention is to have the truck locked into 2-hi and forget that it has the four-wheel-drive system - - it has been almost 27,000 miles since it last failed.

Beyond the Automatic Four Wheel Drive system, I have been thrilled with the Suburban - - it is a K2500 with the 7400 VORTEC, heavy duty automatic transmission, 4.10 differentials, and the heavy duty trailer towing package. At 133,000 miles it still rarely needs an oil addition between changes at 3,000 mile intervals - - it has had one major brake job at 90,000 miles, and more recently, lower ball joints and idler arm at 128,000 miles. Solo, the truck averges 14+ MPG on the highway and 11+ MPG in town. Towing my '64 Overlander produces highway figures at 11 MPG and 10 MPG in town.

Good luck with your search for the ideal tow vehicle!

Kevin
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Old 07-24-2004, 06:43 PM   #12
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I just took my Suburban in to the Chevrolet dealr near my house, and they had several 2000+ models there for around $20k.
I guess with a Sovereign you shoul d consider the 2500 ( 8-lug wheels)
with at least the 6.0 engine.
They gave teh Suburban much better brakes, and improved the ride and handling drastically. The body countours got slighty more rounded on these models, making it look less " huge" than the previous models. Look for the factory tow package, if at all possible.
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