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Old 08-15-2007, 04:28 PM   #1
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
Cincinnati , Ohio
Join Date: Apr 2005
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I need help summarizing

okay -

I've been reading TV posts for days now and my eyes are crossing.

I have a new 25' FB Safari due soon and I'm acknowledging my need for a new TV (currently an '05 Jeep Liberty CDI). I could use some help pulling all of this together.

My needs:
1. Would prefer diesel for gas mileage, torque, longevity
2. Need the shortest wheelbase possible that's safe b/c of parking issues
3. Would prefer enclosed bed over a pickup truck
4. This will be my daily driver, so needs to get decent mpg and be maneuverable
5. Needs to be really, really cheap because my new AS is so expensive!

Have read about:
Suburban - would prefer old diesel, but the mileage is way up there for the prices they're commanding. And they're huge! And new ones get lousy mpg.
F-250 - seems to be preferred over F-150 for sturdiness and is available in a diesel. But I don't really need a HD truck.
Silverado 2500 - same deal as the F-250.
Excursion - can get new diesel, but again, it's huge and pricey
Expedition - smaller wheelbase and more maneuverable, but no diesel
Tahoe - better gas mileage than Expedition, pricier, too. Nice ladder frame.
Ridgeline - short bed truck, good interior capacity, no diesel
Grand Cherokee CDI - I know it's a small wheelbase, but my personal experience with Mercedes diesels is that they run forever. But new = pricey.

Any vehicles I have missed? My husband is a "car guy", but neither of us has enough experience towing to find the optimal TV for us. My brain is melting. Please help!

Many thanks,

Dave, Pam and Asa
Really old house + really new camper = good living

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Grouco Marx
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Old 08-15-2007, 04:41 PM   #2
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1990 34' Excella
Woodburn , Oregon
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Any used F-250 with a Diesel that has been maintained by a previous owner is going to be a good vehicle for towing your Airstream.

Plus you get the added perk of a pickup for doing other things when it isn't hauling your aluminum palace on wheels. You get something to move furniture with, something that has user serviceable components (if you buy a 6.9L or a 7.3L Indirect injected model from 87 to 94') and best of all can be outfitted with a turbo-charger and other aftermarket goodies should you want them if you find the non-turbo lacking in uphill pulling speed.

I tow with an 88 F-250 6.9L with C-6 automatic. With 4.10 gears, it gets 18-20 MPG if I keep it at 65 or slower, and unladen without a trailer.

With trailer, it gets about 12, and tows at 65 MPH all day long.

An older Diesel Ford with good care just needs oil changes, fuel filter changes, and once every 15,000 miles under towing conditions, the new fluid and filter for the transmission. The F-series is a good truck, been around a long time, parts are everywhere, and best of all, you can fix it yourself with just basic tools.

New stuff has it's perks, but in the end, with expenses being a focus of yours, the older F-250's are good trucks for the money.

Stay away from anything built earlier than 87. The build quality wasn't as good, in my opinion, and the super cab is a must anyway. Much more prevalent in the 87 and up trucks than in the earlier models.

4x4 is nice, but if you don't need it, it is just extra maintenance, and more things to break.

Hope this helps, even though it is my biased opinion.


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Old 08-15-2007, 04:47 PM   #3
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Do you really need only one vehicle? If you buy a cheap gas truck, you'll have your nice Jeep for around town stuff (might even trade it in for a car with better mileage).

Rare has hens teeth, but there was a 92 or so diesel Chevy Tahoe for government work or fleet sales. I've seen them on ebay from time to time. Not fancy, but shorter wheelbase... that's probably as short as I'd go. Diesel too.

Also, those 1/2 ton trucks are really kind of weak for towing... search F-150 and you'll see that many people have traded up. The truck weighs so much, that the engine has to work harder.

Another idea - (don't shoot everyone)... some unconventional SUV's... Bmw x5, or Mercedes M classes... used of course. Toureg comes to mind too.
Just a thought.
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Old 08-15-2007, 06:00 PM   #4
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explain the universe is 3 words or less?

short, thrifty, diesel, suv, cheap, with adequate towing capacity....

1. there is no 'new' excursion
2. the ridgeline is WAY under your needs
3. IF ya want a merc' diesel with reasonable mileage and towing specs...

buy a short wheel base sprinter van...

basically you need a 1/2 ton equivalent vehicle...

ford, dodge, nissan, toyota, or that other brand.

with an engine, tranny, rear axel and brakes that can handle the 25 footer.

most 3/4 tons will NOT fit your wishes (wheelbase, mpg)

the LEAST EXPENSIVE rig with decent mileage, diesel and adequate capacity is likely....

a dodge/cummins short bed truck from the mid 90s...

you might want to get some eyedrops and print out a few of the tow rating guides from trailer life....

lots of years and almost everything available each year....

Annual Towing Guides

keep in mind the 'limitations' of tow capacity and the fine print (engine/gears)

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

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Old 08-15-2007, 06:26 PM   #5
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Hey, I was looking for the same thing...but being really really cheap I found the super tow, diesel yes, wheelbase...well no,, 1990 ok and in pretty good shape, but single cab...all the extra space makes up for it Problem is people keep pulling over when I drive by...but guess after I get the ambulance colors removed maybe that won't be an issue. Hey, think oiutside of the box..oh, that still does not work..well it was my wifes idea
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Old 08-15-2007, 06:28 PM   #6
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Not sure of the specs, but remember a couple forums members using hte VW Toureg.
I think Ford &/R Chevy will be offering a diesel, possibly next year for the Tahoe, burb.
I wish they'd develop a hybrid in a 3/4ton...for now only in the 1/2 ton. Although, w/ towing plus A/C, they have some big R & D to do to get this under their belts.
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Old 08-15-2007, 06:34 PM   #7
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Santa Fe , New Mexico
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Sell the jeep and check out a V10 diesel VW Touareg with air suspension. Solves all your problems....except for the last one. Check out devoman's posts, he has a 25' Safari.
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Old 08-15-2007, 07:32 PM   #8
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
Cincinnati , Ohio
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It's only money, right?

Yeah, since I'm searching for the elusive, I guess I could lso search for world peace.

I've already looked at the Touregs, and wouldn't you know that even driven hard and put away wet they're still over $30k. The Mercedes M-class only tows 5000 lbs; the G-class tows 10k but costs 60k (ouch).

The Ford Escape Hybrid only tows 3500 lbs! I guess it's too early to expect that much from a hybrid. Bummer....

I love, love LOVE the ambulance idea! My husband drove a retired hearse for awhile, and then there was the car that someone had been shot in. Cheap but he never could get all the sticky stuff off the dashboard......

I think I'll look up the Tahoe diesels, Sprinter vans and some 1/2 ton pickups. Who knows? I may trip over something elusive.

Thanks for the info thus far,
Dave, Pam and Asa
Really old house + really new camper = good living

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Grouco Marx
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Old 08-15-2007, 07:58 PM   #9
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Not sure if you plan to trade the Jeep. Don't know what you consider cheap, cheap, cheap, but my vote is for a 2004 or newer Dodge Durango with the 5.7 HEMI. It will have the capacity you need. Cargo/Passenger capabilities - 7 passenger with 3rd seat up and as much cargo room as the Tahoe with it down. Relatively short (compared to trucks) and you should be able to find '04s in the mid teens. Fuel mileage is respectable for the power the HEMI engine delivers. There. I expect your eyes have uncrossed and you are no longer confused about what to buy.
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Old 08-20-2007, 01:20 PM   #10
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is your Jeep diesel? Only reason I ask is I've seen some up here (Canada we're crazy but it works) pulling a new 28' CCD.
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Old 08-20-2007, 01:46 PM   #11
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When you get to 25', it's widebody. It really is in 3/4 ton country. If you need the best of both worlds, get a pickup with a hard top on it, otherwise, 3/4 ton Suburban.

The Grand Cherokee, regarless of engine, is a unibody an has too short of a wheelbase for a 25'. If you said 22 or 23 feet, I may suggest otherwise, but you are going to be pushing 7300lbs, plus passengers, cargo and fuel in the TV. You need more than 118" wheelbase and 128" to 130" seems about right in my book for a 25 footer, which puts you at a Suburban.

In the end, you spend this great amount on the best trailer you can find, yet find you have to compromise on the TV? Not a good idea. They should be considered a set. Keep in mind that I am coming from a sedan w/ a 118" wheelbase and moved to the Suburban. It's a night and day difference.
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Old 08-22-2007, 10:20 PM   #12
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
Cincinnati , Ohio
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Posts: 49
well, after all that....

I just got home from a local Chevy dealership -- bought a 2003 Suburban, 4WD 1/2 ton, 51k miles, very clean interior. $18,800 and we traded in my beloved Jeep. I really love my Jeep and really didn't want to drive something so huge, but we couldn't deny the safety issue. We couldn't trade in my husband's sedan because it's leased. I'm driving a honkin' big, dark blue 'Burb.

It drives nicely, the seats are comfortable. It doesn't handle the bumps as gracefully as the Jeep, but that's okay, and I'm getting used to the really sloooooowwww braking. And where is that back end?????

Gowyn -- yes, my Jeep is a diesel, and that was one of the reasons I loved it, but I have to wait for awhile longer before the Suburbans come out in diesel again.

I'm a bourbon drinker, so we're getting plates that say "Burbon".

Thanks for everyone's input -- I feel like I've made an informed decision.

Dave, Pam and Asa
Really old house + really new camper = good living

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Grouco Marx
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Old 08-22-2007, 10:58 PM   #13
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Congrats on the Burb. Lots of room and comfort.

Does it have the tow package? If so fantastic! if not please look into a trans cooler and make sure you have enough hitch.
I'd rather be boon docking in the desert.

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Old 08-24-2007, 09:44 AM   #14
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
Cincinnati , Ohio
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The Burb has the tow package, so we should be set.

It's so huge I think I need backup beepers, but so far, it's a pleasure to drive. Funny thing, though - the nose is so comparatively short that when I parked it at school, I was SURE I was going to hit the wall and had 3+ feet left! I thought I was a pretty good judge of distance but I guess it will take some time to figure out where the bumpers are (insert joke here).

I'm a bit of a speed demon, but I don't even feel the need to speed in the 'Burb. Probably because the attempt wouldn't get much result except to watch the arrow on the gas gauge drop....

Dave, Pam and Asa
Really old house + really new camper = good living

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Grouco Marx
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