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Old 09-30-2014, 09:22 AM   #1
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1976 Argosy 26
Manzanita , Oregon
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Posts: 10
is this a decent tow vehicle?

So I bought this old argosy and I'm 80% finished with a full gut-and-remodel, and I'm planning on towing this thing around the country next year to work out of (I teach people to build wooden boats so I'm always hauling wood and tools) and of course I don't have a lot of money to do it with.

Now I don't know squat about tow vehicles so I thought I'd present one choice to wiser minds than mine, is this thing I found on craigslist a decent tow vehicle? one concern is that I've heard you want the closest distance from the rear axel to the tounge and this has quite a bit of overhang, but I don't know how much that, or anything else, really matters. Hoping to get 15mpg, maybe that's a pipe dream? Help, I'm new and naive!

Ford F350 Diesel 7.3 14ft flatbed

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Old 09-30-2014, 09:57 AM   #2
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Common Sense , Texas
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Well, the truck is really overkill for a tow vehicle, but I don't know how much wood and tools you want to take with you. In any event, it should have no trouble towing your Argosy. However, I think you may be a little optimistic on your fuel mileage hopes.


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Old 09-30-2014, 10:03 AM   #3
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If you REALLY like the truck, I would take that bed off and sell it and put a pickup bed back on.
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:06 AM   #4
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Looks like $$$$ trouble waiting to happen.
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Old 09-30-2014, 11:34 AM   #5
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We recently had a long discussion of heavy duty tow vehicles beating the rivets loose on Airstreams (and Argosys) because their suspensions are too stiff for the job. But in your case it sounds like you need extra capacity for your tools and materials. I guess only you know just how much you will be carrying. You can protect your Argy by getting a hitch that will help absorb the shock from the truck. you want it to have a nice gentle ride back there.

As for your MPG hopes, I barely got 12 in my E150, I'm guessing an F350 is going to be even worse! Especially once you've loaded it down with wood and hooked up a trailer.

On the other hand, I think what you're doing sounds awesome! Building wooden boats is way cool. Got any boats to show off? Because we like that sort of thing around here too

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Old 09-30-2014, 12:16 PM   #6
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1987 25' Sovereign
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I can imagine that the lumber you will be hauling will be long and heavy and your tools need a dry enclosed space. The truck you have pictured should handle both along with enough power to tow your trailer. As for the fuel mileage, that is a good question. I tow our 25' Sovereign with a F250 V10 gasser with a 4:10 rear end and get 9 to 11 mpg. I wish you well with what ever your choice.
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Old 09-30-2014, 01:18 PM   #7
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Economical towing .... Jumbo Shrimp....Military Intelligence

Hello, I've had three tow vehicles, a 2500 gas suburban (not made any more), a 2500 diesel silverado, and my current F-150 Ford Ecoboost.

They all got crap mileage when towing. 10 - 12 mpg.

The Suburban got 10 - 14 when NOT towing.

The Silverado got 14-18 when NOT towing but it was diesel

The Ford gets 14 city, 20 highway when not towing.

If you're looking for an economical tow vehicle, I don't think there's really such a beast, unless however, you load a MiniCooper or SmartCar on the bed of that honkin' 350 utility body, and use it once you arrive at your camp.

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Old 09-30-2014, 01:35 PM   #8
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7.3 us a great engine! If you are carrying lots of wood and tools then the truck should be great. A lot of the posts on here are people just repeating what someone else said. Payload is wear it's at. You can always get rid of some of the racks. It's a loooong bed, parking might be a problem..jim
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Old 09-30-2014, 03:15 PM   #9
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1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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We towed our Airstream for years with a E 350 Ford van. It had a short overhang from rear axle to hitch, had 10,000 pound towing capacity, and lots of covered cargo area in back. Ours was V10, but most of them are V8. Towing mileage was 9 to 11, not towing was 13 to 15. The wheel base was 138" if I remember right, shorter than the F-250/350. It was slightly easier to handle in parking garages.

You might consider a full sized van. And you can carry a canoe on the top.

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Old 09-30-2014, 03:42 PM   #10
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WOW! Two kinds of cool there. It should work great, and it really looks cool too.

If you get it please post a pic of it with your trailer! I really want to see what that combo looks like.

There is lots of talk here about big trucks pulling AS trailers apart. I'm not convinced that it is the big truck part that is the problem. Lots of trailers seem to fall apart just fine even when pulled by little "trucks."

I imagine that if this truck is heavily loaded with all of your building materials and tools that the ride would smooth out considerably. If not there are several manufacturers who sell gadgets that install to the back of the truck that absorb some of the so-called beating.

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Oh yah - you should probably use Paula's fuel estimate while towing of 10 - 12 US mpg for budgeting purposes.
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Old 09-30-2014, 05:59 PM   #11
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You don't want that truck. I got rid of one of those a few years back and it is one reason I hate diesels. It would be a good dooms day truck because it is all mechanical unless it has an automatic and then it will die when there is a high altitude nuke that wipes out all electronics. That is a non-turbo IDI diesel. It is not a powerstroke and it won't have real good fuel miliage.

Those old trucks are prone to cavitation which is an erosion of the water jackets till it produces a hole in the cylinder. They only put out 175HP since there is no turbo. They were good engines when new but is that overhauled engine new? I don't think so. You have to add lube to the fuel since they took sulfur out of the fuel. You have to add SCA to the coolant. You will have leaks in the fuel system and injectors and pumps have to be replaced about every 100k. Then there are glow plugs that break off in the head and ruin pistons etc etc. Maintaining these trucks is becoming a lost art and parts and competent mechanics are hard to find. This thing is a money pit. The brakes really suck on these old trucks.

I had my truck for about 6 yrs and put 10k miles on it. I spent a $k or so on parts. I paid $6000 for it and sold it for $3500 because I knew it was going to run me broke to keep fixing it.

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Old 09-30-2014, 06:10 PM   #12
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Hoover , Alabama
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My dodge diesel 2500 2010 model gets best in tow so far 14mpg - but trip to include the mountains drops 12-13

15 seems loft a goal

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Old 09-30-2014, 06:54 PM   #13
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2014 28' International
Marietta , Georgia
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The 7.3 International Harvester TDI is a fine, albeit large heavy engine. It is evolved from an older indirect injection diesel, which itself was loosely based on a medium duty gasoline V-8.

These are decent trucks. Here's my personal take:

1. Most of these are wore out, engine and other systems. They were worked hard when new, and even harder as they got older.

2. The engine and transmission are very expensive to service. You'd have to own and drive it 100k to amortize a basic engine repower.

You can find so many other viable towing alternatives. I recently helped a friend look for a late 7.3 Ford and EVERY one was either misfiring, had base engine issues, or was just a scab.

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Old 10-01-2014, 05:58 PM   #14
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I'd go for the 7.3 and change the bed. With regular maintenance the engine will last forever .
The only thing I prefer is a crew cab though . Btw I get 14mpg on mine pulling.

Just my two cents... But then again I love the ford and I have diesel in my veins . :-)

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