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Old 02-28-2009, 09:12 AM   #57
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Did any of this help?
Yes, that helps a lot.

So in your full-time lifestyle, which you describe as "lots of stuff", the truck carries 2000 lbs payload. Does that include tongue weight?

And your Airstream carries 2000 lbs of cargo, which you describe as "lots of stuff".

Those are the numbers I've been using for the two cargo weights in my spreadsheet, mostly because that's the cargo limit of my Safari 27FB and thinking through the tongue & fuel & passenger weights as I mentioned.

Basically I'm looking for a balance between % payload limit and % GCWR, using % of limits to determine margin and upgrade potential.

An F-350 adds payload vs. F-250 with minimal consequences?

The 4.1 adds towing capacity vs 3.73 with minimal consequences?

A diesel runs towing capacity way up, but cuts into payload and I don't prefer it.

So it looks like 5.4L V8 gas F-350 w/ 4.1 axle ratio...

Using 2000 lbs truck payload including tongue, and 2000 lbs in the Airstream (it's limit), my spreadsheet tells me that's 72% of max payload, and 87% of GCWR. If I switch to a Classic 27FB at 9000 lbs loaded it's 76% & 95%. Workable, but probably need to lose some weight.

I know many of you will say "get the damn diesel F-350". In the 9000 lbs Classic scenario above it comes in at 99% & 78%. It just isn't a no-brainer.

For more room and the fancies of bigger, heavier, fifth wheels the gas is not workable. I get that. So the attraction of the 8' box is limited. I'll go for the shorter box.

I want to express my deep appreciation for all the guidance that's been provided here. I know I'm long-winded and overly analytical. I still have to actually acquire a truck (2009 Lariat I expect) and will probably have questions about that.

Over the life of this thread I have A) actually purchased an Airstream and B) come a very long way in determining the right truck for me. Thanks again.

-CB-
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:43 AM   #58
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CB, it's been fun watching your process of analysis. If more people thought things out, the world would be a better place. No need to apologize.

Tongue weight. I don't know if it's been discussed on this thread, but it comes up all the time. I raised it myself when I was looking to buy. How much tongue weight is transferred to where with a weight distributing hitch and hitch receiver? The basic rule of thumb is 2/3 to the truck axles and 1/3 to the trailer axle(s). It's more complicated than that, but it's as much as I can understand and seems to be fairly close to reality. I don't think you took that into consideration in your calculations on payload. So, take 1/3 of 760 and subtract it from tongue weight and now you have a little more space in your payload calculation. Did you add, however, the weight of the propane to tongue weight?

We decided a 25' was the maximum for our truck and while we could probably be ok with a 27', it would be pushing it. There were other reasons not to buy a 27' (price, too long for some campgrounds), so there were 3 things leading to the decision between them. It was a hard decision though. It looks like you are weighing the same considerations I went through about payload.

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Old 02-28-2009, 11:29 AM   #59
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I do not think you are being overly analytical. In fact, I think you did indeed just dodge the bullet of almost making a horrible mistake of buying a half-ton truck. I and others have written much in years past in detail about what to carry in the trailer and truck, why a truck, what truck, etc). Here are just a few thoughts relevant to your situation:

I don't understand the attraction of front bedroom trailers. In a back-in campground spot, the front of the trailer is the noisy end, where all the traffic and people talking pass at night, like the front of a house right next to a street. Not conducive to sleeping. The street is where people and guest arrive from, and why living rooms are typically at the front of the house. I understand that the rear of an RV campground parking spot is sometimes facing the woods and that having the living room there provides for a better view during the day. I guess if you are one who spends the day indoors when camping that might be worth something, but we are almost always outdoors, and I value my sleep.

The Airstream 27 and 28 are essentially the same 28' trailer with the different layouts and I would chose the 28 despite less wardrobe and no pantry. Note how the almost windowless curb side of the 27 isolates those in the Airstream interior from what's going on outside next to the trailer. Even the couch windows open to the neighbors spot, not your own. The 28 layout is very much like our 34, where those working at the galley, and sitting at the dinette and in the living room, have visual and aural contact with those under the awning and even further outside, especially with the aft dinette window and door open. It's a more "open" and "sociable" design.

But enough of that and back to the truck...

First, don't assume you'll be able to attain the 10% MINIMUM tongue weight. It may be 12-13% depending on trailer model and what, where, how you load things. And that's a good thing as far as preventing sway. Also add the weight of hitch head, spring bars, chains, etc on top of the tongue weight.

We carry everything we need in our 8' truck bed with a tri-fold soft tonneau cover in lieu of a bed cap. Were we to bring along bicycles, we might have a hard tonneau cover with bike racks mounted on top of it. I don't think we could get bikes up on top of a bed cap, nor would there be room for them in the bed with everything else.

Our truck bed load estimates (rough estimates)
2 Honda EU2000 generators = 110 pounds fueled
2 5 gallon fuel tanks for above = 65 pounds
(maybe 2-3 times that much for air-conditioning)
8 foot ladder = 20 pounds
8 foot x 16 foot patio rug = 40 pounds
parking blocks & chocks = 20 pounds
Wash bucket, soap, mitts, wax = 5 pounds
50 foot non-potable (green) garden hose = 5 pounds
50 foot 12AWG 15A orange extension cord = 5 pounds
25 foot 10AWG 30A RV extension cord = 10 pounds
Extending tube wash brush for hose = 2 pounds
Chain saw, premix & bar oil = 5-10 pounds
Tree trimmer, limb lopper, bow saw = 5 pounds
Coleman Road Trip grill and accessories = 30 pounds
Probably more I'm forgetting.

For boondocking with the trailer you're considering, with only 39 gallons of freshwater compared to 75 gallons of grey and black water capacity, I'd add 4-6 (or more) five-gallon water cans = 170 - 250 pounds in the truck bed.

I'm sure things have changed with Ford trucks since our 2002. Extended cab, long bed, 7.3L diesel with automatic and 4WD weighs in about 7,300 pounds fully fueled. Back then F250s and single-rear wheel F350s were identical (same springs as well), except 4WD models of the latter had taller spacer blocks between the rear axle and springs. On paper, the F250 GVWR was 8800 pounds and the SRW F350 9900 pounds. I've carried 2,300 pounds of roofing in the bed of ours, with two men in the cab. At a bit over 10,000 pounds, the front of the auxiliary (overload) springs were just beginning to engage their bump stops. These springs are designed to protect the last bit of suspension travel when heavily loaded. Back then, adding weight to the front axle (diesel, 4WD) reduced the payload, which was carried by the rear axle. Dumb! Eventually I believe Ford started raising the GVWR for diesel and 4WD models to prevent that loss. I haven't looked at the F250 vs F350 payload lately.

We got the extended cab because there are only two of us very occasionally hauling passengers and because it let us have a long bed without an even longer truck. If your daughters are riding for long distances, you need the crew cab.

We got the long bed so we could haul our 8' long Harley if need be and because the truck fuel tank is larger on the long bed. An 8 foot ladder is nice for getting the scrub brush on a pole on top of the Airstream, but you might could do that with a 6 foot ladder especially if you got creative with curved tubing. Same with the patio rug, you could fold one before rolling.

We got the diesel for many reasons. At that time, Ford had just come out with the big filler that could take the large diameter high-speed nozzles at 18-wheeler islands. Leaving the RV island at Flying Js often have a very tight turn for a 35 foot travel trailer right in front of the store and I much prefer to use the 18-wheeler islands. Big truck islands don't have gasoline pumps like the RV islands and I don't mind leaving the propane refrigerator or furnace running near them like I would with someone fueling gasoline next to us.

The truck is our sole vehicle and my daily driver. It gets 15 mpg around town and 20 on the highway (not towing)--pretty much the same as a little Toyota Tacoma with V-6. Back when we bought it, diesel was less expensive than gas during the summer.

The main reason for using a diesel for towing is that it gets its torque (and thus HP) at lower rpms. Our diesel climbs a hill wide open in 3rd gear (out of 4) which is 1:1.0 (direct) "Drive" as long as it's above 50 mph (2,000 rpm). At its peak HP at 2,600 rpm, it's going 65 mph and at the 3,200 rpm redline, 80 mph. What's important about that is the torque converter is locked and not generating heat. A gasoline engine gets its torque at higher rpms and thus can generate more horsepower. By downshifting to a lower gear and picking up more torque multiplication, a gas engine may even generate more torque to the road than the same diesel model. The problem is that the torque converter is unlocked and while slipping is rapidly heating the transmission fluid. For me, the screaming gas engine is stressful compared to the relaxed grunt of a diesel.

Wow... that's a lot. And we haven't even addressed the load in the trailer. More on that later. Hope this helps.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:59 PM   #60
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CB

Please don't think this is just a flip reply--I'm serious. I personally think the chance of finding the perfect vehicle from a spreadsheet is slim. It has to "feel" right to you when you are behind the wheel, regardless of what the spreadsheet says.

If your trailer is in an area that is close to any dealers, I'm sure in this economy that a sales person would be glad to arrange a test pull with a truck that is close to what you think is the right one. Most new trucks with trailer packages already have the receiver hitch installed. A brake controller simply plugs into an existing pigtail under the dash and can be attached somewhere with a spring clamp. The plug for the trailer connector will be there and the wiring should be standard. The spring bars match the ball mount, so the only problem might be ball height. On some ball mounts, this is easily adjustable.

In any event, all this is free and you get some first hand knowledge of what to expect--and what is really important to you.

Somebody wants to sell you a truck and they will help you out if they have a chance for a sale.

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Old 02-28-2009, 04:12 PM   #61
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I received the April issue of Consumer Reports today. CB, check it out. Ford F250 4WD turbodiesel had awful reliability ratings, another Ford truck had the worse gas mileage of all pickups. I can't say I was happy with everything they said about my Tundra. I know CR seems to dislike trucks and wishes they were all family sedans, but their ratings still have value.

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Old 02-28-2009, 10:38 PM   #62
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seeleylaker - The spreadsheet just does some arithmetic on the published numbers that's a little too complicated to do in your head. Tongue weight, for example figures in both payload and trailer weight (I think, it's being pulled by the hitch) but figures only once in GCWR calculations. Base curb weight isn't really stated so you have to build that from (GVWR-MaxPayload) and use it in certain calculations. In the end it yields a few key numbers in the form of percent of rating. It helps to see if you'll be exceeding, or how close you are, and compare trucks with respect to these numbers. It's important to understand these numbers. Then real-world considerations come in like you say.

Like RoadKingMoe's concern about having a propane-fired refrigerator at a gasoline pump station. Hadn't thought of that. RoadKingMoe's comments are very helpful since I'm jumping into this with minimal RV experience.

My Airstream is in central Texas, and I'm in Atlanta. I'm not experienced with the towing and it's suburban traffic for many miles in every direction. I don't think towing in a test drive is realistic, though it's a great idea and I'll see. I still wouldn't have done it enough to judge "this is better than most", having no experience to reference. I will be in Waco with the trailer in mid-April...

The 2009 Ford super duty trucks do not appear to be on dealer lots yet and I don't know why. I may order one to my liking to be built with limited time in vehicle. I have never bought myself a new car, I have the budget for any truck of my choosing, and I really think the 2009's in-dash navigation system (which is quite good) and rear camera (both on a 7" or 8" screen) would be tremendously helpful for me traveling alone most of the time.

I hadn't really considered the road noise issues for the 27FB floorplan. Especially with the windows open as I would want to do whenever possible. I sleep pretty well, and my dog's snoring might be more of a problem for them than their talking on the way back from the shower is for me. Just kidding, the point is a good one.

I decided strongly in favor of the rear living. I know that I will spend many hours at that table with a laptop, in a semi-work mode. I intend to build, deploy, manage and market a web site from the trailer. Even if not working, I spend a lot of time on the laptop and figure to do so inside and out. It's a lot of considered guesswork. I'm very drawn to the potential views out that window in certain long-term situations.

One of the reasons I prefer gas is that I won't need to haul cans of gasoline around in the back of my truck. I will tap the truck's tank, like the motorhomes do. I don't want to be hauling significant volumes of a third fuel. That's my thinking. If I could rig a stationary diesel generator in the truck bed (discussed this idea on another thread) then that would be superior. They have fuel pumps (can draw from tanks that are lower?) and electric start.

Clearly the diesel engines hurt payload capacity. By 920 lbs in one configuration. With an F-150 payload capacity is the first limit you bump up against. With a diesel it's the same way, although there's an 11000 lb GVWR row in the table that addresses that issue, I just don't know what tow-blaster-whatever package kicks that in. It isn't clear that the payload of a diesel isn't adequate. With gas F-250/350 you get a balance.

It seems to me that towing this 5600 lbs trailer shouldn't imply a diesel. But with 2000 lbs CCC that's 7600 lbs. And I have issues with payload limits. Other than the generator issue, I guess there aren't many downsides to a diesel truck. Higher initial cost, higher maintenance cost - but I said I have the budget.

I definitely don't want to have DRW, and I don't see the need for weight, complexity and maintenance issues of 4x4.

I have to admit though, there's definitely a part of me that wants to get a diesel.

-CB-
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Old 03-01-2009, 08:41 AM   #63
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I received the April issue of Consumer Reports today. CB, check it out. Ford F250 4WD turbodiesel had awful reliability ratings, another Ford truck had the worse gas mileage of all pickups. I can't say I was happy with everything they said about my Tundra. I know CR seems to dislike trucks and wishes they were all family sedans, but their ratings still have value.

Gene
According to all of the Ford dealers I have talked to one thing is very important and the most expensive maint item. Replace the fuel filters at regular intervals. Most people try to stretch that and then that have problems. The early 6.4L TDs had problems but mine has been bullet proof and getting regular maint.
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Old 03-01-2009, 12:01 PM   #64
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cb, you are not being overly analytical; this is a major purchase, take your time. You have discovered the major weak point of all 1/2 tons-payload-often over looked and underestimated by neophites and daredevils.

Now that we are beyond that, your questions are 3/4 ton versus 1 ton and gas vs diesel.

My .02, taking into consideration you may look at other types of towing/hauling in the future:
  • Diesel is absolutley addictive for towing. But is does cost you in payload. If you are going with Ford, the V10 is a great engine and nearly as potent as a diesel. I hope you like gas stations...
  • 3/4 vs 1 ton; no penalty for 1 ton. The difference is the overload spring which does not come into contact until you need it. So no difference in ride. Knowing what I know now, I will buy a 1 ton next time. Tow capaciites are the same.
No one ever complains about having too much truck. Take a good look at your potential loads and then choose between gas/deezul 1 ton.

Bill
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Old 03-01-2009, 01:06 PM   #65
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CB,

You are now getting up in weight, and not too far from the Medium Duty trucks.

I have to ask you one question..........How many Medium Duty or Heavy Duty trucks do you see on the road with a gasoline engine?

The answer to this question is probably "none", unless you are headed to an old truck show. There is a reason for this answer. Torque, longevity, fuel mileage, expense. My truck makes 600 ft.lbs of torque and 300 hp. The new 6.4 diesel Ford has even more impressive numbers.

The diesel engine is known for going one million miles or more. And you won't have to change spark plugs every year.

The big gas engine that Ford offers is the V10, and you will only get 8mpg towing. The 5.4 gasser won't have enough oomph for your needs.

The diesel engine will save you in the long run, even though it may be more to purchase now.

If you decide to get the manual transmission, it comes with a PTO. A generator could be hooked up to that, hidden from view under the truck. Or get a propane powered generator.

One other thing to consider: 90% of the 3/4 ton and 1 ton trucks that roll off the assembly line from the "Big 3" today are diesel powered. With millions of happy diesel powered pickup truck owners that won't ever go back to gasoline, there must be something to it.

Get the longbed, your kidneys will thank you.

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Old 03-01-2009, 01:55 PM   #66
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I would 2nd what woddy said about a 5.4l...not enough mule for the job intended.

While I am very please with my deezul...I do hear good things about Fords V10 gasser...your choice.

Isn't it great specing out a new truck?!

Bill
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Old 03-01-2009, 05:15 PM   #67
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Quantitatively my analysis has determined that my choice is between

a) F-350 5.4L (gas) 4.1 axle ratio 6' 9" bed (72% payload, 88% GCWR)
b) F-350 6.4L (diesel) 3.55 axle ration 8' bed (71% payload, 72% GCWR)

Choice a) above provides a good balance between trailer weight and payload. It has no future with larger fifth wheel trailers, or a larger Airstream or a Classic.

Choice b) above provides an even better balance between trailer weight and paylaod, and supports any Airstream ever manufactured and a fifth wheel up to 12,500 lbs (a medium sized unit).

Qualitatively everyone says "you'll just like diesel better" or "diesel's a better way to go". That's got to count for something.

Some of this is resolved since I found out that the "computer selects" "Payload package 1c" which is the extra 1000 lb of payload I said I didn't understand. This is key, because without that my simple 5600 lb Airstream, loaded with 2000 lb of stuff, and fuel and truck shell and people and 1000 lb of stuff was reaching 98% of payload with the diesel. With the extra 1000 lb of payload I get the % numbers above, a key factor. It's provides the most margin on both measures - like you would expect. It's all about the 11200 GVWR. I'm not sure you can configure one without it. This is the missing piece.

Given that I have the budget for the diesel, see now quantitatively that it's the best available SRW in all ways, and have tons of qualitative feedback saying that I will be better off in ways I cannot understand until I in it - yes, I'm leaning steeply in that direction.

Now, about that generator fuel supply ... what I'm doing here is trying *not* to cut off my options - as in if I get gas then I know I can easily carry 20 gallons of gas with me, whereas if I get diesel I could be setting up a future problem.

I don't really know how much of that I will be doing. But I don't see others complaining about carrying gasoline around (I haven't been hanging round on the full-timer forum either though). I don't know that I won't be able to configure up a sweet diesel generator solution in the truck bed. I might be able to utilize the trailer's propane tanks. I'm just not sure, so I've been wanting to not cut off my options. Maybe I'm too focused on that, and it will work itself out.

Quote:
If you decide to get the manual transmission, it comes with a PTO. A generator could be hooked up to that, hidden from view under the truck.
Wow - I'll be getting automatic, but you can get a PTO for that as well. I would *really* like to know more about that. I don't think I want my truck idling for 4-6 hours on certain days, but that's a very interesting idea.

BTW - Ford offers 3 options for alternator, and I have no sense of why or what more is for. It comes w/two batteries? It comes with an alternator smaller than the 5.4L gas comes with. You can get a "heavy duty alternator" or "dual alternators". What's with that? Who needs more alternator and for what?

Quote:
Isn't it great specing out a new truck?!
Yes it is!! Thanks again for all the great advice and feedback.

-CB-
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Old 03-01-2009, 06:13 PM   #68
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Quantitatively my analysis has determined that my choice is between

a) F-350 5.4L (gas) 4.1 axle ratio 6' 9" bed (72% payload, 88% GCWR)
b) F-350 6.4L (diesel) 3.55 axle ration 8' bed (71% payload, 72% GCWR)

Choice a) above provides a good balance between trailer weight and payload. It has no future with larger fifth wheel trailers, or a larger Airstream or a Classic.

Choice b) above provides an even better balance between trailer weight and paylaod, and supports any Airstream ever manufactured and a fifth wheel up to 12,500 lbs (a medium sized unit).

Qualitatively everyone says "you'll just like diesel better" or "diesel's a better way to go". That's got to count for something.

Some of this is resolved since I found out that the "computer selects" "Payload package 1c" which is the extra 1000 lb of payload I said I didn't understand. This is key, because without that my simple 5600 lb Airstream, loaded with 2000 lb of stuff, and fuel and truck shell and people and 1000 lb of stuff was reaching 98% of payload with the diesel. With the extra 1000 lb of payload I get the % numbers above, a key factor. It's provides the most margin on both measures - like you would expect. It's all about the 11200 GVWR. I'm not sure you can configure one without it. This is the missing piece.

Given that I have the budget for the diesel, see now quantitatively that it's the best available SRW in all ways, and have tons of qualitative feedback saying that I will be better off in ways I cannot understand until I in it - yes, I'm leaning steeply in that direction.

Now, about that generator fuel supply ... what I'm doing here is trying *not* to cut off my options - as in if I get gas then I know I can easily carry 20 gallons of gas with me, whereas if I get diesel I could be setting up a future problem.

I don't really know how much of that I will be doing. But I don't see others complaining about carrying gasoline around (I haven't been hanging round on the full-timer forum either though). I don't know that I won't be able to configure up a sweet diesel generator solution in the truck bed. I might be able to utilize the trailer's propane tanks. I'm just not sure, so I've been wanting to not cut off my options. Maybe I'm too focused on that, and it will work itself out.



Wow - I'll be getting automatic, but you can get a PTO for that as well. I would *really* like to know more about that. I don't think I want my truck idling for 4-6 hours on certain days, but that's a very interesting idea.

BTW - Ford offers 3 options for alternator, and I have no sense of why or what more is for. It comes w/two batteries? It comes with an alternator smaller than the 5.4L gas comes with. You can get a "heavy duty alternator" or "dual alternators". What's with that? Who needs more alternator and for what?



Yes it is!! Thanks again for all the great advice and feedback.

-CB-
CB,

Check here for the PTO generator:

Real Power - Turn Your Truck Into a Mobile Power Station

or here

Muncie Power Products Power Take Offs: FR/FA Series

Parker also makes one, but I can't get a link.

I knew they existed, but didn't realize how much $$$$. You might be better off with the propane powered generator. There are others on the forum that could chime in.

Or

Here's an Onan diesel powered genset designed to be used (quiet) in MoHo's. Cummins Onan RV Diesel Generators

Even better, follow this link here 4000 Watt Portable Diesel Generator for a Yanmar diesel powered genset. Better price here too. (Yanmar is well known in the marine & construction industry for making a top quality diesel engine.)

If you go with the diesel genset, you could get this for your extra fuel:

Transfer Flow cross-the-bed tanks

Hope this helps,

Woody
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Old 03-01-2009, 06:24 PM   #69
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CB,

One more thing.

Get the captain's chairs, they are ten times more comfortable. Especially on long trips. And the box between the seats is great for the iPod, camera, GPS, etc.

The FX4 model comes standard with cloth captain's chairs, the Lariat has the leather.

Woody
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Old 03-01-2009, 06:30 PM   #70
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If I were to do it over again...

1. I'd get a slightly used (save about 50%) F150 with 5.4 L, 3.73 gears, etc.
2. A heavier truck is overkill for a 5600 lb trailer, it will pound the $%&+ out of the trailer... ask Andy as he sees the results of this.
3. However, I have no fifth wheel aspirations.

Many on this board believe you need an F350 diesel to tow anything. Not true. My trailer GVWR is 6300, and my F150 is rated to tow 9000. Enough with overkill already.
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