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Old 11-29-2015, 10:52 PM   #1
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Pls Help, lost selecting a tow vehicle

Please offer recommendations for a used tow vehicle for a 30ft flying cloud bunk. Airstream says the bunk model weighs around 8,800lb loaded.

All feedback and advice is greatly appreciated!!

The more research I do online and searching this forum the more confused and lost I get.

I need to buy a used truck and my budget is $25,000 and under to purchase the tow vehicle.

My wife, three year old daughter, and I are going to be living full time in the RV, with my mother or a friend joining us occasionally. We will be traveling with the truck and trailer around 40% of the year and the other 60% we should be parked in the Dallas area or in austin. Dallas is home base to us with the majority of our family there. We've got trips planned to the red rocks outside of Las Vegas, New Mexico, Oregon, Salt Lake City Utah and other places early next year with potential travel over mountainous areas.

From research and talking to a few people I'm leaning towards a diesel 3/4 truck.

Options I'm looking at so far and finding it very difficult to identify the a make, year, and model that would work for our situation are:
  • 1999-2003 Ford F250 (Good: Cummins 7.3L diesel, Bad: transmission, electronics, may not have options the other brands and newer models have for towing packages)
  • 2006 and under Dodge Ram 2500 (Good Cummins diesel, 2006 was last year before dodge changed things out to be more inline with new emissions standards for engines, Bad: construction, electronics, transmission
  • Any year used Chevy 2500 Sliverado (Good: Allison transmission, Bad: engine, electronics)

I'd love to buy a newer 2013-2015 truck with under 30k miles that we could get a manufacturers extended warranty on but it's just not in our budget.
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Old 11-30-2015, 06:57 AM   #2
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2006 or older dodge Cummins. Ford does not offer a Cummins. Go with the dodge,
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Old 11-30-2015, 07:30 AM   #3
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Everyone has opinions on this subject, and can get very heated (arguments). I would suggest checking some diesel engine forums on the net and read all you can about which year and make is most reliable. Gasoline engines have their place also.
PAYLOAD Capacity is the next factor. Add up everything you might carry with you, this includes people, pets, ice chest etc.. Plus the tongue weight of you trailer ( 800 lbs plus) subtracts from payload capacity.
Then towing capacity, lots of modern vehicles will tow/pull a Airstream down the road. There is a big difference between heading to Florida down I-10 (think flat and straight) vs heading to Colorado and touring the Rockies.
Let the arguments begin.
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Old 11-30-2015, 07:38 AM   #4
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Look around for a used Chevy Silverado HD 2500 with an LBZ diesel. I think they are in the 2006-2007 range.
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Old 11-30-2015, 07:44 AM   #5
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This decision will likely be much harder than the chosing of your Airstream itself. However, my advise would be to NOT overthink it.
For the size of your Airstream your going to want a 3/4 ton for sure. Don't forget to consider you may have up to 4 passengers at times (possibly a crew cab) The down side is your budget. Good trucks all come at a price. The ones with a good diesel motor/tranny combo are going to shatter your budget.
I am by no means an expert or authority on the subject, I play no favorites to any manufacturer, BUT.... considering your anticipated budget, don't be afraid of looking into a gas burning motor as opposed to a diesel. I tow a 10,000 lb. 34 ft. Limited with a 5.7 ltr. Hemi V8. (gas motor, 6 speed tranny) I tow it everywhere and it does just fine. Many think that because they are going to be towing through hills & mountians, that they gotta have a diesel. Not true. If you've read the many, many..... many posts on the forums here you'll see that a diesel WILL get better mileage, but I've often wondered if it's worth the extra 10K in initial cost?
Before I get to high on my "soapbox", just keep in mind..... Given your budget, I'd include in your vehicle search ANY 3/4 ton truck with a quad cab. Gas V8 or Diesel, 6 speed tranny, make sure it has a tow package(oil & tranny coolers), wide tow mirrors.
Just food for thought.......
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Old 11-30-2015, 11:21 AM   #6
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We were in Arlington last week. Coulda shown you our rig and TV at
Loyd Park.

Used the 4x4 twice over trip!!
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Old 11-30-2015, 11:33 AM   #7
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what TRUXSPIN said is excellent advice, especially the part about not needing a diesel. I love mine, but I don't have the budget restrictions you do. And it was a pain in the tush trying to find a decent used one. Not so with gassers. The big V10's are great, and the $10K difference between diesels and gassers - well you can get more truck for your buck with a gasser.

Since you'll probably drive it a lot less than a more economical car, you won't have too many worries about it breaking down. AND every now and then - especially out west - you can be many, many miles from the nearest fuel stop. Unless it's a truck stop, they might not have diesel at all.

When I go out west again, I'll carry two five gallon cans of diesel. (of course diesel is flammable, gasoline is explosive...
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Old 11-30-2015, 11:47 AM   #8
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Gassers are easier to work on. More "available skilled mechanics"...

And, if you are, as your username implies, into rocking, a 4x4 may be a good choice, depending upon your need.

For myself, one avoided accident due to the "wasted capacity" of my Duramax sold me on "have enough when enough aint"
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Old 11-30-2015, 11:47 AM   #9
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I tow my 8,800# 30' Airstream with a Tundra and I love it.
A 2008 or thereabouts low miles Tundra can be purchased for about $25,000.
Very clean, good condition 2007 and up Silverado/Sierra 2500HD Duramax/Allison fully loaded LTZ crew cabs can be bought for $25,000.
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Old 11-30-2015, 11:56 AM   #10
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Pls Help, lost selecting a tow vehicle

We never once saw anyplace out west that didn't sell diesel and in most states out there diesel is cheaper than gas. I'm getting a diesel in order to have the engine brake. The brakes on my Suburban will heat up too quickly making for some seat pinching moments going down mountains.
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Old 11-30-2015, 11:57 AM   #11
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Can't go wrong with a Ford F-150 with the 3.5 Ecoboost engine. I suggest you look at leasing a new one since your payment will probably be less than buying used outright. Any new diesel is not only over kill, but the extra cost of the diesel engine plus way bad maintenance costs, will eat you up. A gas rig will last just as long for a lot less money in initial cost and low maintenance.
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Old 11-30-2015, 12:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrprez View Post
We never once saw anyplace out west that didn't sell diesel and in most states out there diesel is cheaper than gas. I'm getting a diesel in order to have the engine brake. The brakes on my Suburban will heat up too quickly making for some seat pinching moments.

The Ford Troqueshift transmission down shifts on the Tow/Haul setting almost as good as an exhaust brake on a diesel without all of the diesel problems and high maintenance costs.Ford took the Allison tranny to another level with the Torqueshift and it has much fewer problems than the other transmissions in other truck species.
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Old 11-30-2015, 12:01 PM   #13
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I'm good, thanks.
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Old 11-30-2015, 12:10 PM   #14
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An American-badged gas or diesel 3/4 ton with a crew cab will do the job. Gas power will cost you a lot less to buy and own. Forget the fuel mileage - a 3/4T is no economy vehicle no matter how you equip it. Put a cap on the bed and you can put a lot of stuff in there and reduce clutter in the trailer.

There are no 1/2 T pickups or SUVs on the market that would be up to the task, considering your 8800# trailer, passenger load, and the amount of stuff you will likely be carrying in the truck.

Cheers!
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