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Old 01-17-2015, 01:09 PM   #1
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Tow Vehicle Advice 1500, 2500, diesel, gas???

My head is spinning, I can't figure out the best solution to what a problem that I did not expect. I am having a terrible time trying to decide on which truck to buy and I usually don't have a problem making decisions! What tow vehicle is best for towing a 2015 28 FC? l

We are new AS owners ; picked up our 2015 28 ft. FC in August. I thought that we would be fine towing the trailer with my Infiniti QX 56 (towing capacity of 8,900 Lbs). We bought a Hensley Hitch for weight distribution and sway control (safety is a very important to us). We have towed the trailer about 4,000 miles now and we are not comfortable towing this size/weight trailer with our SUV. We began looking at trucks and I have not been able to make a decision on what truck to purchase. This is not normal for me I usually study a problem gather information and then make a decision. Not so with this decision, it is a really tough with no clear right answer. We want to use whatever truck we purchase as a "daily drive around" vehicle replacing my Infiniti QX 56 so a comfortable ride and nice interior are important. We like the 1500 GMC Denali but the 1500 does not have the towing capacity of a 2500. The size of the 1500 and its maneuverability are appealing but not the towing capacity. The 2500 has the tow capacity but it is large and from what I have been told it is cumbersome for driving around town on a daily basis. Then factor in the decision of whether to buy a large gasoline engine or a diesel engine it makes my head spin. I can not seem to find a the right or even a good answer to my dilemma. Safety towing is a very important factor, and being able to stop quickly and maneuver quickly if need be are important. I would love to hear other seasoned AS owners thoughts and suggestions on what to do. I don't want to make a costly mistake!
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Old 01-17-2015, 01:42 PM   #2
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Boy are you going to get a lot of advice! I hope you can sort through it and arrive at a decision.

I drive a Ford F-250 Platinum level trim, crew cab (four real doors), extended bed (8'), diesel (440 HP, 860 Lbs. torque.) I got this particular truck for the following reasons:

F-250 (vs. F-150 or large SUV) - I wanted the safety and security of a tow vehicle that could safely pull my 2014 Eddie Bauer under any conditions. We are not full-timers but travel 6 to 9 months of the year in our Airstream.

Platinum level trim - I like luxury and the look and feel of the leather seats that come with this trim package.

Crew Cab - I wanted the room for passengers, gear and also to carry dog crates and do not like the "suicide doors."

Extended Bed (8') - we carry four high end bicycles (2 road and 2 mountain) plus some other gear. I wanted my bikes inside and not exposed to the elements. We also have a cap. If I did not have the bikes, I would have gotten the shortest bed possible, 4 feet I believe. However, there are tracking advantages when towing with a long wheelbase tow vehicle and that is nice.

Diesel - I drove a friend's gas F-250 while pulling my Airstream through Pennsylvania and was not pleased with the lack of power and effort the gas engine had to put out to get us over the mountains. I could not imagine trying to go out west without the diesel.

So that was my logic and so far all of my reasons for this pick have proven to be correct. My major concern with the decision was "urban maneuverability" since this truck would also be my "daily driver" for the foreseeable future and this is where I have been the most surprised on the "up-side." I have gotten completely used to driving a 22 foot long truck in urban traffic and have not felt at a disadvantage at all. Sure, there are some parking decks I can't get into and sometimes I need to make a two or three point turn instead of a simple u-turn, but I'm sold on the big truck and have no plans to get a smaller "in town" car.

Remember, your situation may be vastly different from mine.
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Old 01-17-2015, 01:43 PM   #3
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Specifically, what is about the QX 56 you don't like when towing?

There are scores of possibilities, but few will match your specific needs. Good to know what those needs are.
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:06 PM   #4
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We tow with a 2500 diesel. Extended cab and short wheelbase and 4x4. It is also a daily driver. We added power running boards and it camed equipped with a good power seat that my short wife can make it fit her. She drives it daily so it can be done. It does ride rough on rough roads but pretty smooth and quiet on smooth roads. It is definitely suburban area daily driver and not a city ride. We have friends who tow a 28' with a Esclade and love it. He does tow at 55 or so mph. Lots of people are fine with the 1500 sized trucks. I think the math now is the diesel will cost more to operate. But it is probably worth the difference. In any event I think a diesel does better if it gets driven often.
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:26 PM   #5
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Ed, you may want to look at the new Ford 150 with the aluminum body and 3.5l ecoboost engine. The tow/haul capacities have increased and if you get the max tow package and max payload package, should easily tow you 28'. You can find the specs here...2015 Ford F-150 | View Towing Specifications | Ford.com
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:01 PM   #6
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For a truck-like SUV, the 2015 Ford Expedition with 3.5 Ecoboost engine give you fully independent suspension for great stability, 119" wheelbase for maneuverability, and 420 ft lbs torque at 2250 rpm for plenty of low rpm power. Similar to what you have, but not sure what's wrong with the QX 56.
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:10 PM   #7
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Bob, thanks for your response. I especially appreciate your sharing that as a "daily drive" you have gotten use to the large size. From strictly a towing standpoint it is clear that a 2500 diesel is the correct choice, I'm concerned about buying a 2500 and then finding myself needing to purchase a daily drive around vehicle. Thanks for your advice!
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:30 PM   #8
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Ed,

I traded a fully loaded 2012 Sierra Denali HD for a 2014 ML350 BlueTec to originally tow a 2012 25' FB and just traded up to a 2015 30' Bunk. I did purchase the ProPride 3 to use with the 30' Bunk and find that it does a great job. The only time I miss the trunk is pulling a very long and steep grade (i.e. the Eisenhower Tunnel east bound or Rabbit Ears Pass coming back from Steamboat Springs). In the past I would just smile and blast by everyone else but now I settle back set the cruise at 55 and lumber up the hill. As you mentioned we found that owning the truck just to tow with was not acceptable as my wife would not drive the truck when she needed 4 wheel drive in the snow and I got tired of it as well. Low fuel mileage, hard to park, would not fit in the garage, rough ride etc... We love the ML350 as a daily driver and it does a wonderful job towing our Airstream.

What do you not like about towing with the Infiniti QX 56?
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Old 01-17-2015, 06:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Brownfield View Post
I would love to hear other seasoned AS owners thoughts and suggestions on what to do. I don't want to make a costly mistake!
I tow a 25' Safari with both a 1/2 ton and a 3/4 ton truck.

Either one would be fine especially if you get a 1/2 ton with a big motor.

A 3/4 ton is really more truck than you need but there is not necessarily anything wrong with that EXCEPT for one criteria you mentioned.... drivability around town.

Modern 1/2 ton trucks are a pleasure to drive under any circumstances.
It is my vehicle of choice.

My 3/4 ton is heavier, stiffer and has a significantly wider turning radius. I am fine with it but my wife refuses to drive it.

(btw we just got a Mercedes ML550 to tow with so she can be comfortable driving in luxury once we unhook )

I will say the most important feature for a truck is the tow-mode engine/tranny software and controller system. Ford's Superduty system is superb. I do not know if they put it on the F-150. .
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Old 01-17-2015, 07:46 PM   #10
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We had a "light" 3/4 ton for a while. It towed fine, but was definitely in the "2 stars out of five" for livability.

The Airstream site says the 28FC is supposed to be 7600 pounds all up. This is pretty similar to what our previous 31' Excella was, and the previous owner had towed it ~60,000 miles with a half ton Suburban and an Olds Cutlass. He seemed patient.

It would probably be worthwhile to rent a half ton -- I'm pretty sure I've seen one on Avis's lot -- and drive it around for a couple days. If you could rent or borrow a 3/4 ton, that would be pretty good too. IMO, a 1500 is much much easier to live with on a daily basis. I won't use a 3/4 for a daily driver, but that's just me.

What part of the towing experience is uncomfortable? A half ton will have about a foot of extra wheelbase, and that seems like a good thing. A 3/4 will have another extra foot, which might be too much of a good thing.

You might also take a look at Ford and Ram. Ford's done the aluminum truck/v6 turbo, and Ram has an 8 speed diesel in half ton that people seem happy with. I think tow mirrors, rear view cameras, and brake controllers are available on all three (don't know for sure though).

Certainly it's nice not to have to even think about whether or not a trailer is back there, but I'm not convinced that's a super-healthy approach to it. A little reminder now and again that makes us drive 5-6 MPH slower might be just the thing.

Not much help, huh?
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:08 PM   #11
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OP, how did you have the hitch set on your combination?

. Did scale tickets show that you had the tow vehicle steer axle same weight solo and towing?

Advising you on more truck than you may want sort of depends on this.

Same with brake controller. What was it, and how was it adjusted?
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Brownfield View Post
I thought that we would be fine towing the trailer with my Infiniti QX 56 (towing capacity of 8,900 Lbs). We bought a Hensley Hitch for weight distribution and sway control (safety is a very important to us).
Ed, can you give us some more information about why you are not comfortable towing with your Infiniti? Since you are using the top rated Hensley it is a surprise to hear it is not working. Perhaps the setup is not right??? Can you post some pics of your set up?

PS... One forum member tows his 28' with an Infiniti M series sedan. We are using an Infiniti G35 sedan to tow our 23 (Reese Dual Cam). All is well.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:34 PM   #13
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I tow the 28 with a 2500. Never regretted the decision, as it fits our payload needs and hauls kids and dog and bikes and motorcycles with ease. I tried it as a daily driver, and while the gas mileage wasn't bad, about 18-20mpg, I calculated I could park it, pay for a small used fuel efficient sedan, and come out about even, given my 55 mile r/t commute. Lower fuel prices have changed that equation, but this was a year ago when gas was pushing $4 a gallon. An even more efficient car, or an electric car like a used Volt or Leaf would also pencil out.

Plus, there is no way I could park this beast in most down town garages or parking stalls. A 1500 would work as a daily driver, but not as a TV. With the sedan, no worries.

Super happy now, and will likely trade the missus' SUV for something fun when we get our next car, where the RAM will remain a keeper as a dedicated TV.
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Old 01-17-2015, 11:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Brownfield View Post
My head is spinning, I can't figure out the best solution to what a problem that I did not expect. I am having a terrible time trying to decide on which truck to buy and I usually don't have a problem making decisions! What tow vehicle is best for towing a 2015 28 FC? l

We are new AS owners ; picked up our 2015 28 ft. FC in August. I thought that we would be fine towing the trailer with my Infiniti QX 56 (towing capacity of 8,900 Lbs). We bought a Hensley Hitch for weight distribution and sway control (safety is a very important to us). We have towed the trailer about 4,000 miles now and we are not comfortable towing this size/weight trailer with our SUV. We began looking at trucks and I have not been able to make a decision on what truck to purchase. This is not normal for me I usually study a problem gather information and then make a decision. Not so with this decision, it is a really tough with no clear right answer. We want to use whatever truck we purchase as a "daily drive around" vehicle replacing my Infiniti QX 56 so a comfortable ride and nice interior are important. We like the 1500 GMC Denali but the 1500 does not have the towing capacity of a 2500. The size of the 1500 and its maneuverability are appealing but not the towing capacity.

(1.) The 2500 has the tow capacity but it is large and from what I have been told it is cumbersome for driving around town on a daily basis.

(2.) Then factor in the decision of whether to buy a large gasoline engine or a diesel engine it makes my head spin.

I can not seem to find a the right or even a good answer to my dilemma. Safety towing is a very important factor, and being able to stop quickly and maneuver quickly if need be are important. I would love to hear other seasoned AS owners thoughts and suggestions on what to do. I don't want to make a costly mistake!
Hi, my opinions are:

(1.) You need a proper tow vehicle first. A daily driver may need to be another vehicle. My 2' longer F-150 is quite a bit harder to park than my Navigator [similar in size to your QX56] and a larger truck will be that much harder to park.


(2.) A diesel has the torque advantage, but not a good vehicle for occasional use. Diesels need to be used. A gas engine will do the job, but work harder. If you are trying to figure out cost effectiveness between the two, you can't because all of the prices involved are constantly changing.
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