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Old 12-24-2013, 08:14 AM   #1
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What factors make a 3/4 ton truck a bad daily driver?

One of the most common comments on these threads is something to the effect of "I love my F250/2500 truck for towing but it makes a bad daily driver." But I haven't really seen someone lay out what exactly makes these trucks bad daily commute vehicles.

Is it the length and/or wheel base? Because when I spec out a similar F150 and F250 crew cab with the 6.5' bed the total length and wheelbase look almost identical. Is there some factor that I am missing such as worse turning circle on the 3/4 ton trucks due to heavier suspension or something? Is there something about a 3/4 ton that makes them inherently clumsier for daily driving?

Is it the ride quality? I suppose for long commutes that could be an issue but my commute is too short to worry about comfort.

Is it the gas mileage?

I am just trying to get a clearer sense of what the tradeoffs are when one buys a heavier truck.

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Old 12-24-2013, 08:32 AM   #2
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I am one of those guys with that opinion. For me, it isn't a comparison of 2500 to 1500 but of 2500 to commuter car. It's like sneakers and wing tipped oxfords. I love sneakers and would wear them 7 days a week but they're not appropriate for work. So comparing Air Jordan's to Nike Cortez (how great we're those sneaks?? ) isn't the issue.

I actually love my truck. But driving a 3/4 ton diesel on a 4 mile commute to work is just stupid :-). Worse, when I am able to drive the 20 minute highway commute to our downtown offices, I can't take the truck because it's too tall for the parking garage (ask me how I know....sheesh). That means I use DW's Honda CRV (an excellent daily driver) and stick her with the behemoth for whatever activities she's doing for the day.

A 1500 wouldn't be much different (although I have seen 1500s without 4WD in the parking garage...). I have this dream of a classic woody wagon with all the modern conveniences as the ideal compromise. Sad that vehicles are really single purpose.

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Old 12-24-2013, 08:32 AM   #3
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it IS the gas mileage. The differences between the 3/4 and 1 ton vehicles are small... the 3/4 seems to have almost identical mileage to a 1 ton.

The suspension is a bit stiffer than a half ton too.

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Old 12-24-2013, 09:24 AM   #4
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For 4WD 2500s, the turning circle is really huge. By backing and filling, my son-in-law managed to get mine up the ramps and into their parking garage, but it was a struggle. Hard to get into cramped parking spaces for the same reason.
John W. Irwin
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Old 12-24-2013, 09:37 AM   #5
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My wife and I use our HD2500 Diesel as an everyday driver and really, the only minor inconvenience we find is that at times it can be a bit more difficult to park.

My wife finds that more of an issue than I do as she seems to consider it a challenge to find a spot as close to the mall as possible!

My solution is not to bother trying to get into a spot close to the mall doors. Unless the whole car park is wide open, I don't even bother cruising around looking for a spot, I just head right for an end spot at the far end of the car park where I park with ease and get a little exercise from the extra walk!

That has also allowed me to be driving our present truck for five years with
no door dings!

When we first got the truck for our trailer, I thought about also getting a small car to run around town. But with extra insurance. maintenance and depreciation costs it didn't seem worth doing - we are both retired and don't have much need for two vehicles.

I did notice that when not towing, the ride was a little rougher than our previous 1500, but we soon got used to that and it is not an issue for us.

I was concerned when reading the opinions of some folk whose knowledge I respect that towing with heavier trucks could be detrimental to the trailer. But after five years, I have never really seen any indication - yet! No popped rivets or anything.

I don't know if one make of truck is worse than another in that respect - ours is a GMC.

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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Old 12-24-2013, 09:40 AM   #6
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Parking. Sometimes it's a tight squeeze getting into parking spaces and impossible if the vehicle(s) beside you are hogging.
Fred Stokes
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Old 12-24-2013, 09:47 AM   #7
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My wife drives our 2500 diesel dodge as her everyday driver. She will not give it up. So it can be done. Downsides are a pretty long turning radius and a rough ride on rough roads. Rides very smooth on smooth roads. MPG is about 17-18 for her everyday driving (my 150 gets 12-16). We put on a set of the power running boards to assist getting in and out of the truck safely (we are old people). We live in the suburbs with good roads and lots of parking lots. She parks tight. I take 2 spaces when I drive it. I hate to take it "downtown". Parking lots with low overhead are a source of worry.
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Old 12-24-2013, 10:45 AM   #8

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Red face I'm not the one to ask......

......the last car I used as a DD.

Been TV's for towing, the Ford for fun and the DW's Rendezvous for everything else.

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 12-24-2013, 11:21 AM   #9
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A 3/4 ton or larger truck is heavier, has more friction in the drive line, is geared lower, usually noisier and burns more gas.

What are they like to drive?

compact car = running shoes

minivan = wingtips

1/2 ton = work boots

3/4 ton = hip waders

1 ton dually = hip waders full of water
Living in the trailer park of sense, looking out the window at a tornado of stupidity.
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Old 12-24-2013, 11:51 AM   #10
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Some people have big problems with small differences. Their anti truck prejudices come through. After you drive a truck for a while, you will never want to go back to a vehicle that is as low to the ground with no visibility as a CAR. Jim
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:00 PM   #11
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I think when they write of daily driver they are not comparing a 1500 to a 2500, but a car to a 2500. Nonetheless all trucks have tradeoffs.

Neither of the trucks is as good as the car because suspension, ride (comfort) and stability (safety), becomes progressively heavier as the weight of the truck increases. All trucks have solid rear axles giving them a narrow frame/body support (less stability) compared to independent suspension, and most heavy duty trucks have similar front suspensions.

The rear axle of a truck is all unsuspended weight, the whole thing bounces up and down dampened somewhat by the shock absorbers. The heavy duty trucks have very heavy axles to dampen, some front and rear, needing even stiffer shocks. Independent suspension is much better riding.

Rear suspension on trucks has always been leaf springs which tend to offer a rougher ride. Ram 1500 now has coils and adjustable air suspensions are now offered; that will help.

Trucks tend to be heavy compared to cars, heavy duty trucks even heavier. Stiffer suspensions, higher center-of-gravity, more weight to move and stop. The bigger the truck the less stable, harder to stop, more difficult steering control in emergency, higher cost to buy, operate and service. Long wheelbase will make you wish you never went downtown or wander into some woodland and mountain trails.

The irony. Routine hauling around the farm and ranch can often be handled by a utility trailer that can haul more weight, is easier to load/unload, costs little and lasts forever, and can be unhooked when you have to run to town for something. Pull it with your daily driver SUV or half ton truck that can also pull most Airstreams.

Do you really want the disadvantages of a heavy duty truck?
Doug and Cheryl
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2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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Old 12-24-2013, 12:55 PM   #12
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Thanks guys. I do know what cars drive like. I've only been driving them for the past 34 years.

I was specifically asking about the truck comparison. Millions of people drive 1/2 ton trucks as their sole vehicle. Heck, half the vehicles in TX must be 1/2 ton pickups. But you don't tend to hear people saying "I love my F150 but it sucks as a daily driver". By contrast, nearly every thread discussing 3/4 ton trucks has someone saying something to the effect of "I love myF250/2500 etc. for towing but it sucks as a daily driver"

I was just wondering what exactly makes say an F250 worse to drive than a similarly sized and appointed F150.
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Old 12-24-2013, 01:00 PM   #13
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Add to the above that should you be in accident, you are far more likely to cause death and/or serious injury to the other party than you would as a car driver.

This is especially true for accidents involving pedestrians and larger trucks with their longer stopping distances and poor manoeuvrability. I don't have the percentages handy right now, and no time to google them, we've got friends coming over for Christmas eve, but I remember them being significant.
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Old 12-24-2013, 01:29 PM   #14
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Our TV is a 4wd F250 crew cab short bed. It's tall and about 20' long. My main issue with it, aside from getting in with my short legs, is that it's hard to park and a bit harder to know where the corners are than our Jetta.

That being said, I have parallel parked it more than once and can usually find a space to fit it in a parking garage. It's just not as easy. Oh, and the Jetta (also diesel) gets 2-3 times better mileage.

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