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Old 02-07-2009, 04:37 PM   #15
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Take a very good look at any tow vehicle's payload capacity. That is going to be the tightest spec you must deal with.
Tom, when looking at 1/2 ton tow vehicles (TV) payload is the stopper for a lot of people. The Tacoma is a very nice truck, but it's not the truck to tow a 23'. I don't know anything about the Frontier except that when we were looking at pickups in 1999, we easily found the Tacoma to be the superior truck. Our Tacoma was 2 trucks ago.

The Toyota V6 is a very good engine, constantly upgraded since it was introduced in the early '90's, but not big enough for that trailer. You can buy a 4Runner with a 4.7L V8, but its tow capacity is not much more than the Tacoma and I couldn't find much else on the Toyota website about towing or payload. It's probably there, but I wasn't motivated to look hard. I expect payload isn't nearly enough.

Another alternative is a used first generation Tundra. The same 4.7L V8 and maybe larger tow capacities than the Tacoma—we had an '02 and it was a good truck, but when we bought the 25' Safari, that Tundra had to be replaced with a second generation '07 5.7L Tundra. Even then, payload for the '07 is a bit tight. There just isn't any new truck between the Tacoma/4Runner and the Tundra/Sequoia. The first gen. Tundras are smaller than the newer ones and may have no better tow capacity than a Tacoma.

I know the newer Tundras are honking big trucks. I don't like parking it, but it's nice and big inside. It handles very well. It uses a lot of gas, but you can beat a lot of other trucks when the light turns green (I guess, I never tried it). It's reliable. It's hard to change the oil filter. The front end is kinda ugly. It has more power than you'll need for towing over Colorado 11,000' passes. I think a 3/4 ton or diesel would be overkill.

So, go to a Toyota dealer and get all the statistics on Tacomas, 4Runner and Tundras. The Sequoias are nice, but very expensive, and the Land Cruisers even more so. You might find someone selling a used 1st gen. Tundra and you could look at it and check the tow capacities in the owner's manual. The last few years of the 1st gen. Toyota (last model was '06) had more HP in the V8 than earlier in the 00's.

Check out payload very carefully. Some truck manufacturers don't count coolant, some do. Same with fuel. It can be hard to0 find that information, but be persistent. Learn about weight distributing hitches and how they distribute some weight off the tongue weight (about 1/3) back to the trailer axles, but don't forget to add propane and spare tire to the stated tongue weight. Truck beds attract stuff—generator, extra fuel, tools, junk, more junk, topper or tonneau (tonneau should be around 100#). Double cabs are nice and roomy and attract more tools, picnic table, outdoor chairs, travel books and maps, dogs, extra food, junk, more junk. You don't want to have to amputate body parts to keep the payload under 80% (I think we're at 90%, no amputations planned).

Now that we've scared you, read all the pertinent threads and eventually it'll make sense to you. Welcome to the Forum and Airsteaming.

Gene
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:30 PM   #16
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Wow. Thanks all for the input. I am comfortable with pickups. I currently own a Toyota Tacoma. I guess safe, rather than sorry is a good place to be. So a V8 it is. A pickup makes sense because we can toss a bunch of dirty mountain bikes back there as always..but we'd like the idea of the extra cab for guests...(see the weight gets greater the more I type). So I'm thinking V8, Tundra of F150 now....used from carmax.
And since I'm interested is saving as much money as possible I'd entertain this option.... CarMax Car Detail if the experts here approve.

Thanks!
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:40 PM   #17
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No expert, just a guy with a computer.

But, the Chevy truck is described as a "work truck". Does that translate to: beat to hell truck. I know you're eager to get this all together, but slow down and read more on other threads so you are sure what you want to do is the right thing.

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Old 02-07-2009, 06:55 PM   #18
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No expert, just a guy with a computer.

But, the Chevy truck is described as a "work truck". Does that translate to: beat to hell truck.
Gene
Gene, you rascal,
This is how we beat our "work" truck.

Tom,
Make sure whatever you get is equipped with a Heavy duty towing package.
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Old 02-07-2009, 07:02 PM   #19
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i think what they mean by work truck is that its a stripped down work truck that toyota offers....Just the basics...no power windows for example.....
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:23 PM   #20
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look at this

my pics may help you in your deciding. you will have one thousand different opinions on this forum but the proof is in the pudding. Most people on this forum have suggestions for overkill and not nessecary. You decide what best suits you. Most opinions on here I would agree with if they were NOT towing an airstream. I have driven thousands of miles worry free and problem free with my tow vehicle. That being said whatever YOU are comfortable with GO FOR IT!!.
Happy Airstreaming and I hope to see you down the road.

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Old 02-07-2009, 09:18 PM   #21
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You'll soon realize that certain folks that post know a lot more than others that post regularly. Keep reading - it'll show over time. When we purchased our AS, almost one year ago, we had absolutely NO idea what would be right as a TV. The AS salesman gave me little help so we went out looking (I had no idea what an AIRFORUM was). I started looking at new SUVs - Hondas, etc...and discovered they had a tow weight of 3,500 lbs. I looked at a small Hummer - and it also had a very limited tow capacity. We didn't want a pick up truck if we could get away without one. Sitting on one of our local dealers' lot was a used (2yrs. old) Nissan Armada. I looked at the specs page in the owner's manual and took it for a drive - my wife drove it also. It's one large vehicle for a 5' gal but it handles as easily as her Acura. We purchased it and last year, our first ever towing, pulled our 25' International through six states and through the eastern "mountains". Fortunately, it had the built in tow package and the v-8 engine that did a marvelous job. I average 19 mpg without the trailer and 12 pulling it through PA, West Virginia and Virginia. We spent 30 nights on it last year and are planning to increase that number by at least one third this year - can't wait to get started. We love our Armada - and our AS. It was dumb luck that we got it and I was really worried after I started reading the Forums - did we have enough tow vehicle. As it has proven, yes, we do. And it's a comfortable ride! Keep looking and keep talking with folks. Everyone has an opinion - it's up to you to select those that are speaking your language. Several of the above posts are from very reliable people - listen and learn. Good luck...you've got a lot of enjoyment ahead - Happy 'Streaming.
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:30 PM   #22
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I agree with Kevin on the tow vehicle.

I for one have towed a 3000 lb pop-up trailer with a 3.3 liter V6 minivan and now tow my Vintage 25' Cruiser (about 3500 lbs) trailer with a 5.7 liter V8 in my Suburban.

I had many white knuckle experiences with the minivan and none with the suburban.

I highly recommend overkill.
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:35 PM   #23
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Gene mentioned Chevy work truck are the beat to heck trucks. My old 1989 GMC Suburban is just that. Beat to heck and still going strong. It may not look pretty but it will haul a trailer quiet well. I just hate the 10 mpg city and 11.5 highway empty or full, with or without the air running.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:14 PM   #24
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Hi Tom

A couple of questions for you. Do you want a pick up truck or would you prefer driving another style of vehicle if towing was not a concern?

What do you drive now?

Andrew T
Pay attention to this post if you want to pare down the size of your tow vehicle and still be strong enough and safe for what you intend. Andy has a time-proven approach. It will be worth your time if you call him > > > http://www.canamrv.ca/

[on edit: OHMYGOSH! I had the incorrect link up there since last night. It stands corrected. Thanks Road Ruler!]
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:56 AM   #25
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Bump. Please take note of corrected link in previous post.
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Old 02-08-2009, 01:13 PM   #26
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So I've learned a little more.....but there is still so much range of opinion.
I hesitate to go to 5.7 liters because it does seems like a little overkill for a 23D GVWR of 6000# But I'm having trouble finding in-between ratings of (at least) the 7250 tow ratings that have been recommended by some. It seems that if i stick to 2WD i get a boost in the tow ratings. But I intend to do a lot of boondocking and want to be able to get out of sticky situations. I DO want to camp in the mountains. (i dont have to be the first up the hill ). Other notes about the what I want in a TV...are something that doesn't get HORRIBLE gas mileage (this maybe wishful thinking) but i stilll have to take this thing to work in DC occasionally and I live in a townhouse with limited parking options... so huge size is a bit of an turn off.

I'm open to both SUV or pickups but as a general rule it seems that SUVs are heavier over all -taking away from payload. Then again I will likely put a cap on a truck if thats the way I go.

SO that said I really like the truck below: One thing that stands out is the towing package with transmission cooling...I've looked at some F150s with 5.4L that have tow ratings as high as 92,000 but just a hitch (is says "when properly equipped)....in other words brute force and no technology to aid cooling of transmission....I guess that works

2006 Toyota Tundra
Towing Cap, 6500-lb Max
Towing Pkg, Transmission Cooling, Class IV Trailer Hitch Rec
Trailer Harness, 4-Wire
Axle Ratio, 3.91
Drivetrain, 4WD Tire Pressure Monitor
Engine: V8, 4.7 Liter

one more question when the specs list axel ratio of 3.91 is that both axels or is that just the rear they are talking about.
I guess whats most frustrating about making this decision is that my 23D is right in the middle of the weight range....If I had purchased a 25 I wouldn't be debating this and would be looking at 5.7L V8s

thanks again to everyone.
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Old 02-08-2009, 01:58 PM   #27
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Tom, it looks like you're looking at this logically. It is hard to sort out all the opinions. Some are based on "my truck is the best for everyone in every situation". No one will admit to that approach.

The 1st gen. Tundra trailer plug will need to be replaced with a 7 wire. I believe on 4WD both differentials are the same. I can't imagine how they could be different or the front and rear wheels would turn at different speeds. I think 4WD is the best choice because mud and/or very steep grades can necessitate it when boondocking. The towing capacity is tight to those of us who like a bigger safety margin and may indicate small payload for the Tundra. There are some 1st gen. Tundras without (maybe) an extended cab and they may be available used with 4WD and the V8 and may have higher payload. They would be described as a "work truck", but hopefully not used like some of my contractor friends use theirs. The standard cab Tundras are pretty rare.

In 2007, the 2nd gen. Tundra has that option (standard cab) and 4WD and the 4.7 L engine with 4.10 gear ratio. It's tow capacity is 8,100#. It's 19" shorter than the double or crew cab, and there a long and short beds. I assume the same options still exist. You can get the 4.7 L on the longer models too. Fuel economy is little different, maybe slightly higher on the highway. All 2nd gen. Tundras come with the tow package. The TRD package has a few things that are desirable for heavy duty use too. It might not be easy to find single cabs, but they made them.

Of course it's hard to beat that Ford 150 with "tow ratings as high as 92,000", but maybe you meant ounces.

Gene
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Old 02-08-2009, 02:32 PM   #28
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Picking the Tow Vehicle is proving more difficult then the picking the aristream!

Here is another option.

2006 Ford Explorer Limited 4D Sport Utility
Towing Cap, 7120-lb Max (When Properly Equipped)
Trailer Tow Pkg, Class II, 4-Wire Trailer Harness & Trailer
Is this class II towing package completely useless for me? since I apparently need a IV for my 6000# trailer? how much does it cost to get that upgraded?
Engine: V8, 4.6 Liter
axle Ratio, 3.55

So this option has a slightly smaller engine then the 06 Tundra above...no transmission cooling and a smaller class II hitch....and even the axle ratio is lower....but it still gets a max tow rating of 7120# which manufacture is being optimistic here?
Oh and Im having the hardest time finding payload info for used trucks...
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