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ssfletch 06-01-2010 07:27 AM

best 10-20 year old truck for towing 21' globetrotter?
 
I'm new to the AS world but love the information I get from this forum! I need some serious advice here.

Getting married in less than a month to a sweet woman and we bought a 21 foot 72' globetrotter for the month-long honeymoon in the Northeast in July (we'll see how sweet we find each other after a month in our little home away from home!). Will be driving from Texas to RI in the summer heat.

After study, I am convinced our current TV is inadequate and will be worn out after this trip (as will I if I have to drive the 1900 miles in it each way).

Our current TV is a 97' 4runner. Had one white knuckle experience already (west texas trip) with rutted roads, heavy rain, hydroplaning, poor power up hills, and close calls with running out of fuel. I installed a brake controller prior to the trip but still felt that the trailer drove me sometimes rather than the other way around.

I don't have the financial resources to afford a new truck. In fact I don't really have the financial resources to buy any truck (weddings cost a boatload nowadays) but we need one, and we need one quick. Lucky we live in Texas.

A quick look at the local craigslist shows a variety of early 1990's to early 2000's F-150's, F-250's, and assorted other 1/2 to 3/4 ton trucks with the capacity I need to tow. ( I am looking for a V8 with at least a 5.0l engine, tow package if possible, and a towing capacity at or above 7000 lbs - does this sound reasonable?)

I like and trust Ford trucks. And the prices seems right for a used one from private sellers. $3500-4500 bucks is about all we have to spend for a TV right now.

Are there generations of these trucks that are better than others? Years or models to avoid? Are there any motors to avoid or get excited about? any that last longer than others and are more dependable with high miles?

Thanks in advance! We'll post some pics of the wedding (we are using the airstream as part of the ceremony)...

Steve

SteveH 06-01-2010 07:40 AM

Steve,

I think you are definately looking at the right size/catagory of tow vehicle. You really don't need a 3/4 ton truck to pull a vintage 21' Airstream.

That being said, my advice would be to shop the truck, and the owner. That means when looking for a used vehicle, it's all about condition, and the service it has received over it's life time. I've seen trucks with 300,000 miles on them that looked and drove like new, and I've seen trucks with 75,000 miles that looked like they'd been driven 500,000 miles.

So, I'd look for a truck that meets your requirements, that has been taken care of, serviced regularly, and treated well over it's life time.

Good luck with your search, and congradulations on your upcoming wedding.

ssfletch 06-01-2010 08:03 AM

thanks for the advice Steve, I am looking at a 93 F-150 this morning, we'll see how it looks in person. Dry weight of my little trailer is 3380- so I think if I can find a truck that will pull 5000# easily, i'll be ok.
But as you say, maintenance and care of vehicle are crucial.
Cheers,
Steve

kevin242 06-01-2010 08:11 AM

Some of the late 90's and early 2000's Fords with the 5.4 litre engine had a habit of blowing out sparkplugs, leading to stripped threads in the head. It's well documented in many automotive websites and technical bulletins. If you go this route, just have the truck well checked out by a reputable business before you buy it.

We pull a 25' Tradewind with a F150 (4.6 litre) and are OK with everything except mountains. Your 21' is even lighter and might tow well behind a 4.6 if you are not Rocky Mountain tourists.

Kevin

ssfletch 06-01-2010 08:14 AM

Yikes. Thanks for the heads up. I'll make sure to have a mechanic look over the truck before deciding.
Cheers

overlander64 06-01-2010 09:40 AM

best 10-20 year old truck for towing 21' globetrotter?
 
Greetings Steve!

I don't know if you have considered another alternative for your tow vehicle. Your Globetrotter is what I would consider a near perfect size to be towed by one of the 1990s full-size GM cars (Buick Roadmaster -- sedan or station wagon -- or -- Cadillac Brougham DeElegance) with the 5.7 liter LT1 power team. When equipped with the trailer towing equipment (as many of the Roadmaster wagons were) the trailer tow capacity was at least 5,000 pounds. These cars would have been produced between 1991 and 1996.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin

whitelight 06-01-2010 10:07 AM

Is a comfortable ride a consideration?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by overlander64 (Post 855433)
I don't know if you have considered another alternative for your tow vehicle.

A 1500 Suburban is a very comfortable rode trip care and great tow vehicle for your size trailer. Many were produced & sold in the 90's and most were not used like a "work" truck.
In mid '95, the 5.7 L engine was replaced by the Vortec 5.4L, which did have more power. We have friend that pulled their 22' Safari all over the place & their Suburban has 250K miles on it. Only problem that they have had is with the AC going out and the paint peeling (this was a problem in the mid 90's with a lot of vehicles as the EPA forced manufacturers to reformulate their paints)
We have owned both GM & Ford trucks & have found the ride smoother with the GM's as they have an independent front suspension.
You are definitely in the "right" location to buy a new truck! When we drove thru Texas a couple of years ago, it was a rarity to see a passenger car on the interstate!

hampstead38 06-01-2010 10:20 AM

You don't need a whole lot of truck to pull the 21' 'trotter. Our Titan does fine with a 26' Overlander and it's a fairly ordinary half-ton truck. The thing about the 4runner is the short wheelbase (105"). The wheelbase on the Titan crewcab is about 140". While you might not suspect it based on the numerical difference, the additional length makes towing much easier.

While I'm sure someone will insist that you need a 3/4 ton diesel, I think a well-made half-ton truck would do fine. Many manufacturers have a little and big V8 option in the half-ton trucks. It doesn't hurt to go with the bigger motor. Getting one with a towing package isn't a bad idea... though it also isn't bad to get one without. I won't buy a truck that's been used for pushing snow. I've just seen the way plowing eats up our fleet vehicles. What you want is a truck that's been well maintained. Some trucks used for towing are just fine... but every so often, you'll find a truck that's more abused than used. It's easy for a guy to overload a half-ton truck with a big boat or trailer... and then dump the truck when it starts showing signs of age.

Good luck.

ssfletch 06-01-2010 10:57 AM

Great tips and advice. Most of the vehicles I am looking at have 175-250K. Some claim to be used primarily by an elderly relative for trips to the doctor...a claim I am somewhat dubious of (my fiancee says I have trust issues ) but I don't have the gearhead knowledge to know what to look for in a gently used and well maintained older truck. I will inspect the oil, poke around and look for rust or other damage, but I think any serious contender will have to take a trip to a mechanic for an inspection. Does anyone have a source for a good checklist of obvious red flags when buying a TV? That sort of thing might help uncover issues that the seller may "forget to mention"...
Cheers,
Steve

ssfletch 06-01-2010 10:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by overlander64 (Post 855433)
Greetings Steve!

I don't know if you have considered another alternative for your tow vehicle. Your Globetrotter is what I would consider a near perfect size to be towed by one of the 1990s full-size GM cars (Buick Roadmaster -- sedan or station wagon -- or -- Cadillac Brougham DeElegance) with the 5.7 liter LT1 power team. When equipped with the trailer towing equipment (as many of the Roadmaster wagons were) the trailer tow capacity was at least 5,000 pounds. These cars would have been produced between 1991 and 1996.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin

Kevin, I am also a hack carpenter so I'll need a work truck bigger than my current little Ford Ranger...thanks for the tips though. I'd be driving in style with the Roadmaster!

ssfletch 06-01-2010 11:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whitelight (Post 855441)
A 1500 Suburban is a very comfortable rode trip care and great tow vehicle for your size trailer. Many were produced & sold in the 90's and most were not used like a "work" truck.
In mid '95, the 5.7 L engine was replaced by the Vortec 5.4L, which did have more power. We have friend that pulled their 22' Safari all over the place & their Suburban has 250K miles on it. Only problem that they have had is with the AC going out and the paint peeling (this was a problem in the mid 90's with a lot of vehicles as the EPA forced manufacturers to reformulate their paints)
We have owned both GM & Ford trucks & have found the ride smoother with the GM's as they have an independent front suspension.
You are definitely in the "right" location to buy a new truck! When we drove thru Texas a couple of years ago, it was a rarity to see a passenger car on the interstate!

Thanks for the input. I don't give a hoot about paint, but do like a nice ride. I'll check out your suggestions...

Road Ruler 06-01-2010 12:32 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by ssfletch (Post 855385)
Getting married in less than a month to a sweet woman and we bought a 21 foot 72' globetrotter for the month-long honeymoon in the Northeast in July

Our current TV is a 97' 4runner. Had one white knuckle experience already
Steve

Good day Steve.. We went down the same road last year. Got Married to a sweet woman:) and honeymooned in the bullet. We had a blast.

From reading reviews the 4 runners seem to be challenged when used as TV's. Anyway good luck with you upcoming adventure.

slowmover 06-01-2010 08:45 PM

I had a 2001 DODGE Ram 1/2T Quadcab/shortbed prior to current truck. Recommended. 5.9L (360) over 5.2L (318) as gas mileage is same, but edge on power to former. Fuel mileage might not be as good as competition, but better drivetrain as to durability. Single "issue" was well-known intake manifold gasket leak (factory & aftermarket kits). Stay with upscale interior (power & leather) as it made a great ride. As I recall, the truck weighed 5,218 with 200-lb driver and full fuel (otherwise empty) the day I bought it.

Cars for Sale: 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 Truck 2WD Quad Cab in San Antonio, TX 78251: Truck Details - 280396172 - AutoTrader.com

Search posts and pose questions of "fasstdak" on dodgetrucks.org. He is a Dodge tech AND lives local to you.

Set up the hitch rigging on these pages, though.

.

Tom Nugler 06-01-2010 09:10 PM

Iíve used Ford trucks for nearly 40 years and they have never let me down. My GT spent most of its time behind an E-150 conversion van.
IMHO an F-150 with a 3.73 rear will be a good all round truck for you. Add a cap with a ladder rack for work and all your bases are covered.
The 'Trotter is a great little trailer. You and the new bride will love it.

Good luck. See you on the road,
Tom

ssfletch 06-02-2010 07:03 AM

Road Ruler,
Awesome wedding day shot! Thanks for sharing. We'll have a great time no doubt.

ssfletch 06-02-2010 07:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by REDNAX (Post 855749)
I had a 2001 DODGE Ram 1/2T Quadcab/shortbed prior to current truck. Recommended. 5.9L (360) over 5.2L (318) as gas mileage is same, but edge on power to former. Fuel mileage might not be as good as competition, but better drivetrain as to durability. Single "issue" was well-known intake manifold gasket leak (factory & aftermarket kits). Stay with upscale interior (power & leather) as it made a great ride. As I recall, the truck weighed 5,218 with 200-lb driver and full fuel (otherwise empty) the day I bought it.

Cars for Sale: 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 Truck 2WD Quad Cab in San Antonio, TX 78251: Truck Details - 280396172 - AutoTrader.com

Search posts and pose questions of "fasstdak" on dodgetrucks.org. He is a Dodge tech AND lives local to you.

Set up the hitch rigging on these pages, though.

.

Rednax, great find! That truck looks sweet. I'll head over to the dodge forum and find fasstdak if we go Dodge.

ssfletch 06-02-2010 07:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Nugler (Post 855764)
Iíve used Ford trucks for nearly 40 years and they have never let me down. My GT spent most of its time behind an E-150 conversion van.
IMHO an F-150 with a 3.73 rear will be a good all round truck for you. Add a cap with a ladder rack for work and all your bases are covered.
The 'Trotter is a great little trailer. You and the new bride will love it.

Good luck. See you on the road,
Tom

Thanks Tom, appreciate the feedback. The 3.73 rear seems the best gearing ratio doesn't it? I know there are charts that describe which models have which rear end gearing but is there an easy way to tell when I am actually examining the vehicle in person? Is that info stamped or printed anywhere on the truck?

slowmover 06-02-2010 07:27 AM

Forgot to mention: upgrade headlights to SPORT configuration. Daniel Stern on his website; drive them off battery with relays (kits). Prices on used Dodge reflect buyers, not value. Sorta like believing TOYOTA is better than anyone, etc.

On any of these brands the A/C will need to be replaced (in Texas; South). See Arizona Air website for techs/civilians discussing repairs and parts and issues.

3.73 gears not necessary. 3.55 is fine. 3.31 is also workable. Spend the bucks on tires/brakes/shocks to have best. I believe live-axle TV's benefit from rear anti-roll bars (Helwig and oem); poly bushings front/rear. OEM tire size is usually best compromise on power/economy.

The 727 transmission (518) and LA-series engines are about bulletproof.

2Air makes good comments about buyer reluctance on "aero" Ford trucks of '96 and later, also.

Good luck. And, you were smart to ask about TV ahead of buying one. Source a used REESE "Dual Cam" while you are at it. Maybe Camper Clinic south of town has some old ones laying around . . . . ? Post wanted ads at RV parks (Pecan Grove, etc).

Since you mention capital and operating expense as important, see ECO MODDER for cheap ideas on techniques in driving and read AERODYNAMIC sub-forum on things other PU owners are trying.

Look forward to pics.

bobfowler 06-02-2010 08:07 AM

We pull a 72 Argosy 20 (essentially the same rig as your GT) with a 1999 K1500 Suburban. The Burb has a 5.7L engine and 3.73 gears and (knock wood) it's never had ANY problems towing the Argosy. Our hitch system is a simple 600lb round bar W/D setup. We haven't had any problems with sway (no sway controller), even with big trucks blasting by us on the highway. The 4WD on the Burb has come in handy a couple of times on soft sandy soil while boondocking in southern New Jersey.

ssfletch 06-04-2010 07:54 AM

Hey all,
I wanted to give a quick update on the truck search. Started a few days ago with a look at an old '93 F150 Ex-West Texas ranch truck. Big, boxy and powerful but after a quick drive I realized the work necessary to get this truck ready for a cross country trip was not for me.
The next two I looked at were huge Chevy 2500's - one used primarily as a towing vehicle for a landscape business- it was trashed inside and out, and the other as a plumber/tattoo artist work truck-ditto. Pictures on craigslist do not always tell the whole truth, and after a few hour-long drives that ended in disappointment and frustration, I was ready to take a few days off...until my lovely spouse-to-be showed me one more listing.
Beautiful truck...90 miles away.
Sigh,
Back in car for another drive in the rain.
Drove the 90 miles with my ever-patient partner, few in love with the truck after a thorough inspection and test drive, negotiated a price, went to the bank, pulled $5200.00, drove the new truck home.

We now own a 2001 F-150 supercab with a V-8 5.4 Triton and a towing package. High miles (167K) but clean inside and out, owned by a meticulous ex-fireman who took loving care of it. It has more than enough power and torque yet feels like driving a suv, not a school bus. Couldn't be happier.

Now I need to figure out how to set up a brake controller and we'll be set.
Thanks again for all the advice- I'll post pics of the trip once we are on the road!
Cheers
Steve in Austin.


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