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Old 09-03-2016, 11:09 AM   #21
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Station wagons and fullsized sedans from the 60s and 70s shared the same frames, engines, transmissions, and rear ends as their pickup cousins.

Current half tons are offen up to the task; however, you need to much more dialed in on your pick of vehicle set up. Especially the transmissions, and torque converters particularly, as many are not ready for the extra heat generated to maintain RPM needed to stay in the power curve.

Wieght is both your friend and enemy. It will need more friction to stop, and complicates the center of gravity for stability; however, it is less likely to get shoved around. A nice, light, low, well handling sports car travels a downhill corner like its on rails, but can it do the same with a trailer in tow that weighs twice as much as it?

The advice about mechanical ability is very fitting for this budget category. Buy what you can maintain and repair. My first TV was built by me and was way south of $15k.

Whatever you choose, proper weight distribution and sway contoll hitch are paramount. Also, don't go cheap on your car seats. The Bretix Frontier is great seat and keeps the kids in a 5 point for much longer. They cost an arm and a leg, but in the long run you will buy fewer seats and your kids will be safer.

Speed is a primary culprit of wrecks while towing, but hey if you go with the minivan advice you won't have that problem. If you go the diesel route, just remember to slow down.

The longer your wheel base the better you will tow. Many of the SUVs are quite possibly the worst TV because they have short wheel bases and high center of gravity. Sorry Jeep GC owners, I have a 2004 myself, it has to the worst option possible. As others suggested, an Excursion or a Burb work well because of the longer wheel base. If you choose a pickup and are worried about rollover, the a two wheel drive is an option to have lower center of gravity. Put a limited slip or driver controlled locker to have at least a 2 wheel wonder.

Manufacture's recommendations are sometimes too conservative for GVWR but far too liberal with "towing capacity;" however, you will be better off staying within them.

I don't know it all. I have experience, but not enough since I am young. So take what I say with the all important skill of critical thinking. In fact the best thing I have taken away from these threads this summer is to just slow down. All of the TV we use have the ability to wreck and all of us could then be on the recoeving end of "I told you so." Therefore, I have just slowed down, enjoyed the ride, and have worried less about having my potential wreck analysed on the forum like this summer's thread on the unfortunate Jeep in Quebec.

The Appalacians are hills. If you plan to only fulltime it East of the Rockies, then your choice in vehicles is much larger. If you plan to come this way, you have a lot more considerations. Anyone who disagrees with me is welcome to come visit next summer and I will lead the caravan. I will even pick the easiest routes and drive slow for the underpowered and marginal tow vehicles. We can compare knuckles each night around a fire.

Leaving no dragon to sleep in this post, when moving wieght diesel is better than gas. A gas rig will often do the job, but you are going to visit a lot of fuel stops and you better be ready to change the oil every 5,000 miles like clockwork, and also hope the previous owner did the same. Rods and rings wear out easier on a gas than a diesel; it is a non argument because the fuel itself has less lubricity. Speaking of librocation, check the Trans fluid and the differentials on your potential vehicle. Did the previous owner maintain it for keeps or just to use it up and trade it in?

Sorry for being curt. I should be off the grid camping, but my wife got called to cover a day shift, and she already had to work the holiday. I don't belong on the forum this weekend.
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Old 09-03-2016, 12:29 PM   #22
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The new Grand Cherokee is far superior to your 2004. "Sorry" lol. Has full independent suspension etc etc. and the Overland is top luxury when not towing as well. Mine is awesome. I'm replacing our second car with an F150 next year so I'll do a comparison then.

On the fire dept I saw a lot more big pickup wrecks than anything else, possibly due to ego but plenty of those drivers were old enough to know better. When it snows those suckers really start piling up in the tow yard.
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Old 09-03-2016, 12:58 PM   #23
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The following is just my opinion based on towing a 6300# Safari 25 for two years and around 9000 miles with a 2006 F150. After it refused to climb an 8% grade in the Appalachians I traded up to a 3/4T turbo-diesel truck.

Something no one has mentioned that I saw in reading this thread is payload. An older (2006 and earlier) half ton pickup can be rated to tow 8000# but will likely be deficient in the payload department. My 2006 F150 with the 5.4 V8, 4-speed transmission, and a 3.73 rear end was rated to tow 8600#, but the payload (passengers and cargo) was only 1240#. Subtract off the tongue weight of my Safari 25 (760#) and I only had 480# left for me, DW, dogs and anything else I needed to carry. The payload (described as capacity for passengers and cargo) can be found on the sticker in the driver's door frame. Each vehicle is different due to options and accessories. If anything (a bed cap, for example) has been added since assembly at the factory the weight of that has to be subtracted from the label value.

So you want to tow a 8000# trailer. Recommended tongue weight for stability is 10-15% of trailer loaded weight. Lets use 12.5% -- 1000#. Subtract that from the payload capacity of your prospective vehicle. In my case that only leaves 240#, an obvious fail. So assuming two adults at 150# each, two children in car seats - another 40# each, and some luggage and camping gear - another 200#, that comes out to close to 1600# of capacity needed.

So, for me anyway, a minimum tow vehicle would have more than 1600# of payload and somewhere around 8500# of towing capacity to give some margin over the 7000# that you would actually be towing remembering that the truck is carrying, not towing, the 1000# of tongue weight.

Al
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:07 PM   #24
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Just because it has Inferior Full Suspension? J/k we look forward to getting a new Overlander in a couple of years; a EcoDiesel option being our first choice. Nevertheless, it won't be towing our '71 Overlander.

Everything can wreck in snow. I prefer my old truck in the snow, but we take the Jeep to the ski resorts just because it is easier to park; both have snow tires. Growing up in Eastern Oregon, I saw a lot of the same trucks driving in the snow year after year and staying out of wrecks. I remember a few getting wrecked too though, usually because of a black cow on the highway or the driver drinking though. I am surprised they pile them up so readily in snowy and flat Michigan. Perhaps speed is the top contributing factor? It is a good thing there aren't any mountain passes and grades to deal with because you would be even busier.

Thanks Al for bringing one more important conciderarion to the table!
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Old 09-03-2016, 03:19 PM   #25
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I bought my 2002 Chevy Silverado Duramax for $10k with 150k miles 1.5 years ago. Through previous experience I wasn't a fan of Chevy (replaced 2 engines). However, I absolutely love my Duramax. I only recently purchased our first ever travel trailer so I cannot speak from experience, but just feeling the power between my gas trucks vs my Duramax you can tell it just wants to pull something with all that power.

Anyways,if you want a diesel truck, there out there, just takes some looking. I was looking at Ram trucks as I have 2 girls both in car seats too, but decided against it due to rear an size. My brother in law has a 2010 Ram, love it, but my 3yr old has no room whatsoever for her legs in her car seat behind any if the front row seats, she hates it. YMMV with that.

Good luck on your purchase!
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Old 09-03-2016, 03:48 PM   #26
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You can buy a decent Excursion with the v10 for 5-7 k. Then have enough to fix modernize and have a budget for fuel for a year. The v10 is everything a diesel is but chesper to maintain.
well maintained a v10 excursion can easily see 350000 miles.
We have towed our 34' Airstream heavy for nearly 200000 happy cheap miles.
If they were still produced I would buy another!
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Old 09-03-2016, 05:45 PM   #27
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With your budget, I'd look for a 1999-2003 Ford F-250/350 crew cab with the 7.3 liter powerstroke, and moderate (150,000ish) miles. I'd also look for one with a complete maintenance record. I sold mine earlier this year, and still miss it.
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Old 09-03-2016, 09:02 PM   #28
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Looking for a TV under $15k that hauls 8k+

If you are not in need of 4WD you should be able to find a good 1/2 ton truck. I bought an '08 Tundra 5.7 Ltr V8 with tow package for $18K four years ago. It has been a great truck. Have towed close to 25K miles with no problems. Been in every state west of the Nebraska border and over most if not all of the mountain passes traversing the continental divide.
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Old 09-03-2016, 09:26 PM   #29
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A 26 foot Argosy in 1973 had a GVWR of 6200lb. and a dry weight of 3850lb without options. The OP asked to pull 8k.
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Old 09-04-2016, 10:36 AM   #30
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Looking for a TV under $15k that hauls 8k+

My '08 Tundra is rated for 10,800 lbs tow capacity. It has a Class V receiver hitch.
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Old 09-05-2016, 04:55 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Need more info. Are you talking 8,000 lb (loaded) Airstream, or box trailer?What gear (weight) do you plan to carry in the tow vehicle? Are you familiar with towing trailers, and the operation of trailering equipment such as weight distribution/sway control hitches and brake controllers? Can you do repairs on a tow vehicle yourself? Do you plan to travel most of the time or now and then? And for braking and climbing ability, do you plan to travel in high altitudes?

$15,000 is a pretty tight budget for a reliable, highly capable tow vehicle that will be comfortable to ride in and drive every day.

Your best chance is probably a base model, late model V8 half-ton pickup and a very good hitch and hitch setup. There will be limits in weight carrying ability in the truck, and braking and climbing steep grades ought to be slow for economy and safety. Look at axle (and tire) ratings and the weight of the truck to help determine if it can carry your trailer tongue weight, passengers and gear. Plan to use a capable weight distribution hitch to distribute the load evenly on the truck's axles, and some to the trailer axles.

When you choose a travel trailer, check the load carrying capacity so you can carry most of your gear in the trailer rather than in your tow vehicle. Know that Airstreams have towing advantages. Independent suspension allows better handling and low center of gravity, this low profile and it's streamlined design has less wind resistance going ahead, and less movement from strong, gusting side winds and passing semi trucks. Good travel trailer and hitch performance improves the towing performance of your tow vehicle greatly.
So here's our thing. We are planning on FULL-TIMING for 2 years. We are looking to buy a 30-34' airstream, but haven't yet. Our current vehicles are on their last leg, so a TV is priority.
Yes, we would be going up mountains. My sister lives in Vail, CO and we will be visiting her. We also plan to travel from Kansas (where we currently live) up to Washington. Travel wise, we'd like to stay a couple months in each location.
Both our parents are retired, and have asked to come with us for several trips. Which makes me interested in the Van/SUV options. Though we are open to a truck for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Countryboy59 View Post
Last time I was looking for a good truck I bought a '96 Suburban diesel and had it delivered from Texas. Cost me less than $4k and I put $2k in it to make it rock solid dependable. Might be a little old for some people but I have some mechanic skills and from Texas there was no rust so bolts were easy to wrench on! The 6.5 is a Detroit Diesel product and pulled very well. I even replaced the glow plugs myself and they came out easily. It was on a 1 ton chassis and would pull anything.

You could go a bit newer and still be under $15k. Unless you are really handy I would go with a big block gas motor though. I recently saw a '95 Dodge Cummins, brought up from Texas, for $20k. It had 300k miles and I'm guessing could go another 200k. (Inwould consider that before a gasser!)

I would not buy a budget truck in the rust belt at any price. The mid-2000s trucks command a really high price, especially 4x4s, and can hide some serious rust issues. I've even seen frame failures on some of the trucks I've looked at.

As far as the safety question, weight is your friend. Just remember there's always something bigger on the road!
We are not mechanically handy people. I learned to change the breaks on my car this year, but that's about it. Yes, rust scared me. A lot of trucks we've looked at here (KS) have rust issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
1973Argosy, that makes another point. Not everyone is towing over the Rockies, or wants to. O.P. hasn't indicated their plan.

A fully independent suspension V8 Expedition is an excellent tow vehicle for many Airstreamers.
I will be towing to Vail CO. Lots of mountains in our future!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thiss View Post
Station wagons and fullsized sedans from the 60s and 70s shared the same frames, engines, transmissions, and rear ends as their pickup cousins.

Current half tons are offen up to the task; however, you need to much more dialed in on your pick of vehicle set up. Especially the transmissions, and torque converters particularly, as many are not ready for the extra heat generated to maintain RPM needed to stay in the power curve.

Wieght is both your friend and enemy. It will need more friction to stop, and complicates the center of gravity for stability; however, it is less likely to get shoved around. A nice, light, low, well handling sports car travels a downhill corner like its on rails, but can it do the same with a trailer in tow that weighs twice as much as it?

The advice about mechanical ability is very fitting for this budget category. Buy what you can maintain and repair. My first TV was built by me and was way south of $15k.

Whatever you choose, proper weight distribution and sway contoll hitch are paramount. Also, don't go cheap on your car seats. The Bretix Frontier is great seat and keeps the kids in a 5 point for much longer. They cost an arm and a leg, but in the long run you will buy fewer seats and your kids will be safer.

Speed is a primary culprit of wrecks while towing, but hey if you go with the minivan advice you won't have that problem. If you go the diesel route, just remember to slow down.

The longer your wheel base the better you will tow. Many of the SUVs are quite possibly the worst TV because they have short wheel bases and high center of gravity. Sorry Jeep GC owners, I have a 2004 myself, it has to the worst option possible. As others suggested, an Excursion or a Burb work well because of the longer wheel base. If you choose a pickup and are worried about rollover, the a two wheel drive is an option to have lower center of gravity. Put a limited slip or driver controlled locker to have at least a 2 wheel wonder.

Manufacture's recommendations are sometimes too conservative for GVWR but far too liberal with "towing capacity;" however, you will be better off staying within them.

I don't know it all. I have experience, but not enough since I am young. So take what I say with the all important skill of critical thinking. In fact the best thing I have taken away from these threads this summer is to just slow down. All of the TV we use have the ability to wreck and all of us could then be on the recoeving end of "I told you so." Therefore, I have just slowed down, enjoyed the ride, and have worried less about having my potential wreck analysed on the forum like this summer's thread on the unfortunate Jeep in Quebec.

The Appalacians are hills. If you plan to only fulltime it East of the Rockies, then your choice in vehicles is much larger. If you plan to come this way, you have a lot more considerations. Anyone who disagrees with me is welcome to come visit next summer and I will lead the caravan. I will even pick the easiest routes and drive slow for the underpowered and marginal tow vehicles. We can compare knuckles each night around a fire.

Leaving no dragon to sleep in this post, when moving wieght diesel is better than gas. A gas rig will often do the job, but you are going to visit a lot of fuel stops and you better be ready to change the oil every 5,000 miles like clockwork, and also hope the previous owner did the same. Rods and rings wear out easier on a gas than a diesel; it is a non argument because the fuel itself has less lubricity. Speaking of librocation, check the Trans fluid and the differentials on your potential vehicle. Did the previous owner maintain it for keeps or just to use it up and trade it in?

Sorry for being curt. I should be off the grid camping, but my wife got called to cover a day shift, and she already had to work the holiday. I don't belong on the forum this weekend.
Thanks for being honest and getting a carseat recommendation! Our kids are 1 & 4 respectively. I am not handy, though I learned how to change my car breaks, my SO is even LESS handy. We would have to pay someone to fix our vehicles or do a LOT of research to learn how (hello youtube!) I like the VAN/SUV options for the extra seating. The grandparents have expressed intrest in traveling with us. We don't have a trailer yet, but looking for a 30-34' airstream. TV first though!


EDIT: Also, this is COMPLETLY new territory for us. We are learning slowly.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:46 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
40 years ago the 31 foot Airstreams weighed 4400 pounds, and rarely were towed over 50-55mph. Now, a 30 foot Airstream can approach 10,000 pounds when loaded, and if you tow under 60-65, you'll probably be run down from behind.
Excellent points that nobody seems to ever mention.
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Old 09-05-2016, 06:49 PM   #33
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Smile TV choices

As far as I am concerned there is no better choice than the Ford Excursion, ltd. It is made with all your needs standard.Mine is a year 2000 with 96k miles. And I love this vehicle as much as my Airstreams.
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:43 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
40 years ago the 31 foot Airstreams weighed 4400 pounds, and rarely were towed over 50-55mph. Now, a 30 foot Airstream can approach 10,000 pounds when loaded, and if you tow under 60-65, you'll probably be run down from behind.
Another fact to consider is that 40 years ago cars were very under powered, had terrible brakes (no disks), and were far heavier than today's vehicles. Not to mention that they had extremely poor suspension and steering. Power to weight ratio is much higher today. With today's vehicles you can pull a lot more than you used to be able and do it more safely.
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