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Old 12-31-2019, 04:53 PM   #1
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I donít have much to add and a lot of research yet to do, but have been tow vehicle shopping. My beloved Tahoe 7600 GVWR, 280,000 miles is currently having the engine rebuilt by the mechanic at my familyís shop after, after a head gasket blew. This has caused a debate at the shop on gas vs diesel and on GVWR worse than a partisan political debate. I know thereís a lot of good information here and I plan to sift through it. I am amazed at how different my dadís vs my brotherís opinion on this is with them both being car guys. My dad says something along the lines of ďIíve owned diesel and gas...just get you an F150, stop reading that darn internet, and stop worrying about GVWR, lol.

My shopping experience so far as someone with slightly above average income and credit score has been nightmarish to say the least, everything from getting the ďgood newsĒ of being able to get into a 2500 diesel for only $1,150 a month to being accused of fraud with addresses (I am a full timer with my only ďhomeĒ being the address of my familyís land/shop.

While I have a 25 FC right now, Iím considering TVs with at least 10,000 GVWR because Iíd like a 33 down the road.

Am currently borrowing an F150 with no extra towing package from the family shop and it does pull the 25FC nicely.

Truck prices are unbelievable, how does a 30 something middle income person pull this off?

My mind feels fried with the matter...
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Old 12-31-2019, 04:59 PM   #2
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Try being almost 2.5 times older, semi-retired, and with a decent credit rating. Iím planning to wear the wheels off what Iíve got for now.
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Old 12-31-2019, 05:15 PM   #3
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Amen to Rmkrum.

One more shocking consideration. RENT a 3/4 ton truck if you only tow 4 - 8 times a year. Expensive? Compared to a monthly payment north of $1100 per month? PLUS higher license/personal property taxes and (gag) insurance cost?

Another REAL WORLD OPTION: Buy a 10 year old diesel with 100K miles that has been well maintained but looks like shyte! Decal on the tailgate "PAID FOR is Beautuful!" Use it once a week and for towing. Keep what you have for.a daily driver
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Old 12-31-2019, 05:19 PM   #4
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Amen again. My Airstream and Tacoma are fully paid for and have been for years.

When someone asks what it costs, the answer is ďpaid for, just maintenance nowadaysĒ if Iím being polite. ďNYDBĒ if Iím not in the mood.
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Old 12-31-2019, 05:20 PM   #5
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Spartanguy, sorry to hear about your Tahoe engine issues. A quarter million + miles is pretty good service.

Based on your desire for a 10K pound TV, that puts you squarely in a 3/4 ton vehicle. You can save yourself about $10K by going gas and consider last year's model trucks (if you want to go new). In fact, I saw numbers like $12K discount plus rebates recently.

We ended up with a 2019 RAM 2500 and are very happy with how it tows our 27' Airstream, even in the Rocky Mountains. The 6.4 gas is a true "truck" engine, not a passenger car carry-over. You'll find the same in GM and Ford vehicles so you can "get by" with a gas truck.

The other option is to go gently used but they're holding their value quite well so possibly last year's new model might be worth shopping for.

You also mention how does someone in your situation afford a $1000 a month payment? It's the unfortunate reality of today's economy. I hope you can find an affordable solution.
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Old 12-31-2019, 06:06 PM   #6
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New TV Stress

I appreciate your allís input, I think itíll all work out, supportive family is my saving grace.

Has anyone else noticed that it is actually difficult to buy a car? I find this odd. Was recently watching a YouTube video where 3 young guys (late 20ís early 30ís) went into a dealership self financed and it took 4 dealerships, 2 states, and several days to actually get the truck. Makes me wonder if thereís a regulatory issue that has arisen, if salespersons are being compensated differently, some type of jealousy or judgement? Idk..maybe I need to purchase some fancy clothes before I walk back in one, ha ha. Truly happy with my comfy warn in paid for Tahoe but at 280,000 miles I donít know how many more miles I can realistically put on it.

This is an expensive hobby/way of life for some of us we have. Maybe I need to buy a house and go back to sleeping in my driveway again...houses make me feel lonely and stuck and I hate that feeling as a nomad.

Your allís words are comforting, thank ya
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Old 12-31-2019, 06:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Spartanguy View Post
I donít have much to add and a lot of research yet to do, but have been tow vehicle shopping. My beloved Tahoe 7600 GVWR, 280,000 miles is currently having the engine rebuilt by the mechanic at my familyís shop after, after a head gasket blew. This has caused a debate at the shop on gas vs diesel and on GVWR worse than a partisan political debate. I know thereís a lot of good information here and I plan to sift through it. I am amazed at how different my dadís vs my brotherís opinion on this is with them both being car guys. My dad says something along the lines of ďIíve owned diesel and gas...just get you an F150, stop reading that darn internet, and stop worrying about GVWR, lol.

My shopping experience so far as someone with slightly above average income and credit score has been nightmarish to say the least, everything from getting the ďgood newsĒ of being able to get into a 2500 diesel for only $1,150 a month to being accused of fraud with addresses (I am a full timer with my only ďhomeĒ being the address of my familyís land/shop.

While I have a 25 FC right now, Iím considering TVs with at least 10,000 GVWR because Iíd like a 33 down the road.

Am currently borrowing an F150 with no extra towing package from the family shop and it does pull the 25FC nicely.

Truck prices are unbelievable, how does a 30 something middle income person pull this off?

My mind feels fried with the matter...


Forgive me for sounding like your grandpa (Iím not old enough physically to qualify but my position on this is of that generation....)

Buy only what you can afford in cash.

Many people here will disagree with me - many love the power of ďleverageĒ through financing.

Leverage is what brought us the 2007 crash.

Iím not a fan.

Great advice above in terms of getting a used truck you could likely afford and dedicate it to towing.

A new diesel 3/4T from any brand is at least $60K. Assume you pay $1150/mo for 72 months - youíll have paid $83K and the truck will be worth $20K at that point.

Buy the $20K truck with cash today, over 7 years maybe you put in another $20K on repairs/maintenance - half the total cost of ownership.

If you canít afford it without credit, tell yourself you canít afford it. If you think thatís impossible - put your $1150/mo in to savings and in less than a year and a half youíll have your $20K. If you already have some savings, apply that and your time frame shrinks.

My father in law just sold his 2008 Chevy diesel 2500 (used for towing a 5th wheel) with 250K well-maintained miles for $15K and if I didnít already have mine Iíd have snagged it in a heartbeat!

Deals are out there. No need to drown yourself in debt to get them....

(Set grandpa mode to ďoffĒ )

Good luck!!
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Old 12-31-2019, 06:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
Forgive me for sounding like your grandpa (Iím not old enough physically to qualify but my position on this is of that generation....)

Buy only what you can afford in cash.

Many people here will disagree with me - many love the power of ďleverageĒ through financing.

Leverage is what brought us the 2007 crash.

Iím not a fan.

Great advice above in terms of getting a used truck you could likely afford and dedicate it to towing.

A new diesel 3/4T from any brand is at least $60K. Assume you pay $1150/mo for 72 months - youíll have paid $83K and the truck will be worth $20K at that point.

Buy the $20K truck with cash today, over 7 years maybe you put in another $20K on repairs/maintenance - half the total cost of ownership.

If you canít afford it without credit, tell yourself you canít afford it. If you think thatís impossible - put your $1150/mo in to savings and in less than a year and a half youíll have your $20K. If you already have some savings, apply that and your time frame shrinks.

My father in law just sold his 2008 Chevy diesel 2500 (used for towing a 5th wheel) with 250K well-maintained miles for $15K and if I didnít already have mine Iíd have snagged it in a heartbeat!

Deals are out there. No need to drown yourself in debt to get them....

(Set grandpa mode to ďoffĒ )

Good luck!!


I can appreciate this Dave Ramseyish approach and mostly live that way. My late grandfather would appreciate you giving me the reminder!
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Old 12-31-2019, 06:29 PM   #9
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I can appreciate this Dave Ramseyish approach and mostly live that way. My late grandfather would appreciate you giving me the reminder!


I remember just prior to the 2007 crash I was opening a local credit union account. The banker looked up my credit rating and immediately offered a six figure loan at a very low rate. He was totally surprised when I told him I had no need for more debt. We weathered the crash with no issues because of that.
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Old 12-31-2019, 06:35 PM   #10
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If you think trucks are expensive, wait till you see the MSRP on a new 33' Airstream!
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Old 12-31-2019, 06:41 PM   #11
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If you think trucks are expensive, wait till you see the MSRP on a new 33' Airstream!


Not enough blood pressure meds in my kit to handle that...thatís why we keep what we have paid for.
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Old 12-31-2019, 06:47 PM   #12
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Not enough blood pressure meds in my kit to handle that...thatís why we keep what we have paid for.


Lol, well, this is my home, as far as houses go 106-140,000 is a pretty affordable home, right?
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Old 12-31-2019, 08:05 PM   #13
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When you put it in that context, yes. I feel better now that I understand.
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Multiple Yaesu Ham Radios inside and many antennae sprouting from roof, ProPride hitch, Prodigy P2 controller.
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Old 12-31-2019, 08:25 PM   #14
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Somewhere you said something like, "at my family's shop". Boy, if that is true, your options are better than mine.


I have a 25FB and I tow it nicely with a half ton Tundra......but.......I pack and travel light so I am never overloaded. The Tundra tows this trailer, (about 6500 going down the road) nicely and I don't want for more.


If you are a full timer and if you are planning on going to a 33 at some time down the road, I would advise a 3/4 ton. If money wasn't an option, or if I had an inside connection in the repair shop, I would look at a diesel. Of course there are other issues you need to ponder. Will this be a daily driver for you? Do you want to drive around town in a diesel and try to park a big truck in front of the grocery store? Lots of things to think about.


Try to stay out of debt if you can. Good sage advice but sometimes impossible to follow. If you do have to take out a loan to get the TV then pay it off as soon as you can. Being debt free at 45 really helped us to plan for retirement. A little debt is natural, a lot is really damaging. Good Luck.
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Old 12-31-2019, 08:44 PM   #15
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Yes trucks are expensive. It’s almost sickening what one has to pay for them. We have a used dealership near Minoqua, WI that specializes in selling used trucks. 639 used trucks on the lot. They sell just about everything imaginable for brands. About the cheapest price they have is around 28,000 for a decent truck.

One of the reasons I’m thinking about getting something small and cheaper for a daily driver and try to save my truck basically for towing.
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Old 12-31-2019, 08:58 PM   #16
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As much as possible we use a pair of Toyota Prius cars to do most of the driving.

The Tacoma is used for the heavy local hauling, bad weather, and Airstream trailer hauling. The rest of the time itís parked in the garage on a battery maintainer.

This works because there are but the two of us, most of the time, and the dogs are small enough for small trips in a Prius locally. 60 MPG average for a Prius is nothing to grumble about compared to the Tacomaís 22-10 MPG unladen or towing the Airstream.
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:07 PM   #17
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Somewhere you said something like, "at my family's shop". Boy, if that is true, your options are better than mine.


I have a 25FB and I tow it nicely with a half ton Tundra......but.......I pack and travel light so I am never overloaded. The Tundra tows this trailer, (about 6500 going down the road) nicely and I don't want for more.


If you are a full timer and if you are planning on going to a 33 at some time down the road, I would advise a 3/4 ton. If money wasn't an option, or if I had an inside connection in the repair shop, I would look at a diesel. Of course there are other issues you need to ponder. Will this be a daily driver for you? Do you want to drive around town in a diesel and try to park a big truck in front of the grocery store? Lots of things to think about.


Try to stay out of debt if you can. Good sage advice but sometimes impossible to follow. If you do have to take out a loan to get the TV then pay it off as soon as you can. Being debt free at 45 really helped us to plan for retirement. A little debt is natural, a lot is really damaging. Good Luck.


I am very fortunate (although didnít realize it until later in life and was a bit embarrassed about it as a kid). But, I grew up in a seemingly ďpoor redneckĒ car obsessed family...stock car racing, old car restoration, wrecks and parts all over the place, busses cut up for use as car haulers, kids making fun of me for the way our property looked when the bus let out, all that. Now I realize having a family shop with a lift, rack, paint booth, commercial land, piles of parts, and garage people around that are good to me and can make anything happen is awesome. I guess the third generation has come, my younger brotherís into Teslas and automotive painting, he received training in Scottsdale and has returned home to run the shop with dadís recent retirement. Iím into campers, and my little cousin was named top Go-Kart racer of the year today. I am proud of the family tradition now. Iíd love to be able to park a 33 near the shop debt free when Iím a little more settled and live there without embarrassment while looking over the happenings of the shop and the piles of metal, ha ha. My incredible late illiterate grandfather left us one amazing gift in an interest in wheels and a place to execute it for sure. Iím largely limited to one car as I am middle income, student loans, campgrounds limit me on parking. I work 3 hours from ďhomeĒ now and try to get down once a month or so for laundry, etc, weíve got a washer and dryer and little apartment in the shop now and the garage is on itís third generation.

Iím an extreme minimalist and live very light, everything I own can fit into my 25 and my Tahoe with cabinets and room to spare. Iíll admit I do have some books and a few other things stored in the shop, but for the most part have succeeded in my 2-3 year journey with minimalism...it took way longer than I thought. Single no kids and expect to always remain that way, so that makes it easier.

I have brought a few along as far as my camper interest goes, not too long after I parked my 30ft SOB with two slides at the shop a few years back that people started peaking in and campers started showing up, ha ha. My dad bought him a camper and started taking his to races, heís on his second now, kind of a joy to see him enjoy camping, one of the shop guys got him a little SOB for the races too. The garage also got retrofitted for water and electric hookups in the past couple years and just today my dad mentioned getting sewer set up!

Grinding away to pay off student loans, oh the glory of being the first to go to college. If I had to do it again, I would have skipped college and just started flipping campers or something along those lines, but now I am here and ranting, ha. That felt like therapy, much needed, stressful since Thanksgiving when first the furnace failed then the TV...looking forward to 2020!

Happy New Year!
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Old 01-02-2020, 06:59 AM   #18
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Nice story Spartanguy! As far as TVs go, I really like the exhaust break, transmission programming and overall torque of large turbo diesels. I buy used, and there are some good deals once the mileage gets above 40k or so, after a couple of oil changes and the tires need replacing seems to scare some people away.

As far as borrowing goes, if you can afford the purchase and expect a steady future income, and you have a good reason not to wait, there is no problem getting a loan. Leverage of sound borrowers and lenders who don't write bad loans does not cause what has happened now three times in the last 30 years. The problem is politicians messing with banking and loaning laws to allow lenders to write real estate loans that people can't afford. Every time the economy gets going decent, political hacks trying to gain favor with low income voters try to make them more dependent on government by backing loans, requiring lenders to loan to them and generally allowing unscrupulous lenders to take advantage of people. the ponzy scheme works fine at first, but when investors get concerned about real estate, it all blows up. This is what happened in 2007. It had nothing to do with borrowing for durable goods including trucks.
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:44 PM   #19
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Lol, well, this is my home, as far as houses go 106-140,000 is a pretty affordable home, right?
With that point of view, you can't even get a condo up north here for that price.

Some days I wonder about my career, house and all that jazz vs. life on the road haha. (Hint my wife and I are fairly young for airstream owners.)

The grandpa post about buying with Cash is 100% great advice (even if we didn't).

Aside from my wifes latest vehicle (and its our TV), all my vehicles have been used, to save the hit of depreciation (current daily bought with under 60k miles for less than half of new), it definitely can open up a much larger selection of TV's at a much more reasonable price.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:36 AM   #20
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Spartanguy - An interesting thread. In most of my 'growing up life' my Dad ran a shop he worked in. He was involved (sporadically) with racing. As a kid some of my recreational time was handling tools, taking things apart, while my father explained how things worked. When I started driving - of course - I had to do all my own maintenance. I consider these things part of my great American tradition - LOL. No real surprise that I eventually became an engineer.

I just switched to a truck as a TV. All your remarks about truck pricing, and much of the advice given here really rings true. Camping is really an exercise in minimalism, although my wife and I refer to our AS adventures as "glamping" (for obvisious reasons). You are smart enough to be able to make good decisions.

Please post up your progress as you work through your decision-making.
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