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Old 03-03-2004, 01:08 PM   #1
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Nissan Titan

Howdy All,

Newbie here looking for wisdom...

Been out shopping for a tow vehicle. We intend to use it to tow a 28'CCD (7300# max weight).

Really like the Nissan Titan -- it is rated to pull 9500# but a closer perusal of the specs shows the Titan payload at 1565#. Put 900# (from the CCD spec sheet) on the hitch and I am left with 665#. Put myself and spouse in the seats and I am left with 365# for cargo.

So, am I cutting it too tight? #365 seems like a trifle but I suspect most of what we will carry will be in the trailer...

Guidance most appreciated.

Plan "B" would be a Ford F-250 with the V-10. Will more than carry all I can imagine and then some but is a pretty vanilla vehicle.

Thanks

Mike
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Old 03-03-2004, 01:32 PM   #2
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I think your logic is correct... but remember the weight distributing hitch will spread the 900# between the front axle, rear axle, and trailer axles - roughly 1/3 to each. So you will have about 300# more carry capacity in the Titan than you were thinking.

I tow a 2003 25' Safari (GVRW of 6300) with a 2002 Ford Explorer V8 (tow rated at 7000). The combination is usable, but marginal. I have the Explorer because it's my company car... If I were buying I'd get a 3/4 ton pickup or perhaps 2500 Suburban.

The new Ford F150 sure is nice... perhaps a properly configured one would meet your needs- max towing 9,200# and GCWR of 15,000# for crew cab, with 4WD, the 5.4 engine, and 3.73 axle.
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Old 03-03-2004, 01:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by dmac
I think your logic is correct... but remember the weight distributing hitch will spread the 900# between the front axle, rear axle, and trailer axles - roughly 1/3 to each.
Just to narrow this down closer, I thought a weight distribution hitch should distribute half the weight to the tow vehicle and the other half to the trailer. If both the trailer and tow vehicle are level then you should see each axle of both vehicles pick up 25% of the hitch weight (assuming the trailer is a tandem axle). If its a single axle trailer, then 50% of the hitch weight should be on that axle.

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Old 03-03-2004, 02:51 PM   #4
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I tow a 26' Overlander with the F250 4x4 V10. I learned over time that the way we travel, which it to take everything we own and then some, requires more truck than a 1/2 ton. I drive the 250 everyday to work - 52 miles one way plus another 50-60 during the day and it has proven to be a comfortable everyday driver and the fuel economy of the V10 is not any worse than some small block trucks I've had, as a matter of fact it gets better fuel economy than our Land Rover Discovery - about 2mpg better. Going the 3/4 ton route gives extra room in the suspension and brakes department, which I feel we need. We tow the A/S about 10,000 miles per year and it's a greater pleasure to drive a vehicle that is not being worked close to it's rated limits.
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Old 03-03-2004, 02:51 PM   #5
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That is what I thought Jack, about the weight distribution hitch. I would do some more checking on the 9500 lb I think you will find that is correct. I talked to someone who just got one and he likes it. I like the bed tool box option. Marvin
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Old 03-03-2004, 02:57 PM   #6
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timely thread...

I JUST looked at a Titan yesterday for the first time just to see what they were really like. They're pretty impressive all-in-all. It's going to take a little real-world trial on the street to see how it stacks up as a tow vehicle long-term.

The stats are impressive; the truck has a bunch of really clever features, and the V8 and 5spd auto sound like a nice combo.

I'm just not sure that a half-ton is up to doing what most of us ask of it pulling anything longer than a Safari 25.

Unless you're the sort who wants to be on the "bleeding edge" of technology, and is willing to gamble with $30k and hope that it's enough truck, I'd opt for the 3/4 ton of your choice, properly equipped. Sometimes tried-and-true really is better.

My opinion, FWIW!

Roger
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Old 03-03-2004, 04:52 PM   #7
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Re: timely thread...

Quote:
Originally posted by 85MH325
I'm just not sure that a half-ton is up to doing what most of us ask of it pulling anything longer than a Safari 25.
I'd opt for the 3/4 ton of your choice, properly equipped. Sometimes tried-and-true really is better.

My opinion, FWIW!

Roger
I pulled my '01 27' Safari with a half ton Chevy Express Van. 5.7 liter 3.73 rear end. The Safari came in at about 6,000 lbs. without water. I felt comfortable with that tow combo.

I replaced the van with a GMC Savana van 6.0 liter 4.10 rear end. Towing is night and day different. First the available power is very noticable, but the unexpected gain was handling. Hitting bumps in the road, general road control, the heavier frame and springs on the GMC made me understand how much better towing can be.

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Old 03-03-2004, 04:57 PM   #8
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The Newbie is back and he is confused....

The (very much appreciated) replies here range from a very qualified "might" to "get a big honking 3/4 ton truck".

I have also been reading lots of other posts here, at airstream.com and rv.net etc.

Seems like those with big trucks wouldn't dream of towing with anything less.

But...

There are quite a few posts from people who regularly tow with roughly these numbers and yet are doing so with a half ton (most with less alleged tow rating).

So, is it a matter of -- the big truck is nice because you can cruise all day at 70 and motor right up to the Eisenhower Tunnel? Or is it "I am going to die if I try to pull 7300# with a half ton?

And, I will add, I am very biased. I drove the F250, The 2500HD and the Titan last weekend and the Titan just outshone the domestics in every category other than load capacity.

As noted, it is a $30K crap shoot so I am more than willing to be talked out of the Titan

Mike
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Old 03-03-2004, 05:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by n2916s

There are quite a few posts from people who regularly tow with roughly these numbers and yet are doing so with a half ton (most with less alleged tow rating).

So, is it a matter of -- the big truck is nice because you can cruise all day at 70 and motor right up to the Eisenhower Tunnel? Or is it "I am going to die if I try to pull 7300# with a half ton?
Mike
Mike I towed for some time with my half ton and was pleased with its performance. It comes down to my feeling that its much more comfortable with the 3/4 ton. I don't tow at 70 so its not a matter of going faster or climbing bigger mountains. I just know that when I pull on that Interstate I can get up to speed faster, and when I hit that hill I will stay closer to the speed that other traffic is at, and when I hit that dip in the highway, my suspension won't be pushed to its limits when that trailer noses down. I've got bigger brakes, bigger tires, a heavier duty transmission etc. So for me its quality of life. I get to my destination less fatigued because the tow vehicle is handling better and with the knowledge that I'm not pushing my tow vehicle to its limits.

Jack
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Old 03-03-2004, 06:09 PM   #10
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Jack,

That was simply the most elegant, easy to understand reply I've gotten. I am now convinced that I need to go forth and seek out an F250.

Sometimes, plain vanilla is not so bad.....


Thank you very much,

Mike
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Old 03-03-2004, 06:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by n2916s
Jack,

That was simply the most elegant, easy to understand reply I've gotten. I am now convinced that I need to go forth and seek out an F250.

Sometimes, plain vanilla is not so bad.....


Thank you very much,

Mike
Mike... I agree wholeheartedly with Jack's elegant response. Choosing a tow vehicle requires lots of thought as each of us truly have different needs. I chose the Excursion because I didn't want a pickup or van, but have an (normally loaded) 8500lb trailer to pull. I wanted Lincoln/Cadillac-like comfort, a vehicle I can park INSIDE my garage, and adequate power and wheelbase to pull my 34'. It is arguably at the top end of it's capacity (and wheelbase) with the 34', but it IS still within capacity (with judicious loading) and the Ex performs well for me.

RoadKingMoe and Porky both have the full-size crew-cab trucks and carry gensets and other stuff in the bed that I don't carry. They get the benefit of an extra twenty or so inches in wheelbase as well.

There are lots of folks who tow other large trailers with smaller vehicles and are generally happy with them... until they tow with a full-size V8/V10/diesel. Their situations though, are usually that they only have room for two vehicles at home; that their tow vehicle is also a daily driver; they bought the tow vehicle, and then decided to buy a trailer and can't afford to trade yet; or that they have some other issue that would preclude them from having a full-size truck. They get by... and do OK.

It's my opinion though, that if you're going to buy an RV and tow vehicle, it makes sense to figure out what you want in your trailer, and then buy your tow vehicle and over-spec it twenty to twenty-five percent for that margin of safety. The end result is that you won't tax your tow vehicle nearly as hard and it will give you better service over it's service life with fewer failures. A great side benefit is that you have extra power and capacity when you need it in a pinch, and typically it gives you a more comfortable towing experience.

Roger
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Old 03-03-2004, 07:21 PM   #12
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I guess I am with the group that says you don't have to have the biggest, badest, beefest truck to pull anything 25' or longer. Towing my 25' Safari was a dream with my 1/2 ton Denali. No one can tell me it wasn't a good set up and I had over 20,000 trip miles on it. No problems whatsoever- power, control, ease.

I don't want a huge truck because first of all, it is also my everyday commute truck, and that huge engine isn't going to feel good at the pump ($2.23 a gallon here, now). Those massive trucks are not fun to drive in the city traffic, either. I have quadrasteer which allows me to be as nimble as a Honda. I will never want a truck without it again and the biggies don't have it.

I am towing my 30' Classic with my 1/2 ton Sierra Denali. I know people are shuddering at that thought. But I am at 91% of GVCWR fully loaded (CAT scale), with a huge Vortec 6000 engine (325hp), HD 4 wheel disk brakes, 4 speed HD tranny with cooler & gauge, 17 inch wheels, and a 143.5 wheelbase. I tested the rig on a major pass and on a small, windy two lane highway. Loved it. I know many are skeptical, but not me. The real test comes with this summer's 3000 mile trip through Pacific NW.

With registration and insurance being downright ridiculous here, having two vehicles is not going to work for me. So I say it is a balancing act- getting a tow vehicle that works AND having an everyday truck that works with the commute.
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Old 03-03-2004, 08:00 PM   #13
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I agree with Big Dee.

We tow with a GMC 1/2 ton and haven't had any problems, handles well, stops well, 5.3 engine has enough power. The way I see it is if you are retired, have lots of money, or like the clattering noise a diesel makes you should buy a 3/4HD or one ton dually. Just my thoughts. Marvin
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Old 03-03-2004, 08:39 PM   #14
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I'm one of those who drove across country with a half-ton 4X4 to pick up my pride and joy purchased off ebay. The 1500 mile trip back with a dry 1977 31' Excella 500 had me dead tired. Of course, covering 3000 miles in 3 days by myself did not help much.

Every time an 18 wheeler drove by I felt the truck being sucked in and then pushed back out toward the side of the road even with a Reese equalizer 1,200 lb. unit. My hands and arms were so tired and I was on needles and pins. This trailer weighs 5,880 lbs. dry before options so its weight was a little more than that at the time. I attribute the sloppiness to D rated tires and springs not up to the job.

The 3.42 rear end ratio did not help matters much on steep hills with the manual 5 speed. Also, the '87 through '94 throttle body units with the 350 V8 where not known for great performance. The Vortec heads in '95 took care of some of that.

The point I am trying to make is that my vehicle was not set up to tow the trailer comfortably, even unloaded. My switch to a '01 2500hd extended cab increased the wheelbase and weight of the vehicle which helped handling. The E rated tires and heavier springs helped with the mushiness and wandering I was experiencing. Obviously the change to a 3.73 rear end and the 8.1 litre V8 did wonders for pulling power.

When I arrive at my destination now, I feel pretty good because all I generally have to worry about are the idiots doing things like dropping couches in the middle of the road or whipping in front of me like it was the Indy 500. I'm not telling you to give up on the Titan. I have looked at them and have heard glowing reports on them. I'd compare the size brakes between it and a 3/4 ton and also look at the wheelbase. As noted above, increase in wheelbase sure can help. It all gets down to how much margin of safety and comfort you want.
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Old 03-03-2004, 08:56 PM   #15
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Mike,

I will have to echo Jack and Rodger. I towed my 25' with a 1999 Suburban 1500, 350 vortec with tow package. I recently bought 1999 Suburban K2500, 454 vortec, 3:73 gears with tow package.

Handling, response and ride... towing or empty is far superior.


My three cents and good luck.
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Old 03-03-2004, 09:04 PM   #16
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Hello Mike -- Your searching is certainly worthy of a lot of attention. I don't know of anybody else in these forums with a Titan. I got mine in mid-December and towed my empty sub-4000# Argosy from Delaware through WVa, up through Ohio, then across IL, IN & WI back home. US-50 in northeast WVa has got to be the biggest test any trailer/tow combination could face. Getting the transmission temp gauge with the tow package came in handy and gave me much-appreciated warnings several times! I got 9.5 mpg towing which is acceptable to me. I've heard V-10s are gas hogs...

All the reviews on the Titan engine state that it's the only match for the Hemi. I have to be a light touch on the accelerator to avoid squeeking the tires when I take off from a stop (the rest of the country doesn't stop any more, so why am I?). Pulling my empty approx 4000# trailer really toned down that action!

I don't think the 2004 F-150 or Titan 9000+ tow capacities are practical in the real world. You are on the money to be looking at the tow vehicle's GVWR and payload. To the trailer's hitch weight you should add the full quantity of LP, the weight of your weight distribution/anti-sway gear, and options located at the very front of the trailer (spare tire? rockguard for the window & stoneguard panels for the lower quarters?).

I have 3-4 months of work before I can get my trailer to a CAT scale and give you a better idea of how a Reese Dual Cam redistributes the load in this case. Until then I've had to be real honest with dead weight at the receiver and my truck's GVWR. By counting pounds only, I will be at GVWR with my wife, a full gas tank, a topper, 2 bikes and our 2 dogs. I'll look for weight distribution to give me enough capacity for my canoe, a trailer spare tire in the truck box, and a Honda generator...

Though discontinued a couple years back, the GM/Chev 1500 HD trucks have GVWRs closer to a 3/4 ton. Message joshua32064 for more details on them if you wish. He tows a 28' CCD and I wouldn't do it with anything less. I agree with Roger above -- if you do the math on new 25 footers they'll exceed a normal half-tonner's GVWR with anything like practical trailer & tow vehicle onboard weights. I believe it is RoadKingMoe who has pointed out that 3/4 ton GVWRs are easy to exceed if you get too ambitious.

Let me dip into my index for these forums -- I'll reply back with threads on what a CAT scale is all about. Best wishes on your search -- trailer first though -- I agree on that. Reply back or message me if you want more info on the Titan (I wanted to avoid the off road package yet also wanted side air bags -- which required getting the Nav package. What a find! More stories for later...)
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Old 03-03-2004, 09:06 PM   #17
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" if you are retired, have lots of money, or like the clattering noise a diesel makes you should buy a 3/4HD or one ton dually."

They don't make loud diesels anymore. The sound is different than a V10 or 8.0 liter, but little if any louder.

The questioner asked about a $30,000 plus Titan. I just took delivery of a well optioned four-door Chevrolet diesel automatic 4X4 K2500 for a cash price of $33,800. Ford and Dodge had offerings for less. You've got to have plenty of money or credit either way.

A dually is overkill for all but the 34' slideout. And not necessary even for that.

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Old 03-03-2004, 09:40 PM   #18
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The 1500hd was only available in a crewcab and had a GVWR of 8600 lbs which is essentially the light weight 2500. The 2500hd was available in shortbed, longbed, extended cab and crewcab and the GVWR was 9200 lbs. It basically was a single rear wheel 3500 one ton. This is part of the reason I bought the 2500hd instead of the 2500. Other factors include the fact that the 11.5 inch ring gear in the 14 bolt rear differential is as strong as they come and was only available with the Allison auto transmission/8.1/Duramax diesel combination which is exactly what comes in the 3500. I can assure you that the Allison transmission is stronger than the 4L80 4 speed auto transmission that is behind the 6 litre engine. I could have lived with that combination if my trailer was a little lighter.
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Old 03-03-2004, 10:39 PM   #19
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Roger (85MH325) once said,
Quote:
Choosing your Airstream to suit your 'wants', not your tow vehicle makes a lot of sense. Although you'll take a depreciation hit on your tow vehicle, it won't be nearly as much as you'll take on trading a two-year old Airstream to buy another that suits you better.
(See: Towing a 25' Airstream with a Yukon?)

There are many opinions pointing generally the same direction if you do a forum search on CAT scale. The following thread regards a tow vehicle & trailer that may not be relevant to you, but try to understand the way to stack the numbers and pay attention to RoadKingMoe on how to use the CAT scale: Can My Sierra Denali Handle a 30' Classic SO
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Old 03-04-2004, 12:04 AM   #20
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n2916s,

May not change anything but, you need to get someone with a 28CCD to give you an actual hitch weight. My 29' Sovereign (not wide body) is only 605 hitch weight on the truck loaded.

Think long and hard before you buy a gm gasoline engine. They are having problems. Jury is still out whether they have fixed the 2003's or 2004's. Chevytalk.com has some good info on gm gasoline engines.
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