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Old 08-21-2015, 04:40 PM   #1
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2016 30' Classic
Maitland , Florida
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Tow package needed?


I'm sure this has been discussed before, so if you know of some threads and can post links, I'd be happy to read those. I spent 5-10 minutes searching and didn't want to spend more time than that.

Now that we've ordered a 2016 Classic, we're looking for a truck. We'll be full-timing with a Leer topper and maybe a bed slide and all our stuff, so we need payload. Right now we're partial to Ford and are considering a F250 or F350 Diesel, Lariat trim level.

In looking at ads on Autotrader, etc, payload isn't shown - we know to look at the driver side door sticker for that. Should we only consider vehicles with the tow package? Does the tow package mean greater payload?

I know that for a F250, some trucks won't have enough payload. But what about the F350 -- are those guaranteed to have a big payload?

Thanks for your advice!
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Old 08-21-2015, 05:35 PM   #2
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Tow package usually includes wiring, hitch base, additional coolers, heavy duty suspension and other add ons.

Do you know what a learning experience is? A learning experience is one of those things that says "You know that thing that you just did? Don't do that."
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Old 08-21-2015, 06:11 PM   #3
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I've owned a 2013 F-250 Lariat, power stroke diesel, very impressive truck. Like mentioned above the tow package has what's needed to tow properly & safely but adds nothing to the payload capabilities. Personally, I cannot see needing more truck for what you're talking about but if you plan on loading the bed with something extremely heavy then probable the F-350 is better.
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Old 08-21-2015, 06:41 PM   #4
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Joanne, either truck will do the job. I have a 16 year old F250, and a 2014 F350, both with diesel. Both are wonderful tow vehicles. The F350 is overkill, and we now use a special hitch to give a softer ride, but it is the more comfortable truck to drive. The 6.7L engine and 6 speed transmission are smooth and powerful.

For just a tow vehicle, I'd go with a short box, F250 crew cab with the 6.7 engine. We have a F350 because of a large truck camper.
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:01 PM   #5
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Thank you all for your replies. So am I hearing that we should definitely look for a truck with the tow package? (It's probably obviously yes, but I'm just making sure:-))
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Old 08-23-2015, 06:50 AM   #6
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yes, tow package is a good investment. especially the engine and transmission coolers. we now have an F350, crew cab and it is the best tow vehicle we have ever owned. sure thing, overkill in many respects but with a boat and trailer that comes in at 10k, just right for our applications. and yes, i have owned multiple 3/4 ton as well as 1/2 tons. the 6.7l diesel is a real gem getting pretty good fuel mileage while providing enormous torque for towing. this is the easiest truck i have ever owned for tow duty and it is either truck number 9 or 10.
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Old 08-23-2015, 07:22 AM   #7
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The F-250 is more than enough truck to pull your Airstream. Consider the diesel if you can afford it. Diesel pulls much better than the gas truck and gets better mileage although it's doubtful you will recover the extra cost of the diesel truck due to the mileage. It's just a better towing experience.

The payload capacity is not affected by the tow package but I would get that anyway for the reasons mentioned. I think you will find that most 3/4 ton trucks on the lot will have the tow package. I fact it is standard on the Platinum Edition which we have.

Payload is mostly affected by the type of cab, bed length and other options. We have a crew cab (4 real doors) and an 8 foot bed on a fully loaded Platinum Edition. That lowers our payload capacity to about 1,800 lbs which is about the same as a 1/2 ton truck configured for maximum payload. But if you want space, it's hard to beat this truck. If we wanted this much space but more payload, an F-350 would be in order.

I drove both the F-250 and F-350 and found the F-350's ride to be a lot rougher than the F-250's. That is the trade-off for the greater payload.
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Old 08-23-2015, 09:11 AM   #8
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Typically the tow package gives you a transmission oil cooler, larger radiator, larger battery, larger alternator and integrated frame hitch among other things. If you buy a vehicle new and the tow package is offered, you should always get that option. It's a good selling point even if you never use it. The transmission cooler will help keep the tranny from overheating. Heat is very bad for automatics.

If you're planning on towing anything, you want the towing package, preferably factory installed.

Rich & Yvonne
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2004 4Runner SE
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Old 08-23-2015, 02:18 PM   #9
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Thank you all for your replies. Your answers on what a tow package means were exactly the information I was looking for, so we'll definitely add it to the list of must-haves.

We are definitely going diesel, crew cab, regular bed. We're only considering an F350 (maybe) because of other accounts on this site about the TV/hitch sagging on a 3/4-ton diesel with topper, slide, generator, and other full-time weight in the truck.
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Old 08-23-2015, 02:36 PM   #10
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We modified our 2012 Dodge 2500HD diesel with a Kelderman level ride air bag suspension. All the steel suspension parts were replaced with new hardware, four air bags, air compressor and air storage tank. We ended up with air chuck by the rear license plate to which an air hose can be attached to inflate the truck or trailer tires.

This system is also available for the Fords and Chevy/GMC pickups.

It rides level regardless of the trailer tongue weight and all or none of the "stuff" in the back of the truck. Since it sits level and we have a cab level camper shell installed, we can still park the truck in our garage (extra deep when we built the house) going through a 7' 0" garage door.
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Old 08-23-2015, 03:22 PM   #11
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i would recommend the Ford 6.7 as well. I believe the either the 250 or 350 will be sufficient. Since the 350 will have a tighter suspension, have a look at the Air Safe Hitch setup. there are people on here using it as well and have good results in regards to ride comfort. This for sure will be on my shopping list, once funds come available. BTW i tow with a 96 F350 7.3 diesel and have henderson air ride on my rear axle.I built this custom with the complete suspension removed from a Peterbilt :-)

Resurrecting one Airstream at the time..
maybe one day i save them all
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Old 09-07-2015, 04:42 PM   #12
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FreshAir... taking a good close look at the Fords, Chevys, GMCs, Dodges... I have a feeling you may very well be coming home with a loaded Chevy/GMC Duramax/Allison combo. That's what happened to us.

And, our Airstream dealer highly recommended the Blue Ox Sway Pro hitch, which offers great performance at a reasonable price. We took his recommendation and it's been an awesome hitch in use; quick and easy to work with, simple and effective design, very stable towing with the 30' Airstream, and great price. Blue Ox makes good stuff.
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Old 09-07-2015, 06:15 PM   #13
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They left off something...

The tow package also includes extendable BIG towing mirrors. You can spot the trucks with a tow package in a lot of hundreds of trucks just because the mirrors are twice the size of "normal mirrors. The Ram mirrors are a bit different - they rotate out. The others are either manually pulled or electrically pulled away from the body of the truck.

If you get a truck without a towing package you absolutely are legally required to provide current for trailer brake lights, running lights and turn signals - that means adding a 7 wire connector, next of course you need a hitch mounted to the frame of the truck, then the towing mirrors, transmission coolers, etc. (A dealer tried to charge me $700 to add the mirrors alone. When I told the dealer I'd buy them on Amazon for less than $250 and mount them myself... Well the price went down to $350, so I let their service dept. do the work.

Don't worry, just take good notes and in a month or two you'll be debating engine brakes with the best of them. BTW, hate to tell you but all of the leather and bling on the "cowboy Ford" subtracts a couple of hundred pounds from the GWVR (gross vehicle weight rating). But the Laramie is handsome and loaded to the gills. You might step down one level in trim and gain 400 lbs in actual cargo carrying capacity for the truck. (I'm looking for a full back seat, but instead of the 8 foot bed, getting the 6'8" one. I rarely have more then two or max 3 people in the truck, but you can fold up the rear seats and carry the generator (empty and aired out) back there secure (and covered to reduce temptation.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:43 PM   #14
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Folied Again... great post... it's easy to forget about the tow mirrors until the topic comes up and then you realize the importance. Having a truck well equipped for towing definitely includes the mirrors and the other tow package items. And you're right, one glance at the trucks on the lot and the ones with tow mirrors are quite obvious to see!
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