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Old 03-29-2006, 07:09 PM   #1
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Question What Ford to tow a 34' Classic?

Greetings everyone!

this is an offbeat question but: i'm working on a fictional story -- one character just purchased a gorgeous 34' Classic -- now I need to buy her a tow vehicle. No clue but it has to be a Ford if at all possible, for reasons to do with the plot. And it has to be factually accurate. What are her options? Any advice greatly appreciated.

For that matter, if a person were accustomed to driving only a medium-sized sedan, how much practice would it take to tow and Airstream? I've heard they are among the easiest to adapt to, because of the design. What's a realistic amount of practice before setting out on a long trip in the West?

thanks so much!!
M in Michigan
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:21 PM   #2
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It would need to be a F250 diesel. At least a super cab.The large V-8s do well but theres nothing like a diesel. The Excursion will do fine. I'm not sure if a Expedition will do it.Towing a trailer is not that hard to get used to. Backing a trailer well, is a Art.
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:33 PM   #3
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One of our members (85MH325) tows his 34' with an Excursion, though I don't recall if it's a diesel or not.

One of the nice things about a 34' is it can actually be a little easier to back than some shorter trailers.

All of us who have the long, long trailers sure seem to love 'em, regardless of our chosen tow vehicle!
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:45 PM   #4
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thanks so much for the quick responses! Wow, an Excursion is bigger than I'd bargained on, but what the heck -- it's fake money anyway!
What is the reason for needing a diesel engine -- power? And is the Excursion the SUV version of the F250? Sorry for my ignorance -- appreciate your help!
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:48 PM   #5
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You need at least a 3/4 ton to tow a 34' Classic, but you don't need a diesel. I have a Y2k Excursion with a V10 and some necessary suspension mods. The Excursion is the SUV F250. Any of the 3/4 ton or larger Superduty trucks would do fine. Just about anyone can tow one with a little practice and some coaching.

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Old 03-29-2006, 07:48 PM   #6
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Mlake,
Diesel provides more power with better economy. The Excursion is very similar to the F250. Many people tow with 2500 Suburbans...but you did ask for the Ford

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Old 03-29-2006, 08:25 PM   #7
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The largest Ford V8 or a diesel for a 34'. You don't have to have a diesel, but if you go mountains, many hills, etc, diesel may be your best bet. Outside of Roger and that clown that tows a 34' with a Dodge Intrepid, I think a lot of folks I've come across tow the 34s with diesel.
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Old 03-29-2006, 09:49 PM   #8
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Since your character is obviously highly intelligent, (she got and Airstream, didn't she?) her choice of Tow Vehicle should be well thought out.

A 2005 or 2006 Ford 250 or 350 PSD with the built-in brake controller (Tow Command) would be the obvious choice.

Dennis
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Old 03-30-2006, 04:28 AM   #9
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There's only one way to go. Get the Ford F350 6.0l Power Stroke® Turbo Diesel 32-valve V8.

And, if you realy want it beautifully equipped, get the Kings Ranch edition.

If you write that you were able to buy this truck, fully loaded for under $50,000, then that would really be some kind of fiction story!

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Old 03-30-2006, 05:08 AM   #10
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I've owned many brands and like the Fords the best. A few thoughts here...

The diesel is worth the money in several aspects. First, if you aren't going to pay MSRP for the truck, you aren't going to pay it for the diesel. When you go to sell, you're going to get a good portion of what you paid for it back. Second, it's so relaxing not to have a gas engine screaming at higher rpms. Third, when you have a 57' long rig, and a Ford diesel truck that comes with the big fuel filler, you can use the 18-wheeler diesel islands at the truck stops, rather than having to make the sharper turn out of the RV island at Flying J, where there are also gasoline pumps that make vapors. Finally, MPG isn't just about cost, it's also about range, how far you can drive between fill-ups on a given tank size. No one will dispute the diesel MPG advantage.

To make SUVs, they take a truck, shorten the wheelbase and usually soften up the springs and tires. For towing a long trailer, I prefer a long wheelbase and heavy-duty suspension. A Hensley hitch will help some with a shorter wheelbase, but when it comes to that, we have both.

When RVing, a truck bed is priceless. There are lots of things you'll carry that we don't want in a passenger compartment with us... dangerous things like a couple of Honda generators and the gas for them or a spare propane tank for long term boondocking, heavy things such as jerry cans of extra water or a rolled up patio rug, muddy things such as aforementioned rug as well as lawn chairs, parking blocks, hoses, etc., nasty things such as a blue sewage tote tank. We usually bring a stepladder along too.

If you want a long-wheelbase, 4-door SUV that isolates passengers from all these things, get a short-bed crew cab pickup with a bed shell over it. The wheelbase (in 2002) is 156", about the same as our 158" extended cab with long bed. There's just the two of us now and we'd rather have the bed length with its larger fuel tank rather than the fullsize rear seat.

Another Ford feature I like is the power-adjustable pedals. It's the first vehicle we've had where my 4'10" wife isn't driving with her chest right up on the air bag, and it means we can both use the same seat position without sliding it fore and aft.

Keep in mind you don't have to have the top of the line trim. The XLT is nice and a LOT less money.
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfisher
There's only one way to go. Get the Ford F350 6.0l Power Stroke® Turbo Diesel 32-valve V8.

And, if you realy want it beautifully equipped, get the Kings Ranch edition.

If you write that you were able to buy this truck, fully loaded for under $50,000, then that would really be some kind of fiction story!

John
John,

I was offered an 05 model matching your description in Mobile...for $47K but I bought a gently used 96 for about 1/3 of that

But I gotta say I love my PSD. I really prefer the first generation 7.3 for a variety of reasons.

Aaron
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:28 AM   #12
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I drive a 2002 F250 Lariat 7.3L Diesel every day and for towing I would recomend nothing else. Crew Cab and 4X4 makes this the best truck I have ever owned. You won't go wrong with an F250. For a trailer that size consider a dueley, not a must but much better for weight distribution and traction on the road at the rear axel.

By the way, I get 21 mpg every day and have gotten as high as 25.5 after Katrina when fuel was hard to get and I had to drive like my Mom.

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Old 03-30-2006, 11:13 AM   #13
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Diesels tend to be more powerful than the same sized gas engine. No argument there as diesel fuel has more BTUs per gallon. Longer wheelbase vehicles, especially crew cab dually trucks are more stable towing. No argument there either. They are also better for storing 'stuff' as Maurice so eloquently describes.

The very things that make them stellar towing vehicles cause them to be less desireable for the other things that we use our Excursion for... seating for eight for example. Grocery shopping. Running errands. Diesels stink when you warm them up in your garage. As a matter of fact, they stink just sitting in your garage, if they're short enough to get INTO a garage! I don't have to hunt for a gas station that sells diesel when it needs fuel, and the "short runs" to the grocery store and department store isn't nearly as hard on my gas engine as it is on a diesel. Regular maintenance is just about the same for either gas or diesel, long term. Diesels don't need "tuneups". They just cost 3x more than a gas engine for an oil change, and I suspect that with diesel fuel costs per gallon being higher than gasoline right now, the cost per mile of driving a diesel isn't significantly less than the cost per mile of driving a V10 gas engine.

My Excursion functions as the family station wagon when it's not towing, AND fits nicely in our garage. I get about 12-13mpg towing with it, and around 15-16mpg highway not towing with the 3.73 rear end. Not bad for a gas engine. And since I typically only tow the Airstream a couple of thousand miles a year max, and use it as the family car the rest of the time, the benefits of the family car side override the benefits of the long wheelbase diesel truck, not to mention the difference in cash outlay for the diesel over the gasser. Gas Excursions definately have their place in the towing lineup.

Roger
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Old 04-01-2006, 11:21 AM   #14
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Thanks again to all for the many thoughtful replies -- I've saved them all & it's a big help.

M
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Old 04-01-2006, 12:34 PM   #15
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OK, I'll through my 2 cents in.
First of, i don't own a 34' nor a Ford.
I know of one confirmed owner who tows is 92 or so 34' with a Chevy Astro Van. I know i didn't belive it at first either. This fellow is also planing a trip to Alaska this summer with that TV. So with that titbit of info here I go.
I would recommend something large F250, F350 or Excursion, it by now means has to be a Diesel. V8 or V10 Gas engines will do just fine. If this was my story I would not get the 6.0 Ford Diesel engine unless the caracter is supposed to have numerous unsceduled stops and meet nearly every Diesel Mechanic between the east and west coast if it has to be a Ford with a diesel go with the 7.3. Now there is the fellow with the Astro van, that vehicle is only rated for 5000 pounds and based of a S10 pickup. If one would compare that to Ford we would look at Explorer or a Ranger, again to me that would mean meeting alot of mechanics. Then again that could make for an interesting story
Diesel engines in general have a longer life expectancy then gas engines, the torque comes on much lower in the rpm's and fuel economy is better. That seems to be why most people choose Diesels for tow vehicles.
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Old 04-01-2006, 07:18 PM   #16
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Lightbulb This is about the story - right?

Come on people. This is a fictional woman who bought a classic airstream. Let's give her something interesting to drive. Her landscaper had a beautiful 69 F100 Pickup that his deceased wife and he bought when they were young. He drives it on sunny days and spends his free time polishing it and taking it to car shows. He named the truck Yolanda after the wife he missed so much. Like all good hispanic men, the gardner had Yolanda painted in script on the rear truck window.

Our heroine didn't know much about pick-up trucks. When the gardner gave her Yolanda (she saved his youngest daughters life) she had a friend check it out to see if she could use to tow her precious airstream. "Have you ever heard of a Ford Shelby Cobra?", her friend asked her the next day. "No, but I am pretty sure it is a type of snake", she replied. Our heroine was very pleased to find out that back in the early 70's, when Shelby GT500's were just another used car, the gardner had replaced the original 390 big block with a salvaged Shelby 427 engine. With a few transmission and suspension upgrades, and a top of the line PullRite hitch, she had a towing vehicle that was deserving of the honor of towing her beloved airstream. All was right with the world. The End
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Old 04-01-2006, 07:35 PM   #17
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"Ah have awl-ways dapend-ded awn the kawndness of awthuws..."

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Old 04-02-2006, 11:45 AM   #18
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Musings ....

Roger - Why not just go all the way? "To the moon, Alice!"

Susie is a prodigious reader of mysteries. I reminded her and she can't remember a small series she read in the late 90s where a family had to deal with plot issues as they traveled the West in their ... I seem to remember about a 24-26' Airstream being involved. Anyway, Susie told tales of so many things they used on their adventures that were stored inside that Airstream. As if ...!

M in Michigan -- Why a 34 footer? Yes, you might want the mostest of the bestest if you are writing glam (ŕ la Judith Krantz). Are you looking for a unit that is fast-moving/new or vintage? You might have more variety of tow vehicle if it was a little smaller. There can be a lot of live-in space in a 28-footer for instance. Choose the V-10 only if your characters are rich enough to own their own oil well.
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Old 04-02-2006, 04:02 PM   #19
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... seating for eight for example.
Roger
Seating ... sure. But if STACKED properly, I can get way more than that in the bed of the truck!

Dennis
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Old 04-27-2006, 10:03 PM   #20
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'05 F-350 6.0 L Diesel

We purchased an '05 F-350 to tow our 1987 '34 Excella and it works great. Just so I could hot rod around town, we added the Banks Power package to the truck and it runs like a race car now. The best part is my fuel economy jumped by roughly 4 MPG, so at today's prices that will pay for the cost of the system pretty quickly. Here's the link to the Banks website. Enjoy

http://www.bankspower.com/System.cfm...F08&sysid=SF28

Mitch
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