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Old 08-29-2016, 06:20 PM   #1
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1/2 Ton Tow vehicle

I am posting this in Escapees and iRV2. Thanks everyone in advance.



So, it looks like I can't find/afford a diesel tow vehicle. After searching forums and chatting with people, it came down to '08 and newer Ford, '05 and newer Chevy, or '04 and newer Dodge. This was based off mainly engine issues and reliability. I am in the North Chicago area and these rigs run $25k or more for something with 150k or less miles and 4x4. Being broke and homeless, this is way out of my $15k budget. I am going to have to go gas if I get anything. The trailer I finally settled on is the Northwood Nash 23D. It is not the one I want, but it is within weight and almost within budget. The dry weight is 5300# and the max is 7000#. This is well within an '09-'10 F150's 10-11K# tow rating even using one of the realistic tow calculators that accounts for everything.



So, here is the help I need. I know it will pull fine under most circumstances. I want to know if there is anyone with a similar setup and just how bad will tall hills and mountains be. I will be taking it through Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascades. This type of trip will be max twice a year. If I have to go 45mph, I will. I am not in any kind of hurry. I just don't want to overheat the transmission nor do I want to get 2mpg. Does anyone have real world experience with this? Did you have issues with mountains? What is your gas mileage flat and in mountains?



It comes down to this setup or living in a van down by the river.
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Old 08-30-2016, 11:05 AM   #2
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Even worn-out used pickups are high priced. To stay below $15k for a Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4, per KBB.com you must go back to the 2008 model with XLT trim and with over 100,000 miles on it. Insist on the 5.4L engine, and it absolutely must have the factory towing package (receiver hitch, 7-pin trailer plug, connection for trailer brake controller, and the biggee - factory auxiliary tranny cooler. Without the factory auxiliary tranny cooler, you'll burn up the tranny when trying to climb mountain passes.

2011-up F-150 is a much better tow vehicle, because of the more-powerful 5.0L V8 or 3.5L Ecoboost engines. But KBB says you won't find one for less than about $18k for a stripped-down work truck.
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:58 PM   #3
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I have found two pretty stripped down 2011's at $15k and under. They are, of course higher mileage, from 100k to 130k. Yes, I can find many more '07-'08's at the same price. They will have less miles, too. Here is my justification for an '11 and newer if I can find one that works for me:
6-speed trans over 4-speed trans - better mileage?
60 more HP, 15 more torque - hey, every little bit helps
Rated 14/19 mpg over 13/17 - again, every little bit helps
Lastly, I live in northern IL where they bury cars in salt in the winter. It is hard to find a truck over a few years old that doesn't have the rear fender well dang near rusted through and the front shock towers without chunks of rust falling off.
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:20 PM   #4
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Why not check out MTD's?
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:27 PM   #5
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Excuse me. MDT truck.
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:37 PM   #6
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I have found two pretty stripped down 2011's at $15k and under. They are, of course higher mileage, from 100k to 130k. Yes, I can find many more '07-'08's at the same price. They will have less miles, too. Here is my justification for an '11 and newer if I can find one that works for me:
6-speed trans over 4-speed trans - better mileage?
60 more HP, 15 more torque - hey, every little bit helps
Rated 14/19 mpg over 13/17 - again, every little bit helps
Lastly, I live in northern IL where they bury cars in salt in the winter. It is hard to find a truck over a few years old that doesn't have the rear fender well dang near rusted through and the front shock towers without chunks of rust falling off.
I have a silverado 1500 4X4 and tow a 21' bunk house. The 6 speed will not increase your MPG but it will handle hills better. Mine is newer and has Tow Mode. Unloaded,no tow, mpg is 16.4 Towing mpg is 9.1
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:39 PM   #7
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Try to make sure what you end up purchasing has either the factory tow package or has a transmission cooler installed on it. All used cars are a crapshoot, so that is all I can help you with.

As for fuel mileage, it is what it is, and since I drive more for safety than anything else, I don't think about it. I use the GasBuddy app on the smartphone to find the better fuel prices, and after that don't worry about it.
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:53 PM   #8
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Agree, on needing a big trans cooler. Even factory tow package can use additional if going to be doing a lot of towing. Heat is what kills trans fluid, and towing results in heat.

As for towing up the hill, just take it how you can, you will get to the top. Only a matter of how fast you get there. A crew cab will likely be more cost than an ext cab, and that will be more than reg cab. So you should be able to find more truck for your money with reg cab models. Long bed is better, the extra wheelbase is good for towing.
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:55 PM   #9
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An MDT is so far out of my price range it isn't even funny. It is also not practical as a daily driver, which is what this F150 will also be. A diesel F250 would also be cheaper.

As far as tow package and trans cooler, yes they are very important. Luckily, to find a truck without that is difficult. Those have pretty much been standard on half ton trucks for years. Well at least I know Ford has not even made a truck without the tow package and trans cooler for years. They still list it as a feature, but the only towing option is a brake controller and heavy duty back end.

I am expecting 9mpg towing, but I was hoping to squeeze out every bit I can. I don't have the luxury of not worrying about it. Fill up the gas tank or fill me up with food. These are the decisions I will have to make.
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Old 08-30-2016, 04:06 PM   #10
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Depending on the terrain, wind direction, etc., assuming 9MPG is a conservative starting point. I get 10-12, so not a huge difference. Gas is often cheaper than diesel, and folks I have talked to don't get much better gas mileage than those with diesel get in fuel mileage. Just take good care of the tow vehicle, don't miss any maintenance or go super cheap with things like oil and filters. Check tire pressure often, especially the trailer, and consider a TPMS set for the trailer and truck, a very wise investment in safety and longevity IMO.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:19 PM   #11
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I never skimp on preventive maintenance. People who do drive me nuts.

As far as TPMS, I forgot all about those. I have seen them on Amazon and even recommended them to my father for his boat trailer a year ago. Thanks for the reminder. I have to put them on my "first things to invest in" list.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:59 PM   #12
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Sorry I missed understood what you were after. A friend of mine uses one an old delivery, uses it as a driver to Work and to pull a fw. He also has a grass cutting business on the side.
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:51 PM   #13
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Well at least I know Ford has not even made a truck without the tow package and trans cooler for years. They still list it as a feature, but the only towing option is a brake controller and heavy duty back end.
You haven't kept up with current order guides, For 2011 and 2012 model year F-150, the trailer tow pkg was standard with FX2/FX4 and Lariat trim. But it was optional with XL, STX and XLT trim.

For 2015 model year, the trailer tow pkg was optional on F-150s with XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trim. So if you order a new F-150, be sure to order the optional tow pkg, tow mirrors, and integrated trailer brake controller (ITBC).


You are correct if you're discussing the SuperDuty pickups. The trailer tow pkg was made standard on all trim levels about 2001 model year. But for my 1999.5 F-250 I had to order the trailer tow pkg as an option.
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Old 08-30-2016, 09:40 PM   #14
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Ya, this is going to be a drive around the country for a while rig. Maybe setup for a few days and see the sights then move on now and then. It may be a month, it may be a year. I don't know. We'll see how it goes.
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