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Old 03-02-2019, 11:32 AM   #1
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Diesel vs Gas Towing Vehicles

We're looking to upgrade from a 1/2 ton to a 3/4 ton truck (extended cab) to pull our 26' Coleman Lantern. We aren't sure whether or not to switch from a gas truck to diesel - heard so many things pros & cons. We're looking to purchase a used truck regardless. I've heard to avoid Ford -- Chevy & Dodge are the preferred for diesel, gas n diesel are about the same in gas consumption, etc. The three biggest wants are 1) good braking, 2) more power and 3) reliability. Can any of you provide some advice on your preference gas vs diesel and year/make/model? Hoping to find something in 2010 or 2011.
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Old 03-02-2019, 02:45 PM   #2
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The problem with Ford trucks centered around the 6.0 liter engines. Later models such as you're looking at are very road worthy.
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Old 03-02-2019, 06:12 PM   #3
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If you plan to tow a lot (especially in mountainous areas) the diesel is the better choice. Better mpg will eventually pay the difference in cost and there is nothing like a diesel on a long incline.

If you only want to tow occasionally and the truck will dual purpose as a daily driver then gas would have the edge. Keep an eye on payload differences. Diesel trucks will have less payload due to engine weight. Either will be totally fine for a 3/4 ton and a 26' trailer. But what if you plan to upgrade to a larger trailer and keep the truck?

Diesels are harder to work on and more expensive to maintain. I do most of the work on my gas truck myself. I wouldn't be as comfortable taking things apart with a diesel so I would have to pay someone to work on the truck beyond routine maintenance. That's a big financial difference over time in my situation.

If you will daily drive the truck and your driving will include lots of short trips then gas is better. Diesels need to fully warm up and generally don't like lots of short trips. It's not like a diesel is going to fall apart in a year if you short trip often but over the years it will take a toll on a diesel.

The engine well cared for diesel truck will last longer to much longer than a gas motor. 200k on a well maintained diesel is no big deal at all. 200k on a gas motor is getting up there even if it's well maintained. Many diesel motors outlive all the other parts of the drivetrain.

With all this being said... My next truck will be a 3/4 ton diesel because the wife and I will be retiring and spending 6 months a year or even full time on the road not too far in the future.
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Old 03-02-2019, 06:31 PM   #4
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Talk with three people about this and you will get three opinions. All you can do is process your own decision. I am a diesel guy, have pulled with both, and like many long time campers I pull now with a diesel and love it. Maintenance isn't as onerous as some make it out to be if you like working on your vehicles as I do. I do most of my maintenance and have thousands of trouble-free miles to show for it. I also did all my own work on my gassers. The difference is simply that my diesels pull harder, run cooler, get better mileage, and are trouble-free, and while there are specific things that must be maintained properly and regularly with your diesel, if you want your gasser to last as long as a diesel you need to do similar maintenance. Good maintenance isn't cheap, and cheap maintenance isn't good. I'll not willingly go back to a gas tow vehicle to tow anything larger than a small utility trailer, and certainly not a camper. There, that's my opinion.
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:32 PM   #5
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:01 PM   #6
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BTW - the newer Ford 6.7L diesels are essentially bulletproof. Very reliable as are the transmissions. Older Ford 6.4L and 6.0L diesels had some issues. Usually people recommend Dodge or Ford for heavy duty trucks, but get the one you like best.

I just changed my oil today - took 13 quarts and a $20 filter. Owning a diesel is a bit more expensive all around, but nothing beats pulling a trailer up a steep grade with cruise control set at 75 and it holding 6th gear without breaking a sweat. A gasser WILL be downshifting and needing to wind up quite a bit...

Buying DEF is a minor pain but not a big deal. If you can afford a diesel you'll love it. However, I did buy a little Fiesta as well to zip around town for short trips...
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:04 PM   #7
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I have a 2010 Dodge Ram HD 2500 Hemi. Its a crew cab with 2570 lb payload. I pull a 2018 coleman light 2855bh with wet wt of 7500lb. I cant tell its back there most of the time. On a steep climb engine will rev a little but not even close to red lining. Id pull it anywhere with it. I also have a 2017 Ram 1500 that ill use on short trips that have no inclines. The HD 2500 Hemi will pull alot and with trailer brakes and HD truck brakes i have No problems with it. Thats my experience. Hope it helps
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:09 PM   #8
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You want good braking? Buy a diesel.

If you've ever gone down a steep mountain in a gas rig and then gone down it again with a diesel you would buy the diesel.

The diesel compression REALLY helps hold you back.

Can't help you on what brand to buy...I'm a chevy guy but don't have any experience in owning a diesel pickup.
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:19 PM   #9
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Wow, I really like the feedback I'm getting.

Swavescatter, when you say older Fords have had problems can you define what years you are referring to?

Keep the opinions coming folks!
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:30 PM   #10
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Just to clarify my steep climbs are usually short stints. Not miles long. I dont pull alot in mountain areas. Not sure where youll be pulling.
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Old 03-02-2019, 10:05 PM   #11
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Towed a 24' 6000 lb Arctic Fox 22H with a Chevy 2500 6.0L gasser. Did it for 10 yrs and that truck was great - had over 90k flawless miles on her with just routine maintenance - pulled countless trips over the coast range and all over Oregon and even up to MT and back. On down grades the engine braking was OK. On upgrades she loved to rev up around 3500RPM in 4th gear. Overall I was lucky to get between 7-9MPG towing and at best 14 empty on the HY. Fast Forward to today and I have a new diesel and a new larger TT - 31' 7700lbs. Traveling the same hys with this combo is a whole different ballgame - she barely revs over 2000 and the exhaust brake really help on the downgrades. MPG is now 11 towing and 24 empty on the hy. Diesel in my area is around 3.00/gal. My friend just bought a similar TT and a gas truck similar to my old one - I will have a chance to see him again in a few weeks as we are camping together.
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Old 03-02-2019, 10:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Empty Nester View Post
Wow, I really like the feedback I'm getting.



Swavescatter, when you say older Fords have had problems can you define what years you are referring to?



Keep the opinions coming folks!


Not terribly sure on the years but here's the general advice:

2012+ you're good to go. Newer the better and the 2017+ cab interior is awesome.

6.4L all years avoid

6.0L can be bulletproofed, but a lot had problems early in their life. Chances are if you find one in good running condition you're good to go.

7.3L are cult classics, but really down on power compared to the new monsters out there...
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Old 03-02-2019, 10:42 PM   #13
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For the proposed trailer any modern era gasser is more than adequate in a 3/4 ton. I've towed with diesel and gas, tent trailers to large 5th wheels with both. If you gave me a set amount of money to get a truck to tow what OP proposes, I'd go newer gasser rather than older diesel. Of course, we all know the diesel will do it better but the amount "better" with this load is minimal.

If money is no object, of course, get a diesel but this load just doesn't justify it. The Ford 6.2 with the 4.30 gears would be a GREAT fit. Ram 6.4 Hemi would also be fine but their 4.10 gears are nearly impossible to find and the tranny kind of sucks (trust me, I own one and tow 11K with it). Again, get a diesel if you want but for the same dollars you'll get a much newer gasser.

Edit - just reread the OP - regardless of what you get the 3/4 ton is night and day better with braking and overall towing stability. Power - of course diesel will win but gas is more than adequate. Reliability - newer is better and that points to gas for the same money.
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Old 03-03-2019, 12:27 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
You want good braking? Buy a diesel.

If you've ever gone down a steep mountain in a gas rig and then gone down it again with a diesel you would buy the diesel.

The diesel compression REALLY helps hold you back.

Can't help you on what brand to buy...I'm a chevy guy but don't have any experience in owning a diesel pickup.

We went down a long step freeway downhill on I-70 in Utah. I was nervous with a 50 mph recommended speed. With my 2017 Ram 2500 CTD and a Jayco 28' trailer (8,000 pounds) I turned on Tow/Haul and automatic exhaust breaking. At the summit I tapped the brakes to set the speed for 50 mph. Then relaxed and just steered down the hill. Never touched the brakes. Not once.

For me the extra cost of a Diesel is worth it for that ease of towing....
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