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Old 03-15-2016, 11:23 AM   #1
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Gas vs Diesel

Good Morning,

I recently completed a 300 mile trip with my 5th wheel. I have a 3/4 tom GMC 2500 HD, 6.0 gas engine, 343 rears and a B&W Companion hitch. My trailer weighs in at 11,200lbs. I set the cruise @60 MPH and averaged 10.1 mpg. I feel I have enough truck but the motor seemed to labor a little. Would a 3/4 ton diesel be a better fit or should I maybe look at getting a 1 ton? Answers and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 03-15-2016, 11:42 AM   #2
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If you're going to upgrade don't waste your time with a 3/4 ton, get the 1 ton, hardly any difference between the tow, except more capacity in the 1 ton. A diesel will always tow better than a gasser, but there is a trade off with cost and maintenance.
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Old 03-15-2016, 11:57 AM   #3
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If you really have 3.42 gear in rear you will struggle with 11000 lbs, would be much better with 4.10, still not diesel but much better. Agree with previous poster, get the 1 ton just to not have to worry about being over trucks gross weight, especially if you go diesel which has less payload due to engine weight.
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Old 03-15-2016, 12:17 PM   #4
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pretty comparable to mine.....I'm 10k or so with my 5er and get 12.5ish towing depending on the wind and hills. I have an 06 2500 duramax. I never feel like the truck even works that hard towing. There's a couple 6% grades I pull up and I can feel it working then but there's still plenty of truck there for the load. Nothing that concerns me. I love my truck and am extremely happy I went diesel.
Now...all that love aside there's the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say.

There's a few things for you to consider really. I looked at getting a newer truck this past winter. I was looking at 1 tons and after seeing resale values quickly determined if I went 1 ton it would be a single rear axle. At that point with my weights it wasn't worth going 1 ton because I don't really need it. The dual rears would be a nice option to have but not necessary and the dual rears are hard on your resale value not to mention another $500 every tire purchase. Another thing are the newer diesels. From about '11+ they're not a very dependable vehicle. GM trucks are having tons of issues with the emissions side of it and the def/dpf systems. I'm also not a fan of regen's that drive up exhaust temps to clean the exhaust filters....diesels don't like heat and I'm betting the full ramifications of all that heat haven't been seen yet. GM went to a cp4 high pressure pump which are also a weak link in the fuel system and very expensive to fix if/when they let go. They contaminate the entire fuel system with metal. Think $5k-$10k to fix depending on where you take it. The dodge trucks front ends and electrical are nightmares. Recalls and tons of issues with them. I won't even consider ford. I decided to keep my 06 for a few more years and see if GM can get a handle on the emission issues they're having. Look on autotrader and look at some trucks carfax and take note of the number of times they've been to the dealership for service. Tough to find one that isn't a regular customer.
At one point I found myself looking at low mileage 06's and that's when I decided to just keep my current truck. At 136k I still have plenty of life left in this truck. I mainly wanted to move to a crew cab over my current extended cab and that's basically the only reason I was looking. I can't imagine towing with anything but diesel but if you go diesel do plenty of homework on the truck before you buy and make sure you get a good warranty out of the deal.
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Old 03-15-2016, 02:11 PM   #5
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A new 3/4 ton gasser with 4.10 gears, or 4.30 in Fords case would have plenty of payload and power for that 5th wheel. Rams 6.4 with the 4.10 will have around 3000lbs for payload and enough power too. I wouldn't waste the money on another diesel for only 11,200lbs. Too much maintenance costs. Go price out an oil change and fuel filter replacement for any of the new diesels. A quick call to the dealer is all that's needed. If you're the handy do it yourselfer type then you can cut some costs there.
I would save the $9,000 cost for the diesel and put that towards fuel.
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Old 03-15-2016, 02:25 PM   #6
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I would save the $9,000 cost for the diesel and put that towards fuel.
And DEF.
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Old 03-15-2016, 06:36 PM   #7
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A new 3/4 ton gasser with 4.10 gears, or 4.30 in Fords case would have plenty of payload and power for that 5th wheel. Rams 6.4 with the 4.10 will have around 3000lbs for payload and enough power too. I wouldn't waste the money on another diesel for only 11,200lbs. Too much maintenance costs. Go price out an oil change and fuel filter replacement for any of the new diesels. A quick call to the dealer is all that's needed. If you're the handy do it yourselfer type then you can cut some costs there.
I would save the $9,000 cost for the diesel and put that towards fuel.
maintenance costs are a little higher but it's made out to be more than it really is. A fuel filter is $50 which skews the numbers a bit but that only needs done every other oil change....at least that's when I do mine. Oil/filter change is about $40 doing it myself and $90 with fuel filter twice a year.
My diesel is 10 years old this year with 136k miles on it and that's about half done for the duramax. I would be real leary of taking a gas burner near that far mileage wise and towing with it so while the gas burner person is buying a new truck mine is paid off for the next decade.
There's also the little difference in power. I run a 90hp tune on mine 24/7 so I'm riding around with about 450HP and 750TQ available.....gas engine isn't going to touch that without major work. When pulling a hill that diesel shines like a new penny compared to gas. I towed with a buddy last year that had a 5.3L towing a TT weighing about 5k. We hit some hills in Virginia and I got so far ahead of him I was out of cb range.
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Old 03-15-2016, 07:21 PM   #8
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To diesel or not depends on how frequently you're going to tow, and how frequently you'll be towing in the mountains.

I have a gas engine that's adequate. I can't keep up with the speed racers that like to test the speed rating of their tires, but I can outrun the big rigs up the hills.
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Old 03-15-2016, 07:27 PM   #9
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The diesel vs gas is old. But JMO, with a <6K TT gas, 6K-10K gas or diesel, 10K+ go diesel. The unknown factor is that some people don't mind working a truck harder than others. When you sit down with pen and paper and add it all up, yes a diesel costs more, da, it's a lot more truck. In the end get what you and your wallet want.
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:11 PM   #10
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Is there some other reason to switch besides a little labor? If that's the only reason, I'd leave well enough alone. What you've got will wear out soon enough, or not.
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Old 03-15-2016, 10:28 PM   #11
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People keep talking about the increased cost of diesel maintenance. It does cost more, but I do it half as often. I also do my own, and shop around for deals on filters, etc. That helps keep the cost about the same... maybe a touch more for the diesel... but not enough to wipe out the savings I get when towing. My 5.0 F-150 got 8 - 10 mpg towing. My 6.7 diesel gets about the same mileage unloaded as the F-150 got, but gets 12.5 - 14 mpg towing. I'm still wondering why I didn't get the diesel much sooner. I'm definitely happier with it... towing or not. I tow 8 - 10K miles per year. That will increase in a little over 7 months when I retire.
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Old 03-15-2016, 10:40 PM   #12
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To Bo1430:

DEF? Really? DEF costs me less than a penny per mile, and that is with a 45 foot DP getting 7.5 MPG. There is no way DEF is a meaningful factor in comparing the operating cost of a diesel vs gas pickup truck.
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Old 03-16-2016, 11:14 AM   #13
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NOT calling you a liar but over 10mpg towing with a gasser sounds a bit high!
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Old 03-16-2016, 11:26 AM   #14
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NOT calling you a liar but over 10mpg towing with a gasser sounds a bit high!
I'm skeptical too but the OP said it was only a 300 mile trip. He might have had the wind at his back the entire time, or maybe it was a 1 way trip that was downhill. Even a very slight downhill grade will have a big effect on mileage. Or he might have been going by the lie-o-meter, aka the truck's onboard computer, rather than hand calculating.

Or he might not have fully fueled up the tank without knowing it. If the fuel pump clicker stopped early, say 5 gallons short, that would have a big effect on the 'mileage.'

But yeah color me skeptical than a gasser can tow 11K pounds and get 10 MPG on flat, low wind conditions. I've towed less weight with gassers and the range I saw was 6-8 MPG. The 6 MPG was towing an enclosed car trailer, maybe 7K pounds, with an F150 Ecoboost although that was into a strong headwind.
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