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Old 12-18-2015, 09:23 PM   #1
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Looking for suggestions on a Tow Vehicle

Folks, I am looking for advice on what would be an ideal tow vehicle. My wife and I decided to purchase the RV first before getting the tow vehicle. This allowed us to get exactly what we wanted and now I can get the appropriate tow vehicle for the job. We purchased a 2016 Keystone Sprinter Campfire Edition 31 BH. The dry weight is 8195 lb and the GVWR is 10,000 lb.

For a tow vehicle, I would like a crew cab, (prefer a short bed) and 4x4. Since we would likely take some trips up in the North East of varying distances, I would like a Diesel for the torque up the hills. Based on my research (I have been doing a ton of it), it looks like each of the big three 3/4 Ton trucks should do the job; however, I am not opposed to a 1 ton.

I have been looking at the offerings from Ram and GM in particular. I have been looking at used trucks no older than 2013 with lower miles. What are the opinions out there on things to look out for, features for better towing experience, reliability, etc?

I look forward to the input and feedback.
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Old 12-18-2015, 11:03 PM   #2
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No one ever complained about having too much truck for towing stuff.
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Old 12-18-2015, 11:33 PM   #3
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1 ton Dodge/Ram with Cummins diesel, IMHO.
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Old 12-18-2015, 11:52 PM   #4
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Test drive a Ford, GM, and RAM 3/4 ton and 1 ton. Get the one with the features and comfort you like the most. All are incredible products and you can't go wrong. Competition has only benefited the customer.
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Old 12-19-2015, 06:43 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by sterlingmike View Post
Folks, I am looking for advice on what would be an ideal tow vehicle. My wife and I decided to purchase the RV first before getting the tow vehicle. This allowed us to get exactly what we wanted and now I can get the appropriate tow vehicle for the job. We purchased a 2016 Keystone Sprinter Campfire Edition 31 BH. The dry weight is 8195 lb and the GVWR is 10,000 lb.

For a tow vehicle, I would like a crew cab, (prefer a short bed) and 4x4. Since we would likely take some trips up in the North East of varying distances, I would like a Diesel for the torque up the hills. Based on my research (I have been doing a ton of it), it looks like each of the big three 3/4 Ton trucks should do the job; however, I am not opposed to a 1 ton.

I have been looking at the offerings from Ram and GM in particular. I have been looking at used trucks no older than 2013 with lower miles. What are the opinions out there on things to look out for, features for better towing experience, reliability, etc?

I look forward to the input and feedback.
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Old 12-19-2015, 07:00 AM   #6
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You don't need a dually, but a Ram 2500 or 3500 single rear wheel with a mega cab cannot be beat. Especially if you have kids and dogs.
The megacabs only come with 6'6" bed.

Unless you are 100% sure you will need 4x4, I would go 2x4. They are cheaper, lighter, ride better and I've never been stuck. Even spending a good part of the winter up north last year.

If you do go 4x4 in that vintage from any brand, make sure all the recalls have been addressed. Google "death wobble".
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Old 12-19-2015, 07:16 AM   #7
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Diesel. Diesel, Diesel
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Old 12-19-2015, 11:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sterlingmike View Post
Folks, I am looking for advice on what would be an ideal tow vehicle.... The dry weight is 8195 lb and the GVWR is 10,000 lb.
Dry hitch weight is 12.2% of dry trailer weight. So if you distribute the weight in the TT to maintain that balance, the wet and loaded hitch weight should be around 1,220 to 1,250 pounds, pus the weight of your WD hitch. That's enough to get close to (or maybe exceed) the payload capacity of a normally-loaded 3/4-ton CrewCab 4x4 diesel with family, tools, jack and base, campfire wood, and options such as bed rug, cab steps, tonneau cover or shell, etc.

Quote:
For a tow vehicle, I would like a crew cab, (prefer a short bed) and 4x4. Since we would likely take some trips up in the North East of varying distances, I would like a Diesel for the torque up the hills. Based on my research (I have been doing a ton of it), it looks like each of the big three 3/4 Ton trucks should do the job; however, I am not opposed to a 1 ton. ...
I'm a Ford fan. Ford makes exactly what you want. You want an F-350 CrewCab with single rear wheels (SRW) which is the so-called one-ton SRW. You want the shorty bed, diesel drivetrain, and 4x4. You can "get by" with the XL trim by adding optional decent seats, cruise control and the power package of power windows/locks/mirrors. XLT includes the cloth seats, cruise and power package, and adds nicer trim touches. But I would order at least the Lariat trim if you can afford it. Lots of little things that make long days in the saddle enjoyable. I had an F-250 XLT CrewCab diesel towing machine for over 10 years, and often wished I had spent a bit more money for the Lariat.

Order the camper package (to get the rear anti-sway bar) and order the integrated trailer brake controller (ITBC) which is an outstanding trailer brake controller for your big TT. Also be sure to order the electronic-locking (EL) rear differential. It's much, much better than the limited slip for driving on slippery roads.

I agree with TDI-Minni that you probably don't need the extra weight, expense and reduced MPG of a 4x4 drivetrain if you get the EL axle and if you know how to drive. I've never owned a 4x4 and lived in Colorado for over 20 years, going up to the ski slopes almost every weekend when the kids were still living at home. That was before the EL rear axle was available, but I got by with limited slip/Positraction.
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Old 12-19-2015, 01:14 PM   #9
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I'll chip in with a few thoughts...

Agree with others here that any of the current big 3 make excellent diesel powered rigs...which really are the ultimate for towing.

Probably best to go to a one ton, when we shopped for our current truck (about 1 1/2 years ago) the cost difference between an F250 and F350 with same equipment was less than the cost of a spray in bed liner. We dealt with fleet managers at two local Ford dealerships, which netted a very good price. Not sure about dealing with Ram or GMC dealers, but if you can find a fleet manager who is willing to work with you it can save hassles and money. BTW, we ended up ordering a truck with EXACTLY the options we wanted.

Agree that the EL differential on Ford's is the way to go if you're doing a 2WD model. Ours is wonderful in the snow. Brother in law has a newer Silverado with their version of the locking diff, and it does equally well in slick conditions. (PS. I have a LOT of experience driving in snow, both 4 and 2WD, the electronic lockers eliminate the need for 4WD in my driving. YMMV)

Our truck is pretty much what Smokey spec'd out, with the exception is we went gas powered. Our towing needs are infrequent, and I wasn't really interested in paying so much more for an oil burner. For more frequent use, or full timing, I do believe the diesel will pay off in the long run.

Test drive 'em all, ya never know how it is until you drive one.

Happy Trails!
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Old 12-19-2015, 01:17 PM   #10
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How often do you plan to tow?

How will the truck be used when not towing?

What is your budget?

How long do you plan to keep the truck?

Do you plan to go bigger some day?

I ask because all these are factors in the purchase of a newer T.V. At 10k, it is not out of the capability of a gas 3/4t, unless planning to go bigger. If the truck will mostly be used as a daily driver with short commutes with the occasional 10k tow for its whole life, a gas might be better. You will find a used diesel will set you back as much or more than a brand new gas with full warranty. If you plan on keeping the truck beyond warranty coverage, repair costs on diesel is 2-3x gas. Also, Ford and GM diesels use a CP4.2 high pressure fuel pump. Google it, read what happens when they go out. And they will, because they are not designed to last with the low lubricity of the ULSD sold here in the states. Ram uses a different pump. If you plan to go bigger than 10-12k, diesel all the way baby. My father uses a DRW cummins to tow his 10k gross TH. He likes the stabilty and power, but doesn't use it as a DD, and parks it most of the winter. I went Ram 2500 gas for a slightly larger TH, but use the truck as a family sedan when not towing which is 95% of the time.
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Old 12-19-2015, 10:13 PM   #11
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First off, thanks to everyone for the great feedback. Based on the posts, let me add some more information.

I will not be using the the TV as my primary vehicle / commuter vehicle. I am fortunate to have another vehicle for daily use.

From a budget standpoint, I would like to stay under $50K, preferably in the $35k to $45k range. I know with a Diesel that is tough, hence the reason I have been looking at used ones.

Frequency of actual tow use will be less than 5000 mi per year (closer to 3500 mi or so). I would plan on keeping the truck for some time (10 years).

I am not totally against a gas truck; however, I do not want to regret it when I am towing in Upstate NY or Maine when tackling hills and the truck is wheezing to pull the trailer. Additionally, I don't foresee us going to a bigger trailer in the future.

Once again, I look forward to the commentary.
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Old 12-19-2015, 11:11 PM   #12
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Just get the diesel YOU like. That's what I did and I am happy. I got the 4x4 just for the resale value. I'll probably never need the 4x4 but if I do, it's there and it's easy to get stuck pulling a TT if you travel off the pavement. You're going to find that used prices and new are very close at 1-2 years old with low miles. At your 45K limit you can probably get a new lower end new diesel, perhaps look at new and just keep the thing forever. Just be sure you get the built in brake controller and tow mirrors. All the newer diesels have a ton of smog devices that some say will be a big problem but I have had no problems with my Ram and plan on leaving it stock. My truck is pretty well loaded up with the factory leather bucket seats, heated and cooled, center console, keyless entry and push button and remote start. Love the Ram.
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Old 12-20-2015, 12:01 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sterlingmike View Post
First off, thanks to everyone for the great feedback. Based on the posts, let me add some more information.

I will not be using the the TV as my primary vehicle / commuter vehicle. I am fortunate to have another vehicle for daily use.

From a budget standpoint, I would like to stay under $50K, preferably in the $35k to $45k range. I know with a Diesel that is tough, hence the reason I have been looking at used ones.

Frequency of actual tow use will be less than 5000 mi per year (closer to 3500 mi or so). I would plan on keeping the truck for some time (10 years).

I am not totally against a gas truck; however, I do not want to regret it when I am towing in Upstate NY or Maine when tackling hills and the truck is wheezing to pull the trailer. Additionally, I don't foresee us going to a bigger trailer in the future.

Once again, I look forward to the commentary.
If you can avoid all the bells, etc., a new diesel tow vehicle can be had in your preferred price range. Mine was under $41k, LT trim, crew cab short bed 2wd 1 ton SRW. Diesel, Allison with exhaust brake, tow/haul, manual mode, brake controller and tow mirrors. Its not a stripper model, but dealers mostly stock top of the line units because that is what is most profitable. So you have to look to find the real deals. My trip this summer was 6000 miles, including over 10k ft. Monarch Pass. Used diesels w/o factory warranty can be expensive to repair.

But for the usage you describe, I would probably NOT get a diesel. 3500 miles per year is pretty low. I have averaged 9000 miles per year over the past 12 yrs and that is even low usage for a diesel. Get a gasser and for the few miles that you use it each year, just travel at whatever speed feels comfortable.
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Old 12-20-2015, 02:12 PM   #14
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From a budget standpoint, I would like to stay under $50K, preferably in the $35k to $45k range. I know with a Diesel that is tough, hence the reason I have been looking at used ones.
I would much rather have a brand new pickup that I know hasn't had any problems caused by previous owners, so I would go for the following tow vehicle for your needs and most of your wants:

Ford.com build & price

2016 F-350 XL CrewCab, 4x4. SRW, 6+3/4’ box, 6.7L diesel, 3.55 electronic locking axle ratio = $48,165
Camper pkg (rear sway bars) = $160
Power Eqpt pkg (power windows. locks. tow mirrors) $1,105
XL Value pkg (cruise control) $595
Trailer brake controller $270
Cloth 40/20/40 seats $315
HD splash guards front and rear $270

$52,465 MSRP
Minus about 10% dealer discount
$47,218.50 cash price (plus TT&L and minus any Ford rebates at time of delivery)
=================

So there's your diesel towing machine for less than $50k, with room to add a few more options, such as alloy wheels, tailgate step, running boards. etc.

That 10% discount is very easy to negotiate with most dealerships. But if you hate negotiating, then look into X-Plan pricing. Get an X-Plan PIN from any active or retired Ford employee and the dealer will stick to the X-Plan price. (The dealer invoice includes the X-Plan price). I know a retired Ford employee so I have bought several new Fords using X-Plan.)

If you can maybe go a bit more than $50k, then build and price that F-250 on Ford.com and add the Lariat trim, plus whatever other options you can't live without. But expect to need to order the truck and wait 6 to 8 weeks for it to be delivered to your dealer. I have never found "my" vehicle in stock, so I have ordered and waited on numerous new vehicles over the years. 1965 Corvette, 1971 AMC Hornet Sportabout V8, 1977 Ford E-van, 1988 Plymouth Voyager, 1986 Camry, 1993 Camry, 1994 E-van, 1995 Toy T-100 pickup, 1999 F-250 diesel, 2000 Avalon, 2012 F-150 EcoBoost, 2013 Venza, and finally my second childhood car = 2015 Mazda MX5 Miata PRHT (power retractable hard top). The Corvette was the longest wait at several months, and the Miata was probably the next longest wait at almost three months.
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