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Old 09-27-2016, 06:14 PM   #1
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Need help finding right tow vehicle

We just brought a brand new 2016 Keystone Bullet 269RLS unloaded weight 5,340 cargo up to 2,220.

We have a 2002 Jeep Cherokee Overland V8 4.7 4X4 but after towing the trailer home about 70 miles my husband said it didn't feel safe and it was swaying.

We have to buy a used vehicle. We really need a SUV for elderly father, large and small dog and possibly a cat and from time time a grandchild or two.
We do understand if we have to get a pick extended cab or the like it will just be an uncomfortable trip.

We have round bar weight distribution with sway control and a prodigy P2 electronic brake control.

Being new to all this we just went with what the dealer gave us. ( I know dumb move)

Well this is what we have to work with. All ideas on vehicles are welcome but we would prefer an SUV for the room.

Thank you in advance
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Old 09-27-2016, 06:31 PM   #2
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"unloaded weight 5,340 cargo up to 2,220". So GVWR around 7560.

You said "used" and preferably an SUV. The problem is that nobody still makes an SUV that can tow a 7,000-pound TT without being overloaded. Way back when, the Ford Excursion with diesel engine was a perfect choice for you. Not quite so far back the full-size GMs came in a 2500 ( three-quarter-ton) SUV with a diesel engine that would probably meet your needs. But the last Excursion was produced about 10 years ago, and the last GM 2500 was several years ago.

Quote:
We do understand if we have to get a pick extended cab or the like it will just be an uncomfortable trip.
Disagree. I had a Ford CrewCab pickup for over 10 years, and it was just as comfortable on long trips as any SUV.

Plenty of room in the backseat for GrandPa and Rover and even a puddy tat I if she gets along with the dog. Go for the top-of-the-line trim and that's a comfortable "luxury" towing machine.

We made one long trip last Spring hauling an adult sick daughter and a 60-pound Border Collie and an 8-pound Chiquaqua in the back seat of our current CrewCab pickup. Daughter laid down across the entire back seat for most of the trip, so the dogs were confined to the floorboard. We made it with no problems. A SuperDuty pickup would have had even more room back there.

So if you really want an SUV, then limit your search to the old Ford Excursion or slightly newer GM 2500 full-size SUV. You'll be shocked how much those old Excursions are in good condition with less than 200,000 miles on them. Not cheap.

But I would take a test ride in an F-250 or GM/Ram 2500 pickup. For the used F-250, limit your search to CrewCabs with a minimum of Lariat trim. King Ranch trim is even nicer. And while you're looking, also consider the F-350 with single rear wheels (SRW). I would insist on the diesel drivetrain in a 2011-up model, but the gas engine has enough power to pull your trailer over the hills.

I'm not a fan of older vehicles that can break down on the road. So if you were my kid I'd tell you to look for a 2011-up F-350 SRW CrewCab with diesel engine and Lariat or King Ranch trim. They're out there.
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:20 PM   #3
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Thank you. I agree with you on olders vehicles I rather not have one but due to the price we have to go used and probably no more than 20,000 and that might be pushing it.

What should I look for on weights for a vehicle. Every time I think I have it figured out I am wrong. I don't want to get a vehicle I can't use like I have now.

I will look into the vehicles you were talking about and see if they can fit into our price range.
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:56 PM   #4
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What should I look for on weights for a vehicle.
That trailer has GVWR of 7560. When loaded for a comfortable camping trip, it will probably weigh around 6,500 to 7,000 pounds. Let's assume 7,000 so you don't wind up with "not enuff truck".

Tandem axle travel trailers have tongue weight averaging 13% of gross trailer weight. So a 7,000-pound TT will probably have around 910 tongue weight. Add another 113 pounds to tongue weight for a good weight-distributing hitch, and the total hitch weight would be about 1,023 pounds.

So your tow vehicle needs to have unused payload capacity available for hitch weight of 1,023 pounds, and it needs a tow rating of enough to tow a 7,000 pound trailer.

Almost all half-ton pickups and SUVs would be overloaded with that trailer when wet and loaded for the road. So don't even consider them. Instead, look an F-250 and 2500 GM/Ram pickups as a minimum. For a Ford, look for Lariat or King Ranch trim.

You need a CrewCab for sure, but bed length doesn't matter as far as towing a TT goes. Your hubby would enjoy driving the longer wheelbase of the F-250 with the 8' bed, but if you find a nice F-250 with the 6.5' bed, it will do the job. And Ford sold about 90% of all SuperDuty pickups with the short bed (and wheelbase), so they're much easier to find in used pickup invengory.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:05 PM   #5
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is that a super duty?
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
You'll be shocked how much those old Excursions are in good condition with less than 200,000 miles on them. Not cheap.
Case in point:

https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/d...3293/overview/

$30k they're asking for that puppy. But it's the most desirable configuration.
Limited trim means all the toys. 4-speed automatic means the bulletproof 7.3L diesel engine. In 2003 model year they made these only from July through September of 2002, then they switched to the 6.0L diesel with 5-speed tranny. But the 6.0L was trouble prone so they're not nearly as desirable as the bulletproof 7.3L.

Back up one year to the 2002 model year and they made a full model year's worth of production, so you're much more likely to find one for sale. I searched for a 2003 because that's the rage for the Excursion nuts.

But the stock 7.3L needs a bit of help from the aftermarket. Stock power was 230 HP. I used an 80-tow tune and pumped mine up to about 300, and it was much more pleasurable to drive. When stock it would downshift out of overdrive for every little bump in the road, With 300 horses it rarely downshifted out of overdrive. And I put 200,000 miles on my 7.3L without any adverse effects related to my 80-tow tune.
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Old 09-27-2016, 11:44 PM   #7
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It really depends whats is your budget for a new vehicle because SUVs that can do the job are likely to be relatively costly. 2002 Jeep is too old school and I am not surprised about lack of stability. When it comes to towing with SUVs bigger is not necessarily better. Small details of vehicle design, spring rates of the rear suspension, wheel diameter/tire height rear overhang/wheelbase ratio are all cricial, not to mention the ability of the hitch to handle weight distribution forces and other factors. This is a tricky area and there are too many people who are eager to give advice, usually negative, while having little or no idea about the subject.
If you need to tow a midsize true ultralite TT, like Bullet, Passport, Apex etc, with hitch weight around 600 lb and you have no love lost to diesel duallies a German designed midsize SUV, preferably with reinforced hitch receiver is the benchmark provided you will not carry 4 or 5 adults and the trailer. They are great not due to there size, although each weigh close to 5000 lb, but because of design, geometry, technologies and performance built in them. Grand Cherokee or Durango no older than 3-4 years old is the next best choice, they are built on Mercedes ML platform, but without high tensile steel, however they have higher rated hitch receiver good for WD hitch. Nissan Armada, Ford Expedition, Chevy Tachoe or Suburban should work as well, I see many people with such vehicles in the campgrounds and they dont look too unhappy, but I dont have experience with these SUVs, and longer rear overhang, especially in combination with soft leaf spring rear suspension dont look too exciting (in the case of Chevy)
You will be told on this forum that 600 lb hitch weight will immediately become 900 lb or more as soon as you put your stuff in the trailer but it really depends on how you distribute it around , and unless you go dry camping a case for carrying full tank of fresh water is difficult to make. I made a visit to CAT scale early in my RVing career, was well within the GVWR of the ML with a possibilty to carry a 4th adult if necessary, dont see the reason to make another one.
And you will need 2 sway bars for your Bullet, its over 24 feet.
Good luck.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:33 AM   #8
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Check used one ton full size vans - either with a big gas engine or diesel. Cheaper than comparable pickups, and make great tow vehicles with plenty of enclosed passenger and cargo room and capacity. They have a nice long wheelbase, and will tow your trailer nicely with the hitch set up properly. Some people think they are hard to drive, but I personally sit more comfortably, and feel I have a better view of the road ahead. Parking is not as hard as you might think, as the wheels are close to the corners of the truck. Test drive one and see for yourself .....
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Old 09-28-2016, 05:35 PM   #9
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is that a super duty?
Yes, the '99-up F-250 is a SuperDuty.

The German SUVs that RGene7001 likes are excellent tow vehicles if you don't exceed their GVWR and hitch weight limits. But they cost you an arm, and a leg, and your first-born son. And that's just the up-front costs. Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and VW all charge a bunch for parts as the vehicles age and require replacement of wear parts. I have owned Mercedes and Audi vehicles, but I've finally learned my lesson and will never again buy another.
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Old 09-29-2016, 07:47 AM   #10
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Either an 2500 Suburban or an old Excursion, but honestly I would look for a Megacab Ram pickup.
The only other normal size SUV that would do alright would be a VW Touareg or Audi Q7, rated at over 7,700lbs. towing.
Good deals out there on TDIs, but the 4.2 V8 is a fantastic engine.
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Old 09-29-2016, 01:47 PM   #11
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As mentioned by one other poster ---- What's wrong with a Ford Expedition, Chevy Suburban/Yukon or a Nissan Armada

All those are rated to tow 8-9000 lbs. and should handle that trailer.
When about a 2011-2013 -- they should be in the price range.

My son routinely tows our 7400 lb. boat behind his V8 Armada and it does very well.

If a person is not inclined to want a pickup --- then why push them when there are other options.


thx
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Old 09-29-2016, 03:23 PM   #12
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As mentioned by one other poster ---- What's wrong with a Ford Expedition, Chevy Suburban/Yukon or a Nissan Armada
Half-ton SUVs will all be overloaded over their payload capacity when normally loaded with a family and stuff for a weekend camping trip. Sure, most can PULL a 7k trailer, but they cannot carry the hitch weight of a 7k trailer without being overloaded.

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All those are rated to tow 8-9000 lbs. and should handle that trailer.
Tow ratings are an indication of the power and torque and cooling capacity of a drivetrain to PULL that weight, but it ignores the payload capacity of the SUV needed to carry the weight of a normal family and stuff as well as the 1,000-pounds of hitch weight of most 7k TTs towing with a good weight-distributing hitch..

If you promise to haul nothing in the SUV but a skinny driver, then you can probably tow that much trailer without being overloaded. But I don't know of any RVers that tow with an SUV and haul nothing in the SUV but a skinny driver.

I'll illustrate the point with two of my previous tow vehicles:

1999.5 F-250 SuperCuty CrewCab PowerStroke. Powerful rascal with tow rating over 13,000 pounds. But I was overloaded with my small 5er that grosses less than 8,000 pounds.

2012 F-150 Supercrew with 3.5L EcoBoost drivetrain. Tow rating of 8,400 pounds, but I'm overloaded with my small TT that grosses only 4,870 pounds when wet and loaded on the road.

Tow rating is based on GCWR, which is not your limiter as to how much trailer you can tow without being overloaded.

Payload capacity, which is GVWR minus the weight on the two axles of the tow vehicle, is your limiter.

If you attempt to tow a wet and loaded 8k trailer with a Suburban, you're going to be overloaded. If you attempt to tow even a 7k trailer with any half-ton SUV loaded with a normal complement of family and stuff, you're going to be overloaded.
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Old 10-02-2016, 12:34 PM   #13
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I agree with where SmokyWren is coming from.

I had a chevy 1500 - extended cab, short bed, with the z71 package (off road skid plates and heavier suspension). It would "pull" the weight the OP is dealing with. However, even with the beefed up suspension the truck was very soft. For in-town driving hauling rental equipment (skid steers, excavators, etc) it was fine, but stopping distance was exaggerated. For a time I had a landscaping trailer with electric brakes that was nice - I could boost the braking on the trailer so it would stop better. Sensor brakes... not so much.

What you have to be careful of when you get in to the 2500/F250 class trucks is the suspension options. I had a 2010 F250 with the diesel engine. It didn't have the heavier suspension. The truck rode real nice - empty. I had a Leer 180 fiberglass cap on it and with the cap + my normal stuff the truck was always squatting in the back. From a stability standpoint this wasn't good. Sure, the diesel would pull a house, but the chassis wasn't up to the task to handle much of a load. I lost that truck in a roll-over, but if I had it much longer a suspension upgrade would have been coming - probably air bags.

My truck now is an F350 - single rear wheels, crew cab, long bed, diesel, with the FX4 package. What is nice about the 350's (short bed or long bed) is they have the heavier rear suspension standard - and blocks to add ride height. The springs are fairly light for the first inch and a half to 2 inches of travel, then the over-load springs engage. I really like the way the truck rides. Without a trailer at times I am up to 11,000lbs gross (8500lbs empty). The truck isn't squatting (riding level) and stability is good, but you can tell it is loaded.

If you are looking at over 1000lbs of toungue weight you need to be in the 3/4 ton class truck or higher. If you are in the 3/4 ton class (the F250's, GMC, Chev, Dodge Ram 2500's) you NEED to make sure you are getting the heavy rear suspension. The springs will have overload springs (a second stiff leaf that isn't engaged unless the rear end is loaded enough to push down that much) and many times extra blocks to lift the rear end higher. If you get a 3/4 ton truck that does not have the heavy rear suspension then I would highly suggest that you invest in an air bag system.

Most likely you are going to have some things in the truck, aside from people and dogs. You need to consider how much the truck weighs, the GVWR, then load the truck and figure up what the weight is of everything you are putting in/on the truck will be, then factor in some headroom for extras that you may not be considering. You want to stay within the GVWR of the vehicle. Suspension upgrades (like add-a-leafs and air bags) don't increase the GVWR, but if you have a soft truck it will prevent the truck from sagging with the load and make the stability a lot better/safer.

Good luck and be safe. You are on the right track asking the questions!
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