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Old 02-15-2015, 11:18 AM   #1
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Need help picking out a used truck to tow with

We are considering buying our first travel trailer, and I could use some help figuring out the tow vehicle needs.

We are looking at a Keystone Sprinter (278BHS). The overall length is 31'8", weighing 7000 pounds, and 785 at the hitch. The fresh water tank is 81 gallons. As far as gear, we will have 2 adults and 2 kids, with occasionally 2 kids' friends to join. Not sure what all that adds up to, but I'm guessing 1200 to 1500 to be safe. So I suppose we are looking at about 8500 total, maybe a bit less.

We do not have a tow vehicle, and would like to find an used pickup that will work well. If possible, I'd like to keep the budget around $8,000 to $12,000, but since I am new to pulling an RV, I don't want to skimp here, or wind up with something that will be pushing it or worse, be unsafe.

So the main question is for any suggestions on what we should be looking at (F150/1500 or bigger?), 2x4 versus 4x4, maximum reasonable milage for a used truck, etc. I am also wondering whether a shorter truck (standard cab, short bed) would be easier to manuver than a longer truck (new to towing and want to keep it easy to handle). Also, does a hitch sway bar or other hitch equipment make sense for us?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 02-15-2015, 12:13 PM   #2
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Personally I would be looking at a 3/4 ton truck minimum, preferably a 1 ton. 2x4 or 4x4 depends on your travel plans. If your driving in winter months in the mountains then I would get a 4x4. Keep in mind a 4x4 takes away from load and towing capacity because of the added weight of the 4x4 front axles and transfer case. Same thing if you add an extended cab, adds more weight to the truck and takes away from capacities. I would also stick with a diesel but with your budget that will not be possible unless you get one with a lot of miles on it. You might get lucky and find a diamond in the rough but its a long shot. Keep in mind most RV manufacturers are light on the weight listing, most I've seen and other people reporting that their actually weight more than whats listed. That's why I always try to get moer truck than you think you will need. Better safe than sorry.

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Old 02-15-2015, 12:23 PM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback. I should have mentioned that the truck will probably not ferry the people, just me, the RV, and gear. Second car for everyone else.
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Old 02-15-2015, 12:31 PM   #4
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The F150 has enough power, but you will be overloaded for the axel limits, and you will hate the ride.
F250 with the right hitch stuff will do nicely.
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Old 02-15-2015, 12:45 PM   #5
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your budget will not afford a decent, it most likely will have a lot of miles

on it

see whats around in your area thats 5 yrs old.

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Old 02-15-2015, 02:28 PM   #6
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Many of the newer 1/2t trucks that have towing packages and lower rear ends might be able to pull the described trailer but you'll be near their limit. A 3/4t truck, even with a gas motor and lower rear end, should easily pull the trailer but make sure it has a Class IV hitch. Problem will be finding anything in your price range. I recently looked long and hard for an F250/350 or 2500/3500 with a gas motor. There are not many available. I ended up going diesel, but it was way more than $12k.
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Old 02-15-2015, 04:03 PM   #7
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What about this one?

Cars for Sale: 2000 Chevrolet Silverado and other C/K2500 LS in DAVISON, MI 48423: Truck Details - 391908282 - AutoTrader.com
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:26 PM   #8
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Good stout truck for the price.
The 6.0 engine has the 4L80 tranny. The truck is the old 8600 C6P chassis which is a real good work chassis. I've worked them for 200k-250k miles pulling heavy trailers.

With the 6084 RAWR this truck is good for 3000+ payloads. The truck is 15 years old and the 6.0 smallblock is down on hp/torque compared to the new 6.0 smallblock engines (300 hp vs 400 hp) so don't expect to run with the diesels or the new gen high hp smallblocks

GM has the 8.1 big block in that price range as does Ford with the V10. The 3/4 tons fit nicely in that size trailers weight range.

Also watch for a '00-'06 GM 1500HD with its 8600 GVWR and 6000 RAWR E tires and wheels 6.0 engine with the 4L80E tranny. Some have 3000 lb payloads and 11k tow ratings.

And the '00s 1500 Dodge Mega cab Hemi is another 8510 GVWR truck with 6000 RAWR E tires and wheels. This truck sits on a 3/4 ton chassis and isn't afraid of heavy hauling.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:35 PM   #9
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Old 02-16-2015, 04:46 AM   #10
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I would not want to tow that much trailer with just a little 1/2 ton truck. Get a 3/4 or better yet a 1 ton single rear wheel truck. And just an FYI, the longer the wheel base on the truck the more stable it will be towing.
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Old 02-16-2015, 11:17 AM   #11
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If it will just be you and gear in the truck then I would do a 3/4 ton long bed regular cab with bed topper. Reasons for this would be the extra carrying capacity of the long bed regular cab combo and it will be no longer than a suburban which are suprisingly nimble. Also they can be had for cheap. Usually they won't have all the "toys" as far as interior but I looked at an 09 f250 for 11k with 85k miles.
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Old 02-18-2015, 12:56 AM   #12
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You're right on the edge with a 1/2 ton truck vs. a 3/4 ton truck--for the weight you're pulling. The 1/2 ton trucks with the heaviest suspensions available would do the job, but they're somewhat rare.

One truck that'd do the job is a F250 Ford pickup--not the SuperDuty body style. It was the heaviest suspension available for the time.

Otherwise, see if you can find a gas powered SuperDuty F250. They're available at a more reasonable price than diesel powered 3/4 tons.
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Old 02-18-2015, 06:36 AM   #13
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3/4ton gas truck will be perfect for that trailer. I would be looking for a srw 1ton because they will be the same price with a bit more payload and you will have enough truck for your next trailer. Crew cab long bed would be my choice because I need to haul a family.
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Old 02-27-2015, 07:26 PM   #14
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I'd be thinking about another brand of TT. Friends of ours have a Sprinter and has had nothing but trouble with it. Wouldn't have anything Keystone makes.

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need help, tow

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