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Old 06-24-2013, 07:40 PM   #1
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Newbie choosing truck and vehicle... Suggestions?

Hi. We are debating between dodge ram Laramie 2500 4x4 with 6 foot bed and ford f250 4x4 with six foot bed. Both have four regular sized doors and feel like driving an SUV but with the power of Diesel engine. We plan to tow something like a north woods Nash 23b tt or maybe the one with a small slide out. We will use this rig to live in San Diego, Palm Springs, or Arizona. Maybe a different location each month? Plan to be leave seattle in November and return in may.

We will also do an alaska trip and visit family in Montana and Colorado and Minnesota.

Anything special we need to include on the vehicle purchase? Limited slip differential and tow package already in there.

Rear window defroster?
220 amp alternator?
Block heater?
3.42/3.73/4.1 rear axle ratio? 3.42 comes with Diesel engine.
Trailer mirrors (manual fold away or power fold away?)
What are we missing?


We have already learned a ton here...any feedback on our plans greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:58 PM   #2
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I want to welcome you to the forum. Yes there's lots of info here.
Are you going to always pull a bumper pull? Nash is a great company
I've heard.
Here's what I founded out from my experience get the largest truck you can at least a 1 ton dully or single. Be prepared to someday wanting a bigger RV maybe a 5ver.
I found out when I bought my f250 7.3 and first rv real fast I wanted to pull safer and found out I wanted a bigger 5ver. Your never going to be satisfied with your first one. I have meet very few people that have been. After your trip you might decided you want bigger.
So buy a bigger truck at least 1 ton, as big as trailer as you can and also buy used at first. That's just my experience and wished I knew that.
I've bought two trucks and on a third 5th wheel. Feel like I finally got it right.
Happy trails.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:11 PM   #3
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I'll go with what Tumble Weed said. Took us 3 5er's to find the one we really like. We are one our 3rd truck by choice, not by need. F-250 was too small for a 5er. My F-350 was doing a good job with my 3rd 5er but I was right at the max limits. So 3rd truck was an F-450 now to have some buffer. I replaced toe `08 F-450 with a `12 by choice, not need.

I am not sating you need an F-450. All I'm saying is get the biggest truck you feel comfortable with. An F-350 doesn't cost too much more that an F-250 but will have higher tow ratings.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:43 AM   #4
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Whatever you end up with you will appreciate the power-extend/fold tow mirrors, of the items you mention. Most choices will already be 'optioned' with a heavy-duty alternator, but yes, you need that also.
I have never had a rear window need a defroster, even in Montana in the winter.
The rear axle ratio will depend on what weight you will ultimately want to tow; new diesels will easily handle the 3.73 ratio for most towing, and with a 2500 series, you shouldn't be towing anything that needs higher than the 3.73--3.42 would probably be fine and better for solo driving.
And, maybe you are missing the heated/cooled seats; special leather; chrome bling; and on, and on...some options are definitely personal choices, not necessities.
Joe
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:06 PM   #5
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Good advise above... don't scrimp on the truck. I am in a 2011 F-150 and badly want to go to a diesel 250 4x4... but it's gonna be expensive. My TT was an 18 footer, but we upgraded after buying the truck... to a 29 footer.
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Old 06-25-2013, 03:34 PM   #6
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What ever you choose for a used tow vehicle, you should carefully research the optional equipment that came on the truck. Specifically: make sure the truck has a trailer tow package that usually includes extra transmission cooling, better mirrors, bigger alternator, pre-wiring for trailer lights and brakes, and sometimes a good receiver hitch. Some "camper specials" or "off-road" packages also include helper springs and a rear anti-sway bar that can greatly improve the stability of a SRW truck. Also be aware that not all 250's have the same weight/towing capacities - my previous F350 SRW was the heaviest of 4 available GVWR packages.

When you think you've found the right tow vehicle go to the manufacturers web sites to determine the real capabilities of that truck. Gear ratio's, bed length, engine, transmission, trim level (base vs top shelf) and even wheel size will affect the manufacturer's ratings.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:58 PM   #7
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I would get a long bed with either truck. Easier with the 5th wheel and likely to come with a larger capacity fuel tank. Also there are aftermarket tanks from Aero Tanks and Titan that are only available for late model trucks with a long bed.

With diesel only 20% of the gas stations in any given area will have diesel and many towns have no place to buy diesel at all. Having a tank that holds 60+ gallons of diesel is a real plus.

I would take a Chevy 2500HD for a test drive before buying a truck. The GM independent front suspension makes a difference in ride and handling and turning radius.
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Old 06-27-2013, 05:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elkhornsun View Post
I would get a long bed with either truck. Easier with the 5th wheel and likely to come with a larger capacity fuel tank. Also there are aftermarket tanks from Aero Tanks and Titan that are only available for late model trucks with a long bed.

With diesel only 20% of the gas stations in any given area will have diesel and many towns have no place to buy diesel at all. Having a tank that holds 60+ gallons of diesel is a real plus.
The GM independent front suspension makes a difference in ride and handling and turning radius.
I agree with elkhornsun about long bed X2
I promise down the road you will be happy you got the 1 ton.
Being a GMC owner my dully rides better than my wifes Rava4 and not very noisy.
Happy trails..
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:17 PM   #9
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After trying several vehicles I ended up with 3500HD SRW Silverado 6.6 diesel and wish I got it first. Great mileage more than enough power.
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:25 AM   #10
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And the 6 speed Allison transmission is great also.
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:39 AM   #11
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lower gear ratios like 4.10 (3.42 is higher than 4.10) will make a auto trans run cooler and last longer. There is a trade off in engine noise/increase in fuel consumption that might be noticed.
I think all diesels come with a block heater installed. It makes starts under 40F much easier on the starter and will cause less engine wear on cold starts. That and our dash heat will put out heat in 30 sec after a start using the heater.
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:00 PM   #12
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You can't go wrong with a Ford, they have the best options and nicer interiors. They cost more but are well worth it if you plan on keeping it a while, or even if you don't. Great resale. I was thinking about upgrading and found that a 2011 loaded Dodge Laramie 2500 with less miles cost much less than a Ford f250 xlt with more miles! I would go new though, was just checking used prices for giggles. The AC seats are awesome!
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