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Old 07-11-2016, 11:15 AM   #1
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Ready to purchase a tow vehicle

We're getting ready to purchase a tow vehicle, and due to budget constraints, it might have to be a gas engine. The question I have is, does anyone know whether the big three manufacturers transmissions have speed retarding capabilities like the allisons do? If you ask the dealers, they don't know. Looking to get a one ton dually or single wheel. We also will be purchasing a fifth wheel next year, most likely a grand design something. I'm not new to rv'ing, have had a classic A, class C, and two 39 foot fifth wheels. Thanks for the comments in advance. Gp

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Old 07-11-2016, 11:30 AM   #2
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Manual downshifting works, it's they was it's done in gassers.

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Old 07-11-2016, 04:00 PM   #3
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My friend was new to RVing. He bought a new bumper TT and a new 2500 Chev.
Wasn't long and he bought a new 5er. Now he has another new 2500 Chev diesel. All in two years or less.
Good luck.
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Old 07-11-2016, 05:49 PM   #4
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I towed a 14,000 lb 5ver with an F350 v10. It struggled up the mountains, but going down sucked even in 2nd gear. Get a diesel if you can swing it.
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Old 07-12-2016, 05:57 AM   #5
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My Chev 2500 gassers pulls my 8,000 pound trailer no problem. But I can definitely see its limits. If you are planning on a big 5er, and based on the fact that you need a 1 ton you are, you really should consider diesels or plan on spending time in he slow lane on roads with inclines.

That being said, if you live in the flat Midwest and aren't traveling far on a regular basis, a gasser would do the trick.
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Old 07-13-2016, 05:05 PM   #6
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If purchasing a 5ver, I recommend a used diesel. Yes, they are pricey compare to there gas counterpart. But in the long run, you are better of with a diesel.

BTW, my Tundra did downshift automatically like my Allison does while in Tow/Haul mode.
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Old 07-13-2016, 05:19 PM   #7
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If 10k or more go diesel. I honestly cannot imagine towing a substantial trailer/fiver with a gas truck. Tow haul mode and downshifting is nothing compared to the above with an exhaust brake in the mountains.
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Old 07-13-2016, 06:58 PM   #8
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The RAM has an 8 speed transmission and works well in tow/haul mode.
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Old 07-13-2016, 07:31 PM   #9
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I do not know anyone that tows heavy with a gasoline engine for long. Usually only one or two years before they downsize the trailer or switch to diesel.

If you can find a clean used diesel 2011 or newer I think you would be happy.
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Old 07-13-2016, 10:29 PM   #10
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"the big three manufacturers transmissions have speed retarding capabilities like the Allison's"?
Allison transmissions do have anti-self-destruct sensors that put's them into limp mode if they are put outside of their performance envelope.
Not sure exactly what you're asking, do you mean engine braking by means of downshifting? You'll still be able to downshift but going to fast you may over-rev easier.
Engine braking is not as efficient on gasoline motors due to their lower compression ratio, and normally being naturally aspirated. It's not so much the transmission. Although all "big three" are probably beefy enough in their gas versions.
The diesels in the big three utilize in addition to the higher compression ratio's, variable vane turbo chargers. This among other features further reduces the internal gas flow creating "reverse brake horsepower". This is inverse of what is utilized going up the grade.

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Old 07-13-2016, 11:03 PM   #11
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The only gas engine that was good for towing was the GM 8.1.

Had one in my 2004 GMC 2500 and I currently have one in my Class A motorhome. I weigh in at about 25,000lb with toad.

Any other gas engine won't work for a bigger trailer. I've been there and done that.

I think you'll be wasting your money buying a gas engine to do what you want to do unless you can pickup a used Chevrolet or GMC with the 8.1 and Allison transmission.

As far as transmission speed retarding I drop my gears manually down to 3rd and 2nd on my Allison 1000 transmission. Not much compression so while it helps it doesn't do much.
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Old 07-13-2016, 11:13 PM   #12
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I have been towing heavy 5th wheels with my 2004 diesel I bought used over 6 years ago. I have towed many, many miles, coast to coast and many trips in mountainous terrain and usually average about 11-12 MPG. I can't imagine making those trips with a gas powered TV. I have EFI Live programming with 2 tow modes and a turbo brake for downhill. I have pulled up and down some long 8% grades easily and safely, something I would never attempt with a gas rig. I've seen RPM 1000+ over the 3200 RPM red line going down steep grades but that is not a problem for diesels. I do all my own maintenance and minor repairs myself and have not had any problems in over 30,000 miles of towing. You can find older diesel trucks for sale that will provide many miles of safe, happy towing. Yes, they demand a higher price but they are worth it and will retain their value if properly treated and maintained.
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Old 07-14-2016, 08:57 AM   #13
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Thanks to all who replied to my question. The big problem is the ole finances and trying to save a dollar. I guess if I'm going to do it the right way, it's going to have to be a diesel. This will be our last rig, and it won't be over 34' in length and will try to keep it light. We will be living in it until we need to pull up in front of the nursing home and get out. Thanks again for the comments.
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:51 AM   #14
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A diesel without an exhaust brake has less compression braking than a gasoline engine.
As long as you buy new, all of the big 3 diesels come with exhaust brakes.
If you buy used, be careful and do research.
I wouldn't own a diesel without an EB.

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