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Old 12-28-2010, 01:54 PM   #1
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Should I go 1/2 ton or could I go lower?

I am considering one of those new Evergreen Element TT. Dry is about 3300 lbs and wet is around 4500 lbs. I don't have a TV right now but am considering something smaller than a 1/2 ton like a Tacoma or Frontier 6 cyl 4x4.

I certainly don't want to strain the tranny or engine but I don't want to go too big either. My other choice is a 1-ton diesel pulling a Carriage Cameo but that is only if I hit pay dirt and I don't see that coming any time soon!

Thoughts on either model? Other thoughts on the matter?


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Old 12-28-2010, 04:09 PM   #2
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1/2 ton

I would not buy less then a 1/2 ton. Even if the 2 trucks you mentioned could pull 4500 lbs I think on any trips with hills forget it. 1/2ton would be like having a new spare tire, might not needed it but there if you did. I would think you would get better gas milage with more power to do the job.

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Old 12-28-2010, 04:12 PM   #3
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Ya, get the 1/2 ton..
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:37 PM   #4
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If you have a choice then I would get a 3/4 ton if it's affordable. Reason for that is for when you upgrade, and you will, and your TV is too small.
Saw a guy last year with a Tundra pulling a loaded toy-hauler sitting in the rest area at the top of the hill on the north side of Lake Tahoe,sitting in the middle of a puddle of tranny fluid and his comment was,"It pulled the old trailer just fine and the TT salesman said that we'd have no problem,"
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:18 PM   #5
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No one has ever complained about having too much truck. But there shure is a lot of posts concerning too small of a truck. Get the biggest truck with the most engine you feel comfortable with and go camping.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:31 PM   #6
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First, let me say . We're glad you're here.

The 2011 Tacoma is rated to tow only 3500 lbs (base truck w/no options & 1-150 lb driver) so you're already over the tow capacity &, most likely, the GCWR if your wanting to use that as your tow vehicle. The Frontier 6cy 4x4 is rated for 6300 lbs - the better choice of the 2, but you'll still be pigeon-holed for upgrading when the time comes.

IMO, go no less than 1/2t, preferrably 3/4t. As bigdog said, you will upgrade, probably sooner than you think, & you'll be really limited in what you can get. Going smaller will limit you even more.

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Old 12-28-2010, 06:09 PM   #7
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Welcome! Buy plenty of truck and don't look back. I know you don't think you'll upgrade your camper anytime soon. (I didn't.) But you may be surprised. You'll never regret owning a 3/4-ton truck.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:54 PM   #8
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I am not sure what the price tag is on Frontiers these days, but it used to be that the mini trucks were almost as expensive as the larger ones. Just to be on the safe side, I would buy a truck that will tow the equal of the GVWR of the TT - or at least look at the CGWR of the truck and then subtract the GVWR of the truck from it and then make sure that the GVWR of the TT is equal or less than the remainder. For example say a 1/2T truck has a 12,000lb CGWR and a 7000lb GVWR then your TT GVWR should be 5000lbs or less. It is pretty easy to find 1/2 T trucks that meet this requirement and more. With a 3/4T Truck you will never know the TT is back there. Also 1/2 T trucks have nice things like integrated trailer brake controllers and large mirrors that are designed for seeing around TTs. GM Trucks now have a 6sp tranny that features a tow/haul mode that will downshift when you apply the brakes - this feature is really nice on downhill grades and really saves brakes - both truck and TT.

I just looked at the Element web page and was impressed, but have some reservations about some of the features - the cassette toilet for one. I think that the conventional toilet with holding tank is still the best route to go - leave the cassettes for the marine folks. I noticed that the standard Evergreen models have the conventional septic systems. I also can't see how such a long TT can ride on a single axle. I also noticed that all of the Evergreen models have a low Cargo Carrying Capacity - around 1000 lbs. You will be suprized how quickly things add up.
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:47 PM   #9
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From time to time folks post links to a Benny Hill skit here where a small car is pulling a big boat up a hill.... Then the boat is pulling the car, backwards, down the hill.


You can, however, get one that is too small.

Consider this.
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
From time to time folks post links to a Benny Hill skit here where a small car is pulling a big boat up a hill.... Then the boat is pulling the car, backwards, down the hill.


You can, however, get one that is too small.

Consider this.

this one?
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:45 PM   #11
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Go with the biggest you can.
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:48 PM   #12
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At the risk of being flamed by the "bigger is better" crowd, After meeting the actual tow requirements you need to ask a number of questions on how you plan to use the vehicle to tow to decide how much over the minimum capacity you need to go. This include; is this a dedicated tow vehicle; if not what percentage of the time will it be used as a tow vehicle; what kind of driving will you be doing with it when not towing; what kind of terrain will you be towing in; and will you be upgrading some time soon, say in the next 5 years.
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Old 12-30-2010, 05:23 PM   #13
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A whole bunch of other questions enter into this decision:

Are you going to continue camping and predictably attempt upgrades to your equipment in the future?
Are you close to retirement and perhaps contemplating snowbirding with a bigger rig?
Do you camp with a group who have larger rigs than yourself?
Have you the room to accommodate a larger rig on your property?

These are just a few of the questions you should consider at the outset because if there's one thing the recreational aspect of RV'ing brings out in people; it's "two footitist". A well know boating disease that is duplicated with Rv'ers desire to get bigger and better rigs as they go.

Wanting a bigger trailer down the road is a given and it's gonna be cheaper if you already have a suitable truck when the bug bites.
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:11 PM   #14
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We towed 21' Coachman Lite series for a while with a 4.0L Ford Explorer (with tow package). It was literally destroying the "truck". It was not comfortable on long trips and wore you down. It was set up properly and enough power.

I think you need to plan to go ahead and get a 1/2 ton tow vehicle.


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