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Old 08-04-2012, 12:58 PM   #1
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tow vehicle for long travel trailer

We are planning to live in a travel trailer full-time and travel around the country. There are five of us two adults and three toddlers. There are a lot of travel trailers that are 30' and over that I would like to use, but I am unsure what kind of a tow vehicle I would need. I have tried to figure out the GVWR, GCWR, GTW, GAWR, and Tongue weight, but it is all somewhat confusing to me. If there is anyone out there who has a longer travel trailer I would be much obliged to hear your advice.
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Old 08-04-2012, 01:54 PM   #2
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There are many Trucks that would be capable of pulling a 30 plus ft TT but with 3 toddlers are you sure you want to travel FULL TIME with toddlers in a TT? Whenever you are traveling you're all couped up in the truck unless one of you plan on riding in the trailer with the kids(which is illegal in some states). Traveling in a MH(espicially with kids), now that I have done it is WAY nicer. Nobody is cramped, you and the kids can just get up and go to the bathroom if you need to, no need to keep telling them to hold on you'll be to the next rest area in 15 min or longer. The kids are way happier and a lot less cranky because now they can color or play games or lay down and sleep instead of being stuck in a back seat. Just my opinion but with 4 kids ages 24 down to 9 and twin 5 y/o grandsons the traveling experience in the MH beats any and all previous trips hands down. We bought a conversion van new in 2003 and that was the best, most comfortable mode of transportation for long trips with kids for a long time for us. Now with the MH even travelling in the van(long distance) seems out of the question.
I guess if you will be parked in one place for long stretches and not on the road constantly then this isn't much of an issue. Also if you plan on parking the TT and driving around seeing lots of sights then the MH might be a bit of a burden also. In a moderately sized class C(30 ft or so) it's not a big deal driving around in. The big issue is breaking camp. There's also the possibility of pulling a toad but it would need to be a full size to be able to fit you two adults and 3 kids.
You probably thought all this through, I just thought I would point out how much nicer it is travelling(with young kids especially) in a MH.
Good luck whatever way you decide to go.
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Old 08-04-2012, 02:57 PM   #3
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We had a 1989 Avion (silver like and Air Stream only better), 35 feet long, that could easily be towed by a 3/4 ton diesel. The fellow we sold it to is towing with an F150 Ecoboost with the Tow Max package. The problem you will run in to is exceeding the GVWR of the 1/2 ton truck with the high tongue weight of a larger TT and the cargo with all of the kids stuff.

I would suggest a 1 ton crew cab single rear wheel with a cap on the truck to keep your cargo out of the weather.

Additionally, the longer and larger truck will be more comfortable with the crew.

Ken
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:14 AM   #4
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A freightliner p4xl truck should do fine for about all pull campers.
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Old 08-05-2012, 09:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tha_Rooster View Post
A freightliner p4xl truck should do fine for about all pull campers.
I hope that is not a serious reply...

Ken
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:30 PM   #6
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TimandChris,

Yes give us some more info to go on. Stopping only a day or two vs
couple of weeks in one place? Are you looking at new or used??

What is your budget? My 2004 F350 4 dr, 4x4 diesel was about $30K
back in Jan 2007 and I'm into my 2011 Springdale 29 ft for close to $20K
a few months ago.

Is Tim going to be working while on the road?

We need more info to give you an honest opinion.
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:32 PM   #7
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to:Philip.Saran

Our plan is to buy a trailer and truck and get camp host positions at different national parks and campgrounds during the summers. During the winter we are thinking of just driving around staying in different spots for a few months at a time. I am planning on finding jobs in each place we stop, coffee shop and the like. We will have money saved up to live on and buy the trailer and truck. We are looking for something around $15,000 to $25,000.
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Old 08-05-2012, 10:40 PM   #8
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A Ford E350 or Chevy 3500 van would pull a large trailer and have plenty of passenger room for your family.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:00 PM   #9
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Yes a van might be a good solution for a tow vehicle for you, gas
milage may suck pretty bad for a gas motor vs a diesel, do some
hunting and see what is out there for sale.

My diesel truck gets about 17/18 mpg out on the road by itself, add
my TT @ 7700 lbs and the milage drops to 11/13 mpg depending on
how many hills I need to climb.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:32 PM   #10
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I'd suggest a Chevy or GMC passenger van with diesel engine and HD tow pkg. Those are hard to find in your price range. I'd suggest you order a brand new 2013 and go easy on the options. GM 3500 with diesel engine, passenger van vith the fewest seats they will sell you, probably 8 pax, HD towing pkg. Of course you will want dual AC and heat, along with cruise control. Living in the desert, I would insist on privacy glass, or else have an aftermaket outfit add the dark tint to the inside of all the side and back windows.

My internet provided is on the blink, but go to www.kbb.com and build and price the rig and you will know invoice price. Buying price is invoice plus TT&L minus any factory rebates offered on the day you take delivery.

If you find a used one with diesel engine but without the HD tow pkg, you can add the tranny cooler, oil cooler, HD receiver, trailer wiring connector, and brake controller.

Ford and Dodge no longer sell a diesel-powered van, and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter doesn't have enough guts to pull a big TT. So you're pretty much stuck with GM if you get a diesel van. I've hauled kids in both a full-size van and a CrewCab pickup, and the van is much better for the kids.

The big V8 gassers in a van will do the job, but they burn an awful lot of gas, whether Ford or GM. So I'd hold out for a diesel.
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:47 AM   #11
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Finding the right towing combination is important. There's a new site online that is also accessible on smartphones. It's called Before You Buy RV.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:19 AM   #12
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timandchris, let me say first, im jelous! we bought our trailer 3 years ago for the sole purpose of family vacations and camping trips. One day my wife and I realized how fast our kids were growing and we really missed our times camping in an old 64 winnebego. since we bought our 2006 5th wheel, we have had it all over. the redwoods, san fran, tahoe, most of the state parks here in utah. I work full time and I get 5 weeks vacation a year so we spend about a month a year in our trailer. I would LOVE to do what you are getting ready to do! the time you will get to spend with your kids is priceless! I hope you are able to keep us posted on your adventures.
as far as your question.. I would suggest to you a setup similar to what I got, I have no regrets. you dont really need 30ft to get alot of room, we have a 27ft 5thwheel that has a 16ft. slide out. the slide would give you plenty of living space. also, I suggest a bunkhouse model, we have 3 bunks in ours and the kids beds are always made up, and you never have to mess with making up beds at night. The 5th wheel vs. TT is matter of opinion, but I personally would suggest 5th because ease of hooking/unhooking, and they pull so nice. any 4door truck will suit your need, but with how many miles you are planning I would make sure you get a diesel. good luck in your search. make sure to keep us posted. have fun, and safe travels!
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:24 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timandchris View Post
Our plan is to buy a trailer and truck and get camp host positions at different national parks and campgrounds during the summers. We are looking for something around $15,000 to $25,000.
Is your $15K to $25K for both truck and trailer or only the truck?

With a bit of hunting you might be able to find a decent tow
vehicle as example 2000 Ford F350 diesel with under 150K on it
for around $12,000 but that won't leave much for buying a TT.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:35 PM   #14
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I thought my dw and myself did a good job buying our combo. A '99 f350 cc drw v10 with 102,000 miles in immaculate condition (being quite serious here) and a 2008 Sunnybrook 5ver with 2 slides and quad bunks ( also in immaculate condition) for a combined $28k. Both from original owners.

That combo has taken us 5,000 miles in 10 months with no repairs needed in either vehicle other than normal maintenance.

I get around 9 mpg towing.

Trying to do it for less is possible, I guess but maybe sacrifices would be needed. Higher mileage truck, needed repairs, tires, etc.

Good luck and hope you find your dream become a reality.
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