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Old 08-18-2012, 12:10 PM   #1
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Towing and tow vehicle advice

My wife and I are looking at buying a hybrid TT. The dry weight is just under 4200 lbs with the gross weight being just under 5400 lbs. I have been looking at all the towing articles, tow rating charts etc etc. My wife would like to stay away from a truck because the tow vehicle will be her work vehicle (I drive 70 miles round trip to work, she drives 1 mile round trip.) She is just not into driving a truck as her everyday vehicle. All that to say, I have a couple of questions. 1) If we went with a truck what is the best truck to get? Make, model awd, 2wd and we are looking to buy used and 2) if an SUV, what would be a good sub? Is there a simpler way to figure out what would be a vehicle that would tow a 4200 lbs trailer? Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-18-2012, 12:33 PM   #2
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Has your wife ever driven a pick up truck? Most are no different than a car once behind the wheel. The width is probably the same as an SUV, they share the same front sheet metal in many cases. As to length, a 4 door short bed is close to the same length as an SUV too. What ever vehicle you choose, make sure you over estimate the weight you will carry in it before you add on the trailer and make sure you are within limits. I don't think you need the extra expense of a 4 wheel or AWD unless you off road or live in mountainous, snowy environment. Even then, how often will you need 4WD? A couple of times a year? Just call in sick or wait until snow plow passes.
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:01 PM   #3
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I agree that a truck is almost no different than an SUV. Remember you are not towing a 4200# TT but a 5400# TT never go by dry weight. You will need a full size SUV if you go that route. I would have her test drive a truck to see if she likes. You also didn't say your budget on the TV, new or used. But stay away from the smaller SUV's.
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Old 08-19-2012, 01:08 PM   #4
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Most of the current 1/2 ton trucks will work well with that size trailer. You need to be sure that you do get one with the HD towing package and I'd prefer a 3.73 axle.

As noted, the dry weight is a useless number, Once the trailer has options and accessories added nd you camping supplies, it can easily weight 1000# or more.

Figure your hitch weight to be about 12% of the trailers GVWR for estimating purposes.

Ken
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Old 08-19-2012, 09:09 PM   #5
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And when it comes down the buying, you may want to use the Before You Buy RV app that is web based and readable on iOS and Android. Before You Buy RV or Tow Vehicle Compatibility Checker
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post


Has your wife ever driven a pick up truck? Most are no different than a car once behind the wheel. The width is probably the same as an SUV, they share the same front sheet metal in many cases. As to length, a 4 door short bed is close to the same length as an SUV too. What ever vehicle you choose, make sure you over estimate the weight you will carry in it before you add on the trailer and make sure you are within limits. I don't think you need the extra expense of a 4 wheel or AWD unless you off road or live in mountainous, snowy environment. Even then, how often will you need 4WD? A couple of times a year? Just call in sick or wait until snow plow passes.
My wife has driven trucks before. She doesn't mind driving them occasionally. She just doesn't want a truck as her everyday vehicle. No driving or size reason at all Just doesn't want to be a "pick up truck driving g chick" lol...I've been looking at Ford expeditions. What are folks thought on that type of SUV?
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:20 AM   #7
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I agree that a truck is almost no different than an SUV. Remember you are not towing a 4200# TT but a 5400# TT never go by dry weight. You will need a full size SUV if you go that route. I would have her test drive a truck to see if she likes. You also didn't say your budget on the TV, new or used. But stay away from the smaller SUV's.
Our budget is gonna be around 15k to 17k. I am very thorough when it comes to buying a vehicle in regards to its use. That's why I am asking lots and lots and LOTS of questions about TV'S. My wife just doesn't want to drive a truck everyday so the SUV is gonna be the way to go.
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:21 AM   #8
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The Expy is a fine grocery hauler, but it would not be my chioce for a tow vehicel. The suspension is tuned for comfort and is a bit soft. Thigs that you would want to up grade are:
shocks,
P series tires to LT series.
auxillary Transmission cooler

The newer 1/2 ton pick up trucks with a crew cab are very nice and you do no feel you are driving a pick-em-up truck.

If an Expy, get the XL longer wheel base. A longer wheel base will be more comfortable towing.

Ken
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:29 AM   #9
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The Expy is a fine grocery hauler, but it would not be my chioce for a tow vehicel. The suspension is tuned for comfort and is a bit soft. Thigs that you would want to up grade are:
shocks,
P series tires to LT series.
auxillary Transmission cooler

The newer 1/2 ton pick up trucks with a crew cab are very nice and you do no feel you are driving a pick-em-up truck.

If an Expy, get the XL longer wheel base. A longer wheel base will be more comfortable towing.

Ken
Thanks Ken. Is an auxillary transmission cooler in addition to a transmission cooler that's already there?
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:27 AM   #10
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Thanks Ken. Is an auxillary transmission cooler in addition to a transmission cooler that's already there?
With your budget, you're looking at used Expeditions, probably about a 2010 model.

2010 Expeditions come in two flavors; with and without the HD towing pkg. If you can find one with the HD towing pkg, then you're good to go. If not, then you need to add an external oil-to-air heat exchanger (tranny cooler) before you attempt to tow a 5,000 pound TT.

Without the HD towing pkg, the 2010 Expedition can tow a TT weight of up to about 5,000 pounds without exceeding any of the weight limits of the Expy. But that's only with a driver and no passengers. I would not expect one to be both a good SUV and a trailer towing machine for a 5,000 pound trailer. You can haul a wagon full of people or drag a 5,000 pound trailer, but not both at once without exceeding the GVWR of the Expy. So look for one with the HD towing pkg

Whether the normal Expedition or the EL (extended length) version, if you find one with the factory HD trailer tow pkg you can tow a TT weighing up to about 8,000 pounds with a light passenger load with no worry. With your TT that should never exceed 5,400 pounds, you can tow the wet and loaded trailer as well as have a couple of passengers without being overloaded.

The EL version with it's longer wheelbase will be more stable on the road while dragging a TT. So I would want the EL version. But it's not absolutely necessary if you invest in a good weight-distributing hitch.

So if looking for a 2010 Expedition, insist on the factory HD trailer tow pkg and hope you can find an EL model instead of the shorty. If you can find an EL with the HD tow pkg, then your wife will look good in her big safe commuter car, and you will be safe on the road with your trailer towing machine.
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Old 08-21-2012, 04:35 PM   #11
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Thank you Smokey for the information. Now another question(s). When you say a light passenger load would 3 adults and 1 child quailfy as light? Between my wife, 2 kids and myself, we weigh about 530lbs. It is an EL with a HD (I assume HD stands for heavy duty) towing package from the factory, would addind HD shocks make a difference? I have been looking at adds for weight distributing hitches like Hensley and pro pride? These are expensive. Are there other brands that work well but are not as expensive?
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:54 PM   #12
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I'd go with the Reese Dual Cam Straightline hitch for the best bang for the dollar. They are a bit more trouble to install than the regular weight distributing hitch and a lot of dealers will put them down and try to sell the cheaper hitch. They also take a bit more time to set them up properly.

Even with the HD towing package I would put an additional external transmission cooler on the Ford EXPY. The tranny is not the strongest and heat is a killer for a tranny. Keep them cool and keep them happy.

Ken
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Old 08-21-2012, 08:40 PM   #13
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When you say a light passenger load would 3 adults and 1 child quailfy as light? Between my wife, 2 kids and myself, we weigh about 530lbs.
No, that sounds like a normal load for an SUV. With that crew you need the HD towing pkg.

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... would adding HD shocks make a difference?
Not worth bothering with, unless they are air shocks. I wouldn't worry about the shocks until after you have the trailer and SUV loaded for the road and connected with a WD hitch. When the hitch is properly adjusted, if you still have some sag in the rear suspension with headlights aiming at the stars, then I would add air-inflatable shocks in the rear.

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I have been looking at adds for weight distributing hitches like Hensley and pro pride? These are expensive. Are there other brands that work well but are not as expensive?
Reese makes three or four price classes of WD hitches. Stay away from the cheaper Reese hitches and go for the Strait-Line dual cam. I want a ProPride, but until I can afford it I tow my 5,000 pound TT with a Reese Strait-Line.

WD hitches are sized based on both trailer tongue weight (TW) and gross trailer weight (GTW). Ignore the GTW number and buy the one with more than enough TW capacity. For your trailer 600 pounds tongue weight might not be quiet enough, so you should buy one rated for up to 800 pounds tongue weight. (My TT with 5,600 GVWR and actual wet an loaded weight of about 4,900 pounds has a tongue weight over 600 pounds. So my Strait-Line is rated for 800 pounds max hitch weight. Recent towing trips totaling over 5,000 miles indicates I made a good choice.)

Here's a good source for a WD hitch like mine. Again, ignore that 10,000 pound number and notice it has a max of 800 pounds max tongue weight (TW).
Strait-Line Weight Distribution System w Sway Control - Trunnion Bar - 10,000 lbs GTW, 800 lbs TW Reese Weight Distribution RP66083

Notice that one includes the expensive adjustable shank (draw bar) and ball mount, but does not include the ball. So you'll need to add a ball that matches the coupler on your trailer and the hole in the ball mount, and rated for more weight than the GVWR of your trailer.

In the fine print for that hitch description, notice the Reese definition of tongue weight:

"To determine the proper weight rating for a weight-distribution system, you must first determine your trailer's tongue weight. Then add to that the weight of the cargo behind the rear axle of your tow vehicle. These two measurements make up the tongue weight rating for a weight-distribution system."

So you must count any cargo loaded in the tail of the SUV as "tongue weight". Therefore if you have a WD hitch rated for 800 pounds TW and an actual tongue weight of 650 pounds, then, don't load a heavy toolbox in the tail end of the SUV.

The easy way to determine your trailer's actual tongue weight is with a Sherline trailer tongue weight scale. I keep one in my trailer and use it regularly.
Sherline Trailer Tongue Weight Scale - 2,000-lb Capacity Sherline Tools 5780
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Old 08-23-2012, 03:09 PM   #14
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IF you want an suv - consider a Ford Excursion - we just got out of my third one and liked them all... but just like with any used vehicle - do your research !

Now because of the enviro nazis, the most recent one is a 2005 ...
which is the last one I had
Ford : Excursion in Ford | eBay Motors
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