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Old 12-12-2015, 11:09 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by drittal View Post
Ok, here is my $.02.

I wouldn't go 350/3500 or even 250/2500 unless you have a future possibility of moving up to a larger TT. A 1ton diesel is going to be so much overkill for your current needs it's funny.

Your plan to tow every 2-3 months, rest of time empty. I don't see why a capable 1/2 ton is being ruled out.
...
The biggest thing is no matter what truck you go with don't skimp on a weight distribution hitch. Get a good one with built in sway control. ...

I doubt I'll upsize the TT anytime soon (actually the one I have is probably a bit big for just me and the dog). The original plan was for a 1/2 ton, but so many on this site seem to jump down the throat of anyone towing with those. I read so many comments about awful, white knuckle rides and 5 mph uphill straining engines that it worried me. The 3/4 ton is mostly for peace of mind. And just in case I ever DO decide to upsize.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:20 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by b105 View Post
I doubt I'll upsize the TT anytime soon (actually the one I have is probably a bit big for just me and the dog). The original plan was for a 1/2 ton, but so many on this site seem to jump down the throat of anyone towing with those. I read so many comments about awful, white knuckle rides and 5 mph uphill straining engines that it worried me. The 3/4 ton is mostly for peace of mind. And just in case I ever DO decide to upsize.
There would not be a lack of power issue with the hemi 8pd, 6.2 8spd or the ecoboost. The EB is as close to diesel without being a diesel you can get.

The HD/SD lines with gas motors are quite a bit heavier, taller, and have less efficient drivetrain.

But stepping up isn't a bad idea, especially if you do upgrade in the future.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:21 AM   #17
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Well, there are a good number of people (including myself) that can dispell a LOT of the myths about half ton towing. I did it for quite a while, happily, and the only time it was sketchy was heavy cross winds. Those will make any truck feel sporty. We got broadsided by an 80kmph gust and that is what forced our hand since we were sitting on a great deal at the moment and planned on upgrading trailers and moving to full time farming. Our travel trailer is pretty much identical to yours and the half ton manhandled it like nothing. The power in the half tons is nose to nose with the gas 3/4 tons. We have a large family though (north of 1100lbs body weight) so a 3/4 ton makes more sense.

I was going to mention half tons, but you didn't seem interested. I would really encourage you head over to some of the brand forums for each and gather some info. Don't let the naysayers bring you down or talk you into something you really don't need. The more I read, the more (in my eyes) a half ton makes sense for you rather than a 3/4 ton.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:40 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by b105 View Post
I read so many comments about awful, white knuckle rides and 5 mph uphill straining engines that it worried me. The 3/4 ton is mostly for peace of mind. And just in case I ever DO decide to upsize.
The thing about the half ton pickups is the hitch weight. Their cargo numbers are sometimes abysmal, making some of them not much good for anything more than a heavy load of groceries.

But, since, as you say, it's just you and the dog, a half ton, properly built with towing the hitch weight you will need in mind, and no thoughts of a larger trailer in your future, may work out just fine.

However, you may then find that a 3/4 ton truck is not much more expensive than a nice 1/2 ton, and you will have the added benefit of higher cargo capacity in the 3/4 ton truck, keeping you further away from the cargo limit when you hang a trailer off the back of the vehicle.

It's time you start looking at numbers.

2016 Ford F-150 Full Size Pickup Truck | Capacity Specifications | Ford.com
I can't point you to a site like the above for Chevy because I can't find one.
2016 Ford F-150 Full Size Pickup Truck | Capacity Specifications | Ford.com
For other brands, just google "Toyota pickup cargo capacity", replacing the brand name with whoever you want info about.

It's easy to get a truck that will tow your trailer (Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating, or GCVWR), but a trailer uses cargo capacity and eats into the capacity of the truck alone (GrosS Vehicle Weight Rating, GVWR). Don't get fooled by high towing capacity numbers, you're not going anywhere near there. All the things in the truck, including fancy electronics, heated seats, and the things you add to the truck, lights, brush bars, roll bars, gas, groceries, gennies, firewood, etc., all eats into the GVWR of the truck itself. That is where 1/2 ton truck owners get themselves in trouble.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:43 AM   #19
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The only reason I went 3/4 ton was for the Cummins engine I have and the extra cargo capacity margin. I have a nice ride going down the road when towing, and I live out west, so the exhaust brake is very handy.

No one, that I have ever heard, has ever complained about having too much truck.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:48 AM   #20
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^^^ Good post S.o.W. ^^^

A lot of success or failure of a half ton towing starts with many plain and simple over load their 1/2t, improperly load their trailer, improperly set up their WDH.

I can attest for fact a 10k 30' toy hauler max with too little tongue weight and no sway control will make a 3/4t almost undrivable over 50mph. It would even make a 3500 diesel DRW sway.
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Old 12-12-2015, 12:00 PM   #21
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Congrats on the decision to start traveling! My wife is currently on her first assignment as a traveling nurse here in beautiful Lake Havasu. And welcome to the forum!

You mentioned not getting a brand new vehicle. As has already been mentioned, the new diesels will not fare as well being driven for very short trips due to the emissions equipment. You could look for a pre-2007 3/4 or 1-ton diesel (preferably Ram or Chevy. The Ford 6.0 has a very profound reputation, but not one that anyone would want) and it would serve you well for your situation. The caveat with those trucks will be finding one that hasn't been chipped to death. If you go that route definitely spend a couple bucks to have a diesel mechanic do a thorough inspection. If the seller isn't willing to allow that, walk away.

Good luck!!!
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Old 12-12-2015, 12:03 PM   #22
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Situation: My TT is a 26 ft, 5100 lb (dry) 2003 Keystone Outback. Within the next year or so I plan to start travel nursing, which means I'd haul the TT to wherever, park it for 1-3 months, then rinse and repeat.
So you plan to be a "full timer" RVer. That means that when you move the trailer, both the trailer and the tow vehicle (TV) are going to be loaded to the max. So your limiter will probably be the payload capacity of your tow vehicle. In other words, your main criteria is the hitch weight (tongue weight) of the trailer plus the additional weight of stuff in the tow vehicle. You also need a TV with enough power to tow that trailer over hill and dale without straining the TV.

So you need a tow vehicle that has enough payload capacity to haul the tongue weight of your trailer, plus the other stuff you'll haul in the TV.

Your trailer probably has GVWR around 7,000 pounds or more. (I cannot find the GVWR of a 2003 Outback with dry weight of 5,100.) Tongue weight of a wet and loaded RV trailer is about 13% to 14% of gross trailer weight. So if you load the trailer to the max of about 7,000 pounds, your tongue weight will be about 900 to 1,000 pounds. That takes a big chunk out of your available unused payload capacity.

With you and your stuff in the TV, and the trailer loaded to 7,000 pounds, only a very few and very special half-ton pickups can handle that load without being overloaded. You would almost certainly have to factory-order the new TV to get the correct options to meet your needs. The only one I know of is the Ford F-150 with 3.5L EcoBoost engine and heavy duty payload package. That will probably do the job without being overloaded when you move, but you won't find one on dealer lots. You probably have to order it and wait 6 weeks to two months for it to be delivered to your Ford dealer. If you settle for a half-ton without the HD payload package, you're going to be overloaded when you move the trailer between jobs.

So your best bet is to go to a three-quarter-ton, or even better is a so-called one-ton with single rear wheels (SRW). The shorty bed is fine for towing your Outback, so there should be lots of options in stock at your local dealers. For the one-ton SRW, you may have to order to get the options you are willing to pay for, but I would plan ahead and order exactly what I want and need for towing a 7,000-pound trailer. I'd want an F-350 SRW with gas engine and 4.30 electronic locking (EL) axle.

The gas engine in a one-ton SRW is all the power you need for dragging a 7,000-pound TT. I'm a diesel fan, but for you I would recommend the 6.2L gas engine with the best rear axle ratio for dragging that TT - 4.30 EL. With that axle you'll get a bit less MPG when not towing, but when towing you'll be glad you have it. And no, you won't get great MPG with any tow vehicle that will easily tow your wet and loaded trailer.

The EL axle means you can get by with a 4x2 and not have to have a 4x4 for comfortable driving in snow, ice or muddy roads. I've been towing for over 60 years, and have never owned a 4x4. But I really love my EL axle compared to the old Positraction (limited slip) axles I've owned.

A diesel engine is best for towing, but it will require expensive frequent oil changes if you use it for short commutes of less than about 10 miles. You must get the motor oil hot enough to burn off any condensate water or unburned fuel before you kill the engine every time. In wintertime, that means a minimum of about 20 to 30 miles every time you crank the engine.

If your commuting MPG is important, then I'll agree with those who advise you to get a mini-motorhome and drag a small toad (towed vehicle) when moving. The toad can be optioned to get fantastic MPG when commuting, but it won't pull a hair out of a rat's patootie. Check out the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic sedan as suitable toads. Smaller or less expensive toads are much less desirable.
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Old 12-12-2015, 12:14 PM   #23
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You must get the motor oil hot enough to burn off any condensate water or unburned fuel before you kill the engine every time. In wintertime, that means a minimum of about 20 to 30 miles every time you crank the engine.
A weekly longer trip where the oil warms up to about 200F and stays right about there for a good amount of time is OK. My oil never gets hot enough to vaporize diesel fuel that might be in my oil, but it does get hot enough to "burn off" water, and the acid by-products of combustion that love water.

If I'm taking a short trip, I keep the revs up around 2K or a little higher to get good combustion chamber temps. Blackstone Labs tells me that seems to be working OK for the 30K miles engine I had at last oil change. I run 15K between changes, so time will tell if this is good practice.

Driving a diesel requires knowledge of it's differences, and how to keep it happy.

If the OP gets a pick up, gas would be my choice for a near full time commute and grocery vehicle that spends less than 10% of it's life towing the home around.
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Old 12-12-2015, 02:12 PM   #24
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A properly configured half-ton will do the job. My 5.3l Sierra is rated at 10,900 lbs and feels fine with a 6000-6500 trailer. Ford also has a tow package that adds to the payload and towing capacity.

Your problem may be finding a used 1/2 ton truck with the proper towing package.

A used 3/4 ton will be easier to find.
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Old 12-12-2015, 02:33 PM   #25
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The original plan was for a 1/2 ton, but so many on this site seem to jump down the throat of anyone towing with those. I read so many comments about awful, white knuckle rides and 5 mph uphill straining engines that it worried me.
That is the unfortunate downside to many forums. Everybody is an expert and strongly opinionated. Sometimes militantly. As much as I enjoy the forums, the RV forums especially seem to swing with the attitude that anything larger than a lawnmower requires an MDT or at least a diesel dually.

My opinion is as stated, but only seat time will tell you. Given your unladen time- a PROPERLY equipped half ton will do the job and yield far better mileage unladen. Any of the manufacturers have half tons more than capable- in spec too- to handle that load and more. Just don't gravitate to the luxury wall street trims
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Old 12-12-2015, 02:44 PM   #26
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ok b105,,, I'll throw in my pennies worth... This is all due to you not wanting to go in debt with a "New" truck... Totally understand that. A gas motor will do you fine. Get a 3/4 ton truck, You'll be much more at ease while pulling your TT. Fuel mileage won't vary much at all between a 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton truck with the same motor. If you watch the weather, you shouldn't need a 4x4... If possible, I'd stay in the 30-50 thousand mileage or less on a used gas truck. Look in the bed of the truck. If it had (or has) a goose neck or 5th wheel hitch, that tells you it has been "used" ... I'd probably steer clear... Get a used one that is "Stock"... No lift kits, big mudder tires,, etc... I'd personally stay with the Big Three,,, Chevy Ford Dodge for a "real" truck. Just my opinion... If you buy from a dealer, don't be afraid to walk away... We saved over $2000 on our new Silverado 2500 a couple months ago by walking out... They called before we got home... Might work on a used one too... Good luck to you,,, and yes we got a crew cab so our Danes can ride in the truck ....
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Old 12-12-2015, 03:08 PM   #27
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IMHO:

I would say the best gasoline engine in a 3/4 ton truck is the Ram 6.4 litre engine. The best towing engine in a 1/2 ton truck is the Ford 3.5 litre eco-boost engine.

A 3/4 ton truck with an 6.5' bed with a cap over the bed can help carry much of the full time stuff.

Just so you know a 1/2 ton truck weighs approx. 5,500lbs. While a 3/4 ton or 1 ton SRW truck will weight 7,500lbs. So you can see that a 3/4 ton truck is a lot more truck.
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Old 12-12-2015, 03:25 PM   #28
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IMHO:

I would say the best gasoline engine in a 3/4 ton truck is the Ram 6.4 litre engine. The best towing engine in a 1/2 ton truck is the Ford 3.5 litre eco-boost engine.

A 3/4 ton truck with an 6.5' bed with a cap over the bed can help carry much of the full time stuff.

Just so you know a 1/2 ton truck weighs approx. 5,500lbs. While a 3/4 ton or 1 ton SRW truck will weight 7,500lbs. So you can see that a 3/4 ton truck is a lot more truck.
Yes,,, I agree... The Dodge 6.4 was designed from the ground up as a "truck" engine... I did a lot of research,, as a for ever Dodge guy,,, but am loving my 2500 Silverado 2500 4x4 Duramax. (diesel) We plan on someday traveling more pulling a TT or 5th wheel, and since I'm a trucker, I wanted the diesel.. But to the OP, again I think a gas motor would do you fine on a lighter TT like you have.... And you are correct,,, my 4x4 Chevy diesel weighs 7760 lbs fuel fuel with me in it... That to the OP means wind won't push your light 1/2 ton truck around as much as a heavier one,,, not to mention ALL the suspention, drivetrain, cooling etc is heavy duty....
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