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Old 11-19-2013, 11:19 AM   #1
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What tow vehicle to buy

We are looking at retiring soon and doing a lot of traveling. Plan on traveling up north, maybe driving to Alaska. Haven't bought a vehicle or trailer but looking at 5th wheels about 40ft plus with approx 16k-17k GVWR, 14k-16k dry weight and hitch weight approx 2600-3000. Thinking about 1 ton diesel. Wondering if we need 2wd or 4 wd and/or dually. Would like as much input as possible, pros and cons, mpg while towing, comfort, etc. Right now leaning toward GMC but could change our minds.
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:23 PM   #2
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You will get differing opinions. A dually will definitely give you more stability when towing a big 5'r. We are on our 2nd truck and had 4wd on both. You don't use it very often but when you need it, you really need it, muddy conditions or just backing up a big 5'r into a site that's slightly uphill. We have a 2012 Ford F350 dually with 4wd, we usually get 11 mpg when towing our 19,400 lb 5'r, unless there is a headwind. The newer trucks have good features like lumbar support, heated seats, individual heating or ac. We have driven a dually 1 ton truck for 7 1/2 years as our only vehicle. It's a little harder to park but we just park further out in the parking lot and walk a bit more, it's good for you! All brands of the newer trucks are rated to tow more weight, we had a Dodge Ram before and bought the Ford because we got a great deal. Check your weights carefully, a 40 ft plus 5'r may weigh more than 16 or 17k. The truck itself will weight 8 to 9k (depends on what you carry in it). You may think you need all that space but it's very doable in a smaller 5'r. You will be limiting the parks you can get into with a rig that big. Do lots of research, read a lot of rv forums and talk to a lot of people (not salesmen), don't drive yourself crazy but look at a lot of options.
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:38 PM   #3
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Good luck with your search.
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:02 PM   #4
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If you're looking at 40'+ 5th wheels, I would be anticipating a GVWR closer to 19K-20K if you're looking at upper-end brands. Our kids just bought a 2011 36SBTK3 Mobile Suites (nominally, by model nomenclature, a 36' 5th wheel, although actual length measurement is 37'11", IIRC) for full-timing, and it has a GVWR of 18,500 lbs.

This will, at a minimum, require a newer 1-ton dually, and even then, you may have to order it with the maximum towing package to get the axle ratio, suspension (and, thus, GCWR, GVWR and GAWR ratings) you need for this job. Personally, since you're starting from scratch, I would strongly recommend sizing your trailer and tow vehicle so that you can tow without exceeding ANY of the manufacturer's ratings for the tow vehicle (as far as the manufacturers are concerned, this is a requirement.)

Those of us in the south manage quite nicely without 4WD. I've been towing with 2WD duallies since 1996 and have never been stuck or unable to navigate our 5th wheel anywhere I wanted to go. Having said that, if you intend to go off-road with the truck, drive it in severe winter conditions, etc., then go with the 4WD. Basically, if you need it, then get it; if you don't, there are advantages to a 2WD truck for a tow vehicle besides the lower price, lower height, lighter weight, better handling and fuel mileage and lower maintenance requirements.

There are a number of tools in the sticky thread at the top of this forum to assist you in sizing your 5th wheel and tow vehicle. If you have any questions, there are a lot of members here that are willing to help. Good luck in your search, and enjoy the shopping and looking process.

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Old 11-19-2013, 01:47 PM   #5
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Welcome to IRV2! It's great to have you join the gang!

Hope you find the right 5er for your needs! Enjoy the forum!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:07 PM   #6
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Wow, go big or go home.

You will need a 1 ton dually for sure. But for the price of a truck(approx $50k) and travel trailer in that size(probably $40-$60k on the low end). You could get something like a Thor Super C 36ft Rv and tow around a small car like a chevy sonic or fiat 500. That's a little easier to find parking if you plan on exploring big cities as well.

Also keep in mind, that RV's that big are hard to get into many national parks camp sites due to length.
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:13 AM   #7
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I believe a 4x4 dually just saved my life. after being cut off on a merge, by a drunk speeding driver The wider stance helped me keep driving through a multiple vehicle pile up and being impacted twice from the initial vechile and the second from a well loaded one ton that was trying to dodge the cause of the accident as he noticed a baby in a car seat. The dually definetly keeps you stable, adios great 2002 7.3. The 40' crumple zone worked.
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:56 AM   #8
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What Rusty said again.

We have towed many miles with our 2 wheel drive duallies and never felt the need for the 4 wheel drive. It is just an extra expense, weight and maintenance for me.

The myth of you cannot drive a dually on snow unless it is 4 wheel drive is just that, a urban myth. We lived in NE Oklahoma and I drove my 2 wheel drive dually as a daily driver in the ice and snow. Granted we did not get a lot of snow, but never the less, we got snot and ice. I carried about 300 or 400 # on sand in bags directly over the rear axle and never had an issue.

But a recent properly equipped DRW,1ton should fit the bill. My 2012 Ford DRW is rated fro 30,000 GCWR and 13,300# GVWR.

You need to be aware that some states will require and advanced drivers license above the normal passenger car license if you are rated over 26,000# GCWR.

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Old 11-20-2013, 10:48 AM   #9
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Old 11-20-2013, 06:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letsgo4aride View Post
We are looking at retiring soon and doing a lot of traveling. Plan on traveling up north, maybe driving to Alaska. Haven't bought a vehicle or trailer but looking at 5th wheels about 40ft plus with approx 16k-17k GVWR, 14k-16k dry weight and hitch weight approx 2600-3000. Thinking about 1 ton diesel. Wondering if we need 2wd or 4 wd and/or dually. Would like as much input as possible, pros and cons, mpg while towing, comfort, etc. Right now leaning toward GMC but could change our minds.
Since you are looking at traveling a lot, I would be looking at a dually. Im biased to Ford and would recommend that truck. If you suspect you will need 4x4, it is cheap to get it on the first purchase. Not sure about the other manufactures but Fords 4x4 system is totally disconnected from the front wheels until you need it. This helps with less wear and tear on those components because they are not moving and no parasitic driveline loss. The 6.7L diesel and 6R140 have been solid performers with over 500,000 sold since 2011. If you can wait a few months longer, the 2015 Superduty will be released with increased power and towing ratings. Ford is advertising to be class leading with all the ratings.
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Old 11-21-2013, 07:35 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by letsgo4aride View Post
Wondering if we need 2wd or 4 wd and/or dually.
You definitely need a dually, and not just any dually but one that has at least 28k GCWR and 13k GVWR. A new Ford dually with diesel engine has GVWR of 30k and GVWR of 15k, so that will work nicely for your 18k 5er.

Whether you need 4x4 depends on how good a driver you are. I'm an excellent driver, and I don't need 4x4. I've lived for over 27 years in snow country of Maine, Nebraska, and Colorado and never owned a 4x4 of any kind. But most folks need 4x4 if they have to drive in snow or ice or mud.

In addition to driving in the slicky stuff, 4x4 is nice to have because of the 4x4 low range. You use that low range any time you back the trailer up a grade, in a campground, or even at home if the parking place for the 5er requires you to back up a grade to get it parked. Backing a heavy trailer up a steep grade can cook the tranny in a heartbeat, so without 4x4 low range, you must have an excellent tranny temp gauge and watch it like a hawk when backing the trailer.

But 4x4 is expensive, both to buy and to maintain, and it has slightly lower MPG than the same truck with 4x2. The 4x4 drivetrain weighs about 400 pounds more than the 4x2 drivetrain, so hauling that extra 400 pounds around all the time is going to cost you at least some fuel. I'm a cheapskate, so I've never bought a 4x4. I earned an MBA from a good school, so I'm well aware of cost effectiveness. And I've never determined that 4x4 was cost effective for me. But for most folks it might be. Your call.
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Old 11-21-2013, 09:14 AM   #12
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Get the Ram 3500 DRW. It out pulled the F450 in the latest tests.
http://special-reports.pickuptrucks....s-results.html
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:24 AM   #13
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Get the Ram 3500 DRW. It out pulled the F450 in the latest tests.
King of Beasts: Results - PickupTrucks.com Special Reports

Until this spring.

2015 Ford Super Duty Leaves the Competition Behind - YouTube
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:30 AM   #14
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Frankly, any of the big 3's current model 1-ton diesel duallies that have the GCWR, GVWR and GAWR ratings you require will make a fine tow machine. We all have brand preferences, but brand wars don't help the OP and, by the way, are not allowed by iRV2's Community Rules. Let's not let this thread degrade into that quagmire.

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