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Old 12-03-2011, 05:47 AM   #1
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What's the best tow vechicle for my travel trailer

My wife is an artist who sells her creations at art shows around the U.S. We've been doing this for several years but are considering a new tow vehicle. Currently we have a 2003 Chevy express 3500 work van pulling our 30 foot Palomino Puma Travel Trailer. The van is packed with from 1500-2000 lbs of material and the trailer weighs around 8,000 lbs fully loaded. I fully understand the formula for determining towing capacity but what I'm looking for is the benefit of your experience. We're willing to go with a pickup truck but there are so many of them it gets really confusing. What do you think would be the best pickup for our purposes (please include model, engine and other pertinent information). Our Chevy has been great but I sense that we are at it's tow/haul limits. Thanks everyone...it's good to be a member here.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:20 AM   #2
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I'm a big fan of my 2002 F350 7.3L diesel dually for towing heavy loads. I regularly tow a 10,000lb load on a flatbed trailer through the mountains, and it has never let me down.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:40 AM   #3
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The Ford E-350 commercial van can be optioned to handle your needs.

Maximum payload 4,050 lbs. (including hitch weight). Take that with a grain of salt, but allowing 2,000 pounds for cargo and 1,000 pounds for hitch weight, that leaves another 1,000 pounds for options, sweetheart, pet(s), cooler, tools, etc. So with reasonable effort you should have no problem staying within the 9,500 pounds GVWR of the van.

Maximum loaded trailer weight 10,000 lbs. Take that with a grain of salt too, but if your trailer grosses 8,000 pounds you should have no problem with the GCWR of 18,500. When the van is loaded to the gills and weighs 9,500 pounds (including 1,000 pounds of hitch weight), your gross combined weight with your 8,000-pound trailer would be only about 16,500 pounds

So order a new 2012 E-350 commercial van and add options to handle your needs as well as your wants. V-10 engine for dragging that trailer over mountain passes. Window van option with privacy glass. Dual cloth captain’s chairs are included in the Interior Upgrade Package, along with front and rear carpeting, full-length headliner and other refinements. High-Series Exterior Upgrade Package includes front and rear chrome bumpers, chrome grille and dual-sealed beam, fixed-lens headlamps, so it doesn't look so "commercial". Be sure to specify the heavy duty towing pkg to have the receiver and wiring and brake controller installed at the assembly plant, so it's ready to tow when you take delivery. And allow your sweetheart to pick the paint color. She doesn't have to settle for white.

2012 Ford E-Series Van Work Trucks | View the Commercial E-Series Cargo Van Available in E-150, E-250 & E-350 Models | Ford.com

Way back when, I ordered a Ford commercial van exactly like I wanted it, then fixed it up with an interior to meet my needs. I ordered the fanciest factory interior and exterior trim in a window van with privacy glass, and Darling Wife chose the tan color. We put over 100,000 miles on that van and really enjoyed it. We lived in Denver at the time, and I frequently hauled kids to the ski slopes in the winter time in that rear-wheel-drive van. Of course I had excellent studded winter tires, but no need for 4x4.

Or if you have settled on a pickup instead of a van, then for a 2,000 pound payload plus an 8,000 pound trailer, the minimum would be an F-350 diesel with single rear wheels. Your cargo weight plus hitch weight rules out an F-150, and even the F-250 diesel CrewCab would probably be overloaded. You obviously don't need 4x4, so I would order a 2012 F-350 4x2 SRW diesel CrewCab with a shorty bed. Put a Leer camper shell over the bed for hauling your cargo out of the weather. The CrewCab is very useful for hauling "stuff" with you inside the cab, even if you don't need the back seats for passengers.

GVWR 11,500 pounds and the wet and loaded truck will weigh around 10,500 including your 2,000 pounds of cargo, leaving you 1,000 pounds for trailer hitch weight. And your 8,000 pound trailer should have a hitch weight of about 1,000 pounds when properly loaded. So you'll be loaded to the gills, but probably not over the GVWR of the tow vehicle.

GCWR 23,500. With your wet and loaded truck grossing 10,500 plus your 8,000 pound trailer you'll be grossing a lot less than 23,500, so you should cruise over interstate mountain passes without realizing your diesel is working hard.

Ford makes the SuperDuty pickups with gasoline engines too, but after 12 years of towing an 8,000-pound trailer with a Ford diesel, I'd want another diesel to tow your 8,000-pound trailer. My trailer grosses only 7,000 pounds, and I don't haul any cargo in the pickup when the trailer is tied on, so for my use the F-150 SuperCrew with EcoBoost engine is all I need.
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:12 AM   #4
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You didn't say a new truck or a used.... If used, stay away from Ford 6.4 diesel motors. The later 2005 -2007 6.0 are ok but will need work to make them reliable. Plan to spend around $3,000 to do so. I hear the newer 6.7 motor is pretty good.

To tow a 30' TT you only need a SWD so any F-250 will do.

I don't know much about Dodge and Chevy so I'll let someone else chime in here. Good luck.
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Old 12-04-2011, 11:45 AM   #5
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To tow a 30' TT you only need a SWD so any F-250 will do.
Only if you think it's okay to be overloaded over the GVWR of the tow vehicle. A 3/4 ton diesel CrewCab 4x4 is probably going to be overloaded with a 30' TT.
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Old 12-04-2011, 02:02 PM   #6
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To tow a 30' TT you only need a SWD so any F-250 will do.

.
he is loading 1500 to 2000# of cargo in the truck before he even attaches the trailer. SO be needs to be very concerned with the trucks GVWr and rear GAWR. A 3/4 ton probably will not be within limits.

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Old 12-04-2011, 02:35 PM   #7
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Only if you think it's okay to be overloaded over the GVWR of the tow vehicle. A 3/4 ton diesel CrewCab 4x4 is probably going to be overloaded with a 30' TT.
Really? His TT is 8000# fully loaded. He loads 1500 - 2000 extra. That adds up to 9,500# - 10,000# fully loaded ready to go. Any F-250 is rated at 10,600 towing. A dually would be overkill and a F-350 SWD has the same towing capacity. What would you like to see him use?
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Old 12-04-2011, 05:01 PM   #8
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Really? His TT is 8000# fully loaded. He loads 1500 - 2000 extra. That adds up to 9,500# - 10,000# fully loaded ready to go. Any F-250 is rated at 10,600 towing. A dually would be overkill and a F-350 SWD has the same towing capacity. What would you like to see him use?
You're confusing tow rating (based on the GCWR of the truck) with payload capacity (based on GVWR of the truck).

GVWR of the F-250 is the problem, not the GCWR. In other words, payload capacity is the problem, not the power and torque of his drivetrain.

Assuming an 11-up CrewCab diesel, his wet and loaded F-250 is going to weigh around 8,500 pounds with a full tank of fuel and his normal stuff and people in the truck. Add 2,000 pounds of cargo in the bed and a camper shell over the bed to protect the cargo, and we're at 10,500 pounds. Now tie onto the trailer that has about 1,000 pounds hitch weight and we're at 11,500 pounds. So his truck is probably going to have around 11,500 pounds on the two truck axles when he gets on the CAT scale. The GVWR of that F-250 is 10,000 pounds. That's why he cannot get by with an F-250. And if his cargo plus camper shell weight is more than about 2,000 pounds, even the F-350 SRW will be overloaded over its GVWR of 11,500 pounds.

Lots of folks don't want to be right up against the weight limit when towing. With the F-350 SRW, he might not be overloaded, but he'd have no wiggle room in case he wants to add a grandkid in the back seat for one trip, or his wife sees a 250 pound gizmo she can't live without and adds it to the cargo in the bed of the truck. Thus the recommendation to go ahead and get a dually. Lots of wiggle room for hauling extra people or gizmos.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:41 AM   #9
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Really? His TT is 8000# fully loaded. He loads 1500 - 2000 extra. That adds up to 9,500# - 10,000# fully loaded ready to go. Any F-250 is rated at 10,600 towing. A dually would be overkill and a F-350 SWD has the same towing capacity. What would you like to see him use?
Technically you may be correct. I have towed our 28' TT with a 91 Dodge and now the 01 Dually. The TT has a GVWR 10400 and about 9K traveling weight. The TT would (at times) push the PU when going into a corner and there were a few times in a hard stop I didn't think I was going to stop in time. Big trucks & MHs would push it around although not bad. I don't have these issues now. The Dually has more weight (better handling) and more tires (same size and better handling). The 91 had such stiff springs that I think you would flatten the tires before compressing the springs too much(no problem there. At times (when we need another bedroom) we take the 8 1/2' Slidein and the TT and don't have any issues. This is not just an opinion but real life experince.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:30 AM   #10
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I have a 3/4 ton Dodge diesel, that I use to pull a 6,000 pull trailer around the country for work. In the truck bed is a 91 gallon fuel tank, and a 200 pound generator. Add the 800 or so pounds of hitch weight and its pretty well loaded. I put 6000 pound overload bushings above the axle so it sits level fully loaded.

I thought I would be saving money by buying a single rear wheel truck, but in the end I just replace the rear tires twice as often as the front. With the weight you are carrying you will be in the same boat. A dually will cut down the tire wear in half, and give you more stability. In the end I am happy with my 3/4 ton since I have modified it to handle the weight. Pulling power is not an issue. It will go as fast as I want it to.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:37 AM   #11
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IIn the end I am happy with my 3/4 ton since I have modified it to handle the weight.
Not directed at you, but for the benefit of the newbies who might be reading this thread - please be aware that whatever modifications one might do to "handle the weight", it will NOT change the manufacturer's vehicle GVWR or GAWR ratings shown on the placard in the driver's door jamb.

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Old 12-05-2011, 11:56 AM   #12
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You're confusing tow rating (based on the GCWR of the truck) with payload capacity (based on GVWR of the truck).

GVWR of the F-250 is the problem, not the GCWR. In other words, payload capacity is the problem, not the power and torque of his drivetrain.

Assuming an 11-up CrewCab diesel, his wet and loaded F-250 is going to weigh around 8,500 pounds with a full tank of fuel and his normal stuff and people in the truck. Add 2,000 pounds of cargo in the bed and a camper shell over the bed to protect the cargo, and we're at 10,500 pounds. Now tie onto the trailer that has about 1,000 pounds hitch weight and we're at 11,500 pounds. So his truck is probably going to have around 11,500 pounds on the two truck axles when he gets on the CAT scale. The GVWR of that F-250 is 10,000 pounds. That's why he cannot get by with an F-250. And if his cargo plus camper shell weight is more than about 2,000 pounds, even the F-350 SRW will be overloaded over its GVWR of 11,500 pounds.

Lots of folks don't want to be right up against the weight limit when towing. With the F-350 SRW, he might not be overloaded, but he'd have no wiggle room in case he wants to add a grandkid in the back seat for one trip, or his wife sees a 250 pound gizmo she can't live without and adds it to the cargo in the bed of the truck. Thus the recommendation to go ahead and get a dually. Lots of wiggle room for hauling extra people or gizmos.
Now we are adding a camper shell, grandkids, gizmos and everything you can think of to justify your opinion.

The curb weight right from Ford for the crew cab is 5991 lbs - 2008 F250 Supercab XLT 4 x 2. With a full tank of fuel, 2 people and supplies (216 for fuel, 300 for people, 2000 for stuff, 2,516 total) winds up at 8,507#.

That's a far cry from what you are talking about. Add in 1000# for the TT and you are at 9,507#. The GVWR is 10,600# Why would he need a camper shell when a topper weighing under 200# would do?

We want to help him out not price him out. I'm all for being safe and towing under spec. but let's get real here. If I'm wrong prove it to me but as far as I can see the 250 will work just fine.
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:12 PM   #13
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And in reply, adding items to the truck to "handle the weight" doesn't mean that i am overloading it to the point if being over weight. I added the items so the rear of the truck doesn't sag. It also makes the truck a lot more stable!
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:02 PM   #14
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Really? His TT is 8000# fully loaded. He loads 1500 - 2000 extra. That adds up to 9,500# - 10,000# fully loaded ready to go. Any F-250 is rated at 10,600 towing. A dually would be overkill and a F-350 SWD has the same towing capacity. What would you like to see him use?
As Smokey has so graciously pointed out, there are TWO part of the towing equation. Part one is combined weight and part two is the ceargo carrying capacity of the tow vehicle.

When you read the fine print under the tow rating there is something to the effect that you are not to exceed any of the ratings...GAWR, GVWR and GCWR. The Tow rating is taken by using a stripped base model truck and subtracting this weight from the GCWR....to get a maximum number, but the trailer will have a tongue weigh of about 12% for travel trailer or 20% for the pin weight on a 5er.

So his 8000# trailer will have a tongue weight of 960# plus his 2000# cargo load for a total cargo weight of up to 2960#. My F350 crew cab dual can only carry about 3000 to 3200# as cargo capacity.

In short, there are lots of dealers and sales people that DO NOT understand how to interpret tow ratings and data.

Ken
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