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Old 02-04-2016, 07:47 PM   #15
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We have done Alaska annually since 2007. We were residents from the mid '60's to 1980. We have seen the road in a variety of ages and conditions. The first trailer was a Nash 7,000lb and the truck was a Hemi gasser, 7 to 8 mpg. Went to a 3/4T diesel and got 13 mpg.

For the AF 27, go with a 1 ton short bed diesel. You will get much better mileage, better performance on hills going up, a variable turbo to provide serious engine braking on the downhill. I am partial to a 2012 Ram as there is no DEF, and Transfer Flow has a 60 gallon replacement fuel tank. Your choice may vary.

You are going to put 10 to 12,000 miles a year on this combo towing, more if you do Texas, more if you move during the winter. Focus on the towing. It will be at least half your miles. The downhill control is well worth it.

Given the miles you are putting on it, upgrade the suspension and the tires. In the alternate, park the trailer in AZ or TX and just drive back and forth.

Have a great time, whatever you do.
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:03 PM   #16
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I don't know you. I don't know what your expectations really are. I don't know what you can, or want to, afford. I can only say that if you are going to be driving a fifth wheel around the West Coast, modern diesels with integrated engine brakes are so nice to drive up and down mountain passes.

You mentioned that you wold be more likely to choose diesel if you drove around a lot. Isn't driving down to the Lower 48 a lot of driving? If you go further than the northern border states (guaranteed if you are snow-birding) I don't think there is anyone that cold rationally say you aren't driving a lot just to get to your warmer destination.

Again, I'm not gonna tell you how to spend your money. It sounds to me like you are going to spending the majority, or at least right around half the time your are driving, towing. You should really consider a good modern diesel for that task and then also drive it casually for sightseeing, etc.

I do, and it's working out very well for me so far. If diesel prices keep going down, it works out even better than it has already.

Good luck, you'll enjoy the freedom and "go where we want when we want and stay as long as we want" of the lifestyle.
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:24 PM   #17
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I see they're addressing diesel.
"Gasser, one ton, single rear wheel, short bed, 4x4 with a super cab."

Be aware that short bed and super cab will very likely mean that you need a slider hitch. If you're the least bit forgetful or value your truck/rv, you'll want an auto-slider.... (This is the downside of the short bed)


Likely throw the factory RV tires away... That's the first thing we did with ours when towing to MI from TX.
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Old 02-04-2016, 10:06 PM   #18
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Northwood Arctic Fox comes with Goodyear marathons.
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Old 02-05-2016, 09:25 AM   #19
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Northwood Arctic Fox comes with Goodyear marathons.
He might actually be better with China bomb tires than Goodyear Marathons . I'd upgrade to a LT tire with an E or G load rating.
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Old 02-05-2016, 09:31 AM   #20
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Opinions on switching to LT tires on a trailer by an industry expert.
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Old 02-05-2016, 09:57 AM   #21
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I took a quick look at the 2016 Ford Towing Guide just to make sure, but you're limited to 12,200lbs with the gas engine with the 4.33 axle, and over 15k lbs. with the diesel.
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Old 02-05-2016, 08:39 PM   #22
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OP here. The reason for gas over the diesel is run time. From my understanding, diesel does not like short trips, it likes long trips. After the 5er is parked what do you guys do for the little trips to the store or wherever, the ones that are less than 30 min. round trip? Do you see what I'm getting at? How are you guys running your diesel rigs when not towing or driving 50 miles at a time? Any problems?
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Old 02-05-2016, 09:19 PM   #23
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Not just diesels, but any engine needs to often get up to full operating temp before you kill the engine. "Short trips" are trips that don't last long enough to get the engine oil up to operating temp so it can boil off contamination caused by incomplete combustion of a cold engine. Diesels cause a lot more incomplete combustion when cold than gas engines, so that's probably why you hear more about diesels not liking short trips. If you must drive frequent short trips, than at least once a week you need to take the truck out and get it hot - as in climbing a steep grade with lots of boost and EGT required. Even better is to tie onto a heavy trailer and drag it up a steep grade until the coolant thermostat opens.

And if you use the diesel truck as a short-trip grocery getter in the wintertime, then change the oil and filter about twice as often as when towing. The products of incomplete combustion also contaminates the oil, so you want to get that oil out of the engine often.

Wintertime is worse than other times of the year. In wintertime, I made sure I tied onto the 5er and drug it at least 20 miles one way to Midland at least once a month

I live 3.5 miles from a small town where my Ford dealer and tire store and lube & oil changer and truck stop and small supermarket are located. Usual round trip was less than 10 miles, and I drove the diesel pickup to town often. I put 200,000 miles on that truck in a little over 10 years, with no problems at all caused by short trips. Of course, about half those miles were working the truck hard dragging my 5er from coast to coast and everywhere in between.

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Old 02-05-2016, 09:28 PM   #24
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Thank-you for both of your detailed answers! I haven't been completely convinced on the dually yet, but I am sliding a little towards the diesel, just a little.
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Old 02-05-2016, 09:44 PM   #25
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My 2007 3500 with 5.9L Cummins Diesel tows a 14K 5vr and is daily driver.

Winter takes 12 miles for ALL temps to be in normal operating range (engine coolant, tranny oil)

Your choice in 5vr is good one.
A short bed 4X4 SRW Diesel will be a good tow/daily driver

Not an issue......
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:21 PM   #26
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Or, you could plug it in and the coolant would be warm when you start it, assuming diesel trucks still come with heaters installed. My old 5.9 Cummins did, although I didn't use it much, and I added one to the Perkins which was difficult to start in the winter. I wired it up to a timer which it fried, then used a water heater timer which worked for years. It was set to come on a couple of hours before I went to work.

I ran both trucks to work for years, about a 4-5 mile trip one way. It didn't seem to hurt them. Now the Cummins seems to just sit with the camper on most of the time. I try to start it up and go for a drive every month or so, which in my mind is worse for it than the 4-5 mile short trips.

Please don't get me wrong, I agree that the best thing is a longer trip with the thing working in order to get rid of moisture, etc. It just seems like that never happened for me.

I would certainly agree with the choice of diesel over gas.

Just my 2c.

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Old 02-06-2016, 11:20 AM   #27
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Or, you could plug it in and the coolant would be warm when you start it, assuming diesel trucks still come with heaters installed.
Per the 2015 Ford SuperDuty order guide for trucks delivered to dealers in the USA, the so-called engine block heater is standard for trucks ordered in the colder states, and optional for trucks ordered for states with milder climates. That's true for SuperDuty trucks since at least the '99 model year. I wanted the engine block heater, so I ordered it as an option on my '99.5 delivered to my dealer in Texas. Ford's definition of cold states were:

AK, CO, IA, ID, ME, MI, MT, ND, NH, NY, SD, VT, WI, AND WY.

Nope, trucks ordered by dealers in Texas, even those that live at the north pole area north of Lubbock, have to add the optional engine block heater, even on a diesel engine. Dad used to say that the only thing between Amarillo and the North Pole was a barbed wire fence, so that north wind came pounding down on those folks in the Texas Panhandle. But I guess Ford doesn't agree that the engine block heater should be standard for trucks delivered to Amarillo.

For you Canuks, I don't know but I'll bet the engine block heater is standard for Ford SuperDuty trucks delivered to Canadian dealers.

On '99.5 F-250 diesel, the heating element was in a coolant jacket in the base of the oil filter. That's near, but not in, the engine block. So "block heater" is a misnomer. Some folks thought it was bathed in motor oil because it was in the base of the oil filter, but it wasn't. It was bathed in coolant that circulated through the block of the engine and the engine oil cooler which connected to the base of the oil filter.

If you want an F-150 instead of a SuperDuty, the engine block heater is standard and only available to dealers in AK, MN, ND, MT. WI and WY. Available in other states only for fleet orders.
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Old 02-06-2016, 11:26 AM   #28
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OP here. The reason for gas over the diesel is run time. From my understanding, diesel does not like short trips, it likes long trips. After the 5er is parked what do you guys do for the little trips to the store or wherever, the ones that are less than 30 min. round trip? Do you see what I'm getting at? How are you guys running your diesel rigs when not towing or driving 50 miles at a time? Any problems?
The daily driver is a 1 ton long bed dually 4wd diesel. It has 100,000 miles, gets the oil changed on schedule. About 28,000 0f those miles are towing. Parking at the store is not an issue, but we do not live in a truly urban area. The daily before that was a 3/4 ton diesel short bed with about 110,000 miles at trade-in. VW and others sell diesels as the family car. Short trips are not a big issue, unless that is all you do, and you clearly plan on 10,000+ miles towing. I use that number because our trip to the Kenai is 2,700 to 3,000 miles and Arizona is about 1,500 or more from here, depending on route.

The dually will give you a LOT more stability and control towing. The widest part of any truck is the mirrors. If you tear them off regularly, avoid a dually, else, seriously consider one for the stability.

Hope you have as much fun at this as we do.
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