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Old 04-16-2021, 09:39 AM   #1
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Gas or Diesel for occasional towing?

Right now I have a Sprinter chasis Class B Diesel, no complaints, love the torque on the heavy heavy rig.


I can see the day coming when my wife and I age out of dealing with the relatively cramped quarters (it can be a workout crawling around to make the bed!) and are ready to sacrifice driveability for elbow room and transition to towing a travel trailer.


That transition is probably 4-6 years out, so I don't have any specifics to discuss - this is a pretty general question.


I expect to tow about 10000 lbs with 1000 lb hitch weight. A decent 1/2 ton should do the job.


A lighter gasoline engine will get me 500 or so more lbs of payload vs the same truck with a diesel engine. I know from my current class B experience that I can never have too much payload - cast iron pots add lbs quickly! ;-) Money spent on the truck won't be the deciding factor as far as I can see right now. If I were to go with a gasoline engine it would be an upgraded engine and the remaining cost delta to go to Diesel would not be a reason for me to stay with gasoline. As I see it, its payload vs low end torque and long-term engine life.



My question is whether any of you have line-in-the-sand or litmus-test criteria for when you would use Gasoline vs Diesel. We won't be full time, probably on the road 4 months or so out of the year, and towing 1-2 days out any given week, the rest of the time with the trailer un-hitched, is my current expectation. Cost of the truck aside, would you go gasoline or Diesel?
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Old 04-16-2021, 10:00 AM   #2
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I will chime in and say there are very few 1/2 ton trucks that can comfortably tow 10,000lbs. Maybe a F-150 with the HDPP option.

A travel trailer will have a slide so you will get a lot more space with a walk around queen bed.
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Old 04-16-2021, 10:00 AM   #3
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We have a 41' DP and 24' Class C. The 41 will become too much to drive, too much to maintain. 5 high steps up. Climate is a large consideration.
The 24 was bought to go the AK, ya right, third year can't go. Way too small for permanent full timing.
A travel trailers are the closest to the ground for entry. Usually not many amenities, luxury.
Fifth wheels are many steps up and down also, but have the most livable space. Would have to have a 250 pick up. I really don't want or like driving.
So we would probably park the 41 footer. Paid for, 428sf. Lots of storage, amenities. Keep on fixing as necessary.
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Old 04-16-2021, 10:05 AM   #4
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I think gas is fine and the "line in the sand" you mention is north of 10,000 lbs GVWR for gas vs. diesel and depends on towing frequency as well. OTOH, 10,000 lbs is WAY too much for any half ton truck IMO despite any advertising to the contrary - I have a 6,000 lbs 1/2 ton "line in the sand" and could be convinced to consider maybe another 1,000 lbs but certainly not not 10,000.

The towing capacity issue for 1/2 ton trucks is a frequent topic here and on every other RV forum and group. Typically, 90+% of the people will tell you that a trailer this size is a bad choice for a half ton but eventually someone will chime in and say it's fine....followed by a couple similar responses; I'd suggest avoiding "confirmation bias" and taking only the answer(s) that you want to see.....it's a costly mistake.

I tow my 8,150 GVWR TT with a 1 ton diesel DRW, but it's overkill - my next truck will probably be an F350 w. the 7.3l gas engine as I'm tired of the diesels' repair and operating expenses. An F250 would be lots but since they are the same price here, the 350 is a no-brainer.


2 cents,
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Old 04-16-2021, 11:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Pelletier View Post
I think gas is fine and the "line in the sand" you mention is north of 10,000 lbs GVWR for gas vs. diesel and depends on towing frequency as well. OTOH, 10,000 lbs is WAY too much for any half ton truck IMO despite any advertising to the contrary - I have a 6,000 lbs 1/2 ton "line in the sand" and could be convinced to consider maybe another 1,000 lbs but certainly not not 10,000.

The towing capacity issue for 1/2 ton trucks is a frequent topic here and on every other RV forum and group. Typically, 90+% of the people will tell you that a trailer this size is a bad choice for a half ton but eventually someone will chime in and say it's fine....followed by a couple similar responses; I'd suggest avoiding "confirmation bias" and taking only the answer(s) that you want to see.....it's a costly mistake.

I tow my 8,150 GVWR TT with a 1 ton diesel DRW, but it's overkill - my next truck will probably be an F350 w. the 7.3l gas engine as I'm tired of the diesels' repair and operating expenses. An F250 would be lots but since they are the same price here, the 350 is a no-brainer.


2 cents,
Dave
^ This!

I have an F150 with the 3.5 Ecoboost engine, and yes, it can pull a lot of weight easily. But that soft suspension that makes it ride so nice compared to a 3/4 or 1 ton, and the light weight, make towing anything approaching 10,000 lb a stressful experience. I've had 12,000 lb behind my F150 but that was for only 10 miles - sure wouldn't want to do that for several hundred miles!

So, for my "heavy jobs" truck I also have a Dodge/Cummins dually. The stability of that platform, the stoutness of that drivetrain, makes towing 10,000 lb and even 20,000 lb a stress free non-issue. Remember, you not only have to pull that weight, you have to also slow it down and stop it - critical in an emergency situation.
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Old 04-16-2021, 11:55 AM   #6
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I really appreciate the comments on 1/2 ton pickup towing thresholds - very helpful. Thanks, all.
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Old 04-16-2021, 12:14 PM   #7
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My line in the sand is the 1/2 ton. You couldnít pay me to tow anything with one ever again. They are garbage for towing anything with some weight. Max package blah blah. Get a 3/4 gas minimum. If money is no object Iíd get a 1 ton Cummins and call it a day. The payload is actually about 1000lbs more with a gasser. So the 3/4 ton diesels are really not the best for payload when they kinda max around the 2k mark. So thatís really the choice. 3/4 ton gas or a 1 ton diesel.
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Old 04-16-2021, 12:27 PM   #8
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Gas is fine. 1/2 ton doing it is out of the question.
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Old 04-16-2021, 01:09 PM   #9
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A little perspective on the gas vs Diesel engine. The new gas engines are much more powerful than the diesels were in the early 90s. The hp and torque numbers are very impressive for all of the current trucks. What pulled a 5th wheel in 1991 would be laughed at today.
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Old 04-16-2021, 02:14 PM   #10
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If I wanted to tow a 10,000lb trailer I would buy a 3/4 ton or better yet a 1 ton SRW truck. A GM 2500 HD with the new 6.6 litre gas engine would be high on my list. Same for a F250/350 with the new 7.3 litre (Godzilla) gas engine.

If I was set on a 1/2 ton truck then my options are only two trucks. A F-150 HDPP or a Nissan Titan XD. These are the two most muscled up 1/2 ton trucks available. They have there own special frame and a longer wheelbase to help control the trailer. Both these trucks have stronger axles and higher payload. The Nissan Titan XD is easier (not easy) to find then a F-150 HDPP. My local Nissan dealer only has 1 Nissan Titan XD. My local Ford dealer has 0 F-150 HDPP trucks.

You can Google it YouTube these trucks to see what they are all about.

I would really like to try one of these trucks to tow an 8,000lb trailer but I chickened out an bought an easier to find F-250.
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Old 04-16-2021, 03:33 PM   #11
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Gas is fine for a 10k trailer (but at least a 3/4 ton).

Brother inlaw had a old 1/2 ton silverado and his ~7500lb camper. Talk about white knuckle driving that thing. He upgraded to a 3/4 ton (well, it's still a chevy so not really an upgrade IMO) and while it drinks the go fast juice up hill quickly, it works for him.

I switched my truck out for a 1 ton DRW CTD. I was fine towing my 10k trailer with a old 3/4 ton gasser, only upgraded to the 1ton dually diesel since we want a bigger camper down the road.
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Old 04-16-2021, 03:43 PM   #12
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It seems like a cruel joke that 3/4 ton trucks with the biggest payload have the smallest engines and the high torque diesels have the least. I am very happy with my diesel and the mpg I get with it. I have a lot more range than I would with gas. I understand that some people just don't like diesels but they will pull better than gas.
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Old 04-16-2021, 03:47 PM   #13
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I am in the camp of getting a 3/4 ton (F250 or 2500) for towing anything over about 7500#. Most of the 1/2 ton trucks are grocery and weekend mulch haulers.

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Old 04-16-2021, 04:17 PM   #14
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capt who is correct about diesel. It tows better than gas plus gives much better solo mpg.

The downside of diesel is the emissions systems. It is the most complex system and most likely to break on the truck. If you ever saw a diesel 'blowing coal' that soot has to be cleaned up with the emissions systems. That almost seems impossible to me, but all manufacturers figured out a way to do it.
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