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Old 05-07-2021, 06:46 AM   #1
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Help finding a tow vehicle

Hi everyone, I'm new here and looking for assistance. We are brand new to this and took the leap and bought a 2020 Grand Designs Imagine 2450BL. We do not yet have a tow vehicle, and we've never even owned a truck before. If you are willing I'd love any assistance in choosing a tow vehicle.


This TT is about 30 feet long and about 6000lbs empty/dry. I was hoping to spend $20-25K on a used truck but will go higher if necessary.

Also, would like to add that a Crew Cab is a requirement.

I've been researching the topic but it can be quite confusing. Firstly, based on my research, it seems many think it's OK to use a properly equipped half ton truck for this TT, but many others suggest 3/4 ton.


Looking at used F-150's on autotrader is difficult because it seems many listings are incomplete about installed options. For the F-150 I am looking for the 3.5L ecoboost and max towing package.


Shopping for F-250's and F-350's seems easier because there are fewer options and it is less likely I would choose the wrong truck.


I'm not restricting my choices to Ford but it seems Ford's reputation for trucks is good, and so far that's where I've spent most of my research.


I'm in the Dallas, TX area. To start with, any thoughts on this for a TV?


https://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-...ngId=584402212
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:07 AM   #2
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Congrats on getting a camper. Since you are new to camping I would get a 3/4 ton truck. The reason why is that it will be a lot more comfortable tow. The F150 will tow it but sway will be an issue. A F250 is allot heavier and will handle the trailer allot better. It will not wear you out on a trip. Finding the right F150 will be hard since there are so many different variants. My friend has a 30 Ft camper and went from a F250 to a F150. He has sway issues now and only will travel back roads with it. The F250 he could run on the highway with no issue. You can never have to much truck
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:32 AM   #3
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Nice camper - with a GVWR of 7,495lbs. a 3/4 ton truck would be best. A gas powered F-250 6 speed would work.

A muscled up 150/1500 truck would also work but are a lot more difficult to find and you could pick the wrong truck. Muscled up half ton trucks are a Nissan Titan XD. This truck is not the normal Nissan Titan. It is a lot bigger. Also a Ford F-150 with the HDPP (Heavy Duty Payload Package). These Ford F-150's are very rare. These F-150's are also a lot bigger than the run of the mill F-150 too.

3/4 ton trucks are simple - they are all built to tow. Look for a 2011 or newer truck. There were a lot of improvements in 2011.

If you could swing for a 2017 or newer F-250. A redesigned aluminum body truck that is a nice truck.
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:41 AM   #4
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I agree with the above. A 3/4 or 1 ton will do the job with less stress.

You can certainly be within limits with a properly equipped F150 (such as max tow package with a nice payload rating) but depending on how much you load up the trailer (it has approx. 7500 lb GVWR) and your vehicle (gear in the bed, family, pets etc.) you could be right at the limit. Your limiter in a half ton will typically be payload capacity. Each truck has a unique carrying capacity (payload) based on its option load/trim level. 'Max Tow' does not necessarily mean high payload. If you do decide 1/2 ton is the way to go, be mindful of 'cargo carrying capacity' (payload) printed on the yellow/white driver's side door sticker on each one you look at. Anything in the 1750 and up range is a healthy amount for an F150.

Does this mean if you find a 1/2 ton with a nice payload amount that truck will work for you? Not necessarily. Again, it depends on what you load in the truck, how many people are traveling in the truck etc. This, plus the weight of the hitch, plus the tongue weight will come off that payload. As for tongue weight, ignore the Grand Design published amount when calculating that against your truck's payload. Instead, use 13% of that trailer's GVWR. This puts your trailer's TW at 975 lbs or so, not GD's brochure TW of 560. It's amazing how quickly that payload capacity evaporates when you start adding things up.

I towed our longer, heavier trailer for 6 months with a '19 F150 max tow. It was only the two of us and two small dogs. I could carry nothing in the bed of any substance and scaled we had a couple hundred pounds of payload left (the trailer pushes 1300 lbs tongue weight loaded) and about 20 pounds of rear axle capacity. It towed OK, for the most part but sometimes felt as if the trailer was in control and not the truck. Prior to our first cross country trip I bit the bullet and traded for a 1-ton. Night and day difference and great peace of mind when towing....especially for another novice such as myself.

Getting a 3/4 or 1 ton will also set you up for a potential next trailer, should you decide to bump up in size in a couple years.
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Old 05-07-2021, 08:16 AM   #5
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Used truck pricing is high right now in the market but you should still be able to find a 6-7 year old 3/4 ton gas truck out there in crew cab configuration for $25k. Mileage and trim will vary that cost a bit.

You can make it work with some 1/2 tons but as most will tell you it won’t be a relaxing and enjoyable experience at speed on highways. I’ve been there and every time I see a large TT behind a 1/2 ton going 60 MPH with both hands death gripped 10 and 2 on the wheel I remember my first and last experience doing just that for 5 hours. I immediately sold my 1500 and traded up to a 2500.
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Old 05-07-2021, 08:20 AM   #6
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Thanks for the comments so far. One thing I worry about with a used truck is after market mods like lift kits. I'm guessing most lift kits are NOT wanted for TT towing, am I right?
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Old 05-07-2021, 08:26 AM   #7
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Correct - towing and lift kits are bad. You will want just a stock truck. 3/4 ton stock trucks come ready to tow. No add ons needed.

You do not want a rock climber modified truck.
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Old 05-07-2021, 10:58 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mistercee View Post
I agree with the above. A 3/4 or 1 ton will do the job with less stress.

It towed OK, for the most part but sometimes felt as if the trailer was in control and not the truck. Prior to our first cross country trip I bit the bullet and traded for a 1-ton. Night and day difference and great peace of mind when towing....especially for another novice such as myself.

Getting a 3/4 or 1 ton will also set you up for a potential next trailer, should you decide to bump up in size in a couple years.
^ This has been my experience also, as an F150 owner with the 3.5 Ecoboost. Which is why I also have a one-ton dually - for towing anything over 5000 lb in comfort, ease, and safety.
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Old 05-07-2021, 11:00 AM   #9
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Ya, just get a 3/4 ton and make life simpler. I personally like older trucks, but thats not for everybody. I like being able to work on my own vehicles and have towed a bunch with older fords and gm products. Ive got about 12000 miles of towing with my old f350 and it suits me just fine. My wifes car just cost me a small fortune because im unable to work on the thing. I couldve done ALOT to my old 6.0 for what my wifes car just hit us with. I couldve had the 6.0 bumped to over 600whp for what ive got into her car.
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Old 05-07-2021, 11:52 AM   #10
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I agree with getting something bigger than a 1/2 ton. The 06 F-350 in your original post with only 51k should handle it even if you upgrade your trailer in the future!
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Old 05-07-2021, 01:03 PM   #11
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I think 21k for that f350 is actually a pretty good price, if its had its work done that the 6.0 should have done. I just drug 16k up 12% in pa with my 6.0 last night. Theyre good trucks and the 6.0 has alot of potential, but you dont want to just go into one not knowing what youre getting into. Pm me if you want some advice on them.
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Old 05-07-2021, 01:34 PM   #12
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Get an F250 minumum; a 30' trailer with a 7495lb GVWR is way more than I'd want to tow with any half ton pick-up

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Old 05-07-2021, 04:41 PM   #13
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When you look at 250/2500 and 350/3500 series trucks you have a choice to make. Gas powered for ok towing or diesel for a more superior towing experience. I prefer diesel for towing. Again, gas is ok but diesel rules.

The downside of diesel is the emissions systems and the complexity. If something breaks it is expensive to get it fixed. Also a diesel truck will weigh 600 - 800 lbs more than a gasoline powered truck.
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Old 05-07-2021, 06:05 PM   #14
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When you look at 250/2500 and 350/3500 series trucks you have a choice to make. Gas powered for ok towing or diesel for a more superior towing experience. I prefer diesel for towing. Again, gas is ok but diesel rules.

The downside of diesel is the emissions systems and the complexity. If something breaks it is expensive to get it fixed. Also a diesel truck will weigh 600 - 800 lbs more than a gasoline powered truck.
Totally agree. For what youre looking at towing now, id get a gas 3/4 ton. Diesels are absolutely prohibitively expensive to repair out of warranty. The fuel system on any of the newer trucks will be a 10k replacement. Dpfs are stupid expensive to work on. I dont know about common rail 5.9s, but the rest of the truck is trash. If you want a diesel thats not pre emissions i highly recommend a warranty. Otherwise stick with gas.
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