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Old 06-16-2021, 05:55 PM   #1
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Help with new truck

Let me begin by saying I'm new here. I'm not new to RVing, though. Currently, I own a 2006 Ford F-250 diesel and pull a travel trailer that is about 7500 pounds fully loaded. I've loved my truck, but I feel like it's time to go with something newer. I'm not interested in getting another diesel, simply because I don't need that much truck and repairs and maintenance are fairly expensive, not to mention the higher purchase price.

So, in my search for a new truck, I'm finding myself drawn toward either a GMC Sierra 1500 with a 5.3L engine or a Ford F-250, preferably with the 7.3L gas engine. I did test drive the Ford F-250 with the 6.2L gas engine and it seemed powerful enough for my needs. Here is my dilemma... The price difference between the F-250 and the Sierra 1500 is negligible. The difference is, I can get a more "fully loaded" truck in the Sierra 1500 as compared to the F-250. Sierra 2500s are much harder to come by in my area and, if located, are much more expensive than F-250s. I'm really trying to stay with a sticker price of about $55K. I'll then add my down payment and either trade in my current truck or sell it and use the proceeds toward the purchase of the new truck.

My question is this: Would I be okay going with a 1500 (which appears to have a maximum tow rating in the neighborhood of 9,300 pounds) or would I regret not going with the F-250 (which appears to have a maximum tow rating of around 14,000 pounds)? Obviously, the F-250 would allow me to tow my current trailer with less stress on the engine, but would the Sierra 1500 be perfectly capable of towing it? I'll add that the Sierra 1500 I'm looking at shows to have an auxiliary oil cooler and transmission cooler, which I assume would ease the stress of towing.

What if I upgrade to a travel trailer in the 8000-9000 pound range? Would that be asking too much of the Sierra 1500? To give some perspective, we typically tow about 4-6 times per year, with an average distance of about 200 miles. That said, with a new truck, I'd feel more comfortable towing longer distances, but likely not that much longer.

To complicate things, this truck would likely be used as my everyday driver, so I would use it more around town that I would towing. That said, I still wouldn't expect to put more than about 8000-9000 miles per year on the truck. Obviously, the Sierra 1500 would be more nimble and economical for around town driving. If towing my camper, however, would wear it out, maybe I should consider the F-250, even though it's larger, worse on gas, and not as easily maneuverable around town.

I'm really torn and would appreciate some advice.

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Old 06-16-2021, 06:05 PM   #2
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IMHO it's always better to have 'more truck' when possible. However I don't give a care about any features past AC and cruise control... and I'm even willing to go without cruise control.

All the elctronics, heated seats, info-tainment systems, moon roofs, etc are added expenses that do nothing for the function of a truck except adding more things to break.

Take my opinion with a truck load of salt, I'm also the guy perfectly happy running around in my 1993 F350 diesel. I'll rebuild the engine when the time comes, no plans to ever sell it. I HATE auto loan payments.
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Old 06-16-2021, 06:17 PM   #3
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Go with the F250.

You won't be sorry when you are towing. We have an F250 and no problems driving in the city. You should be able to get a good price for your used truck. Sell to a private buyer. Take your time and see if you can get a truck that came of lease.
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Old 06-16-2021, 06:52 PM   #4
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A GM 1500 series truck with a 'not very powerful' 5.3 litre engine really would struggle with a travel trailer heavier than 6,500lbs IMHO.

Actually 6,500lbs. is my limit for the normal 150/1500 series trucks.

There are two heavy duty 'so called half ton trucks' that would tow 8,000lbs. They are the special F-150 with the HDPP option or the Nissan Titan XD which is also special. These trucks have longer wheelbase, thicker frame, LT tires, tow mirrors. The Ford F-150 can be had with the powerful 3.5 Turbo Charged engine known as the Eco-Boost.

But neither of these trucks are as capable as a F-250. In 2017 Ford redesigned the F-250 (aluminum body) and ekk'ed out more power from the 6.2 litre 'Boss' engine.

Then in 2020 Ford introduced the 7.3 Godzilla gasoline engine. You will get a 10 speed transmission with this engine. Alot has changed since 2006. All of it for the better IMHO.

The F-250 with a 6.2 litre engine is not too shabby but with the 7.3 litre engine is better.

The general consensus it to try for a F-350 as it will be a little more money for a lot more capability. The single rear wheel trucks are the exact same size and will ride about the same.
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Old 06-16-2021, 07:54 PM   #5
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Go with the F250 for your stated current and future usage; the 1500 would be a mistake.....don't be a crow.
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Old 06-16-2021, 08:30 PM   #6
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Thanks, folks. I'll be be honest, my heart says go with the GMC Sierra 1500 with all the extras, but my brain says go with the F-250 with fewer features but more towing capacity. Obviously, I think it's more important to go with the brain. Admittedly, I guess I was hoping for someone to validate my heart, but I appreciate the honest feedback.
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Old 06-16-2021, 09:24 PM   #7
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Good for you; avoiding confirmation bias is a difficult thing...

Outdoors RV 21RBS, 2003 Dodge 3500 dually, Cummins, 6 spd.
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Old 06-16-2021, 10:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 12VoltMan View Post
Thanks, folks. I'll be be honest, my heart says go with the GMC Sierra 1500 with all the extras, but my brain says go with the F-250 with fewer features but more towing capacity. Obviously, I think it's more important to go with the brain. Admittedly, I guess I was hoping for someone to validate my heart, but I appreciate the honest feedback.
Your brain is telling you what the right decision is - good for you listening to it. To some extent I agree with jrollf regarding fewer features. However, a well equipped XLT trim can provide some nice, useful extras that do improve the function of the truck based on how I use it. I use the heated seats regularly when on longer trips - they help keep my lower back from stiffening up. Some trips there is a lot of interstate travel and I love the fact that the BLIS works with trailers up to 33 feet long. Around town the rear parking sensors come in handy too.

Remember though - every extra feature that you add takes away from your payload and towing capability, so pick those that are important to you and how you intend to use the truck and pass on the others. I wouldn't skip over a 6.2l-equipped F-250 if you found one on a dealers lot to your liking, especially if it has the 4.30 gears. My ORV is usually around 8000-8500 loaded and the 6.2l/4.30/6-speed handles it well in the mountain passes of the PNW. If you are going to order then definitely the 7.3l - I'd go that route if I was buying now.
TT: 2019 ORV Timber Ridge 23DBS, Blue Ox SwayPro 15K/1500
TV: 2019 Ford F-250 XLT SuperCab LB, 6.2L, 4.30/e-locker, 4x4, 164" WB, 3216 payload
TV: 2014 RAM 1500 Big Horn CC (Traded in)
TT: 2015 Jay Flight SLX 195RB Baja Edition, Andersen No-Sway (Traded in)
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Old 06-16-2021, 11:52 PM   #9
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Agree with a HD truck for your TT weight. But, I also agree that for only 4 to 6 times a year, at only 200 miles average towing, having a HD truck for everything else isnít too appealing.

Depending on the likes of your current truck, not sure I wouldnít just keep it, and invest in a more errand, and mpg friendly vehicle.

Over 100 bucks just to fill up my little 1/2 ton today, and it still had just under a 1/4 tank. Something tells me itís only going to get worse.
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Old 06-17-2021, 05:36 AM   #10
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As much as I like GMs I feel the 1500 will be severely taxed by that weight and height. It won't be a great tow vehicle at those dimensions. A 2500HD with a 6.6 gas will do a great job, but pricing is ridiculous thanks to the pandemic and scarcity of trucks and their parts.

I can't comment on the Ford much other than I hear they tow well but they guzzle a lot of fuel.

If your current truck works OK I'd try to tough it out til 2022 when the market should stabilize and prices become more negotiable. I wouldn't get less than a 3/4 ton for those weights and lengths if you want to be safe. Payload just isn't there on most 1/2 tons.
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Old 06-17-2021, 05:57 AM   #11
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I am hoping hybrid and electric vehicles take some pressure off the price of oil.

Like I said before a lot has changed in the last 15 years. Trucks are a lot more solid and expensive with some very nice features.

You can connect your smart phone to the truck. Now you have navigation, music, podcasts, news etc. I like to use Google Maps navigation but young people like WAZE. You also have hands free calling which is good because a lot of states it is illegal to hold your phone to talk.

On a long trip I will download my favorite 100 songs to a flash drive (thumb drive, USB drive) and play it in the truck. I have satellite radio that I got a great deal on by taking a mailed offer. $5.99/mo.

Safety features - I like blind spot monitoring even the length of the trailer, the rear camera(great for hooking up a trailer), adaptive cruise control that uses radar to keep you a certian distance from the vehicle in front of you, I would like more cameras like a front camera so I could see in front of the hood. Lane keep assit is great if you are getting tired, 50/50 chance it would warn you if you start to run off the road. It has to see the lines on a road.

Oh, and the power. Trucks used to be under powered but not now.

As usual, KDAuto makes a great point about the 2020 GM truck 6.6 gas truck. If you can find one it is worth a look and consideration. GM improved the cooling so no more problem overheating. Independent Front Suspension gives a smooth ride. GM injected steroids into the truck in 2020. The 2500HD will have a 2000lb 20,000 lb. capacity bumper pull hitch. A F-250 is going to have a 1,500lb 15,000lb capacith bumper pull hitch.

Back to Ford - I have a 2017 F-250 Lariat with the Lariat Ultimate Package. I love the key pad and push button start. No more fumbling for the key fob. Just keep the fob in your pocket.
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Old 06-17-2021, 06:15 AM   #12
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To be honest, I'd wait no matter what truck you want. Right now is about the worst time to buy a truck there has been in a really long time. Selections are low and prices are high. Manufacturers can't get chips to even build them. Even low mileage used will sell for almost what they cost new a year or two ago.. It's ridiculous. When this..."thing"...breaks, then buy. You got the goodies out of this one. I personally recommend waiting. I am for all the reasons above
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Old 06-17-2021, 07:22 AM   #13
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That is honestly a tough one. The 250 will be a gas hog when not towing, the 1500 will get rode hard when pulling. Especially if you upgrade to a bigger trailer.
Overall another vote to put money into the existing ride. This is a terrible time to buy new, and 6 months to a year from now it should be better.
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Hobie Tandem island on the rack 2 electric recumbents in the bed "have toys will travel"
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Old 06-17-2021, 08:33 AM   #14
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I am towing a 6000 pound dry weight, 32' TT with my 1500. Probably no more than 800 pounds of cargo in trailer as I do not haul water. It tows fine, but I would go no larger than my trailer. Your current trailer sounds like it is over my imaginary limit. You are thinking about something larger one day. Sounds like you keep your trucks a while, since this one is 15 years old.

If you got to have a new truck now, I would say go with the F250. (This is from a GM guy.)

If you can wait, if you can negotiate, maybe you can look at either a nicer trim level F250 or even a 2500.

I paid $42K last September for a 2020 Silverado with the 5.3L, nicely trimmed. What surprised me was how hard it was to find a 5.3L, even then. This was before the chip shortage, but the pandemic had inventories down, with a large number of trucks still on the lots being the 2.7L turbo sprinkled with an occasional diesel. Toss in my desire for the integrated trailer brake controller, and I ended up going to a rural dealership who was selling mostly farm trucks.

I don't know where you are at, if your towing involved hills/mountains, that would be another check mark for needing a 3/4 ton or more truck.
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