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Old 03-12-2017, 03:58 AM   #1
ToddB
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Newbie questions about full-time tow vehicle decision

Hi folks,

We have made the decision to hit the road full-time in June (four of us along for the ride most of the time) and just purchased a 2017 Passport 2670BH (5,000 lbs empty, 7,000 lbs full). This is our first RV and this will be my first purchase of any type of vehicle capable of towing something this size. But I am waiting to sell my house before buying a tow vehicle for this big trip.

Here's my question: Would you ever consider towing 7,000 lbs on a full-time basis with anything less than a 3/4 ton truck?

I've done plenty of research on towing capacities, axle ratios, GCVWR, etc. There are obviously some SUVs with ratings of 8,900-9,200 lbs when properly equipped (Expedition or Navigator would be my first choices in that category). But I'm talking about towing 25-30K miles in a year potentially.

Would I be an idiot to attempt this adventure with an SUV or even a diesel van (E-250 or E-350)?

Appreciate any input you might have.
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Old 03-12-2017, 04:17 AM   #2
ctbruce
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No, I would not pull this with an suv. You will be over payload with the hitch, people and gear. Period. A 150/1500 is out too. I have tried to do with similar sized trailers with those sized vehicles. Could they move it. Yep. Was it pleassnt? Nope.

A dual cab would fit your family as would the vans you mentioned. I'm not familiar with their towing abilities so someone else will need to chime in on that. You are in 250/2500 territory at least. A diesel lowers your payload but gives you more towability than a gasser. The choice will be yours, there will be lots of opinions. The numbers, all the numbers not just some of them, will be the ultimate guide. You are much better off getting more truck than less. Many on here have tried that approach only to ultimately move to the bigger truck eventually, me include. JMO and my personal experience . Good luck with your decisions.

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Old 03-12-2017, 04:26 AM   #3
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Thanks Chip! Really appreciate your input on that.
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Old 03-12-2017, 04:27 AM   #4
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Solid info from ctbruce. I would start at the 3/4 ton pickups. Anything less and you will be dealing with the "tail wagging the dog". Life is much better when the "dog wags the tail"...
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Old 03-12-2017, 05:56 AM   #5
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If you're going full time I wouldn't go with anything less than a 3/4 diesel. I would actually recommend you go at least with a 1 ton diesel. Not because you need more than a 3/4 ton, but it gives you more options for a possible RV upgrade without a truck upgrade if you decide that you want more room after living in the trailer full time for a while. The cost difference between a 2500 and 3500 SRW is minimal now, not so much a year or two down the road if you try trading up.
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:15 AM   #6
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The follow-up question then...

It seems unanimous so far that I need at least 3/4 ton, preferably 1 ton for easy rig upgrade down the road. Diesel also seems like the way to go.

I have no intention of buying anything close to new, so my next question is:

Would you guys would be comfortable buying a 3/4 ton or 1 ton with up to 100,000 miles on it?

Based on the prices I'm seeing, that's what is in my "comfort zone". I don't need luxury, I just need reliability and durability.

Thanks again, folks.
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:28 AM   #7
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On a used vehicle, especially a diesel truck, maintenance is the most important issue. I personally would buy a truck with 100000 miles on it if I knew the history and use it has had.
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:30 AM   #8
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With the current diesels options you have I would only have a couple concerns. I would not by a pre 2005 duramax LB7, they had some injector issues. I wouldn't buy a 6.0 ford, they had all kinds of issues. I wouldn't buy a used cummins with a lot of miles unless it had the Aisin transmission.

If it were me, (I'll admit I'm biased, but I have what I feel is a valid reason) I would go with a used GM. The engines (other than the ones noted above) are very solid for all 3. The Allison is by far the best transmission available of the 3 and should provide reliable service well beyond 100,000 miles. I say should because there is always an exception, especially if someone chipped the truck and pushed the torque numbers way up. A transmission rebuild on these diesels can run $5-8k, and is just as important of a consideration as the rest of the truck. I currently have 146k on my dmax, I have no doubt this truck will run 300k, 500k or more.
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:30 AM   #9
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Not to start a GM/Ram/Ford argument because they're all good, I would just relay a conversation I had with my neighbor in FL about his tow truck. He has a GM Duramax (don't know what year) with 125k on it. He used to drive it to FL from TN for every trip a few times a year. He now leaves it in TN and will not drive it unless he is pulling his trailer because it costs too much to repair constantly. He said seemed like every time he went somewhere something went wrong. He had one failure that cost him $1200 and shortly thereafter another for $2500. At that time they told him he was putting a bandaid on it and he was looking at substantial costs down the road, so he quit driving it. He said he had been researching and talking to people and he was going to buy a Ram Cummins. Just relaying the conversation.

Personally, I've never owned a vehicle with over 100k on it and won't. The only time I've ever been stranded by a vehicle was when it had 96k on it. I thought it would be good for well over 100k and wham! In the middle of nowhere. For decades I changed vehicles when, or before, the warranty expired. That's not a cost effective way to drive vehicles but I don't like surprises. We are now looking at moving to a Ram 3500 diesel. I might or might not. Haven't convinced myself on the diesel yet.

The recommendations for at least a 3/4 ton, and a 1 ton if you can find it, are sound. With the number of folks you will have, and the size of the trailer you are getting, it is a very real possibility you will want to upgrade. We spent 3 months in ours (38'/3 slides) and were getting a bit claustrophobic. With 4 I can only imagine that would intensify. Good luck in your search and wishing you great fun on your new adventure.
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Old 03-12-2017, 10:19 AM   #10
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It really just depends. If it has been deleted and customized, I'd stay away from it. Too many yahoos doing stupid stuff. Joe's and bsmiths suggestions are solid and help keep you away from land mines. Do your homework and find a diesel mechanic you trust to look at anything you are interested in.

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Old 03-12-2017, 12:08 PM   #11
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Appreciate all of the info and input, fellas. Still open to hearing more if anyone is interested, but this will get me started on my hunt with some more clear guidelines.

Have a good one!
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsmith0404 View Post
If you're going full time I wouldn't go with anything less than a 3/4 diesel. I would actually recommend you go at least with a 1 ton diesel. Not because you need more than a 3/4 ton, but it gives you more options for a possible RV upgrade without a truck upgrade if you decide that you want more room after living in the trailer full time for a while. The cost difference between a 2500 and 3500 SRW is minimal now, not so much a year or two down the road if you try trading up.
X2 ... I think key word is "Full Time" not sure your age, but I quite counting years ago, would think you will be upgrading a few times in the future, so do not want to do both $$$$

Congrats and Enjoy
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Old 03-12-2017, 02:20 PM   #13
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I agree, if proper maintenance records can be found. We had the 2004.5 LLY duramax/Allison combo in the Silverado. Well over 100K when we traded it in last year. It would still be going strong today if it was't for the harsh winters we get here and corrosion of the brake lines and some part of the wiring harness leading up to the trailer brakes. Just remember that some features become unavailable on older trucks. Nice to haves like the factory exhaust brake or the integrated electric brake controller were not available in 2004 on Chevy 3500's. Good luck.
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Old 03-12-2017, 04:37 PM   #14
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Sounds like a good plan. If you can find a well maintained 3/4 or 1 ton crew cab truck you should be all set. Have fun.


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Old 03-15-2017, 09:42 AM   #15
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If you talk around enough you will find that guy who is "putting a band aid" on a truck with 100k miles and is afraid to drive it. The next guy you talk to will have 500k miles on the exact same year and model and has done nothing more than oil changes with the cheapest oil and filter you can buy. My dad has an 06 dmax with 80k miles on it and never done anything other than an EGR delete when the EGR went bad. My 2011 has 146k an the only thing I've replaced was the #1 EGT sensor and #2 Nox sensor. I have a friend in the transport world who ran his dmax to 500k miles and rebuilt it with plans of running the truck to 1,000,000 miles before replacing it (still on the original Allison). I also have friends in the transport industry all with well over 200k miles on Fords, Cummins, and Dmaxs. A couple that have reached the 1,000,000 mile mark. Most of them feel the same way, don't make mods for power, make mods for reliability. I've added a FASS system to mu truck, other than that, it's stock. So again, I would not hesitate to buy a big 3 diesel, other than previous noted exceptions, with 100k miles on it, if that is what is in your budget.
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:56 PM   #16
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If you talk around enough you will find that guy who is "putting a band aid" on a truck with 100k miles and is afraid to drive it. The next guy you talk to will have 500k miles on the exact same year and model and has done nothing more than oil changes with the cheapest oil and filter you can buy. My dad has an 06 dmax with 80k miles on it and never done anything other than an EGR delete when the EGR went bad. My 2011 has 146k an the only thing I've replaced was the #1 EGT sensor and #2 Nox sensor. I have a friend in the transport world who ran his dmax to 500k miles and rebuilt it with plans of running the truck to 1,000,000 miles before replacing it (still on the original Allison). I also have friends in the transport industry all with well over 200k miles on Fords, Cummins, and Dmaxs. A couple that have reached the 1,000,000 mile mark. Most of them feel the same way, don't make mods for power, make mods for reliability. I've added a FASS system to mu truck, other than that, it's stock. So again, I would not hesitate to buy a big 3 diesel, other than previous noted exceptions, with 100k miles on it, if that is what is in your budget.
I think your comments on mods are spot on and more folks should take note of it. Your observations about what happens to one isn't necessarily the norm is right as well. My question, I guess to everyone is, who wants to drive the same vehicle long enough to accumulate 200k or more unless you drove 100k a year? Now I've driven 100k a year (for several years) but that was in my company car plus my personal vehicle. My company vehicle was replaced every 100k (and I never had a major problem of any kind) and I replace my personal vehicles at less than 2 years generally (except my faithful CJ7). I may be weird, and I've really liked some of my vehicles, but I guess I have "wandering" eyes??
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Old 03-15-2017, 06:37 PM   #17
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For your purposes you'll get much more/newer of a tow vehicle if you go gas. Diesel is total overkill for a 7000# trailer. Used trucks are ultra expensive. Diesel used trucks are just stupid expensive. If money is no object, sure get a diesel but I'm guessing you're going used since $$ is an object. There's just no good reason to get a 5-10 year older truck so you can get power that you don't need.
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Old 03-15-2017, 10:14 PM   #18
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For your purposes you'll get much more/newer of a tow vehicle if you go gas. Diesel is total overkill for a 7000# trailer. Used trucks are ultra expensive. Diesel used trucks are just stupid expensive. If money is no object, sure get a diesel but I'm guessing you're going used since $$ is an object. There's just no good reason to get a 5-10 year older truck so you can get power that you don't need.
I couldn't agree more.
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Old 03-16-2017, 03:38 AM   #19
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For your purposes you'll get much more/newer of a tow vehicle if you go gas. Diesel is total overkill for a 7000# trailer. Used trucks are ultra expensive. Diesel used trucks are just stupid expensive. If money is no object, sure get a diesel but I'm guessing you're going used since $$ is an object. There's just no good reason to get a 5-10 year older truck so you can get power that you don't need.
I've had both and I would never go gas again, especially if I was going full timing. Yes, a gas truck will work for what the OP has, but if he decided to upgrade the trailer he will be looking at a truck upgrade as well. I go back to my original recommendation of a 3500 diesel because it gives room for a trailer upgrade without a truck upgrade. Additionally, many full timers tend to tow more than most. When you start towing 7k lbs or more on a regular basis it's nice to have overkill. I would agree with you 100% if the OP was a typical weekender who towed 50 miles to their favorite spot a few times per year or one or two big trips per year.
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