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Old 05-13-2019, 07:55 PM   #1
penra
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Seeking advice on tow vehicle

I have an Outback 328RL and want to travel from Washington south to Tucson and would also love to explore as much as possible.
I am a GMC lover and have been focused on the 2500HD Denali or 3500HD Denali-Duramax with Allison. I've read a lot of reviews and gleaned some info that may or may not be good; don't get the 'off-road' package, it makes the ride rough.
Any other thoughts?
For example, assuming money is no object, (Haha!) how new should I go? I don't like paying for all that depreciation. I love the tech gadgets on the newer trucks but without a warranty they are expensive to fix when they go south.
Third party warranties are fine with me.
How many miles is too little? I see some trucks with so few miles it makes me wonder what's wrong with it?
thanks for any and all suggestions and sharing your experience.
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:24 AM   #2
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Penny, first of all, welcome to the forum! Great info here and even better information. AND, our opinions are second to none...
Ballpark figures, your RV will weigh about 10K and the hitch weight will be in the 1500# range. Only a 2500 gasser will leave you with any load capacity to spare. A 3500 SRW D-max will also give you load capacity to spare. You aren't in dually territory with your RV, but let me warn you, do NOT let your significant other suggest "Oh, honey, let's stop here at Camping World for a break and just look around!" Does that sound like the voice of experience? I'm the one who made the suggestion and the next thing I know the sales manager is checking to see if we had enough truck to haul the first Raptor!
If you plan on keeping the TT then I recommend a 3500 D-max short bed crew cab with whatever bells and whistles you find necessary. I simply don't recommend the 2500, although the gasser will do what you need.
I don't really have much to offer in way of advanced knowledge concerning your propensity for the used market. Gadgets are pretty cool on the first day and when you're showing your friends the new toy, but how many times do you think I have wanted to remotely start our F-450 from Houston, Texas? Is it absolutely necessary to have your iPhone tell you when your 3500 is ready for service?
I'll warn you, if you pull this to Oklahoma with a gasser, you will not sit around with the boys, having an adult beverage, and brag that you got 14 MPG towing to Oklahoma! Good luck to you on your choice, and have a great trip!
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:37 AM   #3
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If your focus is on a relatively newer towing truck, you might want to look at brand new as used prices on HD vehicles tend to not free fall as you might think. Ram has some fantastic incentives for 2018 diesel models with 0% financing for 72 months or additional rebates.

If however your sight is set on a GM or Ford, just find a trim line that will give you sufficient payload. A 3500 is definitely the better option for someone who wants a diesel powerplant and the safe trailer towing specs.

Like Jim said, you'll be shocked when you see how little payload a loaded 2500 Denali offers up. Here's proof:
Click image for larger version

Name:	20190119_103016.jpg
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Old 05-14-2019, 04:49 AM   #4
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I would recommend getting the off road package or at least four wheel drive if you plan on doing any boondocking. I agree with the others, a 3500 truck would be good for your trailer.
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:42 AM   #5
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Denali includes Z-71 and mandatory 4wd. I would recommend at least a 2017 model year as that is when they switched to the L5P with 910 lb-ft torque (and you get the hood scoop! lol).

My truck was only like $5k more brand new vs CarMax options with 40k miles on them. As noted, the 2500HD Diesel just does not have enough payload frankly. Attached is the door sticker on mine. As you can see, 2144# payload is not a lot. I can load my family, tools, and carry a trailer like yours, but that will literally put me at the GVWR of my truck (10000#). If you have the chance to get a truck and are not already tied down to one, GET THE 3500! Will ride pretty much the same, cost pretty much the same, but have nearly double the payload. Your rims wont be as pretty, literally other than that you wont be able to tell the difference, but you will be safer. My Denali had about 400# less payload than the "brochure" value for a crew cab, standard bed, diesel (meaning stripped down work truck trim). You cannot trust the online guide GMC/Chevy provides.

Now something else to consider.....a MY 2013-2019 Sierra HD truck represents a snapshot of 2012 vehicle technology (except for the engine). This summer, the new gen 2020s will be out with a bunch of awesome tech I REALLY wish my 2018 (but essentially a 2013) had. The timing may not line up, but you could end up with a truck that wont have you looking over the fence every time you drive by a dealer for the next several years.
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:44 AM   #6
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I recommend a 1 ton and definitely 4WD. If you are in a grass site and itís been raining a few days you may need it to get out.
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:47 AM   #7
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I recommend a 1 ton and definitely 4WD. If you are in a grass site and itís been raining a few days you may need it to get out.
I need the 4wd just to back the trailer up my hill of a driveway (have to do this or truck is trapped)
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:06 AM   #8
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If you can afford new, the 2020 GM HD's are coming out in June and are a major step up for towing over the 2019's and older. Payload and towing capacity are well up. But I'm sure the price tag is up as well.

https://www.gmc.com/gmc-life/trucks/...ailer-like-pro

Hey, the 3/4 ton diesel crew cab has a brochure payload of almost 3600 lbs.

I'm looking at getting a 3/4 ton gas next year.
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:09 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by busterbrown View Post
Like Jim said, you'll be shocked when you see how little payload a loaded 2500 Denali offers up. Here's proof:
Attachment 21804
Well, there is the first 3/4 ton I've seen with less payload than my half ton. Same sticker on mine shows 2,015 lbs of payload

But I'm under no illusions that yours doesn't tow better than mine.
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMcKenzie View Post
If you can afford new, the 2020 GM HD's are coming out in June and are a major step up for towing over the 2019's and older. Payload and towing capacity are well up. But I'm sure the price tag is up as well.

https://www.gmc.com/gmc-life/trucks/...ailer-like-pro

Hey, the 3/4 ton diesel crew cab has a brochure payload of almost 3600 lbs.

I'm looking at getting a 3/4 ton gas next year.
Ya, I have seen that chart and have to wonder how optimistically spec'd those numbers are vs reality. I will gladly go on a dealer lot and check some Denali door stickers once they are in my area
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:21 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by cookinwitdiesel View Post
Ya, I have seen that chart and have to wonder how optimistically spec'd those numbers are vs reality. I will gladly go on a dealer lot and check some Denali door stickers once they are in my area
Agreed. I'm sure they are rating a stripped down truck, but for gas for me it would mean going from 2000 to ~3500 on payload. We have our eyes on a slightly bigger trailer (I like the Cougar 33SAB floor plan and two fridges) that my truck won't pull, but a 3/4 ton gas would.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:41 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by cookinwitdiesel View Post
I need the 4wd just to back the trailer up my hill of a driveway (have to do this or truck is trapped)

I understand. If itís been raining anytime in the last week the yard is so soft the 5er just sinks in and makes large ruts. 4WD is the only way to move it when itís that way.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:47 AM   #13
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I agree on 4WD, just don't want the rougher ride.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:52 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by cookinwitdiesel View Post
Denali includes Z-71 and mandatory 4wd. I would recommend at least a 2017 model year as that is when they switched to the L5P with 910 lb-ft torque (and you get the hood scoop! lol).

My truck was only like $5k more brand new vs CarMax options with 40k miles on them. As noted, the 2500HD Diesel just does not have enough payload frankly. Attached is the door sticker on mine. As you can see, 2144# payload is not a lot. I can load my family, tools, and carry a trailer like yours, but that will literally put me at the GVWR of my truck (10000#). If you have the chance to get a truck and are not already tied down to one, GET THE 3500! Will ride pretty much the same, cost pretty much the same, but have nearly double the payload. Your rims wont be as pretty, literally other than that you wont be able to tell the difference, but you will be safer. My Denali had about 400# less payload than the "brochure" value for a crew cab, standard bed, diesel (meaning stripped down work truck trim). You cannot trust the online guide GMC/Chevy provides.

Now something else to consider.....a MY 2013-2019 Sierra HD truck represents a snapshot of 2012 vehicle technology (except for the engine). This summer, the new gen 2020s will be out with a bunch of awesome tech I REALLY wish my 2018 (but essentially a 2013) had. The timing may not line up, but you could end up with a truck that wont have you looking over the fence every time you drive by a dealer for the next several years.
Thanks for that good info! I've been eyeing the 2020 specs and features. I hadn't considered what several have mentioned about lower payload on the 2500 Diesel, I guess with heavier engine, transmission etc that makes good sense. I had been thinking 3500 because prices are not that different.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:59 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by GMcKenzie View Post
If you can afford new, the 2020 GM HD's are coming out in June and are a major step up for towing over the 2019's and older. Payload and towing capacity are well up. But I'm sure the price tag is up as well.

https://www.gmc.com/gmc-life/trucks/...ailer-like-pro

Hey, the 3/4 ton diesel crew cab has a brochure payload of almost 3600 lbs.

I'm looking at getting a 3/4 ton gas next year.
Why gas? Diesel fuel is cheaper, maintenance is less often and they have the torque to get up the hills.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:00 AM   #16
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I agree on 4WD, just don't want the rougher ride.

Test drive some. With todayís trucks itís not that big of a difference.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:08 AM   #17
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Penny, first of all, welcome to the forum! Great info here and even better information. AND, our opinions are second to none...
Ballpark figures, your RV will weigh about 10K and the hitch weight will be in the 1500# range. Only a 2500 gasser will leave you with any load capacity to spare. A 3500 SRW D-max will also give you load capacity to spare. You aren't in dually territory with your RV, but let me warn you, do NOT let your significant other suggest "Oh, honey, let's stop here at Camping World for a break and just look around!" Does that sound like the voice of experience? I'm the one who made the suggestion and the next thing I know the sales manager is checking to see if we had enough truck to haul the first Raptor!
If you plan on keeping the TT then I recommend a 3500 D-max short bed crew cab with whatever bells and whistles you find necessary. I simply don't recommend the 2500, although the gasser will do what you need.
I don't really have much to offer in way of advanced knowledge concerning your propensity for the used market. Gadgets are pretty cool on the first day and when you're showing your friends the new toy, but how many times do you think I have wanted to remotely start our F-450 from Houston, Texas? Is it absolutely necessary to have your iPhone tell you when your 3500 is ready for service?
I'll warn you, if you pull this to Oklahoma with a gasser, you will not sit around with the boys, having an adult beverage, and brag that you got 14 MPG towing to Oklahoma! Good luck to you on your choice, and have a great trip!
Good point; 'if you plan on keeping the TT', we love living in it but will it be as fun to pull around the country? It might end up being the 'park model' and we get a 25-28' TT. Regardless I'll be able to pull almost anything with the 3500.
BTW I was raised in Oklahoma and can't think of anything there I want to see!
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:13 AM   #18
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Why gas? Diesel fuel is cheaper, maintenance is less often and they have the torque to get up the hills.
Doesn't suite my non-trailer life.

~3km daily commute and around 10,000 kms a year does not do a diesel any good.

It would take decades of fuel savings to pay off the added cost of a diesel when a gas will do me fine.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:03 AM   #19
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Also a GM guy & IMHO you can't beat the Duramax/Allison combo for towing.
Just traded my '13 Denali 3500 DRW of as we're currently rvless after fulltiming for 10+ years (300k+ miles driven, 160k+ towing) & couldn't imagine doing it with anything less.
If you plan to tow regularly or any distance don't do gas, the diesel power has gas beat hands down with the huge torque to take off plus haul it up the mountains & exhaust brakes to help shut'er down. All the newer trucks are every bit as nice as most luxury cars & even the 1 tons are well appointed & don't ride too bad.
Biggest problem nowadays is they ("they" meaning all brands) cost too much.
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Old 05-14-2019, 12:09 PM   #20
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Also a GM guy & IMHO you can't beat the Duramax/Allison combo for towing.
Just traded my '13 Denali 3500 DRW of as we're currently rvless after fulltiming for 10+ years (300k+ miles driven, 160k+ towing) & couldn't imagine doing it with anything less.
If you plan to tow regularly or any distance don't do gas, the diesel power has gas beat hands down with the huge torque to take off plus haul it up the mountains & exhaust brakes to help shut'er down. All the newer trucks are every bit as nice as most luxury cars & even the 1 tons are well appointed & don't ride too bad.
Biggest problem nowadays is they ("they" meaning all brands) cost too much.
Cost too much is putting it mildly! I bought my first vehicle for $50 in 1966. Ford Fairlane in turquoise! Now to consider laying out $50 grand for a truck is crazy. Thanks for the points on diesel advantage, torque and jake brakes!
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