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Old 04-14-2014, 07:35 PM   #1
Jimmy the Heater OP
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How big to go on a tow rig

I recently purchased a 7x14 Enclosed cargo trailer, double axle, 6'7" interior height, V Nose, 2020 lbs empty weight. Looks very similar to this pic I stole from the internet.


I'm looking for recommendations for a suitable tow rig for this. My requirements.
Extra cab Pickup or SUV-Must haul 2 adults and a toddler
4wd a real plus
Hoping to get 20 mpg when not towing or close to it.
Be able to tow at 60-65 comfortably. (I know MPG when towing is going to be crap, so I'm not even going to put a requirement there)
6k budget.

I have borrowed 2 different 3/4 tons to move it and here is what concerns me. The Chev K20 has a rather weak 350 in it and you knew the trailer was back there, even when empty. Tended to push a little bit and only wanted to cruise comfortably at about 50mph. I could have pushed it harder but it seemed to be a lot of punishment for little gain.

I have also towed it with a 2wd F250 with a slightly stronger 360. This handled the weight no problem, but again, didn't want to go much over 55 with how tall the trailer is.

I really would like to be able to cruise comfortably at 60-65 without pushing it.

My max load on this isn't going to be much. I'm going to be putting some shelves, a murphy bed, a small water tank, and a camping kitchen setup, along with 2 midsize motorcycles. I doubt I will ever exceed 4500 lbs total, and will more likely be 3500 lbs, but I want to give myself a little headroom.

So I'm thinking with the 2 previous tow rigs I have more of a horsepower deficit than a chassis that is not up to the task. I really want to avoid going to a big block for the fuel expense when not towing or diesel because of the crazy buy in cost.

TL;DR Would you tow 4500 lbs with a half ton or gasp even a Grand Cherokee, etc? Or should I just bite the bullet and get a 3/4 ton with a stout motor?
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Old 04-14-2014, 07:47 PM   #2
WARRIORPRINCEJJ
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4500 pounds is nothing to most half-tons.


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Old 04-14-2014, 07:52 PM   #3
neanderthal
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Ram EcoDiesel.
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:01 PM   #4
WARRIORPRINCEJJ
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Towing with gas rigs is a matter of gearing, which keeps the engine in the "meat". The problem is that gas engines build torque at much higher RPMs. So, for towing (in the 3/4-ton range, for example), most manufacturers like about a 4.10 gear. With a larger motor (6.0 GM, 5.4 Ford, or 5.7 Mopar), that gear is gonna' give you about 9-10 city/12-13 highway (unladen). Bearing that in mind, I'd look for one of those motors geared in the 3.73 range.

A 3/4-ton truck (if you can afford the extra scratch) is always the better deal. Axles, cooling system, tranny, etc. are so much more stout.

GM made a 2500 series of trucks (not the 2500 HD), that came with 8-lug axles, the 6.0, and 3.73 gears. If you don't mind an IFS 4X4, that might be a place to start looking. I betcha' you could find a solid early-2000's model, in your price range.


Happy hunting...


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"There's a WEALTH of cool people and knowledge on ADV, there's also a decent sized pocket of douche bag assholes that think their ADV forum Post Count (Oddometer) is their badge at being experienced riders." goodcat8
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:04 PM   #5
Hastelloy-X
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Like already said "any of the half tons will do".

Get a weight distribution hitch too. It really makes a difference.
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:15 PM   #6
troidus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WARRIORPRINCEJJ View Post
Towing with gas rigs is a matter of gearing, which keeps the engine in the "meat". The problem is that gas engines build torque at much higher RPMs. So, for towing (in the 3/4-ton range, for example), most manufacturers like about a 4.10 gear. With a larger motor (6.0 GM, 5.4 Ford, or 5.7 Mopar), that gear is gonna' give you about 9-10 city/12-13 highway (unladen). Bearing that in mind, I'd look for one of those motors geared in the 3.73 range.
I'd go lower gearing in the diff(s), then just keep it out of OD when towing if necessary.
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:17 PM   #7
James Adams
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Originally Posted by neanderthal View Post
Ram EcoDiesel.
Sadly, not for a $6k budget.
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Old 04-14-2014, 10:30 PM   #8
Carlo Muro
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I dunno. If I had the coin I'd go EcoBoost. I haven't driven the truck yet but the Fusion with the 2.0 blows my mind. It torques like a TDI and then some. All of a sudden when nobody was looking, Ford turned around and got their shit together. I'm somebody who has dissed the blue oval all my life too.
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Old 04-14-2014, 10:33 PM   #9
High Country Herb
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You won't get good mileage towing with a gas motor. You can find good deals on used diesel pickups, though:

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/ctd/4419573828.html

http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/cto/4421244433.html
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Old 04-14-2014, 10:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlo Muro View Post
I dunno. If I had the coin I'd go EcoBoost. I haven't driven the truck yet but the Fusion with the 2.0 blows my mind. It torques like a TDI and then some. All of a sudden when nobody was looking, Ford turned around and got their shit together. I'm somebody who has dissed the blue oval all my life too.


That was gonna' be my first recommendation to him, too. Then, I noticed the "6k budget".


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"There's a WEALTH of cool people and knowledge on ADV, there's also a decent sized pocket of douche bag assholes that think their ADV forum Post Count (Oddometer) is their badge at being experienced riders." goodcat8
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Old 04-14-2014, 11:28 PM   #11
troidus
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Originally Posted by WARRIORPRINCEJJ View Post
That was gonna' be my first recommendation to him, too. Then, I noticed the "6k budget".
Which he'll burn on gas in the first year if he tows a lot.
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Old 04-14-2014, 11:40 PM   #12
Jimmy the Heater OP
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EcoBoost would be wonderful....Nope, not in the budget. I'm strictly looking used. And around here the only diesels you will find under 6k are the non-turbo IDI's and the 6.5 Chev (I've worked on a ton of those, never again)

And no, I'm not even kidding myself that I'm going to get good fuel mileage when towing with a gas. My only MPG concern is when it's not hooked to a trailer. That way it can maintain some usefulness beyond just a tow rig. Get much below 20mpg and I start to avoid driving, and I need this rig to pull double duty. DD during the week, Tow Pig on the Weekend trips.

Currently the ones in the running are.
92-96 F150 (Leery of the 4.6 and 5.4 after that)
99+Silverado with the 5.3
2000+ Tahoe
Still doing research on the solid axle Dodges. I love solid front axles but I'm questioning their build quality a bit (maybe unjustly)

Thanks all for the input and letting me know that a half ton can indeed do the job.
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Old 04-14-2014, 11:57 PM   #13
Big Bird 928
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CUCV

The blazer versions have a Diesel and high gearing getting you 20+ mpg unloaded and 80+ MPH speed while still having room for your family.

Edit: I just saw that you didn't want the 6.5, so maybe disregard.
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:03 AM   #14
WARRIORPRINCEJJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy the Heater View Post
...Currently the ones in the running are.
92-96 F150 (Leery of the 4.6 and 5.4 after that)
99+Silverado with the 5.3
2000+ Tahoe
Still doing research on the solid axle Dodges. I love solid front axles but I'm questioning their build quality a bit (maybe unjustly)...

I don't know much about the F-150s. I know that some years of the 5.4 had some issues of grenading the plugs.

That GM 5.3 (in either the Silverado 1500, or the Tahoe) is a winner. Down here in my neck of the woods, folks drive their 5.3-equipped Z-71s until they just won't drive anymore.

I think Dodge was the last manufacturer to offer a solid-axle half-ton (maybe until about 2001). If you buy one of those, with either a 5.2 or 5.9 "Magnum" engine, I guarantee you'll be the Guest of Honor, at the Exxon-Mobil Christmas Party. Those fukkers can drink some fuel. We had a 1500 Dodge 4X4, with the 360 (5.9) and 3.55s. On a good day, it got about 9 MPG.


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I spent all my money on motorcycles, 4X4's, whiskey, and women...The rest I just wasted. (edited to fit/original phrase by "WIBO")

"There's a WEALTH of cool people and knowledge on ADV, there's also a decent sized pocket of douche bag assholes that think their ADV forum Post Count (Oddometer) is their badge at being experienced riders." goodcat8
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:08 AM   #15
WARRIORPRINCEJJ
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I didn't know you could use "CUCV" and "80+ MPH", in the same paragraph.

That 6.2 couldn't get out of its own way.


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I spent all my money on motorcycles, 4X4's, whiskey, and women...The rest I just wasted. (edited to fit/original phrase by "WIBO")

"There's a WEALTH of cool people and knowledge on ADV, there's also a decent sized pocket of douche bag assholes that think their ADV forum Post Count (Oddometer) is their badge at being experienced riders." goodcat8
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