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Old 04-15-2014, 08:30 PM   #31
broncobowsher
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7.3 powerstroke can pull 20 MPG empty unless it is all jacked up.
Hard part is finding a good one that the owner is willing to part with. People just don't want to give them up.
Depending on options and condition they are close to the price range. Vans are cheaper then trucks. Excursions are the most expensive.
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:18 PM   #32
Jimmy the Heater OP
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Hummm I've heard nothing but praise for the 5.3 until those two posts. Very strange. My previous 4.8 was adequate for towing, I would think that the 5.3 would be a little better.

I did find a 95 Ford F250 4x4 Powerstroke that I went and looked at today. I was lured in by the low price of $3995 and it looked good on the pictures. Lets just say that the person was very good at not photographing the bad things. There wasn't a single component that had oil inside it that wasn't leaking and it had at least 2 bearings out.

Got a friend of a friend that I'm going to talk to tomorrow that has a Silverado with the 5.3. Hopefully he'll let me hook my trailer up to his pickup for a drive, just to see if it meets my requirements. Figured that would be a good way to do it as a car lot or craigslist seller is sure as hell not gonna let you hook up a trailer for a test drive.

I really don't want to go big block unless I have no other choice. It just limits the usability of the vehicle for anything other than towing. And I would really like this to be a family truckster as well.
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:25 PM   #33
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With the young family part thrown in to the equation, look for an SUV. Been down your road, it will make a big difference in everyday life.
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:47 PM   #34
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How big to go on a tow rig

I ended up with a Ford E350 van with the V10 for $5k. Full 1 ton chassis. Tows anything. Surprisingly versatile. Doesn't get 20mpg, though :).
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:50 PM   #35
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How about the first of the V8 LandCruisers?

I would think that is very much in line with your needs. May not exactly hit 20mpg in everyday driving, but it certainly would tow.

A Tahoe, Suburban, or early Expedition might also do the job. I would NOT recommend an early ML430.
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:36 AM   #36
josjor
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I tow the exact same size trailer (no V-nose) with my 2001 Ford F150 SuperCrew pickup with the 5.4l. Usually it's loaded with about a ton (literally) of sound equipment. The only modifications from stock are the brake controller (of course) and some airbags on the rear suspension. I've never had or used a stabilizer.

60-65mph on the hiway? On flat ground you can almost forget the trailer is there. On the hills or a windy day the rpms go from a steady 2200 to 3000-3200.

75-80mph on the interstate? Higher rpms, about 3000-3200 steady and the overdrive rarely kicks in. On a windy day or in the hills expect to downshift and hit 4k rpms fairly frequently.

Last week I hauled the trailer with a piano in it a thousand miles through the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming and empty back. Averaged about 10mpg but that's why I charged a helluva price for the job. Still, the truck did a great job, was comfortable, and while the mileage sucked, it was comfortable and I never felt like I was abusing the truck.

On that tall of a trailer I don't think you'll find much that will get 20mpg. Wind resistance is your enemy. My previous trailer was only 6' tall and I got another 2mpg with it pretty consistently.

I can't say enough about airbags. I ran this trailer for about a year without the bags and the first trip with the bags it was like a new tow rig. Much more stable and as I said, at 65mph you can almost forget the trailer is there. Those bags are the best $500.00 I've ever spent on the truck.
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:02 AM   #37
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I once talked to a lady that drove in with her Dodge diesel. She traded in her Chevy with a 454. She pulls a double horse trailer and said the Chevy wasn't doing the job, no problem with the Dodge and mileage wasn't her concern. Getting over the hill with her horses were. Maybe an older Dodge with a Cummins?
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:23 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by vtwin View Post
I once talked to a lady that drove in with her Dodge diesel. She traded in her Chevy with a 454. She pulls a double horse trailer and said the Chevy wasn't doing the job, no problem with the Dodge and mileage wasn't her concern. Getting over the hill with her horses were. Maybe an older Dodge with a Cummins?

An old dodge with a Cummins is like gold. Probably gonna be well out of the 6k budget. If it is within budget, it is going to be rusty or need a lot of work to be reliable.


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Old 04-16-2014, 06:25 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Jimmy the Heater View Post
I did find a 95 Ford F250 4x4 Powerstroke that I went and looked at today. I was lured in by the low price of $3995 and it looked good on the pictures. Lets just say that the person was very good at not photographing the bad things. There wasn't a single component that had oil inside it that wasn't leaking and it had at least 2 bearings out.

That is how those 7.3 diesels are. A least mine was like that also. Oil and fuel seeping out of everywhere. A fuel leak is as messy as an oil leak. At least rust was not an issue under the hood.


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Old 04-16-2014, 07:04 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Jimmy the Heater View Post
Hummm I've heard nothing but praise for the 5.3 until those two posts.
You have to take my perspective with a grain of salt because I went from an '06 F150 with the 4.6L with 235 hp to the 5.3 with 315 hp. For obvious reasons it pulls my trailer far easier but I had the Ford 5.4L before that. The 5.4 felt no stronger than the 4.6L, at least in the F150 I traded in for it but that was probably due to the crappy transmission/gearing.
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Old 04-16-2014, 12:03 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by josjor View Post

On that tall of a trailer I don't think you'll find much that will get 20mpg. Wind resistance is your enemy. My previous trailer was only 6' tall and I got another 2mpg with it pretty consistently.
Oh yes, this part is well known. I'm not trying to get 20 mpg while towing. That is an impossibility. 20 mpg when I'm NOT towing is the goal so the rig can double as a family truckster.

That is good news about towing at 60-65 and not feeling like it was being pushed with the 5.4 (an engine that doesn't have the best reputation). That really is my main goal. I tend to take it pretty easy on my vehicles and don't want to abuse them.
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Old 04-16-2014, 12:03 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by SourKraut View Post
You have to take my perspective with a grain of salt because I went from an '06 F150 with the 4.6L with 235 hp to the 5.3 with 315 hp. For obvious reasons it pulls my trailer far easier but I had the Ford 5.4L before that. The 5.4 felt no stronger than the 4.6L, at least in the F150 I traded in for it but that was probably due to the crappy transmission/gearing.
Gotcha...that makes sense.
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Old 04-16-2014, 12:16 PM   #43
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An old dodge with a Cummins is like gold. Probably gonna be well out of the 6k budget. If it is within budget, it is going to be rusty or need a lot of work to be reliable.


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Yup the only Dodge with a Cummins that I have found that was under 6k here had well north of 500k on it. The engine would still be viable but the body was falling apart around it. Most extra cab cummins 3/4 tons go for around 12k here, maybe 10k if they were 2wd.

As mentioned by another poster a page or so ago, you can get a 2wd Cummins in Phoenix area for significantly cheaper but I believe by the time I fly down there, get set up in a hotel, rent a car, search CL and then drive back to the PNW I'm gonna be over budget again.

Don't get me wrong...I've driven both the 12 valve and 24 valve Cummins and they are brilliant engines and would easily do the job. The gap between 3rd and 4th wouldn't even be noticeable with as little weight as I would be towing. But I simply can't afford one in good enough condition. Gotta save the $$ for more motorcycle purchases!
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Old 04-19-2014, 06:54 AM   #44
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We tow travel trailers to the point of it being more than a hobby. I doubt a year has passed, in the last fifteen, when we logged less than 10K miles hitched up, some have been mid-20s.

Having owned a 1999 and a 2006 Tahoe, I think you will find them to be an excellent choice. As with any decision, it comes with a few foot notes. First, 20MPGs ain't happening to you. Drop $40K on a modern rig with 2-4 more gears in the trans, multi-cylinder displacement, and all the other tricks, yea, you will see 20 on occasion, on a 10-15 year old Chevy, you will see 17 occasionally, if you drive like there in an egg on the pedal.

As for the rig, it needs a bit of help to be a really solid performer. First it's critical to teach yourself how to read and understand build codes, since you are going to want a Tahoe with the tow package and 3.73 rears. Some of the truck enthusiast websites will have built sheets that spell out every single build abbreviation, just take a copy with you when shopping.
Don't fall in love with a Tahoe that's everything you dream of, with 3.08 rears, been there and it sucks, don't kid yourself that it will do.

The other issue is that the whole soccer mom ride quality needs to be addressed. First, lose the P rated car tires and find a good set of LT rated truck tires. My first Tahoe handled a trailer like a stoned water buffalo until I lost the car tires. this involves a bunch of complicated issues with regard to slip angle, and input response, and I had some great assistance from a GM engineer who was kind enough to assist me understanding them. Briefly, a car tire grips well and has a soft carcass, so it has two separate events happening at the same time, The tread is firmly planted, while the vehicle wallows above it. A heavy duty LT tire is stiff enough to quickly respond to input without wallow and resist sway. I have had great service with Firestone TransForce HTs and typically wear them nice and even 'till they are spent at 50-55K. Michelin LTXs are even better if you plan on long term ownership and can handle the bill.
The other issue is tail sagging. The rear is sprung soft and needs a bit of help. I had great luck with Air-Lift brand air bags. Prior to hitching up, I would inflate the rear tires to 80lbs, and the fronts to 55-60, then blow the bags up to max working pressure. When you're done towing, drop the bags to 5lbs and all the tires to 45 and the truck will feel pretty much stock, but handle a bit more crisply.

Other than that, change EVERY filter and fluid in the thing, don't let the trans overheat, and you will be more than happy, towing or using the thing as the luxury barge that it is. I can honestly say I can honestly say that I loved every minute we owned ours.
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Old 04-19-2014, 08:23 AM   #45
Tinfish
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I used to have a 4x4 F250 with the 5.4. I just checked on Fuelly and the best MPG I ever got was 15.9 miles per gallon on an unloaded highway trip in the summer. Around town that dropped like a rock, and then towing was worse yet.

I doubt you'll get 20 MPG with anything that can tow your load other than a diesel or the Ecoboost.
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