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What is the best 1/2 ton truck?- Got It!


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#1 Kirk

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 12:43 PM

Now that we have found an RV to keep Mrs. Pam, we need to find a truck to tow it with! :D

Our trailer is 22' long, tongue to bumper and weighs in at 3500#, gross weight. We will plan to carry some gear in the bed of the truck. We want one that is crewcab, four door, and automatic. We have not settled for sure on an engine choice, but it won't likely be a diesel, partly due to Pam's breathing difficulties around one that is running. We are open to either an import or domestic built truck and probably will be looking at something between 1 & 5 years of age, with fairly low mileage.

So how about some advice from all of you who tow travel trailers or who know recent trucks? What should we choose and why?

Edited by Kirk, 18 April 2012 - 08:23 PM.

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#2 VetRVer

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:04 PM

For towing I'd check out the Toyota, Nissan, GM (products), and Ford. I'm a Dodge Ram fan, but not for towing. If you can get diesel it will tow better than a gas engine.

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#3 Darryl&Rita

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:05 PM

If you're buying used, a good idea to keep in mind is to have a way out of the sale if the vehicle doesn't meet expectations. Some dealerships up here will offer a "Satisfaction Guaranteed" program to help pick the right vehicle. It usually runs for around 2 weeks, from date of possession, and allows the buyer to return (usually exchange) a purchase. Mom used this when the Dodge Dakota she picked returned less than spectacular fuel mileage empty, never mind loaded for camping. She settled on a year newer ('06) Chevy 1500 with the 5.3 l engine. This truck, in 4x4 drivetrain, regularly returs over 20 mpg highway, and losses only about 2 mpg pulling a 2900 lb Bigfoot trailer.

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#4 BooneDocks

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 01:14 PM

Kirk, we can arrange for you a discount at near dealer wholesale (X Plan) on a Ford product(and you receive any current factory incentives/rebates as well) . You either sell your vehicle yourself, or understand that you would only get wholesale from a dealer (which is all you are really going to get anyway). PM me if you are interested.
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#5 LindaH

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:45 PM

You won't get a diesel in a 1/2-ton Ford, Chevy, or Dodge, anyway, so that's not a concern. I don't know about the foreign brands such as Toyota.

At 3,500# GVWR, any of them will do well with your trailer, so if it were me, I'd go with what I liked best after driving all of them.

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#6 trailertraveler

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:28 PM

For the size trailer you have, have you considered a van? The Sprinter diesel will tow up to 5000#.

What ever brand pickup you might choose, three features I would recommend are an integrated break controller, transmission with tow/haul mode and a manual mode with push button shift. The push button shift is in my opinion one of the best features developed as there is absolutely no chance that the shift lever can be moved into neutral or any other place you do not want it.

Given the cargo carrying capacity of your trailer, I think I'd go for a full size truck rather than a midsize, more for the cargo volume than the weight capacity. I like a cab height cap, but they make some really nice locking tonneau covers these days.

Good Luck with your search!!

Edited by trailertraveler, 08 April 2012 - 03:30 PM.


#7 Sigzy

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 04:02 PM

Kirk, I'm a big Dodge fan but like Brian not in the 1/2 ton series.A good friend of mine pulls a trailer that size with the Toyota Tundra and is very happy.The new Chevy and Fords are both very capable.I suggest driving each and deciding which fits your fancy.
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#8 Aldee Storm

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 04:44 PM

Having "been there, done that" may we suggest that you and the lovely wife buy the biggest truck (engine wise) that you can afford. We didn't and man did we pay in the really long run!!! In fact, 10 years later, we're still paying!!! We started off in a 1/2 ton pick up, moved up to a 3/4 ton (before the 1/2 ton was paid off), moved up to a Ford F550 (before the 3/4 ton was paid off); then finally moved up to a Medium Duty truck (yes, you guessed it - before the F550 was paid off) and now 10 years later, we are in a motor home and will have all the trucks paid off in maybe...two more years!!! Now, that is a lesson learned the very hard way!!!

#9 C&N

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:25 PM

I have a 2011 F-150 crew cab and I am enjoying it. I pulled a 6000# Airstream this weekend for a friend and there were no pucker moments. It pulled smooth and easy. Yeah, I could tell it was there. But I'd do it again in a heart beat. I've also pulled my buddies boat that weighs in around 3,600#'s with all the gear and I can barely notice it there in the hills around the lake.
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#10 RLAWyo

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 06:05 PM

I would look real hard at a Toyota Tundra. You can supercharge one with a Toyota Supercharger, and it will be warrenteed. That would you give you over 500 hp and close to that in torque. I own a dodge and a nissan frontier, if it wasn't for the pin wieght of my 5er I would own one myself. My son owns one and pulls four horse trailer loaded with mules all over the state. When not towing he gets 18mpg, towing not so good, 10 or so depending on his speed. No problem towing with the 5.7.



Last year while traveling from Red Lodge to Sunlight basin, I going up the switchbacks pulling my trailer, I watched a Blue Tundra over a mile back, he caught me by the top, passed me and was at the campground a half hour before me. He was pulling a 23 foot bumper pull. I walked over to talk to him about his truck. He just smiled and said when he gets it wound up he doesn't like to back off. Crazy I thought, but his truck. I was impressed with the power though.



You might start your search on autotrader. I have bougt two pickups there, flew one way, bought sight unseen via a dealer and have had nothing but good experience with both.
If nothing else it will give you some food for thought.

Edited by RLAWyo, 08 April 2012 - 06:08 PM.

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#11 Kirk

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 06:38 PM

Having "been there, done that" may we suggest that you and the lovely wife buy the biggest truck (engine wise) that you can afford.

Let me say, welcome to the Escapee forums first. We are happy to have you here!

Our situation is a little different than yours in that we are moving back down in RV size, after having spent nearly 12 years as fulltimers. We are not new RVers nor to travel trailers, but it has been more than 20 years since we owned our last one, having been motorhome folks for the time between. I had my last truck back in 2000 so am not current on the truck market.

Thanks to so many helpful posts here, we are moving ahead with the learning process. At this time we are shopping mostly Car-Max with several that we are considering, but we have not ruled out anything as yet. One of the vehicles that interests us is this Nissan Frontier.

BooneDocks, I did send you a PM as being of partly Scotch ancestry I do like to save money! One that we have heard several good reports on is the Ford EcoBoost.

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#12 Dick&Joyce

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 07:30 PM

Kirk, we pulled a similar TT for years with a Dodge Dakota with a V8 and self equalizing hitch and loved it. I agree with the idea of going and driving the different models you are interested in and then going with that. My Dakota was a 4x4 and got 18-20 mph in rural driving and 14-16 towing the trailer, buy the way. Would still have it if it could tow a 15K fifth wheel.Posted Image
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#13 RLAWyo

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 08:24 PM

Frontier is good little truck, I own an 05, but mine is a 4x4. It is my beat around truck. I am sure that the one you are looking at will tow your trailer, but a bonifide 1/2 ton would serve you better, regardless of breed. We all have our own preferences. Toyota and Nissan make great rigs. You might look at a Titan. I have four sons, they all own toyotas, including my wife, of some kind, collectively over a million miles with no major break downs. A couple of the Tacomas look like abandoned cars, but they never fail to start, don't use oil , and will go almost anywhere.
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#14 Earl

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 10:34 PM

Sounds like the advice you will get is typical-all of us favoring the one we have/had. So here's more of the same. We pulled larger trailers than yours for five years before moving to the fiver and 3/4 ton truck with a Chevy 1500. At that time, at least, Chevy was far and away the quietest and smoothest truck. Those were important qualities for me. I never regretted it and put on at least 20,000 miles. We didn't win any speed races going up hills but we weren't in a hurry. I might say that even our 2007 Chevy diesel 2500 is far quieter than either Ford or Dodge. Almost everybody that rides in it has to ask if it really is a diesel.

Above all, drive them all to see what you like. But if you want quiet, comfortable, and smooth, look closely at the Chevy.

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#15 VetRVer

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 10:44 PM

Regardless of brand, stay away from the "mid-size" pickups like the Dakota, etc. Those are SUV's they call 1/2 ton pickups.

Brian
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#16 richfaa

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:26 AM

" Our trailer is 22' long, tongue to bumper and weighs in at 3500#, gross weight'.. here we go not paying attention... get a diesel..Get the biggest truck you can afford..How about a HDT...hey it will stop better. :blink:

We have friends that pull with the new Ford 1/2 ton and they pull 5th wheels and TT weighing far in excess of the one you mention.My guess is the other 1/2 ton trucks will do as well. A diesel for that weight is not needed and a gass 1/2 ton will serve as a excellent everyday driver. I do nt have to say do the homework to you as I am sure you are well into that..

However a HDT will pull it real good and boy will it stop it... :lol:
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#17 whj

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:05 AM

I know you are looking for one 1-5 years old, but have you looked at the new F150's with Econ engines? There is a lot of good things being
said about them on this and other RV forums. That little Nissan would be to small for me! I have a F250 diesel and it is well known that the fumes
cause cancer.

#18 GR 'Scott' Cundiff

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:13 AM

I would look real hard at a Toyota Tundra. You can supercharge one with a Toyota Supercharger, and it will be warrenteed. That would you give you over 500 hp and close to that in torque. I own a dodge and a nissan frontier, if it wasn't for the pin wieght of my 5er I would own one myself. My son owns one and pulls four horse trailer loaded with mules all over the state. When not towing he gets 18mpg, towing not so good, 10 or so depending on his speed. No problem towing with the 5.7.


I'll add my support of the Tundra. I pull a 30' TT and it handles it just fine. I get around 17mpg on the highway, around 9mpg towing. Mine's a 2007 5.7L - love it.

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#19 Jim n Sue

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:35 AM

Kirk and Pam glad to hear you will be on the road again, Now quit trippin Pam !!!

IMHO I would get a Ford chassis Cummins motor and Allison transmission.. Surely there are enough able bodied people on this forum that could whip up this package for youPosted Image After all they put together these big HDTs within a few hrs so the above should be a piece of cakePosted Image from scraps and they could even paint made by ESCAPPEES across the sidesPosted Image
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#20 OHVRanger

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:29 PM

Kirk, I clearly don't have a horse in this race as I've never owned anything smaller than a 3/4T in my life (farmboy). But I have several friends fulltiming in small trailers and they swear by their Tundra's. One is pulling a trailer comparable to yours in weight and he claims 17+ HWY. I didn't believe him until I spoke with another friend who hauls a slightly longer unit and he says it's gospel. I know for a fact that there isn't a Ford or Chevy that will get that kind of mileage towing and I like Fords and Chevys. And both of these friends brag how dependable their Toyotas are.
Just had to throw my 2 centavos in. Good luck in your search, Will

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