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Researching Trucks for Full-Time Living


mkbix

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The wife and I are considering selling the sticks and bricks house and move to full-time RV. We are in our early 30's, no kids yet (planning in 2 years). Our primary living will be in the Rockies for the summer months and then Arizona for the winter months. I work for a company that has our big data centers in Denver and Phoenix, so I would be commuting back and forth quite often. That's what brings me to my question.

 

We are looking at 5th wheels in the 16k#-19k# range, with my Harley loaded on the back. Logic tells me to go with a Dually truck, but with the commuting I will do, I really don't want to drive the dually everyday.

 

I'm looking at Dodge for my truck, I'm just not sure if I can make the 3500 RAM Non-dually a safe hauler for the trips between Denver and Phoenix.

 

Could I boost up the suspension on a stock 3500?

 

Looking for any experience or opinions.

 

Thanks!

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You are asking a lot out of a 1 ton dually. 19k loaded up, ready to go, will weigh around 21k, plus the Harley. You might not want to hear this but I am towing high 20ish and planning on upgrading to HDT with a Smart on deck. I don't like the dually for a daily commute either.

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Wouldn't the HDT be an even worse Daily Driver?

Smart be daily commute. some carry larger vehicles, some Jeeps, etc. Some have used HDT as daily commute. They are no wider than a dually. If you don't carry a vehicle one can be close to length of dually. Lots of options with an HDT. You could get an toyhauler and carry Harley in cargo area. Still lot of weight for a dually. Will not be a comfortable tow. I towed 17k DRV with a GMC 3500 dually from Ohio to Texas stopping to sleep and fuel only. Felt like I had been in a fight. That sore from all the bucking. I had air ride pin box and air bags on suspension of DRV also.

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You need to look at a F450 in the Ford family. SRW will not work for your load.

 

Ken

I would like a 450 even less. If it works for you, fine though. Here is an example. I park in a construction park lot. People park beside me. I can't get out until one moves. Gets old fast.

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The wife and I are considering selling the sticks and bricks house and move to full-time RV. We are in our early 30's, no kids yet (planning in 2 years). Our primary living will be in the Rockies for the summer months and then Arizona for the winter months. I work for a company that has our big data centers in Denver and Phoenix, so I would be commuting back and forth quite often. That's what brings me to my question.

 

We are looking at 5th wheels in the 16k#-19k# range, with my Harley loaded on the back. Logic tells me to go with a Dually truck, but with the commuting I will do, I really don't want to drive the dually everyday.

 

I'm looking at Dodge for my truck, I'm just not sure if I can make the 3500 RAM Non-dually a safe hauler for the trips between Denver and Phoenix.

 

Could I boost up the suspension on a stock 3500?

 

Looking for any experience or opinions.

 

Thanks!

Most likely you'll need something a one ton can't handle. I drive a Ford F250 rated at 23,000 GVWR, but subtract the truck weight, and towing capacity shrinks to around 16,000 pounds. You're looking at a 19K# trailer AND a 1K# plus bike.

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My 2011 GMC Sierra 3500HD dually is my daily driver. I have had zero issues with it being a daily driver. I choose to park further out in the parking lots to prevent other people from dinging my truck with their doors.

 

I currently have a Lifestyle Alfa Gold 3905SHMC. http://www.lifestylelrv.com/page/384/3905SH-Motorcycle-Garage. Recently completed a 13K mile shakedown trip. Zero problems pulling/stopping it with my truck.

 

My GoldWing rides in the "garage". If you have a top box on your Harley, it may be too long to close the garage's roll up door. I just leave the door open when traveling. Makes no difference to the coach or the bike. This coach is a full blown, VERY comfortable 5th wheel. It is head and shoulders more comfortable than the 2014 Heartland Cyclone 4000 toy hauler I had. There is simply no comparison between the 2 coaches. The Cyclone was heavier and felt heavier. I know the Alfa is back there, but it is not a challenge for the truck.

 

I will be looking for an HDT, but only because I want to get a RZR to play with, not because my Sierra lacks the capability to safely pull/stop the coach.

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Wouldn't the HDT be an even worse Daily Driver?

 

Take a look at some of the rigs that were at the HDT rally with us. You can see jeeps, Razors, Smart cars and bikes on the backs of these rigs. The guy that posted these had his Razor on the truck and his Smart car in the Garage. Several do that with a bike and Smart car. Lets you ride the bike in nice weather and the Smart in the rain...

 

http://www.followmybuild.com/Event/HDT%20National%20Rally%20-%202015

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My 2011 GMC Sierra 3500HD dually is my daily driver. I have had zero issues with it being a daily driver. I choose to park further out in the parking lots to prevent other people from dinging my truck with their doors.

 

I currently have a Lifestyle Alfa Gold 3905SHMC. http://www.lifestylelrv.com/page/384/3905SH-Motorcycle-Garage. Recently completed a 13K mile shakedown trip. Zero problems pulling/stopping it with my truck.

 

My GoldWing rides in the "garage". If you have a top box on your Harley, it may be too long to close the garage's roll up door. I just leave the door open when traveling. Makes no difference to the coach or the bike. This coach is a full blown, VERY comfortable 5th wheel. It is head and shoulders more comfortable than the 2014 Heartland Cyclone 4000 toy hauler I had. There is simply no comparison between the 2 coaches. The Cyclone was heavier and felt heavier. I know the Alfa is back there, but it is not a challenge for the truck.

 

I will be looking for an HDT, but only because I want to get a RZR to play with, not because my Sierra lacks the capability to safely pull/stop the coach.

I don't have the option of rear of parking lot. They are full when we on the job. How about comfort. I have the 2012 and it will beat the !!!!! out of me on rough road. 6k pin don't help either but HDTs are a lot more comfortable. They are designed for cross country running in comfort. Duallys are not. I would not trust my truck towing my Teton in Rockies. Power is great, stopping or maintaining safe speed on those hills concern me. They may look cool but driving one isn't.

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I am going to take a different approach. Although you are going ot be a full-timer in regard to living in your 5th wheel you will not be towing full'time. If you are only looking to ttow this unit twice a year between Phoenix and Denver I feel you need to look at what will make this work for the other 363 days a year. Perhaps you can look at a little lighter unit that won't require an xlg truck to tow it and be your everyday vehicle. You can find great units that will accomodate full-time living and your Harley but won't require sucha large tow vehicle.

 

If you were towing frequently and are going to have a 16k-19k 5th wheel then I would say that you do need to look for th elarger tow vehicle. But for a couple times a year moving it from one location to another I think it would be a bit much. Another option would be to hire someone to take it to where you need it those couple times. The cost of that would be far less than the investiment of the HDT. Especially if this might only be a couple year stint. On a side note, I am towing a 39' 5th wheel with a loaded weight of 15,500 and tow it with a GMC Denali deisel 3500 SRW. It is the most amazing towing experience I have had in my 22 years of rv'ing. Large abundance of power, built in exhaust brake and vehicle comfort makes the towing exerience unbelievable. I tow for longer stretches and feel fresh when I arrive. The truck barely blinks when I am on hills. I never have to worry about keepin up with traffic and can pass on the mountains right along with the car traffic.

 

Anyways, just something to think about. Good luck with your purchases and enjoy your full-time living.

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OK, from my own personal experience for the last 11 years. That's how long I've owned 3500 Long bed, crew cab, 4 wheel drive duallys as my TV as well as my daily driver... NEVR AN ISSUE of driving or parking anywhere I needed or wanted to go...Experience, back up cameras and mirrors work wonders in all these situations. A 19K GVW is NO PROBLEM being towed by a 2013, or NEWER 3500 1 ton dually..

 

GVWR on my truck is 14,000#

RAWR is 9750# with tires aired to 65 psi (AAM rates rear axle at 11,500#)

I have the HD Aisin tranny with 4.10 rear end...3.85 HP, 850 lbft of TQ and a GCWR of 37,500#.

2-stage EB

Truck is "loaded out" and you're surrounded in luxury:)

 

It will EASILY tow my 20K GVW TH, and when unhooked, I can drive my TV anywhere I want to go, use it for whatever job, drive it in snow in 4 wheel drive, etc.....Don't need to spend extra money or insurance on an itty bitty Smart car..I, my wife, grand kids and two boxers can EASILY enter and exit the cab of the dually..The wife, all 5'2" of her and 60ish;), easily drives the dually as well as I do. Has taken it to work, grocery store, Wally World, etc..

 

Today's 3500 dually's ARE NOT the same truck they were in 2010, 11' or 12'...

 

OP doesn't want a dually and I believe he needs one, BUT he DOESN'T need a 450/4500 and definitely doesn't need a HDH for a 5er with a GVW , (notice I said GVW) of 19,000-22,000# .

 

If I were the OP, towing a 19,000# GVW 5er, WITH or without FAMILY, I would be thinking safety and get the dually, If you don't want the dually....you need to get a lighter TH..I tend to err to the side of safety. No reason to "beef up the suspension", when you can just buy what you need

 

HDH's have their place just as MDT, but these 350/3500's are FAR more capable than they were pre- MY 13'...guess some research needs to be done by some to realize their capabilities today. I EASILY Towed my 16,950# GVW , almost 40' 5er all through the mountains of TN, NC, VA and WV..some 7% grades on Interstates and some very steep, mountainous, curvy secondary roads, never a power issue, never a brake fade issue, nor stability problem,

 

 

i've been towing for a little over 45 years and have learned the hard way at times about towing and what is needed to tow with. AT ONE TIME, I TOO believed a HDH or MDT would be needed to tow anything at 17,000# and up, BUT, not anymore...just takes research, or some real life experience to understand some of this.

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Ya but if you can't or won't afford one ? They are big bucks (new DD trucks), don't last as long . Pickups are a waste of money in comparison .

The depreciation alone of the next two I would need ( before my RV days are over) can buy a nice HDT. - and did.

Paid $52K for mine, (it's paid for) plus 7yr 100,000 mile zero deductible Chrysler Max Care extended warranty. at 65 years of age, the truck will last as long as I'll use it, and I can use it ALL the time and take it anywhere I want to....Can disconnect from my 5er and drive my truck anywhere I need or want to

 

Do what you think is best and affordable for your situation...ALL I'VE STATED IS FACTS...One DOESN'T NEED a HDH to tow a 17,000-20,000# with anymore, the 2013+ 350/3500 dually's are more than capable to now handle that weight. Some information that USE to be true and that "I" at one time, agreed with...that you NEEDED a HDH to tow a 17,000# plus 5er...now you don't..You get up to 22,000# plus, a MDT, or HDH might be needed...Times have changed, technology has come a long way with 1 ton dually's. If money is an issue, do what you have to do..I have no room to park a HDH, I can't use it 365 day's a year..It wouldn't work for me as a daily driver, I can have cake and eat it too..Empty, I can average 16 mpg, (I've done almost 18 on a trip)..Towing, I'' stay around 9.5 mpg, and that is all towing in the mountains..Truck run's and looks great.

 

Sorry to belabor the issue, but for some just to state emphatically that one MUST have a HDH to tow a 19K 5er with is incorrect information and that IS the ONLY thing I'm talking about. One doesn't NEED a HDH to tow a 19K 5er with...

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Where did I say a HDT was needed ? Your facts are not everybody's ,a new diesel duelly were Iam from run close to 100,000 msrp + tax .

 

13% sales tax every time I need that new truck smell --no thanks .

Wow, where do you live? Any GM dealer in the lower 48 states will sell you a 2016 dually for $66k and would be glad to sell to you at full price if you insist.

As far as a HDT, you need to figure in the maintenance cost. My son had his fan idler pulley replaced last week on his 2005 Freightliner for $475. I carry a spare idler pulley for my chevy dually in the tool box, cost $30.

Like said before, a HDT is not for everybody. The bigger the truck the bigger the problems and expense.

Greg

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I just built and priced a loaded Ford 350 dually in BC. Note this is in Canadian Dollars. Its $100K for a loaded Platinum with enough change left for a bottle of whiskey and a pack of smokes.

 

OUCH! That will buy me two nice 780s complete with Smart beds if I shop carefully. Just did that transaction so I have recent experience.

 

I did get to see the new 2016 V-8 Cummins Diesel Nissan Titan XD this weekend. Very pretty, will tow 12K lbs and a bit. That's more my speed these days. 22-25 mpg US unladen. They weren't passing out prices yet, and availability will be next spring maybe.

 

Geo

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Where did I say a HDT was needed ? Your facts are not everybody's ,a new diesel duelly were Iam from run close to 100,000 msrp + tax .

 

13% sales tax every time I need that new truck smell --no truck like mine in upper 50's. thanks .

Wasn't addressing you on saying one needed a HDH, that was to Glenn...and Wow, $100,000!!!, don't know where you're from, but glad I'm nowhere near :blink: , but you can purchase a loaded out (top of the line) Ram 3500 DRW/LB/ 4X4/Laramie Limited with Aisin, 4.10, whole ball of wax all day in mid to upper 60K range all day in a 4 to 5 state radius. A truck like mine, in mid to upper 50's, possibly low 60's on a 16'. , A Laramie in low to mid 50's.. and if you don't want fancy and a lot of the bells and whistles, you could have the dually in low to mid 40's...

 

Again, if you need the HDH to tow your 5er with and it meets all your needs...That's great... I can use my truck as I stated, and like I need, 365 day's a year. Take it tp work, shop, go to church, park it in enclosed carport, ( no door) beside the wife's car.

 

i stand by my facts...it's there for the research..All I stated was, "You don't need a HDH to tow a 19,000# GVW 5er with...nothing more, nothing less..'MY truck will tow it easily and mine is a 3500 dually"..It's a fact that is there for the research whether you agree with it or not.

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