Jump to content

When is an HDT too much truck?


johnpsz

Recommended Posts

We have a 36' Elkridge 5th wheel that is relatively light compared to others out there, I never scaled it but assume we are at about 13.5K. Our current truck, a 2007 Dodge, has a manual transmission and my wife has had her ankle reconstructed twice and has issue with the clutch making me the only driver. We are going to look into a new truck, and her requirements were simple, something she could drive, and something that could handle any trailer we might get in the future. We have 2 younger children, 2 and 6, so I was looking at the Ram Mega cab for the cab size, then paying to have the long bed put on. After looking into other options than throwing 80K at a modified new 1 ton truck, I saw others using HDT's for towing. Before I bring the idea up to her, I know she will probably just assume I'm nuts. I have been reviewing all things here, on Gregg's site and a few other places, so I have the idea on Pro's and Con's, but is a HDT too much truck for a relatively small trailer? We do mostly regional camping with about 1 cross country trip a year, and after killing my clutch on this last cross country trip just trying to back the camper into a site, then damaging the new clutch (got smelly friction material) going over the mountains out here, I think our 3/4 ton isn't quite up to the task.

 

 

post-54095-0-30445400-1450136963_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You will never know what truck is the absolute best until after the fact. I thought I was fine with our F-350 and14k (empty) toy hauler, until I went to Colorado. Nothing bad happened, but I was worried every time we went down a mountain.

 

So, I started looking for an MDT (medium duty). Everything I found was either worn out or too expensive.

 

Then I found this forum. I was saved, brothers and sisters. We started our search, looking at lots of trucks, with lots of different emblems on the grills. We narrowed it down to a few models, and found a truck with the features we wanted for a decent price. It may be a bit overkill for our trailer, but who knows what we might hook up in a year or three?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The MegaCab is a great kid-carrier, but an 8' long box is often more of a want, rather than a need. I haven't checked prices in a loonnng time, but it approx. doubled the purchase price last time I looked. A guy could buy a lot of glass and body work for that. We stepped up from an '06 SLT to the Kw, and haven't looked back. It's gone to the grocery store more than once, Home Depot more than once, been a small motor home, and a guest cottage. When we first test drove the Kw, I joked to Rita that she couldn't find a trailer it wouldn't pull. I still stand by that comment, with a few provisions. The trailer we were pulling at the time was within all the posted specs from Dodge, but not the internet advised 80% allowance. It was a handful on more than 1 occasion, with a couple nerve-wracking close calls, even with an exhaust brake added. If you have any plans on ever having a bigger or heavier trailer, you owe it to yourself to at least broach the subject with your wife. If you're having clutch smell, I suspect the trailer is heavier than you're guessing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can never have too much truck when you factor in the ease of driving a HDT, the heavy duty braking in a HDT, and the comfort for the passengers vrs a crew cab pickup. Most of all the safety aspect a HDT affords you. I was in the same situation a few years ago that you find yourself in now concerning the replacement of my crew cab pickup and I just about fainted over the sticker shock of the new pickups. I started looking around and found this forum and it showed me the path to the world of the HDT. We still work and have two boys at home so we really liked the idea of the extra interior room of a HDT. It has worked out very well for our family. But I must say as a disclaimer the HDT is not for everyone. With the newer pickups and their increased capabilities it somewhat blurs the line a bit between the two camps. For some the pickup is still the best option. Do some research and read this forum and you will be better suited to making the right decision for your needs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Rick and Spin bring up legitimate points. In the final analysis only you can answer the question. The " fly in the ointment" is what your wife brings up and that is a truck able to "handle any trailer we might end up with." If you stay in the 13 - 15,000 lb. range a dually pickup would probably do you fine. If you foresee your family going to a 18 - 20,000 lb. trailer a class 7 or 8 truck might better suit your needs and be more for your money. In my particular case, I went down the same road you are going. We started with a 12,000 lb trailer pulled with a Dodge 3/4 ton diesel. Found a nice used Mobile Suites at close to 20,000 lb. I was lucky and found a heck of a deal on an F-450 which was adequate but in my opinion barely. For us we wanted something we considered more capable thus the HDT.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking forward to hearing everyone's answer. What about a used 1 ton dually...

I think you should put your camper on a scale, first. If most of your camping is regional, will campgrounds accomodate an HDT?

You're right about the regional campgrounds, I should continue to look into those, but truly, what is the difference between an HDT and a giant motor home, anyhow worth looking into. As for a used 1 ton, I still have "wants" if getting another pickup truck I would still want a newer mega cab and still have to get the bed extended. Even so, I have comparison shopped and couldn't get out the door for less than 40-50K into something that would make the cross country trips more family friendly.

 

Example (I know I might find better, but this is in front of me):

Lightly used factory mega cab dually w/aisin trans = 30-35K

Long bed conversion = 8-10K

Extended range tanks = 2-5K

Family entertainment (TV, DVD, NAV and etc.) = 1-2K

 

Now the family entertainment stuff would go into any new truck, so taking that off the table got me to the range I mentioned above. From what I understand I can get a truck with roughly 60-70K usable miles for $40-50K, or an HDT with 300-400K usable miles for $50-90K.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have a 36' Elkridge 5th wheel that is relatively light compared to others out there, I never scaled it but assume we are at about 13.5K. Our current truck, a 2007 Dodge, has a manual transmission and my wife has had her ankle reconstructed twice and has issue with the clutch making me the only driver. We are going to look into a new truck, and her requirements were simple, something she could drive, and something that could handle any trailer we might get in the future. We have 2 younger children, 2 and 6, so I was looking at the Ram Mega cab for the cab size, then paying to have the long bed put on. After looking into other options than throwing 80K at a modified new 1 ton truck, I saw others using HDT's for towing. Before I bring the idea up to her, I know she will probably just assume I'm nuts. I have been reviewing all things here, on Gregg's site and a few other places, so I have the idea on Pro's and Con's, but is a HDT too much truck for a relatively small trailer? We do mostly regional camping with about 1 cross country trip a year, and after killing my clutch on this last cross country trip just trying to back the camper into a site, then damaging the new clutch (got smelly friction material) going over the mountains out here, I think our 3/4 ton isn't quite up to the task.

 

Until you know what you might get in the future, you might never have the right truck. I bought a 38 MS RSB3 and tow it with a 15 Ram 3500 RC DRW CTD Aisin 410 rear. You just need to look at the limits of what trucks you are looking at. The exhaust brakes on these newer trucks have been getting better and stronger from what I have read. But this is my first 3500 truck. But the control going down hill is AWESOME!! I think I read somewhere that Ram might be coming out with a long bed mega cab in the near future. But you can never have to much truck. Better to have more truck and be safe. I thought about buying a HDT but the wife wanted to have a new vehicle. I really like the air ride suspension, cab and seats. The air brakes and large fuel carrying capacity. I was not planning on buying a new Volvo 780.

Best of luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Johnpsz, welcome to the site. Glad you are here. To answer your question HDTs can be used to haul any size trailer. Some pull bumper pulls, some pull 5th wheels and others pull multiple trailers. HDTs are not for everyone but will typically exceed your expectations as long as you do not need 4wd and do not plan to go to far off road without proper equipment.

Like others, we have used ours to do running around to stores and using it like a pickup.

I suggest if can make it try to get you and the family to a HDT rally to experience them up close. Also read as much as you can of the resource guide and websites like Jack Mayer's that help explain the decision.

 

Feel free to ask more questions if you need more info.

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking forward to hearing everyone's answer. What about a used 1 ton dually...

I think you should put your camper on a scale, first. If most of your camping is regional, will campgrounds accomodate an HDT?

I have gone to every campground I ever did with my F250,provincial and national parks included.Inspite of the appearance I found it quite maneuverable in fact more so then the 250.

What did happen (with the pick up) if say half the sites in a national park were accessible now maybe 10% are available.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're right about the regional campgrounds, I should continue to look into those, but truly, what is the difference between an HDT and a giant motor home, anyhow worth looking into. As for a used 1 ton, I still have "wants" if getting another pickup truck I would still want a newer mega cab and still have to get the bed extended. Even so, I have comparison shopped and couldn't get out the door for less than 40-50K into something that would make the cross country trips more family friendly.

 

Example (I know I might find better, but this is in front of me):

Lightly used factory mega cab dually w/aisin trans = 30-35K

Long bed conversion = 8-10K

Extended range tanks = 2-5K

Family entertainment (TV, DVD, NAV and etc.) = 1-2K

 

Now the family entertainment stuff would go into any new truck, so taking that off the table got me to the range I mentioned above. From what I understand I can get a truck with roughly 60-70K usable miles for $40-50K, or an HDT with 300-400K usable miles for $50-90K.

Why not use a slider hitch in the mega cabs shorter bed? You could even modify the pin of your 5ver to have the nose of the 5ver further back. This would cost ALOT less then the 8-10k expense of putting a long bed on. Why put larger tanks onboard? I would think that the family might enjoy stretching every couple of hours while fueling up? As far as the entertainment system, they make portable ones that attach the the front seats. And truck GPSs SUCK as you can not input height, weight and other restrictions into the factor of the route. I bought a Garmin truck GPS. Sometimes it is not the most direct route, but I have not run into a OH CHIT situation. I still read all signs and warnings just in case. I spent more then a year researching everything I bought. As I wanted to buy the right thing the first time. Best of luck.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, in response to your question 'When is an HDT too much truck ?" When you want to put it in your garage, a drive through or other tight space, it can be too much truck, When you are filling the 250-300 gallon fuel tanks or replacing up to 10 tires, it can be too much truck. When you want to buy a brand new one. it can be too much truck. If you have to take it to a shop every time it it hiccups, it can be too much truck. When you are washing and waxing it, it can be too much truck. When you want to park it in your neighborhood and can't, it can be too much truck. When your backing skills are not honed, it can be too much truck. When you can't climb into or out of it, it can be too much truck. When your towed unit is small enough to be towed by a Smart Car, it can be too much truck......BUT when you want to travel in comfort and safety and carry a Smart Car on the back, it's not too much truck. When you are coming down a long,steep grade using only the Jake an/or engine brake, it's not too much truck. When you have superior visibility, it's not too much truck. When you get out of the cab after a full day of driving and you still can walk normally, it's not too much truck........AND, FINALLY....When you smile when you see it, as you are climbing into the cab and while you are driving it down the road and as you toot the air horn in response to the kids in the station wagon beside you, it is not too much truck. just my opinions and your mileage may vary. To each his own. Be safe, Charlie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, in response to your question 'When is an HDT too much truck ?" When you want to put it in your garage, a drive through or other tight space, it can be too much truck, When you are filling the 250-300 gallon fuel tanks or replacing up to 10 tires, it can be too much truck. When you want to buy a brand new one. it can be too much truck. If you have to take it to a shop every time it it hiccups, it can be too much truck. When you are washing and waxing it, it can be too much truck. When you want to park it in your neighborhood and can't, it can be too much truck. When your backing skills are not honed, it can be too much truck. When you can't climb into or out of it, it can be too much truck. When your towed unit is small enough to be towed by a Smart Car, it can be too much truck......BUT when you want to travel in comfort and safety and carry a Smart Car on the back, it's not too much truck. When you are coming down a long,steep grade using only the Jake an/or engine brake, it's not too much truck. When you have superior visibility, it's not too much truck. When you get out of the cab after a full day of driving and you still can walk normally, it's not too much truck........AND, FINALLY....When you smile when you see it, as you are climbing into the cab and while you are driving it down the road and as you toot the air horn in response to the kids in the station wagon beside you, it is not too much truck. just my opinions and your mileage may vary. To each his own. Be safe, Charlie

That's better than DollyTrolly and Phoenix!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, thanks for all the responses. Small kids and stretching legs while trying to fuel and everything else is more stressful than you might imagine. Long bed is reguired for additional fuel, just no room for additional fuel plus the sliding hitch I already have in a short bed truck. No matter what I choose, I'll never get another short bed truck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A 1 ton dually is good for at least 16,000 lbs of trailer, and the manufacturers will tell you more, A 3/4 ton, or a SRW 1 ton, is maxed out for control at around 10,000 lbs. The MegaCab is nice, but the newer Crew Cab offers a lot of room. and the option of the 8' bed. That is a real personal choice. The downside of the HDT is getting in it, or out. Dogs can't without a ramp. A lot of people can't either, the first step is more than they can manage going up or down.

 

There is a world of difference in the pickup trucks made before about 2019 and those made after. The newer ones have a variable turbo which acts as an exhaust brake, and a tow/haul feature that wants to downshift on grades. My 2012 keeps slowing down on Interstate 90 downgrades and I have to lightly hit the accelerator pedal to maintain reasonable speed, so in that respect they are as good as an HDT within their limits.

 

Some locations (cities, towns, HOA) prevent parking an HDT, period They don't care if it is licensed as a motorhome.

 

An HDT will turn tighter than a DRW 1 ton. They will also lose traction quickly on any surface unless substantially loaded. There are 4WD HDTs, but in the oilfield and logging, not over the highway.

 

My suggestion would be to find a converted HDT or go to a truck stop and have everyone get in and out a few times, sit behind the wheel, and try it out stationary for the feel and appeal.

 

One last observation, The HDT powertrain should hit the better part of 1 million miles, and the 1Ton dually diesel of recent vintage should hit half that. Premature failure in the HDT will be 2X+ more expensive than the dually.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, thanks for all the responses. Small kids and stretching legs while trying to fuel and everything else is more stressful than you might imagine. Long bed is reguired for additional fuel, just no room for additional fuel plus the sliding hitch I already have in a short bed truck. No matter what I choose, I'll never get another short bed truck.

There is a tank system out that is larger then the OE for the Ram, but you lose your spare tire. I think it is 5-10 gallons more, but I'm not 100 %. I'm sure your can Google it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's better than DollyTrolly and Phoenix!

 

John, in response to your question 'When is an HDT too much truck ?" When you want to put it in your garage, a drive through or other tight space, it can be too much truck, When you are filling the 250-300 gallon fuel tanks or replacing up to 10 tires, it can be too much truck. When you want to buy a brand new one. it can be too much truck. If you have to take it to a shop every time it it hiccups, it can be too much truck. When you are washing and waxing it, it can be too much truck. When you want to park it in your neighborhood and can't, it can be too much truck. When your backing skills are not honed, it can be too much truck. When you can't climb into or out of it, it can be too much truck. When your towed unit is small enough to be towed by a Smart Car, it can be too much truck......BUT when you want to travel in comfort and safety and carry a Smart Car on the back, it's not too much truck. When you are coming down a long,steep grade using only the Jake an/or engine brake, it's not too much truck. When you have superior visibility, it's not too much truck. When you get out of the cab after a full day of driving and you still can walk normally, it's not too much truck........AND, FINALLY....When you smile when you see it, as you are climbing into the cab and while you are driving it down the road and as you toot the air horn in response to the kids in the station wagon beside you, it is not too much truck. just my opinions and your mileage may vary. To each his own. Be safe, Charlie

 

Now that's TEN X better than my best mummblings.........I would freeze to death it the shadow of these "inspired HDT Inscriptions"

 

Now as far as Henry.........well Henry is so.........visual......his Command-of-Imagery is simply larger than.....than......the HDT subject.......

Henry is the ..........Moses of the HDT.....(maybe just slightly younger).......

 

As for me as Big5er said........it's time for me to go out and "Clean-the stall-of Dolly-the-Paint-Horse...........just a stable-boy....

 

Drive on........(Henry is .....more than the ole-goat)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will approach from a different perspective, one of having dual drivers and a second one of access to the cab. Leaving the business of waxing poetic to those like Winston Churchill or Eric Severied.

 

With DW's ankle having had issues, best let her see if she can mount one of these behemoths. One side of the truck may be easier than the other. She can always slide thru between the seats to the drivers side.

 

Re driving the truck...Mine is a 730 Ishift with a new version of the shifter which replace the old one. I have a detatched flexor tendon in my right thumb and was not able to hit the bump up /down buttons on the inside of the shifter.....moving on.

 

Once the truck is in gear, and up to speed, I engage the cruise control on the left stalk and the engine brake on the right stalk, weather permitting. I may not touch the service or foot brake or the "gas" pedal for hrs at a time. Generally making a pit stop every 2 > 4 hrs. Depending on fluid consumption.

 

What I'm getting at is it is I get tired for no reason. I can be after 2 hrs or 4 or 6. I have to pull over and shut my eyes for a while. With your wife, hopefully, being able to drive, she could spell you off and the trip could continue.

 

Even if she did some of the driving, you could still do the tight maneuvers unless she is able to do a better job parking because of your better hand or voice instructions.

 

Lastly, not sure where in Oregon you are but my plan is to head out to Florida in 3 weeks or so + -. Weather will dictate my route but the Rockies have to be crossed somewhere. Going thru Oregon is a probable. If that happens and depending where you or the trailer is, we could hook it up and take it up and down the steepest hill you can find or do the same with mine. Insurance may be an issue with yours.

 

If there is a decent sized open area have DW give it a try. Driving straight, turns, backing up, truck only. Maybe with the trailer, except backing that up.

 

Let me know

 

Roger

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...