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"Mid-Size" RV Fulltiming - Non Diesel, Non-Dually, Not towing Godzilla


OverSoul7

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I am going to try to start this topic in a different way, hoping that the title will result in answers to my questions. If I say "non-diesel" don't answer me with "WELL, "I think" You Need a diesel and should reconsider." That is not helpful.

 

This question is about non-diesel, non-dualy everyday trucks - either Chevy, Ford, Dodge or Toyota. A truck that can tow around 10k - that is twice what the Xterra now tows. I want to know about performance and handling, that kind of stuff. So I want to hear from folks here who have driven and towed with them and at what weight THEY have towed. I am not looking for "opinons" on why I need to go bigger. I am not sure yet if it's a trailer or 5th wheel and will not be deciding that right now so don't ask. This isn't about what I am going to tow, it's about how well the truck brands hold up for others who have towed with them so please make this a truck towing capability discussion and not a "What are you towing?" discussion. There are tons and tons of discussions on that so I have been exposed to pros and cons there.

 

Anyone out there willing to discuss everyday trucks such as 250, 350's that kind of truck NOT something that can tow a trailer large enough for a washer and dryer and elevator from first to second floor?

 

Christine

 

 

 

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I tow a 3800# GVWR, 20' long travel trailer. We started towing it with a gasoline powered SUV which was rated for 5000# maximum. What I can tell you since the SUV was roughly equivalent to a 1500 series truck is that it got about 22 mpg when not towing and it never did better than 11 mpg towing and at times would drop to 9 mpg. Even though the RV weight was well under the maximum tow rating, the SUV was working appreciably all of the time towing and it would struggle a bit when climbing a long, steep grade or in a nasty wind. It did the job, but I was never really comfortable with it when towing in less than ideal conditions.

 

I did upgrade but my truck don't qualify. I hope that you find want it is that you are looking for. :)

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I had a Ford Ranger and a Lincoln Town Car. After DW passed away, 1 vehicle made more sense, so I traded them for an F-150 crew cab which would do the job of either vehicle. When I decided to go to living full-time in a RV, my first idea was something I could pull with the 150. Problems I found were -

The pull behind trailers that were light enough were made of cardboard and life expectancy would clearly be very short, especially for full timing.

I positively hate laundromats for all the obvious reasons and I was 1/2 grown before we ever got a washing machine, so I am familiar with hand washing cloths and don't like it.

Couldn't find even a cardboard pull-behind that would support a washer/dryer. (Sorry, I know you aren't interested in w/d but I was.)

For full timing - I just could not find anything that would work with the F-150. I'm pretty much stuck with going up to at least an F-250 SRW.

 

It's unlikely that I will need a 4WD very often, but when I will, I REALLY will. A little more $ to buy, a little $ to operate, but cheap insurance. I will frequently need to haul passengers, so a Crew Cab is important. Checking the specs, an F-250, gas, 4x4, SCREW is rated for a 5th wheel 15,100 #. That set the cap on what I would consider.

 

I found a NuWa 2003 that had a w/d, very good construction, gently used, perfect for full timing. The unit was rated at 15,600 max with a cargo capacity of 2,627. That set the limit of what I could take with me to 2,000 # (to keep comfortably under the limits).

 

I built a spread sheet of what I was taking out of the trailer and what I was putting in it with weights. Total cargo turned out to be 748 #.

 

I have been full-time RVing for 2 years now. When I need to go shopping the weight is down to around 700 #. When I get back from shopping, max weight is around 900 #.

 

Really enjoying the life and haven't had any significant problems.

 

The one issue was; when first hitched up, the pickup didn't squat much at all, perhaps an inch. After a few hundred miles on the road it was squatting much more, 3 or maybe 4 inches. Enough to get some headlights flashed at me at night.

 

I added air bags (at around 40 #, with the compressor). Problem solved reasonably inexpensively.

 

For me the truck and trailer are quite well matched. If I needed another 1,500 # of 'stuff ', I would need to upgrade the pickup size and perhaps go to dually. Since this is my daily driver, shudder. But getting rid of 'stuff ' was so wonderful, I am careful not to let it grow and get out of control again.

 

I hope this is the kind of information you were looking for.

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I had a Ford Ranger and a Lincoln Town Car. After DW passed away, 1 vehicle made more sense, so I traded them for an F-150 crew cab which would do the job of either vehicle. When I decided to go to living full-time in a RV, my first idea was something I could pull with the 150. Problems I found were -

The pull behind trailers that were light enough were made of cardboard and life expectancy would clearly be very short, especially for full timing.

I positively hate laundromats for all the obvious reasons and I was 1/2 grown before we ever got a washing machine, so I am familiar with hand washing cloths and don't like it.

Couldn't find even a cardboard pull-behind that would support a washer/dryer. (Sorry, I know you aren't interested in w/d but I was.)

For full timing - I just could not find anything that would work with the F-150. I'm pretty much stuck with going up to at least an F-250 SRW.

 

It's unlikely that I will need a 4WD very often, but when I will, I REALLY will. A little more $ to buy, a little $ to operate, but cheap insurance. I will frequently need to haul passengers, so a Crew Cab is important. Checking the specs, an F-250, gas, 4x4, SCREW is rated for a 5th wheel 15,100 #. That set the cap on what I would consider.

 

I found a NuWa 2003 that had a w/d, very good construction, gently used, perfect for full timing. The unit was rated at 15,600 max with a cargo capacity of 2,627. That set the limit of what I could take with me to 2,000 # (to keep comfortably under the limits).

 

I built a spread sheet of what I was taking out of the trailer and what I was putting in it with weights. Total cargo turned out to be 748 #.

 

I have been full-time RVing for 2 years now. When I need to go shopping the weight is down to around 700 #. When I get back from shopping, max weight is around 900 #.

 

Really enjoying the life and haven't had any significant problems.

 

The one issue was; when first hitched up, the pickup didn't squat much at all, perhaps an inch. After a few hundred miles on the road it was squatting much more, 3 or maybe 4 inches. Enough to get some headlights flashed at me at night.

 

I added air bags (at around 40 #, with the compressor). Problem solved reasonably inexpensively.

 

For me the truck and trailer are quite well matched. If I needed another 1,500 # of 'stuff ', I would need to upgrade the pickup size and perhaps go to dually. Since this is my daily driver, shudder. But getting rid of 'stuff ' was so wonderful, I am careful not to let it grow and get out of control again.

 

I hope this is the kind of information you were looking for.

Yes, exactly what I am looking for. Looking at just Toyota and Ford, Ford seems to be better with towing. I found that Ford put up an extensive towing guide based on model and TYPE of trailer - I have never seen one broken down by gooseneck, 5th wheel,

conventional, etc. It looks like we might consider the Super Duty over the F-150 because the towing capacity is quite a it more.

 

The 2016 Toyota Tundra tows up to 10,800.

The 2016 Ford F-150 is 7,600 to 11,100 tow capacity depending on model.

The Super Duty is 16,000 to 31,200 depending on model.

 

So so far this morning I've ruled out Toyota and based on the above Ford info would take the Super Duty over the F-150 so I have more trailer options available when we go to buy trailer. Now I'll go check out Chevy and Dodge.

 

We are still also going to look at motor homes but still think we are going truck and trailer mostly because we only plan to do this 1 to 2 years investment -wise it makes more sense to us. I do like nothaving to get out of the vehicle to be "at home" better than a truck and tow vehicle setup but we have to see what makes the most sense for our future.

 

It sounds like you were happy with your Ford and it's ability to tow what you need, that is info I want - reliability, etc. In the mid-1970's the folks I hung around with called Ford "Fix Or Repair Daily" so that sticks in my head and if it needs to be tossed out you all can help there.

 

Christine

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It sounds like you are doing your research, Christine. If you are thinking about a brand-new truck, I'd suggest that you get as much truck as you can. A truck that can safely handle 12,000 pounds will be capable of handling 10,000 pounds, but one that can safely handle 10,000 pounds won't be able to handle 12,000 pounds. If you don't know what you will tow it can be difficult to spec out a truck. One way around that is to get the gross weight and pin/tongue weights of the coaches you are at least thinking about. Use the numbers of the heaviest one to spec your new truck. That way you will have more trailers available to you.

 

Remember that towing guides are often figured with minimal fuel, stripped down truck, and skinny driver. Also, 4WD adds a few hundred pounds of weight, but the GVWR and GCVWR don't change, so a 4WD truck can't tow as much as a 2WD one.

 

FWIW, when our Foretravel sells we're getting an F250/350 (used) to tow a 34' Airstream TT. We're looking at 2011-2013 models and there doesn't seem to be much difference in price between the F250 and F350. The Airstream has a gross weight of 9800 pounds, and not a lot of exterior storage space, so everything that is now in the basement of the MH will have to ride in the bed of the truck. That means some sort of topper over the bed and some sort of cargo slide, which adds a couple hundred pounds or so.

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Before you get too far into selecting a truck, please remember..... what the truck will tow is not the most important issue, what the truck can CARRY is the most important issue. When Legendsk mentioned his truck squatting is an example of carrying ability, and no, adding air bags does nothing for capacity, only level ride.

 

Jim

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It's difficult to compare makes/engine options without considering usage requirements since all tend to excel in different areas under specific types of towing. It's an impossible task when you're trying to buy the horse before the cart. If you want decent MPG then you'll want a smaller engine but will be limited in tow capacity. The higher you get to max tow and cargo capacity the less you'll see in your MPG's. Bumping up to a larger engine you'll increase tow capacity (desirable for a TT), likely reduce cargo capacity (not desirable with a 5th wheel) and will likely see better MPG under tow in the lower tow capacity range, but less as a daily driver.

 

Purchasing strictly by brand is really a no-starter, IMO. In the generalist of terms.. for heavier duty, Ford and Dodge are probably your best bets. Capable but likely better suited for daily driver duty.. probably a Chevy. Engine power and reliability? Depends on which engine you're talking about. Parts and repair on the road? Any of the top three shouldn't be an issue, but probably Ford and Dodge would have a slight edge when it comes to parts in-stock.

 

As for the derogatories... That's just much to do about nothin. (keeping it "nice/clean") A Fords a "fix or repair daily", a Dodge is a "daily overhauls do get expensive", a Chevy's a "can hear every valve yell".

 

Reality is that they are all good trucks and all have areas they excel in. I don't use a truck as a daily driver so I'm partial to Ford and Dodge, but would own either happily if the capabilities and particular engine best suited my intended usage.

 

If it's of any help... in "truck country" (North West/mid North Western states) statistics from a few years back showed about a 70/30 split between Ford/Dodge and combined.. Chevy comprised about 1 in 10 of full sized trucks on average, but closer to 1 in 20 in more rural areas where a "truck" is a "truck".

 

Bottom line though.. you might get personal opinions about a persons personal tow setup in a particular region under certain towing conditions and their personal level of comfort with that particular tow package. What you won't get is any specific information that might actually prove helpful to you personally without first determining how you intend to use it. "What's the best gas engine truck?" doesn't narrow it down much. ;)

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Something I read once and it made sense (if anyone disagrees chime in)....the weight of a towed TT/5th is one thing to be considered, but the other less common thing spoken about is the wind resistance generated when going down the highway. From what I read, it can add about a 1000 lbs to the overall picture in terms of what is actually being towed.

 

Had a Ford F150 (2 actually, one 5.0 and other ecoboost) and when towing a 6000 lb trailer, the 5.0 in spite of its rated capacity, was working quite hard to overcome weight and wind. The ecoboost overcame quite nicely, but with the soft suspension of the F150, I still got quite a bit of sway in spite of anti sway equipment, etc.

 

I ultimately went with more truck than I need, and a benefit is being able to upgrade a rig without having to upgrade the truck as well.

 

Agree with another poster-get as much truck as you can-better too much than not enough.

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Christine, I would urge you to really really consider the F-250 instead of the F150 due to the fact you will have a lot more options when it comes to towing, heavier suspension, larger brakes, etc. For the safety side it is real difficult to have too large of a tow vehicle.That way you won't be looking at taking a loss when you decide to upgrade your trailer and require a larger truck.

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I am a big fan of the Ford Superduty trucks, having owned a 1999 and now a 2010. Both have had the gasoline V-10 engine (now discontinued) and I can assure you that gasoline engine trucks are perfectly capable of towing substantial trailers anywhere you want in the US. We have been full time now for over 7 years and have spent much of our time in the Rocky Mountains. We have spent this summer in Leadville, Colorado (elevation 10,200 feet) and had absolutely no problems getting our 15,000 pound Hitchhiker 5th wheel up here. We've been up and down most of the major passes in the Rockies with no issues.

 

These days the gasoline engine in the Ford Superduty Truck is a 6.2 liter V-8. That truck should be capable of hauling most any trailer that you are considering, unless you are looking at very large and heavy fifth wheels.

 

Having towed my very first travel trailer with both an F-150 and later an F-250 I concluded that the Superduty trucks (F-250 and F-350) are more capable and comfortable for trailer towing. And, the SRW (single rear wheel) F-350 is about the same price as an equivalent F-250, and has a usefully higher rear axle capacity. So I would suggest looking at an F-350 SRW, in whatever cab configuration appeals to you. With the 6.2 V-8 and the 4.30 rear axle ratio you will be able to go anywhere you want as long as you don't purchase a monster fifth wheel.

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1/2 Ton = Too Cold

1 Ton = Too Hot

3/4 Ton = Just Right

 

(Or, was that Too Soft , Too Hard and Just Right:)!)

 

As you will not have the elevator or washer dryer size unit in your future. Go wth a 3/4 Ton, as it will give you the flexibility that the 1/2 won't. And more important, give you an added safety edge too.

 

Gas. Well you did not say 'new' vs 'gently used' truck:)! So 'Gently Used' allows you to comparison shop between the F250 with the V10 (If a F250, get one new enough to have the much better 5spd auto, vs the older 4spd.). This against the Chevy/GMC with the 8.1 and 5spd auto. Not knocking the 6.0, as it too is a fine engine. And will compare well with the current V8 from Ford.

 

(You said 'No Diesel', or I would have also said look over the Dodge 3/4 with the Cummins too... HEMI is a fine engine. But, if going Dodge, Cummins all the way...)

 

So Chevy/GMC or Ford? Well, the Super Duty Ford is very had to beat. (Again, if you had said OK to diesel, it would have opened up the comparison's and for certain years, give the nod to Chevy/GMC.)

 

Now, if you feel in the future you will go 'Very Light, and small.' on a trailer. Then the F150 Eco Boost is a great package.

 

Best of luck to you, and sure look forward to your future posts:)!

Smitty

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Not sure why you hate diesels but its ok.

I drive a gmc 1500 pickup....its a half ton. It came with p rated tires...these are car tires for heaven sake.

A half ton is a wimpy truck...cant do much with it except tow a small boat and a few loads of trash to the dump.

 

If I were gonna tow anything with my truck it would certainly be a 3/4 ton. You get a real motor, real suspension and real tires with a 3/4 ton. You also get an engine, transmission , rear end that can tow and decent brakes that can slow the whole works down.

 

My 2 cents.

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Wow, I just signed back on and there are a lot of responses. I will be reading all this in the morning. Broncos / 49ers on and have to watch.

 

Did spend the afternoon looking at larger trailers and 5th Wheels so we are trying to figure out what we want to tow along with trying to figure out what truck. Thank you all for responding!

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You might find this online towing calculator useful in your deliberations. It allows you to calculate for either a travel trailer or 5th wheel trailer. It also allows you to select the safety factor you choose, most full-timers seem to use 20% safety factor below the trucks maximum towing capacity, for truck longevity, ease of towing/handling, and braking.

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Almost 1 a.m. here but woken up by neighbors coming home so I have been reading the responses.

 

Light trucks are out - the 1500 is too small. We are replacing the Xterra which only towed 5k so have learned the lessons of too small and also have since learned a lot about the various things to consider like CCC, etc.

 

We don't want to buy new this time. Not too old, but new is just too expensive. Our tags this year on the 2015 Xterra were almost $500 and on our 1989 Dodge Class B just under $100. The value of the car didn't go down much though but here in Colorado they are very, very popular and last year was the last year they were made.

 

I'm hoping to find about a 2 or 3 year old without a lot of miles. I feel much better about my quest after getting some feedback. I like what I'm hearing about First On Race Day (still miss #3). And the truck will be a "daily" for at least another year so the gas mileage is a consideration but so is having "weight to spare."

 

We sure saw some beautiful 5th wheels today - they are like homes almost. I see why you guys call them "heavy." I really don't need a dining set with four chairs and a fire place and leather furniture (we prefer cloth and only 1 out of the 20 we saw today had cloth). I'm pretty sure it'll be a TT for us. Today was the first time we have been inside a 5W. Tempting but ...

 

I haven't yet had a chance to see what Dodge has and I will re-read and take notes from above. Will be checking out the Fords in person soon.

 

Thank you all for taking the time to answer, very helpful.

 

Christine

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2 years ago I was also looking for a gently used F350 with VERY LOW miles. I went to Autotrader.com and entered what I wanted and how far I was willing to drive. Within 3 days I found the exact truck I was looking for with only 4,392 miles (Ford Program Truck). Had to drive 3 1/2 hours to inspect it and close the deal but it was worth it. The truck still smelled new and I don't mean that stuff that comes in a bottle.

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Oh yeah - and what, IN TOWING TERMS, is SCREW? Don't get funny.

SCREW = Super CREW cab which will be a bit heavier and reduce your towing capacity. But if it is going to be your daily driver, nice for passengers; handy for bringing home the groceries, especially in the rain. As my only vehicle was a firm requirement.

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