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Old 03-25-2012, 06:45 PM   #1
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Question Diesel tow vehicle questions

Hi All,

Having never driven anything with a diesel engine, I am totally new at this. I am buying a new Palomino Puma 253-FBS, and need to get something to tow it with. The 5er is 6910 lbs. dry, and will probably max out around 9000 lbs. in use.

So far, I have determined that I want a used 3/4 ton diesel truck. The extra height of a 4x4 may cause an interference problem with the 5er, so I am only looking at two wheel drive. That greatly reduces the pool of available trucks. I am 70 years old. My current car, and most previous ones, are 5 speeds, but my wife wants auto, so auto it will be. Beyond that, I am still very confused.

Two trucks that I have found are a '08 Ford 6.4L with 70,600 miles and a '02 Dodge 5.9L with 91,400 miles. Neither are real close to home.

Much of our towing will be in mountains with steep grades. I am sure that either of them would take me up the hill with no problem, but I am somewhat concerned about descending. If I get the Dodge, I would add an exhaust brake. I just discovered that there are no exhaust brakes made for the Ford, so I would have to rely on the Tow/Haul mode to assist in the braking. Can any of you give me some idea as to how effective the Tow/Haul mode actually is?

My second question concerns fuel economy. With the larger engine and all of the additional pollution controls on the newer Ford, should I expect to see significantly better MPG on the Dodge?

One last question. Not knowing much about diesels, I would like to have it inspected. Do you have any advice on how to go about locating a competent diesel mechanic 100 to 200 miles from home?

I know this was a little long winded. Thanks for your patience.

Joel
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:24 PM   #2
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Joel glad you asked. I can't speak to what the Ford's have or do not have or the earlier model Dodge. On my '08 it comes equipped with an exhaust brake and when used in conjunction with the tow/haul mode the performance is outstanding.Big reduction in braking/speed and we especially noted it on a trip in the Pa. mountains. Obviously a great saver on brake pads. Overall would not do without it in a future truck.I even use the exhaust brake for normal everyday driving.
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:43 PM   #3
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I can't say much on the Dodge, except that it will probably get much better mileage when not pulling the 5er. Pulling it, I expect it will be pretty close between the two. My '08 6.4L got around 16mpg not pulling, and between 8 and 11 mpg towing. Mostly around 9 - 10 though.

As far as the Tow/Haul mode in the Ford, it works pretty good. The only fault I saw with it was getting it out of the downshift. Sometimes the engine would really rev up before it kicked out. But it did a nice job of downshifting when needed.

I don't think the Dodge had a tow/haul that far back.
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:57 PM   #4
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No offense to the ford owners above, but chances are very high that the ford (although much newer) will not last anywhere near as long as the dodge as far as the engine goes. However, the body and interior (and probably the transmission) on the dodge will not fair anywhere near as well as the ford.
If it were me, buying used (assuming no warranty), I would stay far far away from the for 6.x no matter the year, mileage or price. I personally know quite a few people that have traded them in as soon as the warranty went out or got close due to extremely high repair costs. Our local dealer will not sell used trades with a 6.x diesel at all.
That ford will out pull that dodge (while getting worse mpg), ride better and stay looking nicer for longer, but when it has engine problems, you will have to dig very deep into your wallet to keep it on the road.
What you really need is a ford body with a cummins engine and an allison transmission! If any manufacturer could pull this off, they would own 90% of the diesel light truck market within a year.
Of course, this is all just my opinion and experience, there are some out there with a pile of miles and no problems. I personally have one of the best packages ever to roll off an assembly line- the newer stuff may outpull it, but I will be on the road a lot longer.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:29 PM   #5
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Ok- I would consider looking at a 2012 F150 Super Cab ecoboost with a 6.5 bed and max tow.

The turbo charger acts like a diesel in the mountains when needed.
Yes the torque is not as much as a diesel, but the turbo's will not drag you down like a normal gas engine would.

The most that 5er will come in at is just over 8000+ wet so well within the range of the F150.

The cost of the newer truck will offset the cost of diesel maintenance over the long run plus it is new!
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:48 PM   #6
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If you are vigilant about the maintenance on the 6.4 it will serve you well. Oil changes every 5k, filters every 10k, use a quality fuel conditioner every fill up, drain the HFCM water separator monthly. The 6.4 does not do well as a short commute daily driver. It needs to stretch its legs on the highway in order to complete regular DPF Regeneration cycles properly. Failure to allow it to complete DPF will result in repeated attempts at DPF regens and this will kill your MPG. These are the realities of today's modern diesels and apply to other makes as well. I will tell you that they tow extremely well and mine gets around 9-10 mpg towing and 11-12 mpg not towing in town. I see 14-15 on the highways which is fine considering what this truck is designed to do. The tow/haul feature works well and I tend to engage it mostly when I'm slowing her down, not so much on acceleration. The cab is the most comfortable of any vehicle I have owned with plenty of room for us plus sized guys. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:51 PM   #7
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I was told that the tow/haul only delays the shift points when engaged. If that's true, it won't make any difference when going down a grade.
I have an exhaust brake on my Dodge and highly recommend them, especially if you're going to be towing in the mountains. I've come down 6% grades towing a 15,000 pound 5th wheel and never had to touch the brakes.
The older diesel engines, like in the Dodge you are considering, are noisy but they get decent fuel mileage, are just about bullet proof and 90,000 miles is just broken in according to some old diesel guys.
If I were to choose between the two trucks, I'd probably take the Dodge and add the exhaust brake.
As far as getting it checked out, call a local Ram dealership and ask them if they can look at it or recommend someone that can. You can take the opportunity to inquire about adding the exhaust brake while you're there.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevea1956 View Post
I was told that the tow/haul only delays the shift points when engaged. If that's true, it won't make any difference when going down a grade.
On the Fords when you apply the brake it will down shift to use the engine's braking HP's
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevea1956 View Post
I was told that the tow/haul only delays the shift points when engaged. If that's true, it won't make any difference when going down a grade.
Someone told you wrong. When in tow/haul mode, when you apply the brake, the truck will downshift accordingly. In my '08, the first time it did it, it kinda took me by surprise. It was a pretty hard downshift. In my 2011, it is a much smoother process. Really nice and works great.

Like was said above, if you take care of the '08, and are diligent with the maintenance, it will do you good. I really liked my '08, but had a chance to get in the new 6.7L and I took it.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:31 PM   #10
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No matter what, don't get a diesel that has been chipped. I use the Tow/Haul feature for going down grades and it works great with a 13k + 5er pushing you down the hill.
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