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Old 07-25-2009, 02:06 AM   #11
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Ahhh, you've got the bucket seats, we'll only buy the 6 seater bench. And yes, not overly impressed with the middle front seat int he Ford, but it is a truck, I don't expect a miracle (and I never looked at the Tundra center seat in the up position, I may dislike it as well)

We've removed the Tundra from consideration for the moment, we'd really like to keep the camper.

Wind...can you sell me a diesel? New, they are likely out of our price range, and I don't have a lot of dealerships to shop at, but I'd like your PoV on why diesel. Ford salesman told me there's no difference in the V10 and the diesel, they perform the same and have the same expected life...I want to throw the BS flag on that, even with my limited knowledge, I knew diesel was better to tow with (Daddy's a redneck die-hard Ford diesel guy)...the problem is I don't know WHY it's better.

I'm also confused on the rear axle thing...been reading here quite a bit and was under the impression a 4.10 was better than a 3.73 (my number might be wrong there) but I'm not finding a diesel with a 4.10 in Chevy/GMC or Ford. The '10 250/350 book shows it's available, dealer didn't have it on the lot, and salesguy didn't seem to understand what I was talking about. Is that 4.10 when dealing with gas only? (he knew what the number was, I couldn't articulate why i was looking for the 4.10)

We'll be hitting the Chevy/GMC dealers tomorrow, Chevy's lot is pretty bare in our price range, but GMC has a few we can maybe dicker into, again, though, gas.

Dodge is definitely out of the picture, though, the dealer here is terrible, and we have some long term resentment due to tranny issues over and over with a Grand Caravan back in the '90s. I have no choice about dealer service for the next year-ish, next closest dealers are about 350 miles away, so it's Ford, Chevy, and GMC we're deciding between.

I'm so tired, I think I'm making no sense. I guess my main question at this point is why diesel....is a 3/4 ton gas going to be ok if I can't swing diesel?

At this point, the trucks we're considering seem to be the F250 or 350 or the GMC or Chevy 2500HD. Pretty much decided on crew cab over extended cab today, undecided on standard 6' bed vs a long bed. Read a little about the wheelbase, I think we'd be ok with either bed length with the 3/4 ton, I think that will boil down to what a dealer has available once we pick the brand. (Major issues getting vehicles up here right now according to both the Toyota and Ford dealers I talked to today) All the trucks meet the payload, GCWR, GVWR we need for the camper.

We will go with a WDH on whatever we buy, unsure about the air bags and such at this point, and I'm sure I'll be looking for advice on that in the future.
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Old 07-25-2009, 06:29 AM   #12
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HI there, congrats on the camper. I have a couple of thoughts here. First, I agree on the Dodge Caravan and the trans problems that have plagued them, 90's caravans trans where good for 70k if lucky.

Alright as far as a tow vehicle...and I'm biased here...What about a Surbuban or YukonXL in the 2500 (3/4 ton chassis)? They will tow as good as a truck and have more room, I too have 4 kids and could'nt imagine packing them/us into a pick-up truck, 3 and 3. Also, the gmc/chevys have air shocks so you will not need to install airbags ever. They have hydo-boosted brakes and a floating HD rear end. Those are in the 2500 though not the 1500.

Sidenote, I work at a car dealership (saturn) and I can tell you that most likely your typical salesman won't know jack about towing other than the numbers the manufacturer provide. They WILL tell you whatever you want to hear to make a sell. You are doing the right thing reserching.

P.S. You don't need a diesel to tow that camper.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:35 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by TheDiGs View Post


At this point, the trucks we're considering seem to be the F250 or 350 or the GMC or Chevy 2500HD. Pretty much decided on crew cab over extended cab today, undecided on standard 6' bed vs a long bed. Read a little about the wheelbase, I think we'd be ok with either bed length with the 3/4 ton,
Remember that a crew cab (the largest cab) plus a long bed increases the length of the truck (the wheelbase.) This, in turn, increases the turning radius. The longer turning radius decreases maneuverability, an important factor when trying to park, and especially when trying to back into campsites in campground with limited maneuvering space or navigating through many gas stations.

On the plus side, the longer wheelbase will often have significantly greater gas capacity (check this out with your dealer,) increasing your mileage between gas stops. Also, it will ride a bit more smoothly. Think of a limo vs a compact.

BTW - The 4.10 rear end (4.10 turns of the engine per rotation of the rear wheels) will decrease your gas mileage a bit but will give you more power at the rear wheels. I find this desirable when towing as it allows you to better accelerate to pass or merge, or to start from a dead stop.
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:06 AM   #14
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Tow vehicle

We were in same dilemma this spring. Almost bought a new GMC deisel but dealer screwed us around. Then we decided on a 6l Chev 3/4 ton but again dealer messed up.
We then found a 2009 Ford F250 V10 crew 4x4(410's buckets, short bed, stock suspension) and could not be happier with decision. Pulls our 12,000# 5th wheel as it is not even there. Revs high going uphill and engine breaking on steep downhills is amazing. Don.t even have to touch the brakes. Mileage around 9-10 pulling and 12-14 without load. I hear the new deisels are not much better. Very nice truck to live with as we use it as daily driver for short trips as well. I would think if you put over 15,000- 20,000 miles per year a deisel may pay off.
I have yet to read or find any negative comments on this engine
Good luck in your search
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:58 AM   #15
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Diesel

Hello again, and be proud of yourself for doing your homework. Interesting about a Suburban. I had forgot about them and the Ford Expedition. Come in 3/4 series, with large enough engines. Don't worry about a diesel unless you are towing 50% of the time. That's when they really pay off, or if towing very heavy, over 12,000 pounds. You have to drive it a lot to make it pay. Towing mileage will be much better, and it will pull better. This only comes in to play while towing. Unloaded mileage isn't better, and diesel cost more, and may be harder to find. Maintenance is more due to oil capacity, cost of filters, etc. I wouldn't worry a lot about a 4.10 rear end. That number refers to how many times the drive shaft must spin to make the tire spin one time. The bigger the number, 4.10, the better the truck pulls, but engine rpm will be higher and mileage will suffer. For normal towing a 3.73 in a 3/4 ton truck will work, especially in flat country like Florida. Hope this continues to help. Look at a Suburban or and Expedition. These also are tagged as cars here in North Carolina, much cheaper than Truck tags. They also may have more of the safety features you are looking for.
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Old 07-25-2009, 12:23 PM   #16
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Guys, you are a Godsend, THANK YOU SO MUCH!

About the SUV option, if it was 5 years ago in our lives, that would have been the preference, a 'Burban has been my dream car since I was about 12. Drooled for a good 20 minutes yesterday over an '05 Excursion (not an Expy fan). Where we are now, though, with the kids getting older, and planning this vehicle for 20 years (hopefully that isn't a pipe dream), a truck just fits us better.

We have 4 kids, but likely will make the AK-FL trip with only 2 or 3, the oldest is already in FL helping care for a family member with Alzheimer's. When the time comes closer for the trip, he'll decide if he wants to fly back to AK to make the trip with us. May or may not let the 2nd oldest stay up here with friends to finish high school....so that's a bit up in the air as to whether we'll actually have to use the 6th seat in the truck, but we'll have it if it is necessary. It will be uncomfortable for such a long trip and perhaps make things somewhat awkward, but overall a truck will allow us to travel in more comfort than we have on our cross country trips in the past. (Imagine the Lampoons on vacation, and that's what we looked like crammed in our minivans.)

I'm allergic to our cats, so being able to put them in the bed of the truck will help a great deal (we're getting a topper for the trip) and not having to have our luggage in our foot space will be a major upgrade from the past cross country trips we've taken.

Long term, though, we'll use the truck for hauling compost, dirt, etc after we retire, and will just have more utility for us than an SUV. We'll sacrifice some of the comfort for that for the short term of moving out of Alaska when the time comes.

I find myself leaning toward the GM trucks, I do drive a Chevy minivan, but not because of any brand loyalty, I simply liked the seating configuration better than the others at the time we purchased it. We're definitely a "foreign" car family by choice, but in actuality, as a family, we've owned Dodge, Chevy, Mercury (Nissan twin with Nissan engine though), and Buick. I do seem to have some preference for a GM vehicle over a Ford, I'm not sure why though.

But, payload-wise (I now think that's the most likely reason we experienced overheating with our minivan and the PuP) the 350 appeals a great deal.

Now, my question for the day...is a WDH something a dealer can put on? Should I be dickering that into the deal when i do start crunching numbers?

*Edited to add...Wind, FL isn't our final destination, it's just where family is and where we will go for "vacation" en route to the next duty station, it will have been 3 years since we last saw them by the time we leave here, and none of them are getting any younger. We have no idea where we will be stationed next, it could just as easily be Washington state, New York, Texas, Kentucky/Tennessee, or even Japan or Germany. We do plan to retire in southern Alabama, but that's just a dream at this point, as we will, of course, have to live where we can find the best job. FL and CO are the two places we will visit the most as that's where family is, but the starting location for those trips remains unknown. We don't, however, at this point, put 15k miles a year on a vehicle, that could change depending on where we end up next tho, we have put that many on in the past at other posts.*
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:25 PM   #17
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Now, my question for the day...is a WDH something a dealer can put on? Should I be dickering that into the deal when i do start crunching numbers?
The weight distrubuting system is added to the trailer, not the tow vehicle. Make sure the tow vehicle has a heavy duty towing package, then it should come with a 2" reciever for the WDH shank to slip into.

A heavy duty towing package should also include an auxillary transmission cooler, a trailer wiring harness with a 7 pin connector (and maybe a 4 pin also), and maybe a bigger radiator and alternator, depending on the make and model.
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Old 07-25-2009, 02:06 PM   #18
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Digs. Well, you are getting there. Must be a truck, not a dodge, not a Nissan, and not a Toyota at the moment. Now you have 2 left, Ford and GM/Chevy. As was said, make sure it has a tow package. Let a camper dealer set up your hitch, not a car dealer. Get a copy of the directions and check it after they're through. Not all tech's know how to set up a hitch properly. I tow 6500 pounds with a Reese Dual Cam for sway control, and am happy since I got it set right. You mentioned adding a bed topper. Didn't say low or high, but regardless, be careful with animals in the back. Can get very hot, very fast, especially down in the south. Stop often to water them. Don't let out of sight equal out of mind. Hang in there. One last thing, if you are allergic to your cats, how do you plan to live in a camper with them for 30 days if need be?
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Old 07-26-2009, 01:14 AM   #19
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Just to update...

Yesterday we drove the F250 Super cab and the 350 Crew cab, they ride like trucks, seats were a bit uncomfortable. Of the two, the F350 gets my vote on payload and just the size of the cab.

Today we drove an extended cab GMC 2500HD, night and day. Now, I rented a Silverado 4WD about 6 months ago for a day while traveling, and it impressed me so much with the handling, I came home and immediately emailed my husband to (jokingly) ask if I could go buy one. He drove it today, and was equally impressed.

Due to my unhappiness with the seatbelts for the center front seat, we decided today one of the older kids will just have to not make the trip with us, and we opened ourselves up to looking at the 5 seaters, as well. (The Tundra has a shoulder belt in that position, the Fords and GMs have lapbelts, remember my whole safety issue)

All things considered, we will likely make an offer on the GMC Tuesday...and very likely the dealer will turn it down. For an everyday vehicle (which is may or may not be...most likely my van will be used for most of the driving as I rarely go anywhere and just the gas savings makes more sense to hubby to take my van to and from work and leave the truck home. The two or three times a month I actually go shopping or whatever, I can drive the truck or he can take it to work and leave my van home) though, the GMC is just a hell of a lot more comfortable vehicle.

I think my first choice would be the F350 right now, simply because of the crew cab and the payload. Hubby's first choice would be the GMC we drove today, though he is the one who was really wanting a crew cab for the kids to have more space, and I was the one saying they'd be fine in the extended cabs. What was said about the GM rear end never needing air bags, though, certainly tips the scale toward the GMC a bit.

Bottom line, we're still undecided, I suspect that we will end up with a Chevy from a lot about 350 miles away just to bring the price down to where we would prefer it be, because I fully expect the Ford and GMC dealers to turn down the offer I'm willing to make on the F350 and the 2500. We're making the trip south at the end of the week, and if we haven't bought something locally by then, I fully expect to buy down there, because the selection is much better.

The Tundra still remains our first choice for a truck, but I suspect after my husband drives it, he will lean toward the GMC overall, because we've heard it does ride like a truck. (Which would mean, if we bought the Tundra, we would sell this camper and start keeping an eye out for a much lighter one)

On the upside, our camper already has a WDH, I'd seen the "hitch" part of it in the storage area, but I thought the guy we bought it from was telling me it went on the rear bumper of the camper to hold a storage shelf. Once I read what mtnguy said about the WDH though, I realized that was likely what it was because of the brackets I'd seen on the tongue. Ran over this morning to check the fridge to see if it was part of the recall (it is) and discovered it does indeed already have the WDH, so that was good news.

We are absolutely trying to make a 3/4 ton work for us, our little ones are in love with the camper (we are too!), so our top choice is to get a truck that will pull it down to a price we are comfortable with.

Thank you to all who have been answering my posts, and thank you to the site in general. You've definitely kept us from a potentially costly mistake with buying not enough truck, and we likely wouldn't have known about the Dometic fridge recall if I hadn't read a post on it here.

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Old 07-26-2009, 10:27 AM   #20
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Funny you mentioned the seats. My wife absolutely refused to let me buy the GM trucks because she thought the seats were uncomfortable(I could not tell the difference). When she drove the Ford she much prefered their seats so that is what we bought.
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