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Old 11-03-2017, 09:31 PM   #1
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Empty pockets.. need advice on a tow rig for 6 and a 7300lb trailer.

Here's the deal.

Here's what I have:
2008 Rockwood 8318SS 6700lbs dry, 7300 lbs w/gear
Current tow vehicle 2010 Escalade ESV, max tow cap 7800

Purchased the trailer earlier this year. I was lied to about the weight and overspent as well. Looking to pay off the Escalade this year and really don't want another car payment but might have to.

The Escalade pulls it just fine (400+ hp) but the engine heats up on the long hills (was able to solve the rest of my woes with a tranny cooler and upgraded brakes on the vehicle w/ brake controller for the trailer). The vehicle has 112k and I need it to last till at least 200k our more. We'd like to do longer trips and even head out west to visit my dad near Phoenix (we're in NE Georgia).

I'm thinking I may need to go to a truck to do this and make the Escalade last longer. However, I'll likely need to keep the budget down to under 14k (my trade is probably worth about 4k) and looking to keep the loan under 10k.

Here's the question.. if you were me what would you look at doing? Chevy, Ford, Dodge? If assume a 3/4 or 1-ton. Any years in particular? Gas/Diesel? I'm fairly handy and can do just about anything but don't have any experience with Diesel engines at all ( I have no idea what to look for). I'll also need to use this as a daily driver (50 mi round trip). I also will need to have room for 6 when towing (we have 4 kids two of which are small).

I've looked around and know there are vehicles out there in this range but having difficulty narrowing down my search. Where would you look? I'm probably 6 months out yet but may bite of I find something worth going after now.

Thank you. I appreciate your insight
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Old 11-04-2017, 06:49 AM   #2
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I don't think you'll be doing your Caddy any favors using it as a tow vehicle near it's max and I can't imagine doing anything 'long' distance in a pickup truck with 4 bored kids stuffed side by side.

IMO I would look for a 3/4 ton suv, it would have comfortable room for 6 plus gear. A quick search in Atlanta shows some I would check out...that 8.0 liter would be screaming my name but the mpg's might not be to your liking.

Good luck.
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Old 11-04-2017, 09:13 AM   #3
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I don't think you'll be doing your Caddy any favors using it as a tow vehicle near it's max and I can't imagine doing anything 'long' distance in a pickup truck with 4 bored kids stuffed side by side.

IMO I would look for a 3/4 ton suv, it would have comfortable room for 6 plus gear. A quick search in Atlanta shows some I would check out...that 8.0 liter would be screaming my name but the mpg's might not be to your liking.

Good luck.
Which one is that? I see reference to a GM 8.0 but didn't think it was offered in an SUV and isn't the Excursion V10 a 6.8L? Confused :-)
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Old 11-04-2017, 10:28 AM   #4
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You can find a suburban with an 8.1 but they're rare.
Have you considered getting your radiator cleaned? If it's getting hot on hills it might just be that the radiator is clogged a bit
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Old 11-04-2017, 10:29 AM   #5
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New radiator is a lot cheaper than a new truck 😀
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Old 11-04-2017, 10:53 AM   #6
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new radiator, maybe more fins is probably something to look at with new water pump, hoses and belts while it is opened up. Maybe a tranny flush or at least service...

Although you will be over limits on the SUV, being a prudent driver will probably get you there.

You might also consider air bags AirLift brand https://www.airliftcompany.com/
for about $2-300 to help keep the Escalade level.
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Old 11-04-2017, 11:16 AM   #7
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I was going to say our 99 suburban with 300000 miles and plain old vortec 350 handles 7000 lbs of trailer here in wisconsin no issues.
It's time for a flushing of the cooling system or an upgrade to it
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Old 11-04-2017, 12:21 PM   #8
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F-150 or Expedition with 3.? EcoBoost will do just fine.
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Old 11-04-2017, 12:23 PM   #9
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I tow a 7,800 # dry wt TT with my 2011 F 150 4 x 4 with a 5 L V-8 with absolutely no problem. A friend does likewise with a Dodge 1500 V-8. If you can find a low mileage similar vehicle, go for it. I love my F 150. Oh...by the way, its a 4 door and doubles as a great sedan with 23 MPG on the road and 12 MPG towing.
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Old 11-04-2017, 12:24 PM   #10
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Rember, the raditor also cools the trans. Had a Durango did the same as yours. New radiator fixed it. Rock Auto. Good folks. Good prices.
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Old 11-04-2017, 12:47 PM   #11
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We love our Ram 2500 crewcab with a Cummins Diesel works great pulling our 274 RK, even going up the hills of WV, Md and Pa it doesn’t even grunt. it will hold 6 adults but I wouldn’t want to go a long distance with that many adults in our truck. Good luck with your search.
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Old 11-04-2017, 12:57 PM   #12
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id be looking into a older truck . Let mom and most the kids drive the caddi and dad can drive the ole pickup with the trailer . Maybe something you could give to one of the kids when they start driving later . Something cheap heavy duty and reliable . I know everyone snivels about gas for two vehicles and all that but its still cheaper then a hefty loan payment every month . I bet you could find a decent older truck for a good deal . Besides think of how nice all the bed space would be .
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Old 11-04-2017, 01:19 PM   #13
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For that long of a trip with 6, you’ll need a 3/4 ton full size van or take 2 vehicles. It will get very cozy without a 3rd row of seating.

Still, for that size of TT you’d be best to have a 3/4 ton tow vehicle (my first choice) or a 1/2 ton F-150 with the heavy duty payload package.

Gas or diesel will work. Payload is your challenge.
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Old 11-04-2017, 02:16 PM   #14
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From you figures, you seem to be within the envelope for towing capacity. The overheating condition could be solved with a GM radiator/fan upgrade. What I would be concerned with is current tongue weight. Do you have a figure for that at your loaded weight?
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Old 11-04-2017, 02:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 007matman View Post
Which one is that? I see reference to a GM 8.0 but didn't think it was offered in an SUV and isn't the Excursion V10 a 6.8L? Confused :-)
I just looked and the Suburban with the 8.1 is gone...
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Old 11-04-2017, 03:15 PM   #16
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Does your Escalade have an oil cooler? That can make a difference with a transmission cooler also.

Do you downshift one gear? Shouldn't drive in overdrive.
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Old 11-04-2017, 03:32 PM   #17
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Given your concerns of comfortable travel with six, you already have the ideal tow car. You just need to take the vehicle to rv or trailer hitch shop that knows how to set up and boost your tow capability. Yes, good to start with new heavy duty radiator. Then transmission cooler and oil cooler. Good to get springs or shocks that boost your load carrying capability. You need to utilize synthetic oil in transmission and engine. If it is rear wheel drive the rear axle needs synthetic oil as well. Yes, utilize a shop experienced with setting up tow vehicles. Read your car manual, what setting you need for heavy duty towing. I would guess they have a specific mode for that.
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Old 11-04-2017, 03:48 PM   #18
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Given your concerns of comfortable travel with six, you already have the ideal tow car. You just need to take the vehicle to rv or trailer hitch shop that knows how to set up and boost your tow capability. Yes, good to start with new heavy duty radiator. Then transmission cooler and oil cooler. Good to get springs or shocks that boost your load carrying capability. You need to utilize synthetic oil in transmission and engine. If it is rear wheel drive the rear axle needs synthetic oil as well. Yes, utilize a shop experienced with setting up tow vehicles. Read your car manual, what setting you need for heavy duty towing. I would guess they have a specific mode for that.
All of our TT's have been in the 6200to 7400 lb dry range. All towed well with our F150's. the 2014 f150ecoboost crew cab with maxtow and 10 ply tires by far is the best, our 2005 f150 crew tow pkg 5.4l and out 2008 and 2011 F150 crew tow pkg 5.0l also towed well. A one ton would be overkill and fuel mileage would be terrible.
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Old 11-04-2017, 06:39 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by 007matman View Post
2008 Rockwood 8318SS 6700lbs dry, 7300 lbs w/gear
Current tow vehicle 2010 Escalade ESV, max tow cap 7800
...I'll likely need to keep the budget down to under 14k (my trade is probably worth about 4k) and looking to keep the loan under 10k....
In 2013, w/family of 5, TT weighing 7,500+ loaded, & budget of $15K, we could choose:
  • MUCH Older, capable 3/4 ton Excursions or Suburbans. Older engine/tranny tech=poor commuting MPG, rust & ongoing repairs more likely...
  • Older, 1/2 ton Nissan Armadas w/payload of 1,800, tow rating of 9,100 & GCVW of 15,000. Comfy 3 row seating but we'd have to pack light to stay within payload & GCVW & still need airbags/tranny cooler upgrades...
  • Newer rust-free 3/4 ton pickup w/less trim upgrades but newer engine/tranny tech, no rust, (stock) seating for 6, and possible warranty...

We chose #3, and found a 2 year-old Ram 2500 CC 2WD w/5.7 Hemi, 3,000 payload, seating for 6 & balance of Ram's 100K powertrain warranty for $14,000. I added a like-new fiberglass cap found on CL for $500 & we bring what we want camping, including 5 bikes, 3 scooters, 3 inflatable kayaks, 2 generators, etc. We can camp in more affordable places, like state parks, beaches, etc. because we bring-along all we need for fun, including enough firewood & generator gas for the week...

We've brought kids' friend along, seating 6, and it's not ideal... BUT, our parents/grandparents' generations packed the kids into station wagons & headed to Yellowstone. DW & I are both educators, so our kids DON'T argue in the TV. We can't live like that. Since they were toddlers we could take them anywhere & they behaved...

That said, a year later in 2014, my Hemi blew at 96,000 miles but Ram replaced it under their 100K powertrain warranty... 2015-2017 were trouble-free until this week when my rear differential stripped, so I'll be out about $1,500... This is a 3/4 ton HD truck & towing still wears stuff out faster than running-around unloaded all of the time... Imagine the repairs on an overloaded SUV...
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Old 11-04-2017, 06:53 PM   #20
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You can find a suburban with an 8.1 but they're rare.
Have you considered getting your radiator cleaned? If it's getting hot on hills it might just be that the radiator is clogged a bit
I had it flushed and new fluid added this spring about the time I added the tranny cooler. I also added some of that purple ice to it which seemed to help for a bit but now I don't think so. I didn't wash the exterior of the radiator but it looked to me that it was really clean. I may attempt that but it's difficult now with the bumper cover on there and that tranny cooler in front of it.
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