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  • Need advice on a tow vehicle

    Our old 1/2 ton Dodge pick-up that we have had for 23 years is starting to show its age. It is time to find a replacement. We are considering a 3/4 ton so we have the option of getting an enclosed trailer to haul Dad's 50 Champion or my Hawk if we want to go to a distant show. The enclosed trailer is my idea because I figure the car will be just as likely to get hit by road debris if it is on an open trailer as it would if it was being driven.

    The "new to us" truck will not see a lot of use. If think our old Dodge has accumulated 30K miles in the last 15 years. Its primary job will be to go to Lowes occasionally to pick something up. We may haul a car to 1 or 2 shows a year. We will drive them to the local shows.

    Based on the research I have done, it looks like the trailer with car loaded will be between 7000lbs and maybe as much as 7500lbs.

    I would like to get some input as to the suitability of a gas powered truck for this type of use. It looks like diesel's have about double the torque of a gas engine. How does a gas engine perform (as compared to a diesel) at being able to pull off from a stop and come up to speed towing a car trailer?

    Since the majority of the standby generators in the world are diesel, I assume a diesel truck would be better suited to sitting around waiting to be used. If my assumption is wrong please explain.

    Maintenance on a diesel will be higher because of all the extra filters. Anyone have experience as to how much higher per year?

    Anyone tow an enclosed trailer with a 1/2 ton? If you have, would you do it again?
    Last edited by wdills; 10-29-2017, 03:19 PM.
    Wayne
    "Trying to shed my CASO ways"

    sigpic

  • #2
    I would humbly suggest you look hard at a RAM pickup. (* This is not a sales pitch, but an experience based review)
    The Hemi gas engine with the 8 speed auto trans. Mileage is awesome the 90% of the time you are not towing.
    Factory trailer brake option.

    Now, If going in cold, I would suggest a 3/4 ton (2wd) for the added suspension beef that towing will bring.

    Speaking from experience...
    My used 2014 Ram 1500 (1/2 ton) does everything I ask it to.
    It is just about maxed out pulling the enclosed car trailer (weight capacity wise), but with the factory brake controller and 4 wheel trailer brakes it stops great.
    The factory trailer brake controller ties into the truck brakes and you can choose the size/style of trailer and the brake bias... Works great.
    Have a class 4 load equalizer hitch, and a friction sway control unit.
    My truck (empty) gets around 21.5 in town and it will hit 23.5 on trips on the interstate.
    Towing loaded about cuts the mileage in half.
    I have the 'crew cab/short box'. You can get the 'bonus cab/long box'... The doors are shorter in the back, but the chassis wheelbase is indentical.

    So, to answer your OP question... I have a half ton and tow an enclosed 28' trailer loaded with a Studebaker and other stuff
    (generator/air compressor/winch/dummy Stude block/track stuff).
    I am satisfied with it. I will continue with it.
    But... (there's always a but...)
    If I were shopping today for a tow rig... I'd look for a 2500 3/4 ton.

    Here's a pic of the trailer with 'The Black Car' loaded, so you can see about what a Hawk would look like inside..




    Last edited by DEEPNHOCK; 10-30-2017, 05:10 AM.
    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

    Jeff


    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



    Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

    Comment


    • #3
      I think Jeff, DEEPNHOCK does exactly that with a 1/2 ton Ram 1500. I belong to a couple Ram forums and one of the issues with the newer diesels that continues to be discussed is short trips. Apparently, the newer regeneration technology likes the engines to be driven some distance on a regular basis. Don't shoot the messenger here as I'm just sharing data.

      I do know the Ram diesel folks think the sweet spot for the diesels is the mid-2000's. Ask around a few diesel forums if you are serious.

      One thing you will find is the cost of high capacity used tow vehicles is not inexpensive. My son's 2003 HD2500 GM 8.1 liter gas Allison trannyed crew cab with 90K miles sold two months ago for $15K and the new owner just handed him the cash with no bargaining for a Michigan based truck. It was in great shape however.

      I'd be sure to drive a 1500 vs 2500 whatever first of the model you want. The newer 2500 ride pretty good but not like a 1500.

      The diesel generator thing is real as if you have fuel pressure and can crank they will start and run. Besides all/most Class 8 tractors are diesel so it's a proven tow technology. It's just the newer diesel pickups are a bit more complicated than before.

      IIWM, I'd look at a 1500 with towing and brake packages very hard. I'm currently partial to Ram's as they still have the Hemi with 400 lb/ft of torque but others opinion may vary.

      OOPS! I guess Jeff types faster than I do.

      Bob

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by sweetolbob View Post
        <snip>

        OOPS! I guess Jeff types faster than I do.

        Bob

        Nahh... Great minds just think alike

        Your comment about the 1500 vs 2500 is interesting....
        I'm happy with mine, but might toss in some larger rear springs...(someday when the wife is not looking).
        Having owned a diesel in cold country... I'm sticking with gas power.
        That, and DEF isn't cheap, and changing the unit out is expensive.

        http://www.ramforum.com/f71/what_happens_when_you_run_out_def-40823/

        Wayne... C'mon down to Deep-N-Hock Acres and we'll take a lil' road trip and you can see what one feels like...
        HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

        Jeff


        Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



        Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

        Comment


        • #5
          Jeff offers some good (experienced) testimony. Another good source of input, (if you can withstand some attempt at "salesmanship" talk) is to find some reputable long standing "used" commercial truck dealer in your area. Drop in for a friendly chat. Take a look at their inventory, and see what they are promoting (stocking) on their lot. See what are the bargain promotions, and what they see as premium. The back lot real low priced "bargain," is usually no bargain. Good dealers shy away from bad stuff that cause them grief. On trucks used for towing, transmissions & rear gears are as important as the engine.

          If you have friends, in construction trades, who have a fleet of trucks, they can also give input about what can take abuse from employees and being used as a "tool" over time. Good luck with your search. My 2002 4.7 liter four door Ram 1500 has done well mechanically, but I hope the newer ones have solved/improved the disintegrating plastic dash problem.
          John Clary
          Greer, SC

          SDC member since 1975

          Comment


          • #6
            My Silverado Duramax has over 200K miles, and has towed my 18 thousand pound 5th wheel many miles without flinching. There is no better drivetrain than the duramax, and allison transmission. New ones put out over 900 ft lbs torque, and they can be modded to over 1000 hp, and 1200 ft lbs, and daily driven easily. My mileage stays around 17 even towing.
            Bez Auto Alchemy
            573-318-8948
            http://bezautoalchemy.com


            "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm a huge diesel fan, my antique 2004 GMC Duramax has reliably pulled our 12K# 5th wheel many, many thousands of miles thru mountains and coast to coast and fuel economy cannot be beat. However, I would not advise a diesel, especially the newer ones, if most of your driving is local short trips. I would recommend a 3/4 ton though, because I'm a firm believer in having as much truck weight and brake capability as possible when towing anything. I have seen people towing big 5th wheels and pull trailers with 1/2 ton trucks but if they ever need stop or maneuver evasively, they may be n for a surprise!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                We use a 2017 Ram 2500 ( still a Dodge in my view) 6.4 Hemi, and like Deepnhock said the MPG for a truck this size is amazing, it runs 70 MPH under 2000 RPM all day at nearly 20 MPG. It tows our 64 Marshall with ease, we bought the Tradesman with the chrome package to pretty it up a bit, and it prices out well, be careful it's easy to add 15,000 to 20,000 dollars to the sticker by buying the packages. In an odd way, for me if Studebaker made a 2017 truck the Ram would be what it looked like.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I like the Dodge ram with Diesel. I now have a 2008 that I traded my 03 for a couple of months ago. The 03 was bought new and run to 220,000 miles or so. I got 10K for it in trade and took my newish michelin tires and aluminum wheels over to the 08. The 08 had 15K on it when I got it. I paid $28K for it. It's in very good condition but is a stripper model with manual locks seats and crank windows.Click image for larger version

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                  The white one is the 08. I miss the flatbed on the 03. The 08 is so quiet it seems like a gasser except for the flood of torque.
                  Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have not done any towing with a half ton truck, but in our travels, have passed quite a few on the uphill grades that seem to be having trouble with the load. The newer light duty trucks have a decent tow rating but that might be more in line with flat terrain. I towed with a 24 valve Cummins 5.9, 2500 for years, and now have the 6.7 3500. My newer truck is a 2012, so there was no DEF. We tow an open car trailer, and a 28' airstream with ease. The older truck would get around 14 mpg with the airstream, and the new one only 11 to 12 mpg. As far as sitting between use, mine both sit for most of the winter, and start right up in the spring. Diesel doesn't seem to "sour" as fast as gasoline. If it were me I would at least go with a 3/4 ton.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would recommend a gas engine over a diesel. Especially if you are considering a Dodge “Ram” diesel. My son in law bought a new “Ram” diesel last year, engine self destructed under 5k miles. After a month at the dealer he drove a few more thousand miles and the automatic transmission went kaput. Seems Diesel engine was manufactured by Fiat in Italy. When demand went up, quality went down. I think he said the transmission was made in Germany?
                      sigpic1957 Packard Clipper Country Sedan

                      "There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer"
                      Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle
                      "I have a great memory for forgetting things" Number 1 son, Lee Chan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        57pack, you must be referring to the 1/2 ton eco diesel. I have heard some bad news about them. The Cummins I6 is tried and true. My older 5.9 has 198,000 on it, and will still pull any hill on the interstate in 6th gear with our camp trailer. I have replaced the injection pump, (just to avoid trouble) but the turbo is still original, well as most of the truck.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes it was or is the V6 EcoDiesel manufactured by VM Motori a subsidiary of Fiat.
                          The Cummins engine is still a winner, as I told my son in law. He wouldn’t listen to me.
                          sigpic1957 Packard Clipper Country Sedan

                          "There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer"
                          Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle
                          "I have a great memory for forgetting things" Number 1 son, Lee Chan

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree the Fiat diesel in the 1500 is certainly not as reliable as the Cummins, it took Chrysler a while to figure out how to screw a truck together right around the Cummins, they finally got it right and it's a pretty good truck now.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Unloaded, the GM's ride better than the Dodge or Fords.... I think a bit quieter too. Around here, diesel fuel is the same as 87 regular. Having several 2500 big blocks, and a nice Duramax 3/4 ton.... money less an object than happy, brain-free towing....the diesel all day. But @ $10K + your call....

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