Need Tow Vehicle Suggestions

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by teh603, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. teh603

    teh603 Member

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    My truck was 2006? But the owner's manual pages on calculating payload were literal clones from prior years' manuals, and didn't reference the doorsill sticker at all. So you can see my confusion, and why people might argue that a 1500 can't haul more than a sack of potatoes. Because they were using old math from the manual with a pre- calculated sticker, and functionally subtracting the truck's weight twice.

    We don't plan on having kids. We might adopt, but it's not likely within 5 years. And if we do, it'll be a high school age kid so the growth spurt should be done...? But that's a long way away.

    So based on that math, if we get a V6 tow vehicle with a 3500# tow cap, the total camper weight shouldn't be above (a very rounded) 2500#. Which means dry weight no higher than 2000# ?
     
  2. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Ignore the dry weight completely. Get a camper with a GVWR of 80% or less of the tow capacity. If the truck is 3500 lbs tow capacity, then look for a camper with a GVWR of 2800 lbs or less (assuming the truck's payload can handle the 280+ lbs tongue weight) regardless of dry weight.

    Once you find campers with a GVWR at or below your determined tow weight, then you can narrow those down by considering their cargo capacity weight and make sure it's enough to handle your gear, a filled fresh water tank, propane, battery(s), generator and/or solar, etc. You don't want a camper that will max out on weight just by adding water to the tank (and there are some like that out there).

    Dry weight doesn't matter in the real world for vehicles or campers.
     
  3. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    If you're going to stick to the coastal plain that should be sufficient. However, towing through more "mountainous" areas, even the Hill Country or Big Bend area can be tiresome, BTDT, unless you stick to the freeways.
     
  4. teh603

    teh603 Member

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    Is there a place I can look up the GVWR for various campers? Or is it something I won't find out until I go out there and look at the sticker/plate on the frame?

    I've tried searching, but I keep gettin articles on "why it matters."
     
  5. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    Yes

    many a brochure by manufacture will list all the weights of their PUs for that year and the size of the PU. This lets one compare a 8' box up to 14' or so with many different 'trim' levels.

    Popup portal web site has many of these brochures as well as the manufacture web sites going back years.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2021
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  6. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    The GVWR is really the only fixed weight, the maximum weight the trailer suspension and frame is designed to carry. It is usually listed in the specifications listing for the trailer. All other weights listed in brochures and websites are either averages or estimates. Individual trailer weights can vary due to many factors. The actual build weight should be on the sidewall sticker, on older trailers it may be inside. Mine is on the back of a cabinet door. But that doesn't include any dealer installed options, such as air conditioners, batteries, propane and often other items. The furnace was optional on my model and not included in the factory build.
     
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  7. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    What Rabird said. :)
     
  8. A-Ranger12

    A-Ranger12 Active Member

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    If it helps at all, our Ranger 12 with all the crap in it probably comes out to about 1800 lbs. Our little RAV4 with added transmission cooling tows it fine in hilly terrain between 400 and 2500 feet above sea level. That generation has a max tow rating of 3500 lbs. I wouldn't want to tow a heavier camper.
     
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  9. teh603

    teh603 Member

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    So, at this point it's looking like I'll need a V6 or bigger vehicle.

    If I can steer this thread in a slightly different direction, I'm looking at two broad possibilities here:

    1) Get something new enough to have at least some warranty (possibly . This would be something like Jeep Cherokee or Subaru Outback, or some other V6 (or bigger). I'd be using the insurance payout from my old truck as a down payment. (Expensive, but warranty. Tow package may be extra.)

    2) Buy a not- too- abused Ford Ranger, paying cash after checking the Carfax and getting a mechanic to check it out. Use the extra money from the insurance payout for repairs/upgrades. (Way cheaper purchase, no warranty, more repairs/upgrades, can swap in an Explorer V8 if absolutely necessary)

    Which of these looks better? The V6 Ranger has a tow cap that's comparable to a newer V6 SUV.
     
  10. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    This just my opinion, but an opinion from someone that has been at your present "Y" in the road.

    I have owned two Jeep Grand Cherokees. One v8 (4.7 liter) and one I6 (straight 6). I bought the v8 because the six cylinder wasn't cutting it for towing. I will say it again, "just enough" just doesn't work out as a long term towing solution. My RAM 1500 5.7 HEMI was the next step up and by far the best decision for me.

    With that being said, the reason that for many years I was buy vehicles that were "just enough", is because that was all I could afford. If a v6 is all you can afford, do what you have to do and don't look back. But if you can afford "more than enough", do it and you will not be sorry.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
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  11. teh603

    teh603 Member

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    We'll have to see how things go, but for now I'm definitely in "all I can afford" territory.
     
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  12. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    If you already have your eyes on a Ranger I'd look into it, otherwise keep your options open. My [2C], because there's just the two of you I'd steer you towards a truck, full or mid size. Not a crew cab, but an extended cab would be nice, give you a little inside room for cargo and maybe a pet later on. There's more to towing than horsepower and torque, length of wheelbase, appropriate weight and engine braking can drastically affect the towing experience.
     
  13. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Un-Supported Member

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    When I upgraded tow vehicles, I went from an extended cab 1997 F150 4.6L V8 to a 2013 Expedition 5.4L V8 with tow package. The Aliner disappears behind the Expedition, but I know the Sonic trailer is behind it. With the Expedition, I have more tow capacity and a lot more storage inside the vehicle. Being in maintenance, I want everything in the dry.
     
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  14. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    I totally get it.
     
  15. johnpa

    johnpa New Member

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    Something to think about , is how your camper pulls , I have a 04 Chevy Silverado v6 vortec 200 hp my camper is a hybrid cub 160 3225 gross gvw, we went on a trip from Pennsylvania to Colorado 4500 miles, weight wise is not my issue , we were fully loaded cause it was a month long trip , pulling to the top of the Rockies was fine , no straight highways , pulling straight through Kansas on an 80 mph highway it’s like pulling a parachute , weight is fine , wind resistance is my problem, I put a cap on my truck and it helped a little , I wish I had 300 hp , I have what I have and I’m having a great time , Just have to use patience and stay out of everybody’s way
     
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  16. RonDad

    RonDad Active Member

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    Sounds like we're trying to solve too many problems at once here. Finding something affordable to get back on the road (with insurance money) and a tow vehicle for an unknown trailer. I'd recommend to get back on the road without spending "all you can afford", then save and buy a full-size truck. I've never spoken to anyone that I can recall that bought a full size truck and wish they would have gone smaller. They are nice to drive when you're not towing too! Besides the fact that it will pull any popup, it will likely pull your impending upgrade after you fall in love with camping and want more out of the trailer. ;)
     
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  17. R we there yet

    R we there yet New Member

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    My Jeep Grand Cherokee was hit mid December Just got the word today that it will most likely be totaled.. So upset!! It was a GREAT tow vehicle (4.7L) I'm going to look for another Grand Cherokee or possibly Toyota 4 Runner. I pull a 2006 Jayco /1007.
     
  18. Grayson Everett

    Grayson Everett New Member

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    You can choice "Chevrolet® Silverado 1500" model tow vehicle. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is a widely respected full-size pickup truck, but it's not quite as desirable as its equally respected domestic competitors. The half-ton Chevy does boast stout towing capacities and an assortment of excellent powertrain choices. The latter is headlined by a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 that's impressively quick and surprisingly fuel efficient. The Silverado can also be equipped with an array of trailer-assist technologies and several handy features, such as a multi-function tailgate and a camera display in the rearview mirror that gives an unobstructed view of what's behind you. Unfortunately, the Chevy's cheap and uninspired interior as well as its harsh ride quality make it feel less refined than the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500.
     
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  19. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    That was a weird message, lol. A cut and paste from the sales brochure?
     
  20. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Un-Supported Member

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    Don't think a sales brochure would be touting ... the Chevy's cheap and uninspired interior as well as its harsh ride quality make it feel less refined than the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500.

    Edit: So it came from a Car and Driver review. I understand the wording and comparisons now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
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