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Tow truck ideas / advice

jukes
Explorer
Explorer
Hi,
Our 2003 Diesel 7.3l Excursion is finally having issues (wobbly steering), spent $$$ getting it repaired, but that didn't fix the issue.... at this point we don't know whether to cut our losses...
However, finding a decent replacement is $$$.
What would be a decent truck, perhaps a few years old, but still lower mileage to tow this:

2015 Cherokee by Forest River grey wolf, m-274dbh? Base Weight (lbs / kg)
6261 / 2840
Carrying Capacity (lbs / kg)
1607 / 728.9
Hitch Weight (lbs / kg)
906 / 411
We like diesel but here in California diesel is expensive....
What would be a smaller truck that could tow this, perhaps I could trade in my car and use the truck, but I really am not keen on a large daily driver....
We want to drive to Utah, up to Washington and something that can handle steep hills useful...
Thanks!
27 REPLIES 27

jukes
Explorer
Explorer
Tyler0215 wrote:
Well the only thing left is new tires. You've thrown everything else at .

Just did new tires those were an extra $1800 on top of the $5000 in repairs!

p220sigman
Explorer
Explorer
The only other thing I can think of you might try is heavier springs. If I recall correctly, the front springs on the Excursions were softer than on the trucks to help with the ride. Too softly sprung could lead to wandering.

Before I sold it, I would try to find a good suspension shop and get a second opinion.

Tyler0215
Explorer
Explorer
Well the only thing left is new tires. You've thrown everything else at .

jukes
Explorer
Explorer
mkirsch wrote:
What "just not right" though? Can you be specific about the issue? Maybe someone here has a suggestion.


It feels like the steering is wandering rather than a wobble if that makes sense?

mkirsch
Nomad II
Nomad II
What "just not right" though? Can you be specific about the issue? Maybe someone here has a suggestion.

Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

jukes
Explorer
Explorer
Gooma wrote:
Keep it, spend the money to repair whats wrong and enjoy it for many more years.
New trucks are stupid expensive, to buy and repair.


Yep, that is our preference, we paid a 'reputable' mechanic to fix the issue but it didn't fix it, that cost about $4500. Then my husband has done some work on it. So far it's just had new track bar, Ball joints, steering stabilizer, steering box, tie rod ends. Shocks.

The steering is just not right..... but the engine is hanging in there with almost 400,000 in it...

We'd get a truck not SUV next time as the kids are growing and rarely do all 3 join us.....

mkirsch
Nomad II
Nomad II
Unfortunately there are no "secret trucks" that ticks off all your boxes, but nobody else knows about so you can snap it up cheap.

That's really what you're looking for us to tell you about here... If only there were such a thing, but every corner's been thoroughly searched, and there are no such secret special trucks, no "dogs" on the market that don't deserve to be.

All you can do is shop, and keep shopping until you find the right deal on something that meets your needs. Many 1500 series trucks will pull your trailer, but if you're filling those three rows in the old Excursion with growing kids, a 1500 pickup isn't going to have the seating capacity you need.

Really in this day and age there is no direct replacement for an Excursion. The market for "3/4 ton" SUVs was such that all the manufacturers dropped them. Passenger capacity and payload capacity has been relegated to 1 ton vans, but vans aren't "cool" so very few people consider them a viable option.

Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
Steering and suspension isn’t magic. You just have a bad mechanic. Find a good one. Or any newer half ton will do everything you need. But the price of gas is a real factor currently if you put in a lot of miles on the daily.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

Gooma
Explorer
Explorer
Keep it, spend the money to repair whats wrong and enjoy it for many more years.
New trucks are stupid expensive, to buy and repair.

valhalla360
Nomad III
Nomad III
Are you set on an SUV? How many people are you taking?

A full size body on frame van would be one option if a big family or for a family of 4, a full size 4 door pickup is viable.

At just shy of 8000lb (loaded), 1/2 ton trucks would be viable, just check to make sure it has a higher payload (2000lb or more). The modern ones running empty get much better MPG than in the olden days and modern gas engines have plenty of power to pull 8000lb.
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

rjstractor
Nomad
Nomad
jukes wrote:
Thermoguy wrote:
Budget?

Do you want something that will work or something that is overkill like a 1 ton? Truck or SUV or you don't have a preference?


something that can sensibly handle that travel trailer would be ok, I'd be interested to know what the smaller size could be and if I'd drive it daily too (not so keen on that idea)... a Truck as we always have that issue of taking bikes....

Budget - reality is we've never had a car payment, but we don't have much spare cash. If I keep my car then we'd have about $10,000 to put down towards a truck, then a loan, if I sold my car we'd have additional $25,000... my daily driving is highway to and from work and to kids sports so a big truck would be total overkill though...

Really don't want anything too high mileage that ends up with issues. We are attached to the Excursion and it runs well..but cannot get this wobbly steering issue fixed, well maybe, by sinking another $5000 or so into it.. Here it's almost got no value, can't legally smog it now in CA either.....


Outside of CA diesel Excursions go for stupid money, so if you can sell it out of state you should do fine. Hard to believe you couldn't get the steering fixed for $5K- the front suspension and steering on those rigs is relatively simple. Being a Ford, it will never be perfect, but I think you must have brought it to the wrong shop.

On the topic of a replacement rig, it will be pretty tough to find a "smaller" replacement rig that will tow a 6200 lb dry weight trailer very well. Suburbans, Expeditions and 1500 series pickups will do the job if configured decently (payload could be an issue), but they really aren't much smaller than an Excursion. Anything significantly smaller than an Ex just won't work IMO.
2017 VW Golf Alltrack
2000 Ford F250 7.3

jukes
Explorer
Explorer
Thermoguy wrote:
Budget?

Do you want something that will work or something that is overkill like a 1 ton? Truck or SUV or you don't have a preference?


something that can sensibly handle that travel trailer would be ok, I'd be interested to know what the smaller size could be and if I'd drive it daily too (not so keen on that idea)... a Truck as we always have that issue of taking bikes....

Budget - reality is we've never had a car payment, but we don't have much spare cash. If I keep my car then we'd have about $10,000 to put down towards a truck, then a loan, if I sold my car we'd have additional $25,000... my daily driving is highway to and from work and to kids sports so a big truck would be total overkill though...

Really don't want anything too high mileage that ends up with issues. We are attached to the Excursion and it runs well..but cannot get this wobbly steering issue fixed, well maybe, by sinking another $5000 or so into it.. Here it's almost got no value, can't legally smog it now in CA either.....

Thermoguy
Explorer II
Explorer II
Budget?

Do you want something that will work or something that is overkill like a 1 ton? Truck or SUV or you don't have a preference?