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What Tow Vehicle is Enough?

thirteen
Explorer
Explorer
I have a 37' outside length 5th wheel that I tow about 13,000 to 14,000 pounds depending on how long of a trip. I just sold my 2002 chevy crew with 8' bed with 6.0 gas and need to get another truck. I plan to go no older than 2011 but probably won't spring for new.
GM is all I really know but I am willing to get any make of truck. The 6.0 pulled it fine but definitely slowed down on the hills on the highway. I am ok with that though as I am in no rush anymore.
I am seeing a lot of diesels for sale and am willing to do that. But things like an F-250 super duty that looks bomb proof but then it has a 5.4L engine. That seems small to me. I know even less about the Ram. I am not sure if GM still makes the 8.1 gas but I imagine the 6.2 will be perfectly fine if the 6.0 was fine.
What engine sizes in Ford and Ram should I look at 2011 and up?
I will be doing a cross country this year.

I am old enough now to know that whatever brand I buy will need maintenance because it is a million mechanical parts and they will all eventually rust because they are made of steel. They are what they are regardless of who makes it. Sadly I wouldn't think twice about buying a Toyota if they made one big enough.
32 REPLIES 32

jevanb
Explorer
Explorer
N-Trouble wrote:
I couldn't imagine how anybody could be content with towing that much weight with a 6.0 gasser, especially mated to the 4-speed. That was my previous truck and would barely hold speed towing my 8K lb toyhauler up hills. 4500RPM in 2nd gear watching the gas gauge move is no fun. Definitely go diesel. I have and have not looked back
X2 I too had that truck in 2004 and it was ok on the flat roads, but hit any hills and the 7-8k TT would drag it down and I did not like towing at 65MPH in 2nd gear up hills, could not imagine towing a 12k 5er behind it. Go diesel IMO
2006 CC 4x Lbz,

2012 Wildcat 344QB
Pullrite Superglide

Redsky
Explorer
Explorer
At that load I would want a diesel for the power to accelerate onto a freeway and to have the engine braking going down a steep mountain road. With a gas engine I would go with the biggest I could get and get 4.10 gears.

With the diesel trucks the GM in the 2011 year have had the best overall performance when towing and the strongest frame but with the 2013 model year the Ram trucks improved the frames on the 1-ton trucks and Cummins improved the exhaust brake performance a good deal.

When I was looking for a diesel in 2011 I found that the asking prices for used trucks with less than 60K miles was at $35,000 and up. I ended up buying a new diesel for $42,000 instead. Used Ford diesel sell for a lot less than the GM and Ram and I suspect that is due to their poor reputation from the prior generation of Powerstroke engines (which no longer applies).

thirteen
Explorer
Explorer
Just saw the dd post. Not a chance. My dd is a 2011 BMW 328i x drive with 130 horsepower. I have driven a lot of trucks and love them, but they call it the ultimate driving machine for a reason. We have a 2014 toyota sienna minivan and if that was my daily driver I would have kept my 2002 chevy 2500hd crew cab 8' bed 6.0l as my daily driver!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I just had to sell that truck as it needed rocker panels and a cat so it was time to jump up a decade. With a plow on it I made a quick sale at $10k because everyone wants a plow truck out here in December. It only had 101k miles. Had a spray in berliner and left 5th rails in it. Everything inside worked and nice tires. I think the guy that bought it got a good deal and I was happy with what I sold it for. He seemed like he was going to do the work himself.

thirteen
Explorer
Explorer
I made a mistake on my weight numbers. When I weighed the truck and camper and then weighed the truck I did the math wrong. I actually haul the camper about 11,500 pounds and there is no way I would put more than 1,000 pounds additional in there even on a long trip so 12,500 max. Usually 3 kids want to ride with me (the boys) and the girls ride with mom in the minivan. They are skinny so with all gear I probably only need to add another 300 pounds in the truck.
I still understand the reason for a diesel and a dually, but my numbers were too high.
Somebody said I was towing over my gross - and I realize that person was using my erroneous number - but looks like I was just under the 22k.
I find it interesting that the dually diesel gross is the same - just looking at 2002 - and won't be buying one that old (by about a decade). I guess once I think about it they are the same frames I presume and I would think with the heavier diesel and dually the actually towing weight left is less than with a 2500hd gas. Granted, the more powerful engine and stability of the drw makes sense too.
I have been very sick for two days so nothing to do but look stuff up on the internet. I am getting enlightened. Not looking forward to what appears obvious more expensive repairs on a diesel and peeing in the exhaust at $5 per gallon.
My father in law just sold off his dairy farm. He could have had a side job refining cow pee into the stuff that goes into the trucks.
I have thinking about the concept of slowing down on hills causing a safety hazard. I can't concede to this. It isn't my fault if someone decides to unsafely pass me. And I don't think this situation exists on the east coast because we always have an added lane on hills here. Is that not the case out west? I would actually pull into the break down lane if there wasn't an additional lane added on the hill if I was slowing down that much, but I can't think of anywhere in New England where we don't get the added lane on hills.

campigloo
Explorer
Explorer
You may find you like the diesel so much it becomes your dd.

thirteen
Explorer
Explorer
I guess I was content to drive what I had because I hadn't tried anything bigger. I imagine I will be even happier once I use diesel dually.
We take truck with camper and separate minivan. I wish we could all fit in a truck and go but with 5 kids it just isn't possible.

N-Trouble
Explorer
Explorer
I couldn't imagine how anybody could be content with towing that much weight with a 6.0 gasser, especially mated to the 4-speed. That was my previous truck and would barely hold speed towing my 8K lb toyhauler up hills. 4500RPM in 2nd gear watching the gas gauge move is no fun. Definitely go diesel. I have and have not looked back
2015 Attitude 28SAG w/slide
2012 GMC 2500HD SLT Duramax
B&W Turnover w/Andersen Ultimate 5er hitch

transamz9
Explorer
Explorer
thirteen wrote:
Thanks for the info everyone. I am now leaning toward the dually diesel because I don't need it as an every day driver and there seems to be some good deals on used ones. Probably because they are so expensive new that the only place to go is down and I imagine there are very limited buyers.
My father in law has a dually diesel I drive sometimes and I agree it is nice to haul with, and his is old.

Someone said they have a 36.5' fiver at 12,000 pounds. I agree, that is what mine weighs as well. But I have a family of seven and a dog so we bring a lot of junk with us. I prefer to use conservative numbers when considering a truck.


Are you buying one of those Texas built trucks with 6 doors? How do you take 7 people and a dog in the truck?
2016 Ram 3500 Mega Cab Limited/2013 Ram 3500 SRW Cummins(sold)/2005 RAM 2500 Cummins/2011 Sandpiper 345 RET (sold) 2015 Sanibel 3601/2008 Nitro Z9 Mercury 250 PRO XS the best motor made.

Cummins12V98
Explorer III
Explorer III
thirteen….Good Call!
2015 RAM LongHorn 3500 Dually CrewCab 4X4 CUMMINS/AISIN RearAir 385HP/865TQ 4:10's
37,800# GCVWR "Towing Beast"

"HeavyWeight" B&W RVK3600

2016 MobileSuites 39TKSB3 highly "Elited" In the stable

2007.5 Mobile Suites 36 SB3 29,000# Combined SOLD

thirteen
Explorer
Explorer
Thanks for the info everyone. I am now leaning toward the dually diesel because I don't need it as an every day driver and there seems to be some good deals on used ones. Probably because they are so expensive new that the only place to go is down and I imagine there are very limited buyers.
My father in law has a dually diesel I drive sometimes and I agree it is nice to haul with, and his is old.

Someone said they have a 36.5' fiver at 12,000 pounds. I agree, that is what mine weighs as well. But I have a family of seven and a dog so we bring a lot of junk with us. I prefer to use conservative numbers when considering a truck.

ib516
Explorer II
Explorer II
For that size RV, and the fact that you want to cross the country, I'd suggest a diesel in a 3500 chassis. I'd avoid the Ford 6.0L as it is a known problem child. That leaves Cummins (Dodge/Ram) or Duramax (GMC/Chevy). Take your pick.

FYI, my 5er is 36.5' and weighs about 12,000#.
Prev: 2010 Cougar 322QBS (junk)
02 Dodge 2500 4x4 5.9L CTD 3.55
07 Dodge 3500 4x4 SRW Mega 5.9L CTD 3.73
14 Ram 2500 4x4 Crew 6.4L Hemi 4.10
06 Chevy 1500 4x4 E-Cab 3.73 5.3L
07 Dodge 1500 5.7L Hemi 3.55 / 2010 Jayco 17z
All above are sold, no longer own an RV

rhagfo
Explorer III
Explorer III
fireman41 wrote:
rhagfo wrote:
thirteen wrote:
I have a 37' outside length 5th wheel that I tow about 13,000 to 14,000 pounds depending on how long of a trip. I just sold my 2002 chevy crew with 8' bed with 6.0 gas and need to get another truck. .......
The 6.0 pulled it fine but definitely slowed down on the hills on the highway. I am ok with that though as I am in no rush anymore........
I will be doing a cross country this year.

I am old enough now to know that whatever brand I buy will need maintenance because it is a million mechanical parts and they will all eventually rust because they are made of steel. They are what they are regardless of who makes it. Sadly I wouldn't think twice about buying a Toyota if they made one big enough.


I do like statements like this, it is fine if you get dragged down on the interstates with extra lanes for others to pass you. I personally see this as a safety issue on two lanes, if you get dragged down to 45 to 35 on a grade on a two lane without a passing lane, the backup be hind you will start to get impatient and then may try risky pass that could put others and you in danger.
While a newer 3500 6.0 gas could do a good job of pulling, you might entertain the thought going to a diesel.



Well I guess I better keep my 18 wheeler off the road than. At 80000 lbs 25mph 30 mph is the most I'll get out of it on most of the two lanes around here.


Well I haven't seen any 80,000# rigs going that slow out here in the West, guess we have bigger engines in our semis.

I had a neighbor that hauled logs, was set up to haul a load of long logs with short log pup behind it, 105,000 in all, he didn't get pulled down that bad on hills.
Russ & Paula the Beagle Belle.
2016 Ram Laramie 3500 Aisin DRW 4X4 Long bed.
2005 Copper Canyon 293 FWSLS, 32' GVWR 12,360#

"Visit and Enjoy Oregon State Parks"

C_Schomer
Explorer
Explorer
I'd get a dually for sure and most likely a diesel for the mtns. Gas is fine if you won't be going to the mtns. very much. I like the F V10 - I drive one for work. I'd also like to try one of the newer 6.2s. Probably 4.10 gears, maybe lower but that depends on OD restriction, if any. Craig
2012 Dodge 3500 DRW CCLB 4wd, custom hauler bed.
2008 Sunnybrook Titan 30 RKFS Morryde and Disc brakes
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campigloo
Explorer
Explorer
I bought the 2012 Ram. Really comfortable truck, great performance and the last year before DEF. With some of the comments about how much they break down, makes me wonder why Ford and Chevy even bother with service depts. They could get by with just an oil change rack.