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truck for towing the trailer/car - any suggestions?


cmc35

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I've been 'borrowing' my wife's SUV to tow my CMC Mustang, and she's let me know those days are over. (well, apparently I over-taxed the car, and that was kind of an expensive repair...) So, I need to buy a truck, and I need a new vehicle anyway, so it's not really a racing expense, right? Anyway, suggestions welcome: 1/2 or 3/4 ton? diesel or not? thanks, Chris McComb

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Hey Chris, I just went through this last year, spent the year prior asking my fellow West Coast CMCers about their rigs. There were many positives about the Chevy Duramax Diesel, so that is the way I went, with a crew cab (nice for the race suit and luggage). Currently I have an open trailer and the truck is not taxed at all. Certainly I could have gone gas if that was all I was doing with the truck, however, I plan to get an enclosed 24' trailer soon from our own CMCer Pat Stone (Southwest Valley Trailers in Hollister, plug plug!), so the diesel is more suitable.

 

Diesels are a big cash investment up front so you would need to keep it a while to recoup your investment. GM has zero percent financing again, so that helps and the big GVWR trucks are a good tax write-off if you have a small business like I do. I really dig the good mpg the diesel gets so far (14-17 towing) and my truck only has about 10k miles on it.

 

If diesel does not make sense for you there are plenty of 3/4 ton gas trucks you can choose from. My last rig was a GMC K-2500 3/4 ton TBI 350 truck.. nice tow rig but not fast up the hills. A racer on a tight budget would be set with one of these used in decent shape. I would not go less than 3/4 ton; 1/2 tons are just not heavy duty enough. 3/4 ton usually have bigger brakes and more rigid frames.

 

Best of luck to you in getting a good rig and also for this season!

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If you can afford it, go with the 3/4 ton truck from the start. I have a 3/4 ton conversion van and it pulls my car and open trailer OK and just OK. The conversion weighs alot and it's towing capacity is only 6,000 lbs...

 

I would like to go to an enclosed trailer and the cost of a stronger tow vehicle is the thing standing in my way. If I had bought a stronger vehicle to start, I would only be worried about finding a trailer. Now I need to buy both again.

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If you can't swing a new diesel crew cab, I'd recommend a mid-to-late 90s F250/350 or Chevy/GMC 2500/3500 with a gas big-block (460 or 454). Get an extended cab long bed and the truck is still practical enough sizewise that it can serve as a backup daily driver. Mileage will be about 10-11 towing or empty but you can get trucks like that in very nice condition for $8-10K and the $30K difference between that and a new crewcab diesel will buy about 15,000 gallons of gas.

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Last winter, I found an 01 GMC SLE crew, 2500HD, 8.1, Allison, short box for $20K. It had 30K miles on it ...

 

Gas mileage stays around 12mpg for combined useage.

 

I have an open trailer as well. It's a roll back design and it loads low slung veicles quickly and easily. www.kwikload.com

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We have a 2001 Silverado LS extended cab with the 4.8 litre gas motor. I've towed to Blythe, Irwindale, Perris, Buttonwillow, Willow Springs and Sears Point, with the Camaro or the '73 Chevelle Pure Stock, the bed full of tools and 2-4 adults. The truck engine temp never gets over 190, on the run from Sears Point to Buttowillow we got 17 MPG with the full rig and 4 adults and the cruise set at 70. It's a half ton and seems to do just fine, plus rides decent when you're not loaded. It pulls more comfortably than my 86 Ford crew cab diesel. No problem towing up and down the hills to Blythe or over the Grapevine.

My 2 cents, for what's worth.

Kevin Hall

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I really appreciate all the help, thank you very much. I rented a 2005 F250 crew cab turbo diesel this weekend, to tow the trailer/car ~100 miles roundtrip. It ran like there was nothing back there. But WOW is it noisy; guess that's the price of a diesel. I'll most likely go with a 5.4L gasoline engine, since this will also be my daily driver.

Again, THANKS for all the help.

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I really appreciate all the help, thank you very much. I rented a 2005 F250 crew cab turbo diesel this weekend, to tow the trailer/car ~100 miles roundtrip. It ran like there was nothing back there. But WOW is it noisy; guess that's the price of a diesel. I'll most likely go with a 5.4L gasoline engine, since this will also be my daily driver.

Again, THANKS for all the help.

 

ChrisM

Where did you find that type of truck to rent? I'm interested in renting until I decide what type of tow vehicle I really want. Can't find much via the Internet on HD truck rentals or diesel truck rentals.

 

Thanks,

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I saw a couple of 3/4 ton diesels for rent at Lowes this weekend. I'm not sure if they charge by the mile or what...they obviously dont intend you to rent their trucks to tow cars around with...

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Enterprise rentacar has a commercial division. If you (or someone you know) owns a business, they'll rent you a truck that's approved for towing. It's not cheap - daily rate PLUS mileage - but it's a great way to find out whether you like the vehicle. The local Enterprise guys were really good to work with. I tried Hertz, U-Haul, Penske - none of them would rent a vehicle for towing.

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I never really heard anyone complain about their 1/2 ton trucks pulling open trailers. My 454SS half-ton worked great. I will say that a 'certain' F150 Lightening with no trailer brakes was a handfull this past weekend.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks again for all the comments. Decided to go 3/4 ton diesel: '05 F250 crew cab, 4x2, 3.73 rear end. Drove it home yesterday, ~150 miles, and brand new it averaged 17 mpg, at just a touch over the speed limit... Will tow with it in about 6 weeks, looking forward to the torque.

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