1 2 3 4
JeepinMatt
JeepinMatt Reader
12/3/09 10:12 p.m.

You know, I wanted to buy a late-model Range Rover Classic badly in high school. It's tempting when they're showing up under 2.5k, but I know I'd make that up by paying for repairs and maintenance.

irish44j
irish44j Reader
12/3/09 10:25 p.m.

grassroots tow...

redneck soccer mom?

Photobucket

Toyman01
Toyman01 HalfDork
12/3/09 10:30 p.m.
Salanis wrote:
Bobzilla wrote: Ext Cab Short Bed 2wd GMC. Lowered 2/4, rear swaybar and 17's with some 255/60/17's, long tubes, magnaflow and an intake. Fun to drive, tows your house and comfortable.

What kind of gas mileage do you get on that? FuelEconomy.gov seems to show people averaging 18-20.

Toyman, I'm bad at IDing vans. Is that an E-series or an Astro? What engine does it have?

As long as I stay in the Sacto area, a P71 might be a good bet, since all my towing will be in the valley, unless I decide to hit Reno/Fernley. I can probably borrow my dad's Econoline in that event.

That is a 97 E-150 Ford with the Triton 5.4L OHC engine. It has around 130K on it and still runs great. The only thing I don't like about the engine is the max torque is too high in the rpm range. She will pull decent at 2K, but at 4K I think the earth spins the other way. If you go with a van, don't get the high top. Driving them in a cross wind is like carrying a sheet of plywood on a windy day. You can do it, but you really don't want to. I also would not recommend getting a conversion. Everything not made by Ford on mine is showing its age. (the paint on the top and running boards, leather seats, etc.)

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
12/3/09 11:01 p.m.
JeepinMatt wrote: My price point is a little lower, but I'm pretty much looking for the same thing. Every time the issue of using smaller/less powerful vehicles comes up, I immediately think "oh good, more options." But after I price-check them, I realize that the half-ton and up trucks are at least as cheap, or cheaper, than any Toyota T100, Dakota, Pathfinder, Grand Cherokee V8 or Land Cruiser. If you're dead set against having such a big vehicle to maneuver every day, then I could see the argument for a smaller truck.

Yeah - its hard to argue with the economy of the F150 or Silverado 1500. They seat 6, get as good of mileage as almost all the smaller models and haul a lot more. They cost less or the same and parts are cheap and plentiful. The used market is flooded with them. They really don't even drive like trucks anymore.

I have a 10yr old Tundra. Not that its a bad thing... it was a great truck that drove like a car and towed track cars over the PA/NY/WV mountains for its whole life but I paid more over its lifetime too in parts & fuel than a Chevy. It needed less - but it cost more. Now that I need a larger truck to tow my enclosed rig - I'll be shopping used bowtie 2500HDs. The Toy was great and has a sweet motor... but 16MPG empty, rusty frames and $70 swaybar endlinks (that don't come with new rubber or nuts) have dissuaded me from the mark.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla HalfDork
12/4/09 8:07 a.m.
Salanis wrote:
Bobzilla wrote: Ext Cab Short Bed 2wd GMC. Lowered 2/4, rear swaybar and 17's with some 255/60/17's, long tubes, magnaflow and an intake. Fun to drive, tows your house and comfortable.

What kind of gas mileage do you get on that? FuelEconomy.gov seems to show people averaging 18-20.

Toyman, I'm bad at IDing vans. Is that an E-series or an Astro? What engine does it have?

As long as I stay in the Sacto area, a P71 might be a good bet, since all my towing will be in the valley, unless I decide to hit Reno/Fernley. I can probably borrow my dad's Econoline in that event.

On both my OBS (88-98) GMC's they were 4.3 V6 manuals and I averaged 24mpg on the highway, about 19-20 in town. On my newer 06 CC 4.8 we average 20-21 in town 24 on the highway at 75mph. Dad had an auto 91 V8 that averaged 21 on the highway 18 in town.

dj06482
dj06482 Reader
12/4/09 8:48 a.m.
Bobzilla wrote: On both my OBS (88-98) GMC's they were 4.3 V6 manuals and I averaged 24mpg on the highway, about 19-20 in town. On my newer 06 CC 4.8 we average 20-21 in town 24 on the highway at 75mph. Dad had an auto 91 V8 that averaged 21 on the highway 18 in town.

Bobzilla -

What gear ratio is your '06 CC, and is it 2WD or 4WD? Thanks!

mdawley
mdawley None
12/4/09 9:41 a.m.

I recommend late '80's / early '90's GM and Ford full size wagons. At your price point you can get one upgraded by the rodders with 134a, HD trans and maybe even brake upgrades. If you maintain it it will not depreciate as well as being cool. I will stick with my Eldo convert. Old Caddy's always work, but no wagons.....

Cotton
Cotton HalfDork
12/4/09 9:45 a.m.
Jeff wrote: I have done a ton of research on this. It really boils down to this: if you believe US tow ratings your are going to end up with a truck or van, if you are willing to look at what the rest of the world does, there are more options. .

Wether or not you "agree" with the tow ratings, you should still follow them to stay legal. If you end up in an accident and are overweight you could end up in a legal mess.

As far as large vs. small TVs.......a couple of examples. My friend just bought a 25 foot camper and a new 4 runner. She got the weight distribution hitch, torsion bars, brake box, etc. She is within her legal weight on the 4runner and still gets pushed around by that camper.....especially if her water tanks are full. Now she borrows her Dad's truck (Ford dually) to tow it and is looking to ditch the 4 runner for a larger TV.

Another - I spent two weeks in Turkey last year. I saw a lot of the smaller cars towing campers and it was always the same thing. The campers were very small and lightweight. I see no probem with that. I did not see any small cars towing large heavy campers. I did hate getting behind them on hills....very slow.

You mentioned a TDI Jetta towing a 20ft camper. What was the weight of the camper? A lightweight 20ft camper should be easy to manage with a sedan, but there are plenty of heavy 20 footers that would be a handfull.

I have towed my single car trailer with several vehicles from a small SUV to a diesel dually and there is just no getting around the fact that (in my experience) the larger truck is faster, safer, and more stable.

dyintorace
dyintorace Dork
12/4/09 10:39 a.m.
Cotton wrote: As far as large vs. small TVs.......a couple of examples. My friend just bought a 25 foot camper and a new 4 runner. She got the weight distribution hitch, torsion bars, brake box, etc. She is within her legal weight on the 4runner and still gets pushed around by that camper.....especially if her water tanks are full. Now she borrows her Dad's truck (Ford dually) to tow it and is looking to ditch the 4 runner for a larger TV.

Do you happen to know if the 4runner was a V6 or V8 model? I've been looking at late model 4runners as a possible TV for a single car trailer. They're rated at 7300lbs which at least sounded sufficient, but your comment makes it sound otherwise.

mtn
mtn SuperDork
12/4/09 10:42 a.m.
Cotton wrote:
Jeff wrote: I have done a ton of research on this. It really boils down to this: if you believe US tow ratings your are going to end up with a truck or van, if you are willing to look at what the rest of the world does, there are more options. .

Wether or not you "agree" with the tow ratings, you should still follow them to stay legal. If you end up in an accident and are overweight you could end up in a legal mess.

I'm not aware that there is a legal tow rating. Just the recommended one to get the car manufacturer out of a court case.

Cotton
Cotton HalfDork
12/4/09 11:06 a.m.
dyintorace wrote:
Cotton wrote: As far as large vs. small TVs.......a couple of examples. My friend just bought a 25 foot camper and a new 4 runner. She got the weight distribution hitch, torsion bars, brake box, etc. She is within her legal weight on the 4runner and still gets pushed around by that camper.....especially if her water tanks are full. Now she borrows her Dad's truck (Ford dually) to tow it and is looking to ditch the 4 runner for a larger TV.

Do you happen to know if the 4runner was a V6 or V8 model? I've been looking at late model 4runners as a possible TV for a single car trailer. They're rated at 7300lbs which at least sounded sufficient, but your comment makes it sound otherwise.

I'm pretty sure it's a V8, but I'll ask her when I see her. She didn't complain about the power, just the way it pulled and handled the load. I'd think you'd be fine with a 4runner and single car open trailer. How heavy is the car you're towing?

Cotton
Cotton SuperDork
12/4/09 11:11 a.m.
mtn wrote:
Cotton wrote:
Jeff wrote: I have done a ton of research on this. It really boils down to this: if you believe US tow ratings your are going to end up with a truck or van, if you are willing to look at what the rest of the world does, there are more options. .

Wether or not you "agree" with the tow ratings, you should still follow them to stay legal. If you end up in an accident and are overweight you could end up in a legal mess.

I'm not aware that there is a legal tow rating. Just the recommended one to get the car manufacturer out of a court case.

You can be held liable....absolutely. Here is a good article on it and a couple of quick quotes. http://www.trucktestdigest.com/TTDfeatureTrailerTowingIllegally.htm

"The liability risk issue stems solely from towing trailers with improperly-equipped vehicles and not following the tow vehicle manufacturer’s well-defined requirements for the loads being towed."

"When asked about towing liability issues, Dean Holleman, Vice President and Managing Attorney of Boyce Holleman & Associates (www.boyceholleman.com) in Gulfport, Mississippi, says “Any person who tows a trailer would be responsible to know that the towing vehicle has certain limitations which should not be exceeded.

“If the accident is caused by the vehicle being used to tow something it was not designed to tow, this in itself could be an act negligence by the tow [vehicle] driver and under the theory of negligence he could be liable (and most probably would be held liable).”

"When it comes to negligence, or the failure of the driver’s “duty to tow only that which the vehicle is designed to tow,” Holleman and other attorneys agree if there’s an accident and the towing vehicle isn’t properly set up, the injured person would probably win any ensuing lawsuit. "

Vigo
Vigo New Reader
12/4/09 11:19 a.m.

Gads this thread was too long too hold my interest so i just skimmed but here's my two cents.

You can get a v8 dakota quad cab in your price range pretty easily. Get the 4.7, better of the two v8s available. Its got plenty of power (and size/stability) to tow that much and has 4 real seats and 4 real doors.

The team of Pat Culkin used a 4door 4.7 dakota to tow a little over 3000 lbs worth of car and dolly to $2009 from maryland to florida and back and got 17mpg maintaining pretty high speeds, up to 85 in places.

But, for the record, i also towed the same 3000+ lbs and 4 real seats in my 93 dodge dynasty 3.3L from Texas to Florida and back and also got 17mpg, and you can pick up a car like mine for under $1k :p

But i had a hard time getting up to 85.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla HalfDork
12/4/09 12:05 p.m.
dj06482 wrote:
Bobzilla wrote: On both my OBS (88-98) GMC's they were 4.3 V6 manuals and I averaged 24mpg on the highway, about 19-20 in town. On my newer 06 CC 4.8 we average 20-21 in town 24 on the highway at 75mph. Dad had an auto 91 V8 that averaged 21 on the highway 18 in town.

Bobzilla -

What gear ratio is your '06 CC, and is it 2WD or 4WD? Thanks!

3.23 rearend, 4.8L 2wd. 80mph = 2000 rpms. Truck pulls the Swift on Dad's 1500lb uitility trailer like it wasnt there. We averaged 17 towing the swift. 24.4 mpg is our highest on the highway unloaded. 22.6mpg was our lowest. 2 years ago we averaged rounds trip (5300 miles) 22.9 after spending a week tooling around Tucson with the inlaws.

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
12/4/09 2:19 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote: On both my OBS (88-98) GMC's they were 4.3 V6 manuals and I averaged 24mpg on the highway, about 19-20 in town. On my newer 06 CC 4.8 we average 20-21 in town 24 on the highway at 75mph. Dad had an auto 91 V8 that averaged 21 on the highway 18 in town.

Woah. I don't know all these acronyms. What're OBS and CC?

Although I do prefer smaller vehicles for going around town, my biggest concern with larger vehicles is that they seem like they'd get worse gas mileage and need more/costlier maintenance.

It seems like a GMC 1500 or Astro will get as good or better gas mileage than something like a P71, and would carry more and tow better.

Edit: huh... for GMC 1500's, seems like the larger Sierra gets better mileage than the smaller Sonoma or SUV Yukon.

mtn
mtn SuperDork
12/4/09 2:21 p.m.
Cotton wrote: "When it comes to negligence, or the failure of the driver’s “duty to tow only that which the vehicle is designed to tow,”

Therein lies the problem, by my [messed up] logic. Most cars have tow ratings. Other than pickups and SUV's, very few are designed to tow anything.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla HalfDork
12/4/09 2:39 p.m.
Salanis wrote:
Bobzilla wrote: On both my OBS (88-98) GMC's they were 4.3 V6 manuals and I averaged 24mpg on the highway, about 19-20 in town. On my newer 06 CC 4.8 we average 20-21 in town 24 on the highway at 75mph. Dad had an auto 91 V8 that averaged 21 on the highway 18 in town.

Woah. I don't know all these acronyms. What're OBS and CC?

Although I do prefer smaller vehicles for going around town, my biggest concern with larger vehicles is that they seem like they'd get worse gas mileage and need more/costlier maintenance.

It seems like a GMC 1500 or Astro will get as good or better gas mileage than something like a P71, and would carry more and tow better.

Edit: huh... for GMC 1500's, seems like the larger Sierra gets better mileage than the smaller Sonoma or SUV Yukon.

Sorry....OBS = Old Body style. GMT400 platform used from 1988-1998. CC = Crew Cab. Ours is a crewcab with the super short 5'8" bed and in the truck forums is called the NBS (New Body Style, 99-06).

Yes, Sierra's usually got the same mileage as the smaller sonoma's. I had a regular cab, sportside bed Sonoma with the 2.2L 4cyl and 5spd. I never got more than 25mpg on the highway. Averaged about 22mpg around town. Considering I came from a larger truck that got about the same mileage I ws very disappointed.

The 99-06 GM's come with the LSx derived "Vortec" engines which are REALLY efficientlittle powerplants. My longterm goal with our 2006 is to open the exhaust and then tune the ECU for mileage. Looking for mid-20's on the highway and around 310hp at the flywheel.

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
12/4/09 2:51 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote: The 99-06 GM's come with the LSx derived "Vortec" engines which are REALLY efficientlittle powerplants. My longterm goal with our 2006 is to open the exhaust and then tune the ECU for mileage. Looking for mid-20's on the highway and around 310hp at the flywheel.

Everything is better with an LSx. Thanks for informing me that "Vortec"=LSx. Sounds like a GMC with a Vortec would be the thing to look for.

So, that would be a '99+ with a 5.3 or Vortec?

What was the status of the '98-earlier engines? Those are certainly easier to find in my price target.

I'm getting 18/24 in the M Coupe now, on premium. Similar fuel economy would be fantastic.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla HalfDork
12/4/09 3:43 p.m.

96-98 Vortecs were an "updated" Gen I small block chevy. They used a 6 bolt intake and a CPI injection system. THere are "issues" with higher mileage ones, but nothing catastrophic. Intake gaskets will leak.... let me rephrase... the WILL leak. The spider of the CPI will clog/get weak. Fix those two and they will be fine.

All GM Truck engines are referred to as a "Vortec" since 1996. In 1999, they went to the newer LSx style engines with cast iron blocks and aluminum heads and a large intake mani that promoted torque. The dsiplacement changed from the tried and true 305/350 (5.0/5.7) to the 4.8 and 5.3. 1999-2002 the 4.8L made 275hp/295tq, the 5.3 made 285-295hp/300tq. In 2003 they got bumped 10hp.

If you want good gas mileage, look for a 2WD. The 4WD will sap the fule economy on the highway because most had a taller rear end.

Hope that helps.

fastmiata
fastmiata Reader
12/5/09 12:57 p.m.

Having towed now for 20yrs, I strongly believe in excessive towing capacity. Not only will it get you home at the end of every racing weekend but it gives you peace of mind as you drive across the top of Atlanta on I-75/85. Yes, people have gotten away with less and will continue to do so but when the opportunity for the BIG ONE occurs(and it will), the difference from a learning experience and a headline will be your decision to buy a bigger tow vehicle.
We can argue all day about which model to buy(I have towed with 'Burbs, Expeditions, Excursions, dually and single axle trucks and each have their own good/bad factors; I do tend to like Ford products due to reliability issues). I found it best to buy or lease whatever I could afford as tow vehicle and then buy a used sports car as my DD.
The only thing I couldnt figure out was that my neice and nephew preferred to be picked up at school in the tow vehicle compared to the sports car. YMMV

VWguyBruce
VWguyBruce HalfDork
12/5/09 2:49 p.m.

We've been driving a 2003 Envoy XL with the 5.3 Vortec since new. We towed a 6,000 camper around for thousands of miles with zero issues and got 10mpg, towed boats, pulled people out of ditches, drug that challenge car to Florida(14mpg on that trip). My wife gets 21 on the highway without using the cruise control. I just did the first brake job on it at 92k miles, changed battery once and one set of tires. Only issues are the mirror memory(minor), a window regulator and we had the speedo cluster go out. Ours is loaded and seats 7 comfortably. I suspect you could find one in your price range these days.

Wanted to add our truck is 4WD. Also, towing through the mountains, I have to downshift and get the RPMs up, it's makes it a louder drive but we don't have to slow at all. Wheelbase on these trucks is one inch shorter than the Suburban which allowed us to haul the 31ft trailer.

dj06482
dj06482 Reader
12/5/09 7:00 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote: 3.23 rearend, 4.8L 2wd. 80mph = 2000 rpms. Truck pulls the Swift on Dad's 1500lb uitility trailer like it wasnt there. We averaged 17 towing the swift. 24.4 mpg is our highest on the highway unloaded. 22.6mpg was our lowest. 2 years ago we averaged rounds trip (5300 miles) 22.9 after spending a week tooling around Tucson with the inlaws.

Thanks, at some point I'll have to replace my '94 K1500 (RCSB for the acronym-familiar) and one of the NBS 1/2 ton Crew Cabs is on my short list. I'll probably end up with 4WD, though, because that will make it more versatile up here in CT.

I'm hoping to find a 5.3 with the 3.42 rear axle, that should give me plenty of pulling power and decent mileage (especially when you consider the taller tires on the 4WDs). The 4.8 4WD CCs up here seem to all be equipped with a shorter rear end (like 3.73), so the difference between them and the 5.3 3.42 combo is probably a wash.

Appreciate the real-world info!

deveous9
deveous9 New Reader
12/5/09 9:28 p.m.

Get a Dodge Durango Hemi. Excellent performance, good gas mileage and it drives fantastic.

dean1484
dean1484 Dork
12/6/09 9:03 a.m.

I thought about this some more and this is kind of like the answer to the welder thread I gave. The tow vehicle has to match the task at hand. Again if you are towing 2-4 times a year a f350 may be a tad over kill and a small Toyota or explorer would fill the bill. Where as the guy that is going to the races 2x a month and hauling cars between the shop and the home and what not a full size more dedicated tow vehicle probably is better.

My only comment that contradicts this is ease of towing. If you are going racing getting to the track is usually no big deal. The adrenaline is going and you would probably pull your tow vehicle to the track with your race car if you had to. However getting home when you are tired had a VERY long day it is dark is a whole another thing entirely. this is when mistakes are made and accident happen and in my case the fun of racing stopped. I hated towing home on a wing and a prayer. IT is jut not fun. I found that having a bigger tow vehicle that made towing easy (almost fun) was what completed a weekend of racing or going to the track. I could actually relax on the drive home. The best rig I ever drove for this was a friends 2004 Dodge 2500 4x4 crew cab with a tow package and the 5.7 hemi. It could accelerate up the hills coming out of Scranton like there was nothing behind you. It has enough bulk and length so that stability is not even an issue. Is this over kill for most? Sure but it made the 8 plus hour ride homer relaxing.

Something else to consider is the train you are towing in. If it is flat short hops (less than an hour) that a smaller vehicle can and probably should be considered. IF you have hills like we do in the north east and you will be climbing them regularly a bigger rig should be considered.

This is really a case of matching the vehicle to the needs of the owner. Small light cone killer car or formula ford that is only going an hour does not need a big vehicle. An AI car with an enclosed trailer hauling all the spares for 8 hours should consider a bigger rig.

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
12/6/09 2:20 p.m.
dean1484 wrote: Something else to consider is the train you are towing in. If it is flat short hops (less than an hour) that a smaller vehicle can and probably should be considered. IF you have hills like we do in the north east and you will be climbing them regularly a bigger rig should be considered. This is really a case of matching the vehicle to the needs of the owner. Small light cone killer car or formula ford that is only going an hour does not need a big vehicle. An AI car with an enclosed trailer hauling all the spares for 8 hours should consider a bigger rig.

For me it will be mostly 1.5 - 5 hours towing, mostly in flat area. However, I might end up making longer/hillier trips to Reno-Fernley or maybe Colorado (I think that's where NASA holds some major events) maybe once/year.

However, I'm really leaning towards the idea of a van again, for the option of being able to throw in some padding or an air mattress and sleep comfortably inside my vehicle at the track. Cheaper than a hotel, and more comfortable than a tent.

1 2 3 4
Our Preferred Partners
UG37Ys8e9UQbJ3f92uzoVjvsPD4qgbonAOmQLEEaNg6J4fdGKWn3EY7iFF8Loqtu