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Jaynen
Jaynen UltraDork
5/3/18 6:13 p.m.

What are my options for something reliable foremost that can tow up to 7k-7500 and needs to be relied upon to do 15,000 miles a year in the 10k budget range? Needs to carry 4, 2 adults 2 kids, 1 in a booster, 1 in a harness booster

The difference between even full size pickup normal mpg of 14-16 and a 2500 burban's 10-11 ends up almost an additional 120 bucks a month at current gas prices.

Of note the difference between a 15mpg truck and a 45mpg prius would be 128 dollars a month so not enough of a difference in my opinion that buying a 5k burban and a 5k prius makes sense once parking/registration/insurance/maintenance is taken into account.

This would end up likely being a daily for me, I have daily'd a focus ST, Jetta TDI, F-150 Super Crew, WR250R, Gen 3 Montero, and a E-350 Diesel Benz so kind of all over the place.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
5/3/18 6:19 p.m.

late 00s v8 4Runner? That's at the upper end of the towing capacity (what are you towing??), but it checks the reliability and "daily comfort" boxes and should be in the price range, and should be able to get around 20mpg highway. The 2WD version has the higher towing capacity, IIRC, and gets a couple MPGs better....

 

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
5/3/18 6:34 p.m.

How much of that 15k is towing?

Jaynen
Jaynen UltraDork
5/3/18 6:39 p.m.

10k is commuting, probably 2k towing?

I want to tow a 20ft or so enclosed trailer with a miata in it that has A/C and also an approx 7k lb or so travel trailer with the family (could go down to close to 6k but I would like to keep some headroom over the trailer GVWR)

yupididit
yupididit SuperDork
5/3/18 6:41 p.m.

2wd 7.3 excursion. 

Jaynen
Jaynen UltraDork
5/3/18 6:45 p.m.
yupididit said:

2wd 7.3 excursion. 

Fuelly shows those at like 13-14 mpg and diesel is 7% more expensive overall than gas. I really want headache free reliability for a good 5yrs,  don't mind maintenance but no big gotcha's

Jaynen
Jaynen UltraDork
5/3/18 6:48 p.m.
irish44j said:

late 00s v8 4Runner? That's at the upper end of the towing capacity (what are you towing??), but it checks the reliability and "daily comfort" boxes and should be in the price range, and should be able to get around 20mpg highway. The 2WD version has the higher towing capacity, IIRC, and gets a couple MPGs better....

 

Interesting according to the 2005 Trailer Life Towing Guide the V8 4runner is actually rated 7000-7300 beating the seqoia and land cruiser at the time (probably because of its lower weight but similar driveline/chassis/engine etc)

 

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo Dork
5/3/18 6:49 p.m.

I gotta say the guys who say they get 22+ MPG out of their 7.3s are full of crap, but I have never seen less than 15MPG  combined 50/50 city and highway with a lifted 4x4 F250 with big tires.  They are definitely the easy button and should return upper teens if left on stock tires and at stock ride height. 

Rodan
Rodan HalfDork
5/3/18 6:59 p.m.

Where you live (and where you want to go) is a big factor in what you need to tow 7-8k lbs of trailer.  If you're in Florida, you can get away with a lot... in Colorado, not so much.

My recommendation would be the best diesel 3/4 ton you can find in your price range.   Note that "best" doesn't necessarily mean newest or lowest miles.  Good service history, and the reliability of the particular platform are bigger factors than newness, eg.   A manual trans pickup will probably return the best combo of performance/economy, but unfortunately those demand the highest prices.  You're probably looking 10-12mpg towing, but an empty truck can realistically return 18-20 commuting.  Also, a reserve capacity for repairs is a good idea, because diesels are more expensive to fix, and the weight/size of many of the components make the bigger jobs difficult for most of us DiYers.

A gas truck/SUV will be cheaper to buy/maintain, but will be less efficient on the commute, and will be working harder on the tow missions.  Again, with your requirements, good service history and condition are the primary things I would look at.

 

CJ
CJ Reader
5/3/18 7:03 p.m.

How about this?  Expedition

My son had one and he, his wife, three kids,  and all of their stuff fit no problem.  Seats 9.  8700 lb towing capacity.  He told me he got about 20 on the highway and 12-14 around town.

Rodan
Rodan HalfDork
5/3/18 7:05 p.m.
93gsxturbo said:

I gotta say the guys who say they get 22+ MPG out of their 7.3s are full of crap...

I had a 2000 extra cab F250 7.3, 2wd 6sp manual that would consistently get 20-22mpg on level ground running 70mph.  I once saw 18mpg towing a 6x12 enclosed trailer w/ two race bikes through CA where I had to run 60-63mph.  These are hand calculated numbers, no lie-o-meter...  

It was running a "40hp" tune, with an aftermarket exaust, but otherwise stock.  

There's no way an automatic 4x4 would return those numbers, but it is possible.

yupididit
yupididit SuperDork
5/3/18 7:06 p.m.
93gsxturbo said:

I gotta say the guys who say they get 22+ MPG out of their 7.3s are full of crap, but I have never seen less than 15MPG  combined 50/50 city and highway with a lifted 4x4 F250 with big tires.  They are definitely the easy button and should return upper teens if left on stock tires and at stock ride height. 

 Recent trip to California I got close to 19mpg pulling a 20ft empty trailer through west Texas. The trailer was almost 2k lbs. My excursion is stock 7.3 2wd with stock 16" wheels. 65mph cruise control. I've gotten as high as 21mpg empty on the highway, hand calculated. I daily the trunk and get mid teens in 100% stop and go streets. 

Also, it has 220k miles and an exhaust leak or 4 lol. 

yupididit
yupididit SuperDork
5/3/18 7:09 p.m.
Jaynen said:
yupididit said:

2wd 7.3 excursion. 

Fuelly shows those at like 13-14 mpg and diesel is 7% more expensive overall than gas. I really want headache free reliability for a good 5yrs,  don't mind maintenance but no big gotcha's

The 7.3 is known to be reliable. As reliable as any gas engine of not more. 

 

Jaynen
Jaynen UltraDork
5/3/18 7:09 p.m.

I live in Raleigh NC, commuting is somewhat flat, while terrain around the town is mildly hilly and if you head toward the smokeys well they are mountains.

I hit traffic every day on my commute even though its only like 30 or so minutes so I don't want to mess with a manual transmission, also because of the fact during a 30 minute commute probably 10 minutes are spent in traffic I won't see full efficiency from diesel.

(My benz currently will do 38mpg+ at 70+ mph on open highway but I average 30 mpg on this commute while 27 or so would be pure around town mpg)

My wife actually wants an SUV like a pilot as her next car but doesn't want to give up our 2010 Odyssey yet as it is too practical. The 4runner is actually probably more a size she would like vs something like excursions/suburbans are a bit big for her.

Jaynen
Jaynen UltraDork
5/3/18 7:13 p.m.
yupididit said:
Jaynen said:
yupididit said:

2wd 7.3 excursion. 

Fuelly shows those at like 13-14 mpg and diesel is 7% more expensive overall than gas. I really want headache free reliability for a good 5yrs,  don't mind maintenance but no big gotcha's

The 7.3 is known to be reliable. As reliable as any gas engine of not more. 

 

I am pretty familiar with the 7.3 and know its legendary reputation. Theres a 2wd excursion with the 7.3 locally here for about 8500

Grizz
Grizz UberDork
5/3/18 7:24 p.m.

I managed to get 18mpg on the freeway in a 3/4 ton Ram with a 360 once. I say once because it required not driving like I normally do and that's no fun.

If you don't need 4wd that's going to help the mileage quite a bit.

Wasn't the 7.3 good and the transmission trash? Not unreliable trash but garbage for towing or something. I dunno it's been a while since I did anything with a Ferd and I'm trying to remember. It was like 7.3 was good motor and eh trans and 6.0 was eh motor and good trans.

KyAllroad (Jeremy)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) PowerDork
5/3/18 7:43 p.m.

If you were a little careful with your model selection and paid attention to the details (upgrade brakes/tires/cooling system).  You should be good with a 2005-2006 Suburban 1500.

Or buy cheaper and use the extra cash to throw gas down the gullet of the 2500.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
5/3/18 7:55 p.m.
Jaynen said:
irish44j said:

late 00s v8 4Runner? That's at the upper end of the towing capacity (what are you towing??), but it checks the reliability and "daily comfort" boxes and should be in the price range, and should be able to get around 20mpg highway. The 2WD version has the higher towing capacity, IIRC, and gets a couple MPGs better....

 

Interesting according to the 2005 Trailer Life Towing Guide the V8 4runner is actually rated 7000-7300 beating the seqoia and land cruiser at the time (probably because of its lower weight but similar driveline/chassis/engine etc)

 

Yeah, definitely due to the same drivetrain and lower weight. And if you get a Sport Edition, it has larger brakes than the SR5/Limited models (actually larger than the Sequoia's brakes)....

 

The one issue with the 4Runner with big enclosed trailers is the shorter wheelbase and lighter weight make it not handle crosswinds and stuff nearly as well. Even with my open trailer and e30 on it, the Sequoia is like it's not even there. With the 4Runner you knew it was there, with the exact same load....

drainoil
drainoil HalfDork
5/3/18 7:56 p.m.
Rodan said:
93gsxturbo said:

I gotta say the guys who say they get 22+ MPG out of their 7.3s are full of crap...

There's no way an automatic 4x4 would return those numbers, but it is possible.

My fathers 2002 7.3 2wd auto can do 20 mpg pulling a 19 ft Ranger bass boat at 65 mph for long stretches on flat interstate. 

 

Jaynen
Jaynen UltraDork
5/3/18 9:28 p.m.
irish44j said:
Jaynen said:
irish44j said:

late 00s v8 4Runner? That's at the upper end of the towing capacity (what are you towing??), but it checks the reliability and "daily comfort" boxes and should be in the price range, and should be able to get around 20mpg highway. The 2WD version has the higher towing capacity, IIRC, and gets a couple MPGs better....

 

Interesting according to the 2005 Trailer Life Towing Guide the V8 4runner is actually rated 7000-7300 beating the seqoia and land cruiser at the time (probably because of its lower weight but similar driveline/chassis/engine etc)

 

Yeah, definitely due to the same drivetrain and lower weight. And if you get a Sport Edition, it has larger brakes than the SR5/Limited models (actually larger than the Sequoia's brakes)....

 

The one issue with the 4Runner with big enclosed trailers is the shorter wheelbase and lighter weight make it not handle crosswinds and stuff nearly as well. Even with my open trailer and e30 on it, the Sequoia is like it's not even there. With the 4Runner you knew it was there, with the exact same load....

I think you were telling me about the early sequoia in another thread? But they are 6500 right?

Jcamper
Jcamper Reader
5/3/18 9:44 p.m.
Jaynen said:

What are my options for something reliable foremost that can tow up to 7k-7500 and needs to be relied upon to do 15,000 miles a year in the 10k budget range? Needs to carry 4, 2 adults 2 kids, 1 in a booster, 1 in a harness booster

The difference between even full size pickup normal mpg of 14-16 and a 2500 burban's 10-11 ends up almost an additional 120 bucks a month at current gas prices.

Of note the difference between a 15mpg truck and a 45mpg prius would be 128 dollars a month so not enough of a difference in my opinion that buying a 5k burban and a 5k prius makes sense once parking/registration/insurance/maintenance is taken into account.

This would end up likely being a daily for me, I have daily'd a focus ST, Jetta TDI, F-150 Super Crew, WR250R, Gen 3 Montero, and a E-350 Diesel Benz so kind of all over the place.

My bet is that the cost per mile- which is what you actually care about, not mpg- is very different between tow vehicles and economy cars. Having said that, I would say 12 valve cummins quad cab (I have done 18mpg towing a mustang on a trailer and generally get 19 on highway with my 4wd auto) but I doubt there are many decent ones out there for 10k?

Jcamper

yupididit
yupididit SuperDork
5/3/18 9:58 p.m.
Grizz said:

I managed to get 18mpg on the freeway in a 3/4 ton Ram with a 360 once. I say once because it required not driving like I normally do and that's no fun.

If you don't need 4wd that's going to help the mileage quite a bit.

Wasn't the 7.3 good and the transmission trash? Not unreliable trash but garbage for towing or something. I dunno it's been a while since I did anything with a Ferd and I'm trying to remember. It was like 7.3 was good motor and eh trans and 6.0 was eh motor and good trans.

Apparently, the trans suck if you have a tune and like to drive it like a race car. Mine hasn't experienced any slipping at all since I've had it. 

The 6.0 was a better motor (more powerful, quieter, more efficient, less stinky, a little more needy) with a great transmission. I still miss my 6.0 F250. That's my opinion though. 

buzzboy
buzzboy Reader
5/3/18 10:18 p.m.

My teammate's mom has an 03 Yukon XL Denali. It has towed both of our racecars many thousands of miles. It gets 17mpg unladen. Current mileage is ~440k and climbing quickly. It's just a great car all around. Comfy on the highway, quiet, fits a lot of junk, tows great. I'm a big fan.

codrus
codrus UltraDork
5/3/18 11:38 p.m.

Personally I would buy a Suburban and a commuter vehicle and use each for the right job.

Turbine
Turbine New Reader
5/4/18 12:02 a.m.

I had this same question last month and came away with a 4th gen 4Runner. Mine’s a v8 SR5/Sport, so it has the larger front brakes and XREAS. SWMBO likes it and it’s way nicer to drive daily than my LB7 was. I haven’t tried towing the m3 with it yet, but I don’t think it should have any issues  

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