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Old 07-03-2011, 01:04 PM   #61
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As for speed, I discovered that 55 mph or whatever the speed limit was, increased my mpg from 10 to 13 mpg. So for a 500 mile trip, I will save close to $50 (assuming no speeding tickets). Hmmm...How much am I willing to spend so that other people can get there sooner.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:07 PM   #62
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Meanwhile we have quickly realized that the minivan is an inadequate tow vehicle in the mountains. Truck, here we come.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:19 PM   #63
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Meanwhile we have quickly realized that the minivan is an inadequate tow vehicle in the mountains. Truck, here we come.
Some things you have to experience first hand to really understand.

Give some consideration to buying a little more truck than one that just meets your current needs. Odds are you'll be wanting to upgrade the size of your RV in a few years and you don't want to find yourself back in the same situation.
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Old 07-04-2011, 09:01 AM   #64
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+1. Delete words "a little".
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:24 AM   #65
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First things we will look at are a Chevy avalanche and an F150, both of which have tow ratings north of 8000 pounds. The current trailer is 3300 GVWR and most of the bigger ones we would look at are 5000 or a bit over. So is there an obvious problem or shortcoming wit pur initial choices?
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:44 AM   #66
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For mountain running, stopping ability is paramount.

Especially with the rare but not impossible trailer brake failure from whatever reason, like controller or wiring thereof, malfunction.

Thus look for 3/4 ton vehicle. They have substantially stronger frames, larger and more robust braking systems than 1/2 tons. Oh and avoid anything with "P" rated tires.

Cheers.
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:52 AM   #67
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I know a little about trucks/suvs and towing. Son has Fords and tows often (with kids you will want a crew cab). You need to go at least one step above the 150 Ford engine. You also want the 'towing package' which gets you a heartier cooling system and beefier breaks. Pay attention not only to the pull capacity but the hitch. You want what my husband calls a 5-pin connector for trailer breaks. I know this sounds like overkill but you now will be driving mountain passes and operating a vehicle at high elevation. [I have heard that drivers who spend extended periods of time in Denver and the Bay Area often need their vehicle systems adjusted for each environment.]

That RV consumer's program I mentioned earlier includes a PDF file on towing including the selection of a vehicle to tow a trailer. Before you upgrade your set-up I highly recommend reading their analysis.
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:59 AM   #68
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First things we will look at are a Chevy avalanche and an F150, both of which have tow ratings north of 8000 pounds. The current trailer is 3300 GVWR and most of the bigger ones we would look at are 5000 or a bit over. So is there an obvious problem or shortcoming wit pur initial choices?
Having recently been down this same road, the shortcoming is in the mfg ads emphasizing how much a vehicle can tow (pull), not how much payload it can carry. Payload is THE limiting factor - the total weight limit of the passengers, cargo and hitch weight on the tow vehicle.

My advice (I have fresh bruises on this subject) is to pay very, very close attention to the payload sticker on any vehicle you think about purchasing. Don't trust the slick brochures, read the actual sticker on the vehicle. It is located inside the driver's doorway and is usually a sentence in small type written just above the recommended tire inflation pressures. You will likely be surprised at how low this number is - I know I was. A 5,000 GVWR trailer can have a hitch weight of 750, and your truck may have a payload capacity of only 1,000 or so. By the time you add the wife, kids, dogs, suitcases and other assorted stuff you can easily exceed the payload limit of the truck and end up with the rear end dragging and the front end in the air - not good and not safe.
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Old 07-04-2011, 01:05 PM   #69
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Brewer, one more thing...

The reason I emphasize looking at the payload number on the actual vehicle is the manufacturer's brochures say things like "maximum payload of 1,580 lbs". This is the payload capacity of a bare-bones, stripped-down vehicle, not what sits on the showroom floor. Every piece of optional equipment reduces the payload capacity. Add automatic transmission, upgraded wheels and tires, trailer towing package, floor mats, etc. and the available payload goes down significantly.
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Old 07-04-2011, 01:14 PM   #70
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Actually, I just came down a 5 mile 6 percent grade and only tapped the brakes twice. The trailer generates so much drag it is an air brake.
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Old 07-04-2011, 01:31 PM   #71
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Actually, I just came down a 5 mile 6 percent grade and only tapped the brakes twice. The trailer generates so much drag it is an air brake.
Like someone said above, the main thing is that you do not want your trailer to push your truck off a mountainside, or drag it across lanes under a side-draft. Get a one ton without the dualies and you will be happy ever after, unless you go to a fifth wheel, in which case you want dualies. You need wheelbase, adequate power train, and big brakes and axle/differential. I am not familiar with the SUV you mentioned, but if you do SUV be sure to get a long one on a truck WB.

You may spend a bit more on vehicle and gas, but you and your family will be more relaxed and safer. Your destinations are likely to be nearby anyway.

I have never heard anyone complain that they had too much truck.

Ha
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Old 07-04-2011, 01:54 PM   #72
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While I wouldn't think you'd need a 1-ton truck (Chevy 3500/Ford F-350), I do agree with ha that you'd be better served with a larger truck, maybe a 2500 or F-250 - and in your new location it needs to have 4WD.
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:04 PM   #73
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Thanks for the info. Clearly I have research to do before a purchase.
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:44 PM   #74
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While I wouldn't think you'd need a 1-ton truck (Chevy 3500/Ford F-350), I do agree with ha that you'd be better served with a larger truck, maybe a 2500 or F-250 - and in your new location it needs to have 4WD.
You are much more experienced than I am; so if you suggest this it is likely fine.

Ha
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:15 AM   #75
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I foresee more exciting travel trailer and tow vehicle learning events by brewer.
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Old 07-05-2011, 02:43 PM   #76
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Just a data point, but my Silverado half-ton is rated max towing at 4800lbs. Will allegedly tow more with towing package - i.e. tranny cooler, etc. I'd derate by 10% min.
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Old 07-05-2011, 03:21 PM   #77
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Just a data point, but my Silverado half-ton is rated max towing at 4800lbs. Will allegedly tow more with towing package - i.e. tranny cooler, etc. I'd derate by 10% min.
Read my posts above regarding payload. The "tow rating" is marketing fluff and isn't a realistic indicator of what weight trailer you can attach to your truck, suv or car - unless you pull it with a tow chain that applies no weight to the tow vehicle....
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Old 07-05-2011, 04:04 PM   #78
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I foresee more exciting travel trailer and tow vehicle learning events by brewer.
Not so much. I am listening and reading up. It also looks like a 2500 Silverado has a pretty modest price premium over a 1500. So I will have to go kick some tires and test drive when i have the time. In the next few years, I suspect most any full size truck will do given the 3000 point trailer weight with a hitch weight of under 300 pounds. Since I want to buy for the long term, I am listening closely and reading up. I am averse to physical risks, so a bigger truck is what I will look at.
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Old 07-05-2011, 04:27 PM   #79
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My trailer weighs around 5000lbs, at least the last time I scaled it, probably more now. My Avalanche pulled it OK in the flat lands, but it was a strain in the hills. I got a 3/4 ton dodge diesel, more than I need now, but everything is beefier. I'm getting ready for my first trip pulling the old camper, so I'll see how it goes.

The Avalanche does ride a lot better though. The 3/4 ton dodge is definatly a truck. The F150 with the eco boost may be another truck to look at.
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Old 07-05-2011, 04:35 PM   #80
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Getting ready to roll. I'm heading for the Indiana dunes. Of coarse since I don't have to work we are going Thursday, after the holiday's.
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