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sldan

Update on hauler Purchase

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I wanted to give some feed back on the purchase of our hauler and tow vehicle since all of the information we received from this forum was a great help in making a good selection.

We just returned from the Louisville show and experienced a great show and a safe tow to and from the show.

We purchased a 22 foot enclosed hauler with two 5K torsion axles, electric brakes, radial tires, 4 foot tongue, 6" of extra height, electric winch and tongue jack, D rings, lights, and side vents.

The tow vehicle is a 09 Ford F250 Super Duty 5.4 V8, crew cab, short bed, 2WD XLT.

The above combination with WD hitch and sway control work great towing the 3700 pound car from Columbus, Ohio to Louisville, KY.

The show was great with 679 cars entered. I believe that nearly a third of the cars were driven to the show. This was our first ever AACA event and the 1925 Stutz 693 Roadster won a First Junior Award.

Thanks for every one's comments and sharing of experiences.

Great club and great members.

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Dan, it was good to see your Stutz there. Great car! We had a great time at the show also.

I did the West Virginia mountains OK with our 2002 Chev Trailblazer I6 engine. We have an open trailer with our 23. So we are about the towing limit of the truck. So will probably going with what you have.

Question, what did you get for mileage?

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Speaking of towing to Louisville, we trailered our '56 Chevy wagon on an open trailer with the '05 GMC pickup I'm sure you have seen. We have a box trailer too, but I wanted to save a little gas on the 600 mile trip. On the trip out there and back our rig averaged around 12 mpg, sometimes even 12.2. This trip was through the mountains on I64 into West Virginia, then on to Kentucky on I64 all the way. My past experience with the box trailer has been around 10 mpg, a big difference.

My driving technique is to use 3rd gear on the automatic and not let the tranny downshift to second on its own, which means I have to kick the cruise control out on every hill. Aggravating, but using the torque of the V-8 engine saves fuel. If the hill is steep and the road speed drops below 55 or less, I'll let the tranny shift into 2nd gear.

On the way out, I was a little concerned about Sandstone mountain when coming back east. They actually make truckers stop at the top of the mountain, then proceed. I slowed my rig down and put it into second gear. I came all the way down in second, having to hit the brakes occasionally to get the speed down. The V-8 works best if you let a little more rpm (around 3000-4000) help hold the load back with its compression. The brakes never got hot, a good thing since it was over 90 degrees that day.

Hope that answers some questions. I'll check back in tomorrow.

Wayne

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Wayne, thanks. Your experience mirrored mine as we took the same route. I was surprised that traffic was so heavy going up 81 and in parts of West VA. My little 6 cylinder did a bit better (14.1) on mileage, but not by much. I use the same shifting technique too. Thanks again. Sorry we missed each other at the show. Next time for sure.

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I hauled a 3600 pound car in my 24-foot box trailer from Florida to Louisville. My vehicle is a 2007 Chevrolet 3/4-ton 2500 Suburban with a 6.0 engine. We had two radial tire blowouts on Sunday on the trip home and bought two new radial 10-ply tires in Valdosta, GA. I have actually found that 10-ply is no better than 6 or 8 ply. None are any good.

Equally no good is the Chevrolet 6.0 engine, which now has 23,000 miles on it from new. I ran with two other guys and they ran highway speed at around 70 mph. My Suburban was running 3,000 RPM all the way. Going up I got 7.5 mpg, and coming back I got 6.9 mpg. Second lousy trip this year with this tow vehicle, but this one was worse than ever. After leaving the caravan around 100 miles from home, I slowed down to 65 mph and got up to 8.2 mpg. I've never gotten 10mpg with the trailer, even gong up I-95 to eastern Virginia.

Yesterday we looked at a new Ford F-150 with a 5.4 engine with a 3.55 rear, but I could not get the heavy duty tow equipment (Max Towing) unless I bought the Navigation System and Moonroof (in a package). So, I wouldn't buy it.

I hate this Suburban, but I don't know what to do. I'm not too much on Dodge, even though I like the 5.7 Hemi. I think it might be a gas hog too. Both of the other guys were pulling 1950 Oldsmobiles on an open trailer with Chevrolet's. One had a 6.0 3/4-ton pickup with a 4.10 rear and he was getting 12 mpg. The other had a 5.3 1/2-ton pickup and he was getting 14 mpg. Both pulled the hills as well as I did and they were running 2200 rpm at 70 mph. My Suburban has a 3.73 rear.

What is the best power to pull setup for engine and rear end? My trailer is between 3,000 and 3,500 pounds (Haulmark). I'd like to drop down to a 1/2 ton so I could use the truck as a second car. I can't afford to use this Suburban as a second car. On Ethanol it gets about 12 mpg around town. Ford advertises 20/14 with their 5.4, but then says only 14/10 using E85. Here in Florida we can't buy gasoline, only 10% Ethanol (well there is one gas station in the county that sells gasoline). Is 10% Ethanol considered to be E85?

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Earl,

I don't know much about what is the best tow vehicle for you. My recently purchased Motorhome is on a 2004 Ford E450 Chassis. It has a V10 engine. It tows my Model A in a 20 foot box trailer like it is not even back there.... as long as I am on level ground. It does OK on the hills but it certainly obvious that the trailer is there when going up steep inclines.

Check out this link. It explains E85 in detail....

HowStuffWorks "E85 Ethanol Flex Fuel Overview"

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Matt, give us a fuel mileage report on your next towing trip, please? I, for one, do not understand how Earl's truck has a 3:73 gear, yet turns so much rpm in 3rd gear. I'm very confused about your truck, Earl???:confused:

One additional note on my pickup. Back in February, my oldest son drove it to Florida to get some furniture. The engine coded (check engine light) on the way down. Then he got a bad load of gas, smutted the back side of my truck up. After my getting the pickup back I noticed at times that the check engine light would still come on and go off on its own, plus at times the idle was very erratic. My local mechanic replaced a fuel sensor and run a cleaning product through the intake. I must say that I think this shop visit helped my truck immensely.

Wayne

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It puzzles me why so many of you haul expensive automobiles long distances up and down mountain ranges with those low torque, barely adequte gas engine drivetrains in your tow vehicles. Additionally, you are all expecting to arrive just in time for an event without incident. Perhaps ocassionally pulling a boat to and from the lake not more than 40 or 50 miles might be OK and allow for dual purpose use (commute/trailering) but long, several hundred mile trips with those gas engine drive trains is no fun and in the long run, expensive. I would buy a used diesel over a new gas truck any day of the week because it simply is the correct tool for the job. I'd buy that diesel truck just for its stout transmission! It took me a while to figure this out and I had to beat myself up along with a few gas drivetrains plus some major dents in my wallet to finally get it. Here is the 25 year track record folks: gas truck disabling failures in 14 years - 4, Diesel truck failures in 11 years - 0 (Zero, Zed, nada). You do the math.

BTW, double some of those fuel mieage numbers above with a diesel hauling a trailered auto and look for above 20 without.

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Dyanflash,

Sorry to hear about you Suburban, but a couple of observations that I have from doing a lot of hauling both with an open and a closed box trailer with mostly a 1998 Astro van that now has 223,000 with two trips to Fla from Mich in the last 6 months. When ever I can, I try to use the open trailer for long hauling because it will get better fuel economy which many of the other posters have also experienced and noted. Driving the van only I get about 20mpg. With the open trailer nothing on it it drops to 16-18 depending on terrain & speed. With what is being hauled it will drop maybe 2-4 additional mpg. The enclosed trailer behind it, I might as well put a boat anchor (a big one) because it goes below 10 mpg. I am many times stretching the towing capability to the limit and I do not have any large cars that I tow.

Because the van is getting so many miles on it and it is only a 4.3 L V-6 I recently purchased a '07 Silverado crew cab with a 3.73 axle and a 5.3 V-8 and the heavy duty trailer package. I love this truck. I knew that when I purchased it it would not be a stump puller and fly up Pikes Peak towing a trailer, but with reasonable driving it would do everything I needed. I wanted this truck also for daily use. I just try to drive conservatively. It usually gets 10-15 mpg towing a trailer.

I agree with Dr. Strangelove that if you want tons of towing capability and towing performance a diesel is the only way to go, but with that you still get tradeoffs includig a large up front cost. I do not believe that there is a "perfect" verhicle that covers everything. If you are looking for the maximum towing, you might look at the new heavy duty diesel GM pickups that are coming out in Sept. I hear that they will have a towing capability of over 25,000 pounds and Ford has an equilivant truck.

Best of luck & here is a picture of my most recent boondoggle.

post-44099-143138248387_thumb.jpg

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I took my 2800 lb. car, 6800 lb. gooseneck trailer to the Louisville Meet. Towed it with my 2008 F450 pickup with 4.88 gears that you can't get now. This thing is a beast. 6.4 diesel, twin turbos, automatic trans. We went up I-77 with the cruise on 65 and it never kicked off. We did turn it off some as we feared the speed in some places. The truck is so good my wife towed all the way up and back! Fuel mileage averaged 9-9.5 for the trip.

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You are comparing an apple to an orange. An enclosed trailer with always require more fuel to move down the road. Isn't the vehicle inside it worth the extra protection? I have a 2000 GMC Sierra with the same 6.0. I pull a large enclosed trailer with some heavy vehicles in it. The truck does well. I don't however think 70 is a good cruising speed for a loaded trailer.

Yes, the diesels are great, but if you really put the pencil to the paper I'm not so sure they put you that far ahead.

Tell me you have something on the ball every weekend OK but for a guy that hauls his car to a show a few times a summer?

Sounds like the Suburban just won't make you happy. Trade it in now and try a blue oval or a Dodge. Maybe they can make you smile.

Toyota?

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QUOTE - Because the van is getting so many miles on it and it is only a 4.3 L V-6 I recently purchased a '07 Silverado crew cab with a 3.73 axle and a 5.3 V-8 and the heavy duty trailer package. I love this truck. I knew that when I purchased it it would not be a stump puller and fly up Pikes Peak towing a trailer, but with reasonable driving it would do everything I needed. I wanted this truck also for daily use. I just try to drive conservatively. It usually gets 10-15 mpg towing a trailer UNQUOTE

Coming back from Texas the computer went bad on the 2007 3/4 ton Suburban and I had to limp all the way back to Texas (with only one blowout on the trailer by the way). They put in a new computer (18,000 miles) at the Chevrolet dealership, and since then it's worse than it was before on fuel. I went down there today and asked them if they could have put in the wrong computer and the said, "oh no, impossible." It is a 6.0 with a 3.73 rear. Today I drove it around some and it got 12.9 mpg without the trailer. I am convinced there is something wrong with this junker.

To the man who said 70 mph is too fast with the trailer, I can only say that the old 99 GMC Suburban could easily do that and get 7.3-7.6 mpg. This thing got 6.9 mpg coming home from Louisville. The same man said he was sure I would be happier with a Dodge or a Ford. Well, guess what, to get a 1/2 ton pickup that is set up to pull is impossible here in Florida. The Dodge would need a 3.92 rear and nobody has one my wife would ride in, and the Ford King Ranch which I love is not available with the Max Towing Package without a Moon Roof and Navigation, neither of which I want or am willing to pay for. To say I dislike my Suburban is an understatement.

So, I guess I'll have to wait on the 2011 models. One thing, no more Chevrolet's for me. As for the Diesel, the man is right of course, but my wife refuses a Diesel and I don't like the idea of not being able to get fuel just anytime I want it on the highway. So, I'm between a rock and a hard place.

Oh, one more thing, my old convertible tops don't like an open trailer, and I don't like all of the dirt the tow vehicle throws up on a car in an open trailer if it rains. I've been there and done that too.

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Obtaining diesel fuel is not a problem. There was a transition period for about a year or so ago while the EPA Ultra Low Sulfer diesel law was being implemented that there was a little problem but not now. By law everyone who was going to sell highway use diesel had to conform by 2010.

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With deference to other points of view, my trailer is essentially identical to Msmazcol. I pull with both a 2002 Chevy Suburban 3/4 Ton 8.1 litre gas 2-wd, and with a 2000 Ford Excursion 7.3 turbo-diesel 4-wd.

There is minimal difference in fuel mileage, and performance is comparable: both are more than capable of dramatically exceeding speed limits as well as reasonable safety concerns.

My cars are worthy of being protected in an enclosed trailer, both from the weather, and from prying eyes (and hands) when we stop overnight. Yes, our 4,000 - 5,000 lb cars can be trailered open at 9.5-11 mpg depending upon speed, and the newer enclosed slope-wedge box gives us only 7.5-9.5 mpg. At this rate, a 2,500 mile trip would cost an extra $89.91 in fuel costs using my enclosed trailer, and give the added convenience of a "garage" in the event of dangerous storms or souvenier hunters.

My 1977 Suburban with a 350 engine gave 10 mpg pulling the '63 Impala on an open trailer.

My 1978 Suburban with a 454 engine gave 7 mpg pulling the '70 Caddy in a closed trailer.

My 1986 Suburban with a 454 engine gave 7 mpg pulling the big cars in a closed trailer.

My 2002 Suburban with 8.1 (502?) gives 8 mpg pulling the big cars in a closed trailer.

My 2000 Excursion 4-wd 7.3 turbodiesel gives 9 mpg pulling the big cars in a closed trailer.

The diesel gives 10-12% better mileage

Diesel fuel costs 10-20% more depending on which state

The Ford diesel holds 15 quarts of oil vs. 7 quarts in the Chevy

Oil filters for the Ford diesel cost 4 times the price of a Chevy

They both pull great.

Anybody want to buy my 2002 Ford Excursion 7.3 Turbodiesel 4-wheel drive ??

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Marty, then you would agree that there is something wrong with this 6.0 2007 Chevrolet Suburban giving 6.9-7.5 mpg pulling a closed trailer? I used $481 round trip from Sebring, FL to Louisville and return. There must be something out there better than that. By the way, Judy and I enjoyed having dinner with you and Dale last week in Louisville.

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Pull up to the show field with one of those blinged out gas half tons - nobody looks up or cares much. Pull up to the same field with a Dodge Ram (or Ford) turbo-diesel, the same people will look up and gave respect. And thats that....

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I think you may be exspecting to much out of the Surburban I would think the Suburban weighs more than the pick up trucks pulling open trailers, with very little wind drag.

I own a 1993 Surburban with a 7.4 engine and 3.73 rear and I used $487.00 in gas to go to Louisville Ky. from Manchester Maryland a total of 1300 miles towing round trip. Was your trip from Fl. more miles? I would tend to think so.

I was towing a 24ft. enclosed trailer, with car in trailer my total trailer weight is 8360Lbs.

Bill

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I think we all know that pulling a trailer capable of hauling an automobile is full of strife, probably the most frequent unkown is the tires on the trailer. Pull a trailer and you will have tire issues - its just a matter of when.

With that out of the way, why not eliminate or minimize the next largest failure category - tow vehicle drive trains and buy up into a capable turbo diesel truck with drive components engineered for towing. To me, its the same choice I make when I buy power tools. I'm not a builder by trade, but I can and do work on decks, out buildings, etc. I can go to Harbor Freight and get a cut-off saw for $40.00, or I can go to Sears/Lowe's/HD and get a homeowners model - but I don't. I buy the high end Milwaukee/Makita/Skil/DeWalt that builders use. When I made that decision years ago, I stopped having power tools quit on me while I was in the midst of a project. When I switched from gas to diesel tow vehicles, I likewise stopped having issues with the drivetrain. It's not about mincing and crunching $$$, its about completeing the mission, on-time, as set forth, without problems.

Now if we can only get Milwaukee/Makita/Skil/DeWalt to make trailer tires....

Edited by Dr. Strangelove (see edit history)

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Dyanflash,

Because the van is getting so many miles on it and it is only a 4.3 L V-6 I recently purchased a '07 Silverado crew cab with a 3.73 axle and a 5.3 V-8 and the heavy duty trailer package.

Larry: what is the approximate heaviest weight are you pulling with the 4.3 L V-6 engine?

I just bought a Chevy cargo express van with the 4.3 L V-6 engine for a daily driver. I am now thinking of putting a hitch on it however I am leery of the 4.3 being to small. There is a discrepancy in the vehicles spec's as far has maximum trailer weight. One section states 4,400 pounds and another states 6,100 pounds, so I am going to the dealer to hopefully clarify. We are on the road a lot towing a trailer and having the van will allow me to rest my main tow mule.

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As far as driveline reliability my 93 Suburban 3/4 ton has 118,000 miles on it and nothing in the drive line has been replaced (engine,transmission or rear end)

but I am a firm beliver in proper maintenance which includes transmission oil change every 13,000 miles as stated in owners manual under sever use.

This truck has logged 60,000 miles towing various trailers including a 39 ft. travel trailer. I think some people reliability issuses may come from lack of maintenance.

Bill

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Dynaflash8: I'm going to step up and recommend something. Hear me out. Based upon what you have indicated in previous posts I would suggest a 2008-2010 Ford F250 6.4 diesel. I know you said you did'nt want to spend the extra money to get the F150 like you wanted it. But with this truck you will get so much more for the extra you do spend. I guarantee the first time you pull with it you'll be hooked and see it was money well spent. Read my previous two posts also. I was frustrated as you are, I went through the same thing. Then I bit the bullet and bought a TRUCK; game over.

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I have had a few tow vehicles and found the 1 ton F350 Ford 4 door dual wheel truck to be the best I have every had. Comes with a V10 gas motor or a diesel version. You don't feel your trailer behind you. Very happy with mine. Is ten years old and going strong.

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I can't afford to use this Suburban as a second car. On Ethanol it gets about 12 mpg around town. Ford advertises 20/14 with their 5.4, but then says only 14/10 using E85. Here in Florida we can't buy gasoline, only 10% Ethanol (well there is one gas station in the county that sells gasoline). Is 10% Ethanol considered to be E85?

E-85 Ethanol is not for engines that pull trailers. People alot smarter than me can tell you about BTU difference between the two. Bottom line, your engine no longer makes the fuel mileage it did on straight gas AND your engine is not producing all the power it can on straight gas. Our friends in the energy business think we are all stupid when they index this products pump cost with oil barrel prices - it should be indexed at 85% the rate of the product that creates the non-fossil component in this blend. Some western states have legislated this, thus E-85 costs about a dollar less than straight gas. None of these shenanigan's, to my knowledge, exist when you buy diesel fuel. It puts out the BTU's/power your engine is supposed to. There is a one bonus to E-85, when you start your vehicle up in the garage it leaves the smell of a Martini...

To Corvette Bill, I agree mtce. is crucial to the success you have with any vehicle, particularly tow vehicles. In spite of following and many times exceeding the mfg's recommendations for severe use, I had drive train problems. I know of no vehicle maker that will pony up and put HD components on truck gas drivetrains, particularly the smaller engined variety. To do so would raise prices above competitors and upset the apple cart. If you have no problems with light duty vehicles with gas drivetrains, I would say you are more lucky than anything. Go look at the transmission on a gas half ton, the rear end too and the driveshaft. Check the oil, trans coolers (if they even have one) and observe the size of the radiator and cooling system in general. Then step over to a diesel powerd truck and look at the same components - see any difference?

My bottom line is prevent the preventable. Do I want to be by the side of the road, in harms way perhaps, or do I want to be unloading my trailer at my destination - on time.

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As far as driveline reliability my 93 Suburban 3/4 ton has 118,000 miles on it and nothing in the drive line has been replaced (engine,transmission or rear end)

but I am a firm beliver in proper maintenance which includes transmission oil change every 13,000 miles as stated in owners manual under sever use.

This truck has logged 60,000 miles towing various trailers including a 39 ft. travel trailer. I think some people reliability issuses may come from lack of maintenance.

Bill

Corvette Bill,

I totally agree about the maintenance. I do all of the regular maintenance to the book or more. Especially the engine oil which I change in the 3-4.000 mile range. My Astro van has been a great vehicle.:)

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Dynaflash8,

I am a little confused according to map quest Sebring Fl. to Louisville Ky. is 919 miles one way so that would be 1838 round trip , so using 2.759 per gallon for a average price paid you would have used 175 gallons in 1838 miles so 1838 devidied by 175 gallons would be 10.5 miles per gallons, I would be verry happy with that.

Bill

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