RansomEli

Need advice on buying a used truck for towing

16 posts in this topic

I want to buy a used pickup for towing. I have a 16' enclosed trailer and will be towing my 1929 Franklin 135 sedan. Big, but not real heavy. 

 

I'm looking for a circa 2007 used truck and need advice on which make is the best. I've had Chevrolets in the past but the transmissions gave out every 80-100K miles. Don't know if I want to go that route again.  Never been a Ford guy but am willing to look at an F-150. Don't want a Mopar.

 

Does anyone have experience with Toyota Tundras? 

 

Anyways, who can offer advice on 2007-2010 Chevy, Ford or Toyota?  What's good and what's bad? Can't afford a diesel, so am looking only at gas V8s.

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RansomEli,

 

I've had just the opposite experience. Both of our Chevy tow vehicles ('02 Suburban & '06 Avalanche) have 150-160K miles - almost exclusively towing, and absolutely no transmission problems.

 

A friend offered me a 2006 Chevy K25OO Crew Cab Duramax Diesel just like his new one, but then decided he liked it so much he decided to keep it for his weekend place. Hopefully he'll relent and sell it to me.

 

I cannot give and direct experience with MoPar, but have heard som "less than positive" comments per Toyota and Nissan .

 

I DO SUGGEST strongly considering a 2500 Series (3/4 Ton) no matter what brand - heavier chassis, better braking, stronger components all around.

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Posted (edited)

First, what ever anyone else or myself tell you, someone will break the rule with success.

 

I pull a 3,000 pound 1931 sedan (driver) on a 2,000 pound open trailer with a 2006 1500 Chevrolet Extended Cab and a 5.3 engine.

The 5.3 engine will pull the truck, trailer and car up interstate hills in 3rd gear when needed, normally I run in 4th gear.

I use an equalizer hitch to reduce trailer bounce and better stability.  I also use a cap on the bed reducing some headwind.

I always tow with the "Trailer" button on the end of the shifter pushed in,  Changes the shift points but I don't have high mileage.

My preference would be to upgrade to a 3/4 ton if I used an enclosed trailer.

Car in photo is a friends, not mine.

 

TruckFord.JPG.8d53b172544bac1735d01abf9f01d468.JPG

 

If you run 65 MPH, you can expect around 13 to 14 MPG.  I have 52,000 miles on my 2006 and only tow 2,000 to 2,500 miles a year.

I normally pull the trailer empty about 500 miles yearly as I store the trailer about 40 miles away.

Many people will drive 10,000 to 15,000 miles a year while towing about 3,000 miles. 

 

I have been investigating upgrading to a newer truck. 

I am leaning toward a Ram with a 5.7 gas V8.  With coil springs on the back, the empty ride is the best.

However, Chevy, Ford, Ram, Nisson, or Toyota should all work.

The Nisson is classified as a 5/8 ton and has a harsher ride and the steering seems slow

The dealer offered me a 61,500 loaded 2016 Cummings 5.0 V8 diesel truck for 45,000 3 days ago.

Way too heavy duty for my needs.

 

 

 

Edited by huptoy
spelling (see edit history)

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Do not buy a 1500 Series truck. Good advice here on 2500 Series chassis, I would want a 3500. You NEVER have a heavy enough truck. Neat car, if you have a Franklin, consider the possibility of you having a bigger or heavier car in the future. With the 3500 series, you can tow any car. Good luck, Ed

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Posted (edited)

For all sorts of reasons I'd love a 2010 Sierra Denali.  A highly capable and high performance truck.  They are rated as 1/2 tons but have the fantastic 6.2L engine and a much better transmission than the regular 1/2 ton GMs, though I'm  not sure why you've had trouble with GM transmissions.

 

All of the mentioned vehicles are, for all intents and purposes,  equally reliable.

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)

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I pull my truck and trailer with a '07 Chevy with a 5.3 engine.  It now has 275,000 miles and the original transmission.  Just change the fluid about every 100,000 miles.

 

The new transmissions are all computer controlled and that has almost eliminated the transmission failures, as long as you are not stupid and try to beat it in the ground.

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Thanks to all for the advice - it's very appreciated. Looks like the newer Chevy transmissions are more sturdy. I'll won't write them off.  

 

Anyone have experience with the Toyota Tundra?

 

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12 hours ago, edinmass said:

Do not buy a 1500 Series truck. Good advice here on 2500 Series chassis, I would want a 3500. You NEVER have a heavy enough truck. Neat car, if you have a Franklin, consider the possibility of you having a bigger or heavier car in the future. With the 3500 series, you can tow any car. Good luck, Ed

 

Good advise above from him.  Especially since you said enclosed trailer might be in the works.  I have towed enclosed with 1/2 ton but never again. 3500 series and I prefer diesel for it's towing abilities!

Robert

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I have read a lot about the requirement of needing a big diesel truck to tow anything and I would disagree that is a requirement. 

 

Let's look back in history for a little.  In the fifty's & sixty's how many CARS like Chevrolets, Fords, Chryslers, Buicks, etc.. were towing cars on trailers, 20-30 ft. travel trailers, and other equipment.  If you would like to see some of the set ups, look at some of the pictures of Hershey in those years.  The common item to be safe is common sense.

 

Granted that bigger is better for a truck to tow but having the largest is not required.  The towing capabilities of todays trucks, especially in the 1 ton class has towing capabilities approaching the semi trucks & rigs of the 50's & 60's.  They are extremely capable vehicles.

 

Match the vehicle to your expected towing needs and drive with common sense.  That is the best formula for towing success.

 

And remember that the most important items for a safe tow are the driver, set up, BRAKES & STEERING.  Especially brakes.

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22 minutes ago, Larry Schramm said:

I have read a lot about the requirement of needing a big diesel truck to tow anything and I would disagree that is a requirement. 

 

Let's look back in history for a little.  In the fifty's & sixty's how many CARS like Chevrolets, Fords, Chryslers, Buicks, etc.. were towing cars on trailers, 20-30 ft. travel trailers, and other equipment.  If you would like to see some of the set ups, look at some of the pictures of Hershey in those years.  The common item to be safe is common sense.

 

Granted that bigger is better for a truck to tow but having the largest is not required.  The towing capabilities of todays trucks, especially in the 1 ton class has towing capabilities approaching the semi trucks & rigs of the 50's & 60's.  They are extremely capable vehicles.

 

Match the vehicle to your expected towing needs and drive with common sense.  That is the best formula for towing success.

 

And remember that the most important items for a safe tow are the driver, set up, BRAKES & STEERING.  Especially brakes.

 

Thank you Larry ,

 

This is a great response, and where good judgement and common sense coincide with practicality. For many years I towed a 20ft enclosed car hauling trailer and my father-in-law's 22ft Off-shore In-board/Out-drive Sport Fishing Boat with my 1969 Pontiac Tempest Custom"S" 4-door sedan using a Pontiac 350ci and Turbo 400 Hydramatic. Of course the proper hitch was always a factor. 

 

I even pulled those rigs with my 2175cc (134ci) engined 1967 Citroen DS-21, and with the help of an equalizer hitch, proved that I could do it without the car's rear wheels.  FWD and Hydropneumatic suspension made the difference.

 

These days I'm just as happy th have the heavier chassis, brakes, and steering of our 2500 Series, 8.1L engined Avalanche and Suburban, or the 7.3 Turbodiesel Ford Excursion.

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As far as the Tundra, for me it's all personal preference (though I rarely ever see one being used as a truck).  I have a disdain for the looks of them, and the seats are uncomfortable.  As least my friend's 2011 is that way.

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"BUY AMERICAN" still carries value for me.

 

Yes, I know that many foreign-owned automakers assemble vehicles here and employ Americans, but profits are not retained.

 

I do not fault anyone's choice, but firmly believe that USA vehicles - especially trucks and tow vehicles are at least equal, and in many ways superior to imports.

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Posted (edited)

On 2/18/2017 at 9:33 PM, Larry Schramm said:

Match the vehicle to your expected towing needs and drive with common sense.  That is the best formula for towing success.

 

And remember that the most important items for a safe tow are the driver, set up, BRAKES & STEERING.  Especially brakes.

 

^^^ Wise words that I agree with 110%.

 

When it comes to "Heavy Duty" trucks they are NOT all created equal. When I was shopping for a truck I looked at and drove a 2011 GMC 2500.  I thought heck, a GMC 2500 is more than enough. Turns out that the combination of this truck's features (6.2L, V8 engine,tranny, rear end,etc) actually gave this truck a towing capacity LESS THAN the 2012 Toyota Tundra (with it's 5.7L V8) I was also looking at. It should be stated that towing capacity is not the end-all-be-all number when it comes to towing but it was very interesting that the GMC was less.

 

I ended up buying the 2012 Tundra with the 5.7L V8 and 6 speed transmission. In the last 6 years my Tundra has been back to the dealer once per year for state & emissions inspection and normal maintenance. Other than that, no problems whatsoever. I tow my 8.5'x20' enclosed car trailer with my Tundra. Depending on what vehicle I am towing, the trailer weighs between 5,500 to 6,000 pounds and have weighed my rig on a tongue scale as well as a few CAT Truck scales. In my case my trailer and it contents are well within Toyota's published Towing capacity and more importantly it's maximum payload capacity. I have used my Tundra to tow my trailer to over a dozen AACA meets in a number of states. Some of those trips involved climbing grades ranging from 7-10+ degrees. In all cases, the Tundra did not even break a sweat. RansomEli, if your fully loaded trailer does not exceed Toyota's published towing capacity and it's payload capacity you are good to go with buying a Tundra.  Especially if you do not plan on towing a larger, heavier trailer. FYI, when shopping for a pre-owned truck be advised that Toyota adopted and adhered to the J2807 Towing Standard (in 2011) a few YEARS before GM (2015), Ford (2015) and Dodge (2015) did so. If you are looking at a 2007 Tundra it would be best to look at the towing specs for a 2011 model that includes the J2807 specs since the truck was basically unchanged between 2007 and 2011. When it comes to brakes, the Tundra has had the best in class (1/2 ton trucks) brakes for a number of years and even exceeded some 3/4 ton trucks with it's brakes (Front Brake Rotor Diam (in): 13.9 Rear Brake Rotor Diam (in): 13.6) .

 

When it comes to towing I recommend the 5.7L V8 engine which comes with a 6 speed transmission. There are other engine available in the Tundra but the 5.7L is the engine for towing. The recommended fuel for this engine is 87 Octane and the recommended oil is 0W20 Full Synthetic. I have the 4x4 drivetrain (there is also a 4x2 available). Be warned that Toyota did not sell both of these drive trains in all parts of the USA so finding the one you want may not be easy. Be advised that up until recently, the fuel tank capacity was kinda small (for towing) at 26.4 gallons. Toyota finally listened to Tundra owners (who tow) and made an optional 38 gallon tank available in the last couple years. Be sure that the Tundra you get has the Tow Package (Hitch Receiver, Trailer Brake Controller Prewire, 4.300 Rear Axle Ratio, Tow/Haul Mode Switch, Tranny Fluid Temp Gauge, Supplemental Trans Cooler, Engine Oil Cooler, 7 Pin Connector, Heavy Duty Alternator & Battery). I also HIGHLY recommend the optional rear backup camera. It makes hitching to your trailer EASY as well as backing into a parking space. Most Tundras did not come with Towing mirrors. The standard mirrors  are not good for towing especially if your trailer is 8.5' wide. I bought the OEM Toyota (Manually) Telescoping Towing mirrors. They were not difficult to install. I use a dual cam, weight distributing hitch when I tow my trailer. With this setup I never have a problem with trailer sway even with very heavy cross winds crossing bridges through mountain valleys. BTW, when towing over 5K Toyota specifies a weight distributing hitch be used. Be sure the Tundra you are considering 

 

Unlike the other trucks you are considering, the Toyota Tundra retains it value MUCH better than the others. If you are selling/trading a Tundra that is good news.  Unfortunately that means a pre-owned Tundra will cost you more than the other trucks when shopping for one. Toyota only sells about 100,000 or so Tundras a year which is another reason why a pre-owned Tundra may cost more. When searching for a Tundra you might look at companies like CarMax, etc. Complete maintenance records are another good thing to look at. Since you are located in Texas you might be in luck given the Tundra is made there (San Antonio) and I hear there are a LOT of Tundras on the road in that area.

 

I have seen numerous owners post about their 2007 Tundras having 100s of 1000s of miles with just maintenance. Obviously, one needs to thoroughly examine any pre-owned vehicle one is considering buying. Like other trucks, that includes a good inspection of the chassis/frame of a Tundra.

 

Then there is The Million MIle 2007 Toyota Tundra. I have since read that Toyota took this Tundra apart to study the long-term impact of this many miles on it. Their findings have been very revealing as to why the Tundra is such a reliable truck.

 

Best of luck with your search for a truck.  If you have more questions about a Tundra feel free to send me a personal message here on the AACA Forum.

 

 

Charlie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tundra TN Trip #2.jpg

Edited by charlier (see edit history)

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My tow rig.

That Duramax doesn't know there is an 4K trailer with a  '40 Buick LTD tucked inside back there.

100_2063.jpg

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I plan to purchase a used truck to replace my 2001 S10 - I just retired and it is time to play - and it will be my daily driver in addition to my tow vehicle. I plan to pull an enclosed trailer with a total weight of about 7,500 pounds.  My concern is gas mileage when not towing. Any input of what to expect with a gas 3/4 ton GM or Ford?

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It depends o what year vehicle you are looking to replace it with.  I have a stick '06 F250 with the 6.0 litre diesel.  (6.0 engine's have problems but if you get one that has been properly fixed they are a good engine)  I have the 6 speed manual and get about 17 + miles per gallon with a tuner on it and an EGR delete.   Mine is also an extended cab 8 foot bed 4 wheel drive.   My Dad's '07 similar truck is a dually gets a little under 15 MPG with the Automatic. They have great power for towing,  especially when they have been worked on.   I notice weight behind me more when braking than accelerating. 

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