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Updated Durango for 2H Trailer? Other Trucks with "decent" gas mileage for towing?

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  • Updated Durango for 2H Trailer? Other Trucks with "decent" gas mileage for towing?

    After a breakdown saga a few weeks ago, and extensive diagnostic sessions at the mechanic with "intermittent short" as the culprit (which apparently is the worst, since you never know when it's going to blow again), I am giving up the ghost on my Suburban.

    I'm on the hunt for

    (don't laugh)

    A new tow vehicle suitable to occasionally tow a 2H trailer with "reasonable" gas mileage for every day life.

    Does such a beast exist? I only tow 1-3 times a month so I'd like to try to find something that isn't completely horrible on mileage for daily driving, BUT will be safe for towing when I do tow.

    So far I like the "new" Dodge Durango (model year 2011 and now 2012. With the big engine it tows 7400lbs and gets 14/20 mpg.

    The most I will tow is a 2H BP ~3000lb trailer, ~2500lbs of horse, ~250 lbs gear/water/etc, 300-600 lbs of people (estimating 150 lbs average on the weight of the people, assume 2-4 people). About 6200- 6500lbs of payload, plus the weight of the truck itself.

    However I tow up and down fairly significant mountains.

    Thoughts from the trailer experts on the Durango or other option for my intended use?

    Thanks!
    ~Living the life I imagined~

  • #2
    Personally, I wouldnt put a horse trailer behind a Durango...It may SAY it can tow "x amount" but can it stop it? You said you tow up and down mountains...then no way would I purchase it specifically as a tow vehicle. Its not like its a full size SUV like a suburban.

    My truck is a 6.0L 2500HD and sometimes I feel under powered in the mountains, I cant imagine trying to tow with something like a durango.

    I get between 12-14mpg without the trailer and between 8 and 10mpg with a fully loaded trailer...if I can find gas without ethenol I have been able to push 17mpg out of my truck on trips without the trailer....not bad for a beast its size.
    Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
    Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
    Green Alligator "Captain"

    Comment


    • #3
      It is going to tow worse than the Suburban. I towed for years with a Suburban 1500 diesel.....but I would never never have down graded to anything less, and upgraded as soon as I could to a 2500. Similar load as you.

      If you are willing to fork out the money for a new vehicle (or even a "newer used one") then go for a diesel truck. You cannot beat those for both the gas mileage and the towing power. As I mentioned in another thread...a friend has a newer Dodge 2500 diesel, and in econ mode on the highway, he gets 28 mpg. It's magical.

      Even with my 1500 diesel Suburban we got 23mpg just cruising around town.

      Just go diesel. Not smaller vehicle.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Diesel, huh? Hadn't even thought of that. (hey101 runs off to research diesel 'Burbs).

        Any downsides to diesel? Besides re-conditioning myself to picking up the diesel pump after 19 years of gasoline?

        I should clarify I'm looking for an SUV. As much as I'd like a nice meaty pickup (and the 2+1 w/ DR to go along with it! ) I just don't tow that much and a pickup doesn't fit the "rest" of my life. I need a vehicle that can do double-duty as a mostly daily vehicle but pick up the horsey towing slack a few times a month. My current Suburban fit this bill well, but, well, I just don't trust it any more as it's broken down on me a few times since my big towing saga. On the road again in minutes since I know what the problem is, but one day it's going to break down on me and I will NOT be able to get safely to the side of the road. Not OK. Especially if I have my kids with me.

        Thanks for the suggestions, keep them coming!
        ~Living the life I imagined~

        Comment


        • #5
          Just head for the green pump...easy peasy! Have towed with both gas and
          diesel. Diesel wins hands down!

          Looking for newer truck...F250 is a 1996 with 285,000 miles on it, needs injectors, windshield, etc....was only looking at Fords but may have to sneak a peak at the Dodge. Test drove one about 5 years ago and slammed me into my seat when I stepped on gas to get on the highway.

          Comment


          • #6
            Mr P and I were looking at 2011 Durangoes yesterday afternoon and I have to say no way in H3!! would I tow anything but a Brenderup or similar with one, especially in a hilly area.

            And a B'up is questionable.
            I wasn't always a Smurf
            Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
            "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
            The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

            Comment


            • #7
              Define "reasonable."

              This is not attempt at a "smart alec" answer but a real challenge that you will have to answer. It takes power to move iron and it take iron to contain power. Meaning that any vehicle that can safely and efficiently tow 5000-7000 pounds is going to have relatively poor fuel economy when compared to a vehicle with less towing capacity.

              Remember that your tow vehicle not only has a bigger engine (more power but also more weight) but also has a heavier frame, brakes, etc.). These are a pure weight increase. They are not, however, "wasteful" as they are essential to safe towing.

              The compromises are very significant. Some find them impossible and end up with two vehicles (a used, good condition tow vehicle) and a newer, better condition "scooter" for day to day driving. This is a more expensive solution (more insurance, more registration fees, more takes, etc.) but results in a lower fuel consumption and a smaller "carbon footpring" (if that is important for you).

              Personally I'd not tow with less than a half ton anything and even then I'd really take a long, hard look at my capacity and need. A 3/4 ton (truck or SUV) is a better, safer choice (IMO). The need for a one ton is much smaller until you get into trailers with a big "tongue load."

              Again, the watchword here will be "compromise." That means you will have both satisfaction and disapointment at the same time. That kind of sucks, but there it is.

              G.
              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

              Comment


              • #8
                I have heard, havent seen myself but have a brother who is a master tech for GM and a Father who is a retired master tech for GM and is still in the auto industry, that the new Chevy Desiels (like 2010 and up maybe?) require a fuel addative every 3000k miles. Its not something that is required to be put in by a dealer, but the word is that if you dont put in the addative when advised the vehicle will not run until you do...I was told by both the bro and dad to stay away from the new duramaxes because of this.

                Again, dont know how true all of that is because I havent seen it for myself, but I believe those two when they tell me stuff.

                Also, while we do not OWN and desiels, the company my husband works for does and on occasion he uses them...he has made the comment MANY times that the Ford gets waaaaaaay better mileage than the same year model Chevy and the Ford hauls their equipment a lot better. Again, cant say that for myself.
                Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
                Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
                Green Alligator "Captain"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                  Define "reasonable."

                  This is not attempt at a "smart alec" answer but a real challenge that you will have to answer. It takes power to move iron and it take iron to contain power. Meaning that any vehicle that can safely and efficiently tow 5000-7000 pounds is going to have relatively poor fuel economy when compared to a vehicle with less towing capacity.

                  Remember that your tow vehicle not only has a bigger engine (more power but also more weight) but also has a heavier frame, brakes, etc.). These are a pure weight increase. They are not, however, "wasteful" as they are essential to safe towing.

                  The compromises are very significant. Some find them impossible and end up with two vehicles (a used, good condition tow vehicle) and a newer, better condition "scooter" for day to day driving. This is a more expensive solution (more insurance, more registration fees, more takes, etc.) but results in a lower fuel consumption and a smaller "carbon footpring" (if that is important for you).

                  Personally I'd not tow with less than a half ton anything and even then I'd really take a long, hard look at my capacity and need. A 3/4 ton (truck or SUV) is a better, safer choice (IMO). The need for a one ton is much smaller until you get into trailers with a big "tongue load."

                  Again, the watchword here will be "compromise." That means you will have both satisfaction and disapointment at the same time. That kind of sucks, but there it is.

                  G.
                  THIS!!!!! Very well put!!!!

                  Again, I dont think my 3/4ton gets THAT bad of gas mileage and was my only comuter vehicle up until last week when I bought a used crewcab for our new addition.
                  Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
                  Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
                  Green Alligator "Captain"

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                    Define "reasonable."


                    The compromises are very significant. Some find them impossible and end up with two vehicles (a used, good condition tow vehicle) and a newer, better condition "scooter" for day to day driving.
                    G.
                    "Reasonable" = that which will make the DH happy!

                    I'd really prefer to get a smaller non-tow vehicle, and if my mechanic could diagnose what the heck was wrong with my 'Burb, I'd absolutely keep that just for towing and let it sit in our driveway, happily not burning excessive amounts of gas. But our mechanic spent two solid days with it and couldn't find ANYTHING wrong with it, and of the three times it's broken down on me, the conditions were all hugely different. It's a ticking time bomb, IMO.

                    So, I am left with the rather unsatisfying option of getting another huge vehicle for what amounts to just occaisonal need for it. Sigh.
                    ~Living the life I imagined~

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      14/20 is not great gas mileage. You can get that or better with a diesel truck easy and it's not that much better than my V10 F250 4.10 crew cab, which is about the worst gas hog you can build.

                      I think your proposed solution will be disappointing to you as both an everyday vehicle and as a tow vehicle.

                      (I also think 1-3 times a month is fairly frequent towing. Not many people do a lot more than that. Slopes are hard on your tow vehicle both up and down.)

                      You're leaning SUV which would suggest Suburban, but you might also consider a crew cab pickup truck. The back seat is roomy enough for 3 adults. If you need secured cargo space, a small camper shell or tonneau cover would take care of that.
                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        For the cost of a new Durango, you could get a used Honda Civic (or something zippy and efficient of that ilk) and a used diesel for towing.
                        ==================
                        Somehow my inner ten year old seems to have stolen my chequebook!

                        http://reriderandpony.blogspot.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by relocatedTXjumpr View Post
                          I have heard, havent seen myself but have a brother who is a master tech for GM and a Father who is a retired master tech for GM and is still in the auto industry, that the new Chevy Desiels (like 2010 and up maybe?) require a fuel addative every 3000k miles. Its not something that is required to be put in by a dealer, but the word is that if you dont put in the addative when advised the vehicle will not run until you do...I was told by both the bro and dad to stay away from the new duramaxes because of this.

                          Again, dont know how true all of that is because I havent seen it for myself, but I believe those two when they tell me stuff.

                          Also, while we do not OWN and desiels, the company my husband works for does and on occasion he uses them...he has made the comment MANY times that the Ford gets waaaaaaay better mileage than the same year model Chevy and the Ford hauls their equipment a lot better. Again, cant say that for myself.
                          Starting in the 2011 model year Ford and Chevy diesels require a tank for a urea-based compound as an anti-polution device. It's generally referred to as the "pee tank."

                          Dodge managed to avoid it for 2011 but I'm not sure they can avoid it for 2012. You'd have to cruise some the diesel pickup forums to find out what's what.

                          The tank can be filled at most stations carrying diesel (so I'm told). It will give significant milage (several thousand at a minimum). If it runs out the engine will run for 50 miles at normal power then go into "limp mode." That will get you to a station so you can refill.

                          I don't think it's flamable, meaning you could carry a gallon jug as an "emergency supply."

                          This system is widely disliked by most user communities and has resulted in a significant boost in the market value of late model trucks for 2010 and before.

                          And a boost for Dodge.

                          G.
                          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Excellent info G. I thought I saw an add for Dodge in my new PH mag that said they didnt require the addative.
                            Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
                            Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
                            Green Alligator "Captain"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BasqueMom View Post
                              Just head for the green pump...easy peasy!
                              Just stay away from BP stations as they jacket all their pump handles with green...
                              You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something… S. Jobs

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I have an 04' durango that I tow a small 2horse with and it stops turns and handles splendidly around town. If I go on the highway or plan on going up/down hills I trailer with my husbands truck.

                                The new durangos and are nothing more than a suv looking mini-van-- I would stay far away-- The older duangos i.e. 04-09 are on the truck frame-- I believe the new ones are on a uni-body type frame, more like a jeep grand cherokee....

                                the braking system in my 04 durango is designed for towing, very large substantial brakes, with trailer brakes as well-- the newer models don't have the same set-up-- I would go for a truck.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Chaila View Post
                                  For the cost of a new Durango, you could get a used Honda Civic (or something zippy and efficient of that ilk) and a used diesel for towing.
                                  That is exactly what I have--12 yr old diesel and civic.

                                  That said, I have borrowed a friend's Durango to tow (which she also tows with), a couple times and I thought it was fairly ok for 1 horse. I am used to my truck, where you don't feel the trailer at all, and in the Durango I felt it a lot more on the winding roads or while braking (more sway, that is). I definitely drove slower than I would have with my truck, but didn't feel unsafe. In fact I felt incredibly grateful to be borrowing it, as my old truck was yet again dead. It also drives like a car and not a truck, which is both nice and kind of unnerving when you associate loud with trailering.

                                  I did notice the "mpg" guage on the Durango, which may or may not be accurate, was mostly in the single-digits towing.

                                  I don't know, for me the 2-car solution works better, and I just only take the truck out when I have to, but depending on how you weight your horse trailering needs with the rest-of-your-life needs, it may not be the worst choice? At least compared to some of the other SUVs debated on here.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thanks all. Great feedback. I actually used to have an older Durango on the truck frame and I loved it. It worked just fine for me in both my horsey and my daily life, but that's when I lived on the mostly-flat East Coast, my trips were not typically more than 2 hrs, and my trailer did not have a DR. Trailering there was a walk in the park compared to the climbs, descents, and distances I go now.

                                    I think I'm going to reconsider my options here and look hard at the 2-vehicle option.

                                    Or figure out what's wrong with my dang 'Burb! Anyone here have any ideas on "an intermittent short"?
                                    ~Living the life I imagined~

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Where'sMyWhite View Post
                                      Just stay away from BP stations as they jacket all their pump handles with green...
                                      Sniff the nozzle. You can't miss it then.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by hey101 View Post
                                        Or figure out what's wrong with my dang 'Burb! Anyone here have any ideas on "an intermittent short"?
                                        Are you the poster who had the power steering and power brakes fail going downhill while hauling? If so, I don't blame you for wanting to ditch it if they can't find it!

                                        But surely there's someone who's a wizard with Chevy electrical systems in OC or San Diego!!
                                        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                                        Comment

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