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Tow vehicle opinions...

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  • Tow vehicle opinions...

    Hi All,

    Right now I've got a 1989 F250. It's been a great truck, has low miles (~90k), and runs good but it needs things replaced and fixed fairly regularly at this point.... And I'll admit to pining for a pretty, shiny, newer beast to haul my nice trailer with So.... I'm beginning to think about getting a new truck and I'd love some opinions on the different options I'm thinking about.

    I come from a Detroit-raised family where nearly everyone was employed at Ford so I am a bit partial to them, but I'm also considering Chevys. Will not buy a Dodge. Correct me if I'm wrong on the year but I believe that the 2004 Fords have some issues so I'm staying away from those. Any issues I should be aware of with Chevys?

    The first and more critical thing that I'm torn on is engine size. I've got a 2h Trails West Classic and I rarely haul more than one horse in it. My F250 does a fantastic job with it but I do sometimes consider upgrading to a GN with LQs at some point in the near-ish future. I love the size and ease of hauling my current trailer but would LOVE to have LQs for shows... I know to haul and LQ trailer I will need an F350/3500. If I had to guess on timeline to upgrade it would be between 3 and 5 years from now if it happens at all. Should I look at the bigger truck just in case or is it stupid/a waste of money to buy something overkill for a trailer I may not ever upgrade to? It's less about purchase price and more a question of am I going sacrifice in a significant way on fuel economy if I go with the bigger truck?

    Second and less critical but pertinent to two trucks I've singled out so far... If you have the choice between leather seats and an extended cab, or cloth seats and a crew cab what would you choose? I'm partial to leather for looks and ease of cleaning but it seems like the crew cab might be nice. I have an extended cab now and it's worked fine for me but not having had a crew cab I don't know what I might be missing out on

  • #2
    Crew cab will give you a longer wheelbase.

    Depending on the year of the truck, a 350/3500 may or may not be enough to pull a LQ, depending on its size. Starting in 2005, Ford significantly upped the weight ratings of the Super Duty trucks. Watch out for the 6.0 liter diesel, especially the early ones. Some are great, some are not so great. That engine was in the 2003-2007 models.

    Get an idea of what you want in a LQ trailer and become familiar with GVWR and GCVWR.

    If you are serious about the LQ trailer, a crew cab with an 8' bed would be my first choice.


    • Original Poster

      Thank you airhorse, I have some research to do apparently. One of the F250's that I'm looking at is a 6.0L diesel. It's a 2006... Any way to check on whether it's a good one or not? No issues come up on the Carfax. It's pretty low mileage (~63k), would problems have presented themselves by that point?


      • #4
        I have a 2001 F350 4 x 4 SRW crew cab, 8 ft bed, with a 7.3 l Power Stroke. I pull a 4 horse slant load Hart with a 6 foot LQ package. No issues with power to pull or stopping even when fully loaded.

        If age of a truck doesn't scare you too much, see if you can find a 7.3 l diesel.
        "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


        • #5
          The 6.0Ls (pretty much all the years) are much less well regarded than the 7.3s that were made earlier and the 6.4s that were later. Which isn't to suggest that every single vehicle with that engine will have $$ problems, but they seem to more often.

          Do F350s get much worse gas mileage than 250s? My 350 (1999/7.3, though) gets great mileage, FWIW. Though, if the LQ trailer is a maybe, and possibly 5 yrs off, and you are looking at used trucks, it might make sense to buy for your needs now and upgrade if/when you need more truck.

          Personally I don't like leather seats so I'd go for the crew cab :-)


          • #6
            Originally posted by RedmondDressage View Post
            One of the F250's that I'm looking at is a 6.0L diesel. It's pretty low mileage (~63k), would problems have presented themselves by that point?
            Run, my barnmate has one. She doesnt haul much and her truck has not many miles on it, when she said the stuff wrong with her truck (like once a month-the dealers know her voice on the phone) I asked her if it was 6.0 she said yes how did you know?
            “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


            • #7
              There are many threads on trucks/tow vehicles. I suggest you use the search engine, read a few, and then ask specific questions about specific years, makes, models, etc.

              You can start a pretty good virtual "fist fight" over Ford vs. Chevy vs. Dodge vs. Toyota vs. whatever. It's not exactly "Coke vs. Pepsi" (as there is some real data to back up claims of issues) but it can still get "hot."

              Do some searching and then ask questions!

              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


              • #8
                Personally, I would say, go drive them. The 7.3s are awesome if you can find one, but I would avoid the 6.0s....they just don't have the power you can find in other trucks of the same price range. But, it all depends what you like.


                • #9
                  Don't forget your axle ratio, it's even more important than engine size. A 4.10 is what you want. I searched for over a year before buying a new Suburban (10 years ago now!) The salesmen all tried to talk me out of the 4.10, even though I insisted I knew what I wanted. The gas mileage is not that bad and the tow power is much better. I did end up with leather seats, which I hate, because they are cold in the winter and hot in the summer. I bought a lambskin rug on sale and it sits on my driver's seat.
                  blogging at HN: http://www.horsenation.com/
                  check out my writing: http://jeseymour.com
                  Just out: http://www.barkingrainpress.org/dd-p...ead-poisoning/


                  • #10
                    I just replaced my 1992 F-250, extended cab, 8' bed with a 2006 F-250, crew cab, 6.5' bed, 5.4L V8. The old truck was starting to quarter and half-dollar me, and the carbon monoxide in the cab from the manifold exhaust leak was making me too light headed to drive it safely anymore.

                    I have cloth seats, but for about $800, you can order these in leather:


                    As far as the 6.0, go here:


                    I wasn't in the market for a diesel, but I would buy a 6.0 IF and only IF the upgrades were made. Apparently, if they are modified correctly, the 6.0 is a great engine.

                    Not sure if there is a cost benefit now if you plan on upgrading your trailer so far into the future.


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by TimelyImpulse View Post
                      I just replaced my 1992 F-250, extended cab, 8' bed with a 2006 F-250, crew cab, 6.5' bed, 5.4L V8. The old truck was starting to quarter and half-dollar me, and the carbon monoxide in the cab from the manifold exhaust leak was making me too light headed to drive it safely anymore.
                      LOL! I had my heater core blow over the summer and had to drive about two hours home with anti-freeze fumes pouring out of the heater vents... Not good! It was a quick and easy fix for my SO but that was kind of the final straw for me as I've had to do several other fixes leading up to that. I decided then that as soon as my commuter car was paid off I was going to start looking for a new towing vehicle!

                      The truck that I'm most interested in right now is a F250 5.4L V8 gas... It's the one that has leather but is only an extended cab. I think I'm going to go test drive that one and maybe one other that is also a 250 but with the crew cab this weekend and see how I like it. I'm still going back and forth about 250 vs. 350 so I think I'll drive a few of each and continue researching this week to try to make a decision.


                      • #12
                        I have driven F250s and F350s. You can feel the stiffer suspension in the 1 ton. I'd choose that for a GN LQ trailer.

                        Otherwise, no, 63K miles isn't enough to have revealed all the problems that a 6.0 or 6.4 Ford diesel will have. If I were buying one of these, I'd include the cost of one of the "bullet proof" upgrades in the price. Rumor has it that the 6 Whatevers will do ok if they are used hard-- asked to haul a lot of weight at speed. The main problem is soot build-up in the exhaust system and hard work blows that out. Keep that in mind when you consider the job you'll ask this truck to do. I don't think they make sense as the daily driver.

                        A big gasoline engine will do the job for pulling that big horse trailer, but it won't feel as good as a diesel doing the same.

                        If you have a trusted truck and won't buy the LQ for a few more years, why not choose the trailer first and then the truck second? Speaking of girly vanity, you won't know the color scheme of your trailer until then anyway. And God forbid you diss your current truck because it doesn't look pretty.... only to have the same problem for more money later.
                        The armchair saddler
                        Politically Pro-Cat


                        • #13
                          I'd really be looking for a dually if you are intent on getting that LQ.


                          • #14
                            Don't get the 250 with the 5.4L. We have one at work. Why ANYONE puts a gas engine in 3/4 ton truck is beyond me, but that engine is just a let down for an F250. HORRIBLE mileage all the time and I wouldn't haul an LQ with it. My personal F250 is the 7.3L and it's a completely different beast. I don't want LQ personally, but if you really do, keep in mind how much weight you are going to put in the bed as that can be a limiting factor.

                            If I myself knew I was going to buy a LQ trailer, I would not look at anything under a 350/3500. After lots of towing and work trucks, I can tell you, it saves you so much in the end to just have what you need up front rather than trying to "make it work" later.
                            Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                            Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                            We Are Flying Solo


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                              Don't get the 250 with the 5.4L. We have one at work. Why ANYONE puts a gas engine in 3/4 ton truck is beyond me, but that engine is just a let down for an F250. HORRIBLE mileage all the time and I wouldn't haul an LQ with it. My personal F250 is the 7.3L and it's a completely different beast. I don't want LQ personally, but if you really do, keep in mind how much weight you are going to put in the bed as that can be a limiting factor.

                              If I myself knew I was going to buy a LQ trailer, I would not look at anything under a 350/3500. After lots of towing and work trucks, I can tell you, it saves you so much in the end to just have what you need up front rather than trying to "make it work" later.
                              Good to know on the mileage with the 5.4. I wouldn't haul a LQ with less than a 350 either... I just don't know if I should buy one now on the chance that I buy a LQ in 3 - 5 years or if I should replace the truck later if I do end up with a LQ. That's something I need to do some more thinking about


                              • #16
                                Run run run AWAY from the 6.0.MVP is partly right, they don't like to idle BUT...diesels do like to warm up in the am (and idle - which you would NOT want ot do with a 6.0 - plug 'em in all the time). They do like to work hard, but of course, the harder you work the truck, other parts are working very hard too!!

                                The big problem is that they use a high pressure oil system to activate the injectors (oil has to go through microscopic ports) aaaaaaand of course they run the exhaust back through the engine, and what does this do, in this case? Eventually it will contaminate the oil (which is VERY susceptible to this). Yes, you can maintain the crap out of them but no guarantees, they are just a PITA all the way around. They have a terrible, but well earned, reputation. The 7.3s do NOT use the high pressure oil system and are better (but you will sure use more for fuel!!) And V8s are better for sure than the 6.0 but they will suck you dry at the pump. But at all costs, avoid the V10s! (blowing spark plugs, blwing gaskets and a MAJOR MAJOR pita to work on!! ) Awful trucks.

                                If you must go Ford, put a Cat diesel in it, or a Cummins, with an allison transmission and you will have a very nice truck!

                                Chevy Duramax is a good vehicle but avoid 02-04 (the Izuzu engine had some problems back then) but worked out the bugs and with the Allison transmission, a very good combo.


                                • #17
                                  Modern diesels do not need to sit and idle. Unless you are driving a semi, you should turn the vehicle off if it will sit for more than 30 seconds; otherwise, you are just wasting fuel.

                                  Not sure why one would say the 7.3L uses more fuel -- mine gets what I would consider fairly standard diesel 3/4 ton mileage of about 20-21 mpg highway cruising, a couple more if I take the camper shell off. I think of that as pretty darn good for a 7,000 lb, 11 year old truck?
                                  Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                                  Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                                  We Are Flying Solo


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Ok, I think I've got one to go look at. Plus I *might* have a buyer for my '89, which would be fantastic. A couple of friends bought a travel trailer to head up and down the west coast with this summer and their Bronco can't handle the job... Fingers crossed they take it... And then that nothing suddenly decides to go wrong with it! That's my biggest fear about selling anything to friends!

                                    The one I'm going to look at is a 2008 F350, super cab, long bed. It has the 6.8L V10 gas engine. I know it will be a bit of a hog but from everything I've read today it will still be better than my '89. That thing is absolutely horrendous on mileage. This one is definitely on the low end as far as miles plus I probably put less than 5k on a year. I would have preferred leather and crew cab but when you're looking at used you gotta be willing to sacrifice something. This one will haul my BP like it's nothing and if I upgrade I think it should do fine with a small LQ or weekender GN. Fingers crossed it's a good one... It's super cool and I am already looking forward to driving that beast around laughing at the boys driving around town in their puny F150's


                                    • #19
                                      a 7.3L has a larger engine, a v8, and more HP, than a Dodge; hence, more fuel. If you are getting 20-21 mpg you are doing very well as that is certainly not typical of powerstrokes.

                                      No, they don't need to run for hours but you should let your truck (really any car) warm up. And thats the problem with the 6.0; it does need to warm up as well but again, low RPMs are not the friend of the 6.0.

                                      If someone buys a Ford V10 fully aware of ALL the issues, has read the truck forums, is up to date on the class action suit on so on, well, caveat emptor! There are trucks that people may disagree about - some people like Chevys or Toyotas or Dodges or whatever, but the Ford V10 is in a class by itself.Just make sure you get that thing totally vetted, and see if 2008 is involved in that class action suit, as I suspect it is. That engine design really has an awful reputation, so just make sure you are informed, that you have had it looked at by your mechanic (who will not enjoy working on it ) Maybe SURE its under warranty and that you have paid up your AAA as when it blows a plug (which it has a reputation for doing under load) it will be in an inconvenient place, and will be down for a few days, not an easy or inexpensive repair.

                                      I have bought many things, including horses, I knew in some way were problematic, but at least being informed allows one to be prepared. And the fuel mileage is just staggeringly awful, maybe 12-14mpg if you are lucky empty and more like 7-10mpg if you are pulling. All noise and little power! The newer V10s (2012) seem to be a little better on maintenance, but still terrible fuel mileage.


                                      • #20
                                        I suppose that would give me some rights to comment on it.

                                        Cloth seats, crew cab, manual shift.

                                        A good truck, but not even in the class with the 2008 I traded for.

                                        Leather seats, heated. Crew cab. Loaded with about everything except the very top end audio system.

                                        Yes, it had that smoke burner in the exhaust that people don't like. But other than not quite great fuel mileage, it did a good job for me for 127,000.

                                        Then one day while pulling a horse trailer loaded with hounds, one of the heat sensors in the exhaust system went bad and told the computer things were getting dangerously hot and shut down everything in the middle of the highway.

                                        And it was in the middle, because I had stopped at a stoplight and it died right there in the middle of the road.

                                        Now a person with less temper than I would have simply replaced the sensor and driven it another.....125,000, maybe 200,0000 but not me.

                                        I swapped it for a 2012 which has now got 23,000 on it and I think it is a fantastic truck.

                                        As for cloth seats, I thought I liked cloth better and I would in an old truck.

                                        But heated seats are really nice in cold weather. Cold seats are not so bad when dressed for the outdoors in heavy clothing, but if you use the truck for errands when you might be dressed in street clothes, those heated seats are great.

                                        But even better, this one has air conditioning in the seats.

                                        I thought that a waste of money since I would run that only a few minutes when first starting up, just like the heated seats, but I found that so pleasant that I ran the air conditioned seats all summer. Every trip, whether a 30 minute or a 8 hour ride.

                                        So the Lariat leather seat is good. I am told that the King Ranch leather is very hard to maintain, gets dirty and discolored and will crack.

                                        I never bought one, so that is strictly hearsay.

                                        Now as for the 7.3, 6.4 and 6.7.....you could not give me a 7.3 after driving the others.

                                        Everyone speaks of the 7.3 as if it is totally perfect, absolutely trouble free, the greatest ever built.

                                        It was good, but never perfect.

                                        Two clutches, one transmission, three alternators, one water pump...one computer....

                                        And so damn noisy pulling a steep grade that you had to shout to your passengers.

                                        If I were the OP, I would look for a 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 or 2012.

                                        Crew cab, leather seats, auto transmission, tow package with the tow/load system.

                                        And so quiet I never need to say "Huh?" to my bride.

                                        Almost forgot....the fuel system is not run by the oil pressre on the 08, 09,10, 11 and 12. The 7.3 would lope like a deer when it was really cold. No more.

                                        And because cold oil was not its friend, the 7.3 was a bitch to start on a really cold day. If it did not start on the second or at the most the third try, the battery was drained.

                                        The 2008-2012 crank better than most gas engines. They don't even know its cold.