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A tow rig discussion

#1
Been reading and looking a lot recently into picking up a new ride, although i've decided to keep saving up until my want becomes more of a need, i figured i would start a discussion to get some opinion and because i'm bored. This could be relevant to a lot of people, but from what i'll be looking for is something i could DD comfortably (driving around town, to work, and trips out of town, probably cross country), that wouldn't break the bank with fuel, cost a lot to keep up with maintenance wise, and be able to tow what i would need it to safely and without killing it (single car trailer with <4500lb Jeep, heavy 17' boat, camper, tractor..) For debate purposes we'll say i drive about 20k miles a year, and i'm wondering cost of ownership over a 5 year period. All SRW, 4wd, would likely put a slightly bigger tire on whatever i owned, Intake and exhaust on anything as well. Would also need seating for 4, crew cab or extended cab with 4 doors.


Trucks i'd likely consider:

Diesels
04-06 Dodge 2500 Cummins h.o.
05-07 GMC 2500hd
possibly a 7.3 or 98 12 valve (only year 4-door) although i'm trying not to buy too old

Gas
04-07 GMC 2500hd 6.0
07-11 Toyota Tundra 5.7
F150 Ecoboost


From what most people say, unless you tow every day or a big load (goosneck), a diesel isn't necessary.
How do you justify your diesel?
How much more expensive is the maintenance on a diesel?
I've read of switching to a micron oil filter with 10k oil changes, does that help with maintenance cost?
Anyone ever gotten out of a diesel to go back to a gasser?
Is paying for diesel that much worse then filling up a gas hog?
6.0 fords can be had cheap, with 4k they can be bulletproofish, worth the hassle?

I don't need to pull a house, but having the power to do whatever job i had and safely is what i'm looking for, i don't want to spend the money on something and a year later find myself needing more truck (say i buy a welder and work out of my truck). A 1500 Z71 would likely pull most of what i would want, but over time i feel it would wear on it harder then a 3/4 ton and cost more.

Any suggestions or things to consider?
 

LBarr2002

LIFETIME
SUPPORTER
#3
I justify my diesel because I drive a Honda every day and only drive the truck when I need to haul or tow something.

Diesel routine maintenance isn't that big of a concern. Oil changes cost you a little more (10 qts for an lb7) and fuel filters every 15,000-25,000 miles ($60). The problem is when things go wrong, the parts and labor are much higher.

Me, Dad, and DJ have an '01 Duramax 2500, '04 5.3 1500, and '06 6.0 1500HD. On the trip to Windrock, mine and Dad's trucks both averaged around 12 mpg, mine is a little better. DJ's was much worse. I don't think he figured the numbers but he was asking to stop for fuel when we were both just below half tank... Dad's truck pulls the Sami fine, but it doesn't like big hills and he can't just set cruise and ride like I do. Daily driving, unloaded, my truck has gotten 20mpg, but probably averages 16-18. Dad's gets 16-18, and DJ's gets 14ish. When you factor in fuel costs, the 5.3 is definitely cheaper, and the 6.0 is probably about even.
 
#4
From what most people say, unless you tow every day or a big load (goosneck), a diesel isn't necessary. I would agree with that. If your towing single a x-cab or crew cab 6.0 Chevy is perfectly fine for a light load. Cut up Jeep and light trailer. However, you will get 10 MPG (or worse) from what I have seen and experienceced. Thats basing a Harlan tow. Locally you should see a bit better or to Bama area.

How do you justify your diesel? I justify mine because I got a smokin deal on it. I really don't even drive the truck much anymore since I got the TJ. It's bulky and a PITA to park. It's sweet to have for road trips and towing though. And the fact I can double tow to Harlan and split fuel. Major plus there. I only spent $70 for fuel this past trip. Deano was kind enough to help us out.

How much more expensive is the maintenance on a diesel? Figure double for everything honestly. Double on services and mechanic work unelss you can turn the wrenches yourself if you have to. If you get a well taken care of truck you shouldn't worry about wrench dollars for a long time though. Keep fuel filter changed like Larry said on a D-max is $60 for the filter and remove pass inner fender to change. If you buy a dodge figure a transmission every 120K miles if you tow with it or unless you have a really good trans put in.

I've read of switching to a micron oil filter with 10k oil changes, does that help with maintenance cost? Mehh?? Idk. I just change mine every 5K. A diesel is so dirty that its black the first start up anyway.

Anyone ever gotten out of a diesel to go back to a gasser? Don't think I ever will go without my diesel. Had one since 06 I think.

Is paying for diesel that much worse then filling up a gas hog? No. Even my emission BS I still get 14MPG constant and thats mainly town driving. It will do 16 on the HWY and any 6.0 gas truck I have been in has been 10-12. It works about even IMO.

6.0 fords can be had cheap, with 4k they can be bulletproofish, worth the hassle? No. Just no. Hell no. Fawk no. Stay away like it's a girl with the clap. Yes they can be fixed but from my experience even then they still are questionable at best.


You mentioned a 12 Valve. I like the 12 valve but your getting an old *** truck then. Nothing more than an x-cab option with no doors. Transmissions are crap along with interior. They are bulletproof motor wise and tow great with little work, and can be had cheap for the most part.

If I was to get a dodge I would get an 04-early 05 with no emmisions (no cat) and H.O. I would look strongly into a powertrain warranty to cover the trans though.

A 7.3 truck is a good un' but what your gonna find is that the ones that are out there will be worn out and miled the hell up. Front end will be clapped out, injectors will start being weak, and auto trans is **** typically. If you do find a clean low mile truck it will bring retarted money because of the history.

As I said before the best truck for the money in your choices are the LBZ duramax's. Late 06-early 07. 20ish MPG stock. Most powerfull Duramax made with no emissions junk.

If you go with a gasser, i'd be hard pressed not to just buy a crew cab short bed loaded out new body truck and do some suspension and brake upgrades. Those trucks get over 20 MPG and are super nice.

I don't need to pull a house, but having the power to do whatever job i had and safely is what i'm looking for, i don't want to spend the money on something and a year later find myself needing more truck (say i buy a welder and work out of my truck). A 1500 Z71 would likely pull most of what i would want, but over time i feel it would wear on it harder then a 3/4 ton and cost more.

Any suggestions or things to consider?
 
#5
I've always been a cummins fan. I know people always say the truck will fall apart around the engine but it's what i've always prefered. They are prone to having weak transmissions, and owners who can't be realistic with the actual mileage they get. I think the GM trucks are comfortable as hell and ride great for a big truck. Don't like the IFS front end weakness they have, though upgraded balljoints, TRE and upper control arms are a $1k upgrade. I've always been a ford guy, i just feel like i've heard to many horror stories of everything they offer except there 7.3.

From what i understand, what kills diesels is short trips and around the town driving. Although i have friends who daily there dmax, 6.0 pstroke, and cummins, i feel it's almost necessary to have something else for short drives. In 3.5 years, i have put close to 70k on my tacoma, most of that is highway miles, i put less then that in the 5 years i drove my jeep everyday.

I like toyota's, and have always heard good things about the newer tundra's, although never been in one. My parents neighbor has one with the 5.7 that he pulls his 21' center console boat with, not sure of the weight but it's a big bitch. Marcus's 6.0 pulls his TJ around great from what i have seen, and from what i can remember it got the same if not better mileage towing as most of the diesel guys when i was with him at windrock/harlan. From what i remember the 6.0 power wise isn't that much different then the 5.3, but the rest of the truck is alot more burly. I'm not sure what the difference in the 1500hd is though.

I've seen a lot about the ecoboost in the past few months pop up and seem a lot of praise behind it. I've always thought the interior in fords felt plasticy and a little too busy for me. I like turbo's though.........Intake, exhaust and tune and they seem to put down pretty good numbers hp/torque wise and most claim high teens for mpg. I read on a thread on pirate too that they use the same brakes from 04-? f250's and with bag's in the rear they are nice to drive and tow with.
 

LBarr2002

LIFETIME
SUPPORTER
#6
I'm not sure what the difference in the 1500hd is though.
From what I've seen, it's basically a 2500... DJ's truck has a semi-float 14 instead of full float, ato nd it doesn't sit quite as high. The springs look the same. I don't know if there's any difference in the front end.

When I bought my truck it had 174,000 miles on it. The front end had never been touched, worn slap out. I paid a local shop to completely rebuild it ($1200). I've heard a lot of people complain about the IFS and how weak it is, but 174,000 miles seems pretty good to me.

I'd like to know how Marcus' truck does MPG wise to Windrock and Harlan.
 
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#7
I was typing ^ when you posted.

Matt that's pretty much what i wanted to hear. When i was looking at getting a truck in '09 i was splitting duty in my Jeep and my 94 dodge spirit (best car i have ever owned) i looked at a few 24 valves that didn't look to be to tampered with but talked myself out of something that big, considered a z71 then too but i knew once i was out of school i would want something powerful and don't see myself ever not having 2 vehicles.

I like the 2nd gen cummins, 12 and 24, but like you said, the newest one is 10 years old atleast and i'd like to get into something made in the 2000s, with power windows and locks, none of which i've ever had. I considered a 12 valve just to get a stupid simple truck to learn a bit about diesels from and eventually upgrade, but i'd rather do it right the first time.



Another question, i've talked to a lot of people who said they wish they would have bought a manual instead of the auto, they are hard as hell to find but as far as a manual in a diesel is concerned, is it that much better?

Is insurance different with a diesel?
 

LBarr2002

LIFETIME
SUPPORTER
#8
Another question, i've talked to a lot of people who said they wish they would have bought a manual instead of the auto, they are hard as hell to find but as far as a manual in a diesel is concerned, is it that much better?

Is insurance different with a diesel?
If I was looking for a Dodge, I would be looking for a manual. Chevy, the Allison is by far the best option. I've driven 7.3 fords with manuals and they were ok, but the clutch was so heavy it sucked stop and go. I've driven 6.0 fords with both auto and manual and liked the manual better. The auto 6.0s seemed sluggish.

I don't know if there is a difference with insurance. Resale is higher on diesels and milage doesn't affect the price as much.
 
#9
A manual is tits towing. Driving in trafic blows. Had both. Would not let that effect my decision honestly. Mainly for the fact I love the Duramax and a 6 speed is no longer an option and they were super rare to boot.

If I bought a Dodge, I would seek a 6 speed.

Insurance on any heavier vehicle is higher. The more damage you can cause, the more insurance you shall pay. Nature of the beast.

(Knock on wood). For example. My truck is an 07.5 Crew Cab LTZ 2500 with D-max. My insurance is $450ish for full coverage with low deductables every 6 mo. I am 27 YO and have a pretty much flawless driving record. I don't think thats too bad. Mine is right at $200 every 6 mo on the TJ with full coverage.
 
#10
I enjoy driving a manual, what i've always owned, but i sure do like being able to jump in put it in drive and just get my lean on and roll out. I'd only buy a stock truck no matter what, that's getting hard to find it seems with diesels becoming the new imports. Finding a manual in that too is alot harder. I would likely put some type of programmer on a diesel if i was to get one, williams 04.5 LLY with 315 duratracs on it gets 13-14mpg with an intake, inlet and 4" exhaust with no tuner, seems awfully low. EFIlive seems to waken those motors up alot.

450 isnt that bad for insurance at all, who do you have it through? I forget what i pay for my tacoma now but i have state farm.

One thing i don't like about the tundra and f150 is the oddball rim size they use 18s and 20s, tires are a good bit more with less options.

I read this thread today on break that got my gears turning more about a rig
http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/tow-...n-ecoboost-gave-my-duramax-run-its-money.html
I've always thought the ecoboost was a bunch of crap but i keep seeing it pop more and more, although numbers are just numbers, they look impressive..
 
#11
State Farm. Been with them all my life. I have always heard you should swap every 3 years to get the best rates but they do me right so I stick there.

The Tundra's are very ballsy but mullet of god they are ugly.

The Eco Boost IMO, I don't see it lasting 200K and even though I know it will never happen I don't intend on getting rid of any of my vehicles any time soon these days so I want whatever I have to well surpass that before major maintenance is needed.
 
#12
I love my 6.0 2500 HD. It usually gets 10 MPG going to Harlan, and a little better going to Windrock or the Alabama parks. It tows way better than I would have expected. I'm not a fan of the 12 or 24 valve Dodges. Id much rather have the 24 valve than the 12 valve, but its still that same ol' truck. If I were to go with a Dodge it would have to be an '06 so you get the newer front end and the Common rail 5.9. A 7.3 Ford isn't a speed demon but would be reliable if you find one thats already had a transmisson put in it. I wouldn't be scared of a 6.0 Ford, knowing what you may or may not get into. The newer Tundras don't impress me one bit. They have plenty of power, but don't hold the weight at all. I remember at GSSE Beaty said that he was getting like 5 MPG towing with this newer Tundra. I just can't see a Eco-Boost truck holding the weight and stopping the weight of a rig all that well.
 
#13
It seems the 6.0 are a toss up a lot of times. You said your dad hasn't had any trouble out of his. Ryan Morris bought that white 4 door 6.0 from Harvey's lot and the egr cooler started leaking on it while pulling a trailer somewhere. He took it to a diesel shop in Petersburg, va and they replaced all the problems with it and bulletproofed it for about 4k, hasn't had a problem since and has put a good many more miles on it since then, although not really towing.

I feel the only gasser to consider is the 6.0 2500hd. They are common enough that if something messes up your likely to find one in a yard. Ecoboost and new tundra aren't as common.

I like the facelifted cummins in 06, but they changed the interior in them too and from what I've read, it's a lot less uncomfortable then previous years. You can swap the front ends easily to newer style. I think 04 & 05 was last years they had a manual shift transfer case in them as well which I like more then the push button. Mega cab isn't really needed for me either which came out in 06.
 
#14
Just go to cumminsforum, powerstrokenation, and a duramax forum and start doing home work. Every vehicle has its flaws no doubt. Just have to find the ones it's minimized on. Hence the reason for me going to a 12valve pump truck. Yeah the interior is junk and people say junk for transmissions. Most trans failures are the drivers fault. Just ask any trans shop in the country. They are simple to work on and are known as the most reliable engine built. For instance my TPS sensor was $130, Jerods on his 05 is almost $700. Look at what a set of Duramax injectors cost? Which are highly known to cause problems. My 01, f250 with a 6 speed was a great towin truck. Long as a school bus and turned like crap but over all the interior was nice and finished well. Got 20mpg every tank around town and 10 towing. My dodge is 15-16 around town, 20 empty on the interstate and 15-16 towing my yota to Harlan.
You just have to decide what's best for you application and figure out which diesel cost you the least in the long run. If I was recommending you one truck it would be a crew cab f250, 7.3. I wouldnt be scared of high miles aslong as its been maintained. They are just good trucks.
 
#15
It all comes down to personal preference and u get what u pay for my truck is 05 cummins have no clue what it gets mpg. For most part really dont care unless it get to the point im puting fuel in it ever day. That being said if i had take a guess i would say 20 ish (with tran acting up )around town. Im kinda up in the air on what i get towing cause i never thank to keep up with it. But for a gage of distance i have towed double to grey rock 2 or 3 time and wind rock both useing a tank there and tank back. Both are about egual distance but wind rock is a much harder tow and slower tow grey rock when i get on the I20 in thompson it 75 to 80 all the way to burmingham. But it all comes down to what u want how long u intend on keeping it if u thank you are not gone keep it but for a few year get a gas truck. If u are gone keep it and drive it and u prefer cummins get a cummins they are well known to be high millage motors. Yea u might half to replace parts to keep up with the motor but 9 time out of 10 u gone half to replace same parts on a 1/2 ton gas truck to and more often. As far as the dodge trans goes mine has been acting up for a year or so now at slow speeds but not slipping and has 174k on it if it give out tom i ant lost nothing i will put a good quality one back in it drive another 174k. But as said from the start its personal preference and u get what u pay for dont let someone else opinion be the deciding factor cause no mater the gas milage, truck, motor or trans they all gone have there good and bads.
 
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#20
Can't believe I missed this thread. 1500hd trucks have the pos 4l65e trans. No matter what the rest of the truck is it still has a pos half ton trans. Nice good mileage diesel is to expensive. A nice low mileage gas crew is too expensive. They are all too expensive. Best bang for the buck is a burb. I would love a truck but can't justify the 4 k premium over a burb. On any newer gm truck gas or diesel I wouldn't really take mileage into consideration. I would base it more on overall condition. 80-110k is when gma have all their headaches and seems to be good about forever after that.
 
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