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jo79RI

Towing Vehicle not yet determined

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We plan to pick up our Elite II in April of 2021.  After much reading, I still have not determined the appropriate tow vehicle.

What specifications should I use to narrow down the list, and take to the various dealers when I take trucks or SUVs out for test drives?

It seems the Toyota Tundra, Ford F-150 and Dodge Durango are favorites. I also am considering the GMC Sierra 1500 or 2500

Edited by jo79RI

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I think they are pretty much all the same, the only thing that really matters at the end of the day is how much you payed for it. Pretty much every truck brand out there these days is ultra reliable, up to 250+ thousand miles or more, so the only things that should sway your decision is price, features, and creature comforts. For the money I'd say the Nissan Titan is probably one of the best new trucks that can tow up to 10k lbs. If you need more than that, the big three are pretty much the only options. There are way more options if you crack into the full size SUV game, but with that comes sacrifices to dirt friendly cargo space and added costs. I personally have a super bias, against Ford's, but I recognize that for what it is, rediculous mostly unfounded bias. I'm always one to recommend the extremely used market, but I'm mechanically savvy enough to fix small issues I run into ranging from o2 sensors  to blown head gaskets and the like. Even if I didn't fix these things, paying a mechanic to fix a 1-5k dollar issue once every other year is still cheaper than an 80k dollar pickup. 

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Any of the half tons would be fine if properly configured for towing.  Things to consider: brake controller, size of gas tank and cargo capacity.  If you pick up in April you need to get your TV early enough to have some miles on it before you tow.  

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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If you are not an experienced tower, then you should look hard at the available Towing Technology packages. They are all different depending on the manufacturer and even Light Duty vs Heavy Duty. If I were buying a New Ram HD, I would check the option box for this - it includes full surround cameras, the ability to add a rear view trailer camera and also trailer TPMS. 

Research, research, watch towing test videos from The Fast Lane Trucks, ask questions, take some trucks for drives -  you have so much time to make a decision. Don't act until you are 100% sure. Buy enough truck!

If you want more detailed advice, tell us do you plan to buy a new truck, or used, and where you plan to tow and how many miles annually.

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

 

Edited by John E Davies
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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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I cannot speak for other brand trucks, but have owned Toyota trucks since purchasing my first new one back in 1989. I have been brand loyal since do to reliability and overall cost to own. I have never experienced a catastrophic breakdown or been left sitting on the roadside. Recalls really have been minimal and once notified have been taken care of timely. 
I presently own a Tundra Platinum Crew Max that has been extremely reliable and would not hesitate to purchase another one. This is what works best for our needs as I have to have the reliability and tow package boxes checked. It will tow the OLEll we have on order with relative ease. 

As John Davies stated, you have plenty of time to do your due diligence and determine what will suit your needs best. 
Your in the drivers seat, “pun intended”, enjoy your time researching the TV that suits your needs best!

Edited by Patriot
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2014 Toyota Tundra Platinum Crew Max TV, 2020 LEll - Hull #634 in production.

 

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Good advice above. One other idea to keep in mind, tow rating and payload will vary within models based upon trim level and tow package. You can't always depend upon a sales person to know the differences.  Sometimes it can be a big difference. So will need to research yourself. Owners manuals, on-line references, and trailer life has a towing guide are good sources. 

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Bill Thomas 2019 Elite II Hull # 534 2018 Toyota Tundra 4X4

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For me is was easy a 1/2 crew cab pickup will do the job, just remember 1/2 tons will require a WDH and a 3/4 will not. I will say here from what I see at rallies, crew cab pickups are probably 75% of what is used as a tow vehicle. Personally I would not go with a mid-size pickup for towing, plus you will want to carry more then you think you will, and the back seat room is much smaller as well as the bed. 1/2 ton pickups will probably have the best rebates and there price in some cases will be less then a mid-size pickup. Just don't let a sales person talk you into something that is just ok. You might even try a county dealer, that is one that sells vehicles for towing (farming and ranching needs) they will most likely have a better selection of vehicles that can tow and there sales staff should know what works best for your needs.  I went to a dealer that was 35 miles north of Ft. Worth and there stock was 75% towing trucks and priced to sell. I did go with a 4x4 as it will have a little heaver towing capacities, but not needs for towing an Oliver.

trainman 

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Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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1 hour ago, ThomB87 said:

You can't always depend upon a sales person to know the differences.  Sometimes it can be a big difference. So will need to research yourself.

THIS!

Sales droids are hired to sell, they are very often self educated about their latest products, and if they have any previous sales knowledge, it may be for furniture or imported cars or for another brand of truck. Once you start asking towing specifics about gear ratios or payload, you can watch their eyes glaze and their smile becomes even more forced. You need to perform your own education, the sales guy is only there to show you the vehicles and give you directions on your test drive. Period.

He does not even make the sales decision, remember that he is just a go between with the manager in the back room. So be polite, but remember his only function is to get you to drive away today in one of their vehicles.

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies
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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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On 12/10/2019 at 11:31 AM, ctshort09 said:

From another thread:  A key thing you need to be aware of is not just the "Tow" rating of a truck but also the PAYLOAD.

Tow rating is what it can pull, payload includes all passengers gear and other the tongue weight of the trailer.
Elite II's fully loaded with water, propane and gear have a tongue wt from 580-630 lbs.

Example: 
My F150 is a 3.5 Ecoboost, 3.55 rear end, with the Maximum Towing Packages...and lists a 12,500# tow rating...but has a 1587 pound payload rating.
The truck is a King Ranch with many options...that take away from the "advertised" payload.

 

On 12/10/2019 at 11:31 AM, ctshort09 said:


Rule of thumb..…Payload Decreases as the Trim Level and Options for the Truck Increase....going from the lower trim level to the luxury trim piles on weight that also results in a lower out the dealer payload number.

Here's an example from a visit to RAM dealer *(2019 model year data and it may change for this  2020 year.)

·        Dodge Ram 1500 –  Vin 1C6SRFHT8KN920407

Advertised Max Tow Rating – 12750 lbs
Advertised Max Payload – 2300 lbs.  (that's for the most stripped down option set with maximum payload package)
Payload from the official RAM Configuration Website – 1780 lbs -- when we looked it up at the dealer. 
Go here to look up payload by VIN #   https://www.ramtrucks.com/towing-guide.html

Then...the actual Payload on Door Sticker at DEALERSHIP See Below  :

THE COMBINED WEIGHT OF OCCUPANTS AND CARGO SHOULD NEVER EXCEED 1282 LBS

That even caught the dealer by surprise...1780-1280 is about a 500 # decrease due to big skylights, fancy interior options etc.

1859253298_RAM1500Sticker.jpg.2357068087c9f4d18c3e48eb146c1646.jpg

Now for a use case:
That payload of 1282 Lbs needs to include all items that are added to the truck after the factory, including people, accessories, camping gear and “trailer tongue wt.”.

For your use, know that payload stickers according to JSAE assume a full tank of fuel.

Let's use a specific case for an Oliver Elite II with a loaded trailer tongue wt = 630 lbs 
Other options - New Spray In Bedliner & Canopy – 250 lbs.
Three Passengers – 450 lbs
Camp Stove, Lawn Chairs, Bikes, Tools other Gear – 300 lbs

Payload left for 630# Tongue Wt = 282 lbs…. and  a 348lb gap!

So this truck will definitely PULL the Oliver, but you'll need to be minding your payloads when you gear up. 

Jumping up to a 3/4 Ton ( 250, 2500) may gain you a bit more payload, but it all depends on the specific options of the truck.

Many people towing trailers buy a lower trim level truck, with the max towing packages to make sure they have both the towing capability and the payload capability needed.    For example in Ford that would be a F150 XLT trim level, but with the max towing package option.

Hope that helps.
 

 

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2019 Elite II (Hull 505 - Galway Girl - August 7, 2019 Delivery) 
Tow Vehicle: 2018 F150 EcoBoost, King Ranch, FX4, MaxTow Package, 10 Speed, 3.55 Rear Axle
GVWR 7,000#, Payload Sticker 1557#, Truck GCWR=18,100# ,Tow capacity: 12,200#

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22 hours ago, John E Davies said:

If you are not an experienced tower, then you should look hard at the available Towing Technology packages. They are all different depending on the manufacturer and even Light Duty vs Heavy Duty. If I were buying a New Ram HD, I would check the option box for this - it includes full surround cameras, the ability to add a rear view trailer camera and also trailer TPMS. 

Research, research, watch towing test videos from The Fast Lane Trucks, ask questions, take some trucks for drives -  you have so much time to make a decision. Don't act until you are 100% sure. Buy enough truck!

If you want more detailed advice, tell us do you plan to buy a new truck, or used, and where you plan to tow and how many miles annually.

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

 

 

22 hours ago, John E Davies said:

If you are not an experienced tower, then you should look hard at the available Towing Technology packages. They are all different depending on the manufacturer and even Light Duty vs Heavy Duty. If I were buying a New Ram HD, I would check the option box for this - it includes full surround cameras, the ability to add a rear view trailer camera and also trailer TPMS. 

Research, research, watch towing test videos from The Fast Lane Trucks, ask questions, take some trucks for drives -  you have so much time to make a decision. Don't act until you are 100% sure. Buy enough truck!

If you want more detailed advice, tell us do you plan to buy a new truck, or used, and where you plan to tow and how many miles annually.

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

 

I have never driven a truck or towed anything, so yes, I am researching as much as I can.  I live in Rhode Island, and plan on going south for the winter for a few months, and west to national parks in the springs for a few months.  So much traveling across the country.  I am leaning towards the Toyota Tundra, but have not been to the dealer.  Will get a vehicle that is a few years old.

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I've only ever heard good things about Toyota tundras, any regular size pickup will be able to tow the Oliver fairly easily with the quarter tons like the F150 Chevy/GMC/RAM 1500s and the Nissan Titan, needing a weight distribution hitch. All trucks will need a brake controller either built in or an aftermarket ad on. Most trucks that come with a tow package are prewired for an aftermarket brake controller that just plugs in under the steering column. I payed 120 for a nice one and plugged it in myself, there is no need to pay a dealer good money to do that for you. 

Edited by The Shackelfords
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I have a 2011 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Platinum.  I know it's not the most capable, the most luxurious or the highest rated - but I love my truck and would not buy anything but Toyota. I think many people are partial to whatever they own, so take my review with a grain of salt. In 90,000 miles, the only issue I've had is a defective driveshaft.  It was a known problem and Toyota had a TSB for it . Fortunately I had bought an extended warranty (I don't normally do that) - so it covered the close to $2000 repair. If I had caught it earlier, Toyota would have paid under factory warranty. I replaced the rotors with cryo-treated OEM rotors at 85,000 miles.  The pads were still like new, but I replaced them anyway.

What I don't like about the truck - Toyota's are expensive, the interior on mine is a bit "cheap" feeling, transmission could use a couple more gears, mileage is not great, would like a diesel (Toyota 1VD-FTV engine, not a Cummins TD).

The normally bulletproof reliability is what sold me.  It's a pretty solid truck.  People love their Chevys, Fords and Rams.  I think the competition is better in most areas except overall reliability.

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5 hours ago, katanapilot said:

I replaced the rotors with cryo-treated OEM rotors at 85,000 miles.  The pads were still like new, but I replaced them anyway.

What I don't like about the truck - Toyota's are expensive, the interior on mine is a bit "cheap" feeling, transmission could use a couple more gears, mileage is not great, would like a diesel (Toyota 1VD-FTV engine, not a Cummins TD).

The normally bulletproof reliability is what sold me.  It's a pretty solid truck. 

Would you mind explaining about the rotors and pads? I just don’t understand this.....

I agree about Toyota trucks (not the cars and crossovers). I am a huge fan of them, and of certain Lexus models. The Tundra is definitely Old School, and long overdue for a major model update. The problem is that if you drive a recent model made by one of the Big Three, it might easily  spoil you when compared to that obsolete technology. For example, the new Ram interiors are simply luscious. The driving experience of a newer truck with a MUCH better NVH design and more gears will be much higher, which is a really important factor for anyone who plans to spend many months on the road.

I would never say “Don’t buy a Tundra”, because with the 5,7 engine it is a reliable workhorse. But I think a Certified two or three year old used truck with better features would be worth considering hard. For example, a later Ram 2500 with the most excellent soft riding rear coil suspension. .... 

http://www.trucktrend.com/news/1306-2014-ram-2500-five-link-coil-rear-suspension/

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies
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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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4 hours ago, John E Davies said:

Would you mind explaining about the rotors and pads? I just don’t understand this.....

 

John Davies

Spokane WA

The OEM rotors were starting to show some signs of warping.  I'm not a fan of turning rotors as it removes some of the mass and therefore the heat absorption capability - which leads to additional warping.  So I bought new OEM rotors and had them cryogenically treated. There is a good article here and in fact, was written by the firm that treated my rotors.  I had a couple of other sets done at the same time.  There are cryo rotors available directly for many models of cars and trucks - I just preferred to stay with OEM.

As to the pads, given the slight warping of the original rotors, I had some concern that the old pads were not perfectly flat and would not provide even grip on the rotor - so I replaced them too. The rotor and pad replacement took less than an hour for both sides and I had never done them on a Tundra.  Very easy.  My old 4Runner - takes hours, since you have to pull the 4WD hubs to remove the rotors.

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Katanapilot, thanks for the info. I knew a little about cryo treating, but was unaware that you could just ship off automotive parts to get it done..... I guess my real question is, if you got that almost 100k miles on your OEM rotors and pads, why even bother? How much did it cost to ship and treat a set of heavy rotors? How many miles do you drive annually?

I am sorry to hijack the thread, maybe this should be the subject of a new one.

John Davies

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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I haven't done much towing with the Tundra - mostly an 18' utility trailer, so with the additional weight of towing the Oliver I wanted better front brakes. I could have installed the Tundra big brake kit or some other aftermarket setup, but they were all pricey.  I wanted new rotors anyway, the cost of the cryo treating plus shipping to me was reasonable. I ordered all the rotors online and had them shipped to 300 Below  (I had two other sets done at the same time). I am hopeful these will last longer and perform better, as that has been my experience with other "freeze-dried" rotors.

Rotors were $50 each set to treat plus $100 to ship all three sets to me with insurance. So an average of $83 per set. I drive the truck about 7500-10,000 miles per year, but that may go up significantly when we get the Oliver, sell the motorhome and retire in 2 1/2 years.

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19 hours ago, John E Davies said:

Would you mind explaining about the rotors and pads? I just don’t understand this.....

I agree about Toyota trucks (not the cars and crossovers). I am a huge fan of them, and of certain Lexus models. The Tundra is definitely Old School, and long overdue for a major model update. The problem is that if you drive a recent model made by one of the Big Three, it might easily  spoil you when compared to that obsolete technology. For example, the new Ram interiors are simply luscious. The driving experience of a newer truck with a MUCH better NVH design and more gears will be much higher, which is a really important factor for anyone who plans to spend many months on the road.

I would never say “Don’t buy a Tundra”, because with the 5,7 engine it is a reliable workhorse. But I think a Certified two or three year old used truck with better features would be worth considering hard. For example, a later Ram 2500 with the most excellent soft riding rear coil suspension. .... 

http://www.trucktrend.com/news/1306-2014-ram-2500-five-link-coil-rear-suspension/

John Davies

Spokane WA

I like that. Thanks!

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MY input, buy whatever brand - size that fits your needs - but please make sure the payload of the vehicle you are considering meets your needs. Just because the towing ratings are in the ballpark, doesn't mean the payload is sufficient. AS for me - I do not consider any 1/2 ton truck sufficient to tow a fully loaded EII. Not because they can't, or aren't capable,  but because I've towed a good deal with them and a 3/4 ton truck. I'll take a diesel powered 2500 any day given a choice, and a bigger pocket book. 

Good fortune, RB

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"

ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201524964bac5483378b34b491562080842sm.jpg

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, jo79RI said:

Would this 1500 work also?

Maybe you should provide a link......

For looooong trips and extreme conditions (high, hot, steep) a heavy duty 4wd truck will be much more satisfactory, and you will not have any concerns about payload, AND you won't have to use the Andersen hitch (a $50 dead weight ball and mount is fine). Once you add "stuff" to any 1500, like canopy, racks, drawer slide, bigger tires, offroad armor, etc etc, your available payload quickly drops into the danger zone. Just a canopy and slide system might weigh 400 to 500 pounds. 

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies
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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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I will throw in my 2 cents.  I tow a fair amount (not an Oliver, that won't happen until March 26) and I would say that overkill is great.  The safety margin is increased and the fatigue factor is decreased.  In addition to a Ram 3500 (for ranch work and ranch towing) I still own my all time favorite vehicle, a 2007 Tundra.  I ordered the Andersen Hitch just to HAVE the ability to tow with my Tundra, but in reality I'll most often tow our Oliver with the Ram because in towing overkill is the way to go.  It is comforting to know I could pull two EIIs!!, but only have one hooked up.

As John and others have pointed out, payload creep is a real thing.  It seems to me if I had to buy a pickup tow vehicle I would start my search with a suitable 3/4 ton.

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Jason and Sonja are located in western Wyoming near Pinedale, WY.

Oliver Elite II #609 (2020)

TV: 2017 Ram 3500

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On 2/19/2020 at 10:07 AM, ctshort09 said:

Is the disadvantage of the F250 or 2500 the gas mileage only, or are there other cons as well?  I would think that traveling out west in mountains, one might want the 3/4 ton truck?

 

 

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10 hours ago, jo79RI said:

 

In my opinion, if your looking for a little of the best of everything. Comfort. Fuel economy, tow rating, cargo rating and long hauling. 2500 series trucks or Suvs. Would be the best choice. This has been long debated issue. Bottom line personal preference, what ever your most comfortable with,

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There are advantages and disadvantages for all the available choices. As for the diesel Duramax GMC - my experience - Cons-  higher initial cost, higher operating costs ( diesel and oil/fuel filter changes) , and for some  more difficult - harder - to park/maneuver.  Pro's - much better towing fuel mileage (15-16), decent unloaded fuel mileage (20+ hwy, 15 in town)  absolutely superior towing and long haul comfort, no need for WDH, and generally a better vehicle for heavy duty use. I loved my previously well used 1/2 ton GMC truck - and would have used it to as a TV for the Oliver - but the long trips were just not what I wanted. And the payload would not handle what I took along with the Oliver EII. The 2500 was just better. I sadly sold the older GMC to a happy new owner. 

To each his own - we all have valid opines here-  well almost... 😉

20180929_103714.thumb.jpg.a8f90bb90bc89bc454d97150035fabd6.jpg

Edited by BackofBeyond
update
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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"

ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201524964bac5483378b34b491562080842sm.jpg

 

 

 

 

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