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Tow vehicle wanted


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I am looking around for a tow vehicle. I am not so interested in the year as I am in the engine performance and low mileage. Once I get a tow vehicle I can start thinking about purchasing an Oliver. At present I have my home-vehicle which is not suitable for towing. It doesn't even have a bumper... my Honda Civic EX '06. You can't install a hitch on it because of the wrap-around type fenders. It's a great little car in performance and looks. I would like to find a small truck similar to the F150 or Ranger, either of which will pull 3500 lbs as required. I understand that the Wrangler is a great tow vehicle also. If anyone reading this knows of a nice little, and note that I do say 'little' -smile- truck, I'd be very happy to hear from you. I'm not interested in a gas-guzzler. My neighbor has one of these great Dodge rambo trucks he's trying to sell and I suppose he gets 8 miles to the gallon. I'd like something that gets the best mileage per gallon possible. Looking forward to your help. Thanks. FrancesM
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My neighbor has one of these great Dodge rambo trucks he's trying to sell and I suppose he gets 8 miles to the gallon.


Hi Frances,


Actually I drive one of those "great Dodge rambo trucks" ( ;) )with a Cummins diesel and I consistently get 16+ around town, 20+ on the highway, and 10+ towing a 4 ton travel trailer over just about any kind of road at just about any speed. I could probably do better when towing but I tend to roll with the traffic flow, leave the A/C on, etc.


On my recent 1600 mile loop down through the mountains of NC and VA I did a fair amount of interstate at 65-70 MPH and quite a bit of twisty back roads with steep climbs - the trip computer at the end of the trip showed an average 10.1 MPG. Not too bad considering the truck itself weighs about 7200 lbs and can pull a fifth wheel nearly twice that heavy. I've found that the camper shell (see picture) actually adds 1-2 MPG because it streamlines the truck bed.


Now if your neighbor's truck isn't diesel then it probably is a gas hog - my old V-10 2500 proved that before I gladly sold it to buy this one!







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Hi, Frances,

Welcome to the forum.

This topic gets a lot of discussion on all the forums.... Especially with today's fuel costs.

Unfortunately, the key words "tow vehicle" don't bring much up in a search on this forum or others, because they're "too common"...

Here's a link to a thread here that might be of interest to you:


Are you planning to replace your Civic with a truck, or do you plan to buy an additional tow vehicle? We have a lot of uses for our half-ton Silverado beyond towing the Oliver... and it gets respectable mileage, towing or not. However, mpg is nothing like your Honda's when zipping around town. Our 2005 is a 2wd, short bed, flare side, offers a really nice ride (for a truck) and is a little smaller than the newer model Silverados. It seems like just about every maker "supersized" their pickups in the last few years...

I've been doing some research, too. Here are a few more links that might be of interest to you:





Unless you want the cargo ability of a truck, you may find a little nicer (more car-like) ride, more inside storage, and (sometimes) a little better overall mileage with some SUVs. Paul was really impressed with Chris & Cherie's Diesel Jeep Liberty when they test-towed our Oliver. We sometimes tow our Oliver with our Volvo SUV, since the truck only seats two people comfortably.


Whatever you choose, I'd strongly suggest that you get a factory tow package, not just a factory hitch. Many vehicles have significantly higher tow ratings with the tow package installed, and the tow-rated transmission and additional coolers extend the life of your tow vehicle.


Good luck in your search.


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.




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I certainly appreciate the information given to me above... I've learned a lot in a short time.

In addition, I wasn't aware that a Tow Package was different than a Tow Hitch. That's a good piece of information.

After reading the posts regarding towing, I did some surfing and found some internet sites that were unbelievably confusing. People who favored GMC to Ford to Dodge almost fought over whose was the best towing vehicle, their reasons, and so forth. I left this very long discussion assuming any of the three would be desirable, with none having the 'edge' over the other.

-smile- All had their 'short points' and all had their 'high points'.


Certainly, with diesel up to almost $5 a gallon, that has to be a deterrent, especially since 99% of my driving is home and around town. A short bed would be ideal because the most I would have need to carry is typical home things and anything larger can be 'squeezed' in.. Like the 44x47" plate glass table top I managed to squeeze into my Honda's 43" trunk. What the real 'squeeze' was.. getting it out of the trunk when I got home. -smile- Have you any idea how heavy a plate glass table top is, and how unwieldy? Unbelievable!


With all the help, I am getting more informed for what I am searching for. Certainly more informed than I was when I first entered the Tow Vehicle Wanted post. Thanks all.

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Certainly, with diesel up to almost $5 a gallon, that has to be a deterrent, especially since 99% of my driving is home and around town.



Don't let that deter you from buying a diesel. The fact is that diesel is only about 10-20% more than gasoline in most markets, but is most likely still the least expensive alternative when you evaluate the and not . If you're getting 25% better mileage and only paying 20% more for the fuel, you're still ahead of the game, city or highway.


Also bear in mind that the longevity of the diesel engine (at a very minimum 2x longer than its conventional gas counterpart) and the increased re-sale value will make the total cost of vehicle ownership much more attractive even if you do pay a bit more for the diesel option up front.


Of course I own a diesel truck so I'm biased. I also have a deposit on one of the new VW TDI "Clean Diesel" Jettas due to arrive this fall (expecting ~40 city and ~50 highway), so I firmly believe that diesel engines still make sense even in these times of elevated prices ...


My $0.02.



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All that being said....


The main thing that would keep me from wanting a diesel vehicle is the availability of fuel. The next time you are filling up at your local station, look for the diesel pump. Unless it's a major station or a truck stop, there probably won't be one. Sam's Clubs (with very few exceptions according to my internet search) doesn't carry it, Kroger (where we get an additional 10 cents per gallon off with their card) doesn't carry it and I can't think of a station in our area that's convenient that does. I borrowed my son-in-law's gigantic Ford Pickup a couple of times to go off on canoeing trips in Arkansas and several times I worried that we would run out of fuel before we found a station that sold diesel. Obviously, whenever we found it, we bought it no matter what the price.


The primary reason that there are few diesel vehicles produced for the US market has always been that the infrastructure for delivering gasoline for private use is in place making it much more readily available.

Steve, Tali and our dog Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie, Lucy and Reacher (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 





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Regarding the availability of filling up... I hadn't thought of that. That's a very important point for me. Quite often I don't fill up at the 3/4 point when I should, and it seems as if I'm running on the fumes and stress until I get to the closest station to fill up. I always vow I won't let that happen again, but you know how life is -smile-.


I did do the figuring cost-wise of mpg for gas and mpg for diesel and they appear to come out the same, so diesel vs gas costs appear to balance out pretty even. What would appear to be daunting for a 'newbie' then would be the repair work when needed, diesel repair being very much more expensive than gas and fewer diesel mechanics than gas, and the important fact that you can't fill up 500 miles from home in the ease that you fill up with gas. I've read where people with computers with them can plan ahead in order to FIND stations along the way.


I appreciate this input. I've certainly learned a lot in a short amount of time. FrancesM

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Interesting points. I can understand the concern about availability but in the 9 years that I've been driving HD trucks the availability of diesel has never been an issue.


For example I just completed a 1600 mile loop from Williamsburg down through Asheville NC and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park before returning up the Blue Ridge Parkway and back across southern VA on Rt 58 (not an Interstate). In all honesty I was concerned about diesel availability before taking the trip but not once on the trip did I have any issues, even in the middle of what seemed like proverbial nowhere. You know why? Most farm equipment runs on diesel and so do semi trucks. It's all about knowing the local market and their needs. I'd bet that some of those rural stations probably turn their diesel tanks faster than they turn their premium gas tanks.


Having lived in the wild wild West for six years (the Wasatch Mountains of Utah) the same held true - I drove literally thousands of miles out there (UT, WY, ID, and MT) in search of good fly-fishing but we never had a fuel problem. To be honest the only places that I've had issues finding diesel is in deepest darkest suburbia. I simply find the local places that do carry it and plan my errand routes accordingly.


I highly recommend that everyone that's planning to do any Interstate travel with their RV (diesel TV or otherwise!) invest in a copy of the "The Next Exit" guide from Camping World, Amazon, or your favorite e-tailer - see http://www.thenextexit.com/ for more info. This book tells you what all services are available at, oddly enough, the next exit ;) and which ones are RV friendly in terms of canopy height, parking lot clearances, etc. Need fuel, food, a hospital, a mechanic, etc.? The book will tell you. Ours paid for itself on our recent trip in piece of mind if nothing else. The RV-friendly information was especially worthwhile because my TV+RV combo is over 50' long ...





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diesel repair being very much more expensive than gas

Hi again Frances,


The Cummins engine in my Dodge came with a 7 year, 100K mile warranty. To be honest I've never had an engine or transmission related issue with either of my Dodges, diesel or otherwise, in 120K miles of sometimes strenuous use. I've towed in 106 degree heat with the A/C running and I've started cold without a block heater (!) at -24 F, neither of which I recommend on a regular basis for truck or driver! ;)


I've always taken care of the trucks as recommended by the manufacturer's 'harsh duty' service schedule and they've taken care of me in return ... this amounts more or less to oil changes and other basic checks at 3750 mile intervals vs. the normal 7500 mile cycle. The 30K service was just completed on this truck and was right around $900 which included a variety of flushes and fluid changes in the differentials, cooling system, etc.


Don't get me wrong, these are big vehicles with big parts and that sometimes means big bills, but I'm not sure that this is all that different for diesel vs. a comparable gas truck.


As in all things, your mileage may vary!



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