By on June 6, 2017

What The Truck?

And did you know desire’s a terrible thing
The worst that I can find
And did you know desire’s a terrible thing
But I rely on mine

“Can’t Be Sure” was The Sundays’ brilliant 1989 debut, introducing all of us to the lovely Harriet Wheeler and her ability to sing the most heartbreaking lyrics possible in the voice of a spoiled British child. I took the above stanza to heart the minute I heard it, because it took something that had long animated me and put it into a few simple words. It’s no wonder that the Zen philosophers preach a detachment from desire, because it drives our worst and most selfish behaviors. Virtually every regrettable or repugnant episode in my life has begun with me looking at something (or, more often, someone) and pronouncing, like Henderson The Rain King, “I WANT!”

Yes, desire is a terrible thing — but I rely on mine, as I’ve recently been reminded. You see, I need a full-size pickup. But need is in no way synonymous with desire, so I’m absolutely stuck in the mud trying to figure out what I should do next.

At some point in the next few months, I’m going to sell Danger Girl’s 2009 Tahoe Z71 (if you’re interested, feel free to inquire) and replace it with a crew-cab 4×4 pickup. I’ve drawn up a short list of requirements:

  • Crew cab, to maximize sealed interior space and to provide a bigger crush box for my son;
  • The longest bed possible, to maximize carry capacity;
  • The ability to tow 8,500 pounds without difficulty, so I can have a race car in a 20-foot enclosed trailer;
  • Gasoline powered, because I don’t want to deal with the cost or hassle of diesel;
  • 4×4, because the resale hit for not having it in Ohio far exceeds the cost of the option;
  • Heated seats, because Danger Girl is always cold;
  • Maximum longevity;
  • Minimum running cost;
  • Lowest possible purchase price.

This truck will have just two purposes in life. The first is to tow my race cars and track cars to various events. The second is to take my BMX and mountain bikes to skateparks and racetracks. It won’t be a daily driver and it will rarely leave the house unless there is something in the bed.

After some thought, I’ve narrowed the selection to 1500 series, V8-powered 4×4 longbed crew cabs from the Big 2.5. The Tundra and Titan have been excluded for cost and/or durability reasons. I don’t see a need to step up to the 3/4-ton trucks with their load-rated slippery tires and higher running costs. The Suburban and Expedition EL have been dismissed for purchase price and carrying-capacity reasons; you can’t have a 90cc pitbike and 10 full Hunsaker jugs in the back of a Suburban.

I don’t want a used truck and I also don’t want to spend more than $45,000 on the truck after all incentives and discounts have been applied.

As of this writing, I’m leaning towards the Silverado LT “All-Star” edition with the 5.3-liter V8, with a 5.0-liter F-150 Lariat or XLT a close second. The Ram 1500 is not out of consideration but it’s the oldest and least sophisticated of the three so there would need to be some price or durability benefits.

I’m curious as to what the B&B think I should get, or what they would get in the same situation. I cannot stress enough that I don’t need to use this vehicle on a daily basis. At most, it will go to the MTB trails twice a week in good weather. For everything else, I’ll continue to use a car or a motorcycle. Feel free to chime in and make the case for your favorite truck — or make the case against something that’s burned you in the past!

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183 Comments on “Trackday Diaries: Pick a Perfect Pickup...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    I’m an FCA shill, but my brother’s previous-gen Titan is going on 240k miles with only scheduled maintenance. One data point does not a trend make, but take it for what it’s worth.

    Now, back to my intended purpose. Get the RAM 1500. Let’s be honest, these are pickup trucks, the underlying technology of which hasn’t changed since I was in grade school. The functional “sophistication” gap between the RAM and it’s competitors in the Big 3 is going to be hard to measure unless you’re living and working in the truck, and the interior gadgetry/widgets are comparable.

    Personally, I’d take the RAM simply to get UConnect over GM’s MyLink, which I’ve found falls below Emmitt’s double decker couch on the spectrum of “the worst.” I’ve not really played with the latest incarnation of Sync.

    But really, buy a RAM so that we can make lots of bucks and bring back the Viper. You’re our only hope.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Surprisingly, or not, I drive each of the three you noted quite a bit as they are plentiful on the rental lot.

    I find the Ford the most difficult to use. I will concede that perhaps it is a user issue as I am not comfortable with the infotainment system.

    Chevy and Ram are my preferred go to rigs. I find the front seat of the *cloth* interior Ram with the 60/40 front seat to be the most comfortable for extended driving. Once the cruise is activated you can stretch your right leg out under the dash. I find I am in the V6 Ram a fair amount, which empty has plenty of power since I only carry on I can’t speak to its prowess with some weight or a trailer. I don’t find the V6 to get mpg any measurably better than the Hemi, so for the pleasure of being able to do a 1/4 mile burnout if I wanted, the Hemi it would be.

    Since I own a Suburban the Chevy 1500 feels the most similar. I like them, they are comfortable, and in my experience get the best MPG overall. I really struggle with the eco-boost FWIW. You get boost or eco, pick one. I unfortunately pick boost too often.

    Despite what is said here in some cases, I don’t think you will file any of the three to be maintenance nightmares. There is always a story about someone who knew someone who had a bad one. The F150, GM 1500 series, & RAM 1500 combined are probably the top vehicle sold in the U.S so it makes sense that statistically you will get more lemons coupled with the abuse some of them take at far higher clip than the standard Camcord which can also lead to shop time.

    For me it would be the Ram.

  • avatar
    Caboose

    Good Morning, Jack. I have a question and two thoughts.

    What does your heart tell you about Ford’s boosted engines?

    In the crew cab, 6.5′-bed, 4×4, 1500 you want, Chevy offers their 6.2L. It gets exactly one MPG less than the 5.3L. It will pull a little bit more but much more easily relative to the 5.3, too. Something to consider. If you’re getting 4×4 primarily for resale reasons, you might consider the big engine for the same reason.

    You’ll have to buy a good deal of equipment that you probably don’t need in a track truck just to get the heated seats. I encourage you to think about a work truck/base trim and get heat added to the seats at a reputable aftermarket accessories shop.

    • 0 avatar
      No Nickname Required

      I agree that the 6.2 is the best motor in the GM trucks and possibly the best motor, full stop. The problem is that for some stupid reason GM has decided to limit the availability of said motor to top trim level trucks which means that unless you find a dealer who is desperate to make a sale, you won’t get into one for $45000. Sad!

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      To get the 6.2 you need to step up to LTZ trim. The sticker price difference isn’t that serious but the 6.2 trucks are usually short on incentives for obvious reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        If you must half ton keep this in mind,in the Chevrolet the 5.3 with 8 speed will constantly hunt for gears while towing.. Could really use a 3:92 option. The Ford you are good with either engine and the economy boost is a hoot and its torque is addicting. With a ram you can go full zoot limited with the 4 corner air bags and it tows great. But if it were my money? Ram 2500 with the mega cab and 6.5 bed and the big gas 6.4 with rear air ride and you can go down to a lower gear set and that engine won’t break a sweat with that load and you’ll get better than half ton mpg towing.. There’s a huge dealer in Kellogg Idaho that sells ram Chevrolet and Nissan and Jeep.. The price can’t be beat. Also.. Just for peace of mind not because it’s needed get the unlimited mile lifetime warranty for the ram, you can get it online for $2200 it covers everything except tires brakes and glass.. Best peace of mind I’ve brought.. I plan on getting 25 years out of my truck.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          I’ve been reading about buying a pickup and the advice seems to concur on one point – buy more truck than you think you’ll need. The add’l cost of the 2500 isn’t much over a 1500 w/ the options you might have to get installed to do what you want to do.

          I’ve also read good things about that dealer.

          • 0 avatar
            mikeg216

            It’s true, with trucks and storage space, get as much as you can afford. You don’t think that you will need it, but you’ll find a use for it. Same with Jack and the truck. You’ll find bigger and bigger stuff to haul and end up doing much more truck related stuff.. Car trailer now, fifth wheel camper in a few years

          • 0 avatar
            mikeg216

            Without low prices and word of mouth that dealer wouldn’t survive but it’s thriving.

          • 0 avatar
            mikeg216

            Also Toyota tundra TRD Pro crewmax.. It comes standard with a 4:30 rear end and it’s built on the land cruiser chassis.. Fuel efficient it’s not, but it’s quite stout

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      ” I encourage you to think about a work truck/base trim and get heat added to the seats at a reputable aftermarket accessories shop.”

      That’s the ticket….. The full size pickup market is so big, the vehicles so relatively unchanging, and their buyers so skewed towards DIY’ers and tinkerers, that the aftermarket is much, much deeper, better thought out and less pricey than what is generally true for cars.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m assuming you’ve driven both. But for my money I would go Ford with a 3.55 or 3.73.

    I wouldn’t do a 5.3L without the NHT, because GM tuned it stupid otherwise. But although you *could* do a crew LB 4×4 with NHT for $45k, it would almost certainly require a factory order (they are rare on the ground) and it might ride stiffer than you would like.

    Meanwhile, the Ford V8 is not the “economy” option for that line so you can get good throttle response while avoiding stop/start, direct injection, cylinder deactivation, etc. It also sounds cooler if you care about such things. The Chevy will give you better fuel economy, but it doesn’t sound like the truck will be racking up high miles.

    Now if your budget allowed a 6.2L…

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    If you want a piece of sh1t truck but a great powertrain, go with GM. If you want a great truck with a lack luster powertrain, go with Ford. I love my 5.0, but it is not fuel efficient compared to GM’s powertrain engineering prowess.

    If you want the cheapest option, go RAM.

    I have both GM and Ford discounts due to my family. If I didn’t have my current bias: Before GM went all out with the cheesy lights and bling, it would have been a Chevrolet all day. But today’s Silverado looks like a high school kid or sales manager with bad taste dressed it up with aftermarket crap to bling them up on the dealer lot. GMC’s blue dot/light pipe lights barely pass as professional grade. GM’s lighting treatments just look so damned cheap to me. Also, wait to buy the GM steel garbage if that’s your choice as they will discount them heavily when they release the Al constructed cabs. I purchased a 2013 P415 for 33k OTD and my brother got the exact same truck for 26k OTD in high tax Massachusetts one year later when they were pushing discounts to make room for the P552.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m going to Say Chevy based on criteria. I have had a rental crew 6′ bed with a 4.3 and I have driven a 5.3 reg cab. It really is a pretty great truck.

      Now I will lobby for ram a little. The 5.7 feels quicker then the 5.3. I think the unloaded ride is better in the ram (tossup when you put more then 200 lbs in the bed of the chevy). I also slightly prefer the interior layout in the ram. And finally your money will go further with the ram.

      Really I don’t think you can go wrong either way.

    • 0 avatar
      igve2shtz

      I’ve been saying this for years, and I’m glad someone finally agrees with me. An LSx F-150 FTW!

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “. I purchased a 2013 P415 for 33k OTD and my brother got the exact same truck for 26k OTD in high tax Massachusetts one year later when they were pushing discounts to make room for the P552.”

      I have not seen full-size pickups so aggressively priced from Ford and RAM since 2009-2011.

      They are stacking pallets of cash on the hoods of lot-lounging 1/2 and 3/4 ton pickups – at least in the metro-Detroit area – like crazy, and hard-ball negotiators can drive even better deals if they put the work in.

      I bet that Jack could get a relatively well-equipped crew cab full bed 4×4 from Ford with the 3.5 EB or from RAM with the 5.7 liter for $31,000 or less (maybe as low as $27,000 in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne county high volume dealerships if he can do without the genuinely unnecessary luxuries)’if he’s willing to drive here (especially if someone gets him a program code).

      Chevy and GMC dealers will deal, too, but a disproportionate % of their Silverados and Sierras on dealer lots are equipped to the gills in terms of dealer stock, so the sticker prices are really inflated.

      Sheet bet would be to wait until September, or better yet, November, when lingering inventory has to be cleared to make way for new MY product.

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        Last three vehicles I’ve waited for between Christmas and new year and Chevrolet usually throws me another grand of cash on the gm card to use and every time I’ve walked out with a 20%+discount with minimal fuss

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    What you’re describing Jack is almost exactly what I bought my wife to be her daily driver. 2014 F150 FX4 Super Crew with the 5.0L V8. I did get the shorter 5.5 ft box because we’re not hauling motorcycles with it, but it’s rated at 9900 lbs towing and seems to have an excellent tow/haul function the couple time’s I’ve pulled a trailer.

    My wife is frequently cold as well, but the cloth seats don’t seem to have been a problem, and it’s got a beast of a heater that will bake you in the winter so it hasn’t been an issue.

    30,000 trouble free miles so far, with just oil changes.

    I’ve never been much concerned with fuel economy, living in an area with some of the cheapest gas in the nation, and ours came with a 36-gallon tank so she has a 500 mile range.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    What you need is my 7.3 Powerstroke. 6-speed manual, crew cab, Lariat trim, and since you’re not buying new it doesn’t matter that it’s 2WD if you just want 4×4 for residuals. Honestly though, I’ve replaced everything that could go out within the next 250,000 miles, so you’re set.

    Hard to go wrong with the venerable school bus engine!

    • 0 avatar
      chaparral

      Jack,

      Buy IBx1’s truck. He takes good care of his cars and lives in Texas where they don’t rust. It’s appropriate for the job.

      Your loads are heavy enough to consider a 3/4t truck. Saving $30,000 right now should negate any additional maintenance costs of older machinery.

  • avatar
    Dan

    If this is explicitly not a daily driver then why are you shopping daily drivers? Towing 8K with a long bed has 3/4 ton Silverado written all over it.

    The 2011-2014 has the current generation running gear underneath the old body style, which had better ergonomics anyway, but they look old and have depreciated a smidge more (but still not very much) if you’re open to a used one.

    If you insist on a half ton then I’d get a Tundra. Nothing breaks, all of the heavy and clunky complaints go away with something heavy hooked up, and the big motor is a joy. Ford’s 5.0 has no low end and belongs in a car and GM ruins their motors with the EPA pedal programming. The 8 speed Hemi in the Ram is great too but the truck around it sells as cheap as they do for a reason.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      I too think JB may have written off the Tundra too soon. Dealers seem willing to move on them lately and as a pure durability and resale proposition they have a lot to recommend them. Perhaps he is unwilling to risk walking on a Toyota lot and seeing how inexpensive Camry SEs are right now.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Tundra Crews only come with the shortest bed, as far as I’m aware. No Crew/6.5.

        Ram’s 6.5 is on the suspect side as well, as the seemingly entire universe of ATV and other stuff manufacturers want to build the largest thing that can fit in 6.5 feet. While Ram’s “6.5”, is more like 6.33.

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah the double cab Tundra is pretty big compared to the extended cabs and quad cabs thou I have had 3 kids from 2-10 in the back of my father in laws double cab with plenty of room left over. But the crew max limits you to a 5′ bed. Toyota markets the crewmax as a mega cab competitor not a crew can competitor at least around here.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah I really hate the look of the Tundra but they do tow really well. My father in laws 5.7 is a great tow vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      The guy from South Main Auto (one of the best YouTube mechanic channels IMO) has a tundra and loves it because of the quality components.

  • avatar
    TR4

    Looks like your constraints rule out a manual transmission. Is that not important to you in a truck?

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    With discounts you can do a King Ranch Jack. Do it!

  • avatar
    Luke42

    My favorite truck is 2017 Honda Ridgeline. My previous favorite truck was my 1998 Ranger, but I’ve also owned a 1986 Mitsubishi Might Max and a 2003/2004 F-150 Classic FX4.

    The Ridgeline fixes everything that annoyed me about owning a Ranger for 8 years, except for the lack of EV/hybrid/diesel powerplant options.

    It’s smooth, it has AWD (instead of RWD and locking-differential 4×4), it has a good bed, and the interior is kid-friendly with lots of passenger space.

    Alas, it falls short of Jack’s 8500lb towing capacity requirement — it’s only rated for about 5000lbs.

    I’m also a fan of to Chevy Colorado diesel, but the back seat is too small for a rear facing carseat. The F-150 is nice, but getting one with a low enough load-floor to make loading things easy (especially motorcycles) might be a challenge.

    It’s also a shame that the Ford Transit van isn’t much cheaper than the F-150 (despite being less feature-ridden), because it in would fit Jack’s requirements pretty well. I’ve never tried to buy one, though, so maybe MSRP is artificially inflated. I’d ask Bark about that.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Alas, it falls short of Jack’s 8500lb towing capacity requirement — it’s only rated for about 5000lbs.”

      then why even bring it up?

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Because it wasn’t clear if the 8500lb requirement was a hard limit or a soft limit.

        Also, these smaller trucks are forgotten and, frankly, the full-sized truck market in the US is really boring with the same three product lines dominating it for decades — the trucks are useful (even if they sometimes trade off utility for machismo), but there just isn’t much to talk about. So, adding a few more trucks into the mix makes the discussion far more interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Ridgeline should have been called the El Campilot. Too ugly to suggest to anyone.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I like the looks of the new Ridgeline quite a bit. The 1st-gen Ridgeline is Avalanche/Aztec ugly.

        But I will admit that the new Ridgeline looks best from the driver’s seat. It’s by far the smoothest truck I’ve ever driven.

        I’ve owned three pickup trucks, but I’m not in love with the image or the tradition. The Ridgeline isn’t built in the tradition of the American truck, which is it’s greatest strength. It’s actually built for the tasks that most pickups are used for.

    • 0 avatar
      Giskard

      I’ll give the Ford Transit a shout out as well. When I was looking for mine last year I was able to find several that were discounted pretty well off of MSRP. The best deal I found on a new one that met my criteria (long wheel base medium height roof passenger van with the 3.5 liter ecoboost) was about 40K. It was pretty loaded, too, with full towing package (including the sometimes hard to find optional brake controller), heated seats, and SYNC infotainment system. I ended up picking up a two year old lightly used Transit because it was 10K cheaper and a lot closer.

      With the passenger van you gain a lot better visibility and more flexibility. The seats pop in and out pretty easily (though they are a bit heavy) and if you get a medium or tall roof version you can just drive a lot of your toys into the back. It’s also nice being able to keep your gear enclosed whether you have a trailer behind you or not and you become instantly popular for any type of road trip event (mine has 15 seats).

      I also tow a 20′ long enclosed trailer behind mine and can tell you it works quite well for that. I hauled mine full of building supplies (probably 7000-8000 lbs including the trailer) on a 300 mile trip last fall and it had no problem keeping up with traffic or stopping. And I haven’t even gotten around to installing a brake controller yet which will improve things even more. Visibility out of the mirrors is very good as well – I have no problem seeing around my 8′ wide trailer.

      If you get one, just make sure you find one with the full tow package WITH optional brake controller. The factory brake controller comes nicely integrated into the center console (similar to the one in the F-150), but cannot be retrofitted after the fact.

  • avatar
    mason

    You didn’t say the distance your towing but if it’s any length with any type of grade you’ll be disappointed in the 5.3. It is very underpowered to be towing anything at that weight on the long haul. And it’s not really a truck engine like the 6.0, which is also underpowered but at least it has proven to be able to be run hard and stay together.

    Towing an enclosed trailer is similar to a camper with high profile sides. A half ton will do it but with the plush suspension that gives them the car like ride you’ll be white knuckling it on any roads that aren’t flat with zero winds. IMO your flirting with 3/4 ton territory. They can be had for similar money if your willing to sacrifice a little bling.

    • 0 avatar
      crackers

      +1

      How close to the 8500lb towing capacity requirement is your load?

      The wind resistance on a large, enclosed trailer can make the load appear to be much greater than the static weight. I found this out the hard way when I bought a large pontoon boat at the max weight rating of my tow vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The 5.3 has plenty of power and torque. We have come​to a strange era, when someone says 355hp and 385 ft/lb of torque are not enough. The way the 5.3 is setup is actually pretty good for Jack’s intended use. I get 20mpg around town if I make a conscious effort to try and keep the V4 indicator on as much as possible. These trucks are not rockets, but they don’t really have a performance dropoff once heavy loads are added. In the Ram you can feel a load way more. I have not driven a Ford with more than brush in it.

      I think the Chevy is the best truck, while the other two are better cars. The Ford and Ram are more comfortable, but it is more difficult to upset the Chevy with a heavier load. It sounds like Jack wants the best truck.

      • 0 avatar
        mason

        Ever haul an 8k lb camper through the mountains with your 5.3? I have with one and hated every mile. Thats very similar to what he’s looking at hauling in terms of weight and profile. That’s not it’s intended purpose. If he only makes a handful of short trips a year then it’ll suffice but The 5.3’s intended duty cycles are on par with the rest of the truck which is not to regularly haul that kind of weight over the road. Again, it all depends on individual use. Just because you feel it’s the best truck for you does not mean it is for everyone else.

        • 0 avatar
          baconator

          I’ve got the 5.3L in an Envoy and we basically use it *only* for towing a 24-foot enclosed trailer with race car (at least 7000 lbs and probably 7500-7700 when we’re fully loaded for an endurance race), or our 4500-kb travel trailer. The only time I felt it was short on power was with the race trailer fully loaded, driving the I-5 over the Grapevine. But other than that I’d describe it as perfectly adequate. 116k miles and it’s still kicking.

          Put me in the “Silverado” voting column, because I think GM makes a more durable V-8 and more durable transmission than either Ford or FCA. But the modern pickup truck is one of the most highly-evolved appliances you can buy; any of the three would probably be just fine.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          A few decades ago, a 454 in a 3500 only had 230 up and 385 ft/lb of torque. Somehow people managed. Yes, you might not be driving 80mph+ with your trailer in the fast lane on mountain roads. Otherwise a 5.3 is fine. In Europe they tow 4-5000lb campers with the equivalent of a Hyundai Elantra. Somehow, in the States, even a half ton V8 truck body on frame truck isn’t strong enough.

          • 0 avatar
            cdotson

            In most of Europe the maximum speed while towing is 50mph. There are more restrictive weight and length limits than there are in the US. Because trailers are shorter, lighter, and are towed more slowly they make do with as little as 3% tongue weight, where the US typically puts a minimum of 10% trailer weight on the hitch ball and as much as 15% with conventional towing. As far as I know, 5th-wheel towing is not done by Caravanners in Europe, while it’s common in the US. Using 5th wheels the hitch weight is 15%-20% or even 25% of the trailer weight.

            In the US if you want to tow a 9k lb trailer you have to place 900lbs on the hitch ball. Said ball being behind the rear axle places about 1000lbs load on the rear axle (the additional beyond ball weight is transferred off the front axle, minimized by using weight distribution hitches) and deducts payload capacity by 900lbs. Deduct the weight of the driver and passengers from payload as well. You can see how a 1/2-ton truck with ~1500lbs payload capacity quickly becomes inadequate if you’re hauling your family and gear with you.

            Not to mention the GCWR. Typically manufacturers get maximum tow ratings for advertisements by taking the GCWR (gross combined weight rating – total truck+trailer allowed weight) and subtracting the *curb* weight of the truck. If you tow alone and weigh no more than 150lbs you can tow that max rating. The actual max trailer weight is limited by what else you haul in the truck so you don’t go over GCWR.

            My Ram 1500 has a 10k GCWR, limited by transmission (aluminum-case 5spd manual) and axle ratio (3.55). I cannot tow a 5000-lb camper with my truck without exceeding the GCWR. Yes, I do it anyway, but I never exceed 65mph, use a weight distribution hitch, trailer brakes, and ensure my rear axle tires are at maximum sidewall air pressure. Climbing hills in Virginia sucks, so I normally take county roads with speed limits no higher than 45 if I’m encountering mountains, because I won’t likely be capable of going more than 35.

            On the American interstates if you can’t travel within 5mph of the speed limit you’re a hazard to yourself and others. Buy *WAY* more truck than you need to tow boxy trailers if you have any notion of interstate-speed travel.

          • 0 avatar

            I think at some point some one needs to take a better look at payloads hitch weights tongue weights etc. I feel alot is driven by old rules of thumb rather then real testing. I know in the boat world several of the trailer manf now recommend 5-10% tongue weight instead of 10 or higher (one recently changed their ideal to 7%). The half ton towable 5th wheels are changing things now too My inlaws for example only uses 9% pin weight. It also gets fuzzy with weight distributing hitches, I once looked up manf recommendations from ram and one year their towing guide said basically just use the GCWR the next years said to deduct from payload. It’s a strange world.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            No one is talking about a fifth wheel trailer. With your logic, anyone who tows a jet ski should buy a F-650. The half ton V8 is more than enough to tow what Jack wants. If you are implying that you need more power to climb an interstate grade with a 8500lb load, you are traveling at speeds way to fast. Your trailer brakes will become overworked at that point.

          • 0 avatar
            cdotson

            MBella,

            Quit being hyperbolic. An 8500lb enclosed car trailer is not a fraking jet ski.

            My truck has 230hp (or did when new) but somewhat less than the torque figure you mentioned above. I can tell you from experience it is insufficient for climbing interstate grades without significant speed reduction, and I was only towing ~5k boxy camper. I was lucky the stretch I was on had a truck lane, because I was doing 40 in it being passed by actual semi trucks.

            Downhill grades on interstates aren’t much of a braking problem if you’re towing a box trailer as aero drag is significant. I actually had to use throttle to maintain 65 downhill (same mountain as above). At lower speeds brakes become more of a concern, but that’s what engine braking and trailer brakes are for and another argument for purchasing excessive truck capability relative to your realistic needs.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m just going to leave this right here.

            https://rvlifemag.com/towing-half-ton-three-quarter-ton/

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Thank you for the link, mopar. That is a very detailed and informative article from someone with a lot of towing experience.

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            @Mopar, I don’t disagree with everything he says in your link but there’s a bit of bias involved there. Look at the first picture for example, if those Airstreams are indentical the ram was obviously moving at a higher pace through the turn simply by comparing the lean of the trailer. The truck has nothing to do with that.
            He is spot on on front and rear axle weight ratings being more important to pay attention to than GVWR.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m not sure I completely agree with him either. He is very controversial in RV circles. If you look around Can Am rv’s site there used to be a lot more links to his thoughts on tow vehicles. Some are still there, like towing airstreams with a Jag XJ and using a jetta TDI as a shop truck for instance.

            That said he does have some very real points about stability handling that are often ignored in RV circles.

          • 0 avatar
            mikeg216

            It’s not that the engine or transmission or frame isn’t up to par, it’s that the transmission hunts up and down constantly under load. The 5.3 with the 8 speed is their eco boost epa cheat vehicle

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “it’s that the transmission hunts up and down constantly under load.”

            I haven’t driven a 5.3L/8A, but wouldn’t tow/haul mode and the transmission thumb toggle take care of that?

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            “it’s not the engine or transmission isn’t up to par”

            I think the 8 speed transmission is going to be the only saving grace here. I’ve yet to drive one with an 8 speed but with a 6 speed it was wind and grind on the freeway just to keep with the flow of traffic with a big TT. Mbella seems to think it’s acceptable to just cruise at whatever speed is comfortable for the truck but in reality if your being passed by tractor trailers like your standing still your a hazard to yourself and others around you. The HP and torque numbers being touted above are also rather misleading given the overall package. Max HP @ 5600 rpm and torque not far behind ~4200 rpm is crazy even by modern V8 standards. Couple that with the highway queen CAFE driven gear options of 3.08 or 3.42 and those impressive hp numbers suddenly don’t mean as much.
            As I said above, the engine fits the truck. With the exception of a select few Max tow versions (which the All Star edition is NOT) Half tons in general are a compromise of comfort and utility with comfort and economy taking a front seat to utility. Quoting Jack above, he wants a truck that “can tow 8500 lbs without issue”. That is not the same as a truck that is rated to tow 8500 lbs. It will absolutely pull the specified weights on occasion. It is not the correct truck if your hooked to said load more than a few times a month or pulling long distance OTR. Anybody that refutes that is simply in denial.

  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    How about a SIX-door F-650 Crew Cab?

    http://bit.ly/2s03BVd

    It’s waiting for you in Sunny Medina for the low low price of…FORTY NINE THOUSAND NINE NINETY NINE? For 2WD??

    Never mind. Crack Pipe.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      I harbor a deep desire for a HD Cadillac Fleetwood 6-door with a LT1. They are 3/4 ton trucks with an LT1 instead of a Vortec. Somebody west coast Lemons teams use them as tow rigs with no issues.

  • avatar
    dchturbo

    F150. Drove them all, liked it the most.

    I tow my car with it. I drive it 90% of the time.

    I didn’t go crazy with options. I started off wanting an XLT with some options, but ended up liking the XL more. Smaller wheels, bigger tires, and cheaper to replace them.

    The 2.7L has tons of power. The only thing that I don’t like is that it sounds like a vacuum cleaner.

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    Get a 3/4 ton if you can make it work. That 8000 lbs is well inside the towing envelope of the F150 and Silverado, but I find the SuperDuty to be much more enjoyable to driven while fully laden.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      After doing the towing math with Bozi, a half ton should be fine. The 8000 lbs includes a cushion.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        that’s a heavy cushion.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        After talking to engineers who spend a lot of time at the Davis Dam, the limitations on the towing ratings are usually the brakes. Unless it’s a EB Ford. Then it’s thermal de-rate.

        If you have good trailer brakes, keep your tongue weight within spec and do mostly flatland towing, the tow rating is basically a conservative suggestion.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I know you said 1/2 ton only but you should drive the new Super Duty if you haven’t already. Nice truck, semi-affordable with the gas engine, and you get the option of the 8 foot bed with the crew cab that isn’t available in any 1/2 ton. Plus much better driving manners when pulling 8k.

    If limited to half ton, I think the Chevy 6.2 is impossible to beat.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      The downside of the HD pickups is how insanely jacked-up they are (in height.) I realize I’m shorter than average, but it’s ridiculous that I can barely see over the bed sides of a 4×4 F-250.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        You’re correct and the new Ford is the worst offender of the 3. I made the mistake of test driving one without running boards and even at 5′ 10″ it was not easy to climb in.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Not sure why Ford so nonchalantly threw away the entire “anyone who will ever need to enter the non delivery floors of most parking structures” market, with the Superduty redesign. But they did.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            Someone once told me the reason F-150s are so jacked up is because they want a flat floor in a RWD vehicle.

            I didn’t care to chase it down and verify it, but the F-150 I owned a few years ago had a bed-floor that was so ridiculously high that it was hard to load and unload cargo…

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    I daily drive a Silverado CCSB 4×4 LTZ and it’s a fantastic truck. I’d say go for it. I’ve driven the Ram 1500 and F150 as well. The Ford has little things that annoy me. I like to drive with the windows open and my arm resting on the window sill. The stupid kink in the F-150’s drivers door makes for a very uncomfortable place to rest your arm. The stupid console shifter takes up the space I use for my iPad (as GPS). I prefer GM’s infotainment system to sync, but they’re both pretty easy to use.

    I’m happy with the performance of my 5.3L 6sp and 3.42s. Everyone likes to say its slow but it does 0-60 is 6.7s and 1/4 is 15.3 @ 92. A tank of E-85 will take ~0.4 seconds off both times. Getting the 3.42s is essential; don’t get the 3.08s. In a recent highway trip with my cruise set to 78 most of the time I averaged 20.8 mpg over 780 miles on 87 octane. Truck had 4 passengers and bed full of luggage and fishing supplies. That’s a wonderful combo of mileage and performance.

    Really you can’t make a wrong decision though. Ford and GM both make a great truck; its just the little things that mostly fall to personal preference that make the decision.

    I’m also going to second the idea of getting a 3/4 ton truck. Seems like your use case is more inline with it.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    You are shopping at the right time, and if it takes you 30 to 60 days, you will be right in the middle of year end sales binges. I do the same thing generally, wait until the current year model is slashed to the bones and go for it…example…I did that with my loaded AWD Hemi Citadel in 2011, on a sticker price of nearly 49K, and walked out with the SUV for just over 40K. I did the same with my 2014 Ram Longhorn Laramie, 4 WD, with all options including two-tone paint, and the fancy embossed leather interior. I’m at 27 K mostly highway miles, towing 5 K lbs including trailer. My non towing mpg between Texas and Central KY average 22 or above, driving the speed limit or slightly above. Towing nets 15 to 16, terrain/wind dependent. I can not find one complaint on this loaded truck, which had a sticker of 53K, and I walked out with a new truck for 42 K…That is in the DFW Metroplex, with lots of sales competition, not sure you would find the same kinds of deals in Ohio market. I did beat up a Ford dealer last week on a new Focus ST, walking out with a few dollars under 19 K on a sticker of 25650…but I’m old…perhaps they felt sorry for me…

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    I’m going to be a contrarian and suggest a Canton, Miss. assembled 2017 Nissan NV3500 with the brand new 5.6L 375hp V8, 7-speed auto, and 9000lb tow rating.

    A guy I race with (and father of 4) has one, and it’s spectacular as a heavy hauler. The huge lockable, enclosed space works great for storing tools or people, and it tows a 24’x.8.5′ fully loaded racing trailer with no issue.

    MSRP for a loaded SL is $42,000, and they’re heavily discounted. Most importantly, you’ll get a 5 year, 100kmi warranty. These things seem to hold value well, too.

    My son may be getting deep into karting, I’m getting deeper and deeper into racing, and cub scout trips have already started. These Nissan vans are at the top of my list, particularly if we have a third child. There isn’t much than can haul 12 people, a huge trailer, or a combination of the two.

    That being said, Ford is clearing out Crew Cab 2.7L Ecoboosted F150s for $199/mo ($3k down, however). I think they’re rated to 7,500lbs.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    I would say go RAM, because load-leveling air suspension, but they only tow slightly less than 7K with your other requirements.

    I’d say go Chevy/GMC. You seemed to really like the one you towed with a few months ago, and they’re in a bad sales spot right now, probably willing to stretch to get your business.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The Ram 1500 Hemi/8AT/4×4/6’4″ with 3.92 gears is rated to tow 10,000lbs. The air suspension is a dream when towing big trailers, but like all air suspension systems, over time they can leak. I would suggest getting the coil suspension then adding a couple air lift bags to the rear coils.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    I think Ram is giving the best deals on what you want. When I bought my 2004, I was told that only Dodge and GMC were offering a crew cab with an 8 ft bed in a half-ton. Like you, I wanted a lot of space and did not need haul a heavy payload. The Hemi is powerful and relatively cheap. It was a $400 upgrade at the time. The engine has been dead reliable. I have towed a Highlander on a heavy vehicle trailer hundreds of miles up and down fairly steep grades at highway speeds with no difficulty. I think the newer Hemis have cylinder deactivation/variable displacement, so the mileage is better than the older ones. My engine calls for mid-grade gas, and will rattle on heavy acceleration if you use regular unleaded.

    I got the basic SL version with cloth seats, which have also held up well. The truck has the tow package and full-time all wheel drive, in addition to 4 high and low. It has been cheap to operate (except for gas) and was relatively cheap to purchase. Get the tow mirrors. Ugly but very functional, even when you are not towing.

  • avatar
    mikey

    There is good,and bad to all 3 trucks…To fit your needs I would recommend the GM double cab . The back seat is a bit tight, and the box is a little longer….If money is a factor, go with the RAM,, here in Canada the RAM is the best bang for your buck…From a looks standpoint ?…The F150 hands down.

  • avatar
    suburbanokie

    Haven’t looked much at the latest full-size offerings since I prefer the midsizers (anxiously waiting to see when Nissan will finally update the Frontier), but FWIW I know my parents’ 2014 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn recently had its 3rd set of tires put on at about 87k miles. And they barely use the back end or tow.

  • avatar
    phlipski

    Do yourself a favor and just sit in a Ford F150 with the massaging & heating/cooling seat option. It’s an almost sexual experience.

  • avatar
    raisingAnarchy

    For what it’s worth, my friend just picked up the RAM 1500 Rebel. Pretty awesome truck so far, though it’s still brand new. In my area (NE Ohio), there are many examples of that truck going for as much as $10-12k off MSRP. My friend also picked the 5.7L over the 6.2L, saying it drove better. He’ll be using it to tow his racing motorcycles all over the country.

    I’m not sure whether the Aisin transmission is supposed to be great or not. I like the Aisin and have heard great things about its application in my Subaru STi, but I know a few truck guys that don’t like Aisin in their trucks.

    Happy hunting!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The 8 speed transmission in the 1500 is a ZF design, manufactured by FCA. They’ve proven to be very reliable.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      Your friend, if you got details from him, knows nothing about his truck or what was offered.

      1) You cannot get any RAM with a 6.2L, that kitty is only available in the Charger, Challenger, and soon the Grand Cherokee. The only engine options are 5.7L HEMI and 3.6L PentaStar. I believe the 3.0L EcoDiesel is an option for 2018 in the Rebel but I can’t seem to locate the source of that mind nugget outside of my own brain, so take that with a grain of salt. A large one, considering that particular mill isn’t yet certified for 2017.

      2) The 8-speed is the ZF 8HP70 variety. Not Aisin. It’s very popular across multiple manufacturers and segments. I won’t say it’s bulletproof, but it is well developed.

  • avatar
    Cole Trickle

    If a non-car person came to me with this question, I’d say drive all 3, figure out what options you ACTUALLY want, get a price on all 3. They’ll probably be pretty close unless you decide you just have to have a mega high end version of one or you hate all but the vinyl floor mat version of the other. Buy the one you want to put your ass in. All 3 are reasonable choices, and I don’t see any other options you are leaving out given your specs. I will say if you chunk the 4wd requirement it will really open up your options, but an empty rwd truck in the Ohio winter can get you stuck and you may not want to fool with snow tires on yet another vehicle. The other guy is right about the heated seats, those can be installed in any number of ways and are NOT worth all the other options you must buy to get them if you don’t care about those options.

    That being said, I’d get a 4wd Dodge crew cab with cloth and a $50 seat heater from Amazon. They are marked down from 43k to 26k right now. That’s dirt freaking cheap for that much truck.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    You’re going to play hell finding a 1/2-ton crew cab long bed anything anywhere. If you don’t buy off the dealer lot, no incentives for you (unless they’re nice and do a trade, but then you’re over the barrel negotiation-wise).

    Plus it’s easy to look at max towing numbers for 1/2-tons and thing 8500 lbs is easily doable, but I’d bet 80%+ of the 1/2-tons on dealers lots aren’t specified correctly to top that number. Ford has a very good model-specific towing guide, FWIW.

    I’m thinking you should start considering gas F250s and Ram 2500s. Both are very common with integrated trailer brake controllers. I don’t know how you’d have to option then to get heated seats on both sides as that’s one of the last features I’d ever consider. Being this isn’t a daily driver you won’t miss a bit of degraded ride quality (and the Ram 2500 has multi-link coils in the rear now) nor will you be hooning the truck loaded (right!?!?!??) so the LT tires are going to hold up to the load better than P-metric.

    You only have one kid, but you’re admittedly concerned about crush space safety. I don’t know if you insist on him sitting in the middle of the rear seat, but the Rams (except Mega Cab, which is short-bed only IIRC) have a much shorter botton cushion and much higher center floor than Ford/GM. The Ram Mega cab has standard-length center cushion and the floor falls down at the center rear making it more comfortable for kiddos. My 9yo daughter hates sitting center/rear in my QuadCab Ram 1500 because of the seat/floor design, but then again she’s 5′ tall.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Don’t tell anyone, but deep in an underground bunker in South Bend, Indiana there has been some top secret product development work going on. That is why I would recommend waiting for the 2019 Studebaker rumored to be available with Avanti power – after 53 years of development is should be a duesy. If you want something sportier, I’ve also heard rumors that the Reo skunkworks is working a new Speedwagon.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    I love my 2011 F-150 EB. The only major issue it has had is the radio died recently. It’s a bit of a PITA, but not catastrophic. The Vacuum pump is noisy too, but that was addressed in 2013+ F150s.

    I tow very frequently, as I have 3 trailers. I used to tow a 7000+ lb 29′ travel trailer with it. It had no trouble doing so, but the fuel economy was pretty bad since it was on the boost a lot. Now with the smaller travel trailer, it’s not so bad.

    If you stay out of the boost, the fuel economy is reasonable. That said, I think the 5.0 would be around the same when towing, not to mention better throttle response. I have the 3.73 rear end, so maybe the 3.55 would be a bit better.

  • avatar
    427Cobra

    I went through this scenario last year… My 2k Super Duty supercab V10 4×4 was getting on in years and in need of significant work… plus, I needed a bigger cab for the dog. I didn’t need a 3/4 ton, but was not averse to them either. Regarding your aversion to 3/4 tons… the running costs may be slightly higher (brakes, tires, etc), and the ride is stiffer… but the capability is much higher. and you can likely get a better deal on a 3/4 ton than a half ton. I looked at another Super Duty, but Ford was just NOT dealing. I bought a Ram 2500 crew cab (short bed) 4×4 with the 6.4L Hemi. It is the base (Tradesman) trim level, optioned up to near-SLT. It’s got everything I need (including UConnect). Most of the half tons were overly laden with options, and quite pricey. My Ram stickered for $45.8k. I bought it (last July) for $35.2k, and got financing below 2%… and that was with next to no negotiation. You should be able to get a better deal now. I get about 10-12 mpg around town- in the mountains north of L.A. I got over 19 on the freeway… and that was with only 300 miles on the truck. Mileage has been improving since then. You’d likely do much better in the flatlands of Ohio. I got the 4.10 gears & limited slip- which seems to help the cylinder deactivation mode engage more frequently. Overall, I couldn’t be more happy with the truck AND the deal.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’m fond of the Ram 1500. I’ve had 3 of the current generation and have towed my 24 foot enclosed racecar hauler across the country with one. The Hemi/8AT combo works very well for a mix of towing power and unloaded fuel economy. The coil link suspension rides and handles very well for a pickup as well. The only place the Ram is less sophisticated is the engine, where the HEMI doesn’t have direct injection or turbos, but that makes a case for reliability. The bugs are worked out of the engine and it performs as good as the competition. The interior and infotainment is damn near if not best in class and the deals will be hot on the current DS model as the year goes on preparing for the all new truck next winter.

    The interior and body trim of the GMs feels a notch below the Ram and Ford at the same price. The Ford can be nice inside but they’re asking much more for those and SYNC/My Ford Touch is a no-go area for me.

    The the Ram gets my vote. Something with a HEMI/8AT/4×4/6’4″ bed with 3.92 gears, though the 3.21 gears towed by 8000+ lb brick trailer just fine. Got 23 mpg hwy unloaded and 10 towing the trailer. Get the 32 gallon gas tank. The SLT Big Horn seems to be the price/content sweet spot, but you’ll probably like the accommodations of the Sport/Laramie if you try it. The upgraded leather and real wood interior trim of the Longhorn is worth it.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      23 mpg is damned impressive. What speeds?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @danio3834 – was that 23 mpg US gallon or Imperial?

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        US MPG. This ain’t no Canadian marketing truck marketing material.

        I kept the receipts for the journey because I was interested as to how it would do.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @danio3834 – 23 mpg would be decent in Imperial but that is incredible in US gallons.
          My apologies if I gave the impression that I did not believe you. You have always been a stand up guy.

          • 0 avatar
            OzCop

            I can back up what Daino says.I have seen as much as 24 mpg from mine driving unloaded from DFW to Lincoln Nebraska. Did I have a slight tail wind? Perhaps, however the mpg heading back to DFW 3 days later dropped to 21, but still an average of 22 plus overall.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            My best for my F150 with stock tires was 20.4 mpg (US) over a 500 mile trip. I repeated that feat a 2nd time but I had to stay around 60 mph.

    • 0 avatar
      AoLetsGo

      I have been truckless for a couple of years and finally scratched that itch this month. I have always been a Ford or GM guy but this time I went with the RAM 1500 – that I will not drive in the salty winters. For ME it is all about looks and fun in a value package for this truck so…
      Regular Cab
      Hemi/8AT
      Black Express Package
      4×2
      There are a lot of trucks on the road but you would not believe the number of compliments I have already had on this one.
      For JACK go with the Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      OzCop

      I agree with Danio 100 %….I did some work using a GMC, as well as a Ford F 150, and F 350 diesel. I could not wait to get back into my Ram…comfort and convenience is difficult to beat, not to mention 395 hp on tap…

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    Titan XD with the latest version of Nissans aluminum DOHC 5.6 V8. Built heavier than half tons, more comfortable ride than 3/4 tons, big discounts available.

  • avatar
    derekson

    F150 with the new diesel.

  • avatar

    If Jack hadn’t said no 3/4 ton I would say the coil spring 3/4 ton ram with the 6.4 would be a great choice. If I was getting a truck I wouldn’t need to daily drive this would be my first choice in tow machine.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I think it’s going to be his wife’s daily driver. My wife dailys our Ram 1500 Laramie and loves it. I had a line on a smoking deal on an HD but she wouldn’t go for it, too monstrous I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      I’m casting about for tow machines and my wife will be in need of a new daily soon. I’m still considering the Mega Cab Ram 2500 with 6.4.

      Her preference still sways toward the NV3500 in SL trim. She hasn’t driven either yet, though. I thought the NV felt larger than it is and don’t think she’ll like it as much after seat time.

  • avatar
    Ihatejalops

    Why not a Tundra?

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    My wife and I checked out ’17 Rams the other day and compared them to our current ’99 SuperDuty. We wanted to see the differences that 18 years have made in pickup trucks and whether a change would be worth making. We specifically chose to test the Tradesman level as well as one Bighorn against our old fairly spartan XL . The seating in the Ram’s was very comfortable, visibility outside was really good and they handled well at speed and around town. I was really impressed with power and response of the Hemi/Torqflite combo. The prices for the several different combinations of Rams available were significantly less than GM’s/Fords we’ve looked at. All of your “tick-boxes” for needs in a truck would easily be checked by a Tradesman 1500 with the Hemi and a few options/packages. That being said, the interior (excluding the seats) of the Ram seemed…a bit flimsy and cheap. The switches and controls felt loose and poorly engineered/installed when compared to the old XL. The hard plastic (which is everywhere in both my old Ford and the new Ram) seemed to be poorly fitted and slapped together in the Ram. I wondered if the Rams would age as well as my old XL (277k miles) or, in fact, as well as my old ’90 Chevy Cheyenne (12 years and 275k miles with a 4.3l/5-spd). If I mysteriously found 40-grand in a shoebox tomorrow morning, I’d probably pass by the Ram dealer (the infamous Steve Van Gorder at SVG in Eaton) on my way to take a more serious look at a GM or Ford. As old Tresmonos said above, GM powertrains are pretty much bullet-proof but then Fords are really durable trucks and, unlike GM, the dealers will negotiate somewhat.

  • avatar
    jaybread

    FWIW – I found out the hard way that Ford’s efforts to lighten the F150 went too far.
    They took 30 pounds out of the seats…I’m sure for most people they are acceptable, but for me and I’ve found many others they are brutal. I’ve owned many Ford trucks, never thought this would be a problem.

    I took my 2017 F150 Lariat seat base apart..you get 1 layer of stiff leather on top of 1/4″ of cheap foam, then you hit the plastic cooling grid. More than 30 minutes and I can’t extend my right leg.

    Now, Ford uses the F150 cab on the new 2017 SD trucks. Same seats. If you get a newer F150, spend at least an hour driving it first. Forewarned is forearmed.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      I never would have thought of this. I found F150 seats to be very comfortable though my time in them was limited to a test drive. I’ve had no issues with comfort on a 17 hour drive in my Silverado; though now I’m curious to see how its made.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’ll be the contrarian, so here goes 2 ideas

    1. Get a motorhome. Tow the race car. Extra points for camping.
    2. Get a shop to maintain and bring your race car to the track. Arrive and drive.

    Personally I’m a big fan of renting. I rent boats and motor homes. Don’t have to store or maintain them lots of advantages.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Motorhomes are great, but a pain to own. They’re usually built pretty poorly and fall apart. Renting or borrowing is the way to go unless you really use the sh*t out of it.

      • 0 avatar
        OzCop

        I had my last one for 13 years…Workhorse GM Chassis with 8.1 gas motor…best I have ever owned and wish I had never sold it and bought the Ford model I have now..hate it..

        • 0 avatar

          I worked at an RV dealer around the turn of the century. The v10 was a decent engine in the smaller units, but I had several over heat on me in the larger units doing deliveries ( to be fair I was young and simply floored it when ever they tried to drop below 70 on a hill). I much preferred the 8.1. They are kind of rare thou.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      I’ve been reading up on motorhomes lately and the Fords with the 6.8L V10 have a loyal fan base because service is easy at just about any Ford dealer, anywhere, and they seem to be reliable.

  • avatar
    Feds

    Ford F150 Lariat for the simple reason that you can get a front bench seat

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Also impressive you can opt for a rubber floor in upper trims, Lariat/King Ranch iirc. Carpet in a “truck” just seems wrong, no matter the level of luxury. And I could live with a center console with shifter.

  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    Jack – you know you need this. A carbureted 360 might be a bit weak, so just tow to Mid-Ohio and points west. No Pennsylvania or West-by-God hills for this beast:

    https://odessa.craigslist.org/cto/6159380713.html

  • avatar
    igve2shtz

    I’ve been daily driving a 2008 F-150 SuperCrew 6.5′ bed 4×4 5.4L for 6 months now. It is a beast to maneuver but it handles a car seat like a boss. It’s got cabin room for days, and as much as I hate the 6.5′ bed in daily driving, it is worth its weight at the landscape supply company.

    Ford and Dodge seats are amazing. You sit up high, and legs fall under you like a La-Z-Boy. GM seats are more like car seats – legs go out infront of you. My lower back starts to ache after an hour in GM seats.

    Long story short, buy the F-150 with the 5.0. I haven’t tried the 3.5 EcoBoost, but for simplicity sake (and the fact the truck will sit unused alot), buy the V8. Plus, even though I am a turbo junkie, I don’t trust them in the long term when it comes to heavy hauling. I am willing to change my mind though when presented with evidence.

  • avatar
    dont.fit.in.cars

    None of the above. Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. Third pull struggling in hill you’ll want the big cookie on the back end. Mine is a 2015 with 104k towing 10k+ with max payload (2700 pound camper) 99% of the time.

    Here’s what you get. 2016 2500HD 6.0 Summit White. Upgrade to 18 inch wheels with tow package. Then leave it alone. There is no residual value in trucks.

    Here’s the why. 1500 is at close to max pull. Your application is minimum use at max capacity.

    Pulling 8500 pounds with 4:10 is 65 % capacity of a 2500. No need for airbags or upgrading to 2.5 hitch. The tranny shift does well in rolling hills at 60 mph. No gear hunting.

    Paid 36k OTD. No heated seats, but does have a plug. Toss D girl a heated pad then drop the mic. Better yet you won’t need it because before I reach the second turn out of my neighborhood I’m at 160 degrees pull heat.

    • 0 avatar
      AVT

      This. I’ve actually found that you wiring for heated seats is already their, so really, just find a salvage heated seat (or two) from a wreck and plug them. You’ll have to go to the dealer to get the control buttons for the console but it’s still less expensive than the package you would otherwise have to check.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Get a Crew/Long Cummins Ram 2500 with a manual. It’s just a better mousetrap for any use skewing towards towing 20 feet enclosed trailers. The 8 foot bed takes almost any non chopper motorcycle with the gate up. There’s enough reserve to tow 8500 with a light popup in the bed for sleeping at the track, whether with a race trailer behind it, or a bike on a Joehauler. And the latter just works much better with the 2.5 inch receivers than the 2 inch ones on halftons. Also, in a camper, the added 1.5 feet over the 6.5, matters…

    A 20 foot enclosed is also subject to a good amount of wind sway in bad weather. And the sheer weight of the Cummins, keeps everything much calmer than the “optimized for unloaded mpg” half tons.

    In addition, despite the length, the wheelcut of the solid axle Ram uses, allows for a turning radius about the same as the IFS trucks’ Crew/6.5 variants. And, with Ram’s coils and attendant locating links, there is virtually no lateral sway, despite vertical plushness similar to the leaf springs on most half tons….

    Plus, it’s a bloody manual…….. With an I6!

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    If this is to be a tow and haul rig with a V8 then I’d go with the F150 Lariat SuperCrew 5.0, 3.73 gears, heavy payload package, tow package and 6.5 box.
    This truck will ride rougher empty but it sounds that it won’t leave the driveway empty.

    Lariat IIRC is base trim for heated seats and can be spec’d with HD payload package and tow package.
    Why the HD payload package?
    8,500 lb tow requirement with a 10% tongue weight means 850 lbs removed from the truck’s payload. 15% tongue eats up 1,275 lbs. The HD payload package puts you at a 2,750 lb payload rating. Add the tow package and you can tow 10,400 lbs which gives some extra capacity over that 8,500 lb trailer.

    It is incredibly easy to exceed a pickup’s payload. Passengers easily will add 500 lbs or more. Add various personal items in the cab, plus bikes, tools, gear in the box and you can easily be north of 1,500 lbs. Add an 8,500 lb trailer and you are maxed out with the F150 and overloaded with GM or Ram.

    The HD payload/tow package gives you a beefed up rear end with the 9.75 gear set. It also comes with LT tires as opposed to 4 ply tires.

    The Chevy requires the max tow package to get you the heaviest payload at 1,800 lbs. Chevy also gives you a heavier rear end with that package.
    F150 – 36 gallon tank
    Chevy – 34 gallon tank
    Ram – 32 gallon tank

    • 0 avatar

      Lou,

      ON a side note reading truck camper magazine (web magazine) they did a review on a camper designed for a halfton. In it they mentioned you would have to order a F-150 to get the payload, said when he’s checked the payloads at dealers they almost always come in at 1500 lbs or less thanks to the ways dealers order them.
      They have a few articles on truck shopping on that site and the variance in payload from website to doorjamb sticker can be a shocker sometimes.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @mopar4wd – If you happen to live in a more urban centre then I can see why one would have to order a HD Payload package F150. My local dealer always has HD payload F150’s on the lot in regular, extended and crew configurations plus an adjacent lot full of commercial units due to the industrial nature of my region.
        HD Payload F150’s from the previous generation were easy to spot based on rim style and 7 lug configuration. I can still spot them but have to look more closely at the rim and tire.

        The more accessories/luxuries one adds to a truck the bigger a hit the payload takes. That is something buyers do not consider.

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah I haven’t checked myself (not a Ford guy). I believe the editor of that site lives in SC. I know around here very few F150’s are sold to fleets most are higher trims. Dealers around here push 3/4tons and vans to fleets as I gather they prefer to take higher trim allotments of f-150’s.

          Here would be a typical dealers stock around here. Looks like only one of the XL has an upgraded GVW.
          http://www.mitchellseligford.com/new-inventory/index.htm?search=&saveFacetState=true&model=F-150&lastFacetInteracted=inventory-listing1-facet-anchor-model-5

    • 0 avatar

      Also to add to Lou crew ram tops out around 1,500 lbs payload. Cutting to either 5.5′ bed or quad cab gets you to 1,660.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      The F150s HD payload rides on leafs so hard for it’s light superstructure, that you have to double-triple-quadruple check your tiedowns constantly whenever you have a bike back there. Unloaded over washboard, the bed surface vibrates like an old chopper with a massive, solid mounted V-twin. Especially when fitted with 10 ply rated tires, which is, or at least should be, a requirement for anyone towing 8500.

      If you need that much spring and load capacity, the added weight of the 3/4 tons, makes much more sense for most regular Joes’ recreational use (Contrary to seemingly popular lore, the HD payload halftons are very narrowly focused from Ford, never intended for general unspecific use). The Titan XD may be the ultimate Goldilocks (looks that way on paper), but I’d just as well get a coilsprung Ram 2500 and call it a day. On 10 plys, the latter rides about as well as any halfton unloaded up to 75, and loaded, it calmly walks away from all of them.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Pragmatism: Whatever can be had with the best deal.

  • avatar
    Driver7

    I have no expertise to share about pickup trucks.

    But I’m glad Jack likes the Sundays – cool band.

  • avatar
    NoID

    What you need is a Ford E250/E350 or Chevy Express/GMC Savannah 2500/3500 passenger wagon with the removable benches, tow package and 4WD. They’re probably the most versatile vehicles on the planet.

    They’re unicorns, but if you find a good one it’s worth it. Like this one: http://tinyurl.com/yah5u7dd

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Don’t lock in on one truck. You’ve already realized it’s down to the deal. Make them deal.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    All my friends that tow their race cars in enclosed trailers go straight to diesels. Nothing beats all that torque, plus there’s a significant fuel consumption benefit.

    I still remember towing my (broken) track car with a friend’s gas SUV many years ago, and at, err, brisk highway speeds you could watch the gas gauge needle dropping. Try towing from Ohio through West Virginia down to VIR and you’ll see what I mean.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I’ve done that run and seen 3mpg from a 392 Ram on 77 South.

      Still don’t want a diesel. I have a genuine antipathy towards diesel fuel that goes beyond rational thought.

      • 0 avatar
        mason

        Ehh, 392 CI = 6.4L….sure about that?

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        I can vouch for the thirstiness of the 6.4L BGE in the Power Wagon. I drove a Power Wagon across Michigan on two occasions as a support vehicle and if you converted my average MPG to an age and applied that age to a human, it would be watching Disney XD and attempting to reconcile and accommodate significant changes to body and temperament.

        But it was a nice ride. And you can get one with graphics that would please the anthropomorphized MPG figure we created in the paragraph prior.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    Go with the minivan engine – the naturally aspirated V6. It’ll free up GAWR and GVWR to allow you to carry passengers and tow with a half-ton. The extra weight of a V8 counts against you.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Why no EcoBoost on the Fords? If I were towing, I’d much rather have the low-end grunt the 3.5 provides than the top-end rush you get with the Coyote.

    For your usage, which will come closer to maxing out a half-ton’s capabilities than most things most owners are doing, I think a Ford is probably best. Since the aluminum trucks came out they have had best-in-class payload and towing numbers. Both uplevel engines are more satisfying than the Chevy 5.3, and the Ram 1500’s payload with four doors isn’t really acceptable.

    Unfortunately, as always, it will be hard to find a properly equipped truck in stock. The best you’ll probably do is one with Max Tow and the 3.5. If you can get a good deal on a custom-order truck, Heavy Payload would be good for your use. But to get it and heated seats in the same truck you need to go Lariat, which would be around the very top of your price range after incentives, whereas you could get a 302A XLT with Max Tow and heated seats for less money.

  • avatar
    Acubra

    I found my perfect (well, near-perfect) truck 6 years ago – 2004 Ram 1500 Laramie with pre-MDS Hemi, NV244 full-time Torsen diff AWD, quad cab amd 6ft-something bed. Very simple to work on, cheap to run, never broke down ever, great in any weather (drives like a big Audi in snow).
    Cons – appetite for fuel and (for the topic starter, not me) age.

    Every time I try a modern Ram, F150 or a GM I find something that annoys me.
    With the full size Japanese attempts at the topic – I struggle finding something that does not annoy. I also am a firm believer that a crude part-time 4×4 belongs to the WWII memorial vehicles, not to nowadays.

    Nothing that has been offered since 2009 ever made me thinking of buying a new truck. With every year they get softer, comfier, less serviceable/repairable and thus making less and less sense. They all now suffer from atrocious visibility (ne GM being the worst), insane price tags and just as insane depreciation. In 5-7 years when the electronic something or that “service-free” ZF transaxle goes kaput, replacement cost will be comparable with residual values.

    That said, of the modern ones I would look at either F150 3.5Ecoboost or the Ram 1500 5.7 Sport, whichever gives you a better deal, closer to home or whose sales, FI or service departments screw you the least.

  • avatar
    AVT

    I’d strongly consider a Chevy or GMC 2500. The new ones come out next year which means if you can hold off a little while, you’ll be able to get the ones on the lot at great discount. I suggest the 2500 mostly because the gasser 6.0 with 3.73 does a much better job towing than the 5.3 with the max tow package. Ya, both can tow 8500, but since your trailer is bigger and enclosed, weight plus air resistance make me want to suggest an 3/4 ton truck as the wear and tear would be less than if you got a 1/2 ton. From a cost perspective, the gasser 2500s are really good from a running cost perspective (since it’s not a daily driver, the MPG impact is negligible.) An f250 might also work but honestly their gas engines are just overkill for your needs. Also, the solid front axle in the f250 would make a less comfortable ride than the 2500.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    For using it only as a truck and not a daily driver the 3/4 ton crew cab 8′ bed is the right combo. Yes you can equip a 1/2 to do that but they are intended to do that type of towing as a small portion of its use. The 3/4 tons are intended to be able to do that type of work all day, every day. Those slippery load range E tires, higher load rating and that super long wheel base will make for easier, less stressful towing.

    • 0 avatar

      The 8′ beds are great on the highway but if your going in to tighter areas or just maneuvering the trailer in a side yard or pit lane the short bed makes things much easier. The RV dealer I worked at had reg long beds for that reason. We later added some crew cab duallies but only used them for long distances. The first boat shop I worked at back in the 90’s only had short bed reg cab halftons ram’s with all the HD options they could get, the reasoning was maneuverability around small new england towns, plus they basically never went on the highway.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Resale sucks on HD’s with 8 foot beds.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Ironically this would interest me Lou.

        • 0 avatar
          mason

          I suppose it depends on the area. Long beds are largely more common around here and are the preferred option.
          Infinitely more useful than a shorty.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            I love the 8ft bed because you can put a really big lockable box in the bed and still have a 6ft bed worth of space left over.

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            I’ve got a locking tool box/fuel tank combo with the fuel tank plumbed into my main tank and still have almost 6.5 ft of available bed space. The tank gives me a solid 600 towing mile range with a cushion. Not that I drive that far in between stops but it affords me the chance to bypass areas or states where fuel is typically higher. Plus it’s easier and quicker to just pull off at a rest stop to use the facilities being they are generally right off the freeway.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            THAT is exactly what I want in my next truck, Mason.

  • avatar
    Brett Woods

    You might be confused by herd mentality and the sound of the horn. Like when you thought you really wanted a Tattoo? I’m supposing that happened at some point. What you really want, is called a VAN. It’s much better. It’s a pick-up truck with a super useful sides and roof over the bed part. And I caution, that flexible agape appendage is only euphemistically called a “bed” because, “wheelbarrow/bathtub/deformity that I have to haul around everywhere” is too long of a description. The bed in a VAN is also much better.

    Maybe that Nissan one. I rented a Ford Transit for a week and toured, two families together. Handled as well a new 4-runner. We picked up French hitch-hikers, changed in there, and locked our considerable totes away in seconds. Yea, they’ll tow European style. Just so damn useful in comparison.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      +1000

      I can carry 12 people in my van, or I can remove the benches and haul just about anything. Or I can remove one or two benches and carry a mix of people and stuff.

      It’s awesome. And an E350 doesn’t feel anywhere as huge as an F350.

    • 0 avatar

      I like vans for my needs and a NV would work well for towing family and dogs, but in jacks situation the pickup might be better. A pickup to throw fuel and a couple motor cycles in is pretty nice.

  • avatar
    Hayden535

    The 2016 Silverado LT All Star edition was my choice about 14 months ago. I actually preferred the F150, but Ford dealerships in my area couldn’t touch the discounts Chevy was offering at the time. (Paid about 38k for a sticker of 45k) I went with a double-cab because they really have gotten pretty comfortable in the back for adults and my two kids will fit with plenty of space for the next 10 years. That gives me a 6.5 ft. bed without getting into crazy length. The All Star package was just enough to make the truck livable with a backup camera, airplay, bed lighting, and decent wheels. I’ve been very happy with it so far. Good luck!

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Tundra or F150 to get a truly American vehicle and not something slapped together out of Chinesium in Mexico. I’d trust the Tundra to have the lowest overall TCO, lowest incidents of repairs, and some of the highest durability.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    FWIW, Chevy is apparently offering 17% of MSRP on LT trims of all Silverado 1500s for June.

  • avatar
    UserUnknown

    Jack,

    You are the customer Nissan built the Titan XD for. A properly optioned SV or a haggled down Pro-4X (GAS) should get you at the price point you’re looking for. I drive a 2016 Tahoe 4×4 for work. It has the 5.3 and to be honest, its not enough engine for police work. I can’t imagine towing even 5000 lbs pounds with it. I know wheelbase, transmission differences, etc. factor in, but I’d veto it based on engine alone. You’re opposed to used, but a lightly used/CPO LTZ w/ the 6.2 fits the bill nicely. Plus, you liked it a lot when you previously reviewed it.

    To the previous poster who recommended buying more truck than you think you’ll need–he’s not wrong. I own a 2011 F-150 w/ the 5.0L and sincerely wished I owned a 3/4 ton or an F-150 w/ a 6.2. As soon as you get a truck, you find more and more things to do with it and all of those things involve payload/towing.

  • avatar
    gaudette

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned it but I would recommend the Sierra SLE Value Package with Max Trailering Package in Dark Slate Metallic or Stone Blue Metallic. Crew cab with a 6.5′ box has plenty of space. I enjoy the bucket seats but as a man with a large frame you might prefer the bench for leg room. Moving up to an SLT doesn’t add much value to a well optioned SLE.

    I prefer the Sierra styling, and it seems Silverado can’t combine the trailering package and All Star package. The 3.42 rear end would be satisfactory but if it’s a dedicated towing machine I would get take the fuel economy hit for ease of towing.

    I wouldn’t recommend a 2500 with a 6.0. It’s a dated engine with poor fuel economy and resale. I don’t like the F150 ergonomics or light steering. Any heavier towing than you stated and I’d say nothing but a Duramax.

    Rear park assist, adjustable pedals, and navigation options can be left unchecked.

    Gatorback Mud flaps are highly reccommend. Those trucks chip easily. A chrome bumper is essential for the same reason.


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