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Tow Vehicle??

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Looking for advice. I have a Sunesta 264 that I need to trail around to different lakes this summer. I only have a Chevy Tahoe that is just too small to handle the weight.

Looking at pickups, specifically, "duallys" and thinking diesel, but this is way out of my area of expertise.

I am confused by how big, what kind, etc. I am probably looking for a reliable used vehicle to tow the boat...will be my non-work car. Any advice?...the boat weighs around 7800# "dry" and the trailer 1800#.

Thanks

Mike

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If you are looking at duallys, then you are looking at one ton trucks. Ford F350, Chevy Silverado 3500/GMC Sierra 3500, Dodge Ram 3500. Ford makes larger ones that the F350, but that is overkill for your use.

If you have kids, look at a crew cab, you can fit four comfortably.

Diesels have the torque to move out a big load with ease. But you pay a premium for that engine. And ~10k lbs of boat/trailer is no problem for that engine, you won't necessarily need it.

Brand preference is just that: brand preference. Wars have been started over less.

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For a 2014 264 Sunesta, the dry weight is posted 5400 lbs dry. So you should be around 7400 lbs after trailer, fuel, and lots of gear. A 3/4 ton truck will do you fine and I would not recommend a 1 ton dually unless you have a real need for it. Only because it's a extra cost when buying tires. You can get a gasser or a diesel. All a matter of cost. If you are towing 150 miles each way to a lake through rolling hills and mountains, I'd go for a diesel. If your driving less then a 100 miles each way, on flat land, I'd go gasser.

I have had both and just prefer the diesel. Its a lot more up front, 10k more, 10 quarts of oil versus 5 quarts at the oil change, fuel filter every 10,000 miles and diesel is about 10 cents a gallon more as well. The offset is you always have the power at the step of the pedal and 13 mpg towing versus 10 mpg.

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As said, a dually is not needed for the weight you will be towing.

A 3/4 ton truck with air bags will do you fine.

My boat and trailer weigh in at about 9000 # and i tow it with a '06 F-250 Crew Cab with the Power Stroke Diesel.

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I have, now, a 2011 F-150 Platinum with the Max Towing package that I use to tow my 264 Xtreme. Plus electric brakes on the trailer and the integrated brake controller in the truck.

No problems towing at all, and my weights are about the same as yours fully loaded (boat has the 496 mag engine). Previously I had a 2009 F-150 FX4 with the Max Towing package and of course no issues there as well.

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Agree with David above - my F-150 Platinum EcoBoost is handling 5 adults and my 4400lb (dry) 246 SSi with full tank and gear like nobody's business. Plenty of torque - more than the 5.0 option for the F-150s. Mine is rated for 9200 lbs towing - there is an option for 11,200 lbs with the 3.73 electronic transmission. I am borderline on the electric brakes - my current towing habits don't really require it but if I were pulling a 264 and had even slightly different terrain I would probably opt for the 3.73.

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A used 3/4 ton pick-up will have all he towing capacity you'll need. A older used 1/2 ton will be harder to find with a 8500# towing capacity. Diesel would be nice but a little more expensive.

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I have the same boat and the same issue. I currently tow with a half ton Silverado with the 5.3 and it is fine on the flat and level, however it really struggles pulling uphills. I have decided to go 3/4 ton diesel, problem I am having is finding the right one for the right price. The good ones with lower miles go quick and the rest have 200k+ miles. After 4 weeks of looking, still trying to find the righ tone.

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3/4 ton will suffice just fine. You don't need airbags for that amount of weight. I pull my 256 @8550 lbs with a Duramax Diesel Chevy 2500. It tows great without breaking a sweat. As someone said above, brand preference is the only thing as all 3 diesels are very good and have gobs of power.

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A dually is overkill for your application. Dollar for dollar, you will get a newer lower mileage gas truck when compared to diesel. An old body style (03-05 or so) suburban 2500 with the big block 8.1L is the best bang for the buck I've seen. I recently sold two of them, both with factory tow package and four wheel drive,, under 10 large heard. It could replace your Tahoe without hanging to add an extra vehicle to your fleet. If you want something newer, I'd look at 3500/350 one ton trucks. The price difference between the 3/4 ton and 1 tons is negligible, might as well get the heavier duty application. Something with factory oil and tranny coolers would be my choice. A used heavy duty truck that was more of a poser truck than a work/tow truck would also be my preference. If you see a used truck with an aftermarket electronic trailer brake controller, chances are it has been used to tow something heavy.

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A gas 1/2 ton F150 will do the job, but you will be happier towing with a 3/4 ton diesel.

brick

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It's not all about the go, it's also about the ability to stop the rig. 1/2 will be at it's upper limits in that case.

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It's not all about the go, it's also about the ability to stop the rig. 1/2 will be at it's upper limits in that case.

E over H solves that.

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I have a 2002 Avalanche 2500 with the 8.1L (496 cu in). If you can find one of those or the 2500 Suburban (mentioned by crvtt771 above) you will be more than happy. Great pulling power, 7,000 lbs of truck, and 10k/12k tow rating depending on the rear end gears. You won't pass many gas stations but it is a towing beast for a gas powered truck.

I have towed my 290 with it and felt in control even though I was at 12k or more.

Like crvtt771 mentioned they can be bought for 10 large herd or less usually.................

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Aside from brand preference and various "good" years and not so good years for all the diesel trucks, the other huge piece is maintenance on them, especially if you're not doing it yourself.

Recently traded my 2008 F250 crew cab diesel for a 2011 Toyota Tundra CrewMax. Rated towing only marginally less on the Toyota, but it's 10x the truck that Ford was for everything but outright stump pulling power off idle. If you're looking newer vehicle, I can't say enough good about the Tundra. Any recent 3/4 Dodge w/Hemi is a great choice too. From what I've seen in the GM lineup, you might as well get the 8.1 vs the 6.0 as the fuel mileage differential isn't that much and the 8.1 has way more power. Even though I'm a long time Ford guy, I'm not too fond of the modular 5.4 & 6.8 engines in their 3/4 ton trucks and the Powerstroke has nearly as many gotchas to fix as it does advantages over a gasser- volumes of info out there. If you're partial to GM, the Avalanche with the big block is a very nice vehicle to live with when not toying and quite capable towing as well.

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2007 256 SSI with arch.

This maybe outdated now... but I just returned from a 2500km road trip (Ontario to the East Coast) with a 2012 Yukon 5.3 liter, 6 passengers and a cargo bin on the roof... the truck pulled well on the flats (rpm under 2000) on the hills I'd see the RPMs go to 3000-4000... On the steeper and longer hills I'd put the truck into manual mode and shift gears myself. If I kept the speed to 100km/h fuel consumption was about 400km per tank...not bad considering the load and passengers. Braking was fine so long as I didn't need to stop quickly...

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We pull our 1998 2330 from the Chesapeake Bay to Deep Creek Lake, MD. Elevation change is sea level to about 2300 feet up and down several large hills. Tow vehicle is a 2006 Sierra 2500 with the Duramax Diesel. It does have a chip and tune. Boat and trailer weight is about 7,500 lbs. You honestly can't even tell the boat is there and the truck doesn't even downshift most the time. We have pulled the boat with a 1500 Avalanche as well and it struggled mightily. Diesel vs gas is night and day.

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I own a 2014 Toyota Tundra and I recently picked up a 2002 Chap 260 SSI with a triple axel trailer. I towed it back to home town Phx from Cali no problem. It has surge breaks and it stops very well too. I dont tow enough to justify the added expense of diesel plus I liked the tundra.

J

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We pull our 1998 2330 from the Chesapeake Bay to Deep Creek Lake, MD. Elevation change is sea level to about 2300 feet up and down several large hills. Tow vehicle is a 2006 Sierra 2500 with the Duramax Diesel. It does have a chip and tune. Boat and trailer weight is about 7,500 lbs. You honestly can't even tell the boat is there and the truck doesn't even downshift most the time. We have pulled the boat with a 1500 Avalanche as well and it struggled mightily. Diesel vs gas is night and day.

Plus the fact that the diesel is a 6.6L as opposed to a 5.3 in the Avalanche - brute force of the bigger block plus the diesel low-end torque. The 5.3L in the Avalanche just does not have the torque for that load. I had an '01 Suburban 1500 with a 5.3L that did fine with my old 3500# boat but once I got into the 6000+ range there just was not the torque + hp to handle the ramp or significant hills in the area. I don't need the 3/4 ton truck when not towing so I opted for the EcoBoost 3.5L. It snatches my 246 SSi around like nothing.

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I'm a Ford guy, but I tow my 224 with a 2014 Ram 1500, love that truck and the way it tows..I would get bigger for that size boat if you tow over mountains. My transmission oil got up to 210F up the Banning pass this weekend towing back from Lake Havasu.

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Every spring I tow my boat well over 100 yards from the covered storage to the public ramp. My old 1997 F-150 does a incredible job! Never even shifts gears! Never tried to pull the boat out though. The mechanic does that in the fall.

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Every spring I tow my boat well over 100 yards from the covered storage to the public ramp. My old 1997 F-150 does a incredible job! Never even shifts gears! Never tried to pull the boat out though. The mechanic does that in the fall.

:oregonian_winesmiley:

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I ended up finding an `08 Chevy 2500 LT Duramax crew with about 100k miles. Man, I have to say, I dont even know my boat is behind me. it tows so much better than my old 5.3 half ton. I just have so much more confidence towing and stopping. Now it feels like the truck is in charge, not the boat as before. Gas mileage towing is better also. Diesels aren`t for everybody, but since this truck is a second vehicle and not a daily driver, it seems to work for us. If I were wanting a daily driver, I probably would have gone with the Ford ecoboost, I`ve heard very good things about their power.

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