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Old 06-14-2011, 10:48 PM   #1
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I tow over 1000 miles, 3 times a year, other than that I only tow short distances. When I am not towing I put on very little miles. I am in search of a new truck but am struggling with what engine should I buy - gas or diesel?

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Old 06-14-2011, 10:52 PM   #2
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Oh, and by the way, my trailer is a 30' Travel Trailer, roughly 7400 lbs. when loaded. I currently tow with a 2006 5.4 liter Ford F-150. It will tow it, but it just seems like it is an awfully tough workout for it. Now that Ford doesn't make the V-10 I really don't know what to do. Their improved V-8, well, it's still a V-8 but the Diesel would take so long to really pay for itself...

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Old 06-15-2011, 12:56 AM   #3
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I would likely go with a big gas V8 and ensure proper tow package - gearing, coolers, engine management, etc. My son has a new F150 setup for towing - works great with similar load as yours.

I have a diesel Class A motorhome - used mostly for nearby trips and once or twice a year 1000-2000 mile trips - so maybe 5000 miles per year, if that. It's expensive to maintain and when it needs something can get very pricey quick.
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Old 06-15-2011, 07:07 AM   #4
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Once you go diesel, you won't ever want to go back to gas.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:36 AM   #5
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Thanks vsheetz and Maintenance 6, I appreciate the feedback. I have traveled with enough guys that have Diesel's that I know what the advantages are, especially when towing. Fuel and time savings are huge on the longer trips. I hate having to stop every 120 - 150 miles when I'm on a long trip, depending on the terrain I'm traveling, and then nearly $100 bill to filler 'er back up again...
My biggest issue is if I travel enough miles to justify the extra upfront expense of a diesel....

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Old 06-15-2011, 09:46 AM   #6
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Big E, it doesn't sound like a decision maker for you at this time, but in case you think that you might be doing more towing in the future, I'll share something that I had not considered before. A buddy of mine tows a 35 footer, I think, but a lot more than 1,000 miles a year, and he mentioned that the biggest thing he liked about the diesel was that since he put an extra tank ahead of the fifth wheel, he can buy fuel when it is convenient for him, rather than having to buy it someplace that may not be as convenient, is backed up with traffic, or whatever; not something that you can do with gas.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:43 AM   #7
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My opinion...

Get a Diesel, and probably not a Ford just yet. Their newest one sounds very good, but so did the last one and that was a flop.

or.....

Get a motorhome and a smaller vehicle for your needs. A pickup is a huge expense if you really don't need one.


Price upfront for a diesel is a non issue, IF you really need one.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:44 AM   #8
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Good Point Dexterll, I know some guys that have done that. You are also correct in saying not much of a decision maker for me right now, but something to keep in mind in the future.
Thanks for your opinion as well MJW. I know I won't be trading in my trailer for a motor home anytime soon. Aside from towing mileage isn't much of a concern for me. I only travel a few miles back and forth to work each day. As far as needing a truck, well I have always had a truck. Between hunting, fishing, home improvement projects, and some other hauling I don't have a problem justifying it. You bring up a good point about the new Ford Power Stroke, I haven't heard much of anything bad about it yet, but it is still pretty new...
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:13 AM   #9
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I tow a travel trailer about the same length and weight as yours. My tow vehicle is a 2005 GMC Sierra 5.3L crew cab. A couple of years ago we toured the U.S. for several months (towed more than 10,000 miles). While my gear ration isn't "ideal" for towing, I had no real problems and got 10-11 mpg most of the time. I get 20-21 mpg when not towing.

I do not understand why your F-150 seems to perform so poorly. Do you know what your rear end gear ratio is? What gas mileage do you get when towing? You should at least be getting mileage similar to mine. I can easily go 250 miles between fillups (26 gallon tank).

Personally, I would stick with gas. At my age (63) I'd never make up the price difference of a diesel.

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Old 06-16-2011, 08:15 AM   #10
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One other consideration to think about. Diesels cost more to purchase, but they also bring in more when trading them in. So, you really don't need to worry as much about "the Diesel would take so long to really pay for itself... " thoughts. My wife calls my logic "wax on, wax off" or money in, money out thinking. And she is always right!

Good luck and be safe
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:22 AM   #11
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md2lgyk, I agree I should get better mileage. On my last trip, granted it was through the hills of Pennsylvania & West Virginia, I only average 6.7 mpg while towing. I have done as well as 8-9 mpg, but normally that's when I don't have to pull the hills. On a daily basis, not towing, I get about 13 mpg. The best I've ever done is 18 on the open road, but again, not towing.
BigD9, you ( or should I say your wife) have a good point. I have tried to keep that in consideration as well.

I guess I am still leaning towards a diesel at this point. My thoughts are that even though it may be more than I need I would rather be over powered than under powered. Even though I don't have any plans in the works right now, I would like to get a new (bigger) trailer someday.
The costs are more, but at least a portion of them are made up through improved mileage and (hopefully) a high re-sale/trade in value. That added to the conveniences when towing (more power, less fuel stops, etc...) will hopefully make for a good decision on my part.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:02 AM   #12
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I'm guessing your tow vehicle is a 4WD? That might explain the difference. Mine is 2WD - I have a small 4WD SUV for when I need that.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:26 AM   #13
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It is indeed a 4WD, as will my next one.
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:39 PM   #14
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Keep in mind that your initial comment was that you felt that you were working your F-150/5.4 V8 very hard to handle your trailer. The new F-150 with the 5.0 is supposed to be a real performer, but it is still a small V8 in a half ton truck. A diesel will come in a heavier chassis with a heavier transmission, heavier brakes, etc. All of which make a safer, more reliable and more comfortable tow vehicle. The added power and fuel economy are a bonus. My RV tow vehicle is an F-350 4x4 diesel. My next tow vehicle will be the same. You can check the resale values on comparable used trucks with and without diesel engines. What you'll see is that the diesels hold their value better, especially at higher milage. FWIW, I wouldn't hesitate to own a new 2011 power stroke................. in fact if I can convince the wife.............it is father's day after all .

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