Author Topic: The 2 trucks you need (or not)  (Read 10245 times)

The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« on: June 05, 2017, 12:31:24 PM »
So riffing off of a MMM post, there's very little use for a midsized truck. As DITYer, a little truck does what I need most of the time. When I do need a big truck, I want a flatbed.

I've owned a couple F-150s and they're too big and too small at the same time. There's an obvious solution to me for people who need a truck on occasion, and that is to use the large pickup in the role it was originally intended: for work only.

Buy a $2000 F-350 flatbed, park it around back, and use as needed. Where the pickup went wrong is in the mid90s when it went from a functional, spartan tool to a daily driver penis extension.

Here's MMM saying it more eloquently. And of course for many people, a simple trailer or hitch rack for their car will be enough.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/04/28/what-does-your-work-truck-say-about-you/

paddedhat

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2017, 04:37:46 PM »
I reached a similar conclusion, but got there from a totally different direction. I spent three decades in the construction trades and always had a full sized pick-up, or van, as both a work and commuting vehicle. The wife and I recently spent three years where the majority of our time was living in a motorhome and dragging a Honda CRV behind us.  That combination represented our total collection of rolling stock. This year we bought a fixer-upper and naturally I needed a truck, since it's just what you do. Well, I now realize that $2K spent on a modest aluminum utility trailer to pull behind the Honda would of been a far smarter investment. I have a full sized chevy pickup, and there is no, pulling it around back, to get it out of the way. The driveway on this place is barely two cars big, the garage is a one car, and the damn truck is just in the way. It gets used every week or two, and after a few years of the freedom of buzzing around in a nice compact Honda, the truck seems like a damn barge. I really can't wait to get rid of the thing.

triangle

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2017, 10:29:46 PM »
Though I long for more small pickup options, especially when comparing 2015 truck offerings vs pre-2000, I think the opening post is way over the top. I know some guys with full size Chevys/Fords who rely on them as part of their trade (construction, farming) and appreciate their toughness and longevity and the full size truck bed over some their smaller brethren. I think part of the problem is that with current safety standards and the economics of being able to charge more based on perceived value that manufactures push full size models more and cut corners too much on entry level models which makes them less appealing. And though every increase in MPG matters on a vehicle averaging below 20 mpg, there is not that much difference between the smaller mid-size vs full-size trucks on gas mileage which also contributes to a bias towards full size pickups.

I will not buy a new vehicle but I read that Ford might start selling Rangers again starting in 2018. They are sold in foreign markets and would be a comfortable size for many Americans, larger than the 1980's small pickups but not like the FULL sized pickups sold today.

Fishindude

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2017, 06:59:42 AM »
Living on a farm and being an avid do it yourselfer, I could not be without a pickup truck, so my everyday driver is an F-150 w/ 6.5' bed.
The Rangers, S-10's and Dakotas don't get any better mileage, so I see no point in them unless you have a small garage,

I couldn't justify a big truck like the flatbed mentioned.  I buy things like lumber, sand and gravel delivered and let somebody else own the truck.
If I need something to haul a large piece of equipment like a tractor, I'll use a trailer or hire out the hauling.

lthenderson

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2017, 08:38:28 AM »
As someone with a five person family, I just use minivans as the best of both worlds. I can haul full sized sheets of plywood or most appliances inside the van out of weather or I can flip up the seats and haul seven people and some cargo. Gas mileage is better than a pickup and it eliminates the need for multiple vehicles. On the rare occasion when it would be better to have a larger quantity of materials at once and it is more than I can haul, I just pay the token delivery fee which is much less than the cost difference of the annual registration/purchase costs between a minivan and a truck.

the_fella

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2017, 10:57:22 AM »
I'd suggest just getting one of the trailers from Harbor Freight. You can even hook those up to a smaller car like a Camry.

paddedhat

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2017, 10:24:55 AM »
I'd suggest just getting one of the trailers from Harbor Freight. You can even hook those up to a smaller car like a Camry.

My next utility trailer will be quite the opposite. It will be a 4' X 9" single axle, all Aluminum unit with a solid floor and  matching side panels. The reasons are many, but it comes down to a "buy it for life" view of the purchase. I have seen the HF trailers in action, and they are essentially disposable. They will not stand up to any serious use for an extended period of time.  The next step up would be a decent, professional grade steel unit, not the crap in the Lowes parking lot for a few hundred more than the HF trailers. I have owned a smaller commercial grade steel unit in the past. The thing was ridiculously heavy, had a 2" thick treated floor which added hundreds of pounds to the dead weight, and without frequent upkeep, it was a rusty mess.  An aluminum trailer is essentially maintenance free, weights a bit over half of a matching size steel unit,  and will last for decades with minimal care. With a solid floor and sides it can be used for hauling dirt and mulch without issue, and it's light enough to be maneuvered into tight spots by hand, just by grabbing the tongue. If your committed to a modest car and a utility trailer for the long haul, aluminum is far from cheap, but decades down the road, it will still be providing trouble free service.

kendallf

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2017, 10:32:51 AM »
My next utility trailer will be quite the opposite. It will be a 4' X 9" single axle, all Aluminum unit with a solid floor and  matching side panels.

Got any links to what you're considering?  I currently have one of the 4x6 Tractor Supply steel ones, with a mesh steel floor that I've added 3/4" marine plywood to.  It's about 10 years old now with no issues other than needing tires, but I would like a light unit that was big enough for full sheets of plywood.  Currently hauling mine with the Prius so I don't want to go much bigger than 4' or 5' x 9'.

paddedhat

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2017, 05:57:43 AM »
Probably best to do a  Google search for what's available in your local area. The industry is somewhat local, and regional, with a lot of product coming from small manufacturers. In my case, a locally manufactured unit, custom built with my choice of options, seems to be a $1800 to $2100 trailer. If you go this route, I would recommend a good lock on the hitch and/or maybe a cable lock through the wheel to the frame. Doesn't matter how good the 'hood is, these things are easy to steal, and a high value target.

cadillacmike

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2017, 06:18:58 AM »
I'd suggest just getting one of the trailers from Harbor Freight. You can even hook those up to a smaller car like a Camry.


And blow your engine or transmission. Check the tow rating of your vehicle, some cars have a near zero tow rating.

The problem with trucks and suvs now is that that they are being outfitted like Cadillacs with prices to match. Hell, even Cadillac makes  trucks now (bleh).

I don't do trucks or vans, I'm a car guy. If I need to haul a larger amount of stuff from the homeless despot which is only 4 miles from my house, I'll rent a truck from them. I can get it unloaded and have the truck returned in about a hour, and it only takes about one gallon of fuel at most.

As for suvs, no way; gas hogs, Fugly and most are driven by AHs who think they are in demolition derbys on the road.

Suv:
Suburban
Uhttack
Vehicle




Jon Bon

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2017, 06:27:03 AM »
I'd suggest just getting one of the trailers from Harbor Freight. You can even hook those up to a smaller car like a Camry.


And blow your engine or transmission. Check the tow rating of your vehicle, some cars have a near zero tow rating.

The problem with trucks and suvs now is that that they are being outfitted like Cadillacs with prices to match. Hell, even Cadillac makes  trucks now (bleh).

I don't do trucks or vans, I'm a car guy. If I need to haul a larger amount of stuff from the homeless despot which is only 4 miles from my house, I'll rent a truck from them. I can get it unloaded and have the truck returned in about a hour, and it only takes about one gallon of fuel at most.

As for suvs, no way; gas hogs, Fugly and most are driven by AHs who think they are in demolition derbys on the road.

Suv:
Suburban
Uhttack
Vehicle

Not sure I agree, most manufactures even state their sedans can tow up to 1000 lbs. Now you want to haul 9 yards of mulch with a Camry? Yeah that would probably do it.

Honestly I dont think you can beat a minivan. Its what I have and its been way more useful than a truck could ever be. IMO if you are going to haul something that weights 2000 lbs Id just have it delivered for $100 bucks than put that kind of strain on any vehicle that I own. Do you really want to load 50 sheets of drywall by hand into the back of your f250? Any material that is significantly big of heavy to warrant a heavy duty truck of trailer I want to move the least amount possible. Other folks might have different jobs though.

I really want to buy an Avalanche but I honestly cannot justify doing it, my minivan is just better for my purposes. I also am completely leaving out its family hauling ability which is unmatched!


paddedhat

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2017, 06:58:14 AM »
The interesting part of towing capacity is that a lot of manufacturers will give little to no towing capacity to a car in North America, then assign a shockingly high number to the same vehicle in other countries. At one point, Subaru was the most glaring example of this, with wagons that had a tiny value here, and a 3500LB capacity in Australia. The reason is simple, we are brain-washed into believing that you need a truck or giant SUV to tow anything. Manufacturers benefit greatly by keeping that belief alive and well. OTOH, in places where cars are expected to do reasonable towing duty, Europe, Australia, etc they end up with reasonable ratings, often it's the very same car.

cadillacmike

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2017, 07:20:06 AM »
The interesting part of towing capacity is that a lot of manufacturers will give little to no towing capacity to a car in North America, then assign a shockingly high number to the same vehicle in other countries. At one point, Subaru was the most glaring example of this, with wagons that had a tiny value here, and a 3500LB capacity in Australia. The reason is simple, we are brain-washed into believing that you need a truck or giant SUV to tow anything. Manufacturers benefit greatly by keeping that belief alive and well. OTOH, in places where cars are expected to do reasonable towing duty, Europe, Australia, etc they end up with reasonable ratings, often it's the very same car.

The "very same car" will have a larger capacity cooling system, a higher final drive ratio, and probably larger brakes. None of these are readily apparent.

There are several different configurations of my old Fleetwood concerning these items; 3 cooling system options, 3 final drive and 2 brakes. The result is a car that tow from 2,000 to 7,000 pounds and they all look the same. Under the hood there is a slight difference if you know what you are looking at. But there's no way for you to tell what the differential ratio is or the brakes without getting out the service manual and looking at the trim tag in the trunk.

Mine happens to be able to to 5,000 pounds and I used to tow my boat around until I was cured of that insanity.

 

paddedhat

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2017, 07:35:07 AM »
The interesting part of towing capacity is that a lot of manufacturers will give little to no towing capacity to a car in North America, then assign a shockingly high number to the same vehicle in other countries. At one point, Subaru was the most glaring example of this, with wagons that had a tiny value here, and a 3500LB capacity in Australia. The reason is simple, we are brain-washed into believing that you need a truck or giant SUV to tow anything. Manufacturers benefit greatly by keeping that belief alive and well. OTOH, in places where cars are expected to do reasonable towing duty, Europe, Australia, etc they end up with reasonable ratings, often it's the very same car.

The "very same car" will have a larger capacity cooling system, a higher final drive ratio, and probably larger brakes. None of these are readily apparent.

There are several different configurations of my old Fleetwood concerning these items; 3 cooling system options, 3 final drive and 2 brakes. The result is a car that tow from 2,000 to 7,000 pounds and they all look the same. Under the hood there is a slight difference if you know what you are looking at. But there's no way for you to tell what the differential ratio is or the brakes without getting out the service manual and looking at the trim tag in the trunk.

Mine happens to be able to to 5,000 pounds and I used to tow my boat around until I was cured of that insanity.

Um, no actually.  We are talking about small, modern Fwd and AWD vehicles here. With very limited exception, there are no options as you discussed. They are often build in the same plant, with all the same mechanical components, and shipped to various countries around the world. Some with 1000LB towing capacities or less, some with several times that amount, depending on market preference, and nothing more.  Your information WAS correct, for  domestic cars, in the American market, but that level of optioning on passenger cars ended several decades ago. This situation has been reviewed at length on various RV sites in the past, if your interested in more detail,  there is an RV dealer in Canada, Can-Am, IIRC, that is owned by an expert in this issue, who has a long history of safely outfitting modern passenger cars to tow travel trailers that far exceed their alleged "Towing capacity".
« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 07:39:00 AM by paddedhat »

Jon Bon

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2017, 11:52:20 AM »
The interesting part of towing capacity is that a lot of manufacturers will give little to no towing capacity to a car in North America, then assign a shockingly high number to the same vehicle in other countries. At one point, Subaru was the most glaring example of this, with wagons that had a tiny value here, and a 3500LB capacity in Australia. The reason is simple, we are brain-washed into believing that you need a truck or giant SUV to tow anything. Manufacturers benefit greatly by keeping that belief alive and well. OTOH, in places where cars are expected to do reasonable towing duty, Europe, Australia, etc they end up with reasonable ratings, often it's the very same car.

The "very same car" will have a larger capacity cooling system, a higher final drive ratio, and probably larger brakes. None of these are readily apparent.

There are several different configurations of my old Fleetwood concerning these items; 3 cooling system options, 3 final drive and 2 brakes. The result is a car that tow from 2,000 to 7,000 pounds and they all look the same. Under the hood there is a slight difference if you know what you are looking at. But there's no way for you to tell what the differential ratio is or the brakes without getting out the service manual and looking at the trim tag in the trunk.

Mine happens to be able to to 5,000 pounds and I used to tow my boat around until I was cured of that insanity.

Um, no actually.  We are talking about small, modern Fwd and AWD vehicles here. With very limited exception, there are no options as you discussed. They are often build in the same plant, with all the same mechanical components, and shipped to various countries around the world. Some with 1000LB towing capacities or less, some with several times that amount, depending on market preference, and nothing more.  Your information WAS correct, for  domestic cars, in the American market, but that level of optioning on passenger cars ended several decades ago. This situation has been reviewed at length on various RV sites in the past, if your interested in more detail,  there is an RV dealer in Canada, Can-Am, IIRC, that is owned by an expert in this issue, who has a long history of safely outfitting modern passenger cars to tow travel trailers that far exceed their alleged "Towing capacity".

That is really interesting about different tow capacities, but I mean we have all seen the pictures of cars completely overloaded in developing countries and still chugging along just fine. So it should not be that surprising I guess?

My Mustache Rule of thumb is this: If my car seats 5, its obviously been designed to haul around five 250# adults and their 50#s of luggage to the airport. So Yeah I would imagine most cars would be able to tow 1500#s with no issue.

Further more lets quantify what we are doing here. The above scenario I am talking about going the 8 miles from lowes to my house, NOT going across the Rockies at 80MPH. Its the same as every other job, you need the right tool. To drive a single screw I can just use a simple screw driver, to drill 500 holes into concrete I might want a hammer drill with a mason bit.

FINate

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2017, 06:36:41 PM »
My VW was caught up in the dieselgate scandal so I was unexpectedly in the market for another vehicle. [Incidentally, what I paid for it vs. what VW is buying it back for will make it the cheapest vehicle per mile driven I've ever owned. Thanks VW for cheating?]

At about the same time we decided to sell the RV travel trailer because: expensive to maintain and store, and towing a trailer is a pain and limits where you can go, and we don't need it because the kids are no longer babies (never would have gotten DW to agree to tent camping with babies).

What we've found is that a nice canvas tent (durable, quiet in wind, breathes well, less stuffy) with good camping gear works well for our camping style. I love getting into the backcountry and away from the crowds - generally this means USFS roads requiring higher clearance, and dispersed camping which is camping outside designated campgrounds. This means there are no amenities so you have to bring all your own gear (including portable toilet, table, etc.), but it means you aren't camping cheek by jowl with a bunch of other campers and RVs running generators. It's also free and you there are no reservations (big issue here in California), just find a spot you like.

A "half-ton" pickup with a camper shell on the back is perfect for this. Can fit all the gear in the back and have room for my family of 4 up front.  I took my time and watched the used market and eventually found a 2012 F-150 ecoboost 4x4 6.5' bed with the options I was looking for and just 35K miles for under $30k. Added the camper shell later. Solo camping trips are super simple - just sleep in the back.

Initially I was kinda unsure about getting a truck, but pulled the trigger on it because I liked the utility of it and now that I'm FIRE I don't drive very much. Love it after using it for 6 months now - love the cargo space and how useful it is, and I'm tall so it's great to have something I actually fit in.

The truck was quite a bit less than the VW is getting bought back for so we're using some of the difference to buy a cargo ebike for school drop-off/pick-up and other errands around town. I was doing this before the kids outgrew the bike trailer (and as I already mentioned, I don't like towing trailers!) so I'm confident the bike will get good use and the truck will get even fewer miles.

I liked MMM's post on trucks and I too think it's funny to see super lifted and polished vehicles around (funny, I don't usually see them out on dirt roads/trails). But there are good uses for them, and I'm glad there's a market for them so I can get them used for less :)

cadillacmike

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2017, 09:39:27 PM »
Go ahead and tow 2 or 3,000 lbs with a Camry if you want.

Most or all Camrys for the US market are built HERE in the US and with some different outfitting than the rest of the world. I'm not sure (and don't care) but I think Nissan and Honda build their most popular models here as well. The corporate profits all go back to Japan, but at least there are some US jobs as a result.

Many makers have cars in other markets that are not even sold in the US because they are so small and rinky-dink made they wouldn't have any buyers here. I've been to the countries and have seen and driven the vehicles. I thought I was going to die once while being taken from Alexandria to Cairo one night.

I've seen the jingle trucks hopelessly overloaded over in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. when I was on my deployments. A real truck (not the MMM referenced idiot trucks that he has a blog about) are built quite durable. Do that with a car and you'll overload the springs, and shorten its life.

For very short trips, it probably won't get overheated too much, but if the trips are that short, the oil sump will develop sludge.

It's your car, you can do anything you want with it.

FINate

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2017, 02:04:59 PM »
I've seen the jingle trucks hopelessly overloaded over in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. when I was on my deployments. A real truck (not the MMM referenced idiot trucks that he has a blog about) are built quite durable. Do that with a car and you'll overload the springs, and shorten its life.

I agree. One might get away with this on the occasional short trip on level ground at low speeds, but it will still be hard vehicles not designed for it. This is especially new of new unibody cars which are designed for efficiency and comfort.

Towing capacities are determined as a matter of engineering - they are not arbitrary. Even then it's sensible to be conservative with trailer weight and keeping it under 80% of towing capacity in case you overload it or end up in an unusually steep road. Having grown up towing trailers, and until recently a travel trailer, I can't tell you how many iffy situations I've had while towing (gusting wind, blown tires, steep narrow roads).

Also, if you're going to tow make sure your tongue weight is about 10% of gross trailer weight - I've seen too many trailers swerving which is usually because the tongue is too light. And make sure that the tongue weight does not exceed the hitch weight (different from the towing capacity), which is the lower of the hitch rating and usually 10% of the overall towing capacity (a vehicle that can tow 7700 lbs will usually be able to handle about 770 lbs of downward weight on the hitch - check your manual!). In California (check your local laws), trailers over 1500lbs must have trailer brakes on at least two wheels, which means you'll also need a trailer brake controller installed, and you can't legal exceed 55 MPH while towing here. And make sure you have the right hitch height so that the trailer is being towed level - you don't want the tongue of the trailer diving down into the ground or pointing up).

But if you're towing infrequently why not just rent or borrow a truck? Way safer, and probably less expensive in the long run.


Chris22

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2017, 02:52:52 PM »
The whole MMM truck hatred thing is kind of silly.  Yeah, granted, no one needs a $60k King Ranch Titanium Package whatever, but for the average DIY guy, a basic late-model F-150 or Tacoma or something is probably not a bad idea.  First off, if you follow MMM, you aren't commuting crazy distances, so the gas mileage isn't a big deal.  And a truck is an excellent enabler for a DIYer.  And because they tend to be well-built/over-engineered, you can either drive them forever OR when you go to trade them they still have very good resale value.  I really think it's a case of MMM letting his eco-weenie virtue signaling side over ride his common sense "right tool for the job" side.  He's mad because an F-150 LOOKS like a gross polluter, but if you aren't driving it a ton of miles every year, the actual pollution increase over a Prius is negligible, and it's less than a Prius driving 10s of thousands of miles a year.

The whole "MMM shoes how ridiculous it is to use a monster drill for a tiny hole" is simplistic and idiotic considering the cost to own multiple drills versus the cost to own multiple vehicles.  It's also idiotic, IMO, to say "I can cram all sorts of shit into my tiny hatchback" because it shows a vast lack of understanding about weight ratings, tow ratings, and the effect they have on vehicle longevity and dynamics.  Go put 1500lbs into your hatchback with a 600lb capacity, and then slam it into the back of the guy in front of you when your braking distance triples and let me know how that works out for you in civil court. 

To me, the best truck compromise is some sort of medium (Tacoma, Colorado/Canyon) or large (F-150/Silverado) pickup with a big-ass trailer as backup when you need something bigger.  And that's what I'd drive if it made sense for my lifestyle.  It doesn't, because I live near a hardware store and can get bulky stuff delivered cheap, so I don't, but if I did, I wouldn't feel badly about using a truck to drive the ~6k miles a year I usually do instead of a car.

FINate

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2017, 04:13:08 PM »
The whole MMM truck hatred thing is kind of silly.  Yeah, granted, no one needs a $60k King Ranch Titanium Package whatever, but for the average DIY guy, a basic late-model F-150 or Tacoma or something is probably not a bad idea.  First off, if you follow MMM, you aren't commuting crazy distances, so the gas mileage isn't a big deal.  And a truck is an excellent enabler for a DIYer.  And because they tend to be well-built/over-engineered, you can either drive them forever OR when you go to trade them they still have very good resale value.  I really think it's a case of MMM letting his eco-weenie virtue signaling side over ride his common sense "right tool for the job" side.  He's mad because an F-150 LOOKS like a gross polluter, but if you aren't driving it a ton of miles every year, the actual pollution increase over a Prius is negligible, and it's less than a Prius driving 10s of thousands of miles a year.

I love this. To be fair, I think MMM has a valid point that using an off road capable vehicle that can tow 10,000 lbs as a daily commuter is downright silly. But yeah, funny when people hate on trucks yet think it's really cool when someone buys/owns a Westfalia that costs as much (or more) than a pickup, gets worse gas milage, and can tow 20% as much [no idea how MMM feels about Westalias, just something I've noticed in general]

Fishindude

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2017, 07:43:33 AM »
I'll bet some of these bikes we read about people riding to work every day cost nearly as much as an entry level pickup truck?   Seems awfully wasteful to not just ride a 1969 Schwinn.

DangleStash

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2017, 07:56:43 AM »
I'd suggest just getting one of the trailers from Harbor Freight. You can even hook those up to a smaller car like a Camry.

My next utility trailer will be quite the opposite. It will be a 4' X 9" single axle, all Aluminum unit with a solid floor and  matching side panels. The reasons are many, but it comes down to a "buy it for life" view of the purchase. I have seen the HF trailers in action, and they are essentially disposable. They will not stand up to any serious use for an extended period of time.  The next step up would be a decent, professional grade steel unit, not the crap in the Lowes parking lot for a few hundred more than the HF trailers. I have owned a smaller commercial grade steel unit in the past. The thing was ridiculously heavy, had a 2" thick treated floor which added hundreds of pounds to the dead weight, and without frequent upkeep, it was a rusty mess.  An aluminum trailer is essentially maintenance free, weights a bit over half of a matching size steel unit,  and will last for decades with minimal care. With a solid floor and sides it can be used for hauling dirt and mulch without issue, and it's light enough to be maneuvered into tight spots by hand, just by grabbing the tongue. If your committed to a modest car and a utility trailer for the long haul, aluminum is far from cheap, but decades down the road, it will still be providing trouble free service.

I'm with you on this.  We have had a 10x5 Carry On trailer from Lowes for about 5 years.  Registration is $50/yr, and it has been incredibly useful.  I really wanted to go with a Big Tex trailer because they're built MUCH better, but through some combo of sale + coupon I was able to get the Carry-On for $899 out the door vs. twice as much for the Big Tex I wanted.  Recently we got an F150 because the trailer can be a huge PITA in tight spaces, and the enclosed sides of the bed are also very useful.  Will definitely hold onto the trailer too for moving larger items, but I agree the POS angle iron construction requires a steel brush and some black enamel spray paint every spring.

Syonyk

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2017, 10:06:03 AM »
Yeah, "trucks" are a hot button issue on this forum, and there are a depressing number of people who don't know anything about trucks or towing offering bad advice along the lines of "Towing at 100% of the tow rating is totally fine," and then the "brag about how badly overloaded you've driven your hatchback" horror shows... GVWR exists for a reason, and it's probably calculated by people who know a lot more about the limits than you do...

A big truck, seldom driven, is a great option if you need to haul a lot of stuff.  I'm out in the country and have a F350, crew cab, long bed.  And I don't put that many miles a year on it, so the fuel economy just isn't a big deal.  I could run biodiesel if I could find it, but it's not easily found out here.  I can fit two yards of dirt in the back, can tow just about anything I'd need to tow safely, etc.

I'm not sure what the legal issues are if you get into a crash exceeding vehicle limits, and I'd rather not find out.  And if you're towing in the mountains, you'd better be damned sure that your truck can stop your trailer, coming downhill, if the trailer brakes quit on you.  Towing over rated is a good way to cook your brakes and get yourself into one hell of a problem if something quits in the trailer brake system (and I've seen them quit for the weirdest reasons - our church trailer will pop brake fuses if it's below 0F out, for some reason).

Jon Bon

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2017, 10:35:21 AM »
Yeah, "trucks" are a hot button issue on this forum, and there are a depressing number of people who don't know anything about trucks or towing offering bad advice along the lines of "Towing at 100% of the tow rating is totally fine," and then the "brag about how badly overloaded you've driven your hatchback" horror shows... GVWR exists for a reason, and it's probably calculated by people who know a lot more about the limits than you do...

A big truck, seldom driven, is a great option if you need to haul a lot of stuff.  I'm out in the country and have a F350, crew cab, long bed.  And I don't put that many miles a year on it, so the fuel economy just isn't a big deal.  I could run biodiesel if I could find it, but it's not easily found out here.  I can fit two yards of dirt in the back, can tow just about anything I'd need to tow safely, etc.

I'm not sure what the legal issues are if you get into a crash exceeding vehicle limits, and I'd rather not find out.  And if you're towing in the mountains, you'd better be damned sure that your truck can stop your trailer, coming downhill, if the trailer brakes quit on you.  Towing over rated is a good way to cook your brakes and get yourself into one hell of a problem if something quits in the trailer brake system (and I've seen them quit for the weirdest reasons - our church trailer will pop brake fuses if it's below 0F out, for some reason).

Syonyk,

Sounds like a serious guy/gal towing serious stuff. Glad you are doing this safely.

I guess my point on this thread, and over all is that you can do an awful lot of hauling without a truck. I am talking 15 bags of mulch, a couch, or a whole bunch of tools. The attitude in this country is those things MUST be hauled with a (full sized) truck.  I contend that attitude is just ludicrous.

I drive down the road and I see hundreds of crew cab short bed trucks hauling nothing. And when they do haul something they just look stupid because an 8 foot 2x4 wont even fit in the bed! So much of truck ownership is marketing and pride and thats fine, I like the look of trucks too and would not mind driving one.

It kind of reminds me of the entire discussion on the new Honda ridgeline. Its' the truck most of us actually need, but the marketing machines convinces us its body on frame or bust!

Sure lots of people are going to be stupid and way overload their vesicles. But as a guy who needs 2 sheets of drywall while its raining outside, im sure glad I have my van!



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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2017, 10:56:30 AM »
I love this. To be fair, I think MMM has a valid point that using an off road capable vehicle that can tow 10,000 lbs as a daily commuter is downright silly. But yeah, funny when people hate on trucks yet think it's really cool when someone buys/owns a Westfalia that costs as much (or more) than a pickup, gets worse gas milage, and can tow 20% as much [no idea how MMM feels about Westalias, just something I've noticed in general]

I commute 8 miles every day in a 4wd truck that can tow 10,000 lbs. I also use this truck to tow an RV, haul the 8 garbage cans(we have no service), pickup and haul many very heavy loads of firewood each year, etc. I use the truck and have an admittedly occasional need for a truck. It gets 16 mpg in the city and 21 on the highway, 12 when towing. Compare this to your smaller trucks or minivans and you will see that fuel consumption is not an issue. So what is the problem with commuting in the same truck?

Getting a second vehicle is silly, getting a trailer is silly too. When you "need" a truck for any reason then you be sure that the single vehicle that you must own is capable of all of your needs. A second vehicle costs a LOT in registration, purchase price, depreciation, insurance, maintenance, and even it will consume fuel. I ran the numbers on a second beater car for commuting and found that it will not pay for itself. Seriously, if you have no need for a big truck then it is cheaper to not own one but do the math before getting two vehicles.

So I ended up with a 205,000 mile, 18 year old, ford diesel truck that is capable of working. It only cost me 11000$ several years ago and has not depreciated or really cost anything in repairs. I love driving it and the only drawback is low mpg compared to a car that does not meet my needs. 
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 10:59:11 AM by Highbeam »

FINate

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2017, 11:08:42 AM »
I love this. To be fair, I think MMM has a valid point that using an off road capable vehicle that can tow 10,000 lbs as a daily commuter is downright silly. But yeah, funny when people hate on trucks yet think it's really cool when someone buys/owns a Westfalia that costs as much (or more) than a pickup, gets worse gas milage, and can tow 20% as much [no idea how MMM feels about Westalias, just something I've noticed in general]

I commute 8 miles every day in a 4wd truck that can tow 10,000 lbs. I also use this truck to tow an RV, haul the 8 garbage cans(we have no service), pickup and haul many very heavy loads of firewood each year, etc. I use the truck and have an admittedly occasional need for a truck. It gets 16 mpg in the city and 21 on the highway, 12 when towing. Compare this to your smaller trucks or minivans and you will see that fuel consumption is not an issue. So what is the problem with commuting in the same truck?

Getting a second vehicle is silly, getting a trailer is silly too. When you "need" a truck for any reason then you be sure that the single vehicle that you must own is capable of all of your needs. A second vehicle costs a LOT in registration, purchase price, depreciation, insurance, maintenance, and even it will consume fuel. I ran the numbers on a second beater car for commuting and found that it will not pay for itself. Seriously, if you have no need for a big truck then it is cheaper to not own one but do the math before getting two vehicles.

So I ended up with a 205,000 mile, 18 year old, ford diesel truck that is capable of working. It only cost me 11000$ several years ago and has not depreciated or really cost anything in repairs. I love driving it and the only drawback is low mpg compared to a car that does not meet my needs.

By "commute" I mean 20-30 miles each way. Eight miles round trip (or even one way) is not a commute, that's a short jaunt. I'm talking about people putting 40-60 miles a day and more on their commuter trucks.

Perhaps this doesn't work for you for any number of reasons, but have you looked into an ebike for your short commute? No registration or insurance or other associated costs.

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2017, 11:11:18 AM »
Sounds like a serious guy/gal towing serious stuff. Glad you are doing this safely.

I try to do it safely.  Antique cars aren't light, and the trailers that let you do longer towing with them aren't light either (it's about 6000-7000lb of trailer plus car when dealing with the heavier ones - and we're considering an enclosed trailer at some point for longer meets, since the cars are getting to be 100 years old and we'd rather not blow a roof off one).  A good 5th wheel (we don't own one yet, but are planning to buy one in the next 5 years for long distance travel/camping) is north of 10k lbs.

Quote
I guess my point on this thread, and over all is that you can do an awful lot of hauling without a truck. I am talking 15 bags of mulch, a couch, or a whole bunch of tools. The attitude in this country is those things MUST be hauled with a (full sized) truck.  I contend that attitude is just ludicrous.

You can do a lot with a van, but I'd argue that if you're buying bags of mulch, you're insanely overpaying - I buy compost/dirt/sand/gravel/etc by the yard, and they load it straight into my truck bed.  I'm not sure what the cost delta to go with bags would be, but I'd bet it's a good bit.  Now, if you don't need a half yard or more of stuff, yeah, the bags are probably easier.

Quote
I drive down the road and I see hundreds of crew cab short bed trucks hauling nothing. And when they do haul something they just look stupid because an 8 foot 2x4 wont even fit in the bed! So much of truck ownership is marketing and pride and thats fine, I like the look of trucks too and would not mind driving one.

If they're being used in the city, sure.  But if you need tow capacity instead of bed space, they're pretty reasonable (a lot of those seem to have the 5th wheel rails or a gooseneck hitch in the bed), and if you're out somewhere in which "snow plow service" consists of your personally owned tractor, the ground clearance can matter.  I've owned plenty of Subarus, and there's no way they would have been able to get out of our driveway this winter.  The truck struggled and took an awful lot of running starts to get out.  Said personally owned tractor had decided it was a good day to simply stop starting entirely, and I needed parts. :/

I commute 8 miles every day in a 4wd truck that can tow 10,000 lbs. I also use this truck to tow an RV, haul the 8 garbage cans(we have no service), pickup and haul many very heavy loads of firewood each year, etc. I use the truck and have an admittedly occasional need for a truck. It gets 16 mpg in the city and 21 on the highway, 12 when towing. Compare this to your smaller trucks or minivans and you will see that fuel consumption is not an issue. So what is the problem with commuting in the same truck?

...

So I ended up with a 205,000 mile, 18 year old, ford diesel truck that is capable of working. It only cost me 11000$ several years ago and has not depreciated or really cost anything in repairs. I love driving it and the only drawback is low mpg compared to a car that does not meet my needs.

Ok, how are you getting 21mpg on a 7.3?  Really tall gearing back there?

FINate

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2017, 11:22:50 AM »
Syonyk,

Sounds like a serious guy/gal towing serious stuff. Glad you are doing this safely.

I guess my point on this thread, and over all is that you can do an awful lot of hauling without a truck. I am talking 15 bags of mulch, a couch, or a whole bunch of tools. The attitude in this country is those things MUST be hauled with a (full sized) truck.  I contend that attitude is just ludicrous.

I drive down the road and I see hundreds of crew cab short bed trucks hauling nothing. And when they do haul something they just look stupid because an 8 foot 2x4 wont even fit in the bed! So much of truck ownership is marketing and pride and thats fine, I like the look of trucks too and would not mind driving one.

It kind of reminds me of the entire discussion on the new Honda ridgeline. Its' the truck most of us actually need, but the marketing machines convinces us its body on frame or bust!

Sure lots of people are going to be stupid and way overload their vesicles. But as a guy who needs 2 sheets of drywall while its raining outside, im sure glad I have my van!

The right tool for the right job. For some people, based on their needs, that is a truck. The point some of us are making is that reflexive truck hating doesn't take this into account. Agree that driving 15k miles/year in an empty truck is wasteful, but almost as wasteful are people doing long commutes in Subaru Outbacks (or any number of other similar vehicles) which are overpowered AWD vehicles. That these have somehow come to signal green virtue is a testament to the power of marketing in the mind of the consumer.

We walk for or bike for most in town stuff. We're planning on running my wife's Toyota into the ground, which may take quite some time given how few miles we drive. But after that we'll likely get an EV for most other trips. The truck is for camping, hunting, helping people move, towing the occasional trailer, and such.

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2017, 12:32:15 PM »
We walk for or bike for most in town stuff. We're planning on running my wife's Toyota into the ground, which may take quite some time given how few miles we drive. But after that we'll likely get an EV for most other trips. The truck is for camping, hunting, helping people move, towing the occasional trailer, and such.

Yeah, keeping miles down makes it so much less of an issue.

I work from home.  I drive... maybe 30-40 miles a week?  If that.  Most of that is on a sidecar motorcycle rig that gets pretty poor fuel economy (25-30mpg).  Fuel costs just aren't a big part of my living expenses.

My wife drives more (closer to 30 miles 4-5 days a week) because of things she goes to with our daughter.  I'm absolutely planning on an EV purchase for that - the used Leaf prices just keep falling!

Chris22

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2017, 01:09:19 PM »
From a Nextdoor listing

Quote
NOTE: The headboard is large and heavy (60 lbs) so you will need a large SUV or truck to transport it.

OMG 60 lbs! You can't put that in a hatchback :-O

It says LARGE and heavy.  60lbs is doable in a hatchback, but large might not be. 

Car Jack

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2017, 09:25:18 AM »
I look at the actual need.  If you plow snow, well, you're going to need a 4x4 truck of some kind.  If you're pulling a 3500 pound boat, you sort of need a truck.  A Wrangler to a pickup can do those things.  For hauling relatively normal things (stuff to the dump, a new washer, dryer, scrap metal to the yard to collect some $$) a small trailer works fine.  I use a snowmobile trailer for these things and have never had to overload it or make my car work too hard to pull it.  If you're hauling 3 tons of gravel.......why the hell are you hauling 3 tons of gravel?  Just pay the extra $5 from the gravel place for them to deliver it (note....I've had gravel delivered and for 3 tons, it is literally a $5 charge.....larger amounts, there's no charge).  I do snowplow my driveway.  It's long and would cost (I have priced it out) several hundred dollars per snowstorm so yah....I have the favorite car of MMM.....a Jeep Wrangler.  I do also pull my snowmobile trailer with this.

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2017, 11:17:51 PM »
My next utility trailer will be quite the opposite. It will be a 4' X 9" single axle, all Aluminum unit with a solid floor and  matching side panels.

Got any links to what you're considering?  I currently have one of the 4x6 Tractor Supply steel ones, with a mesh steel floor that I've added 3/4" marine plywood to.  It's about 10 years old now with no issues other than needing tires, but I would like a light unit that was big enough for full sheets of plywood.  Currently hauling mine with the Prius so I don't want to go much bigger than 4' or 5' x 9'.

We purchased a Aluma 548BT two years ago instead of buying a truck. Love it and have considerd it a pretty good purchase at $2200. It weighs a little over 350lbs and has a max capacity of 2000lbs or just a tad more. This little guy made the trip from Iowa to SoCal no questions asked. The Subaru Outback 4cyl we towed it with did not. Colorado, heat and mountains = head gasket issues and a 3 day wait for parts in Grand Junction.

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2017, 01:35:16 PM »
At the risk of joining a thread that is already somewhat contentious and possibly misinformed... here I go.

1. Towing capacity, domestic vs. foreign. - While I have seen many discussions regarding this, and many arguing the braking abilities in different areas and disputing the size of the shock absorbers and coolant tanks, I have yet to hear anyone mention road design standards. In north America we tend to use the MUTCD in setting stopping distances for the visibility of a stop sign. In Canada we use the TAC standard for super-elevation on a curve and for highway crossfall, shoulder dropoff etc. Unless the other jurisdictions your weights are measured in match the roadway standards in the places you are driving, they mean nothing. You need to know how this particular vehicle can safely navigate this particular country's roads when the roads are built properly and the truck is properly maintained.

2. "Everyone needs a truck for big jobs." - I just finished some pretty "vigorous" renovations on an older home. I used Momma's minivan whenever I could to haul materials and pull our trailer. Mostly I used my Chev Sonic. The Sonic performed surprisingly well for most of what I needed to do. The minivan was great for pulling our utility trailer and most of the trips I made to get materials. Despite this, and despite successfully completing the job with the vehicles on hand, I found myself longing for a minitruck. What ever happened to the old 4-6 cyl Rangers and Dakotas S-10s? It seems like even the small trucks are massive now. I did make it through the whole job with the vehicles available, but a small truck would have been a godsend.

3. "A junker in the backlot is the answer." - For a long time I kept a "big vehicle" around following this theory. Suburbans and Astro-vans were my favourite cheap haulers.  While this worked OK, the extra insurance is not cheap, the tenancy to let things go too far on the junker, and the poor safety record of the older vehicle can all be liabilities. Look up the crash tests on an AstroVan for fun... its not super-great. Luckily I never crashed one. I did spin out on a freeway in one once though. It was wild ride with everything in the van flying every-which-a-ways. Somehow the van stayed on its feet.

4. "A utility trailer does it all!" - really they are AWESOME and a great investment. I bought mine for $75 at a yard sale some 20 years ago. its been completely rebuilt twice, has crossed the country to both coasts, carried canoes down rough logging roads, and paid for itself a dozen times over. I love it. It isn't everything though. Partnered with a high capacity van it comes damn close. If you get a trailer, make crossbars to allow you to put a load over it. This way you can carry 4X8 sheets of plywood on top of the smaller 4X6 trailer you'll buy to save cash and storage space. Despite all this... A truck still has some capabilities that the van/trailer combo don't. Backing a small trailer down a long driveway with something blocking your rear mirror (like trees for landscaping) is super not-fun. IMO though, the van-trailer combo is tough to beat. I can live with it (or rent something) for the jobs that this combo won't do. And with a pickup you won't need the trailer to move a fridge - with the van you likely do.


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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #33 on: June 20, 2017, 05:57:11 PM »
Sounds like a serious guy/gal towing serious stuff. Glad you are doing this safely.

I try to do it safely.  Antique cars aren't light, and the trailers that let you do longer towing with them aren't light either (it's about 6000-7000lb of trailer plus car when dealing with the heavier ones - and we're considering an enclosed trailer at some point for longer meets, since the cars are getting to be 100 years old and we'd rather not blow a roof off one).  A good 5th wheel (we don't own one yet, but are planning to buy one in the next 5 years for long distance travel/camping) is north of 10k lbs.

Quote
I guess my point on this thread, and over all is that you can do an awful lot of hauling without a truck. I am talking 15 bags of mulch, a couch, or a whole bunch of tools. The attitude in this country is those things MUST be hauled with a (full sized) truck.  I contend that attitude is just ludicrous.

You can do a lot with a van, but I'd argue that if you're buying bags of mulch, you're insanely overpaying - I buy compost/dirt/sand/gravel/etc by the yard, and they load it straight into my truck bed.  I'm not sure what the cost delta to go with bags would be, but I'd bet it's a good bit.  Now, if you don't need a half yard or more of stuff, yeah, the bags are probably easier.

Quote
I drive down the road and I see hundreds of crew cab short bed trucks hauling nothing. And when they do haul something they just look stupid because an 8 foot 2x4 wont even fit in the bed! So much of truck ownership is marketing and pride and thats fine, I like the look of trucks too and would not mind driving one.

If they're being used in the city, sure.  But if you need tow capacity instead of bed space, they're pretty reasonable (a lot of those seem to have the 5th wheel rails or a gooseneck hitch in the bed), and if you're out somewhere in which "snow plow service" consists of your personally owned tractor, the ground clearance can matter.  I've owned plenty of Subarus, and there's no way they would have been able to get out of our driveway this winter.  The truck struggled and took an awful lot of running starts to get out.  Said personally owned tractor had decided it was a good day to simply stop starting entirely, and I needed parts. :/

I commute 8 miles every day in a 4wd truck that can tow 10,000 lbs. I also use this truck to tow an RV, haul the 8 garbage cans(we have no service), pickup and haul many very heavy loads of firewood each year, etc. I use the truck and have an admittedly occasional need for a truck. It gets 16 mpg in the city and 21 on the highway, 12 when towing. Compare this to your smaller trucks or minivans and you will see that fuel consumption is not an issue. So what is the problem with commuting in the same truck?

...

So I ended up with a 205,000 mile, 18 year old, ford diesel truck that is capable of working. It only cost me 11000$ several years ago and has not depreciated or really cost anything in repairs. I love driving it and the only drawback is low mpg compared to a car that does not meet my needs.

Ok, how are you getting 21mpg on a 7.3?  Really tall gearing back there?

On the 7.3 mpg. I can easily get over 20 on all freeway drives. Always hand calculated and I log every single tank of fuel in a book. Sorry, I'm an engineer. This last fall I logged multiple consecutive tanks over 22 mpg on a long drive to and from Colorado from WA to visit an old friend and to look for elk. The secret is to slow down. I ran 65 mph all the time even when the limit was over 75 mph. OEM sized tires and 3.73 gears, tonneau cover, and good maintenance. This is a 4x4 crew cab too. Oh and checked the odometer against gps and the mile markers was right on. Finally, I have an aftermarket program on the computer that made a huge difference in power but also might have helped a little with mpg.

I do my best to get the best mpg out of a very capable and older vehicle that is paid for. I am hauling the RV with it this weekend over a mountain pass to the warm side of WA. 

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #34 on: June 20, 2017, 09:11:15 PM »
I rarely run past 65. I do have a huge topper that probably doesn't help. And I've got 4.10s - though taller tires (19.5" highway wheel). I'm guessing it's mostly the topper...

Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #35 on: July 06, 2017, 01:43:33 PM »
Yesterday I brought our new very large fridge and our range home from Lowes in the bed of my 94 Mazda B3000 plus a health load of lumber to boot. Worked fine.

FINate

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #36 on: July 06, 2017, 05:45:49 PM »
My VW was caught up in the dieselgate scandal so I was unexpectedly in the market for another vehicle. [Incidentally, what I paid for it vs. what VW is buying it back for will make it the cheapest vehicle per mile driven I've ever owned. Thanks VW for cheating?]

At about the same time we decided to sell the RV travel trailer because: expensive to maintain and store, and towing a trailer is a pain and limits where you can go, and we don't need it because the kids are no longer babies (never would have gotten DW to agree to tent camping with babies).

What we've found is that a nice canvas tent (durable, quiet in wind, breathes well, less stuffy) with good camping gear works well for our camping style. I love getting into the backcountry and away from the crowds - generally this means USFS roads requiring higher clearance, and dispersed camping which is camping outside designated campgrounds. This means there are no amenities so you have to bring all your own gear (including portable toilet, table, etc.), but it means you aren't camping cheek by jowl with a bunch of other campers and RVs running generators. It's also free and you there are no reservations (big issue here in California), just find a spot you like.

A "half-ton" pickup with a camper shell on the back is perfect for this. Can fit all the gear in the back and have room for my family of 4 up front.  I took my time and watched the used market and eventually found a 2012 F-150 ecoboost 4x4 6.5' bed with the options I was looking for and just 35K miles for under $30k. Added the camper shell later. Solo camping trips are super simple - just sleep in the back.

Initially I was kinda unsure about getting a truck, but pulled the trigger on it because I liked the utility of it and now that I'm FIRE I don't drive very much. Love it after using it for 6 months now - love the cargo space and how useful it is, and I'm tall so it's great to have something I actually fit in.

The truck was quite a bit less than the VW is getting bought back for so we're using some of the difference to buy a cargo ebike for school drop-off/pick-up and other errands around town. I was doing this before the kids outgrew the bike trailer (and as I already mentioned, I don't like towing trailers!) so I'm confident the bike will get good use and the truck will get even fewer miles.

I liked MMM's post on trucks and I too think it's funny to see super lifted and polished vehicles around (funny, I don't usually see them out on dirt roads/trails). But there are good uses for them, and I'm glad there's a market for them so I can get them used for less :)
The bolded above is the main reason I've kept my small truck (Ranger extra cab) for 10 years rather than get a mini van or any other kind of camper, trailer or RV. I enjoy doing long camping road trips and the truck with a shell gives me enough room to sleep in if I don't want to set up a tent as I have (although considering getting a tent shell like a Flip PAC below) plus much greater capacity to go a little bit off road compared to a mini van or camper. Fuel cost are probably about the same as a van too.

ETA my Ranger is a 2001 bought in 2007 as my FIRE truck). It now has about 117k miles on it and I use it very little (ride my bike) but its great for hauling everything I've ever needed it for and I can remove the shell easily if wanting to move a larger load. Plus I could also rent a trailer if I need more space but never have. BTW I paid $4k for it in 2007 and now worth about $1500. Definetly cheaper than my bicycle ;-).

Nice setup! I'm 6'6" so sleeping in the back of a Ranger probably wouldn't be an option for me :( The tent is cool. My family of 4 just finished a 2300 mile road trip around the Southwestern US with our F-150 w/ camper shell. Trip was a blast, love camping with a truck/camper shell combo.

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #37 on: July 06, 2017, 09:10:46 PM »

FINate

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #38 on: July 06, 2017, 11:35:28 PM »
Tow ratings in North America are ridiculous. See: http://www.uktow.com/towing%20capacity.asp?make=Honda&model1=Civic

Vs an F150... virtually: http://trailers.com/tow-capacity/2003_Ford_Crown_Victoria_4643.html

I don't understand...what's ridiculous? The Civic can tow somewhere around 2000-3000 lbs whereas the F-150 (not sure why you linked to Crown Victoria) can tow between 7000-11000. There's a lot more to tow capacity than just engine displacement. The gearing of the rear differential, transmission, suspension, etc. all matter a great deal.

daverobev

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #39 on: July 07, 2017, 05:52:22 AM »
Tow ratings in North America are ridiculous. See: http://www.uktow.com/towing%20capacity.asp?make=Honda&model1=Civic

Vs an F150... virtually: http://trailers.com/tow-capacity/2003_Ford_Crown_Victoria_4643.html

I don't understand...what's ridiculous? The Civic can tow somewhere around 2000-3000 lbs whereas the F-150 (not sure why you linked to Crown Victoria) can tow between 7000-11000. There's a lot more to tow capacity than just engine displacement. The gearing of the rear differential, transmission, suspension, etc. all matter a great deal.

I linked to the Crown Vic because it is very similar to an F150 of the same era. Body on frame, V8, beefy transmission, etc. It is rated at 1500 lbs. The Civics are rated at double that. Unibody small hatchbacks.

NA tow ratings == please buy a high margin SUV or truck.

FINate

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #40 on: July 07, 2017, 11:06:34 AM »
Crown Vics are quite different from a pickup. For one the rear axle ratio is much lower (geared higher) at 2.73 vs. the typical 3.55 for pickups. This puts a lot more strain on the engine and transmission while towing, but produces better gas milage and higher top speeds appropriate for a car not used for towing. Then there's the issue of the hitch receiver, what it mounts to, distance from the rear wheels, and other factors.

I'm sure you could occasionally exceed the tow capacity of a crown vic on relatively flat terrain, but that's not how this is determined. Tow capacities (and the legal liability they introduce for the manufacturer) have to take into account that consumers use these to determine what is safe in extreme situations, such as going up and down long winding 20% grades, gusting cross winds, and such.

Having recently traveled a lot of mountain roads I can say there are some truly harrowing roads in the US...along with people towing trailers. As a fellow driver I was glad people had appropriate vehicles for the loads being towed.



So are low tow capacities for passenger cars a mass conspiracy by automakers to push people to SUVs and trucks? The simpler and less sinister explanation is that the split CAFE standards (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Average_Fuel_Economy) for passenger cars vs. light trucks caused this. Passenger cars need to meet higher fuel economy standards so they are geared higher and the focus on non-towing non-hauling use cases (the vast majority of miles driven). It doesn't make sense for automakers to spend time and effort (e.g. increase the price of the car) on functionality that most consumers in that segment don't value. Light trucks (incl. SUVs) have lower fuel economy standards, so they can gear them lower, beef up the suspension (added weight), and design these for towing and hauling, which *is* something this segment values and is willing to pay for (e.g. the tow package).


daverobev

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #41 on: July 07, 2017, 11:11:42 AM »
Crown Vics are quite different from a pickup. For one the rear axle ratio is much lower (geared higher) at 2.73 vs. the typical 3.55 for pickups. This puts a lot more strain on the engine and transmission while towing, but produces better gas milage and higher top speeds appropriate for a car not used for towing. Then there's the issue of the hitch receiver, what it mounts to, distance from the rear wheels, and other factors.

I'm sure you could occasionally exceed the tow capacity of a crown vic on relatively flat terrain, but that's not how this is determined. Tow capacities (and the legal liability they introduce for the manufacturer) have to take into account that consumers use these to determine what is safe in extreme situations, such as going up and down long winding 20% grades, gusting cross winds, and such.

Having recently traveled a lot of mountain roads I can say there are some truly harrowing roads in the US...along with people towing trailers. As a fellow driver I was glad people had appropriate vehicles for the loads being towed.



So are low tow capacities for passenger cars a mass conspiracy by automakers to push people to SUVs and trucks? The simpler and less sinister explanation is that the split CAFE standards (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Average_Fuel_Economy) for passenger cars vs. light trucks caused this. Passenger cars need to meet higher fuel economy standards so they are geared higher and the focus on non-towing non-hauling use cases (the vast majority of miles driven). It doesn't make sense for automakers to spend time and effort (e.g. increase the price of the car) on functionality that most consumers in that segment don't value. Light trucks (incl. SUVs) have lower fuel economy standards, so they can gear them lower, beef up the suspension (added weight), and design these for towing and hauling, which *is* something this segment values and is willing to pay for (e.g. the tow package).

I was of course joking when I said CV == F150. But my point is simply that 1500lbs is a ridiculous tow rating considering the car. It shouldn't be the same as a truck. But perhaps, at least as much as my minivan - a Grand Caravan which is rated to 3600 lbs I think. Big, big difference there.

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #42 on: July 07, 2017, 11:22:15 AM »
And here it is worth pointing out that the caravan (not the grand) has a tow rating of about 1500 lbs since it does not have the stronger suspension, cooling components, etc. Or at least that was the case when we were looking for a family minivan a couple years back.

You wanna hold up the Toyota Sienna against it though? Towing package is standard there at 3500 lbs so no one can pick bones. Really, each vehicle is an individual case dependent on build and componentry. Whatever you choose as a tow vehicle, be ready to stand up for your decision in the civil case when you can't brake in time for the stop sign at the bottom of a steep hill.


FINate

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #43 on: July 07, 2017, 12:02:16 PM »
Crown Vics are quite different from a pickup. For one the rear axle ratio is much lower (geared higher) at 2.73 vs. the typical 3.55 for pickups. This puts a lot more strain on the engine and transmission while towing, but produces better gas milage and higher top speeds appropriate for a car not used for towing. Then there's the issue of the hitch receiver, what it mounts to, distance from the rear wheels, and other factors.

I'm sure you could occasionally exceed the tow capacity of a crown vic on relatively flat terrain, but that's not how this is determined. Tow capacities (and the legal liability they introduce for the manufacturer) have to take into account that consumers use these to determine what is safe in extreme situations, such as going up and down long winding 20% grades, gusting cross winds, and such.

Having recently traveled a lot of mountain roads I can say there are some truly harrowing roads in the US...along with people towing trailers. As a fellow driver I was glad people had appropriate vehicles for the loads being towed.



So are low tow capacities for passenger cars a mass conspiracy by automakers to push people to SUVs and trucks? The simpler and less sinister explanation is that the split CAFE standards (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Average_Fuel_Economy) for passenger cars vs. light trucks caused this. Passenger cars need to meet higher fuel economy standards so they are geared higher and the focus on non-towing non-hauling use cases (the vast majority of miles driven). It doesn't make sense for automakers to spend time and effort (e.g. increase the price of the car) on functionality that most consumers in that segment don't value. Light trucks (incl. SUVs) have lower fuel economy standards, so they can gear them lower, beef up the suspension (added weight), and design these for towing and hauling, which *is* something this segment values and is willing to pay for (e.g. the tow package).

I was of course joking when I said CV == F150. But my point is simply that 1500lbs is a ridiculous tow rating considering the car. It shouldn't be the same as a truck. But perhaps, at least as much as my minivan - a Grand Caravan which is rated to 3600 lbs I think. Big, big difference there.

You're basing that on engine size and comparison with a completely different vehicle, and an assumption that towing capacities for passenger cars are set arbitrarily low in the US because of some ulterior motive. The manufacturer set the CV rating at 1500 for a reason. They may have used some lighter components to save weight (and increase fuel efficiency), or perhaps they just didn't test it for higher values because there's not enough demand to justify the increased expense and resulting higher vehicle price. Whatever the case, if you need to tow more than 1500 lbs don't buy that vehicle. Many passenger cars in the US are rated for 3500, and many small SUVs in the US are rated for 5000. If you need to tow more than 5000 (pretty easy to do once a trailer is fully loaded) then you're probably looking at full size SUV or truck.

In the mid 90's my family was meeting up with another family at a campground. The other family had just purchased travel trailer and towed it with their existing minivan (forget the exact model). The route was relatively flat most of the way, but the last few miles involved a steep descent on a twisty road with no guard rails and a sheer dropoff. The dad knew that the trailer, once fully loaded, would likely exceed the tow capacity, but he did some test runs around town and everything seemed fine. And everything was fine until they started that descent. He said he could feel the front end of the minivan being lifted up by the weight of the trailer in certain places, and was losing traction on the front tires on some curves, especially areas with gravel. Rather terrifying not being able to fully control your vehicle while looking over a sheer dropoff with your family in the car. They made it to camp safely, but he looked rather pale and stressed on arrival. After returning home they ended up getting an SUV.

Clean Shaven

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #44 on: July 07, 2017, 12:06:34 PM »
Apparently the Ford Crown Victoria also doubles (or triples) as an offroad rock crawler, if you have sufficient disregard for body damage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFwPXEeJ3aI

daverobev

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #45 on: July 07, 2017, 01:25:17 PM »
You're basing that on engine size and comparison with a completely different vehicle, and an assumption that towing capacities for passenger cars are set arbitrarily low in the US because of some ulterior motive. The manufacturer set the CV rating at 1500 for a reason. They may have used some lighter components to save weight (and increase fuel efficiency), or perhaps they just didn't test it for higher values because there's not enough demand to justify the increased expense and resulting higher vehicle price. Whatever the case, if you need to tow more than 1500 lbs don't buy that vehicle. Many passenger cars in the US are rated for 3500, and many small SUVs in the US are rated for 5000. If you need to tow more than 5000 (pretty easy to do once a trailer is fully loaded) then you're probably looking at full size SUV or truck.

In the mid 90's my family was meeting up with another family at a campground. The other family had just purchased travel trailer and towed it with their existing minivan (forget the exact model). The route was relatively flat most of the way, but the last few miles involved a steep descent on a twisty road with no guard rails and a sheer dropoff. The dad knew that the trailer, once fully loaded, would likely exceed the tow capacity, but he did some test runs around town and everything seemed fine. And everything was fine until they started that descent. He said he could feel the front end of the minivan being lifted up by the weight of the trailer in certain places, and was losing traction on the front tires on some curves, especially areas with gravel. Rather terrifying not being able to fully control your vehicle while looking over a sheer dropoff with your family in the car. They made it to camp safely, but he looked rather pale and stressed on arrival. After returning home they ended up getting an SUV.

I'm basing on this:

The Ford Crown Victoria is a rear wheel drive, body on frame car that is... it's a rock. Previous years, with the same setup, were rated for more. Prior generations were rated for 5k.

The Grand Caravan is front wheel drive, unibody.

The Civic is front wheel drive, unibody.

What passenger cars are rated to 3500?

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #46 on: July 07, 2017, 01:29:44 PM »
I was of course joking when I said CV == F150. But my point is simply that 1500lbs is a ridiculous tow rating considering the car. It shouldn't be the same as a truck. But perhaps, at least as much as my minivan - a Grand Caravan which is rated to 3600 lbs I think. Big, big difference there.

How much does your minivan weigh?  How much does the Civic weigh?  What's the engine and transmission cooling capability?

I've towed 1500lb with a Subaru rated for 2000lb, and the car really wasn't at all entertained by it.  It did it, but was clearly unhappy with the arrangement.  I don't think I'd trust a Civic for more than about 1000lb, and I'm not sure I'd want to do that in the mountains.

Also, 26% grade?  For 10 miles?  That basically describes going off a cliff, right? :/

Whatever you choose as a tow vehicle, be ready to stand up for your decision in the civil case when you can't brake in time for the stop sign at the bottom of a steep hill.

And far too damned many people on this forum seem to think that because it can move it on flat land, it must be able to tow it.  Or that because it fits, they can move it in their car (see some of the "hauling firewood in a hatchback" threads for 500-1000lb over gross loads).

Bonus requirement, if you actually care about other people: Make sure your tow vehicle can stop the trailer, downhill, at least once, if you lose your trailer brakes.  That's a thing that happens, and I intend to upgrade my truck brakes and do some stress testing along those lines when we're towing a 5th wheel for longer travel.  Yes, it's several hundred dollars in brake hardware upgrades, but I'd like to be able to stop 20k lbs coming down a hill without fading my brakes into oblivion.


The Ford Crown Victoria is a rear wheel drive, body on frame car that is... it's a rock. Previous years, with the same setup, were rated for more. Prior generations were rated for 5k.

And what were the other changes in engine, transmission, rear axle, etc, that were made?

Quote
The Grand Caravan is front wheel drive, unibody.

The Civic is front wheel drive, unibody.

Because those two are totally the most important things.  ::rolleyes::

Go look at the engine and transmission, the brakes, etc - you'll see a few other differences between a Civic and a Grand Caravan.

daverobev

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #47 on: July 07, 2017, 01:45:43 PM »
The Ford Crown Victoria is a rear wheel drive, body on frame car that is... it's a rock. Previous years, with the same setup, were rated for more. Prior generations were rated for 5k.

And what were the other changes in engine, transmission, rear axle, etc, that were made?

Quote
The Grand Caravan is front wheel drive, unibody.

The Civic is front wheel drive, unibody.

Because those two are totally the most important things.  ::rolleyes::

Go look at the engine and transmission, the brakes, etc - you'll see a few other differences between a Civic and a Grand Caravan.

There are lots of differences between a Civic and GC - I'm saying a CV should be able to tow more than a Civic. I'm saying that RWD and body on frame means a car is generally more apt for towing than FWD unibody.

The point here is not Civic vs Grand Caravan.

The point is a CV is blatantly a more capable towing machine than a Civic. My Canadian Civic was not rated to tow anything. The British version is rated for MORE THAN a Crown Victoria. That isn't right. Yes, I know the NA and EU Civics are not the same cars.

FINate

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #48 on: July 07, 2017, 02:10:45 PM »
What passenger cars are rated to 3500?

Well here's the first Google search result for "cars with towing capacity": https://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/top-10/top-13-best-cars-for-towing-for-2013.html At least 4 passenger cars (e.g. not classified as light truck) that tow 3500 or more. Or, how about some minivans since these are popular on MMM: Honda Odyssey 3500 lbs, Toyota Sienna 3500 lbs, Nissan Quest 3500 lbs, Chrysler Town & Country 3600 lbs. Shall I go on?

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Re: The 2 trucks you need (or not)
« Reply #49 on: July 07, 2017, 02:16:12 PM »
Also, 26% grade?  For 10 miles?  That basically describes going off a cliff, right? :/

Heh, I think the sign means 26% grade is coming up in 10 miles - to warn trucks and autos towing trailers while there's still time to turn around. This is hwy 108 over the Sonora Pass in California.