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Old 06-09-2014, 02:05 PM   #11
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I understand the need for passenger space with kids, but I still would not rule out a truck. My Dodge quad cab has seating for 6. We travel regularly with 2 kids and the dog (shepherd mix) all in the cab. Just a thought.
Agree -- we struggled with SUV vs Pick-up too since we have 3 kids all in car seats. The reality is a full size truck with crew cab provides the about the same amount of back space as the typical SUV and far more cargo carrying weight allowance. Not to mention a truck bed is very useful to carry wood, fuel, genterator, bikes, etc.

The only truck that wouldn't have worked for us was the RAM crew cab, although I really liked it, there was a notch in the rear bench seat that affected a center car seat. The mega cab solved this problem, but I could not find one that met my requirements and budget.

The other thing I did was to separate my TV from the daily driver for each my wife and I. Yep I know a lot of folks think no way they will get a dedicated TV, but I found there are plenty of $3-4K camrys, accords, etc out there that get 25+ MPG and will run forever as a commuter/grocery getter. Also by going this route, I wasn't at all afraid of taken care of 100K mile used tow vehicle because we are only using it ~7500 miles a year so it will still give me an easy 10 years of service. This actuall lowered our overall insurance because the more expensive truck has full coverage but is hardly used and not used daily so the company signifcanly reduced the prememium and the toyota commuter is liabilty only becasue any real accident will have that car totaled.

Everyone has to make their over decisions, and budget is a major factor, but towing with an unsafe combination should NOT be a consideration.
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Old 06-09-2014, 03:23 PM   #12
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Agree -- we struggled with SUV vs Pick-up too since we have 3 kids all in car seats. The reality is a full size truck with crew cab provides the about the same amount of back space as the typical SUV and far more cargo carrying weight allowance. Not to mention a truck bed is very useful to carry wood, fuel, genterator, bikes, etc.

The only truck that wouldn't have worked for us was the RAM crew cab, although I really liked it, there was a notch in the rear bench seat that affected a center car seat. The mega cab solved this problem, but I could not find one that met my requirements and budget.

The other thing I did was to separate my TV from the daily driver for each my wife and I. Yep I know a lot of folks think no way they will get a dedicated TV, but I found there are plenty of $3-4K camrys, accords, etc out there that get 25+ MPG and will run forever as a commuter/grocery getter. Also by going this route, I wasn't at all afraid of taken care of 100K mile used tow vehicle because we are only using it ~7500 miles a year so it will still give me an easy 10 years of service. This actuall lowered our overall insurance because the more expensive truck has full coverage but is hardly used and not used daily so the company signifcanly reduced the prememium and the toyota commuter is liabilty only becasue any real accident will have that car totaled.

Everyone has to make their over decisions, and budget is a major factor, but towing with an unsafe combination should NOT be a consideration.

I like the idea of not driving my TV everyday (which I don't since the wife and I work the same hours at the same place). That said, IMO its not good for the vehicle. Gas has a shelf life of about 30 days, diesel fuel can grow fungus and plug up things over time, tires dryrot, rotors rust, belts crack, gaskets dry out and leak, yada...yada...yada... all at a cost eventually. I can do a lot of maintenance to my TV and put in a lot of gas with that $4-5k, plus know that when I want to go camping, its going to start. Todays vehicles are known to go 200000 miles with minimal problems and I dont think 300000 is to far off anymore.

I don't think a few extra pounds on the tow vehicle renders someone unsafe unless they are texting, drinking a beer and going 75mph while towing their TT. But thats just my opinion...
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Old 06-09-2014, 03:35 PM   #13
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Dry weight is a fictional number. That's a base trailer with no options. I guarantee you that trailer does not weigh 4909#. There is a yellow sticker on the drivers side of the trailer with a "shipped" weight which includes two full propane tanks and all factory installed options. Its supposed to be updated if the dealer installs any options. Take that number and add your "stuff". Its not as good as weighing it, but it'll be a start. With 3 kids you'll hit 6k lbs without trying.

One thing not discussed was the GVWR of that trailer. Jayco's web site lists it at 7000#. Even if you say you'll pack light and keep it at 6k or under, the temptation is always there to take more because you can store more. And you have kids. Every year you WILL take more stuff. Then there is the tongue limit. Check you manual. From what I can find it could be only 750#. If you tow up to your max, you could end up exceeding your tongue weight limit.

Over the years I have twice towed very close to my rated capacities. Both times I knew what I was getting into and what the limitations would be. The first was a 3500# GVWR hybrid with a mini-van (summer of '03). The second time was with our X20E (4750# GVWR) and a Chevy Trailblazer (summer of '13). I would describe both experiences as adequate at best. Both times I knew that towing in mountains would be out of the question. However I was setup properly and never felt unsafe or had "white knuckle experiences". In the case of the mini-van we replaced it after the first season for 2 reasons, we really hated owning a mini-van, and we wanted to tow on long trips, and in mountains. We just sold the Trailblazer because it had 160k on it and I really didn't want to spend any money on it anymore. In both cases, prior to towing close to capacity we towed trailers with those same vehicles that were well within capacities and with plenty of spare capacity. Our new to us Sierra in my sig doesn't even sweat towing the X20E.

That said, there is a definite difference between towing up to your limit and having spare capacity.
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Old 06-09-2014, 03:54 PM   #14
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Thanks for the advice. I appreciate all the experience. While I realize the "math" of the situation, I don't feel that I'm being unsafe as one post suggested. The 4909 number is the shipped number off the yellow sticker, so I can figure the capacities from there. When we decided on the camper we did so with the intention of having this camper until my kids are grown, 15-25 year decision. The pathfinder is just the TV I have now. I have no doubt that will change (maybe sooner than later). Just wanted to hear some experience from folks who have been in my situation. Again, thanks to all that contributed.
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Old 06-09-2014, 04:42 PM   #15
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I like the idea of not driving my TV everyday (which I don't since the wife and I work the same hours at the same place). That said, IMO its not good for the vehicle. Gas has a shelf life of about 30 days, diesel fuel can grow fungus and plug up things over time, tires dryrot, rotors rust, belts crack, gaskets dry out and leak, yada...yada...yada... all at a cost eventually. I can do a lot of maintenance to my TV and put in a lot of gas with that $4-5k, plus know that when I want to go camping, its going to start. Todays vehicles are known to go 200000 miles with minimal problems and I dont think 300000 is to far off anymore.

I don't think a few extra pounds on the tow vehicle renders someone unsafe unless they are texting, drinking a beer and going 75mph while towing their TT. But thats just my opinion...
I agree with everything you posted above and to be clear although I call my Duramax a dedicated tow vehicle It does get driven other than towing my camper becasue I simply like to drive it. There are a few days every month where I'll be driving more than the typcial 15 miles stop then 15 miles home when I'll take the truck. At a minium it helps keep the DPF burned off and allow it to run the necesary regeneration cycle. I burn about a tank a diesel a month outside of camping trips. IMO that is enough to keep everything turning and running not sitting and rotting.

Also in California we have a 365 day camping season, unlike some parts of the country my TT and TV don't get parked for 6, 7 or 8 months at a time.
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Old 06-09-2014, 06:44 PM   #16
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With a crew cab truck you get the wheel base advantage and a vehicle designed for the task. If you go SUV buy the longest wheel base. Surbans and expeditions would lead my list.
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Old 06-09-2014, 07:55 PM   #17
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Our tow vehicle is strictly for towing. We are the 4th owner of a 10 year old truck and it only has 30K on her so I'm thinking the previous 3 owners did the same.
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Old 06-09-2014, 08:35 PM   #18
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Thanks to all for the responses. Due to my situation I need an suv, not a truck-three kids all still in carseats. Looking at the Armada would give me more power (317 hp/385 ft# vs 266 hp/288 ft#) but not much more wheel base (123" vs 112"). Also, payload would only go to 1453 from 1047. My thinking is not much improvement but worse gas mileage for the 51 weeks out of the year I'm not towing. Also thought about suburban, but even the used ones in my area are out of my price range.

Thoughts appreciated.
As someone else said, don't rule out a truck even with the carseats. My F150 SuperCrew would have enough room for 3 car seats in the back. The 1/2-tons are wide, don't forget. Plus they have a lot of foot room.
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Old 06-09-2014, 10:17 PM   #19
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I'll chime in with my jay flight 184 sure it's smaller but I'm towing with a v6 grand Cherokee 2014. I don't want to tow anything bigger. Ram now has the v6 ecodiesel available in the 1500. 48,xxx$ canadian. Problem solved.
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Old 06-10-2014, 05:13 AM   #20
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... 48,xxx$ canadian. Problem solved.
In my world, $48K solves one problem but creates a heck of a lot more. If I had cash like that sitting around I would be talking to a car dealer, not you fine folks.
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