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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Tow vehicle opinions

Ok guys, I need some advice/opinions (I know that is a brave thing to ask for on here ). I am wanting to sell my current daily driver and buy a vehicle as my daily driver that can double as a tow vehicle for the Bird. My main requirements are price ($10k max), seating for at least 7, factory installed tow package such that it has increased/additional coolers for critical fluids and hopefully a 7-pin plug so I can add a brake controller, and reliability is the most critical. I want something that I can drive for the next several years without having to put a ton of money into maintenance.

Right now my thoughts are '02-'06 Toyota Sequoia, '02-'06 Expedition, or maybe that same vintage Suburban/Yukon XL. I had a '01 Toyota (same platform as Sequoia) in the past and I know it is super reliable, but I don't know how great the towing is as it has a smaller 4.7L V8, but I am not sure of the reliability on the Expedition or GM product.

I know anything will have 100k-150k miles on it, so I may have to do suspension work sometime during ownership, but don't want small things to dollar me to death like electric motors, various seals, etc. Ok, bring on the opinions .

Thanks,
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 11:45 AM
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Parents have a 2006 Expedition 4x4 and it's been great. Towed the bird on a car hauler and didn't even feel it back there! Just make sure to have the extractor tool handy when you change the spark plugs.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 12:00 PM
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Toyota 4.7 is crap in my book, the motor is good but requires timing belt replacement and the starter is under intake, and I've got one in here right know for starter, I did the timing belt on it awhile back pretty tough job

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 12:13 PM
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How often will you have 7 passengers, and how long will you have 7 passengers along for the ride?

You should be able to do an earlier 5.4 or 6.8 Excursion for around 10k. To be able to hold 7 people and have room for stuff, Expedition doesn't quite cut it unless all the stuff can be on the trailer, or the third row is splitable (which I guess it might be in the newer ones, but not in the 98-00 that I have ridden in).

Pretty tough set of requirements but should be doable near $10k.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 12:54 PM
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Toyota 4.7 is crap -> +1

I have a friend that had one with ~150k miles. Something was always breaking on it and needing replacement parts

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bangster View Post
How often will you have 7 passengers, and how long will you have 7 passengers along for the ride?

You should be able to do an earlier 5.4 or 6.8 Excursion for around 10k. To be able to hold 7 people and have room for stuff, Expedition doesn't quite cut it unless all the stuff can be on the trailer, or the third row is splitable (which I guess it might be in the newer ones, but not in the 98-00 that I have ridden in).

Pretty tough set of requirements but should be doable near $10k.
I won't have 7 passengers that often, but I have 3 kids (5, 3, and newborn), so I basically need three rows in order to fit all the car seats . The wife has a minivan for family travels, but I need something for family and tow. I do love the Excursions, but wasn't sure I wanted to drive something that size everyday, I will have to check some out.

-Kevin

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 02:54 PM
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I am partial to the 7.3 powerstroke as I drive one everyday. It holds a 17-19 mpg average. This is with a stick 4wd and a crew cab/ long bed. I have a TS 6 pos chip along with other mods and it woke the truck up. I have other toys ready to install soon. The 7.3 PSD has been the most reliable to me. I'm at 300K and in fact one 7.3 has seen 1.4 million miles. The duramax is a good combo too along with the 6.7 cummins but I don't like the truck it comes with.

Now for a gasser if you can afford it I really like the ecoboost F150 pretty impressive and I have head nothing but good things from those who own them. My old boss would see about a 21-23mpg average highway with hauling a decent load.

I see your looking for passenger room and the 7.3 comes in the excursion. The also have the V10 but don't know if you would want to be visiting the gas pump everyday. The 6.0 diesel can be reliable but requires deleting some emissions stuff and head studs.... to make it reliable.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
I won't have 7 passengers that often, but I have 3 kids (5, 3, and newborn), so I basically need three rows in order to fit all the car seats . The wife has a minivan for family travels, but I need something for family and tow. I do love the Excursions, but wasn't sure I wanted to drive something that size everyday, I will have to check some out.

-Kevin
Pardon my ignorance here but you can't place more than one car seat on a row of seats? It sounds like that's possible with a minivan (since you use one for family travels).

For DD driver, wouldn't a fuel size truck offer better fuel economy given its lighter weight?

From what you've written here, the need for a tow vehicle that can also hold all of the kids seems more aspirational than practical.

After all, for the one or two times a year you will need to tow a vehicle & bring the kids along, couldn't you just drive both vehicles? The extra fuel economy in this hypothetical situation should be weighed against how often you will be a) driving to work alone and b) towing a vehicle w/o the family.

Personally, since you already have a family vehicle, I'd almost consider having a small sedan as a DD (esp if your commute is a longer one) AND a tow vehicle for the few times you need it. I wholeheartedly believe in the adage "having a friend with a truck is way more useful than owning a truck yourself."

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 03:52 PM
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You might be able to swing a high mileage second gen Denali for that amount. I have no idea how reliable those are. They should be plentiful as they were all the rage in '05-07 (at least west of the Mississippi).
Rockauto has an interesting tool that compares the cost of parts between two different vehicles that may help in your search:
http://www.rockauto.com/repairindex/
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 06:05 PM
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I haul my cougar all over the eastern US with a Mercury Mountaineer, V6
auto.
Its been to Joliet, Milan MI, NJ, Ky.,Summer blast, Shootout twice.
No issues, 16mpg in the flatlands at 65 mph.

4800 lb. trailer and cougar, plus all the other crap needed to race.
Doing this since 3-2010.


Also, "turd" I used the calculator to compare a 95 cougar to a 95 T bird.
The Cougar was 7% more expensive.

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 06:12 PM
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Of the ones you listed, I would say go for the Suburban with a 6.0. They have plenty of power for towing, they get decent fuel mileage for their size, and the LS motor and 4L80E trans is a pretty bullet-proof combo that will easily run for over 200K miles. The Toyota requires regular timing belt changes as was already mentioned, will be down on power for towing, and will be more expensive to purchase in the first place since toyota's hold their value so well. The Expedition will work OK, but they tend to have problems with the front suspensions falling apart, plus with the 5.4, you'll do OK driving around, but it is kind of down on power for towing, so any time you need to accelerate or go up a hill, you will have to tach the thing out. A V10 Excursion will be better for towing, but will kill you on gas as a DD.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 08:18 PM
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I've been doing this a long time now. I use my 1996 GMC sierra k2500 extended cab long bed with a 454 and 4L80 transmission as a daily driver and tow rig and I'll agree the 4L80 transmission is a tank, so is the allison in the newer diesels. The 1997 4.6 F-150 extended cab regular bed was my tow/daily for awhile but it struggles up steeper grades with the bird on a nice trailer. The mileage that the sierra gets is less than ideal on average 14mpg flat, abuse it, race it, tow with it, city, highway, doesn't budge dead steady and it acts like nothing is behind it. The f-150 would do ok by itself city and highway but load it with a bird and car trailer and it would get like 7-10mpg, 12mpg loaded on flat highway.

If you can swing it get a 7.3 excursion. I hate the 6.0 ford diesels and their high pressure oil pump problems. Duramax 6.6 is nice. Personally you couldn't pay me to own and daily drive an auto trans dodge (and that's saying something given my left leg restrictions). V10's will eat your wallet at the pump. The 6.0 gas gm products aren't all bad, but they leak oil and knock sensors go out often, and so do the gauge clusters. The ford electric odometer aren't overly reliable either they are known to black out or work intermittently however at least all the other gauges work. 01 and up gm clusters go crazy and needles flip upside down. Just my feedback. If I could no would trade my 1997 F-150 for a 1999 F-250 crew cab short bed 4x4 7.3. I have no regrets with my GMC purchase.

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 11:42 PM
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I'm glad to hear good things about the LS1 in the GM trucks but I have 3 friends with an LS1 (2 camaros and 1 ws6) ans 2 of them threw rods just after 100k miles and the 3rd is still under 100k miles. maybe because they drive the sh!t out of them? But idk I've never owned one.

My girlfriends dad daily drives the v10 F250 and he said he gets 15 mpg on the highway but generally averages about 12 around town. Towing is another story.. he has a HUGE camper that he tows and averages about 8 haha. But he loves that truck and takes very good care of her

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-03-2014, 02:09 AM
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That's the upside of a diesel when under load fuel economy does not suffer where as a gas engines fuel economy will significantly drop.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-03-2014, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twin turbo 281 View Post
That's the upside of a diesel when under load fuel economy does not suffer where as a gas engines fuel economy will significantly drop.
My 1996 GMC 2500 extended cab long bed 4x4 454 7.4 gas motor does not drop even a smidge when loaded or towing. In fact it towed my F-150 a week ago on a heavy car hauler and acted like it wasn't even there. That was nice.

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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2014, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r429460 View Post
I haul my cougar all over the eastern US with a Mercury Mountaineer, V6
auto.
Its been to Joliet, Milan MI, NJ, Ky.,Summer blast, Shootout twice.
No issues, 16mpg in the flatlands at 65 mph.

4800 lb. trailer and cougar, plus all the other crap needed to race.
Doing this since 3-2010.


Also, "turd" I used the calculator to compare a 95 cougar to a 95 T bird.
The Cougar was 7% more expensive.
No doubt because of the landau roofs, low profile white wall tires and luggage racks so many Cougars are infected with.
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-05-2014, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4gunn View Post
Pardon my ignorance here but you can't place more than one car seat on a row of seats? It sounds like that's possible with a minivan (since you use one for family travels).

For DD driver, wouldn't a fuel size truck offer better fuel economy given its lighter weight?

From what you've written here, the need for a tow vehicle that can also hold all of the kids seems more aspirational than practical.

After all, for the one or two times a year you will need to tow a vehicle & bring the kids along, couldn't you just drive both vehicles? The extra fuel economy in this hypothetical situation should be weighed against how often you will be a) driving to work alone and b) towing a vehicle w/o the family.

Personally, since you already have a family vehicle, I'd almost consider having a small sedan as a DD (esp if your commute is a longer one) AND a tow vehicle for the few times you need it. I wholeheartedly believe in the adage "having a friend with a truck is way more useful than owning a truck yourself."

Regards,
-g
It's not one car seat per row, but two car seats in one row and one in the third. It is typically pretty tight to fit 3 car seats in one row, so that is where the third row is needed, plus there is always a potential for more kids in which case the crew cab trucks will no longer work unless I have a bench seat up front and put the oldest kid up there with the wife and I, but that would just be a tight squeeze for a 10+ hour drive, so I arrive back at a 3 row SUV.

Thanks for all the input. I am still undecided on the topic, but have time since I need to sell my current DD.

-Kevin

SOLD :
1996 LX w/Explorer PI swap, SVO supercharger, AIS methanol injection, XE268h comp cams, CircleD 9.5" billet triple disc 3800 stall, custom 2.5" true dual exhaust with Magnaflow x-pipe and mufflers, "Braincoating" ported/coated manifolds.
Best E/T: 12.031 sec @ 113 mph
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-05-2014, 08:11 AM
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What about a 01-04 dodge ram 2500 cummins with a six speed manual? Get the full size cab and you can fit an army in it, they have some massive towing capabilities too, a buddy of mine has one and I have to admit it's sweet. If ford had a manual trans truck to sell these days I'd recommend a f250 or. 350



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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-05-2014, 10:15 AM
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Anything powered by a small block or big block chevy. A small block chevy will easily go 300,000 miles with proper care. Never did like the LS motors. Luckily you live down south so you should be able to find a good used truck without rust.

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