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Tow Rig Thoughts


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older half-tons suck. modern half-tons can be VERY adept at towing. They just can't carry any cargo in the bed because the springs are insanely soft. check the tow ratings before dismissing them all outright. :thumbsup:

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older half-tons suck. modern half-tons can be VERY adept at towing. They just can't carry any cargo in the bed because the springs are insanely soft. check the tow ratings before dismissing them all outright. :thumbsup:

Also to add to this...

Compare the tow ratings and payload ratings with the new half tons to 10 year old half tons and even 3/4 tons; you may be surprised!

 

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I just purchased this today that I am going to use as a dd and a tow rig. y9uzuny4.jpg

It has the 5.3 it is rated to tow 7800 lbs. my mj on a trailer is a smudge over 6000.

We're I to buy a dedicated tow rig I would have gone for a 3/4 ton truck with either 6.0 or 8.1. Seeing that I will tow maybe 6 times a year this gets About 20 on the highway and is super comfy!! I know that the diesel boys will pass me on the hills but that's ok bc that ifs rides sooo smooth.

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so 3/4 ton it is. diesel would certainly be nice for the before mentioned long climbs, but for the other 95+% of its duties, itll be driving around the SLC valley, and there's no need for that much pulling power down here. plus diesel trucks are pulling a premium for some reason around here, and most of them have been lifted and tuned, and have 22" rims with low pro mud terrains, which i just don't understand.

 

I just picked up an '04 Dodge 3/4 ton with the 5.9L Cummins to be my tow rig. I experienced everything you mentioned in your quote. I was seeing older 12V Cummins (94-97) with 250K+ miles and only in decent shape going for 9-12K. I'm not talking asking price either...they are actually selling for this much. I went to look at one listed for 10K with the hope that the seller would come down off whatever he was smoking. It was a 97 12V extended cab long bed. Had rust, needed tires and the front end probably could have been gone through entirely. It's major upside was a completely rebuilt transmission with paperwork. I tried to lowball and he stayed firm on his price so I walked. I called him later in the week to see if he was willing to reconsider my price and he said it had sold so I asked him for how much and he let it go at 9.5K. Ridiculous. So when my '04 popped up on Craigslist at 9K, I was all over it.

 

 

Of course it's got giant mud tires on it, which have prematurely worn out the new ball joints so I'll be doing those again...and getting stock size tires. I'm in it for the mileage and am anxious to see what I can pull outta this thing.

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my separation of tow rig and DD is less about money and more about knowing that my DD will never be put at risk by my playing on the weekends. also, if my DD does go down, I have a temporary backup. :D all depends on how far away is work and how important it is for me to get there.

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Old 12v Cummins. Great mileage, great towing. Or, any old diesel for towing and an old diesel Jetta (50+ MPG) for DD.

 

Ha! good luck finding one. I changed original clutch on a MKII jetta turbo diesel at 500k and have only seen ONE since. Never seen one for sale, either... in all my years on the VW Vortex.

 

I got 36mpg in the city on my 16v GTI that I put a long gear autobahn tranny into, but I babied the heck out of the throttle to get it. Cost an arm and a leg to maintain, too.

 

Unless you have disposable income, baby the truck on the trail.

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MKIV Golf's with a manual tranny can net you 50+ MPGs so you don't have to go too far back in time. They can be had for anywhere between 5-8K, depending on condition. Just be ready to shell out the $$$ when they break down. I just spent $90 on an alternator pulley and special tool to remove it. Gotta love pulleys with an internal clutch...

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Ah heck, just get a 70's J-Truck (preferably the 20). The cool brow makes you forget how much gas it sucks down when you hit the skinny pedal.

 

Joking aside, some really good advice in here; hope you can make a good decision!

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Get a old Cummins as a tow rig and get a cheap Civic or Integra. I know most people on here problably don't like those little Japanese cars but my friends getting about 30 MPG and he got it for $1500. He went 200 miles on 1/4 tank.

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ive thought about goin the 1st gen cummins route. i love the idea of an all mechanical diesel too. the problem would be that those only come in standard cabs and extended cabs; no crew. Although i know there were some crewcabs made for the gas optioned trucks......maybe a cab swap in order?

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ive thought about goin the 1st gen cummins route. i love the idea of an all mechanical diesel too. the problem would be that those only come in standard cabs and extended cabs; no crew. Although i know there were some crewcabs made for the gas optioned trucks......maybe a cab swap in order?

 

I think it's easier to swap the drivetrain.

 

Also, know what you're getting into with the mechanical ones. The 1st gen has a weak pump, so you have to be careful not to kill it (bad fuel or lift pump failure are the major issues), however it is okay for cold starting with synthetic oil. Also, the first gen transmissions are generally pretty 'meh', the auto is not a lockup converter, and the manual is a Getrag IIRC. Most of them don't have an intercooler, which is a big minus. Don't jack with the fuel adjustments on them too much either, or use caution if you're going to. Also, watch for the steering box ripping off the frame (push-pull setup, junk), and rust or cracking near the spring hangers and fuel tank.

 

Also, they drive like something that was designed in the 70s, because, well, it's a 70s chassis.

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ive thought about goin the 1st gen cummins route. i love the idea of an all mechanical diesel too. the problem would be that those only come in standard cabs and extended cabs; no crew. Although i know there were some crewcabs made for the gas optioned trucks......maybe a cab swap in order?

Yes. They where special order work trucks for RR companies and mining companies I believe. There was a factory one featured in one of the diesel mags in the last year. I think it was Diesel World. "Family of Cummins" I believe the article it was called.

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  • 2 weeks later...

ok back to top, cause a wheelin buddy of mine brought up the option of a chevy k2500 aka 3/4 ton suburban. they can be had for DIRT cheap around here, and once the motor dies (id get a big block), i can swap in a cummins. its plenty of room, towing capicity is right where it needs to be and plenty of lockable storage (the entire rear cargo area). mpg would suck, but it would only be used for haulin stuff like twice a month. PLUS if the DD goes down, i have a back up.

 

decisions decisions......

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My mom has a 99 k2500, rides nice and has all the bells and whistles and tows very nicely. Growing up we would fit 5 people a great Dane and all of our stuff in it and usually a trailer with dirtbikes or firewood for our weekend roadtrips to my other house in the mountains. Gets about 10 mpg all packed up and sometimes we squeeze 14 out of it down the highway

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