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WakeWorld Discussion Board » >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive » Archive through March 18, 2009 » Best Used Tow Vehicle for $10K or under « Previous Next »
By Andy G. (ottog1979) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 8:59 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
My 2000 Durango died this weekend and I need a new tow vehicle. The Durango was getting up there (205,000) in mileage and I was about to buy a sedan and retire the Durango to just towing. So, the truck I'm looking for a new tow vehicle that will soon be only used for towing and not daily use.

Looking for something strong. The Durango 4.7L V-8 did not pull all that well with only 235 HP and 295 ft.lbs of torque. Hard to keep cool going up long grades in the desert and my Sanger isn't all that heavy compared to many wakeboats of today. Not too excited about diesel but maybe that's something to consider.

Need to buy soon so I can get my boat back in the water. What do you guys think?

By dhcomp (dhcomp) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 9:04 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Hard to get a decent diesel for under 10, you can try though. If you are going to be towing hills and long distances, maybe a diesel is the way to go though.

If not, pick up a 3/4 or 1 ton gas Chevy. You can get the last 90's ones for cheap, and you could get a crew cab or something. If you have never towed with a 3/4 ton, you owe it to yourself to try. They are so much more capable of the weight, even if your boat isn't that heavy. My ski boat only probably weighs 4000lbs, and after towing it with my 3/4 ton burb, i won't touch 1/2 ton trucks again. You can get them with teh same smallblock v8 as the 1/2 tons, and if you get a 3/4 ton, you can tow in overdrive, significantly increasing your towing gas mileage.

With a smallblock, you will be spinning some serious RPM's towing steep grades, and you won't be winning any races, but in today's economy, that seems like a decent compromise to get better mileage when in the flats.

(Message edited by dhcomp on June 15, 2008)

By Andy G. (ottog1979) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 9:37 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
- I'm getting the sense that mileage may offset the higher price of diesel fuel.
- Diesel maintenance - similar or more expensive than gas?
- Diesel engines will have a much longer lifespan (mileage wise) I understand. So a diesel engine with 100,000 miles is not equivalent to a gas one with same mileage?


By chris (rio_sanger) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 1:45 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Andy ~ People are unloading their big block trucks and Suburbans, and now would be a great time to pick one up. See the thread ~ "anybody need a cheap tow vehicle"
I've towed with big blocks since the late '70s and swear by them. We use both diesels and big blocks for work and I've done the math, and unless you are putting 30,000 + miles a year on it , it takes a long time (close to ten years) to reap the benefits of the diesel. Please diesel guys, I'm not bashing, I love them, they are great for what they were intended, but unless you're a long haul or heavy equipment operator, they don't always pan out.
...Although if GM would ever put the Dura-Max in the Sub, I'm sure I would own one!

Andy, PM me if you want any comparative info.

By TXSurfVLX (bac) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 2:09 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
If you can find a diesel that has been taken care of and its documented with a reliable shop(s) for 10k jump on it. Now is a great time to be in the market though. Chris does bring up some valid points with a diesel. I am a big fan of diesel, but there are some aspects of diesel ownership that might not be for everyone. The best thing about a diesel is that it will consistently get 30 - 35% better fuel economy then the exact same vehicle with a gasoline motor. In most places, diesel is still not 30% more than gas.

However, diesel maintenance will cost you much more than a gas vehicle will. Especially when things break, parts are more expensive. When properly cared for, a diesel truck like a chevy, ford or dodge will easily put 500k miles give or take on a motor.

When I worked for Ford, I talked with some of the sales guys about the diesel trucks. I was told that they have to ask alot of their potential customers about mileage. They told me that if you aren't putting at least 50k miles a year on your truck, you're just wasting your money.

By Tanner Russell (tanner) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 4:06 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I'm a Chevy guy through and through, but if you can find a old 7.3 Ford, I think you'd be happy. I know there's some out there for under 10K, and that motor will run forever.

Dodges will always be quite a bit cheaper than Chevy's or Fords, so that might be another route.

Personally the 5.3L chevy has served me well in the past. Just make sure and lock out OD as the 4L60E likes to hunt for gears.

By trey mclendon (tdiggity) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 4:17 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
we got a 05 dodge 3500 with the cummins turbo diesel, bone stock except for the edge performance module. 550 hp, 790ft/lbs of torque and 18mpg at 65mph with a 35ft rinker cruiser(approx 18,000lbs with trailer)
By trey mclendon (tdiggity) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 4:17 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
still costs 150$ to fill it though
By Dan Maes (kid_a) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 4:48 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Please tell me where you found an 05 diesel for under 10k! I'd make the switch to Dodge at that price.
By trey mclendon (tdiggity) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 4:56 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
bought it off of a local heavy equip. operator, it was one of his fleet trucks he used for hauling, if youre serious get the money and keep your eyes open one will come around also try auctions(at the time the truck had 240,000 miles on it and needed valve work and a new driveshaft, not to bad unless you gotta pay someone else to do it)
By trey mclendon (tdiggity) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 4:58 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
by the way i got the same durango you were talking about andy for sale, 124000miles and a drivetrain warranty for another 12k in miles its a steal at $2800, if youre interested
By Alex Murry (tripleup) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 7:23 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
03 GMC YUKON XL 2500 SLT autoride loaded 8.1L $7900 call me 601-260-0420 or if you want something else I've got a lot of choices

(Message edited by tripleup on June 15, 2008)

By Alex Murry (tripleup) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 7:26 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
And yes, I deliver
By Ken Land (bulletlines) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 7:42 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I've never been aware of the actual number of miles it takes to break even on Diesel. I've had a seperate tow vehicle (since 2000) that I put 3,000 - 5,000 miles per year on, and with my math it has always been cheaper to stay gas.

You can get a 2002 - 2004 v10 Excursion with right at 100,000 miles here in Texas for $8,000. It makes a great tow vehicle, and you can haul a lot of people to the docks.


Ken Land
Bullet Lines

(Message edited by bulletlines on June 15, 2008)

(Message edited by bulletlines on June 15, 2008)

By Andy G. (ottog1979) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 10:06 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
OK, so based on suggestions and my given mileage, diesel is probably not an option. Someone else I talked to told me about maintenance costs. Given that I don't plan on driving it more than 10K per year tops, probably not a feasible choice.

But holy crap Trey: "550 hp, 790ft/lbs" at 18MPG! That beats the tar out of 235 hp & 295 @ 9-10 MPG hauling!

Alex, you're a dealer? Got a web-site with your inventory on it? Not interested in another Druango 4.7 - been there done that. It was a good vehicle though. In 205,000 miles, the first time I was ever stranded was the day it died. No complaints other than hot weather towing. I got sick of stressing while watching the temp gage.

$10K is not hard & fast, just the ball-park that I'd like to keep it around or under. I'm thinking at least a 350 ci engine, SUV preferred and as reasonable mileage as I can get. Having had the security and reassurance of 4WD that would be nice but not absolute. Who swears by (or doesn't) 4WD for tow vehicles?

By Bill Johnson (tigerules) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 10:08 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
two words - Used Ambulance!!!!

They are almost always miantained to the highest standard, most have a 7.3 turbo diesel, dually tears, traction control, huge power inverter, dual ac, etc.

Otherwise look for a V10 E350

By Gunner (frr) on Sunday, June 15, 2008 - 11:46 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I bought a 2001 f-150 5.4l bi-fuel cng last dec for 8k with 60k miles. I pay .63 cents per gallon, in Utah. Oh and I also got a 2900 dollar tax CREDIT. Not the power of a diesel, but a little cheeper.
By Bill K (bill_airjunky) on Monday, June 16, 2008 - 8:11 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Funny you say that, Bill. Here is a shot of the Adrenaline Watersports tow rig. I havent' talked to Mike in a while, but it was a riot. Upload
By Bill Johnson (tigerules) on Monday, June 16, 2008 - 9:05 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
How did it work out as a tow vehicle? I am stilling looking for one for myself on eBay. I already have an awning for both sides, built in halogen spotlights, roof rack, etc... I even have a gear vendors overdrive for it.
By Bill K (bill_airjunky) on Monday, June 16, 2008 - 9:25 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Probably best to give Mike a call for some first hand info on that, Bill. I have his number around here somewhere.....

I do know that it worked great the first year they had it done (about 4 yrs ago), but haven't been in touch since I moved away from the area. The interior was done up nice, towed great, etc. But I never heard how well it towed long trips, mileage, etc.

Would be a riot to take camping. Not sure if you would sleep on the gurneys or what.

By Bill Johnson (tigerules) on Monday, June 16, 2008 - 9:27 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I was planning on a bunk bed setup that would fold up when not in use. I have to mid section van seats that I was going to install. They are shorter than van seats to go in the middle of a van so you can access the rear seats.
By Andy G. (ottog1979) on Monday, June 16, 2008 - 10:18 am:    Edit Post Delete Post

Tell me more about bi-fuel cng. Where do you get the fuel?


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