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  #31  
Old 03-22-2013
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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

4000 lbs is no much at all to tow as already stated. Your issues will be the height of the load, the windage and the launch ramp. If you tow regularly or in tough areas, you really should be looking at things built on a 1/2 ton or heavier platform.

Since you asked for our favorite cheap towing vehicles, I would have to say it would be a 1989-1998 3/4 ton Dodge Ram diesel with a manual transmission. The drivetrain in these things was unbeatable. In '94, they changed from a really boxy body (1st gen) to a more rounded body (2nd gen). Throughout this period, the engine was the 12 valve Cummins 5.9L also known as the 6BT. The earlier ones had a rotary injection pump and the later ones had the Bosch P7100 inline pump and the really early ones didn't even have an intercooler. The transmission was a Getrag in the 1st gens which was okay but it got much better in the second gens with a new venture 4500 but beware the autos, they were terrible unless built by an aftermarket company. The problem areas on this truck are rust and front ends. The bodies do rust out quicker than some but it is not as bad as many people make it out to be, I just got rid of a '96 which had been in a salty environment its entire 260k and I had only done rockers, cab corners and door bottoms. The front end problems were due to a poorly supported gearbox output shaft and a poorly designed track bar both of which are easily fixable. They are not refined trucks but they are incredibly reliable and easy to work on. I often wish that I hadn't gotten rid of the '96, it is still alive and running like the day it was made.

What I described is heavier duty than required for this application but they are great trucks. If you are interested in a 3/4 ton platform on a budget, it is what I would be looking for.

Last edited by klem; 03-22-2013 at 08:08 PM.
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  #32  
Old 03-22-2013
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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

All good tips! this forum is so awesome! thanks everybody.

Anyone ever tow with an old police car or crown vic taxi? That seems like it might work, and would definitely be in my budget.
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  #33  
Old 03-22-2013
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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

I had a 1980's 302 Crown Vic. Did the job, barely. It wasn't great. The rear axle ratio is too high, and the motor would get hot. The crown vic strained a lot plus the rear coil springs sagged. I would say no.

In contrast I had an even older F150 with the 300 I-6 and that thing could pull oak trees out of the ground it had so much torque. It wasn't really fast but it didn't " feel" the boat behind it at all.
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  #34  
Old 03-23-2013
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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

Which ever vehicle you chose check the frame and running gear carefully. The liquid road treatment being used today is very corrosive and is destroying used vehicles. I lost the brakes on my 7 year old chevy a year ago. The brake lines were gone. Just replaced it w/ a new Tundra and having it treated so this won't happen again.
After that incident I checked my parents 10 year old chevy and it was a mess. They took it to the garage and the repairs were more than the truck was worth. It went to the scrap yard. Don't want to think about what this stuff is doing to bridges.
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Last edited by jimrafford; 03-23-2013 at 09:09 AM.
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  #35  
Old 03-23-2013
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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

Useful information for 'trailer sailors':
Truck and SUV Towing Capacity Charts
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Old 03-23-2013
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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

Turbo,

Have to agree with everyone else. If its an extra vehicle, then older suburban top choice. 2 or 4 wheel will have the weight, parts are cheap, can haul whole family if needed, or all your junk for boat, and off season fold seats and haul lumber, etc. Had a 4x4 91, the kids, boy scouts, cyo and all called it BIG Mama.

good luck

Dan
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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

Thankfully, this vehicle won't be carrying any children. Some seriously childish adults will certainly make appearances though. And plenty of materials/parts/bikes/etc.

Suburban is probably the way I'll go here...
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