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Old 04-10-2015, 02:02 AM   #301
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I made a change in the tow vehicle this winter. I bought a retired 2003 ambulance on a Ford E350 chassis with a 7.3 Powerstroke. I'm still getting it sorted to use as a tow rig but so far it looks solid. One of my main motivations was to have something that could double as a camper on long trips to out of state tracks. I hate staying in motels and I'm too damn old to sleep on the bench seat of the F150.

I'm curious how the fuel mileage will work out. I'm not expecting the cost per mile to be as good as the F150 gasser considering the size and weight on this thing but anything close to a wash will be worth it for the extra convenience.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:37 AM   #302
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....I don't really want a full-size half-ton truck because I believe it has more capacity than I want or need, and I'm not really interested in the domestic trucks in general because I worry about reliability and residual value.
I'm not sure why people are so worried about the reliability of domestic pickup trucks. I have a 1999 GMC Sierra SLT extended cab 4x4. This was the first year of the Gen III (LSx) engines in trucks and that iteration of the 5.3 is not overly powerful, but it's been a great truck. I'm over 240k miles on the original drivetrain -- no issues with anything. I've done fluid changes, filters, spark plugs, brakes, a water pump, and a window regulator/motor. The truck has been used as a daily driver, been to the mountains, driven on the Outer Banks of NC, towed cars to the track/shop numerous times, hauled dirt/mulch/firewood, etc. I can't ask for a better, more reliable vehicle.

When the engine finally lets lose I'm going to put another engine in and roll with it. It could use seat covers too, but I've been slacking on ordering them.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:43 AM   #303
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I'm not sure why people are so worried about the reliability of domestic pickup trucks.
My dad used to buy a new Silverado every 2.5 years. He did this for like 20 years, so I got a lot of exposure to 1/2 ton Chevy pickup trucks! They were all okay. My dad was fastidious when it came to maintenance. He was only left stranded once or twice. The last truck he bought new he ended up keeping for 10+ years. On that one there was lots of little things all the time that added up in terms of cost and aggravation. And I have lots of friends with various Chevy, Dodge, Ford and GMC trucks. For the most part, they all have their pros and cons.

Also, in my line of work, I tend to see all the bad things that can and do happen to truck owners who got bad apples. Talk about nightmares. I know when you make 300,000+ trucks a year there will be some good ones and some bad ones. But the bad ones really make me cringe. Which is why I'd be reluctant to buy any used truck unless: 1) it was cheap enough that I could walk away from it and not feel bad or 2) it was a model known to be absolutely bulletproof and only had 1 -----retentive owner who had a binder full of maintenance records and PPI showed it to be clean as a whistle or 3) all the weak areas are well known and easily addressed with aftermarket parts. Otherwise, I'd rather buy new so I'm not buying someone else's problem. Trucks are subject to a lot of abuse. At least if I buy new and there are problems I'm covered by warranty and Lemon Law in case it gets really bad. If you buy used, your only recourse is to dump the lemon on some other sucker. Given I plan to keep this truck for 10+ years, I don't want to find out what all the weak points are at year 4, 5, 6, etc. The Tacoma seems pretty bulletproof at this point late in the product cycle.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:57 AM   #304
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And I have lots of friends with various Chevy, Dodge, Ford and GMC trucks. For the most part, they all have their pros and cons.
Definitely true. Even the Toyotas, both Tacoma and Tundra, have their share of issues -- especially emissions type stuff.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:59 AM   #305
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Also, in my line of work, I tend to see all the bad things that can and do happen to truck owners who got bad apples. Talk about nightmares. I know when you make 300,000+ trucks a year there will be some good ones and some bad ones. But the bad ones really make me cringe...
It's kind of like the forum syndrome -- you read about all the bad stuff that happens. People rarely come on the forums to praise something. It's always about something that broke. People don't often bring their truck in for a wellness check-up. It's always because something broke or is about to break. And in the grand scheme of things, those numbers are small compared to total sales.

I owned a e46 M3 for a while. I have a few friends who are BMW techs. They had never heard of the common problems I would see all the time on the forum. Some of those issues would eat an entire motor, too.
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Old 04-13-2015, 09:47 AM   #306
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Quote:
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It's kind of like the forum syndrome -- you read about all the bad stuff that happens. People rarely come on the forums to praise something. It's always about something that broke. People don't often bring their truck in for a wellness check-up. It's always because something broke or is about to break. And in the grand scheme of things, those numbers are small compared to total sales.

I owned a e46 M3 for a while. I have a few friends who are BMW techs. They had never heard of the common problems I would see all the time on the forum. Some of those issues would eat an entire motor, too.
i agree, lots of Frustration out there. it's all about the maintenance and how it's taken care of. generally German cars get a bad wrap because they cost more to maintain. so some owners will be cheap and let small problems turn into big issues. i think top gear covered that in cheap convertible challenge.
The Second-Hand Convertibles Challenge, part 1/2 (Series 16, Episode 4) - BBC Top Gear

that's why i like to grab low mileage or newer "tow rigs" i also pick something that is cheap to maintain. i know most brands will make it to 800,001 miles. At least i know the service history of one that I've had in my possession.

Last edited by OGRacing; 04-13-2015 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:26 PM   #307
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That's surprising. According to Wikipedia, the 3.4L 5VZ-FE V6 in your truck was rated at 190 hp and 220 lb·ft of torque. With the addition of the TRD supercharger (as installed by your authorized Toyota dealer - meaning no additional mods), you get about another 65hp, which is more than the ~236hp output of the 4.0L 1GR-FE V6 in the newer Tacomas.

Stock your truck was rated at
Max. Towing capacity 5,000 lbs. (*except s-runner 3,500 lbs.)
Max. Tongue weight 500 lbs. (*except s-runner 350 lbs.)

The 2015 I'm interested in is rated at
Max. Towing capacity 6,300 lbs.
Max. Tongue weight 630 lbs.

I can't imagine it's fun to max out any truck's tow capability, but I'm shocked that a truck rated at 6,300 lbs. would struggle to tow 3,200 lbs.
The TRD Supercharger kit was legendary awful on the older Tacomas. My tow vehicle was my DD, a 2010 TRD sport v6 Tacoma with tow package.

To address your Tacoma question... I used to track sportbikes. I was towing a 7x16 enclosed where I could fit 3-4 bikes in it. I broke myself too many times and switched to a turbo miata. The Miata barely fit in that trailer but it worked. With my tools and all gear in the truck and trailer, I was right at the GCWR. I had a prodigy brake controller and an equalizer hitch and besides the baby seal clubbing gas mileage (8-10), all was well. The gas mileage was low because it was an enclosed trailer.

I wanted more trailer for other cars, so I had to move up to be legal. Logistically, the Tacoma could haul more and was fine.... just not legal. So, I sold the Tacoma, bought a 2006 Mazda3 DD, 1995 8x24 haulmark race trailer & 2004 Nissan Titan with lots of money to spare. That is the magic of the Tacoma. I knew I would need more truck down the line and I bought it with resale in mind. I sold it for 3 vehicles towards the bottom of the non-linear depreciation curve and had a pile of cash at the end. Each required some repair work but even with all the repairs, I walk away with money in hand.

Just be sure you get a great deal up front.... for the first year of ownership, my truck was worth more used that I bought it for new. I concluded people paid too much on the whole.

I like the ambulance idea. I saw one for sale come up just after I bought my Titan. I wished at that point I could get the ambulance instead. Still, the truck is more convenient for most things and I am outfitting my trailer with HVAC, nicer flooring, etc to camp in at the track as I did with my prior trailer.
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:42 PM   #308
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I tried to tow my car with a supercharged 4-cylinder Tacoma, and that was scary.

Power aside, Tacomas also don't have a long enough wheelbase / aren't heavy enough to stabilize a load like the bigger trucks can. Using the wrong tool for the job, IMO. I'm really glad I went to a half ton for occasional towing, and I understand why the guys who tow often go straight for a superduty.

I now have a 2011 F-150 supercrew with the 5.0 coyote and tow package. It's rated for 9600lbs, but in reality half-ton trucks have lighter springs, so that's probably not realistic. I've had 9000lbs (3 pallets of soaking wet fence pickets) behind it, and it wasn't a lot of fun.

However, I get right around 20mpg highway, 21 if I'm lucky, and it tows 5-7k like a champ. Love it.
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:08 PM   #309
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This is my new tow rig.

2014 Dodge Ram 2500 SLT
6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel
6 Speed Auto

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Old 04-14-2015, 10:57 AM   #310
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However, I get right around 20mpg highway, 21 if I'm lucky, and it tows 5-7k like a champ. Love it.
While towing right? Ford F-150 Mileage | Fuelly
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Old 04-14-2015, 10:59 AM   #311
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While towing right? Ford F-150 Mileage | Fuelly
Haha, yeah, OK, more like 14-16 towing, depending on the load. I'm still happy with it though, especially since I don't tow often.
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Old 04-15-2015, 01:43 AM   #312
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Loaded up and ready to go home after winning HPDE all weekend



I can barely stand driving a midsize every day, I don't know how you guys daily full size trucks.
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Old 04-15-2015, 10:04 AM   #313
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I daily the miata! Truck is for when I need to do truck stuff.
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Old 04-15-2015, 02:22 PM   #314
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I can barely stand driving a midsize every day, I don't know how you guys daily full size trucks.
Because southern...
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Old 04-15-2015, 03:32 PM   #315
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Because southern...
gas is cheap down here.. i swear the parking spaces are larger too.
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:15 PM   #316
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Originally Posted by jspadaro View Post
Haha, yeah, OK, more like 14-16 towing, depending on the load. I'm still happy with it though, especially since I don't tow often.
Well, my Titan's normal driving numbers are about your towing numbers. So unless you are just listing the max and not an average, you're doing well.
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:10 PM   #317
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more fuel to the midsize vs full size debate. Circling back around on my post with pictures.
image by minimusprime, on Flickr

image (1) by minimusprime, on Flickr
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:23 AM   #318
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Happily tows at 80 (*) and gets 14mpg doing it:



Overkill is nice, and the used truck was cheap enough I don't have to daily it, I can drive my Audi instead.

--Ian

(*) Obviously I would never even dream of actually towing that fast on California highways where the towing speed limit is 55. So this figure is, uh, from out-of-state towing, of course.
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Old 04-21-2015, 12:13 PM   #319
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Well, my Titan's normal driving numbers are about your towing numbers. So unless you are just listing the max and not an average, you're doing well.
Yeah, I'm really pleased with the coyote's mileage numbers. That titan has far more low-end torque and should pull a lot harder, so that's awesome. I've definitely heard they're gas hogs though.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:49 AM   #320
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THis thread rules.
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