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Old 09-24-2016, 09:29 AM   #581
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I don't believe you about the 3.4

My buddy's '97 struggled with two dirt bikes in the bed just going from Mesquite, NV to SLC. 13 mpg that return trip, about the same lift and tires.
There's a slight difference between "hills" in the midwest and the west...
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Old 09-24-2016, 12:35 PM   #582
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I didn't have to rev it out hardly at all in the hills of Missouri.
California track day crew may make fun of you for that:

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Originally Posted by Wiki page for US States by Elevation
Missouri: Taum Sauk Mountain, 1,772 ft
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Old 09-24-2016, 09:34 PM   #583
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Current tow rig





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Old 09-24-2016, 11:05 PM   #584
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Is that thing in the back yours too? I did a track weekend with a buddy and he brought one of these


I am forever spoiled. 3 beds, bathroom, and kitchen. Also everything moves out of the way so you can load 3 motorcycles in there.
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Old 09-25-2016, 01:14 PM   #585
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nice, simple little rig you got there
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:24 PM   #586
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Flat tow, rennenmetal tow-bar.
2012 Ridgeline. 17 mpg
2017 Ridgeline 21 mpg
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:07 PM   #587
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:09 PM   #588
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You don't want to go near the 6.0 diesel with a 10 foot pole.
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:17 PM   #589
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I'm not actually shopping yet... just thinking about moving to a diesel van at some point next year. That ambulance popped up in my search and looks pretty sweet.

I know nothing about diesels and I have no brand loyalty. I want to ask you to spoonfeed me a ranking of best -> worst diesel options, but I'm not sure I want to double the number of pages in this thread.
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:53 PM   #590
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I'm not actually shopping yet... just thinking about moving to a diesel van at some point next year. That ambulance popped up in my search and looks pretty sweet.

I know nothing about diesels and I have no brand loyalty. I want to ask you to spoonfeed me a ranking of best -> worst diesel options, but I'm not sure I want to double the number of pages in this thread.
Most people seem to agree that the Cummins in the Ram is the best diesel, but the truck chassis and auto tranny suck. It's available with a manual, but IMHO a manual in a tow vehicle is a terrible idea.

The Duramax in the Chevy is a fairly close second place to the Cummins if you pick the right year, the truck chassis is better, and the Allison transmission is awesome.

The Ford doesn't seem to be outstanding in any particular way, and has a couple of motors that are generally agreed to have major problems (I forget which they are, though).

This is for pickups -- no idea which of them put that motor in the equivalent van.

--Ian
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Old 12-04-2016, 10:22 PM   #591
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Whats wrong with the Dodge chassis?? All heavy trucks eat up front end parts. Auto trans is fine is you keep power left stock on pre 06.

My friend just got a 2000 ford e350 with a 7.3L for free from a guy he works for periodically. I'm pretty jealous. only had 200k miles too.

More and more I look at trucks/ how much they cost and how little I drive them. Also pretty much only when towing. It's making more and more sense to by a mid 90s to early 2000s. Class A RV Cummins Pusher. They can easily be had for $10-25k with 50-100k miles. Besides I can also live in it if need be.

1999 Gulf Stream SUN VOYAGER 37, Romoland CA - - RVtrader.com

Push out,Cummins powered pusher setup, Allison Trans. Spartan Chassis. What more could you want?
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Old 12-04-2016, 10:44 PM   #592
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Originally Posted by natedawg View Post
My friend just got a 2000 ford e350 with a 7.3L for free from a guy he works for periodically. I'm pretty jealous. only had 200k miles too.
The 7.3 was made by International and is pretty much bullet proof. I love my 7.3 E350 Ambulance for towing. It is also really handy to have a huge van from time to time. It is small enough I can take it to Home Depot and park (carefully) in a regular parking lot but big enough to hold pretty much anything that you would need a truck for. A full RV would be too big to do anything but travel with.

Mine is a 2003 which was the last of the 7.3s. I specifically searched for that range of years to get the 7.3 and got lucky getting the newest year possible. Mine has a twin bunk that fold down from one wall with the entire other wall full of spares, tools and consumables. The exterior compartments are also great for storing gear and I have one outfitted as a reach-in toolbox. The only downside: Whenever someone in the paddock needs a tool, they go 'check with the guy in the ambulance'. The upside, is I usually have what they need...
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Old 12-05-2016, 09:10 AM   #593
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The 7.3 was made by International and is pretty much bullet proof. I love my 7.3 E350 Ambulance for towing. It is also really handy to have a huge van from time to time. It is small enough I can take it to Home Depot and park (carefully) in a regular parking lot but big enough to hold pretty much anything that you would need a truck for. A full RV would be too big to do anything but travel with.

Mine is a 2003 which was the last of the 7.3s. I specifically searched for that range of years to get the 7.3 and got lucky getting the newest year possible. Mine has a twin bunk that fold down from one wall with the entire other wall full of spares, tools and consumables. The exterior compartments are also great for storing gear and I have one outfitted as a reach-in toolbox. The only downside: Whenever someone in the paddock needs a tool, they go 'check with the guy in the ambulance'. The upside, is I usually have what they need...
Yeah from all my research the 7.3L Ford is an amazing motor and perfect for towing. It gets decent gas mileage and is just about bullet proof. I believe I have heard the 6 speed manual is more bulletproof then the auto that they come with. I have zero desire for a manual in a tow vehicle though, and they only come in the trucks.

Any issue with getting personal insurance with the ambulance? I know I talked to my insurance company about a box truck or "minibus" and they said no to both those even though they are the same chassis as a normal van.
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Old 12-05-2016, 12:00 PM   #594
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Sounds like Lars needs a new insurance company...
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Old 12-05-2016, 12:02 PM   #595
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6.0's can be "bulletproofed" and then they are significantly easier to make more power on. The 6.4's can make silly power after you delete the emissions stuff and do head studs/couple key filters.

I would love a bulletproofed 6.0. The trucks got progressively nicer as the engines got shittier.
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Old 12-05-2016, 12:08 PM   #596
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Think Ive posted this before but I can't remember exactly they told me when I got insurance on mine. Iirc my gvw was high enough I couldn't put it on my normal policy. So I cheated and put it on my dad's commercial/farm policy.
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Old 12-05-2016, 12:09 PM   #597
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Lars needs a commercial insurance plan anyways. With the amount of cars he has.
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Old 12-05-2016, 12:59 PM   #598
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Originally Posted by Efini~FC3S View Post
Sounds like Lars needs a new insurance company...
I talked to 2 or 3 about them and they all said the same things. I don't really want to goto a commercial insurance plan, because then I believe I would need to get a CDL of some sorts and I don't want to deal with that.
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Old 12-05-2016, 01:14 PM   #599
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Originally Posted by jpreston View Post

I know nothing about diesels and I have no brand loyalty. I want to ask you to spoonfeed me a ranking of best -> worst diesel options, but I'm not sure I want to double the number of pages in this thread.
2000s diesels in a nutshell:

In that price range, you're looking at 01-05 Duramaxes (LB7/LLY), 03-07.0 Cummins (5.9) trucks, and 1999-2010 7.3/6.0/6.4 Fords.

Chevys are generally solid except for the fuel injectors (01-04 LB7 trucks are worse than 04.5-05 LLY trucks). Chevys have solid interiors, solid build quality, world-class transmission (Allison), and solid running gear. When I was shopping for mine I felt that they were the best combination of reliability and build quality, and my ownership experience over the last 150k miles has supported that. The 06-07.0 LBZ trucks got another 60hp and a 6-speed Allison (double overdrive) but they command a big price premium as a result.

Ford 7.3s are stone reliable but get bad gas mileage when compared to everything else in my list. 6.0 trucks can be bulletproofed but that process is not trivially inexpensive (3-4k IIRC). Ford autos are generally pretty solid. The interiors are nice, way bigger than the Chevy and well-built. Do not buy a 6.4 truck for any reason at any price (shortblock replacement in a 6.4 is known by mechanics as "the 75k mile service").

Dodge 5.9s are purchased for the engine. Great power, world-class reliable, great fuel economy. Mediocre trans. The 47RE from the pre-04(?) trucks is not as robust as the other options, but the 48RE is better. They all got 4-speeds, vs the 5-speeds in the Chevys/Fords, though. Interiors feel cheap, same as any other Mopar product from that time period. The drivetrain will long outlast the truck.
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Old 12-05-2016, 01:23 PM   #600
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The live axle front Rams (2500, 3500) are notorious for having death wobbles and other issues with the front suspension. The Cummins is a great engine, but really intended for very heavy loads and therefore not very economical. The earlier 5.9's are much thriftier and quite reliable.
The Powerstroke 7.3 is very reliable (I used it when I worked for AAA as a freeway service patrol), but mileage is pretty lame.
The Duramax is pretty good once you get past the early years (mine was a 2003), or get the injectors upgraded. The pre '03's had the injector in the middle of the cylinder, so you had to remove valve covers to access them.
The Allison transmission is awesome in the way it holds gear and how it aoutomatically downshifts when it senses a downhill grade.
After 140K miles and over 60 races with a trailer, it was still on original brake pads.

I would highly recommend the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel for lighter loads (not sure what the limits are) as it has independent front suspension and coil springs in the rear. Rides like a Cadillac and the ZF 8 speed trans is simply awesome.
It would be my choice if I had the funds/more need for a truck.


I'm currently getting my tow rig ready - BMW 328d Sport Wagon, ok to pull 3000 lbs and hopefully yield 30mpg while in tow.

Pictures soon!


Quote:
Originally Posted by codrus View Post
Most people seem to agree that the Cummins in the Ram is the best diesel, but the truck chassis and auto tranny suck. It's available with a manual, but IMHO a manual in a tow vehicle is a terrible idea.

The Duramax in the Chevy is a fairly close second place to the Cummins if you pick the right year, the truck chassis is better, and the Allison transmission is awesome.

The Ford doesn't seem to be outstanding in any particular way, and has a couple of motors that are generally agreed to have major problems (I forget which they are, though).

This is for pickups -- no idea which of them put that motor in the equivalent van.

--Ian
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