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03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/14/24 11:16 a.m.

I got through my need for a $500 beater, despite no help on that. 

Now, I don't have a camper that my cars will tow, so I need a gas tow rig, for my current 3500 lb. camper, that I can still afford to put gas in as a DD when not towing!

Looking  to spend $2500 to $3500 - up to maybe $6K if REALLY nice. 

A Honda Oddesy, or Ridgeline would probably tow enough, (trying to stay in South East, so no major mountains to pull) and be great DD

No single cab trucks. 
My list of reasons for liking "this" options on "that" vehicle is quite odd, so hard to identify exactly what I want!

Would really like something with a known history here , so not looking for random ads

Thanks. 

Toyman!
Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/14/24 11:35 a.m.

I would pass on the early Ridgelines. They do not like towing a wall. Even my 6x12 enclosed trailer had it shifting constantly on flat ground. It would shift into OD, slow down, downshift, run back up to the set speed, upshift, and slow down until it downshifted again. In the 06, the only gear option other than 5th (OD) was 3rd which turned the engine at almost 4k rpms. The engine just didn't have the torque to pull the wall at 60 mph. I did love it as a DD. I think the later version improved some and didn't have these issues.  

I can strongly recommend the 2.7T F150. Mine is averaging 21 mpg around town and 25+ on the highway. Gobs of towing capacity though the mileage does suffer with a trailer. It's still in the mid to high teens with an open trailer full of doors. Mine is what Ford calls the super cab with the 6.5' bed. The back seat isn't huge but it's big enough for an adult. I like it enough I just bought another one almost exactly like it for the work fleet. 

Edit to say, the 2.7 is probably out of your price range. The 3.7 is also a pretty good engine that will tow what you want and gets pretty good mileage. They are a good bit cheaper than the EcoBoost trucks. 

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03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/14/24 12:31 p.m.

In reply to Toyman! :

My wife's son had moved up from a early ridgeline, to a 2.7tt 150, to tow his boat around AZ. Never have driven a Ridgeline, myself, but my dads 06 Oddy was a semi capable tow pig, and I'd assume the Ridgeline was similar?

Definatly appreciate the feedback. 
 

After my wife's 06 Highlander was pressed into towing the small light camper, I think that little 3.3 would tow this light but tall camper ok. (Before both were totaled, bringing me here!)

Not ideal, but finances are dictating me into not ideal. Cheap, dependable, tow worthy. Pick any two!!!

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/14/24 12:40 p.m.

In reply to Toyman! :

Edit to say, the 2.7 is probably out of your price range. The 3.7 is also a pretty good engine that will tow what you want and gets pretty good mileage. They are a good bit cheaper than the EcoBoost trucks. 

definitely not opposed to the miss named "eco" boost - Ford got the low end power nailed. 
But if I found one in my price range, I imagine any thoughts of dependablity would be out the window!

Ive had such good luck with the 4.6 in my Merc, that I'd much prefer the mod v8 (or 10) to the 3.7 (or 4.0)

MPG losses are worth the versatility, to me

Although I'm wanting decent DD mpg, I'd jump on a v10 truck  (or van) for a future project. Same with a chebby 6.0. 
VERY eclectic list, in my head!!! (Just imagine living in here!)

 

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/14/24 12:43 p.m.

I have an 02 Mountaineer rwd, aluminum 4.6 with high miles and a bad trans. 
a 02-05 and it's siblings would definitely be of interest as Lon as not 4.0 6cyl. Mine would make a better parts car, than fixing!

Toyman!
Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/14/24 2:08 p.m.

The 4.2 v6 the F150 got wasn't terrible. I had a couple of them in vans and liked them better than the 300 I6 it replaces. The 3.7 is night and day different. The 3.7 has 100 more hp and 40-50 more lbft of torque than the 4.2. 

It even has more hp than the 4.6 though slightly less torque. 

The 4.6 in an F series was rated at around 248 hp, 294 Tq, and 14-17 mpg. 

The 3.7 in the F series is rated at 305 hp, 278 Tq, and 18-24 mpg.

The fuel economy is top notch though. I routinely get 29-31 mpg out of my Mustang with the 3.7. It also does a great job of pushing 3500 pounds around with authority. It really is a great little engine. 

lownslow
lownslow GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/14/24 2:44 p.m.

Older 4runner may fit the bill. I towed an older (read very heavy) 22 foot camp trailer from Pocatello Idaho to Texas over huge mountain passes. Yes, mileage sucked, but the rig has 330,000 miles on it.

Sonic
Sonic UberDork
5/14/24 4:12 p.m.

In your position I would be looking for an old man truck: 2wd, v6, extra cab, full size.  They are not the desired CCSB 4x4 V8 so they are cheap, parts are cheap, they can easily tow 3500lbs, and you can probably find a 1-2 owner well maintained example. Shop by condition for any of the major brands, they all have pros and cons. 

buzzboy
buzzboy UltraDork
5/14/24 4:20 p.m.

Frontier or Dakota maybe? Fits the price range.

Chris Tropea
Chris Tropea Associate Editor
5/14/24 4:56 p.m.

In reply to buzzboy :

I think a Frontier would fit too, you should be able to find one in the price range with a v6 and not crazy high miles. I have one and am very happy with it. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Publisher
5/14/24 4:59 p.m.

At this price range, I'd shop condition above all else. 

porschenut
porschenut Dork
5/14/24 5:29 p.m.

Our camper is about this weight, started with a 5 cyl colorado which was an epic fail.  Got an extended cab 04 silverado with a 4.8 V8.  It has been great.  Motor works hard and with only 4 gears it spends a lot of time in 3rd but the power is at 4000 so it works.  Trans temps are low, brakes will handle it and the truck has enough weight the tail doesn't wag the dog.  MPG is 12 towing, up to 17 empty.  Upgraded to 3/4 ton rear springs and don't even need the WDH bars.  Price on these is better than a turbo f150 and I prefer a V8 with 170k miles to any turbo motor with the same.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/14/24 6:35 p.m.

You could probably find a mid 2000s 4Runner V6 for that price, especially if you only look for 2WD models, which are in less demand. They tow 3500 pretty easy (I used to tow about 5500 with mine). Reasonable MPGs (at least as non-crossovers go), and pretty good as general daily drivers go (especially if you get the Sport Edition with the bigger brakes and "street" xREAS suspension). The mileage doesn't much matter if they're not rusty (and in the south, less worry there). 

Ex. in your general vicinity:

 

 

ShawnG
ShawnG MegaDork
5/14/24 7:10 p.m.

It's never just 3500lbs 

It's 3500lbs plus the bicycles, bbq, corn hole game, patio furniture and that old set of ceramic dishes from the kitchen.

Most people never realize how overweight their camper is.

amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter)
amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/14/24 7:46 p.m.

1999-2007 Silverado / sierra 1500 or 2500 or equivalent Tahoe or Suburban suv. Reliable, easy to fix if it breaks, drives reasonably well. Maybe even the Cadillac version of the suvs. 

rdcyclist
rdcyclist GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/14/24 7:51 p.m.

I'm towing a Lance 1575 travel trailer that weighs 3270 dry. Add water and the aforementioned E36 M3, we're probably at 3600 or so. We have a 2011 Audi Q7 with the 3.0 supercharged motor. 272 ponies and 295 pounds. W/o the trailer it gets about 22 or so on the road. Yanking the wall, 12-14. On premium. Drives great and no problems running down the road in either config but damn, almost shoulda gotten an RV and pulled a toad for that kind of economy.

The spousal unit wanted the Q7 and truth be told so did I but inretrospect, a Yukon/Tahoe or one its ilk would've probably been better as far as mileage. Wouldn't have driven better though so I guess nothin's free...

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/16/24 7:41 a.m.
ShawnG said:

It's never just 3500lbs 

It's 3500lbs plus the bicycles, bbq, corn hole game, patio furniture and that old set of ceramic dishes from the kitchen.

Most people never realize how overweight their camper is.

That is very true for the less experienced folks that want to go camping for a week. In other words, most folks. 
But that's not my needs, and i spend enough money each year at the Cat scales, I shoulda bought my own, decades ago. I usually know what all my stuff weighs. 

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/16/24 7:54 a.m.

In reply to rdcyclist :

Our 05 Allroad, is rated to tow enough weight, but with its high strung 2.7, I'm not sure it should be towing the big sail!

If that guy had not totaled my SunLight:

It towed great!

I did find a Trail Manor, but not willing to pay their inflated prices. 
Am looking at a few Class B, or a shorter Class C. And tow the car trailer, as an option. 

buzzboy
buzzboy UltraDork
5/16/24 7:59 a.m.

How's the price of GMT400s and 800s down your way? My friend in Raleigh picked up a GMT400 3/4ton 'burb that has been a great tow pig. We tow 5000+ with it frequently and it's super practical. It's also his backup DD. Fuel econonomy bob tailing may not be the best though.

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/16/24 8:00 a.m.

I do appreciate the suggestions; most are already on the list I'm looking at. 
But, considering the azz hats, stupidity, or cons that are in most ads, I was hoping someone on here was looking to sell, or knew someone. 
That's why I mentioned that. 
Guess not. 
 

An no. I'm also not gonna LS something I already have, either blush

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/16/24 8:05 a.m.

In reply to buzzboy :

Their on the list as well. Pricing is all over the place, but so many "run and drive great... won't shift, needs to be towed"

Hoping the find something (most anything that will tow more than 2K) with some known history. 
 

For another week, I'm closer to NC than I am to AL. 
Don't mind a bit of travel for the right one, either!

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
5/16/24 8:09 a.m.
03Panther said:

In reply to rdcyclist :

Our 05 Allroad, is rated to tow enough weight, but with its high strung 2.7, I'm not sure it should be towing the big sail!

If that guy had not totaled my SunLight:

It towed great!

I did find a Trail Manor, but not willing to pay their inflated prices. 
Am looking at a few Class B, or a shorter Class C. And tow the car trailer, as an option. 

I was going to suggest a p71...  looks like you have done that in the past.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
5/16/24 8:20 a.m.

I got a cheap dually....

Needs engine no spin diagnostic 

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/16/24 9:29 a.m.

In reply to wvumtnbkr :

Fortunately, when the guy rear ended me, it totaled my camper, and my wife's highlander angry

The Merc occasionally throws a random egr code after my intake leak fix! Haven't had time to look into that, so haven't taken it on the road for a while. 
I would have been even "more sicker " if that had been totaled!

Like the 05 Allroad, it can handle the weight... haven't tried the sail behind it. Hoping to keep the extra wear off of that one, since it's a life'er for me!

Now, a Roadmaster... angel

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
5/16/24 9:32 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

Been meaning to call ya bout that, but don't quite need that much truck! Got Big Red for that kinda work. But wife can't be around the diesel; and if she is going, the dogs are going, so need rear doors. And nicer. Still... the want is there!

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