Started Truck Research

I suspect this will be the first of several blog posts I write concerning truck research. I’m hoping to get advice from those more knowledgeable.

Karen and I decided on a fifth wheel because we plan to be parked for longer periods of time while workamping or volunteering. And of course, we will be living in it fulltime. If we were going to move around most of the time we would go with a Class A. We have also decided to start off with a one ton dually truck because of the stability it offers when towing as well as the increased pin weight capabilities. We know this truck might not be the best option for a daily driver but are going to try and live with it. Pulling a car behind a Class A might be the best option for a daily driver or even her driving a second vehicle might work. We prefer to travel together rather than driving separately. Personally, I would not own a pickup truck without four-wheel drive because trucks just don’t have great traction in bad weather without it. My past three trucks have been gas F150 Fords with four-wheel drive.

After touring fifth wheel floor plans we find ourselves attracted to trailers weighing in the ranges of 16,000 to 19,000 gross pounds given their construction, cargo capacity, amenities and our budget should we buy new. Pin weights, or the part that rides over the rear axle of the truck, vary by sometimes large margins. And it is this pin weight that steers us to the dual rear wheel trucks. We are attempting to buy a fifth wheel that we will not want to trade out of sooner than later.  However, if we do we want the option of having a heavier trailer without switching out the truck.

I’ve not come to a definite conclusion but could see picking out maybe three trailers we are interested in for our short list. As we would know the trailer weights I feel safe in buying the truck a little earlier. In the forums, most are recommending ordering the trailer first. I don’t see the difference in buying the trailer first or having three specific trailers we’ve selected to choose from before the truck is purchased, especially as we are looking at well-equipped dually trucks.

To me the advantages of having the truck first is we plan to pay cash for the truck, trading in at least one of our existing vehicles. The trailer will be financed, at least in part, until we sell our home.  We would have the truck to help move our household belongings when sold, to storage, given away or trashed.  Although a lesser concern, we would also have a period of time to get used to driving the larger truck before we hookup a 35 to 40-foot trailer to it. Most of all, if we find the trailer we want parked on a lot for sale, we would be able to purchase it on the spot. Rather than waiting for our truck to be built at the factory or hoping to find a used or new one ton truck for sale at a fair price and locally.  Certainly, we all have read where others had no problem purchasing the truck and trailer at the same time however. And some already owned a good truck and found a trailer it would tow.

The truck research so far has been easier than researching the trailer. I’ve met a few people online who are truck experts and can count on their help. It appears any of the big three truck builders have trucks that can handle the weight we are looking at so the field to search from is far smaller than it was for fifth wheels.

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Standard extra leaf spring in dually F350, you can order the same in an F250

An extra two rear tires is not all one gets with a dual wheel one ton truck.

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Dual real trucks have larger axles and other components

I’ve been stopping by dealerships and picking up their 2017 truck brochures. So far, I’m just trying to get my head wrapped around what options each truck offers and what all the terminology means such as gear ratios, gross cargo or combined weight, and more. And what amenities are standard or can be an option in which models. The words “properly equipped truck” has a lot of meaning in that adding certain options can significantly add to the trucks towing capacity. Real important if we plan to buy a truck with greater towing capacity than we might currently need.

And then there are decisions to be made such as what margin of safety is best to build into the truck such as X percent more cargo weight capacity above what we are routinely hauling.

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This F350 dual rear wheel truck has lower bed sides than the F250

I’ve run into several other concerns, some more minor, which will require a decision. Such as are the truck bed sides tall and leave very little room between the top of the truck sides and bottom of the fifth wheel which could cause damage when you go over large pumps on the road. We have already decided on a long-bed truck so there will be no concern when turning the trailer that it might strike the rear cab of the truck if a slider hitch is not used. I can see having an axillary fuel tank/tool box combination in the truck someday so a long-bed would be important for that as well. And what about color? Do we go with white and put stripes on it later or add a second paint color to match the fifth wheel or what?  I’m hoping by selecting three potential fifth wheels we might buy we can just pick out a color that looks okay with all three. Then again, I’ve never worried much about vehicle colors. Keeping options open with color in the past has allowed me to find better deals because of the larger selection compared to wanting any one color. Not a deal breaker for sure.

The trucks I’ve owned have been one year old when purchased at a substantial discount. I like to buy vehicles with around 20,000 miles on them and still in warranty. I’m finding these dually one-ton trucks hold their value at that low mileage so am certainly considering purchasing a new one as well. A local dealership has always been good about finding a used truck for me at a fair price markup. I’d hope he would do the same with a new one. I’m not brand loyal to any one manufacturer but have the most experience with Fords. So, I started researching what’s important in a truck hauling heavy weights with the Fords, hoping what I learn will be applicable in the Dodge and Chevy. We will most likely purchase a model between the years 2017 and 2019. It should not be hard to find out the differences between the years.

If your interesting – Here is a Link to my truck shopping and research page where I’m parking notes.

 

new flash Forest River revises it warranty parts policy, telling dealers to get the part using the most expedient delivery method. They will cover the increased cost. The hope is to shorten the wait to have RVs repaired.

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6 thoughts on “Started Truck Research

  1. Not surprised that you’re considering all aspects of this – and that you’re planning to get it early enough to get used to it before you’re pulling a trailer down the highway! It will be interesting to hear what you end up with.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve no doubt noticed the uptick in capacity for the 2017 Fords, Mark. With our desire to not go over the top on rig weight or size, I was pleasantly surprised to know we would not need a dually in a future truck if we bought a little bit heavier trailer. We’ve never had a bit of trouble with our SRW Ford, as far as stability.

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    • Hi Jim,

      Ya I noticed Ford updated their heavy duty trucks big time in 2017. If I read it correctly, it was the first complete overhaul in the last 18 years. I’m really impressed with the capabilities of the F250 as well when compared side by side with the F350. I’m looking forward to checking out the Chevy’s and Dodges, having friends who own both.

      It’s been somewhat all consuming getting to the point of what rig we think might be best for us. Really appreciated following along on your blog and Ingrid’s for a lot of reasons. Trailer and truck selection being one of them. Ingrid commented on an earlier post the lifestyle is about the travel. I could see having a lighter trailer and more maneuverable truck could come in handy to include the budget. Also, because of depreciation these things are expensive, especially the more one spends up front. Who knows, maybe we will change our minds in the next year. Karen has mentioned she would be happy with a shorter/lighter trailer (with less pin weight). For me, I’m worried about going lighter only to want an upgrade later and taking the big depreciation hit if traded out in say the first four years. At least the heavy duty trucks seem to hold their value so I’m less concerned about that.

      Karen used to drive and park my pickup whenever she needed it. Suppose one test will be when she gets behind the wheel of one of these wide, powerful monsters when we test drive it. That could change a few things.

      Thanks for the comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Mark,

    I follow a channel on YouTube called “Big Truck Big RV.” The guy who does those videos seems to have done much of the same research you are going thru and many of his videos detail his decisions. As a caveat, there are plenty of videos on the channel that are related to accessories and other aftermarket items as well as the use of ‘clickbait’ kind of titles (IMHO), but overall I find quite a bit there that has been informative. I don’t know if that will help at all in your research, but thought I would pass it along.

    Good luck on your search!

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    • Thanks for the info Ben. I had found the Big Truck Big RV YouTube videos. I’m going to watch a couple more of his.

      I might have this wrong but was thinking my approach would be to learn a little about the GMC, Chevy, Ford and Dodge. Then keep an open mind about which one I purchase which would hopefully allow for a better deal when I see one in that I’m not brand loyal. Really need some help however with what gear ratio is best. All I know is the larger the number the lower fuel mileage one gets. The transmission options are also confusing to me.

      A friend told me if you could get the Dodge’s Cummings engine, with Chevy’s Allison transmission in the Ford body – that would be the one to get. Not much help there. LOL

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  4. Pingback: Final Truck Research | Our Future in an RV

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