Final Truck Research

Five weeks ago, I posted an article regarding my initial truck research. Because of the trailer weights we are considering, our truck will be a one ton dually. A second article was posted a couple weeks later.  Readers passed along the pin weights of their fifth wheel trailers were running between 19 and 21% of their total trailer weight. That’s also consistent with what others are reporting in forums. The pin is the front of the trailer that rides on the truck’s rear tires and is a reason we are going with a one ton dually.

I found all three manufacturers can handle the weights we are interested in. I researched the 2016 and 2017 truck models. Base prices on their least expensive trucks were within $720 of each other. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for 18 new truck builds, with the options I was initially interested in, varied as much as $18,435. And of those new trucks, 12 were over our budget.  In a roundabout way, it helped to further narrow the list with our decision that we wanting leather interior. None of the new truck models were within our budget with leather interior. The decision then became what used trucks we could afford that had the options we were interested in.  There were huge changes from 2016 to 2017 in Ford heavy duty trucks. The Ram was unchanged between those years and there were a few changes in the Chevy/GMC. It took some time but I was able to locate used trucks with most of the options we are interested in.

Research showed an average discount of 22.24% off the new MSRP for trucks if bought one year old. And those are compared with ones located on dealers’ lots at their asking prices. Many had mileage of less than 10,000. Several were even at local dealerships.

2017 Used Truck Prices_LI

All things considered and for what are my preferences, the Ford F350 Lariat and Ram Laramie 3500 were the two trucks I am most interested in. As a side note, I was surprised to find the Ram is the only one of the four brands that’s available in 2017 with factory air suspension.

Another point I want to make is about brand loyalty. I get it. The last three trucks I’ve purchased were Fords. On several occasions folks have suggested they wished they could buy one companies engine paired with another’s transmission. ALL four manufactures have the same powertrain warranty. So, if they think their truck has a better setup then why not show it in the warranty? Personally, I’m hoping that having a couple trucks in mind to purchase will at least double the chances of finding a fair deal.

2017 Truck Warranty

We should purchase our truck next year and will most likely trade-in one family car at the time. Most likely we will keep Karen’s car to be sold sometime before we leave in 2019 on our future in an RV. We are discussing selling it earlier if she is comfortable driving the larger truck. I posted about going to one family car.

Because I’ll have at least three specific trailers selected and know their critical weights, I have no problem buying the truck first.

I put together a spreadsheet on the topic.  Sorry, I only knew how to post the spreadsheet link as a PDF. If you have trouble loading the spreadsheet and want a copy send me an email at I’m happy to send it.

Truck Comparisons PDF  (click here to see the spreadsheet). The nuts and bolts of the research is outlined in the spreadsheet which was easier than repeating it all within this blog post.

Here are a few internet links of more interest than others:

  • From the Big Truck Big RV YouTube site: 2017 truck of the year opinion. He owns a 2016 Ford and selected the 2017 Ram. Here is the link. He adds all three manufacturers can handle a 20,000 pound fifth wheel and believed no engine/transmission is better than another.
  • Roads Less Traveled blog has several postings regarding their 2016 truck upgrade. They test drove all of them!
  • Side by Side Video: 2017 one tons by MrTruckTV and another guy I’ve seen in a lot of videos. Towing around 22,000 pounds. Pin weight in this test is at 19% or over 4,180 pounds. Max tow for the Chevy is 23,000 pounds so they had to limit in order to compare. Chevy won the race with Ram coming in second place.

If you find any details in this post to be incorrect, please let me know. I’m no expert and don’t want to put out any bad information.

After writing this blog post I’ve kept looking at truck adds each day. I’m finding some wonderful trucks around the 20,000 mile mark. Found a 2015 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Limited Edition for an asking price of $51,700 at a local dealership. And a loaded 2016 Ford F350 Lariat with less than 10,000 miles at another local dealership listed at $55,000. There are newer dually Ram Tradesmen Editions out there in the mid 40’s in great condition.

9 thoughts on “Final Truck Research

  1. Another dealer to maybe keep an eye on if you decide on a ford is Ken Wilson Ford in Canton NC. its just outside of Ashville. He is a cowboy for sure and has a lot of dually on hand all the time. That was one of the biggest problems I had in searching is nobody had any inventory to test drive or even just look at. It was only 2 hours from where I live and was glad to find them. I got the 2016 Lariat on special for 58,995 I believe. We to looked at the Ram and could have gone either way but what sold me was the fender LOL. I was going to go with and XLT that they had because I don’t need to many extra’s but when we went to look my wife is the one who said it will be a Lariat. She said if we are going to be spending all the time in it traveling all over she wanted some comfort LOL. I have to say the heated and AC seats are really nice.


    • Thanks for the pass along regarding Ken Wilson Ford. I’ll put it in my notes. Others have recommended shopping for trucks in larger farming communities. What I’ve been doing for research is just using online search websites, starting with 50 miles from home and bouncing out to a larger radius when needed. Sucks that I found an awesome truck when we are not ready to buy yet!. It was a 2016 F350 Platinum Edition a little less priced than the same in a Lariat. Even had a bed liner sprayed in and 5th wheel ready. Can’t recall the miles on it but think it was very low. I don’t look at used trucks/vehicles with over 20,000 miles. That’s kind of an arbitrary mileage which was based on having at least 16,000 miles of bumper to bumper warranty left which is about a years driving for us in the sticks and brick house.

      I had a little hard time understanding some of the new options, especially the FX4 off-road package which turns out to be nothing much. I just did not want to rule any used models out. I don’t like off-road tires because the road noise is terrible. Turns out they don’t have that on the package.

      I liked the XLT package also. I’ve not owned cloth interior in my personal vehicle for years. My assigned work vehicle (Ford SUV unmarked police car) has cloth in it. Our road patrol cars have cloth on the front seats. The cloth today is much improved from years ago. It seems to be a tighter weave or something. Anyway, the cloth in those patrol cars after 60,000 police miles still look good, even with gun belts rubbing on them and the officers getting in and out so frequently. The main reason for us for the leather is the heated/cooled seats. And of course staining.

      We also have no carpet on the floors of our patrol cars. You can clean the entire interior with a towel and Windex. I had considered that option but think it would hurt resale. And I’m not finding any used ones advertised.

      A couple trucks ago I had the Lariat. I stayed open minded during the research but was not surprised that it topped the list again. When you shop for used ones online you see how many of the Lariat package are for sale vs the others. Because they sell so many of them new. But, I will not hesitate to buy the Ram Laramie Edition. Especially since nothing was changed between 2016 and 2017. Although they are now trailing in several areas such as horsepower and torque. They still get the job done. I’ve never read about any serious issues with the totally new designed Ford heavy duty for 2017 but there were some. And if we buy in 2018 I’m sure the later year 2017 worked those issues out. There is a Ford F150 plant not far from my home and I know a few people in management. Although they don’t build the heavy duty, I’m assuming they will be building the new F150 diesel.

      Cargo capacity after all the options are installed is another big one for Ford. It’s huge with the Ram coming in second place. Also the 2107 Ford has a 48 gallon fuel tank. Chevy’s is 36 and Rams is 32. For some, that would be reason enough to go with the Ford when you are trying to avoid fuel stops and have no axillary tank in the bed of the truck.

      Nice hearing from ya.


  2. Mark,
    You may want to keep Karen’s car until you get ready to leave. Gas mileage for the car should be better and adding more mileage on the truck shortens the warranty. We drove more than 25,000 miles on our seven month trip. I chose a gas pickup and part of me now wishes that I had bought a diesel.


    • At this point we are planning to keep Karen’s car and sell it once we can hit the road. We enjoy traveling together rather than driving separate although it would be nice to have a car rather than a big truck for a daily driver.


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  5. Despite recent upgrades to both Ford and Dodge duallys, I still prefer the Chevy Silverado and will be buying a new one when we’re ready to full-time in a 5th wheel sometime in 2018. This is based on extensive experience hauling a 22K lb load of people, cargo and animals with ease, all over North America. Why? The Duramax diesel in the Silverado has been around for a long time without issue, as opposed to new/upgraded engines in both Ford and Dodge diesels. In addition, the Silverado offers creature comforts I feel are unparalleled in the competitors.


    • Hi Cynthia,

      Based on hauling 22K loads you certainly would know which truck works the best for you. I have to think any of the big three would be good trucks but still wonder why they have the same warranties if one engine is better than the other. I’ve heard others say, some of whom own the Chevy, that it is the best riding dually truck and the finish is nicer. I’d not pass on any of the big three is a deal was to be found.


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