Truck Shopping

Just started truck shopping….  I dread shopping for automobiles in general because of the dealership process. From walking on the lot to telling the finance guy you’re not interested in what he/she has to offer. The best part of the process is getting home and finding something to take off the dealership stickers that trash the new ride.

Truck shopping for something to pull up to a 18,000-pound trailer is a new experience all together. I’ve done most of the homework and posted about that some time ago. We are looking for a one-ton dually diesel pickup truck and are targeting Fords and Rams.  What I’ve been finding is the Ram seem to be more “affordable” or dare I say, might be a better value for the dollar. I’ll get this out of the way and say all three manufacturers will get the job done so I’m not downing the Chevy/GMC. As part of the research, just like with RVs, I’ve read the truck forums, watched the videos and bugged a lot of new RV friends for ideas.  Today, I received an email alert to a new YouTube video from a site I follow.  The guy that puts on the videos is a Ford guy, even if he does not admit it. I enjoyed this video where he talks about the value of a Ram truck.

We are looking to buy a truck by next August. Yes, before the RV which may come as late as November of 2018. I know the top six trailers we are looking at and am confident we will buy the right truck with the capacity to haul any one of the six. We have a need for a truck to haul stuff off from the house, haul stuff in to fix up the house and it might be the right timing to go to one family car (truck) in the process.

I’ll let you readers in on another observation I’m hoping not many people are figuring out. One way we might buy our trailer is as last year’s model. From my research, the 2019s will be announced around March of 2018. Then the 2019s will arrive at our local RV dealerships around June/July of 2018. Then we should see the prices on the 2018s coming down around that time and surely by September of 2018. Last year the prior year’s model were relatively plentiful in September. But this year, they were almost non-existent by November.  So, the secret I wish others would not find out about is everyone else is looking for the same last year’s models. Guess it’s not a secret after all. Just be aware of it. That’s another reason we are looking for a truck by August and as soon as possible thereafter looking for the trailer. I’m figuring if we find a trailer we best be able to drive right there and get it – before they start to disappear in September. Or we might have to order the trailer or settle on a used one.

Having spent more time looking at specific trucks has brought up a few more considerations. Mostly, the difference in gear ratios such as the Ram 3.73 vs 4.10 or the Ford 3.55 vs the 4.10. I’d written up a blog post discussing the subject in more detail but decided to skip posting it. I’ve got charts showing the towing capacity of each truck and every combination of these gears works for the weights we are looking at.  In the truck forums most people ask about fuel mileage nearly as often as they ask about towing capacity. The best advise I’ve had is select the truck for towing and forget about the narrow fuel mileage differences. We can discuss this more in the comments section if you want. The second best advise I received, for our truck situation, is to not buy one with the 3.55 gears and most say just get the 4.10 gears. Here is the best blog post I’ve ever read about truck shopping. If you don’t have much time or desire to research your purchase, just read that post and go buy a truck.

The second observation I’ve had is it’s hard to find a truck equipped exactly like I want without ordering one new from the factory. This is even more apparent when only searching within 100 miles of our home. And especially if we want to trade in one car when we do it and therefore don’t want to drive a long way to only find out the deal is no good. I’m looking at trucks with less than 20,000 miles on them and don’t intend to order a new one. This plays a role in that I’ll have to make compromises to find a decent used truck which might include going with a different gear ratio, color or whatever.  I like the burgundy two tone trucks by the way. However, our current silver cars sure don’t show the dirt as much nor did the white ones. If that’s important.

I’ll keep you posted on the search….  And I’m still pecking away at our first-year budget for fulltime RV travel and will pass that along later as well.



7 thoughts on “Truck Shopping

  1. I should have added one comment about the Chevy trucks. I watched a video with the lead engineer of their heavy truck section. They choose not to try and keep up with the others in terms of the best horsepower and torque ratings. Because at what they all come with they will tow 90% of the trailers one would use a pickup for.


  2. We hate the dealership haggle process too. Shopping and dealing on-line was a dream for us. Almost no haggling and so easy! Look on e-bay and try Douglas Dodge in Clinton, Ill if you are thinking of a Dodge. Also you can try Good Luck!


  3. The air ride rear suspension on the Ram is what might move us from the Chev/GMC to Ram. we’re on the fence as to which is right for us. Like you we are looking to pull the truck trigger next fall, and the 5er after that. We’re comfortable our 5er picks are all within the 3500HD DRW sweet spot no matter which one we choose. Good hunting.


    • Seems like all the big three, with DRW, will handle anything at least in the 19,000 gross weight and below if equipped well. I like the fact Ram comes with factory air bags. I have been corresponding with a couple people who bought 2017/2018 models. One says the suspension is setup different with factory air. The changes cause a smoother ride.

      When I shop online I’m finding more Rams in our price range with the equipment we would be interested in. Like you, we want to be in a position to pull the trigger on a truck no later than next fall. Figure we will save up and then find the truck and go and get it. We are leaning at buying the trailer shortly thereafter so we would have a place to live when the house hopefully sells quick. Also lots of vacation to use up in 2019:)

      Our max weight on the top six trailers we are looking at is 18,500 gross. I would not feel comfortable about buying the truck before the trailer unless I had a definite list of trailers by weight. The DRW helps cover the pin weights as well.

      Can’t prove it yet, but it seems like some of the more rural dealerships have a better stock of trucks than when I look closer in the city. So far I’m keeping my shopping radius within a 300 mile area. We are trading in one car so need to be able to walk away if the deal is not right or the truck is not as advertised. Found a few dealerships closer than 150 miles that are promising. We are looking for a truck with under 20,000 miles – but – some of the new ones are not that much more in costs if looking at the 2017’s.


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