Time to eat some crow… Tow Vehicle Change/Upgrade.

So, back when we started our adventure, I spent a lot of time reading specs on my truck, looking at towing capacities and making sure we were safe when towing. To help with squat, I did work on the rear suspension; I also put LT tires to handle the weight.

A recent trip was the last straw. Our F150 (2014/EcoBoost) did fine for the most part; expected mileage, comfortable, and handled well. Unfortunately when it came to going up 3 different mountain ranges to get to our destination, the typical cooling problem reared its ugly head. I hate being “that guy” on the road who’s going far below the speed limit and holding up traffic. Fortunately for me the semi in front of us was going slow as well (30mph) which gave me a good excuse to be slow on the highway (75mph speed limit!). We got to our destination, but my wife and I were beyond frustrated. I swore I heard her tell me that I needed a bigger truck if we were going to keep towing (she doesn’t remember it, but I do recall the words coming out of her mouth).

So, I began researching. Reading articles, talking to people who owned various truck configurations, and taking several for a test drive. I really wanted to like the Ford Super Duty trucks that were in our price range; I adore the looks of the 2017+, however the older models don’t have a dash layout I like (seems petty, I know). Took a Chevy/GMC for a test drive, was shocked to find out that it didn’t have rear AC vents for the dogs and child (Yes, I say the dogs first because they camp out in front of the vents. My son typically closes his vent). This may not be a big deal for a lot of families, but when our ambient temp hits 115 degrees during the summer, I need to be able to cool the WHOLE truck off, not just the front. I also wasn’t a fan of how low the DEF tank sits on the GM Trucks, seems like it’s begging for a rock to crack it open when you are off-roading.

Then I took a (Dodge) Ram for a test drive. Wasn’t quite what I was used to with the layout of the F150 I adored, but it was pretty darn close.

I’ve been a “Ford Guy” for the past 10+ years. I’ve had 2 F-150’s now and would still recommend them to anyone looking for a truck, if they won’t be towing “heavy”. We had 75,000+ miles with ZERO mechanical issues on the truck, however at the end of the day it just had too much trouble towing up grade within its factory specifications. If you go to some of the Ford Truck forums out there, you’ll see that it is actually fairly common. I don’t know how they come up with the ratings for half ton trucks – but please don’t make the same mistake I did and tow near the top end of the ratings and expect the truck to be fine. I even looked at the new 2019/2020 F150s with the insane tow numbers; both the eco boost and the power stroke engine configurations. At the end of the day, I just can’t trust those trucks not to have the same problems I have.

Could I have fixed the problem? Maybe. Tuners, custom radiator, methanol injection… who knows. Fact of the matter tho, the more you customize the truck, the lower your re-sale value is. You can’t blame a perspective buyer from being skeptical if the parts were installed properly, if they were installed to cover up a bigger problem, or if the truck was just beat to death by the previous owner.

In the end, we decided to sell our beloved (2014) F-150 and buy a (2014) Ram 3500 Diesel. Diesel was a “must” for me if I was going to buy a new truck. Every one I talked to that had a similar size/weight trailer as our Nash 26N complained about power in their gasser 3/4 or 1-Ton trucks. With 800ish ft/lb of torque, we won’t be having problems anymore. I decided to go with the 1-Ton because I didn’t want limits again on what I could do with the truck. It does ride rougher than the 3/4 Ton trucks I drove (when empty), but we will get used to it. I wasn’t a huge fan of the rear coil springs in the Ram 2500’s.

There are a few things I dislike about the Ram, however in the end it was the lesser evil to settle with the few things I disliked about it versus the other trucks that had several things that I disliked.

I am fortunate in that a good friend of mine is a diesel mechanic and has a lot of experience with the Cummins engines. He’s already taught me a lot about owning a Diesel truck and the things that come with it.

I can’t speak to how it’ll tow our travel trailer just yet, but I’m expecting it’ll do a fantastic job. I towed a 2500# trailer with a 2000# side by side on it, 30 extra gallons of gas (for the side by side), and 10 gallons of water. The truck bed and truck cab were full of camping supplies for a camping trip with a buddy (tent camping, woohoo!). We drove through a few mountain ranges and I really pushed the truck. I’d intentionally slow down at the bottom of the climb (no traffic around) and then accelerate up the grade. The power came on strong and the truck did what I expected it to do. Going down grade, I turned on the exhaust brake and was happy that I was able to maintain speed (without un-expected accelerations) without touching the brakes.

All in all, we’re happy with how things are going so far. Hopefully it continues to do what is expected out of it. I can’t foresee ever coming close to maxing out payload of this truck or it’s rated tow ratings. We love our trailer and have no reason to change trailers within the foreseeable future.

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