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need a new truck

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1 old racer

Too blessed to be stressed and old track whore,
130
270
Exp. Level
20+ Years
fontana ca.
Looking to buy a new truck. I am also going to be open towing my Mustang around with it. I currently have a Nissan Titan and would like to take a step down to a smaller crew cab truck. I have not owned a small truck since the late 80's, so Is this a bad idea? if it depends on how much towing it will only be SoCal to Central Cali. about 4 to 6 times a year. So what is good out there?
 

JDee

Ancient Racer
1,800
2,002
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
5 miles from Mosport
I just bought an F-150 crew with 2.7L ecoboost and the trailer tow package. It's rated for max of 10,100 lbs of towing. I figure my track car and trailer are about 5500-6000 lbs. It's only got 150 kms on it so far, won't put the trailer on it until I get it a little more broken in than that. I don't yet know what the mileage is like, But for sure it's going to be way better than my V10 motorcoach was, that thing was a solid 10 mpg turd.

First pickup I've owned since the 80s, man what a difference to what they were like back then. This thing is so civilized it's scary, seating for six people for kripes sake. I'm almost afraid to wear my work boots in it! :D
 

Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
8,489
8,481
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Blair, Nebraska
Having sold both Rams and Fords , I would encourage you to check out a 5.7 Hemi CrewCab as I have towed with one of them for over 10 years and for everyday driving they are just like driving a car. Sacrilegious on this site , but I have owned both and there is a reason the Ram has been the JD Power winner almost every year of late, and the only truck to win Motor Trend's Truck of the year three years in a row.

Towing with the Ford F150 and the Ram get virtually equal mileage and chatting with old Salesperson friends the actually day to day driving mileage is about equal also.

The small trucks are almost the same price , seldom have as good of rebates and frankly if you decide to wander across the mountains sometime, they will likely labor, imho.
 

TMSBOSS

Spending my pension on car parts and track fees.
7,551
5,278
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Illinois
Before for i went Diesel, I had a F-150 Eco. Great truck. With an open trailer she would pull hills with ease. When I stepped up to an enclosed trailer, not so much. Pulling the square box through the wind was too much for her. Not sure I would lean on a Ranger for this application, A light weight tow vehicle with a heavier trailer can lead to issues with stability, power and safety. Just my $.02.
If you do get a smaller truck ensure the trailer brakes are well maintained and you buy the best trailer brake control you can find.
 
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Just a word on towing capacities since people get really hung up on those - they're absolutely meaningless on half ton trucks - they run out of payload (check your door sticker - it's the trailer tongue weight + everything what in the truck including people) way before they ever reach their towing capacity. I would personally not go to a smaller truck from a Titan having towed Mustang on an open steel trailer (2klb empty weight) - it was completely effortless in F150 3.5 Eco.
 
6,394
8,276
FWIW my wife owns a Ford ranger crew cab, and it will actually tow my Mustang and 2300 pound trailer.. HOWEVER.. I live in Florida which is pretty flat, and as I always say, the size, especially the wheelbase, is very important in towing, I've towed in everything from short bed Chevys with coil springs (nightmare) to diesel crew cab dualies. Just remember that even though a truck will tow something on paper doesn't make it so in real life, Interstate towing, having 18 wheelers blow past you, side winds, and braking come into play and IMO the smaller the truck, the more hazardous it is to be around that kind of traffic.
The other item is that if you use the truck as a daily driver and tow occaisionally, it's hard to beat the eco boosts from Ford, however, if your truck carries weight, all the time, you would probabaly be better stepping up to a V8.
I think the Titan is Nissan's full size truck (not an import guy, so I don't know) if so, that is probably about the right size, I personally wouldn't tow my stuff with the wife's Ranger unless it was an emergency, the truck is just too small for me to be comfortable with, I'm pretty sure if the trailer was enclosed it would struggle to go 70mph.
Dodge has some good deals right now and some of the current crop of diesels will move mountains, but it sounds to me like a crew cab F150 eco boost would work best for you, since you only tow occaisionally.
 
37
58
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
Gilbert SC
I towed my mustang on a 1800lb Aluma trailer for a few years with a Chevy Colorado, so I would imagine Ranger would be similar. It never lacked power for the job but on a 3 hr road trip at hwy speed you had to stay real attentive on the wheel. Like blacksheep real flat from my house to the 2 tracks I was going to all the time. I went to a trailer that was way too big for small truck so I had to get a F250 for towing but I kept the small truck and drive it every day, because I like it around town way better. Having had both options If I could only have one truck I would go with the Ranger / Colorado sized truck since driving a big truck every day so I can tow my car to the track once a month does not make since in my case.
 
66
98
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
West
Another consideration when choosing a truck is the braking system. All of the manufacturers tout their towing capacities. But none of them shout about their stopping capability, especially while towing those claimed numbers. Generally speaking, with the 3/4 and 1 ton you get bigger more capable brakes. This increases safety by a big margin. It is great to be able to say that you can hook to a mountain and tow it at 75mph but it really does not mean a thing if you can't bring that mountain to a safe stop. I drive a diesel 3/4 ton and an old one (2001) and after my first trip with a new TT to the mountains I came home and installed an exhaust brake. Have never regretted it, changed the brakes and rotors at 156K, and have 210K on it now. It is great to be the towing capacity king and never have to slow down on the grades but, when you get to the summit there is the downhill side to deal with.
With that all said, buy a truck that meets your needs safely. Fuel mileage is not everything. IMO once you go diesel you will never go back to gasoline. And, you are absolutely correct, these new trucks are very prissy. I mean, heated steering wheels? I am envious, just too damn thrifty (read cheap) to set 8-10 10K bills free from my wallet.
 
1,482
408
Sounds like you'll be towing over "The Grapevine." That is no joke in the summer heat. As a kid I watched our family friend's car burn to the ground towing a sailboat northbound just short of Tejon Pass.
 
304
380
CA
op, I have some experience towing in your neck of the woods with both a 23' F-150 and a 99' F-250 V10.

23' F-150 Hybrid Crew Cab Long Bed
~8,000lb enclosed trailer. Acceleration wise, the truck does not know anything is behind it. The hybrid 3.5's are staggeringly quick. Getting onto the freeway I never needed more than 3500RPM. The ecoboosts are basically a diesel. Such an effortless, refined powertrain.

Going up the grapevine, the truck held 60mph (I believe it was 5th gear, 3500RPM) no problem, and had plenty more pulling power to give. Felt like I could've gone 80mph up that hill. Going down the grapevine, the truck wasn't able to hold the trailer back very well. I had to do quite a few brake applications to keep the truck from going much faster than 60mph. It was by all means manageable and not "scary", but definitely reminded me that I was moving a lotttttt of weight. Going down most hills (ie not ridiculously steep like the grapevine), the truck was awesome, and I was able to use the electric motor to hold back the truck. Really cool and fun experience TBH.

The key here (nobody seems to ever mention or understand this) is a weight distributing anti-sway hitch. As you may know, winds can become pretty severe on HWY-5. Unlike the F-250, I felt the trailer moving around with the wind when I was in the F-150. And that is with the weight distribution hitch! Towing an enclosed with an F-150 without a good hitch would not be safe, responsible or enjoyable IMO. With that being said, at no point in time did I think I "needed" an F-250. Wanted? Maybe.....But by no means needed.

On flat ground with no winds, the truck gave me 10.4mpg. Going against the wind, MPG dropped drastically, ~8.5mpg if I remember correctly. Both at 65mph.

99' F-250 6.8L V10
~8000lb enclosed trailer. The V10 was a dog and couldn't get above 45mph going up the grapevine. Concerning in some regards, but also not concerning considering the big rigs are usually going 30-40mph anyways. Just tuck in with them and have a chill time. Surprisingly, that F-250 gave me ~9-9.5mpg while towing the enclosed trailer. With a weight distribution hitch, I genuinely did not know the trailer was back there other than accelerating and braking.

General comfort wise, the 99' F250 was like a 3rd world dump truck compared to the F-150. Trucks have come a staggeringly long way in 20 years. They are stupidly expensive but I almost think they are worth it.

For every person that went from gas to diesel and has had a good experience, there is one that hasn't. Driving an F-250 everyday just for commuting is borderline irresponsible imo. So if you are using the truck as a daily driver, I would caution against an F-250. If all you will use the truck for is towing, F-250 all the way.

Given your application of driving the truck everyday and then towing 6x a year, I would recommend F-150 or ranger. I think I read somewhere that Ford is revamping the ranger for 2024 so it might be worth it to wait. Also look into the chevy colorado diesel if you are towing an open trailer.
 
98
143
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Olsburg, KS
Here's a vote for "not a Tacoma". My wife's '15 F250 got totaled last year and we ended up downsizing to a new Tacoma. It was about the only new pickup she could reach over the sides of. The Ranger was taller over the side than the old F250 was. The Tacoma might have enough power to pull it, but you'll have to listen to 200 gear shifts per mile. It's obnoxious. It's weighted down fairly well, but on the same hilly roads my Focus stays at a constant speed in 5th with the cruise on, the Tacoma varies a good 5mph and shifts constantly. I will repeat - it's obnoxious. It's also a little too small for my 6'3" frame. There's more room in the Focus. I'd look at at least an F150 and for a used one I'd prefer the 5.0. If you're looking at new, even the 2.7 is supposed to be pretty peppy. I know a few people that are pretty happy with them. Did I mention the transmission is obnoxious in the Tacoma? :)
 

1 old racer

Too blessed to be stressed and old track whore,
130
270
Exp. Level
20+ Years
fontana ca.
Thanks for the advice. After talking to my wife and looking at trucks we decided to just keep the Titan. It's getting old (2011) but only has about 80k. There is no way we can justify the +60k price tag for a upper trim level 4x4 Crew cab that can tow what this one can. Its already has a lift with overload airbags, trailer brake system, upgraded trans cooling and other upgrades. All I would have to add to a new rig. Sometimes you just dont realize what you have. But I will treat it to a good auto detail and bed liner(old one is not good anymore). Take the money saved and buy a nice roll back trailer.

20200213_171101.jpg
 
Looking to buy a new truck. I am also going to be open towing my Mustang around with it. I currently have a Nissan Titan and would like to take a step down to a smaller crew cab truck. I have not owned a small truck since the late 80's, so Is this a bad idea? if it depends on how much towing it will only be SoCal to Central Cali. about 4 to 6 times a year. So what is good out there?
Your Titan is basically a half ton truck. So, F150, GM 2500, all about the same class. Your Mustang on an open trailer is roughly 6000 lbs. - alone, by itself. The Titan maybe 5800 lbs. For starters, think about that... Physics, momentum, etc. How well can the 5800 lb truck resist the errant actions of a 6000 lb trailer? And that's a half ton truck tow vehicle.

As mentioned earlier, manufacturer's stated towing capacities are just a guide, let's call it.. and initial hint as to the tow vehicle capabilities. Then do ALL the math for the GVWR. Deduct for all cargo, passenger(s), all fuel, all cargo, all additional equipment (like a camper shell, toolboxes, etc...), and look at the maximum tongue weight rating, too. You will find the actual towing capability under your conditions will be considerably less than the manufacturer stated rating.

Importantly, as mentioned earlier, brakes are everything. Heavier duty, bigger trucks have bigger brakes that stay cooler.

It only takes one time, one failure, one accident avoidance maneuver to end all fun. So to the idea that you don't need an HD truck (or very capable tow vehicle after the math is all done) because you only tow your car a few times a year..... makes no sense. If you are going to tow, do it properly, safely and with the proper equipment, and leave a margin in the tow vehicle's capability - giving it the advantage. Protect your assets, your life and others on the road. Please.

FWIW - I tow with a Silverado HD Duramax. Always have towed with 3/4 ton trucks for towing. I prefer a big dog pulling a lighter wagon. My open car trailer and car are at 6000 lbs, and the trailer has brakes on both axles. The Tow/Haul mode and exhaust brake work very well. The biggest thing I tow is a 10K equipment trailer fully loaded, which is why I have the HD truck. With the car trailer, the Duramax gets about 16 mpg. About 13 with the 10K trailer. It's never short of power or brake.

I'd stick with your Titan for towing the car, or trade to an even more capable tow vehicle that you'd be comfortable with. I think a smaller truck is risking too much.
 
Thanks for the advice. After talking to my wife and looking at trucks we decided to just keep the Titan. It's getting old (2011) but only has about 80k. There is no way we can justify the +60k price tag for a upper trim level 4x4 Crew cab that can tow what this one can. Its already has a lift with overload airbags, trailer brake system, upgraded trans cooling and other upgrades. All I would have to add to a new rig. Sometimes you just dont realize what you have. But I will treat it to a good auto detail and bed liner(old one is not good anymore). Take the money saved and buy a nice roll back trailer.

View attachment 85727
Just saw that you posted as I was writing my reply to your OP. Good decision.
 
1,153
1,151
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
Thanks for the advice. After talking to my wife and looking at trucks we decided to just keep the Titan. It's getting old (2011) but only has about 80k. There is no way we can justify the +60k price tag for a upper trim level 4x4 Crew cab that can tow what this one can. Its already has a lift with overload airbags, trailer brake system, upgraded trans cooling and other upgrades. All I would have to add to a new rig. Sometimes you just dont realize what you have. But I will treat it to a good auto detail and bed liner(old one is not good anymore). Take the money saved and buy a nice roll back trailer.

View attachment 85727
It sounds like the Titan is just getting broken in. I would keep it as well as long as it serves your purpose. I use my truck as a truck and not a commuter vehicle. I am still towing old school. I have a 1999 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins long wheel base 4x4 that I special ordered in the fall of 1998. I said I would keep it until it no longer would do what I needed. That was 24 years and 285k miles ago. It is still hauling my car and whatever else I need.
 

PatientZero

@restless_performance
825
866
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Kansas City, Missouri
I have towed my 3100lb Mustang on my 20' Flat trailer with the the following;
2021 Ram crewcab with 5.7/eTorque
2019 F150 crewcab with 3.5 ecoboost
2011 Yukon Denali with 6.2
2010 F150 crewcab with 5.4

The Yukon(my current vehicle) is by far the worst just because of the short wheelbase.
The Ram was my favorite although my next step would have been putting helper springs on it(it has coil springs on the back). Best to daily drive IMO.
The ecoboost F150 was pretty good, the 10 speed transmission keeps it in the power and it gets the best mileage while NOT TOWING.
The 2010 F150 was just fine and arguably the best while towing just because of the powerband and the heavier springs on the back.

While pulling the exact same trailer over the exact same roads all these vehicles get the exact same mileage, right at 11mpg. I would absolutely not want a smaller vehicle than a 1/2 ton truck for towing a car. I've seen some of the diesel Colorado's pulling Miata's on an aluminum trailer and I might be able to get behind that but definitely not a Mustang.

My next tow vehicle will be a 3/4 ton truck.
 

Dave_W

Cones - not just for ice cream
1,000
1,302
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Connecticut
2021 Ram crewcab with 5.7/eTorque
Interested if you looked at the V6 diesel when shopping for the Ram? The Cummins seems like overkill, but the V6 diesel has about the same towing capacity as the 5.7 w/ eTorque but much better mpg.
 
304
380
CA
I have towed my 3100lb Mustang on my 20' Flat trailer with the the following;
2021 Ram crewcab with 5.7/eTorque
2019 F150 crewcab with 3.5 ecoboost
2011 Yukon Denali with 6.2
2010 F150 crewcab with 5.4

The Yukon(my current vehicle) is by far the worst just because of the short wheelbase.
The Ram was my favorite although my next step would have been putting helper springs on it(it has coil springs on the back). Best to daily drive IMO.
The ecoboost F150 was pretty good, the 10 speed transmission keeps it in the power and it gets the best mileage while NOT TOWING.
The 2010 F150 was just fine and arguably the best while towing just because of the powerband and the heavier springs on the back.

While pulling the exact same trailer over the exact same roads all these vehicles get the exact same mileage, right at 11mpg. I would absolutely not want a smaller vehicle than a 1/2 ton truck for towing a car. I've seen some of the diesel Colorado's pulling Miata's on an aluminum trailer and I might be able to get behind that but definitely not a Mustang.

My next tow vehicle will be a 3/4 ton truck.
Have you tried using a weight distributing anti sway hitch?
 

PatientZero

@restless_performance
825
866
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Kansas City, Missouri
Interested if you looked at the V6 diesel when shopping for the Ram? The Cummins seems like overkill, but the V6 diesel has about the same towing capacity as the 5.7 w/ eTorque but much better mpg.
No, the truck doubles as my wife's daily/kid hauler. I don't do enough towing to have any interest in a diesel. Even when I get a 3/4 ton it will be with a gas motor.
Have you tried using a weight distributing anti sway hitch?
My dad gave me one and I need to get it put on before I go to Texas in a couple weeks. I do hope that makes a difference with the Yukon.
 

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