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Thread: Truck for hauling gear

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    PookyNR is offline 3D VIP 2005, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14
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    Default Truck for hauling gear

    While running the risk of starting something akin to a Mac/PC type thread, I'm seeking the opinion of the experienced. I'm looking to find a truck to haul some gear around. I don't have a huge amount, but more than can be hauled around in the trusty 'ol mini-van. Occasionally, I do need to haul around some modest PA systems.

    Anyhow - your experiences with various trucks? Ford F-150? Ram 1500? Chevy Silverado? (I thinking of something ~2-3 years old with lots of life left in it.)

    I've heard a few things from a few people, but it's good to hear from a wider audience.
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    My truck is a 2011 Toyota Tundra Double-Cab, and I specifically bought it for it's towing capacity. My boys were into motocross and we had (have) a large cargo trailer that hauls three bikes with all the gear, tools, etc. At the time, there really wasn't much competition to it for this purpose. Even the Ford dealership told me I would have to move up to the F250 ($$$) to get the equivalent towing capacity and drive train features. The price of the Tundra was right...Lower than the 2011 F150 and Silverado's. I have been totally satisfied with it. Now, it's actually my everyday vehicle. Yes. I would buy another one.

    Disclaimer: I have always owned Nissans. My vehicle before the Toyota was a Pathfinder that my wife now drives (her Altima had to be retired due to major engine troubles). I've owned nothing but Nissan's since 1986 (other than a Ford Explorer I tried in the early '90's...complete junk) and have always had great service from them. My Pathfinder is probably the best vehicle I've ever owned. No problems other than regular service for over 225K miles! But, our local dealer went out of business, so I didn't even consider a Nissan when shopping for the truck. I would still have probably chose the Tundra.

    Aside: I installed some amateur radio gear into it last summer, and that's documented here, complete with pictures...
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    Wireline is offline 3D VIP 2004, '05, '06, '08, '09, '10
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    Oooh, finally something I know! Currently I drive a 2012 Dodge 3.4L 4 Dr truck...it does well, gets 19 on the hiways, pulls an moderate trailer without effort, and doesn't suck (although the factory stereo is a bass heavy stinker)...

    Before that, drove a 6 banger Dodge - weak! Avoid at all costs...

    Before that, a Ford Explorer Sport, until a blowout at 70 caused it to flip 3 times...won't have one of those again

    Before that, a 1987 Ford F150 3 speed V8 that I put 185K miles on...pulled every kind of trailer imaginable and some you can't imagine...only real trouble it had was the computer chip controlling EVERYTHING went out with a truck load of music gear in the worst part of town once...

    To do it all over again - investing in a decent trailer is more important than the vehicle that pulls it, but any V8 can get it done...make sure to get something with electric brakes!
    Ken Morgan
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    Brian Shillito is offline 3D VIP 2010, '11, '12, '13. '14
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    GMC Yukon here, 5 years old, not so much as a hint of trouble, lots of power and room...


    Best regards, Brian.
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    PookyNR is offline 3D VIP 2005, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14
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    Interesting to hear an endorsement of the Toyota truck. The only other person that I know that has one has had major suspension problems.

    Ken - was your experience with your previous Dodge negative because of an underpowered motor? Or were there other issues?

    Based on what I'm hearing currently, the Ford product seems to have the toughest suspension for hauling and also off-road but the motors have some design / reliability issues. The Dodge product has a more reliable motor, but the suspension is more frequent to give out. GM is somewhere in the middle. Thoughts on this? Is what I'm hearing accurate to your experiences?
    Am I the only one without a small type signature?

    Nathan

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    Quote Originally Posted by PookyNR View Post

    Ken - was your experience with your previous Dodge negative because of an underpowered motor? Or were there other issues?

    The Dodge product has a more reliable motor, but the suspension is more frequent to give out. GM is somewhere in the middle. Thoughts on this? Is what I'm hearing accurate to your experiences?
    The 6 banger was fine for most things, but just could not get it done when pulling more than a featherweight trailer up any sort of incline...

    I haven't heard anything on the suspension issue you mention. I will suggest that the Fords I've looked at in the past 5-7 yrs were stunning POS when compared to Dodge and Tundras...not sure if I would voluntarily ride in a late model 1/2 ton Chevy unless it was really cold and raining (I want to get to where I am going...) The heavier 3/4 and 1 tons are fine from reports of people I know who drive 40-50K miles a year, but the light trucks are stinkers.
    Ken Morgan
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    Quote Originally Posted by PookyNR View Post
    Interesting to hear an endorsement of the Toyota truck. The only other person that I know that has one has had major suspension problems.
    I've heard (read) of issues with suspension and the steering box on some models, BUT from what I've gathered, most of those issues resulted from tricked-out Tundras with oversized wheels/tires, etc., or severe off-road conditions. Also, as with any makes, some years were better than others.

    My Tundra has been fine...so far. No issues with suspension or steering. Several others in my neighborhood in great shape, too.
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    I somehow missed this thread... but, since all my toys get used at one time or another on my gigs (across AV support, live PA, video production and still photography) I have as much or more time in the saddle of a hauler than most of my contemporaries... from the 24' 1987 GMC C7000 box truck (air-ride and a lift gate, but no AC in the cab) to the Ford Pinto that got dumped in 1973 because a 9' photo background wouldn't fit inside (duh!) I've run just about everything imaginable. Here are my recommendations based on over 40 years...

    1) Get something bigger than you think you might need. 2) Options are good.

    I've ended up with three vehicles in my driveway that get everything done:

    Primary daily driver is a 2001 BMW 525iT wagon. 90% of what I need (including the aforementioned 9' seamless background paper roll, currently blocking passenger access, from last week's studio product shoot in Rochester) can be accomplished. It gets decent mileage, cost me $8,000 when I bought it in 2011, and, well... it's a BMW. I love it... and I've owned everything from Mercedes (300TD wagon) to Lincoln Town Cars (two, actually... a '72 and a '96), to several Ford and Chevy vans to a '75 Vega wagon and a '72 VW Vanagon, which blew up in Gatesville, Texas. I will willingly never not own a BMW again.

    Secondary, for heavier hauls (to/from the six larger-form industry AV meetings support gigs from Texas to Florida and New York, and four larger-form PA gigs annually) is a 16' double-axle trailer towed by a '99 Ford F350 full-size bed/full crew cab pickup, 7.3L turbo diesel, with twice the OTR fuel mileage as the '87 GMC. It runs 78mph all day long (GMC is governed at 64... downhill), and I get where I'm going feeling pretty dang good. Since I don't deploy my "large form" PA any more (the main reason for the GMC), it's been adequate for everything that requires more space and/or load rating than the BMW for the past six years. I have about $18K in it (Yankee truck... required a front suspension rebuild and a tranny at 150K) and no complaints.

    Finally, because I hate not having a back-up onsite... a clean, well-used '96 Chevy G20 (3/4-ton) van, with a 350 and mood lights. It can, in a pinch, haul the big trailer... but I have a smaller backup trailer for that as well. It also helps me avoid unloading the big trailer if the small one will suffice. $4K, and needing only a muffler in the past 18 months. I put a FlowMaster on it. Runs better on a tow and sounds *****in' as well.

    So... all three solutions (including the trailers) for about the cost of a new F150 or Dodge Sprinter van.

    The '87...? I still own it, and lease it to a church for $1 a year and maintenance/repair for church-in-the-box. I've had it since Y2K, and have gotten way more than $10,500 value out of it. And... if need be... we can move it to my son's property in Cheatham County and live in it if the whole world comes tumbling down.

    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it...

    HB
    Last edited by hbphotoav; 06-06-2015 at 10:33 PM.
    Harry Butler Photography, Videography and AV Production
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    "I'm CDO. That's like OCD, but the letters are in alphabetical order. As they should be." Seen on a T-Shirt.

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    PookyNR is offline 3D VIP 2005, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14
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    Cool. Thanks for the input, Harry.

    I'm thinking along the same lines you are. Ken's reply also helped steer me in the direction of a 3/4 ton. I think I'll aim for a bit more truck than I think I need. Right now I'm looking at some used F-250s and Ram 2500s. I'm just slowly wading through a number of reports on the different years / engines / etc and reliability.
    Am I the only one without a small type signature?

    Nathan

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    Not sure how diesel does in your winters in smaller vehicles... but I love the 7.3L in the F350. A simple block heater gets it going pretty easily (at least at 0 to -15C or so). Anything between 2003 and 2008 (give or take) in Ford diesels are a crapshoot. Anything newer than 2009 will likely be way north of $20K. I'm just under 200K miles with one bank of fresh injectors and a clean bill of health from Mid Tenn Ford, so I'm still happy with it.

    I'd have loved to look at a Dodge (Cummins/Allison) but they were 50% higher, pretty much across the board, all else equal. GMC/Chevy had ongoing injector problems in their diesels through the years I could afford, so... 1999 F350 it was. And is. And shall be. For a while...

    Cheers!

    H
    Harry Butler Photography, Videography and AV Production
    www.harrybutlerphotoav.com

    "I'm CDO. That's like OCD, but the letters are in alphabetical order. As they should be." Seen on a T-Shirt.

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