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Competition BBQ *On Topic Only* Discussion regarding all aspects of Competition BBQ. Experiences competing or visiting, questions, getting started, Equipment, announcements of events, Results, Reviews, Planning, etc. Questions here will be responded to with competition BBQ in mind.


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Unread 06-23-2008, 12:03 PM   #1
KC_Bobby
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Default Thinking about upgrading my tow rig

OK, I currently do not have a rig. I have an urban pick-up at best. After pulling my 6x12 trailer 220 miles this weekend I think I want a rig before pull it back home in August.

The 02 Dakota pulled it OK - no problems. In fact, I got 12 mpg doing about 62-65 mph and was pleasantly surprised with that but I definately knew it was back there. This was just pulling my equipment to Des Moines - BWS competitor, WSM, my mobile kitchen counter cart, canopies, various totes. 120 lbs coal and empty coolers; guessing around 2400 lbs total. After loading in my brother's stuff and loading the coolers (guessing the gross weight was just over 3,000 lbs) the Dakota was in great shape to spot comets with the headlights pointing to the sky. So we unhooked the Dakota and used my brother's F-150. The F-150 handled it with ease.

But we are already thinking about buying a larger trailer/toyhauler for next year so we have air conditioning and inside sleeping space. Probably something around 16-18' long with a tandom axle so I'm thinking a 3/4 ton pick up.

I'm not brand loyal as far as Ford, Dodge or GM. I'm strickly wanting to keep the price tag under 10K. I think I can sell the Dakota for somewhere around $9500 and I don't really want a payment on a vehicle that's only going to get about 5,000 miles put on it a year - basically comps and just normal household errands to the HD/Lowes, etc.

Which leads me to the purpose of this thread: advice...
- gas or diesel - I've heard the powerstroke has some injector issues from 99-03, fact or myth?
- should I stay clear of vehicles that have been used as snow plows - heard they tend to have transmission issues
- what do you consider high miles on a large gas engine - same with diesel
- 4 wheel drive - how many of you have done contests that you actually need 4 wheel drive?

In order to keep my price tag at about 10K, I think the ride is either going to be older or high miles (at least what I'm acustom to consider high miles). I don't need a full crew cab, but would like to have at least an extended cap so we could throw a few things in the cab to keep dry/clean.

I don't think I want to go this big http://kansascity.craigslist.org/car/727779865.html but with that price, it does peek my interest.

Something like this would what I really want http://kansascity.craigslist.org/car/726770385.html, but I don't want to borrow a nickel.

Another option would be something like this http://kansascity.craigslist.org/car/726890129.html and just do comps that are on hard surfaces. It would leave money for the trailer!
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Unread 06-23-2008, 12:09 PM   #2
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Great post. I'm in the same situation and have tossed around many of the same questions. I look forward to seeing what some of the other brethren have to say about this.
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Unread 06-23-2008, 01:40 PM   #3
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I'll weigh in.

4WD- I'd say yes on this. Mud, sand... you don't want to get stuck at a contest and be "that guy". Around here I need it for snow. 2wd pickups especially empty beds get "loose" when its slippery out.

Miles, depends a lot on the truck, and what engine is in it. I have a big truck, 2000 F250 SD Crew Cab... it has 106k miles on it. Only issues I have had have been power (starter/ alternator)... and I expect the truck to make it to 200k miles as a limited use vehicle.

NEVER BUY A TRUCK THAT WAS USED AS A PLOW-- this isn't so much because of transmissions, although that is a big factor. A plow is basically in a controlled crash every time it gets to a snow bank. Not a big deal if your driving a dump truck, but a pickup frame takes a killing. Eveything in the car ages faster... there is a reason that 2006 costs 3k...

I'm sure you'll get better advice, but those are some observations.
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Unread 06-23-2008, 01:57 PM   #4
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Get a clear idea of the weight of the trailer you eventually want to get (ask others with similarly sized and equipped trailers). Make sure the tow/haul capacity of the truck you buy exceeds that weight by 10-20%. I think most of the 18' A/C equipped trailers I've seen at contests are less than 10,000 lbs but I would want to make sure. Commercial refrigerators and other kitchen equipment can add weight quickly.

I would also look for a vehicle that has a manufacturers tow package on it. Those packages may include a transmission cooler, special suspension, special brakes, and the hitch and wiring harness you'll need. Else, you may need to factor the cost of those items into your estimate.

4x4 would be really nice but not really necessary. My two wheel drive has been stuck a few times at contests this year but nothing serious and nothing that required external help to get out of. 4x4s cost more to buy, insure, and maintain so that is one feature I was willing to give up.

In general, I think bigger is better and will give you more towing flexibility in the future. There is a lot you could do with a 350 like the one in that first ad.
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Unread 06-23-2008, 02:29 PM   #5
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I have a 1993 chevy silverado 2wd extended cab, and I've yet to have any issues at any of the comps we attend with it being 2wd. I personally have always owned 2wd trucks, don't know if it just might be the experience driving the 2wd, but even in the winter with the snow and ice I don't have issues getting around in it,, its been a great truck. its a 5 speed, with a 5.0 L motor, and I just went to help a friend with a pig roast and hauled my meadow creek 2 and a half hours south of me, and I averaged 21 mpg.
If you are only using the truck that little throughout the year, I'd save the money on the 4wd and get the last truck you posted. Mileage wise,, allot depends on previous owners, I have 170,000 on mine and it (knock on wood) runs great. And its got plenty of pulling power. That's just my 2 cents.
Also, as for a toy hauler,, we've been looking at one from coachman, the 150 blast I believe its called,, its weighs in just over 3,000 lbs.. so a 18' toy hauler even loaded isn't too bad.
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Unread 06-23-2008, 03:27 PM   #6
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I have a new 2008 Ford F350

I would buy one of the other brands as mine gets crappy milage.
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Unread 06-24-2008, 09:17 AM   #7
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Horrible mileage when towing or all the time? I looked at an 01 F-250 last night that looked nice and the price wasn't too bad.
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Unread 06-24-2008, 10:02 AM   #8
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Just read in the paper today that GM is having a huge sale on 2008 model trucks. Including no interest financing...
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Unread 06-24-2008, 10:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Just read in the paper today that GM is having a huge sale on 2008 model trucks. Including no interest financing...
I saw that to. Zero % for 6 years
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Unread 06-24-2008, 10:28 AM   #10
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I would look at Dodge Diesel 3/4 ton that is late 90s early 00s. They are great trucks and I have a couple friends with 2 WD that have chipped them and get 22 - 26 MPH on the hwy not loaded and 18-20 loaded.
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Unread 06-24-2008, 11:39 AM   #11
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Stan, Do you know if this guy has a reputation to sell decent vehicles or crap?

http://www.jkbautosales.com
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Unread 06-24-2008, 03:42 PM   #12
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Personally, if you're only occaisionally using the truck for towing and only then using it less than 5k miles-then I wouldn't even consider a deisel unit. Yes they are workhorses,but they need to be used to stay in good condition,plus the upkeep would negate any power difference for no more than you say it'll be used.
I would probably say about the same when it comes toa 3/4 or larger truck too.
If you're only going say 250 mile trips like once a month for 3 months and rest are within 60 miles I would find it hard to justify...but then again,there's something to be said about raw horsepower and big rigs-right!
I would think a nice extended cab or 4 door 1/2 ton would do you well.
(but don't listen to me,I use a 34 ft MH)
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Unread 06-24-2008, 04:10 PM   #13
KC_Bobby
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I'm actually finding a fair share of 4x4 3/4 ton trucks close to my price range on dealer lots with about the same amount of miles as my Dakota, just a year or so older.

But I think that means I'm going to have a hard time getting what I want for the Dakota. Fortunately I don't have to be in a hurry to do anything.
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Unread 06-24-2008, 04:11 PM   #14
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I think it's important to note that your rig would tow much better if you had a BLUE Thermapen. Getting the right Thermapen might be the most economical fix.
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Unread 06-24-2008, 04:53 PM   #15
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I can't believe I never put the two together. That would match my Dakota.
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