2nd thoughts on 1985 Tug - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-14-2016, 12:03 PM   #1
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Name: Mitzi
Trailer: LilSnoozy 12/01/16, Tug 2012 Dodge Citadel
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2nd thoughts on 1985 Tug

DH wanted our tug to be the 1985 Diesel Chevy van he bought for me when we had the colon cancer scare a few years back- we took it in to our usual shop to have it fixed - haven't used it since discovering it leaked when we went white water rafting with DS and family in 2013. They haven't been able to get a lot of needed parts and I finally told hi that if our regular garage, which has veritable wizards working in it, had a problem with getting things fixed it did not bode well for if we needed repairs during our travels. It is time to go to Plan B.
I have been doing some googling about tow limits- want a 5,000 lb tow ability- and looking at years 1998 to 2004, so far the research shows Dodge Durango as the best tug available those years.

Of course one needs a spare string for ones bow and I have been also been looking at backups- Nissan and Chevy show up, but curiously, GMC is panned. I am not open to Fords as our only 2 Fords have been lemons.

BUT I am open to hearing about personal experiences. It's just that, with DH reducing his hours, we are sorta only looking at older used vehicles.
What do you think.
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Old 08-14-2016, 12:17 PM   #2
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Your location is not listed so I can only add

that unless your in a dry state where it does not snow that you should be looking at newer vehicles.

A 2004 vehicle is 12 years old and besides mechanical problems there's rust to deal with.
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Old 08-14-2016, 12:36 PM   #3
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Your location is not listed so I can only add

that unless your in a dry state where it does not snow that you should be looking at newer vehicles.

A 2004 vehicle is 12 years old and besides mechanical problems there's rust to deal with.
Living in Minnesota and Wisconsin my whole life I can attest to the fact that most 12 to 15 year old vehicles in the snow belt are more rust the metal. I have bought several older used trucks mainly because they were cheap . The payments may be smaller but the repair bills make up for it. If one plans on camping close to home than an older vehicle may work but if you plan on any major excursions then I would be leery. We made an 8000 mile trip last
Fall and I would not of attempted it with a 20 year old vehicle.
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Old 08-14-2016, 03:43 PM   #4
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On my semi smart phone - I dont see the full info but I thought I had South Central Florida listed as my location. Besides the tow package I also dont want electric doors or Windows -safety measure in a state where cars frequently end up in canals, pools or ponds.
Guess I will have to check some newer models.
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Old 08-14-2016, 03:44 PM   #5
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Yeah, location shows as Lake Placid FL.
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:44 AM   #6
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Check out the 2008 Jeep Wagoneer price in your area with the 3.0 liter Mercedes diesel engine. not great on top speed but lots of torque. I think you have to give up on electric windows and doors for anything recent.
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:30 PM   #7
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Hi Mitzi,

What is your price range?

Take care,

Dean
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:03 PM   #8
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My TV (a Ford Ranger) is 15 years old and looks and runs great.( and we live in the rust belt) I've been looking at something new for some time now and I can not find anything worth a straight trade, let alone an extra $30,000.
I will take the advice given here though and avoid going white water rafting with it! At least until they start to make something worth driving again.
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:15 PM   #9
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For a vehicle of that age, a Nissan or Toyota would be good picks. In the SUV category, the Pathfinder and 4Runner are known to be durable.

My daughter bought a used '07 Dodge Ram pickup about 1.5 years ago, and the problems and repair bills have been surprisingly high; she's about fed up with it. I bought a used '08 Lexus GX470 about 13 months ago, and it has only needed its scheduled maintenance.
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Old 08-16-2016, 12:00 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
For a vehicle of that age, a Nissan or Toyota would be good picks. In the SUV category, the Pathfinder and 4Runner are known to be durable.

My daughter bought a used '07 Dodge Ram pickup about 1.5 years ago, and the problems and repair bills have been surprisingly high; she's about fed up with it. I bought a used '08 Lexus GX470 about 13 months ago, and it has only needed its scheduled maintenance.
As long as we are comparing anecdotes... my son just sold his 8 year old Scion (Toyota) because it was using 3-4 quarts of oil per week (no leaks).
My 15YO Ranger (Ford) returned from a 3200mile Sebring ScampCamp trip in March without opening the hood... The oil was right on the full mark and the performance was flawless. The Pacific Rim holds no monopoly on quality.
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Old 08-16-2016, 12:12 AM   #11
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You can swap anecdotes or you can Google auto sales world-wide. People repeat purchase vehicles that give them value.

Toyota again No. 1 in global car sales - MarketWatch
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Old 08-16-2016, 08:24 AM   #12
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You can swap anecdotes or you can Google auto sales world-wide. People repeat purchase vehicles that give them value.

Toyota again No. 1 in global car sales - MarketWatch
If sales indicate quality then following that logic , stick built trailers must be far superior to fiberglass trailers .
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Old 08-16-2016, 08:55 AM   #13
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My 2002 Ford F150 V8 tow pkg, is still going, near 180000 mi. we gave it to our son 4 years ago, he tows his sons racing cars with it all over the place. He had to replace bearing shocks that sort of thing. The 5.4 engine is one of the best ford has for longevity. Those old trucks get 250-300 K mi on them. There is a lot of them so parts are easy to get, at reasonable prices. Whatever you choose, if the engine and body are strong, you have a good chance you will get service out it. Remember it is not 48K but 4K, big difference. Carl
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:03 AM   #14
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Every manufacturer has its trouble spots- models, drivetrains, and years you want to avoid. With an older vehicle, your mechanic might be your best resource as far as what to steer clear of. The Internet... chances are good you can find at least one person who will tell you a Yugo was the best vehicle he's ever owned, as well as the perfect tow vehicle for your Lil Snoozy.

Beyond that, maintenance matters more than manufacturer, and simple beats complicated. I think you'll be hard-pressed to avoid power windows and locks, though. Your best bet there is to keep the tools ready to hand to cut a seatbelt and break a window.

Whatever make and model you decide is best, and whatever actually turns up for sale, have your super-duper wizards give it a good going over, leave some room in your budget for repairs, and you'll be ahead of the curve.

I agree that having a more conventional drivetrain is a plus when you're on the road.
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