Tow vehicles - choices, choices! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-19-2013, 07:32 AM   #1
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Tow vehicles - choices, choices!

We hope within a year or two to get a 16 or 17' egg, probably a 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe if we can find one. In anticipation, and having had a number of tow vehicles over the years, we are getting closer to figuring this out. I want a 4 door truck, the wife wants an SUV. Hmmm.

So where we are now is between the Ridgeline or Tacoma for 4 door trucks, or the 4Runner or Grand Cherokee for SUV's. What we want is true 4 wheel drive, with primary drive on the rear wheels and 4wd engaging the front, and a 5000# tow capacity to give us plenty of leeway and flexibility.

I sure have learned a lot about tow vehicles from you folks, as well as from some folks on a classic boat website I frequent. You guys are the best!

Frank
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:40 AM   #2
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Frank,
The Ridgeline is front wheel drive/AWD. From what I know of them also, the auto trans is rather suspect from a long term reliability standpoint especially when used for towing.
Tacoma is a good choice, and I don't know anything about the other two you mention.
If you narrow it to the Tacoma, you might at least test drive and consider a Frontier, as it is essentially the same, or at least very similar.
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:51 AM   #3
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Good catch. Here I thought I had scoped these babies out well. I like the looks of the Ridgeline, but will cross it off the list.

The resource I have been using for tow capacity is Trailer Life's guides (http://dcd96xmek71bc.cloudfront.net/...ced%20file.pdf). The Frontier does not have tow capacities listed, so was not on my radar screen. I'll check it out.

Thanks!

Frank
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:33 AM   #4
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The Ridgeline has also been discontinued, so buying a new one isn't going to happen ( unless you found a new leftover sitting somewhere ).
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:38 AM   #5
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Gee, ya learn something new every day! Yeah, we're looking to buy next year after both my truck and the wife's car are paid off and we've saved a bit of cash. We plan on selling or trading the truck and keeping the Outback. Then, or maybe the following year, we'll get a FG camper.

Thanks!

Frank
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:46 AM   #6
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The new Grand Cherokee has 3 different motor options. I am considering the diesel option, as it gets 30 mpg empty, and has lots of torque for towing. I do off road with Jeep Wranglers, so this is a capable option, but in 2016 the diesel will be offered in the Wrangler also, so I may just wait for that. We do have a Dodge Ram truck with the Cummins Diesel (1994) that doesn't know the 13' Scamp is even behind it, even on mountain grades in Arizona & Colorado, and yet at 55 mph in California & Oregon, it got 22.5 to 23 mpg towing, and 17.6 at 65-70 mph in other states (from Arizona to Michigan).
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:00 AM   #7
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That diesel option puts those vehicles above the 50 grand mark doesn't it? That is WAY out of our price range. They sure do look like a great vehicle though.

Frank
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:35 AM   #8
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That diesel option puts those vehicles above the 50 grand mark doesn't it? That is WAY out of our price range. They sure do look like a great vehicle though.

Frank
It is only money. Think of the bragging rights!
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:36 AM   #9
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With retirement less than 3 years away, I'm much less interested in braggin rights Tom. If I had my druthers, I'd get mama the jeep and me a tacoma!

Frank
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:49 AM   #10
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What we want is true 4 wheel drive, with primary drive on the rear wheels and 4wd engaging the front
I don't know why rear two-wheel-drive with part-time four-wheel drive is any more "true" than front two-wheel-drive with part-time four-wheel drive. If there are characteristics of the 4WD system that are important to you, then I suggest looking into those specific features. If the characteristics are anything other than which wheels are driven when only two are working, you might be surprised which vehicle has what. Pickup trucks and truck-based SUVs from the same manufacturer often have significantly different systems. A 4Runner Limited and any Tacoma, for instance, are fundamentally different in 4WD system design.

To me, true four-wheel-drive always drives all four wheels. Of the vehicles listed so far in this discussion, I think only the 4Runner Limited (but not lesser versions of the 4Runner) has that. Even the Grand Cherokee (Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, or Quadra-Drive) only drives the front when the rears slip; this may be fine for most people, it's just not 4WD most of the time.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:52 AM   #11
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The resource I have been using for tow capacity is Trailer Life's guides (http://dcd96xmek71bc.cloudfront.net/...ced%20file.pdf).
That's a good starting point, but is well known to be incomplete and occasionally inaccurate.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:53 AM   #12
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I want the main drive wheels in the back for pulling my boat out of steep launches. The tongue weight presses down on the drive wheels, making it much easier to haul a boat out. Even when I had just rear wheel drive vehicles, I never had problems pulling my cuddy cabin out of a launch. Now we're pulling a travel trailer, looking for a bigger one, and still have a boat on a trailer to haul.

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Old 06-19-2013, 12:35 PM   #13
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Ha ! ...Brian is kinda confusing me ( easy to do ! ) with some of his descriptions of 4WD and such !
To me, an easy way to think about it all is this: 4WD has a button, switch or lever that the driver must use to engage a transfer case to send power to the front wheels. I may be wrong on the following, but to my knowledge, there are no 4WD vehicles being made that use the primary drive as the front.
The other alternative is commonly called AWD, and these typically do not have any manual, driver selectable switch. The power is sent to the non-primary end of the car on an as needed basis, determined by the computer in the car. My daughters 2013 Rav4 is an example of this AWD. It is front drive primary, and the computer sorts out when to send power to the back.
Personally, I prefer a regular 4WD system ( like my Frontier ) where the rear wheels are primary, and the transfer case only engages when I flip the switch to either 4WD ( high ) or 4WD ( low ).
I think ( key word here is "think" ) that most of the SUV's have gone to the automated system of AWD since they are typically marketed to commuters and soccer mom's who can't be bothered to think about flipping a switch for drive system, while talking or texting on the phone and smacking the kids in the back seat.....( it's the modern version of it's hard to shift gears while sliding sideways thru a school zone at 65mph while drinking a cup of coffee and changing the cassette tape.... ).
I digress.....at any rate, I love the function of the 4WD in my Frontier. This thing is an absolute beast in deep snow and at least moderate mud. The 4WD in conjunction with the "ABS limited slip" works amazing. I have used this truck to pull a few stuck vehicles and the tractor out of ditches on snowy days, and it moved every one of them with ease.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:48 PM   #14
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I agree with your assessment of terms George. The one SUV that is different is the 4Runner, as they are based on a truck chassis and offered as rear wheel drive/part-time 4wd (I assume they have a switch like my 4wd Canyon does). That is what I want, same as you - rear wheel drive with on-demand 4wd, and something that will tow 5000#s. As difficult as it seems to be to find out what drivetrains are in these vehicles, Grand Cherokees seem to be offered in RWD or 4wd, so I assume that is the same as the 4Runner?

Thanks!

Frank
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