Towing Vehicles

I currently own a 1998 Chevy 3/4 ton pick-up, single rear drive, 7.4L gas engine. I am occasionly towing (3-4 times a year) 2006 Challenger 32TKB fifth wheel. I am pleased with the power the 454 gives me towing. I have also installed adjustable air springs on the rear axle give the truck a little more support in the rear. I will be in the market for a new truck next year. What would be better, buying a 1 ton truck or 3/4 truck and adding the air springs? How is the power of the stock ford V-10 vs the diesel for towing and everyday driving. Is the extra $ 5,000 worth it for the diesel. I know the diesel will get better mileage, but the difference in the price of diesel and gas in the part of the country I live averages 10-15 cents a gallon, diesel being more expensive. What about dual rear drive trucks, is this really needed for occasional towing?
Re: Towing Vehicles

When I switched from the 454 to the 7.3 diesel my unloaded mileage went from 10.5 MPG up to 17.5 MPG. The diesel pulls so much better than the gas that there is no comparason. My loaded mileage with the diesel was better than my unloaded mileage with the gas. You are correct though that the payback for the extra price of the diesel is a very long time. But you must also consider the residual value. The diesel has a much higher resale value. So are you going to keep until it wears out, a very long time for the diesel, or will you trade it in a few years? For the size of the unit that you are towing, and considering that you only tow it 3-4 times a year then you are probably better off with the gas. Unless you are towing high altitude or hilly terrain (which is where the turbo diesel really pays off and would be a definative recomendation).

You probably don't need to go with the 454 or V10 either, the smaller V8's are probably sufficient for your towing needs. The dually is definately over-kill for the load that you are pulling.

Of course all of this is a matter of opinion and mine probably differs from others. Mostly is is a matter of getting what you want and paying very close attention to the manufacturers towing limits and what you need. Never exceed your recomended capacities. Adding air springs may make your rig ride and handle better but if you are exceeding the towing limits then there are all sorts of other issues that you must consider. The biggest issue being braking capacities.


Senior Member
Re: Towing Vehicles

I had a 6.0L gas engine, and it struggled getting about a 6500 pound trailer up any incline at all. It would do it, but not very fast. So how much patience you have, versus what you use the truck for the rest of the time, is a factor.