What's a good, simple, reliable tugger?

CSRA Landscaping

Junior Member
I'm about fed up with the F350 that I have now and as soon as I can sell it, I plan on getting an older truck, straight drive, able to pull a 20' trailer if need be and not complain under a whole lot of weight. Thing is, I need it to not be a gas hog and able to be used for other, less stressful things as well. I prefer Fords, obviously. So kin you fellers he'p me out?

Jay Greene

have you looked at getting a diesel ? i have a couple of friends who have powerstrokes and they say they get 18 mpg pulling a trailer or empty the one uses his to pull a bobcat. if your gonna be pulling around alot of weight and also wanting to have something thats not gonna eat a hole in your wallet at the pumps i would look into a diesel.


Junior Member
Kansas City
Definitely agree with Jay on this one. Gas engines not only can't hold a candle to diesels in terms of economy, even the biggest gas engines aren't in the same league as diesels for torque.

The PSD makes something like 500 lbft of torque, compared to maybe 300 or so for the gas engine? And it makes this kind of torque *everywhere*. Doesn't have to be floored at high revs to do it. Mine's chipped, so it's closer to 600 lbft now, and the fuel economy went up to boot. I get 25 mpg highway if I lose the tailgate, about 23 with it, and 20 in normal driving. The worst I've gotten is 14 mpg pulling a 37-foot fifth-wheel travel trailer. 14.5k lbs, but that's irrelevant. It's the wind resistance that gets ya.

Unladen, it launches much like a gas engine with the chip. I haven't timed it yet, but get the feeling that despite the weight, 20-60 times are car-like or better.

By comparison, my 97 Suburban got 5.3 mpg pulling a 27-foot travel trailer. And couldn't get out of its own way.

We went with the 99 350 Crew Cab DRW long bed 4WD and it's worked out as nicely as expected. It's so long and so heavy in the front, that tongue weight just isn't an issue.

The only real downsides are that it's ridiculous to deal with in parking lots, is a bit harder to back with because of its length, and has a lot of trouble with traction, even in just rain, because the abundance of contact patch out back results in pounds per square inch of ground pressure at the contact patch that's a LOT lower than just about anything else on the road. Combine that with mucho torque, and taking off from a stop light uphill in the rain is real embarassing.

Do away with the duallies and this problem would go away so that, at worst, it'd be no worse than other pickups. The SRW would also likely get even better fuel economy because of less surface area hitting the wind, less rolling resistance, and less "fight" when turning. The DRW needs more power to turn because the outside and inside tires fight each other in turns -- one of them has to slip because of the difference in turn radius between them (which also makes the truck understeer very noticeably -- the duallies always want to go straight).

Now that I've got a 110-gallon fuel tank (always full) and tool box (almost full) in the back, that should help at least somewhat. And my fuel economy hasn't suffered a bit for the extra load. The diesel just shrugs off weight.

The only time it gets humbled is pulling the backhoe. Or about 22k worth of trailer and machine.

A 20-foot trailer, even a normal hitch type enclosed with lots of weight in it is no problem. I've got a 24-foot enclosed hauler I use for racing. With full tool boxes in front, 8 spare tires and wheels, lots of fuel, and a 3600 lb Mustang parked wherever it stops in the trailer, it's never any trouble at all.

I used to pull the same outfit with my Suburban, and needed the equalizer bars and sway controller. Even then, if I didn't get the car pulled forward far enough in the trailer, it would sway and take the truck with it.

The Ford just doesn't care where the car is in the trailer. If the trailer wanted to sway (it never seems to now), it ain't gonna push that truck around. Even though I don't use the equalizers and sway controller anymore.

As for being able to use the truck for other "less stressful" activities, an obscenely big Ford truck sure does clean up nice. Not at all embarassing to take out on the town. And the Crew Cab gives you room to easily haul 5 or 6 people in great comfort.

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