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Old 02-24-2010, 01:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Help buying a truck?

I currently have the 1995 escort in my garage here that gets decent mileage, but I"m getting married this summer and need tow capacity of up 2,000 lbs and room to haul stuff on a small scale. That particular escort is not an option for pulling more than itself down the raod as it only has 88hp which barely get it up to speed before getting run over.

That being said I'm looking for trucks that would get mid 20's if not 30's mpg's. So far I have found Chevy S10's to be closest to the mark. Amongst those, I would need dry transport space as I plan to use this to pull my boat. Would I be better off fuel mileage with an extended cab with open bed or soft cover versus a regular cab with a cap on the truck box?

Bottom line how much difference has been observed truck cap versus open box or suggest other kinda of trucks please.


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Old 02-24-2010, 08:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm a fan of the Tacoma 2WD trucks. I consistently get better than 25mpg... and I think it'll tow 2000 lbs. I've heard the Dodge Ram turbo diesel 2wd trucks get pretty good mileage too, with much better towing capacity.

The caps, from what I've read on here, make a ~5% difference in mileage vs an open bed w/ the tailgate up.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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eco truck 2000 pounds, haha. sick joke.
if one existed, I'd make it a goal to have it.

the little s10 four cyl is a dud, you may hurt yourself with 500 pounds..better off with the escort at 88hp.

the 4.3 s15 could work, but crank is built lopsided, not a heavy hauler. 1 ton has its weight on the drivetrain.

you could go overseas and find an austrailian petrified turbo hilux, but that may get expensive. the rest of the toyotas are bent broke.


there is a horse with a cart that could it...
subarus can too, just check the bodies first, must be in good shape or welded. in fact, that is the modern day marvel.

my dad has a tracker with 2 liter, just dump trips with trailer are taking a toll, much less than 2k pounds..and that is full bodied and framed.makes little Trucks seem even sillier...

a sensitive subject.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ccphil55 View Post
That being said I'm looking for trucks that would get mid 20's if not 30's mpg's.

Bottom line how much difference has been observed truck cap versus open box or suggest other kinda of trucks please.

Um a cap won't move you to 30mpg.

Also given your requirements there are going to have to be some sacrifices.

In any event, actual labratory results are that my Dodge Ram V8 1500 goes from 14mpg to 18mpg using an aero cap.

Next are you planning on FABRICATING a vehicle, MODIFYING a vehicle or just buying one off a lot?

Because off the lot your S10 4 banger will have to be driven very gingerly to tow 2k often or likely transmission troubles. Both the T5 manual and GMs auto are rather crappy that they couple with 4 bangers.

That said my uncle drove a 92 Ford Ranger pulling loads a tractor should have pulled around his farms 70mph, much in excess of 2000lb, trouble is luck doesn't go to everyone.

Same story with a guy from our church who pulled a heavy old camping trailer 3500lbs with a Dodge carvan 190k without issues, again likely dumb luck.

So I guess what I am saying is are you willing to drive rather slow and light on the pedal for your s10 to survive or are you willing to pay potential repair bills to do it?

Also other possibilities exist if you are willing to do a little work.

The antique slow 6.2 diesels could deliver mid 20's in full size trucks and SUVs, I know because my suburban would get mid 20's. They can be reliable (i've put on 400k) but they are not powerfull. Despite that they are unlikely to fail pulling a 2k load around whereas a S10 may not like it after a while.

And there is at least one 30mpg 6.2 truck floating around on the dieselplace.com with a 5sp nv3500 manual.

If you are willing to install a 5sp manual transmission into an automatic 6.2 diesel you can net very good MPGs

A few things to remember, a 6.2 likes to drive slow, if you make it go fast it will die fast. Meaning turbos are generally not a good idea, they work but again if really used the motor will die. 6.2's are cheap and easy to fix, nuf said

So I guess the point of this post is

1. The trucks that get the best FE are rarely speed demons, the closest exception in the older Dodge Cummins but rather hard to get above 25 with those even under exceptional circumstances.

2. The gasoline trucks that get the best FE many times cannot reliably pull heavy loads reliably unless you drive more gingerly

So if you want to go fast pulling a trailer you either pony up for a Cummins which gets about the same FE pulling as not and normally not above 20 or you get your 8mpg and be happy with it.

If those don't sound good learn to live with slower driving and reap the rewards of your less powerfull platform.

Also an S10 with a 6.2 and proper suspension makes a great ecomodding setup, there are several who have done that swap sucessfully, except in your case don't jack the thing up, lower it down.

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Old 02-25-2010, 09:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm lucky if my truck makes 88hp and it tows O.K. It's slow, but it has short gearing that makes towing tolerable.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What about a Jetta TDI wagon? The new ones can tow 2000 lbs. The older ones are fairly capable tow vehicles as well. And when you're not towing it's a 30+ mpg vehicle that's both kinda quick and fun to drive.

Also, look at a minivan. The Chevy Venture (even the 3400 V6 is a piece of trash engine and a maintenance nightmare) will get >30 mpg highway with quite a substantial load in it. For towing, get a transmission cooler, as the 4T65 is not meant to be run hot.
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Old 02-26-2010, 12:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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A '92 Ranger (2.3L, 5 speed) is rated to tow 1,580 pounds, so figure other small pickups to be in the same range.

However, if you can live without a bed, the Kia Optima is rated for 2,000 pounds, and pretty much all recent Subarus are rated 2,000 pounds or more.

Also, since it's not "cool" to tow with a car, manufacturers don't bother to test, rate or warranty their cars for towing, but there's no way that a Crown Vic should be rated for only 1,500 pounds (especially with the severe duty package, which includes a heavy duty transmission cooler.) Also, it appears that several Toyota models are rated to 1,500 pounds (including the Matrix and Corolla), and probably would handle 500 pounds more without an issue.

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Old 02-26-2010, 08:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I can not recommend a truck. The aerodynamics are absolutely horrible, and trucks weigh way more than they have to, if the job is simply moving people and towing 2000lbs. If it's a vehicle that you're going to use for commuting 90% of the time, it would be a real shame to have a truck.

I'm with Clev and LeCouch: most small and midsized cars can tow 2000 lbs, whether they're rated to or not. Check out the tow ratings in Europe: Towing Capacity Alfa Romeo,. Admittedly, those might be for towing at 55mph, while an American tow rating might be @ 75mph up a 6% grade.

So, any small car with a stick shift will do fine. If it has to be an automatic, install a larger tranny cooler.
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You've already been told pretty much all you need to know.

My ony question is, how much towing will you be doing with the truck? And will you commute in it?
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:52 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Just FYI, the US-Spec Honda Civic is not rated for towing, yet the UK-Spec car, which actually has a smaller motor, is rated to tow a trailer of up to 1,100 pounds without trailer brakes, and up to 2,650 pounds with trailer brakes.


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