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I'm looking for a truck to tow my 18 Ft. Pro Craft. This will be my only vehicle. My question is "How small or light can I go and tow my boat without straining my truck ? Usual trip is 200 mi. to lake , then back. 4 buck a gallon gas is a strain. I welcome any suggestions.

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I'm looking for a truck to tow my 18 Ft. Pro Craft. This will be my only vehicle. My question is "How small or light can I go and tow my boat without straining my truck ? Usual trip is 200 mi. to lake , then back. 4 buck a gallon gas is a strain. I welcome any suggestions.

Full size Big Three or Toyota V-8 pickup best bet. Maybe a V-8 Dodge Dakota. I have the latter and it pulls my 17' Ranger without incident. Gas mileage will be an issue regardless of choice.

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If you go with too small of an engine you're going to end up using more fuel because the engine will be working harder. I have a Tundra 5.7 I get 19mpg on the highway without the boat. 12-14mpg with the boat and it tows effortlessly.

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2011 Ford F-250 Lariat Super Duty.

7.3 L V-8 Powerstroke Turbo Diesel.

It literally feels like nothing is there.

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2011 Ford F-250 Lariat Super Duty.

7.3 L V-8 Powerstroke Turbo Diesel.

It literally feels like nothing is there.

Good God. He's not trying to tow a 5th wheel here. He doesn't need a truck that can tow upwards of 12000 pounds. He wants something fuel efficient. And there's no such thing as a 7.3 in a 2011 Ford.

Get a Tacoma with the towing package (or something equivalent). It's rated to tow 6300 pounds. Your boat, trailer and all your gear probably won't even top 2500 pounds.

I get an average of 13.8 MPG all around with the Tundra with the 5.7. I love the truck, but I tow a bigger saltwater boat (In addition to the Skeeter) or I'd have no reason to own it.

slonezp makes a good point about using more fuel with the smaller engine. Consider how much you'll be towing as well.

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It's been said a hundred times, it's not what it takes to haul it but to stop it. I've towed an 18' bassboat with a Dodge Caravan and it is NOT fun when Bambi jumps out in front of you. Thankfully deer bounce really well once you hit them.

Stick with at least a 1/2 ton pickup or a full sized SUV. Save on fuel costs by using the back end of your tow vehicle as a camper to turn each trip into two days of fishing per/trip. The only other way to save gas would be to find a storage facility near the lake.

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Just get a 1/2 ton Dodge, GM, or Ford... Unless your one of those metrosexual guys then buy a Toyota truck...I tow with overkill (2007 2500HD 6.6 duramax)due to the fact we need it to tow the racecars. Another note the people saying diesel's get bad gas mileage have I guess never seen chipped & exhaust diesels.

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Good God. He's not trying to tow a 5th wheel here. He doesn't need a truck that can tow upwards of 12000 pounds. He wants something fuel efficient. And there's no such thing as a 7.3 in a 2011 Ford.

Get a Tacoma with the towing package (or something equivalent). It's rated to tow 6300 pounds. Your boat, trailer and all your gear probably won't even top 2500 pounds.

I get an average of 13.8 MPG all around with the Tundra with the 5.7. I love the truck, but I tow a bigger saltwater boat (In addition to the Skeeter) or I'd have no reason to own it.

slonezp makes a good point about using more fuel with the smaller engine. Consider how much you'll be towing as well.

Good call, they do have the 6.8 Turbo.

I was more or less kidding. I've ridden in an Excursion with the 7.3 and it was so epic. We were towing a 15' jon, though.

On a serious note I would get a Tacoma.

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Good call, they do have the 6.8 Turbo.

I assume you just miss typed but here is fords diesel break down by year.

1994–2003 7.3L

2003–2007 6.0L

2008–2010 6.4L

2011– 6.7L

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Look on the Ford website, there is a 6.8 turbo diesel this year.

Edit: Maybe not, I just looked again! I apologize man, I guess I'm not as in toych with trucks as last year! Either way they're sweet.

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Look on the Ford website, there is a 6.8 turbo diesel this year.

Edit: Maybe not, I just looked again! I apologize man, I guess I'm not as in toych with trucks as last year! Either way they're sweet.

I'm not a big fan of the Fords anymore specially since I know way to many guys who have had to have the cabs off the trucks more than once.

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gmc sierra 1500, i get about 19-20 pulling my jon and ive pulled cars alot and it does great.

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My reply is going in the opposite direction. I tow my 16' Glastron Sportster with 80 hp motor behind my 1987 S-10 Blazer with a 2.8 liter V-6. It has heavy duty springs and I had a rebuilt transmission (with overdrive) installed 2 years ago and then I added a transmission cooler rated for 3500 pounds, far more than the load I haul.. I then had the transmission tuned up by a local transmission shop whose owner is a tournement fisherman who told me it will do the job just fine. My highway speed is only 55-60 mph (with the tranny NOT in overdrive, never tow in overdrive) and she slows down and down shifts going uphill. Can't use the air conditioner when towing, there's only so much power available with this small engine, and none for extra luxeries while towing. The lakes I fish are 40 to 80 miles one way and I have had no problems whatsoever. When not towing this truck gets @ 25 mpg, with the boat probably half that. The 4.7 liter engine would probably be perfect for this truck. I too need to balance fuel economy with towing ability. Good luck with your search and happy fishing.

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Man get a Tacoma. Good ride, realiable vehicle, and good gas milage. If you get the tow package it should be able to pull a 20ft or less bass boat.

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2011 Ford F-250 Lariat Super Duty.

7.3 L V-8 Powerstroke Turbo Diesel.

It literally feels like nothing is there.

are you referring the the lack of money in your wallet due to it costing over $100 a pop to fill that thing up?.............heh

i had a V-8 Explorer that got 17 MPG pulling the boat and did it well. lots of options though...

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I pull a stratos 201 with my f250 powerstroke and feel nothing. When I pull it with my wife's f150 with the 5.4 triton it struggles just a bit. With a smaller boat you should have no problem with any half ton truck or truck based suv.

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I pull a stratos 201 with my f250 powerstroke and feel nothing. When I pull it with my wife's f150 with the 5.4 triton it struggles just a bit. With a smaller boat you should have no problem with any half ton truck or truck based suv.

Yes sir. Someone agrees.

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The newer model Chevys and Fords are supposed to get good gas mileage when they aren't pulling anything. That is how I do most of my driving (unfortunately) so seems like a vehicle that saves gas while not pulling would be spending less on gas for you anytime you aren't pulling, leaving more money for when you are, just a thought. I have an '06 F-150 and I pull a 16' Lowe aluminum bassboat, it gets 14mph with or without the boat.

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Get a 1/2 ton pickup with a towing package. I have a GMC Sierra, and get 15-17 mpg towing, and 20-22 mpg otherwise. Even if I am on the gas in stop and go traffic a lot, I still get 18 mpg. Towing an 18' bass boat is no problem.

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If you are buying new, check out the RAM "express", pretty much its a 1500 that is pretty plain, but comes standard with a Hemi V-8. I think the price is like $23,000- $24,000, something like that. RAM came out with a similar truck for fleet sales that is selling like crazy, so they decided to offer one to the every day pick up buyer. You pretty much get a v-8 for the price of a v-6.

Like everyone else said, any of the half tons would do what you are wanting, I would suggest a V-8 and towing package. You might get by with a v-6, but I don't think you will like it. Using the truck at near capacity all the time will cause things to wear out prematurely. You don't need a diesel unless you need to pull heavier loads, you would love pulling with one, but it's overkill. Figure up the extra cost of acquisition, cost of operation, and cost of maintenance, it just doesn't pencil out.

If you can, Buy American! (just my two cents)

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I can only imagine the "this ain't no real truck" comments I'll get with this but the OP wants to know his best options and here's what I went with. I pull my Tracker Pro V-16, among other things, with my 2009 Honda Ridgeline with no problem. It's rated to tow 5,000 lbs and has a bed capacity of 1,100 lbs. I get 18-19 mpg in my normal travels (city/rural) and the last trip with the boat I got 16 mpg. As mentioned by others, nothing is going to get great mileage while towing.

We take it on a 350 mile trip one way up to Black Lake with 4 people and the truck/boat loaded to the gills. We actually can fit more stuff than in the V-8 Dakota we had previously, mostly because of the in-bed trunk that's comes in handy.

I researched all my options and the Ridgeline fit my needs perfectly. I've had all sorts of pickups from full sized 4 door Dodges, 1500 Chevys, Rangers and S-10's. I am realistic as to what I need and I know I don't need a Full sized V-8 pickup for everyday use and certainly don't need a $40,000 - $50,000 bill to buy one. I don't have a farm or own a construction business, just need a reliable 4WD pickup to pull the boat or load up some plywood and 2x4's for a project.

The dual acting tailgate along with the best ride and handling of any PU was just icing on the cake for me.

Good luck in your search

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You don't say whether your boat trailer has brakes or not. I tow an older Astro 18FDX with a GMC Safari AWD mini van very well. My trailer has surge brakes and stopping is not a problem. The van is essintually a CK truck with a box for passengers. I get about 14MPG pulling the boat and 19mpg normal driving.

Check the possible vehicles GVW rating.

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I love my 08' Ford F150...... but I think among all the 12' trucks, the GMC's look the best, and get best mileage. Interiors on GM trucks are the nicest too.

Tundra's are the fastest, and are great as a "sport truck"..... But I wouldn't buy one as a work truck

Oh, one thing I have to add, because I still kind of trip on this (even though I do understand why this is) but my truck will get 19 mpg under optimum conditions, with cruise control set dead on 65mph, on flat high way, without the boat.

However, when I'm pulling my boat, under optimum conditions > I also get ther exact same 19 mpg ! :) How is that possible you ask ? Well, two reasons, 1) I have the best kind of bass boat... a really light one ;) , and 2) when I tow the boat, I slow down from 65 mph, to 59mph {which is still actually exceeding the CA boat towing speed limit by 4mph}

BTW, I used to drive a 97' Tacoma. Even pulling my light boat.... especially up hills, I used to have to beat the $%#& out of that poor thing, and because of this, I only got about 18 mpg !!! With a dinky 4 cyl motor no less ! I also wore it completely out, in only 187K miles > even with religious oil changes :(

My F150 with the 5.4L though, doesn't hardly no my little boat is back there. Yes, it was more than I really needed, but it works so lightly, I think it will last for a LONG time ! :)

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Love it, or hate it, I bet you ain't seen another like it ;)

Peace,

Fish

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