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Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
3/17/22 3:53 p.m.

My current tow rig is a 2007 Ford Expedition (2wd for me, but obviously available 4wd) witht he 5.4.   I get 16.5mpg while not towing and it is rated for 9,000lbs.    It's way overkill for what I need and I have been shopping smaller.  your budget could buy a nice low mileage one and they carried the 5.4 through the 2014 model year. Beauty is that you should have no problem finding a shop to work on a ford truck with a 5.4.   Only problems to really watch for are spark plugs (have them done by a dealer) and cam phasers (PITA top end service).   I had the plugs done on mine and I am at 180k with no problems (edit, ok, I did have to replace a ignition coil or two). Rides fairly nice with the independent rear suspension. I am only thinking of replacing mine due to rust and it being overkill, I just want something smaller, a bit more fun to drive, and more fuel economy.  

I bought mine for $8k in the before covid times, you could afford a lot of gas for the savings. 

 

Smaller options in the less than $35k range you can get a new or almost new ford explorer if 5k towing will get your job done.  I am also shopping ford Maverick. 

bigeyedfish
bigeyedfish Reader
3/18/22 8:41 a.m.

In reply to Apexcarver :

My F150 with a 5.4 spit out a spark plug not too long ago.  The repair was way easier than I expected, and there are repair kits in stock at all the chain parts stores.  It turns a really E36 M3ty problem into more of an annoyance.

calteg
calteg Dork
3/18/22 8:50 a.m.

I love that Ford struggled so much with the 5.4. They had an era where the spark plugs wouldn't come out, then an era where the spark plugs wouldn't stay in.

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
3/18/22 10:49 a.m.

In reply to calteg :

Honestly, the problems have such effective solutions at this point that its not so bad. For a utility vehicle I see having such a pervasive platform as a big advantage. Parts are everywhere, most mechanics know their way around them well, problems are well known (with known cost effective solutions for most).

Especially for a tow pig, if I break down in west-bumshart/nowheresville, most any shop should be able to get me on the road in a fairly time effective manner. If similar happens in say, a VW tiguan, you are probably in for a much longer delay. 

AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
3/18/22 10:55 a.m.
Apexcarver said:

In reply to calteg :

...If similar happens in say, a VW tiguan, you are probably in for a much longer delay. 

I'm fairly certain that even VW dealerships have trouble figuring out most repairs on their SUVs.

*I love my 2012 TDI Touareg. 30+ MPG at 65 mph highway, 20+ mpg towing a Boxster on a steel trailer, comfortable and handles well. I have had it in twice for a check engine light for the EGR cooler and will bring it back the third time when I have time available. At least it is still covered by the 'Dieselgate' warranty.

Byrneon27
Byrneon27 Reader
3/18/22 5:18 p.m.

Past and present tow vehicles: 

05 Ram 1500 hemi: fine, did everything ever asked of it with limited maintenance. Traded in last week with 130k. 

 

00 Tahoe: again fine. Paid $900 towed for a little over a year. Sold for $1500. 323,000mi 

01 Yukon XL 2500: OMG it's a machine! Relatively limited maintenance and modifications it's incredible even with a 26' car hauler behind it. 250,000mi paid something like $2500

07 Sierra classic crew cab long bed diesel... Maybe the Yukon isn't as good as I thought 266,000mi $15,000

 

There has been a string of (desirable ie diesel, 3/4 ton, crew cab etc) low mile GMT800 trucks and SUVs with low miles (sub 70k) trading in the mid to high twenties. GMT900s WITHOUT AFM are more of the same but a little more modern if that's your jam. 

 

Just saying GM does/did at least one thing really really well. 

MrChaos
MrChaos UltraDork
3/18/22 5:27 p.m.

My 99 Land Cruiser had 432k when I sold it, but man the 4 speed was a dog towing.  Would the 02 be the 5 speed or is it still the 4 speed?  I would see how much 200 series you could get for your budget.  maybe even a GX

dxman92
dxman92 Dork
3/19/22 1:32 p.m.

Keep it of the Ram lease sounds enticing..

grover
grover Dork
3/20/22 4:55 p.m.

In reply to MrChaos :

As an owner of a gx460 it doesn't seem like the right tool for this. 

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
3/21/22 11:34 a.m.
ppdd said:

In reply to Matt B (fs) :

It tows great on flat ground.  Last year coming back to Michigan from Wyoming, we were running from a thunderstorm for about 10 straight hours in crazy winds that had the grass laying flat all around us.  At 75 mph it might as well have been a calm day.  Drove for probably 30-40 miles wondering why the truck felt sluggish before realizing the trailer had blown a tire and eaten the wheel down to the hub.  Friggin' tank.

That said, it's working pretty hard in the mountains just towing this trailer.  Definitely not the choice for towing a gigantic RV across the country.

As for the miles, I'm just at that "just how long is this party gonna last?" stage.  It's been so reliable it seems nuts to consider swapping it out, but it's old enough to buy a beer at this point!

Time to dive in on another timing belt job I guess.  :)

Thanks for the review.  The big RVs are still a bit of future goal, but I do want to tow our Lemons E36 to tracks around the southeast.  I'm pretty sure a LC could tow it fine with the little Uhaul trailers we rent, but it sounds like better trailers are going test its limits.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
3/21/22 12:47 p.m.

In reply to Matt B (fs) :

Those uhaul full trailers weigh 2,200 lbs (heavy.). Uhaul has their own rules on what they will allow to haul what. Before buying a LC, fake up a reservation at Uhaul and see if the allow the combo.

My Montero has a tow rating of 5,000 lb but Uhaul would not rent me a full car hauler, but they would rent me a tow dolly (750lb weight empty.) 

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
3/21/22 1:16 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

Thanks for the heads up!  Our car is 3000-ish and that particular LC generation has a tow rating of 6500lbs so hopefully there's enough headroom there for Uhaul's policies.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
3/21/22 9:05 p.m.
calteg said:

I love that Ford struggled so much with the 5.4. They had an era where the spark plugs wouldn't come out, then an era where the spark plugs wouldn't stay in.

That isn't fair.

The 4.6 and 6.8 had those problems too smiley

The issue is that Ford had traditionally only had threads on the bottom half of the spark plug hole. Made it easy to get plugs started, like bullet nosed wheel studs.  Worked great in iron heads. Aluminum... not so much.

Then for the 3 valve head, because they wanted to wedge the plug between the two intake valves, they went to multipiece plugs where the crimped in lower section below the threads was a very close slip fit in the head, which would get carbon locked and get uncrimped when trying to remove the plug after 80,000mi.

Also, thread repair in a V10 van suuuuuucks.

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ SuperDork
3/21/22 10:10 p.m.

I have a 7.3 and I love it.   But you have to remember that the very newest ones out there are nearing 20 years old now.  Mine has always been reliable but I would think twice before heading off deep into Mexico or up the Dempster highway just due to its age.

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