This will be my first season in Spec Miata. I have towed a few times before using Uhauls and Budgets with mixed results and know the difference between what a good and bad tow feels like. I'm looking for a competent, reliable tow vehicle. Budget is under $7k. I expect to use this to tow an enclosed 20' trailer. Won't be using it as a daily driver or anything. Basically just to tow with or the occasional odd errand. I am located in the San Francisco area.
I have done some research already by searching these and other forums. My understanding is that I want a 3/4 ton vehicle (since they have bigger and better cooling systems and brakes) w/ a "powerful" motor. Some of the vehicles I have been considering and already looked at include:
1. 94-97 Ford F250 Powerstroke diesels - I stumble upon these now and then. I missed out on 2 good examples w/ 100-150k miles priced around $4,500-5,500k. Lately, I can't find any w/ an auto trans and reasonable mileage at a reasonable price. Many of them have 200k miles or so and a price around $6,500 and up. I occasionally see the 99+ at a more reasonable price compared to the mileage but slightly out of my price range. High mileage concerns me. I don't want to buy a truck for $XX and have to put $2k into it for it to be reliable.
2. 93-97 Ford F250 w/ 460 big block - I see these now and then but most have the 5.0 or 5.8 motor. I understand you want the 460 since they have more HP and about 50 lb/ft more torque (closer to 400) compared to the smaller motors. The only downfall I see in these is the MPG of the 460 but they are usually priced more reasonably at $2-4k depending on mileage, condition and state of delusion of vehicle worth of the current owner. These seem more plentiful than the diesels and priced more reasonably.
3. 99+ Ford F250 w/ V10 - I often see these in the $3-7k price range depending on mileage. I don't feel comfortable buying any gas truck at 200k and expecting the motor to last a long time or having any residual value if I decide to sell it. The problem blowing plugs out the head also concerns me on these. It seems like the old 460 motor might be more reliable.
4. Ford Vans - I have been looking for club wagons with the big block or V10 but it seems like all of them have been owned by airport shuttle companies. They all have 300k miles on them so I have pretty much given up.
5. 96-99 Suburban 2500 w/ 454 motor - I like the overall packaging of an SUV better than a truck. Chances are I'd get more use out of a car that can hold more than 2 people comfortable than a pickup since my other cars are 2 seaters. However, I understand the GM's are more troublesome than the equivalent Fords so I'm hesitant to get something that will nickle and dime me to death.
6. B/c I haven't had much luck finding something in the above, I'm starting to look at Dodge Rams with the V10 since they are powerful and are easily in my budget. I don't know many people with these but have heard here and there that Dodge's aren't particularly well built. Still trying to research these.
7. 2000 Ford Excursion V10 - Nice but can't find any in my price range. Do the V10 issues apply to these also?
8. Ford Expedition 5.4 V8 - I like SUV versatility but I haven't found much feedback on these being used to pull an enclosed 20' trailer. Wikipedia has some good info on these but not sure how well this vehicle can handle towing duty.
I'd appreciate any input anyone can give me on these vehicles. Is my fear of high mileage unwarranted? Are there any vehicles I'm overlooking?