Tow vehicle choices.
My 1999 Montana 3350RS has the following specs from the Montana 2000 brochure. GVWR 12720, UVW 9329, NCC 3391 and pin 2320. On the sticker in the cupboard of ours (1999) it gives GVWR 14320!, UVW 9329, NCC 4991 (maybe that caused the service advisory 00-8). I'm glad Montana thought better and lowered it in 2000.
For a tow vehicle in my budget I see three options.
1st. A 2001 Chev/GMC 2500HD with the DuraMax/Allison extended cab. I see them on eBay in Texas going for about $21k but it is a long way to go to find out it's a dog. Around here the best price I've seen is about $26k. This model is really quiet and smooth but we'ed be eating Kraft dinner for 15 years.
Tied for second: 1999 to 2001 Ford F250 SuperDuty with the Lariat package and the 7.3 PSD. There's a really nice one here (1999) for about $19k
A 1999-2001 Dodge 2500 with the Cummins TD, same trim level for about the same price. I can't believe the towing capacity of this engine! I have heard that this engine is wonderful but that it can break the drivetrain.
All have the same level of trim, ext cab 4x4 or 2x4. The Ford and Dodge are much noisier than the Chev but I've been told that Diesel noise goes away at highway speed. Is this because the wind/road noise exceed the diesel noise or because the diesel starts to loaf at this speed? I want the 'getting there' to be a positive part of our new adventure on the open road and don't want to need ear plugs and a back brace (sort of just kidding).
My questions are:
Based on your experience how do these three rate in terms of comfort, fuel economy, reliability? What kind of problems have you had with one of them? Will they tow my Montana? If I could go to the 3500 or F350 would it be a very different ride?
I know I'm asking a lot but I have no experience in this area and need the help.
Jim & Diane McGill
Montana 3350RS (Aug 15th)