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Looking for used tow Vehicle (242x)

Jimxo

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Any suggestions for a inexpensive tow Vehicle around $5000.

Was considered a early 2000s Toyota Tundra or GM suv, your thoughts?

TIA
 

BigAbe75

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Any suggestions for a inexpensive tow Vehicle around $5000.

Was considered a early 2000s Toyota Tundra or GM suv, your thoughts?

TIA
I just traded my ‘02 Dodge Ram SLT Quad cab with 75,000 miles on it and got 6,500 for it. Dealer planned to sell it for about 8,000. I traded because it had some funky spit/sputter thing going on. But, I loved that truck. I guess I’d look for something like that, if just looking for an around home tow vehicle. (And awesome for hauling mulch and other misc stuff you always wish you had a truck for)

I traded to a ‘11 F250 quad cab w long bed. Geez, it tows well and can haul a lot. Don’t see myself going back to a 1/2 ton for quite awhile.
 

2kwik4u

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Requirements for people hauled?

GM Fullsize SUV is a great choice IMO. They're tough as nails, easy to work on, and tow really well. Not gonna get the latest tech, or all the lane assist and that kind of stuff, but they'll get you to the lake and back for not much money.

This one needs a little TLC, but would pull your boat around just fine and still has some life left in it. Many more examples out there of this vintage/condition in this $5k range. Make sure you get one with the 3.73 rear gears (check the RPO codes in the glove box to verify), the ones with the 3.42's are only rated at like 4,600lbs or something. Mine was rated at 7,800lbs I think.

I had a 2003 Yukon. Bought it with 18k miles, traded away for a Focus (what a bad move that was) in 2012 with 186k miles. I think I put spark plugs, intake gasket, A/C compressor, Fan resistor bank, and a wheel bearing on it. The rest was just regular maintenance items (oil change, trans fluid, rear diff fluid, brakes/pads, etc) over the 4 years or so I had it. Towed car trailers as far south as El Paso, and as far north as Milwaukee. Made several vacation trips to the beach in South Carolina. Was a great vehicle for us, traded it because my commute went from 10 mi/day to 112mi/day and that was right when gas was nearing $4/gal. Once towed a 28ft enclosed trailer to South Bend in January. Ambient temps never got above 0deg F and the trans never broke 100deg F for the full loaded trip. Was a really good SUV.

With that said, I'm in a full size pickup now, and will never go back to an SUV. $800 locking and waterproof cover gives me all the dry storage I need, has the same number of seats as my Yukon, gets a little better mileage, and the visibility is much better. That same early '00's vintage GM pickup can be found for much less cash, but watch out for rust and high (over 250k) miles.

How mechanically inclined are you and how much time do you have? A good friend of mind has a '95 Tahoe that we have literally been trying to destroy for the last few years. We've done some pretty harsh things to it, and it's still running just fine. He drove it without coolant for 3 days this winter because it was too cold to fix the hose and deal with it outside and he wanted to see if it would survive. It's got like 450k miles on it now and is still running. If you have some time to put some effort into a machine, these can be found for $1k or less.
 

Jimxo

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I don't work on cars, but I have an inexpensive mechanic. I have a few months to figure something out. I'm considering trading in the MDX for a new Nissan armada.
 

Marvin willis

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i personally like something strong enough to pull my boat without feeling it back there. If you buy something small your gonna have reliability issues unless you only tow around town. Just my opinion.
 

swatski

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I don't work on cars, but I have an inexpensive mechanic. I have a few months to figure something out. I'm considering trading in the MDX for a new Nissan armada.
Those new Patrol based Armadas/Infinity are really nice, I believe @MrMoose likes his towing a AR240 across the continent (and back).
Along those lines, I would also consider Toyota Sequoia, they released it in black with TRD trim - kind of awesome. We almost got one but ended up going in a different direction. The new 4Runners at best borderline for short tows w/ a 240, unfortunately.

--
 

AlphaKap

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The Armada has some stupid plate you have to remove for the receiver.
 

Billtex2000

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Do a search on CarGurus. Easy way to see what's for sale in your area. You can set a price/mileage range so it filters out vehicles out of your range.
 

JeffVans

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I have a cheap 2003 Chevy 1/2 ton Z-71 that I only use for towing the boat and hauling other stuff. I was using my 2011 Grand Cherokee which towed it boat great, but I just traded it in for a Wrangler, so now my tow vehicle is truly just a tow vehicle. lol You can pick them up pretty cheap. $5000 will get a pretty decent one $7000 will get a NICE one. They last forever. The older 5.3L before they put the displacement management system in (or whatever its called) are virtually indestructible if you keep the oil changed. Mine has over 200k my friends has ~500k and he finally just had the transmission go out. lol If you can do some work yourself, you could have a great cheap truck. I bought mine for $300 from a lady at work that didn't want to pay to fix it and didn't know what was wrong with it. I bought it sight unseen and had it running in 2 days (had bad cats). Did a tune-up, changed O2 sensors and gutted the cats. I'm in if for under $1000 and have used it to deliver ~$400 worth of firewood this winter to co-workers, so its almost a free truck. hahahaha
 

MrMoose

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The Armada has some stupid plate you have to remove for the receiver.
@AlphaKap , the "stupid plate" is just a bumper insert that affixes with two bolt/screws. The idea is that if you don't tow, or don't tow often, you can remove your ball mount and install the insert so that your receiver is hidden and your bumper looks nice. This contrasts to the situation where you have a bumper cut-out that always shows your tow receiver. I personally like the idea. I take 2 minutes to install my insert at the end of the towing season so that salt and grime doesn't build up in my receiver area over the winter months. If I lived somewhere where I towed regularly, I'd leave the insert off. I think that it's smart.
 

MrMoose

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@Jimxo, I have zero complaints with my Armada other than the fact that the infotainment is old-tech relative to others in its class. I've had it for about a year and a half with no problems. It tows beautifully, even while loaded up with stuff. My primary reason for picking the Armada was that about a year and a half ago, I did a 100 hour (two thirds with the AR240 in tow) road trip with it (Calgary, Houston, Ft. Lauderdale, Grand Canyon, Lake Powell). In my opinion, the only vehicle that would have made the road trip more enjoyable would have been the Cadillac Escalade Ext, but I couldn't justify the $$. I also think that the Cadi is better looking.
 

SCP1

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@Jimxo, I have zero complaints with my Armada other than the fact that the infotainment is old-tech relative to others in its class. I've had it for about a year and a half with no problems. It tows beautifully, even while loaded up with stuff. My primary reason for picking the Armada was that about a year and a half ago, I did a 100 hour (two thirds with the AR240 in tow) road trip with it (Calgary, Houston, Ft. Lauderdale, Grand Canyon, Lake Powell). In my opinion, the only vehicle that would have made the road trip more enjoyable would have been the Cadillac Escalade Ext, but I couldn't justify the $$. I also think that the Cadi is better looking.
They seem like one of the better priced full size SUV's (the prices on these vehicles are crazy). I would like a new Expedition but unless they start getting close to 20k off the sticker I'm out. Glad to hear you like it, may have to go look at one. How is the mileage when not towing?
 

MBalducci1990

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I just went through months of research before deciding on a used vehicle. I chose a mid-size SUV because I don't like long vehicles in NYC.

I bought a 2010 Nissan Pathfinder LE 4WD. Fully loaded so it has all the comforts like leather seats, heated seats & steering wheel, keyless entry & start, moon roof, steering wheel controls, 3rd row seat, roof rack, full size spare, and 4wd. It's one of the last mid-size SUV before they all went to crossovers. Modern V6 engine with VVT (266 hp and 288ft lb torque). Full ladder frame. 6000lb towing capacity. The truck is the same as the Nissan Frontier that they still make today so it should be fairly reliable.

They did have issues with the radiators because they are combined with the transmission cooler. The radiator was failing and coolant was going to the transmission and destroying it. The fix is simple because you can buy a separate transmission cooler. Nissan did this on the later years and my 2010 has a separate transmission cooler.

Also they had issues with the timing chain guides wearing down and getting loud. If ignored long enough then the timing chain could fail. My truck has 114k miles and it sounds fine to me. Usually they go bad around 150k and it's a 6-hour job to change the guide. After that it should be good for the life of the vehicle.

I found those issues are minor compared to other mid-size SUV's. www.carcomplaints.com will scare you away from a lot of vehicles. Which the 2010+ Nissan Pathfinder they have solved all the issues and it received the "Seal of Awesomeness". If you want cheap cheap then you can buy a old chevy truck before they went to the crappy AFM system that has oiling issues.

EDIT: I'm only pulling a Yamaha AR192. The V8 on the Pathfinder can tow 7000lbs. The Armada also seems good if you get the later model years
Nissan Armada Problems
What Nissan gets right on their trucks is that they find a winning combination and they don't touch it.
 
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2kwik4u

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If you want cheap cheap then you can buy a old chevy truck before they went to the crappy AFM system that has oiling issues.
I advise quite the contrary. Find a truck with the AFM system that is having problems and have it disabled/deleted. There are some easy "tricks" to getting the lifters "unstuck", and then a $100 device that lives in the OBD2 port will disable the AFM system completely.

You can find trucks that "need a new engine" pretty cheap, and the repairs are simple and quick. Know of a couple guys that have newer suburbans and Tahoe's that were bought this way. Kinda wish I would've done the same thing in hindsight!
 

MBalducci1990

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I advise quite the contrary. Find a truck with the AFM system that is having problems and have it disabled/deleted. There are some easy "tricks" to getting the lifters "unstuck", and then a $100 device that lives in the OBD2 port will disable the AFM system completely.

You can find trucks that "need a new engine" pretty cheap, and the repairs are simple and quick. Know of a couple guys that have newer suburbans and Tahoe's that were bought this way. Kinda wish I would've done the same thing in hindsight!
That sounds like an ideal situation. But I think there is some risk involved with that because it's not a guarantee that disabling to AFM is going to get rid of the engine noise. There was a time that I would take a risk like that because I was a mechanic and had access to a lift and garage. Everything else was time and labor. Now I don't have any of those things :confused:
 

Jimxo

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I thought about the pathfinder.

I'm considering a jeep grand cherokee v6 (6200 lbs) or v8 (7200 lbs)?
 

djetok

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I thought about the pathfinder.

I'm considering a jeep grand cherokee v6 (6200 lbs) or v8 (7200 lbs)?
Get the v8 if you were to pull anything.. Well I looked up tow ratings and something changed from 2018 to 2019. 2018 v6 was 3500 tow capacity. So I don't know then.
 
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JeffVans

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I thought about the pathfinder.

I'm considering a jeep grand cherokee v6 (6200 lbs) or v8 (7200 lbs)?
My 2011 V-8 Grand Cherokee pulled the boat great. I was very impressed/surprised with it.
 

MBalducci1990

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I thought about the pathfinder.

I'm considering a jeep grand cherokee v6 (6200 lbs) or v8 (7200 lbs)?
2005+? I would find a Jeep with a hemi. I personally decided against the Grand Cherokee because it is unibody and I didn't like the interior styling. It felt dated to me. The 2011+ is likely out of your $5000 budget.

Another option you can consider is the 2005-2010 Ford Explorer with the V8. All the V8 explorers have the different gearing that can tow heavy trailers. The transmissions tend to last 150k and have valve body issues. You can get the 2008-2010 with the upgraded transmission that alleviates some problems. Also they had some issues with spark plugs breaking when doing tune ups, There is a tool for removing them so it's more like a nuisance then a problem.
 

2kwik4u

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That sounds like an ideal situation. But I think there is some risk involved with that because it's not a guarantee that disabling to AFM is going to get rid of the engine noise. There was a time that I would take a risk like that because I was a mechanic and had access to a lift and garage. Everything else was time and labor. Now I don't have any of those things :confused:
Certainly there is some risk in this approach. If you can drive the vehicle, put it in D or M5 (depending on trans indicator). That will keep it from attempting AFM activation. You can usually hear the lifter noise go away. The fix is pulling a valve cover, pulling the culprit rocker off, and using an old longer pushrod and hammer to "tap" the lifter down, usually releasing the AFM springs, and solving the issue. Then either tune or otherwise disable AFM, and the rest of the engine is left with a lot of life remaining.
 
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