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 > High mileage tow vehicle, Good idea or bad?

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plasticmaster

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Posted: 07/11/12 08:08am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I pull my travel trailer with a 2000 Chevy Silverado. I bought it new in 2000 and it now has 198K miles on it. Most of my trips with the camper are around 150 miles from home, but last month I pulled it from my home in South Carolina to the Florida Keys, 800 miles, as I do every year. On the way back home on July 3rd, about a mile before getting into Homestead/Florida City, the truck suddenly died. I have AAA and had the truck towed to a Chevy dealer about 5 miles away and had the camper towed to a campground about 2 miles away. Luckily, we broke down not too far from a dealer and a safe clean campground. It turned out that the fuel pump had died and I had to get a new fuel pump. I did not get my truck back until July 5th because they were closed for the July 4th holiday. Our vacation basically had a 2 day extension and a much higher price tag for extra lodging, truck repair, rental car, etc. The truck runs fine again now that I have a new fuel pump.
Here's my question...Am I being foolish to continue pulling my camper with this truck? The $1000 repair bill was certainly much cheaper than a new or decent used truck will cost. Money is a little tight right now to afford a truck payment. I like my truck and would like to continue driving it and using it as a tow vehicle. What are you alls thoughts on this? Is there anyone else using high mileage vehicles as tow vehicles?

Thanks.

JaredWPhillips

Henryville, IN

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Posted: 07/11/12 08:18am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My 2001 Silverado has 162K miles and I'm planning a 4000 mile 2-3 week trip to Colorado this fall. I've done all the repairs and maintenence myself since buying it at 130k miles. I'm a bit nervous, but not too concerned that I can't fix whatever may go wrong. As long as you've taken care of it, 180k isn't anything to worry about except what you've already experienced; normal wear and tear on parts.


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dadechil

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Posted: 07/11/12 08:45am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The low mileage vehicles break too. Keep what you have and put a little money in savings for service and repair. Not too much worse than a busted truck and a bank note all at the same time.

* This post was edited 07/11/12 03:43pm by dadechil *

coolmom42

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Posted: 07/11/12 08:55am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dadechil wrote:

The low mileage vehicles break too. Keep what you have anngs for upkeep and repaird put a little money in savings for service and repair. Not too much worse than a busted tru k and a bank note all at the same time.


I agree. Set aside some funds for repairs, and be extra vigilant about your preventive maintenance, and you will be fine. There are many tales on here of people with LOW mileage vehicles breaking down.

My son has the same truck and he has never had any significant issues with it. They are very good trucks.


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Camper JamesB

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Posted: 07/11/12 08:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

plasticmaster wrote:

I pull my travel trailer with a 2000 Chevy Silverado. I bought it new in 2000 and it now has 198K miles on it. Most of my trips with the camper are around 150 miles from home, but last month I pulled it from my home in South Carolina to the Florida Keys, 800 miles, as I do every year. On the way back home on July 3rd, about a mile before getting into Homestead/Florida City, the truck suddenly died. I have AAA and had the truck towed to a Chevy dealer about 5 miles away and had the camper towed to a campground about 2 miles away. Luckily, we broke down not too far from a dealer and a safe clean campground. It turned out that the fuel pump had died and I had to get a new fuel pump. I did not get my truck back until July 5th because they were closed for the July 4th holiday. Our vacation basically had a 2 day extension and a much higher price tag for extra lodging, truck repair, rental car, etc. The truck runs fine again now that I have a new fuel pump.
Here's my question...Am I being foolish to continue pulling my camper with this truck? The $1000 repair bill was certainly much cheaper than a new or decent used truck will cost. Money is a little tight right now to afford a truck payment. I like my truck and would like to continue driving it and using it as a tow vehicle. What are you alls thoughts on this? Is there anyone else using high mileage vehicles as tow vehicles?

Thanks.


I dont think you are being foolish. The fuel pump is a very common issue on Chevy trucks. If you are mechanical at all, learn to change it yourself. Its very simple after the bed is off. I think the last one I bought for my old S-10 was $100 bucks at the parts store and close to $200 from the dealer. I went through 3 from the parts store before getting money back and getting ac/delco. The GM part is much better quality. Oh, this is one reason you might see a hole cut in the bed floor up by the gas filler area on several higher mileage GM trucks.

Cedarhill

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Posted: 07/11/12 09:17am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would not plan an 1600 mile (800 each way) trip towing with a 12 year old GM product with 200,000 miles on it. The probability of a serious and crippling failure, like a transmission fault, is just too high. I would probably restrict my travels to short trips where economical help is closer and I don't have so much to lose. The next time something like this happens, you may be 30 miles from the nearest help and the repairs might take a week or more.

I don't want to discourage you but I thought you wanted an honest answer so there it is.

dodge guy

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Posted: 07/11/12 09:54am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I used to tow with my old dodge conv. Van that i bought with 110k miles. After i owned it for a year i replaced all the known issues with them. Fuel pump, coil, crank sensor, a couple of freeze plugs and rhen a fresh radiator to finish it up! Towed with it to Glacier NP and back with the only issue being a failed rear abs sensor. It's up to you to keep it. Just be sure to go around and replace all known failure parts. Some things may still fail, but the chances will be less.

Good luck!


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Turtle n Peeps

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Posted: 07/11/12 10:22am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dadechil wrote:

The low mileage vehicles break too. Keep what you have anngs for upkeep and repaird put a little money in savings for service and repair. Not too much worse than a busted tru k and a bank note all at the same time.

You beat me to it.

Just because you buy a new truck does not guarantee a trouble free trip. Oh a new truck may have less problems but then again maybe not. There is a lot of new trucks in the dealership bays being fixed.

Two or three truck payments can fix a lot of stuff on an older truck. I would put a little money away for repairs and go have fun.


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boogie_4wheel

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Posted: 07/11/12 10:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I sold my '97 GMC K1500 with 244k on it. I never hesitated to drive it anywhere towing or not. I was religous on maintaining it. I was second owner and purchased at 90k. Never rebuilt the trans but did replace the torque convertor lock-up solenoid, replaced the heads at 207k because of a valve issue on #3 causing a misfire (but still got me home). Replaced the fuel pump twice; first time I dropped the tank, second time tilted the bed.

If you have any trust in the truck at all then go for it. You can't start worrying about major failure because a common fuel pump failure took you down.


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CavemanCharlie

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Posted: 07/11/12 10:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree to set some money aside that you can use for emergency repairs. Never a bad idea for anything. Oh, and listen for a squeak to start coming from the front wheels. When it does you will need wheel bearings. That's another problem with these trucks. There 200 dollars per side so be prepared to do them someday soon. You will know when you hear one squeaking.

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