“EVERYBODY IS OK!” the opening words of a Facebook post about the accident that totaled our truck and damaged our Montana fifth wheel trailer.
At some point I will get the word that they are ‘totaling’ my truck. I’ll have a week of car rental and a week of repair time on the Montana, so I need to have a pretty good idea of what I am going to replace it with pretty soon yet it is a pretty big, probably pretty much a lifetime timescale decision. What a pretty problem.
A drunk driver crested a hill as he rounded a long curve at high speed and at the last minute, he suddenly noticed that my truck was across the roadway. At any normal speed, and sober, he probably would have stopped and cussed us out for taking up so much of his valuable time, but his late decision to slam on the brakes means that I am searching for a replacement truck.
The first part of the decision is how much tow capacity will I need. Although the fiver was only lightly damaged (I think, but who knows) we are considering downsizing.
That is another long and complicated process which may leave me needing to tow my fifth wheel for a while longer and therefore needing the same size truck…. Even then the choices are almost overwhelming.
Full size pickups used to be classified by cargo capacity. A half ton could carry about a 1000 pounds of cargo, a 3/4 ton about 1500 pounds and then on up in half ton and then full ton increments. Oddly the model numbering is based on 15/25/35 on up to 65 and 75 (Fords are hundreds (150, 250 etc.) while Chevy and Dodge are thousands (1500, 2500, etc.)). The capacity is not a given anymore, the model numbers are more relative within the vehicle line and somewhat correlate to the old capacity based system.
All that aside, I probably need a 3/4 ton or 250/2500 size rig to pull the fifth wheel I have. This is all calculate-able and look-up-able. Since I know that my trailer weighs about 13,000 pounds or 6 1/2 tons fully loaded and ready for the road I know that I need a truck that has that much pulling capacity. Now have whittled the thousands of possibilities to 10-20 models and trim lines. The next step is actually two parallel steps determining which is the best 3/4 ton truck this year in parallel with finding what is actually available. It always
looks like there are a million possibilities, but in reality there are only a few trim lines and combinations of features generally available. Fewer still actually available in Southern California and Arizona. What trim lines and features available may cause one make to move ahead or fall behind anther.
When I look at dealer websites I get a narrowed down further list of what is actually available which then focuses my research to what exactly are the differences between trim lines. The research goes on.
How far can I go before I get a reality check from the insurance company? This could be painful, but likely just interesting. Maybe a used truck, of course these are a bit far away.
Next post we’ll go through some actual decisions.