Getting Started with the Tow Vehicle

Too much truck is just about enough.

– Me

In military aviation the saying goes something like “too much thrust is barely enough” and I follow the same philosophy with my choice in tow vehicles.


Meet “Ruby,” our new 2022 Ram 3500 Diesel 4X4 Long Bed towing machine. Presuming we end up with a 5th wheel in the weight class we are looking for, we will be at roughly 75% capacity for this truck. The size of Ruby means we will be parking in the outfield at most locations, so we will get a little more walking exercise. We could have upsized the towing and payload capacity by getting dual rear wheels (known as a ‘dually’) but I didn’t want to deal with the additional size and cost of another two beefy tires.

The last Truck and Trailer Combo

I had no desire to get a new truck when this search started a few weeks ago. My last tow vehicle (picture above) was a used Ram 2500, and I was now looking for a used 2015-2017 3500 for the upcoming adventure. But the current used vehicle market is just insane. As in bonkers insane. I could buy a used 2016 diesel truck with 80,000 miles on it and out of warranty for $62,000, or for a few thousand more I could get a new truck with a full warranty and road rescue for $67,000. So that’s what we did. And after days of searching I was able to find one with all of the options I wanted, and yet nothing more than that. It was a rare find at a dealer in western Virginia, and I moved very fast to have it brought to Southern Maryland before somebody else snagged it.

So why a diesel? It’s all about torque, longevity and fuel efficiency. A truck with a traditional V-8 gas engine has a larger payload capacity (because the engine is much lighter more payload could be carried) and the fuel is easier to find (pretty much everywhere), but the engine lasts only as long as any other gas engine. A diesel, though it weighs more (thus reducing the available payload), can pull greater loads with ease and has a much greater working life. And they retain value better as well.

Meanwhile, the search for our house on wheels continues.