Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mid Week Match-Up: Toy Hauler For Ckleerun

It is Wednesday, so that means time for another episode of our reader's favorite game of finding out how much you can get for your kids from a group of traveling Gypsies -- also known as  Mid Week Match-Up!  This week's MWMU request comes from Ckleerun who writes:

I am looking for a cheap(ish) and capable "toy hauler" and foul-weather driver.
I found a 16-passenger E250 which, for $3500, would tow a track car and haul a motorcycle inside while doubling (tripling, really) as a bunk. Realistically this type of usage would occur maybe once a year, and my wife's reaction to this level of overkill suggests I need to look elsewhere.

Realistically, all I *need* is something reliable that will tow a minimum of 1000lbs without being too ugly. Bonus points for the ability to tow 5000lbs. (Since "ugly" is subjective, let me state that I'm perfectly okay with a Honda Element. 

I've also used "hail|salvage" when searching CL.) This thing doesn't have to be pretty, but nondescript is preferred to eyesore since it will be street-parked. MPG is not a big concern as this will get used only as needed, maybe 10%-20% of my annual miles.
My experience with Toyota and Ford products suggests a late-90s Tundra or F150 would probably be the "smart" choice, but I am wondering if your readers can surprise me with some other ideas... something with a hint of style. But it also needs to not beat me up during a 4-5 hour road trip, so that beautiful 1966 Power Wagon is right out. For budget I'd prefer to stay closer to $3500, but $6K is not out of the question either.

DT E-i-C Vince:  My first thought was that you need the Beast...but if you have a few more bucks to spend, take a look at a used F-150 pickup.  Like this 1998 Ford F-150 XL Supercab 4X4 here on eBay bidding for $2,500 with 1 day to go, located in Levittown, PA.  You get a Triton V8, supercab (small back seats), 4-wheel-drive, and a vehicle that isn't so ugly your wife won't ride in it.


  1. How about a Buick Roadmaster wagon? Decent cargo space inside, and yes, they are rated for 5000 lbs towing capacity.

    1. See, this is why I love this place -- had no idea those could do that!

  2. For your price range, you could easily get into a V6 Ford Escape, which IIRC has a 3500-pound tow capacity with the towing package. I've got a 4 cyl, 5 speed model that I've used to tow 2500-ish pounds with no problem at all. And I've slept in the back for a couple of nights and not been too bad off afterwards - for one night a year, it would be just fine. Decent highway cruiser and not too ugly.

  3. Hadn't thought of an Escape(/Tribute), but will check it out -- thanks!

    The "jellybean" F-150 remains a strong contender, and there are plenty in my area (forgot to mention, Arlen... er, Dallas TX).


  4. That suburban the other day would do the trick. Seems to fit the bill perfect, carry/tow anything and has a some style. Ok its not real pretty but you'd still have $2500 to clean it up a bit. Well $2500 left if the guy makes you a screaming good deal on it, but somehow i bet he would...

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  6. How about a F-150 in fancy clothes?

    I've had one for more than a year and very happy with my selection so far as my foul-weather driver. I had looked at GMT800 GM's, but GM didn't figure out fold-down 3rd row seats until 2015!~ It's crazy that you have to pull those things out on the GM, but the Ford's fold-flat.

    My requirements were a little different from yours however (5000lbs towing for a boat and 3 rows of seats for 3 kids), but my wife will ride in it and it's pretty good looking for a giant schoolbus.


    1. [img][/img]

    2. I have an Element. While it is good for hauling two big old Labrador retrievers and a full size washing machine can fit in the back with the seats folded up, it won't tow 5000 lbs. 176,000 miles and still going strong.

  7. Pure ridiculous awesomeness:

  8. Suburban is a possibility, plenty of rust-free specimens around here.

    Navigator/Expedition could work. Had an Expy rental many years ago and could see myself owning one. Folding third row and 4wd/awd not strictly necessary.

    For a big Benz in that price range, there's a Sprinter on the ADV rider forum which would be great, but it's way outside the budget.

  9. You could afford a scruffy jeep wrangler tj 6 cylinder. Can only tow 1500 lbs or so, but it will hold its value and you end up with a "cool" convertible.

  10. My suburban aside, ive said it before ill say it again. A 10-15 year old chevy or ford 1/2 ton pickup with 170k miles is a handy thing to have around. Use it, abuse it, change the oil anually. It'll tow anything you reasonably need, carry whatever, cost nearly nothing to maintain, and will even take ya off road a bit too if ya need.

  11. The General opens up a world of possibilities, such as 355ci SBC swapped S-10:

    I like the small footprint, and I'm guessing the SBC and body-on-frame should tow plenty depending on the rearend.

  12. Hatchtopia: I guess that stint at Ford advertising didn't work out all that well?

    Introducing the New and Improved Ford Ford F-150!

    "Decent highway cruiser and not too ugly."

  13. If fuel efficiency is really not a concern, land cruisers can be found for not too dear. Here's a '69 FJ 55 for $6800 FJ60/80 can be found for a bit cheaper, and may be a bit friendlier.

    Silverados are boring, but really good. I recommend 2wd if you can get away with it as they tend to be lower, which is nicer for loading/unloading less beat and cheaper to buy and run.


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