Monday, August 24, 2009

Tricking Out The Tow Vehicle

I owned a Toyota Tacoma for years and enjoyed the four-wheel drive in our Vermont winters and the ability to haul stuff in back. Even though my airport friends ragged me about my “toy truck,” it suited me just fine. That is until Toyota announced serious frame corrosion problems in certain model years (including mine) and offered a generous buyback program.

Gas was approaching $4.00/gallon and I bought a used Honda Fit -- talk about a toy car -- which I loved but missed being able to carry loads, and to get up our driveway in winter.

Catching the RV/Travel Trailer fever this spring, I started reading blogs and articles and having a general sense of size, first started focusing on a tow vehicle. After getting all sorts of advice (“Never buy a Chevy” “Fords are problems”) I started leaning toward a Ford F-150 with the larger engine and tow package. Right away, up on Craigslist pops the ideal truck: 4 X $ Supercab, XLT 145” Wheelbase, 5.4L, 3.73 limited slip axle, and a tow package.

We are very happy with the Ford so far. It pulls the Airstream nicely and the super cab is a nice traveling space for the Vizsla. However, on our first trip we knew that we would need some sort of cap or cover to protect the extra gear we would be taking with us. Having bought a used cap for the Toyota which didn’t fit right, leaked, and came loose on dirt roads, I decided to go for a professionally-installed truck cap.

I ordered a paint-matched Leer cap from Add-On Accessory Outlet, a local firm in Burlington. It was installed Saturday (Vermont’s tax free day) so I saved 6% but more importantly, was pleased with the fit, the color match, and the overall customer service. With this addition, our tow vehicle is about set to go -- I still need to work more on hitch height and may need to drop the ball a tad.

Here’s our Ford tow vehicle wearing her new red cap.

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