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Old 10-28-2009, 12:10 PM   #1
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1/2 Ton vs. 3/4 Ton Pickups

After reading so many posts stating that a ton truck is so much safer and better than towing a midsized bumper pull trailer (~ 30’, 7000 lb. GVWR) than with a ton truck, I thought I would start this thread to have some civil discussion of why this might be. Let’s keep things to gas engines only, as that is mostly what is available in ton trucks.

1st off my stats:

2006 F150, Super Cab, 4x4, 5.4L engine, 3.73 gears, 145” wheelbase, 9300 lb. towing capacity.

2008 Surveyor 263, GVWR 7559, 28.5” tongue to rear bumper, 5500 lbs. ready to camp.

I understand the benefits of a full-floating rear axle vs. a semi floating found on the tons…….but that is for wear concerns, unless you actually break an axle, and that would be detrimental for a ton truck going down the road…..I had that happen to a neighbor 1 time on a 30 year old truck. But other than breakage, if that a big safety concern??

I understand the heavier suspension might be helping some, but with a WDH I just don’t see where that would be a problem with a ton pickup. Of course, exceeding the overall gross weight of either vehicle would be bad, and that would happen to the ton quicker than a ton. Loaded up with camping gear, bikes, canoe, etc., I am approaching my GVWR, but not going over.

A ton truck might weigh an additional 500 lbs. over a comparable ton, but is that a big safety factor?? I can understand the difference between towing with small to midsized pickup vs a full sized pickup, but not the difference between a ton and ton, which are basically the same size, and close to the same weights.

As far as weight distributing, if you set 500 lbs. on the rear of either truck, you add ~700 lbs. to the rear axle, and take of 200 lbs. on the front axle (my actual figures from a previous trailer). Even though a ton weighs more, won’t this be the same, considering the same overhangs and wheelbases ??? And I would think that the WDH would equal things out between both trucks.

What got me thinking about all of this is that I checked out a 2009 F250 for my brother yesterday. It was a regular cab F250, 4x4, 8’ bed, 5.4L engine with 3.73 gears, rated to pull a maximum of 9800 lbs. A comparable 2009 F150 is rated to pull a maximum of 9500 lbs., and you can get an extra payload package to up that figure to 11,300 lbs!!!! That is 1800 lbs. over what the maximum of an F250 is. Plus, the F150 regular cab, 8’ bed has a wheelbase of 144.5” vs. the 137” wheelbase of the comparable F250. I would think in this setup, that the F150 would be preferable to the F250, both for the maximum towing weight and longer wheelbase.

Even though I use Ford as an example, I hope members familiar with other makes and models will chime in here, including the Titan and Tundra owners even though Nissan and Toyota don’t make a ton truck…….yet.
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:26 PM   #2
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What is your GVWR on your Ford?

Meaning, how much actual weight can you add to your truck from empty weight to loaded before being over? Don't forget about all your camping equipment, passengers, full load of fuel.....I see a canoe and kayak in your picture.....also, hitch weight you are adding when towing.

That is where the big difference comes in. A typical 3/4 ton truck can put 2000-3000 pounds of load on the truck before being over the rated weight. You may have 1500-1700# at most on a 1/2 ton. (Don't know where you got your numbers, but a 2009 F250 has a tow rating of 12,500 for convential, 16,100 for fifth wheel payload of 2830 for a 4X4 8ft bed)(From Ford's website)

I'm sure your 1/2 ton is more than capable of pulling what you're pulling, but load it up and overweight it, and it's not safe pulling much of anything.

FYI...I pulled a 30ft Outback TT with a 1998 Dodge 1/2 ton for 3 years and was fine until the tranny started to let go, now I have a 3/4 ton diesel....


Steve
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:36 PM   #3
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My stats:
2008 1500 Vortec-Max Chevy Heavy Duty 1/2 ton 4x4 extended cab pick up. 6.0 gas engine 4 speed heavy duty automatic transmission 4:10 rear Max tow capacity 10,500 lbs wheel base @ 144"

I tow a 2006 Forest River RockWood 8314ss max weight 7,910 lbs.
My hitch system is the Reese Duel Cam Weight Distribution and Sway Control.

This Vehicle replaced a 1997 GMC Suburban 3/4 ton 5.7 gas engine, automatic transmission and a 4:10 rear wheel base @ 130" and a max tow capacity of 7,500 lbs. I still have the Suburban just as a back up.

I have found that the new 1/2 ton tows and handles better then the 3/4 ton. With out towing the new truck gets 17 to 19.5 mpg and the Suburban gets around 15 mpg. As far as towing with both trucks the fuel mileage is around 10 mpg.

The 2008 pick up is all heavy duty from front to rear, It also has a factory installed break controller that works great, better then any other controller I have had it is very smooth.
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:36 PM   #4
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Have you ever towed with a 3/4 ton? I am guessing not since you are asking this question. I have, and never plan to own another 1/2 ton. The numbers on the tag are for liability purposes and are tweaked to show they are better than the competetion.
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2008Wildcat View Post
What is your GVWR on your Ford?

Meaning, how much actual weight can you add to your truck from empty weight to loaded before being over? Don't forget about all your camping equipment, passengers, full load of fuel.....I see a canoe and kayak in your picture.....also, hitch weight you are adding when towing.

That is where the big difference comes in. A typical 3/4 ton truck can put 2000-3000 pounds of load on the truck before being over the rated weight. You may have 1500-1700# at most on a 1/2 ton. (Don't know where you got your numbers, but a 2009 F250 has a tow rating of 12,500 for convential, 16,100 for fifth wheel payload of 2830 for a 4X4 8ft bed)(From Ford's website)

I'm sure your 1/2 ton is more than capable of pulling what you're pulling, but load it up and overweight it, and it's not safe pulling much of anything.

FYI...I pulled a 30ft Outback TT with a 1998 Dodge 1/2 ton for 3 years and was fine until the tranny started to let go, now I have a 3/4 ton diesel....


Steve
The GVWR of my truck is 7200 lbs. I carry a lot of stuff, but I have weighed the truck with me in and the camper hooked up at 6500 lbs. Add the missus and dog and that brings it up to 6700. My canoe weighs 50 lbs., the bikes add 50, so that brings it up to 6800. A generator adds 80 lbs., total 6880. Except for a nights worth of firewood, other stuff is light. Should weigh it at under 7100 lbs. If I carry fresh water, that should actually lighten up the tongue weight some, as that tank is directly behind my trailer wheels. If I gotta carry waste water home, that would add tongue weight.

I realize that the GVWR is the limiting factor with my truck.

As far as where I got the information on the 2009 F250, it came straight from the website of Ford:
https://www.fleet.ford.com/showroom/...erDutyConv.pdf

Remember, that I am comparing the trucks with the same running gear.....regular cab, 4x4, 5.4L engine, automatic, 3.73 gears. You can also check out the F150 at: https://www.fleet.ford.com/showroom/...nvFifthTow.pdf

Also, remember that I am talking about a midsized/weigh trailer. So many times on this and other sites, owners say you need a 3/4 ton to pull those safely. That is why I started this thread.......if the stats are in line, does a 3/4 ton truck really make a difference with safety??
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edman87k5 View Post
Have you ever towed with a 3/4 ton? I am guessing not since you are asking this question. I have, and never plan to own another 1/2 ton. The numbers on the tag are for liability purposes and are tweaked to show they are better than the competetion.
No, I have never towed with a 3/4 ton. Gotta pull with what I got. Just started the thread to see what why members think you gotta have a 3/4 ton to tow a midsized trailer. My setup tows great, and I feel that I am safe on the road......if I didn't, I would upgrade, but just not convinced that upgrading would be safer. That is what this thread is about.

I feel that I am towing safer than any heavy duty truck owner that tows way to fast, tailgates, or refuses to use a WDH and sway control. And y'all need to convince me that a heavy duty truck is safer driving defensively than a driver in a 1/2 ton pick.
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:08 PM   #7
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I for one will never go back to a 1/2 ton truck for towing. It's a matter of feeling that the truck is in control of the rig. I have had a couple of highway instances where I am not sure a 1/2 ton truck would have been able to maintain control.

Compare:
Tires
Rims
Axles
Brakes
Suspension
Frame

Other than that, my truck has the same engine and trans as would come in a 1/2 ton truck.

John U
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Old 10-28-2009, 04:33 PM   #8
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If your 1/2 ton tows fine keep it. If you use it as a daily driver more than not the 1/2 ton is much more user friendly.
If you need the 3/4 ton it will tow much better than a half ton as truck is way more truck. A 3/4 will work as a daily driver just not as comfortable as the 1/2 ton
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:19 PM   #9
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Is a 3/4 ton safer? That question may be like the the answer to "what's the best motor oil?" Given two trucks, one a 1/2 ton, the other a 3/4, there will be a few differences that you may not see. The 3/4 ton will have higher load range tires, bigger brakes, heavier sway bars, and a suspension rated for a load. As for the post about adding the same tongue weight to the two trucks stating they move the same amount, not true, as spring rates will be different. The 3/4 ton will often have better trans and cooling, which may not have anything to do with safety, but will let the truck live longer. The Ford 1/2 ton with the super towing package uses the 3/4 ton transmission. A 3/4 ton may not be safer when all things are going well, but let something go wrong, like 2 flat tires on the trailer at the same moment, then the 3/4 ton will shine. The stiffer tires, sway bars, suspension spring rating, will all come in to play when things go wrong. That would make the 3/4 ton the winner in my opinion, of course your mileage may vary. By the way, I have towed with both.
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Old 10-28-2009, 07:17 PM   #10
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Tires and wheel base is important for control. the tires that came with the truck from the factory are 4 ply Goodyear AT/S. I question this at the dealer and to make sure that there was no mistake. The dealer call GM about this issue and it was comfirmed with the weight rating of 10,500 lbs and the way the truck is equip those were the proper tires. I have not had any problems with the tires at this time, but I am going to change them out to 10 ply because of the stiffer side wall. 10 ply come standard on 3/4 ton pick ups and so does a class 4 receiver.

As far as wheel base go's that's another good thing the longer the better. My Suburban has a 130" and did fine, but once I used the new truck with 144" it made an impression on me. The new truck fells much more stable and a better ride. I know it is only 14" difference but when I am backing up to park the camper the I found that I have to turn sooner otherwise I over shoot where I need to go.
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