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Old 01-18-2012, 11:14 AM   #1
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Torn between 1/2 & 3/4 ton

I would like some imput on what towing vehicle to buy. I pull a Cherokee 27L travel trailer. Currently use a 2000 Expedition 5.4. It is rated to pull 8900 pounds. It still runs excellent, but feels unsteady at times when pulling and struggles up hill on the highway. When I am camping I believe the stocked up camper (minus water) must weigh between 7800-8000 pounds but have never actually had it weighed. I have been told a 3/4 ton would be a better fit

Torn between 1/2 ton vs 3/4 ton. It may be a personal preference to most on what they drive to pull their camper. I hear the newer 1/2 tons (with the proper equipment, engine and wheelbase) say they can pull the heavier loads. But is a 3/4 ton safer to pull that camper simply because it has a heavier chassis? Is there a comfort/confidence factor? I know mpg would probably be better in the half ton. But strictly as it pertains to pulling a camper I am looking for a overall replacement (the best of both worlds) vehicle. Prefer SUV style but know my option are limited (mostly half ton). With the vast experience of campers out there I'm sure any comment would be helpfull.

Thank you

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Old 01-18-2012, 11:22 AM   #2
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1/2 ton= semi floating rear axle, P rated tires, lighter frame, smaller brakes, softer ride.
3/4 ton= full floating axles, LT rated tires, heavy frame, large brakes, stiffer ride.
Your choice.
For me, I would not consider anything lighter than a 3/4 ton. What I loose in ride quality, I gain back in better/stronger components. And when it comes time to sell, better resale value.

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Old 01-18-2012, 11:28 AM   #3
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You would definitely benefit more from the 3/4 ton. Much heavier duty with the beefed up frame, brakes, etc. as Donn mentioned. You could probably do fine with a new 1/2 ton, but the 3/4 ton will just make you feel a lot better going down the road.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:33 AM   #4
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X3 on recomendation. I changed my 2004 F150 FX4 this summer to a 2008 F250 and I find the handling much better and comfortable. The heavier TV makes a difference.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:34 AM   #5
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Depending on which you get, you get better transmission option as well. Not to mention people always seem to forget adding the weight of things you pack when going on trips.

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Old 01-18-2012, 11:35 AM   #6
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It depends and more information is needed. But, I really suggest that you do the math with a towing calculator to answer your question.

For example. If you use a towing calculator, and it indicates that a 1/2 ton is sufficient, you might still upgrade to a 3/4 ton depending on where you camp.

If I were towing in the mountains, I would probably want a 3/4 ton with your trailer. Even in the plains I think most half-ton pickups (with the possible exclusion of the Ford Ecoboost) and all half-ton SUVs are going to struggle with this much trailer.

Are you in the mountains or in the plains?

I suggest that you do the math for your setup (if you already haven't) and see if that is the source of the unsteady feeling you are experiencing when towing. You are right at the edge with gross trailer weight for your truck. Have you ever actually weighed it - you might be overweight.

Also, consider that, at 8,000 lbs, your trailer will have a tongue weight of 1,000 - 1,200 lbs and many half-ton SUVs will easily cap out on payload once you add your family and truck cargo. Again, doing the math will help you to decide if your future vehicle needs to be a 3/4 ton or if a 1/2 ton will suffice.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:47 AM   #7
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The OP is saying that his TV struggles climbing grades also. The 3/4 will handle the weight better, but if it's equipped with the small gas V8, it would be worse yet when towing in the hills. Must also get a larger V8 (or V10) gas or diesel to improve the hill climbing ability.


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Old 01-18-2012, 12:03 PM   #8
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Depends, 3/4tons usually have lower gear ratio.

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Old 01-18-2012, 12:06 PM   #9
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I think everyone above hit the important points, but I did notice you stated that you prefer and SUV. So you could also look at the Chevy Suburban as it comes in a 3/4 ton model and may do the job as well, again run the calculator with it's specs to be sure.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:42 PM   #10
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And the Ford Excursion, if still made is a 3/4 ton vehicle, that is allowed to run car tags, makes me mad, but I'll get over it.

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