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Old 01-30-2023, 03:25 PM   #1
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1/2 ton vs 3/4 ton towing capacity advice

I am needing some advice on picking a truck that will be a good match for my camper. I am in a weird situation where my GVWR is a 4,800lb. difference from my dry weight. It is not a toy hauler so that is making it difficult to choose between a 1/2 or 3/4 ton truck.

I have a 30 foot Palomino Puma that has a dry weight of 6,100 lbs. with a GVWR of 10,900lbs. Obviously, if I went by the advised professional advice, I would get a truck that would tow roughly 13,500lbs to get that 80% GVWR weight. My family would never be in a situation where we would travel with any liquids in the tanks or haul anything of significant weight for that matter. At max, I can't imagine I would ever go over 1,000lbs. from the dry weight. That would put me right at 7,100lbs. which is perfectly suitable for half tons these days. The hitch weight is 700lbs. so that is not a concern when it comes to payload on a half ton.

I currently tow with an older 3/4 ton that tows it with no problems but my truck is needing to be replaced due to age and high mileage. I am thinking about loading the camper with everything we would normally load it with and take it to the scales to see where I am at. Once I get that weight, maybe get a truck that can tow at least 20%-40% more than that to leave me room.

The cost to buy a 3/4 ton versus a 1/2 ton is a significant difference when it would strictly be for towing the camper less than a few hundred miles a year with the exception of an occasional trip to Disney World or something similar. For those reasons along with price, MPG, etc., I would prefer the 1/2 ton.

Is this crazy thinking? I want to be safe but reasonable and save thousands in the process.
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Old 01-30-2023, 03:35 PM   #2
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I am thinking about loading the camper with everything we would normally load it with and take it to the scales to see where I am at.
This is the solution. Find out how much the camper weighs and how much tongue weight it has.

Then you can shop for new trucks with those 2 pieces of information (to be able to compare the truck's GVWR and GCWR, as well as the hitch rating).

Here's how you weigh:
https://learntorv.com/weigh-rv/
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Old 01-30-2023, 04:02 PM   #3
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Also don't use the published TW, they are typically way low. Use 13% of GVWR (typically or 7-8k in your case) which would be 900-1000 TW. still doable with the the proper 1/2 ton
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Old 01-30-2023, 05:27 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice. I hope to hit the scales soon. I will share my results for anyone who is interested.
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Old 01-30-2023, 05:44 PM   #5
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My relatively light R-Pod (max maybe 4500 pounds) is so much happier behind the RAM 2500 vs the former 1500. I would not tow that Puma with a 1/2 ton knowing what I now know having towed a lighter trailer with both trucks.
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Old 01-30-2023, 05:52 PM   #6
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7,100lbs trailer weight, and 700lbs hitch weight?

No question: I'd go with a 1/2 ton.

I had a very similar configuration with my last setup and had no issues. Those numbers are well within the capabilities of a 1/2 ton.

I have a 5th wheel now and had to go with a 3/4 ton, but man, do I miss my 1/2 ton as a daily driver compared to a diesel.
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Old 01-30-2023, 06:10 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice. I hope to hit the scales soon. I will share my results for anyone who is interested.
Message me when you do and I'll help you crunch through the numbers if you need it.
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Old 01-30-2023, 08:10 PM   #8
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7,100lbs trailer weight, and 700lbs hitch weight?

No question: I'd go with a 1/2 ton.

I had a very similar configuration with my last setup and had no issues. Those numbers are well within the capabilities of a 1/2 ton.

I have a 5th wheel now and had to go with a 3/4 ton, but man, do I miss my 1/2 ton as a daily driver compared to a diesel.
My opinion is that this will be a white-knuckle tow more often than I would be comfortable. For me, this is squarely into 3/4 ton territory.
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Old 01-30-2023, 08:20 PM   #9
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Iíve owned multiple 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton trucks over the years. Currently own a 2018 F150 SCrew 4x4 6.5í bed with the 3.5L Ecoboost and Maxtow and a 2019 F450. Have pulled over a dozen different travel trailers many thousands of miles with a mix of those trucks. Hands down without any hesitation Iíd choose my current F150 to pull your rig. Use a properly setup Equalizer 4 point 10k hitch and roll on.
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Old 01-30-2023, 09:06 PM   #10
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I wouldn't even think about towing that with my max tow half ton. That trailer is definitely 3/4 territory if you don't want to arrive with white knuckles. When you're at 7100 lbs, your hitch weight will be much higher than 700 lbs. More like in the 900-1000 lb range once you add propane, battery and whatever else you carry.
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Old 01-30-2023, 09:20 PM   #11
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Use a properly setup Equalizer 4 point 10k hitch and roll on.
That is my setup now. Thanks for the input!
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Old 01-30-2023, 10:11 PM   #12
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Our current configuration is a 4X4 2011 Chev Silverado Crew cab, short bed, V5.3 with a 3:42 rear end. Equipped with the factory tow package. The truck tow rating is 9500 lbs and the truck cargo weight rating is 1386 lbs.

The trailer has a GVWR of 7685, a dry weight of 5715, and a measured tongue weight of 875 lbs. This leaves us a cargo weight of 500 lbs for the truck. Yes, we run out of the cargo rating quite easily. The WDH receiver is rated for 1100 and 10,500 lbs.

As to towing through the Smokies and the mid-south, this truck has all the trailer it wants to handle. I'm comfortable driving and the rig is stable at interstate speeds. We have good quality tires on both the truck {LT Michelin} and trailer {ST Carlisle}.

Anything more needs to be a 3/4 ton truck.

Bob
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Old 01-30-2023, 10:14 PM   #13
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As advised above, weigh the trailer. As many elsewhere have noted you may find that the trailer is much heavier than you expect. If "it would strictly be for towing the camper less than a few hundred miles a year " and your truck will be a daily driver, my F150 would do the job at your stated weights. If the truck was primarily to be used as a TV, then I'd go with the 3/4 ton.
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Old 01-31-2023, 09:03 AM   #14
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If "it would strictly be for towing the camper less than a few hundred miles a year " and your truck will be a daily driver, my F150 would do the job at your stated weights.
It would also be my daily. Sorry I forgot to mention.
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Old 01-31-2023, 09:41 AM   #15
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I had a somewhat similar towing situation with a previous camper--it was in the 7k pound range loaded up and the payload on my half ton was 1439 pounds. I was within my numbers, but VERY close to being over payload at times. I got tired of worrying about what I could and could not throw in the back of the truck. I upgraded to a 3/4 ton and have never looked back. I have since also bought a much larger travel trailer. I will tell you I went from a 1500 Ram Laramie to the base model Tradesman 2500. You will have to give up options and ride comfort if you go with the 3/4 ton truck as your daily driver--unless you are willing to pay a significantly higher price.
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Old 01-31-2023, 09:53 AM   #16
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I had a somewhat similar towing situation with a previous camper--it was in the 7k pound range loaded up and the payload on my half ton was 1439 pounds. I was within my numbers, but VERY close to being over payload at times. I got tired of worrying about what I could and could not throw in the back of the truck. I upgraded to a 3/4 ton and have never looked back. I have since also bought a much larger travel trailer. I will tell you I went from a 1500 Ram Laramie to the base model Tradesman 2500. You will have to give up options and ride comfort if you go with the 3/4 ton truck as your daily driver--unless you are willing to pay a significantly higher price.
Honestly, I keep going back to saying I am just going to replace my 3/4 ton with a 3/4 ton and forget it, but I don't want to regret it later since we aren't going to be traveling much. Getting upwards of 10 MPG more everyday for a daily driver is significant. For me anyways. Plus the initial price. As for the model of truck, I actually prefer the work truck models so that doesn't bother me. I guess for now, the scales are going to be the deciding factor.
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Old 01-31-2023, 10:04 AM   #17
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...You will have to give up options and ride comfort if you go with the 3/4 ton truck as your daily driver--unless you are willing to pay a significantly higher price.
True about the price, but my 2018 RAM 2500 Laramie Megacab is a delight...ride not significantly different from the 2017 1500 Big Horn I had previously, and the amenities are sooooo nice. It was -5 yesterday morning and the heated set and steering wheel made to trip out to brush the snow off the R-Pod's solar panel much more bearable.

Just wish I could still afford the mortgage payment.
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Old 01-31-2023, 10:09 AM   #18
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5,000 pounds is EASILY towed by a good 1/2 ton truck.
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Old 01-31-2023, 10:13 AM   #19
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5,000 pounds is EASILY towed by a good 1/2 ton truck.
If you're referring to my R-Pod, it towed pretty well with the 1500 up hill and down dale out west here (> 10000 miles), but it got a bit squirrely in heavy crosswinds and on the occasions when I inadvertently got up to maybe 75 while passing. Plus I was always at/near max payload.

Have had none of those issues towing it with the 2500.
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Old 01-31-2023, 10:28 AM   #20
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Does this "30 foot Palomino Puma" really have a cargo capacity of 4800 pounds?!

GVWR - Empty weight = Cargo capacity. 10,900 - 6,100 = 4,800.

I see cargo capacities in the 1,500 pound range for these trailers and once you add camping gear, water, and propane you may be challenged to keep under the 10,900 pound GVWR. I suspect the trailer weighs 9,100 pounds empty, not 6,100.

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