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Old 12-27-2010, 04:36 PM   #1
dfahunter
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Default 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

Sorry, selling my F-350 Diesel and getting a 2011 F-150 V8 and looking to buy an enclosed trailer for moving some safes and different items... but was curious about what you guys have experienced with pulling a bigger enclosed trailer, like an 18' or 20' with a load in it... the new F-150 will have trailer brakes and a GVWR of 7350 "payload package"... just never had to worry about this with the 350 diesel... so looking for experience. Thanks for any info!

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Old 12-27-2010, 04:45 PM   #2
brokenaxle3
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

certainly can't say what will and wont work as experiences may vary.

But, that being said I have a powerstroke and my dad bought a 2010 f150 and boy am I impressed. You feel the trailer (20' enclosed and 16' w\ 2 cords of fir) more in the 150 for sure, But it has had no problems pulling on an incline or braking in any conditions. To be honest, and I am whispering this, I would ALMOST rather tow with his 150, ie: heated leather seats, 9 way adjustable seats and dual climate control, and built in tow mode for braking(wheels and tranny) than my f 350.
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

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Originally Posted by brokenaxle3 View Post
certainly can't say what will and wont work as experiences may vary.

But, that being said I have a powerstroke and my dad bought a 2010 f150 and boy am I impressed. You feel the trailer (20' enclosed and 16' w\ 2 cords of fir) more in the 150 for sure, But it has had no problems pulling on an incline or braking in any conditions. To be honest, and I am whispering this, I would ALMOST rather tow with his 150, ie: heated leather seats, 9 way adjustable seats and dual climate control, and built in tow mode for braking(wheels and tranny) than my f 350.
That is what I like to hear... perfect, thank you! Just a little worried as I will be hauling this trailer long distances in the near future... but thank you, that kind of puts my mind at ease... a little... (although your "brokenaxle" handle could throw me off! HA!)
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Old 12-27-2010, 05:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

The new top end 1/2 tons, be it Ford, Toyota, or GM (not sure about Dodge and Nissan); all have lots of power and good brakes for starting and stopping. Some of the these new 1/2 tons are more powerful than 3/4 and 1 ton trucks of 10-15 years ago.

However, the Achilies heel of any 1/2 truck is the weight of the truck itself. A 1/2 ton typically come in at about 2000 lbs less than a 3/4 ton and 3000 lbs less than a 1 ton. This means the 1/2 ton will be much more prone to being pushed around by the trailer and won't be as stable. Guys who have only towed with 1/2 tons may not notice, but if you have towed with a 3/4 ton or larger, you'll definitely notice. I know the manufacturers rate their half ton towing capacity at up ton 10,000 lbs, but I'd not make it a habit of towing over 6000 lbs with any 1/2 ton.

BTW, if you think a new 1/2 ton is impressive, then drive any of the new diesel 3/4 or 1 tons. Dodge, GM, Ford--it doesn't matter. They have significantly greater capability than any 1/2 ton, and with the diesels, the mileage is around what a large engined 1/2 ton gets, sometimes better. The downside is the diesels are spendy.

I am on my second diesel pickup. I owned 1/2 tons for 19 years and in 2002 got a Duramax. I wound up lifting it, beefing the tranny, and running a 500 RWHP tuning program. This pickup was insane. It could break the tires loose at 50 MPH. It was good for 19-20 mpg (at 70-75 mph) on the freeway at that HP level. By 2009 I managed to get all of 100,000 miles on it, when a taxicab traveling 50 mph rear ended me while I was stopped at a light. The impact totalled both vehicles--bent the frame on the DMax. The taxi driver broke his pelvis, I was uninjured.

After the insurance settled I tried to get a 1/2 ton (looked at a Tundra) but just couldn't make myself do it. I wound up with a GMC DMax, extended cab, long bed 4x4. I didn't go as crazy on this truck. I went up one tire size to Toyo Open Country ATs in 285/70R17 and raised the nose of the truck 1.5." I am running a Banks chip--which has been absolutely troublefree and set it at the 100ish HP level. I figure I am at 400-415 RWHP, but because the tranny isn't beefed I have left all the Banks safeties in place i.e. defuels at the shift).

This truck does not get as good of mileage as the 2002 due to the emissions controls. The 2009 is not yet broke in either. Going to and from work, which is half highway and hald city, my old truck would give me 14-15 MPG. This one gives me 13-14 MPG, and I am sure the loss in mileage is mainly due to DPF regeneration. I haven't made enough solid freeway runs to get a good freeway mileage, but it looks like it is running between 17 and 19. Speed is a huge factor. When I cruise at 60 mph mileage is a couple mpg better than crusing at 70 mph.

Anyway, I don't think a guy used to a 3/4 or 1 ton will be happy very long in a 1/2 ton if he decised to work the 1/2 ton. With my 3/4 ton, I can put 2000-2500 lbs in the bed and the truck doesn't notice. A half ton isn't even safe to drive with that much payload.

Last edited by afp; 12-27-2010 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 05:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

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Originally Posted by afp View Post
The new top end 1/2 tons, be it Ford, Toyota, or GM (not sure about Dodge and Nissan); all have lots of power and good brakes for starting and stopping. Some of the these new 1/2 tons are more powerful than 3/4 and 1 ton trucks of 10-15 years ago.

However, the Achilies heel of any 1/2 truck is the weight of the truck itself. A 1/2 ton typically come in at about 2000 lbs less than a 3/4 ton and 3000 lbs less than a 1 ton. This means the 1/2 ton will be much more prone to being pushed around by the trailer and won't be as stable. Guys who have only towed with 1/2 tons may not notice, but if you have towed with a 3/4 ton or larger, you'll definitely notice. I know the manufacturers rate their half ton towing capacity at up ton 10,000 lbs, but I'd not make it a habit of towing over 6000 lbs with any 1/2 ton.

BTW, if you think a new 1/2 ton is impressive, then drive any of the new diesel 3/4 or 1 tons. Dodge, GM, Ford--it doesn't matter. They have significantly greater capability than any 1/2 ton, and with the diesels, the mileage is around what a large engined 1/2 ton gets, sometimes better. The downside is the diesels are spendy.

I am on my second diesel pickup. I owned 1/2 tons for 19 years and in 2002 got a Duramax. I wound up lifting it, beefing the tranny, and running a 500 RWHP tuning program. This pickup was insane. It could break the tires loose at 50 MPH. It was good for 19-20 mpg (at 70-75 mph) on the freeway at that HP level. By 2009 I managed to get all of 100,000 miles on it, when a taxicab traveling 50 mph rear ended me while I was stopped at a light. The impact totalled both vehicles--bent the frame on the DMax. The taxi driver broke his pelvis, I was uninjured.

After the insurance settled I tried to get a 1/2 ton (looked at a Tundra) but just couldn't make myself do it. I wound up with a GMC DMax, extended cab, long bed 4x4. I didn't go as crazy on this truck. I went up one tire size to Toyo Open Country ATs in 285/70R17 and raised the nose of the truck 1.5." I am running a Banks chip--which has been absolutely troublefree and set it at the 100ish HP level. I figure I am at 400-415 RWHP, but because the tranny isn't beefed I have left all the Banks safeties in place i.e. defuels at the shift).

This truck does not get as good of mileage as the 2002 due to the emissions controls. The 2009 is not yet broke in either. Going to and from work, which is half highway and hald city, my old truck would give me 14-15 MPG. This one gives me 13-14 MPG, and I am sure the loss in mileage is mainly due to DPF regeneration. I haven't made enough solid freeway runs to get a good freeway mileage, but it looks like it is running between 17 and 19. Speed is a huge factor. When I cruise at 60 mph mileage is a couple mpg better than crusing at 70 mph.

Anyway, I don't think a guy used to a 3/4 or 1 ton will be happy very long in a 1/2 ton if he decised to work the 1/2 ton. With my 3/4 ton, I can put 2000-2500 lbs in the bed and the truck doesn't notice. A half ton isn't even safe to drive with that much payload.
A- Thats what you get for buying a chevy.

B- I don't think he's talking about dropping a honda civic in the back.(towing)

C- Brokenaxle3 comes from the only chevy I ever owned. IFS, what a joke.
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

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A- Thats what you get for buying a chevy.

B- I don't think he's talking about dropping a honda civic in the back.(towing)

C- Brokenaxle3 comes from the only chevy I ever owned. IFS, what a joke.

A. If you think that a truck that absorbed 292 million foot pounds of energy and kept the driver unharmed is a design flaw, then you need to work on your thinking...............................

B. Doesn't matter how much he tows or hauls, if he is used to a 3/4 ton or 1 ton, he won't be happy with the 1/2 ton if he works it.

C. The GM HD IFS is plenty stout. I have lots of experience to back that up. The IFS design that is weak is the one found on GM 1/2 ton rigs, especially the first generation design. However, the HD IFS is and has been extremely stout and trouble free unless you lift it improperly, but that is true with any truck suspension.

Speaking of jokes, how about Powestroke from 2003 to 2008? We all hope the latest generation fixes all those issues, but Ford's track record since 2003 doesn't inspire confidence..................


Blaine J. Painter

Last edited by afp; 12-27-2010 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

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Originally Posted by afp View Post
A. If you think that a truck that absorbed 292 million foot pounds of energy and kept the driver unharmed is a design flaw, then you need to work on your thinking...............................

B. Doesn't matter how much he tows or hauls, if he is used to a 3/4 ton or 1 ton, he won't be happy with the 1/2 ton if he works it.

C. The GM HD IFS is plenty stout. I have lots of experience to back that up. The IFS design that is weak is the one found on GM 1/2 ton rigs, especially the first generation design. However, the HD IFS is and has been extremely stout and trouble free unless you lift it improperly, but that is true with any truck suspension.

Speaking of jokes, how about Powestroke from 2003 to 2008? We all hope the latest generation fixes all those issues, but Ford's track record since 2003 doesn't inspire confidence..................


Blaine J. Painter

B. Wow, a chevy enthousiast and a mind reader.

You are right, 6.0's are a joke. 7.3 till i die. Cuz it won't.
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:51 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

Your 2011 ford will pull most 20' trailers with ease. The problem is weight and the distribution hitch you buy to tow the trailer. No distibution hitch, anything over 4,000lb is going to be no fun at all.
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

I don't have much towing experience, but I towed two 4x4 ATVs and a half-cord of oak (Half of the oak was in the truck bed), as well as some other misc junk in a large enclosed trailer to WY this fall. It was my buddies gear. We used his Toyota Tundra (2010). I thought it was fine. I drove 75% of the way.

On the way over we were getting less than 10mpg . On the way back (Sans oak, but plus 2 elk), we did better.

I drove 75% of the trip and I set the cruise at a little over 60mph. I could have easily gone 70 or better, but I was hoping to get the mileage into double digits. It's amazing how often you need to fill up at 9mpg! I never felt like I couldn't pull a hill...I would be lying if I said I couldn't feel the trailer though.

I'm going to buy a half ton. I don't haul or plan to haul enough to justify something larger. The fuel mileage on 1/2 tons is better and off hwy (forest roads), the ride is so much better. Maybe you can fix that on HDs, but I'm not into extensive mods., and I imagine it's counter productive for towing.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

I have 2 F150/5.4 now, have had 2 others (business) towing an enclosed 16 or 20 with a reasonable load is no prob, properly equipped. Towing my 18' North River is hardly noticable.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:16 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

i wouldnt give up my f350 for any 1/2 ton, be it ford chevy or dodge i had a 1/2 ton wont go back but i tow all the time. its not all in the power but has a lot to do with suspension and how it handles the load.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:19 PM   #12
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Laughing at the back and forth on the Ford and Chevy... I have the 7.3 ltr Diesel now, and tricked it out... but I will be selling it shortly... so I appreciate all the feedback on here about the 1/2 tons. Seriously making me feel better about it (not a choice- work truck).

Thanks again!
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:05 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

I think the important thing might be is that the truck will probably tow it. The real thing might be as to how well the drive will be. I would suggest getting a weight distribution hitch and set up if you are going to keep 1/2 ton and tow this enclosed trailer a bunch. These to me are different then towing a travel trailer. (working at trailer place, got to tow a bunch of these). Not to mention the load that you will put in the enclosed trailer. Also check the tongue weight of the trailer also. That will have an affect and the weight distribution will help that out greatly. Enjoy.
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:55 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

You might discuss the rear axle issue. Half tons tend to lose axles when they haul or tow heavy weights a lot. It is a different axle than in the 3/4 tons.

Disclaimer: I have a 1/2 ton and after a lot of research decided I will not tow real heavy with it for very long. I've read about and seen 1/2 ton rear ends go.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:50 PM   #15
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I tow with a modified Duramax and pull over 100K daily at work (not with the Chevy), so take what I have to say with a grain of salt. A buddy of mine tows a 23' trailer (6000ish lbs) with his 99 F150 a couple times a month, at least 100 miles each way, including a few hills (normally to the Astoria area). It's got a 5.4 with the tow package, big rear end (forget which one exactly, but with 3.73s), and an additional transmission cooler. It does a fine job, and the HP and brakes are nothing compared to a new F150. Around 120K on it and the only problem has been a coil or two, but that's an issue on all of those older 5.4s. It's in 2nd gear pulling Rainier, but it will do the speed limit. A properly equipped 2011 will do it much better, but don't expect the mileage to be as good as your 7.3 doing the same job. In comparison, he's around 12,500 and I'm around 18,500lbs on the same trip, his F150 nets about 9mpg, where I'm around 12. The F150 is more than adequate for the job, though. Baltz's comment on the weight distribution setup is spot on, consider it mandatory.

As far as rear ends go, GM and Dodge half ton rear ends fail at a much higher rate than the bigger Sterlings that the heavier duty half ton Fords have.
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:28 AM   #16
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Great info guys!!! Will look into the weight distribution hitch... haven't seen them before. Will look around. ANy suggestions on that, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks again!
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:40 AM   #17
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I have a 05' F150 extended cab with the small v8 and I tow our 21' trophy, 21' travel trailer and a dump trailer with a 25 hp John Deere in it. Your not going to get anywhere fast, but it will do the job safely. I don't use sway bars and have never had any issues controlling the load. This year we hauled the travel trailer from valley with the trailer and the truck loaded w/ three of us in the cab over to the Steens and back with no problems. The truck cost $21,000.

By the way has anyone seen the price of diesel lately? Not to mention that they cost approximately 1/2 again as much to repair. I think the days of purely buying a diesel for any type of money savings is out the window.

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Old 12-28-2010, 07:59 AM   #18
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

You must be looking at a small f150 with only a 7350 tow rating. I'd go with the 3.73 and bigger engine. A long trailer also will be helped by a longer wheel base. My guess is you are going short. You'll have more issues with crosswinds with a shorter lighter truck.

I'd also consider asking a dealership to let you demo pulling your expected load with a similar sized truck.

For stopping, I'd make sure the trailer has electric brakes. That will make the stopping much easier.
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:09 AM   #19
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I tow with my pick up. Sometimes I tow a smaller trailer, sometimes a heavy one. I have had 1/2 tons, 3/4 tons and a one ton. Personally, I will never tow with a 1/2 ton again. There is no comparison. A 1/2 ton truck is great for carrying work things around in the bed, but is not made to tow period. It has little to do with whether or not it will pull it, you can get a 1/2 ton to pull just about anything by just getting a bigger engine. The comfort issue however is huge. Pulling with a 1/2 ton is no fun. It was never designed to pull a trailer and you will know that as soon as you tow with it. I know that they advertise them as towing trucks, but that is because they need to sell them, not because it is a good idea. I have tried it...............I have been around a lot of guys who tried it and ended up trading up. Buying a 1/2 ton to tow with is a bad idea.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:47 AM   #20
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You must be looking at a small f150 with only a 7350 tow rating. I'd go with the 3.73 and bigger engine.
He said payload package,not tow rating.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:54 AM   #21
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Great info guys!!! Will look into the weight distribution hitch... haven't seen them before. Will look around. ANy suggestions on that, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks again!
You HAVE to use a weight distributing set up if you want to use the full rating on the trucks hitch,and the full tow rating of the truck.

I'd buy the Equalizer brand weight distributing set up. It combines W/D with a sway control in one package.
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:11 AM   #22
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He said payload package,not tow rating.
That's fine, but there is no way that a 150 has that size of payload package, so I thought he must have mistyped! Besides, payload is almost inconsequential to towing.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:48 AM   #23
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Well, someones got to say it.

1/2 tons are designed to be occasional and light weight towers. If one wants to tow a lot then one needs a truck built for it. The 3/4 tons and above have different rear axles which work a lot better for towing.

If you look on the trailer towing forums and even on here you'll read plenty of reports of folks losing a rear end, or more often a rear axle, that it was not covered by their warranties, and they also had to go the added expense of moving up to a 3/4 or 1 ton.

Probably more importantly, one also needs to look at the vehicle weight ratings and axle ratings to avoid added liability in an accident. Some folks towing with 1/2 tons are exceeding their ratings. By the way, some with 3/4 tons are exceeding them, too. The manufacturers tow rating has nothing to do with the gross vehicle weight rating, gross axle weight, impact of tongue weight, etc... You can be well below the max tow weight and be well over on any or all the others. The only way to tell is to look up the numbers, weigh your vehicle, your axles, and do the calculations. There are several places on the internet with info on this. Remember to add in the expected weight of any passengers and stuff that will be in the vehicle as that has to be included.

A lot of times people get upset when they hear this on a forum. I didn't want to hear it when I wanted to tow a heavy trailer with my 1/2 ton. But I looked on the trailer towing forums, talked to towing experts, did some research, and confirmed what I heard. I'm not saying the OP will be over weight with his expected usage or will lose an axle. I am saying when one tows that one should determine this, and it is better to do so before an accident than have an investigator do it for you.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:35 PM   #24
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That's fine, but there is no way that a 150 has that size of payload package, so I thought he must have mistyped! Besides, payload is almost inconsequential to towing.
I think you're confused. He doesn't mean the payload of the F150 is 7350lbs. Thats the GVWR of the F150.

Subtract the trucks actual weight from the GVWR and thats the payload.

If the truck weighs 5000 empty (just as an example) ,that leaves 2350lbs of payload.

By the way,payload has EVERYTHING to do with towing. If the truck doesn't have the payload to carry the tongue or pin weight of the trailer,it doesn't matter how much the truck is rated to tow.
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:02 PM   #25
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

Mooch, no, you are confused if you think that payload has everything to do with a pickups ability to tow.

Other than 5th wheels, tow weight is almost always reached way before payload comes into play for a modern full size pickup. It is true that you shouldn't exceed any of the ratings including payload that includes the other cargo and even people, fuel and accessories.

I'm sure you know that the rough rule of thumb is 10% of tongue weight for a towed trailer that is balanced and loaded properly. Even if you figure 1000 lbs for the tongue weight, that requires a 10000 lb traler which exceeds the tow rating for all 1/2 tons pickups that I've ever hear about, but well within the payload ratings.

We can go farther and talk about GCVR as well that shouldn't be exceeded...but I think we are off the beaten path...
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:21 PM   #26
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

It might exceed payload range as well. Payload includes occupants and all their gear, plus anything in the bed. With four door half tons the available payload can be cut in half or even more.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:36 PM   #27
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I have towed my travel trailer 6500 lbs w/ tow bars all over tarnation elk hunting from hells caynon to olive lake at 6000 ft. I have towed it over 4x4 trails and took it on several long 11-12 day road trips over mt passes. It never seemed too heavy for the truck at all. My 2004 f-150 5.4 v-8 w/ tow pack preformed flawlessly till she blew at 95,000 miles. Look up variable cam timing problems and valve ingestion. The dealer thought it was funny, said I didnt change the oil enough I put a new engin in her last year($3000 installed, not by ford)and shes running like a champ again. I burned up one set of rotors frount and back but had no other trouble. In my opinion trading off fule economy while adding power means somthings got to give. The new 150's claim better fule economy with more power hmmmmm. Since berthas long been paid off and still pretty strait Im just gona drive her into the dirt. My next truck will be a brusier w/ desiel, dulees, a flat bed and leather for the city boy in me
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:57 PM   #28
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Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

I have a 06 Dodge 1500 4 door w/4.7L V8 6 speed manual. I use it for my business as a contractor and occasionally pull my 12' dump trailer. Empty the trailer is 3000 lbs. When I bought the trailer the dealer said most importantly is a brake controller. So I bought the best one they had. And also a weight distribution hitch. I ran it over the scales full of concrete we were demo-ing and the trailer load was at 10,000 lbs. did the truck like it? No. But it got me to the dumpsite. And many times after that. I had the trany fluids gone thru after that job because of all the heavy hauling and they said it all looked great. The biggest danger is hauling a load that is much heavier than the truck pulling it. just make sure you have a very good break controller and weight distribution bars.

-Ben
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:20 PM   #29
MattPark
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Vancouver, WA
Posts: 4,734
Default Re: 1/2 Ton Pickup Towing Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben View Post
The biggest danger is hauling a load that is much heavier than the truck pulling it
If that's the case, then most semi tractor-trailers shouldn't be allowed on the road. Hauling 90k worth of trailers with a 14K truck isn't unsafe, when the tow vehicle is correctly equipped. The same goes for pickup trucks, and I'm guessing your half ton with the small V8 was likely overloaded. Without knowing the details about your truck, I would guess you may have been towing nearly double what your truck is rated for (max for 4.7 is 7650 and the Hemi is 9100 in any configuration for 2006), but I'm not the towing police, what you tow is up to you, and is your responsibility (liability).

I could see how you would come to the vehicle weight vs towed weight conclusion with your setup, though.
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