new tow rig questions

Discussion in 'The Choo-Choo shop' started by red67wildcat, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. red67wildcat

    red67wildcat Well-Known Member

    Im thinking on updating my tow rig to something newer
    A few years ago I sold my v-10 dodge and started towing with my 2001 expedition 5.4 355 gears
    It seems to work just fine for my needs as the bigger truck wasnt really needed.
    My trailer is aprox 1500 lbs with 4 wheel elec brakes I usually only have a body cars on it with an occasional larger car.
    Towing capacity on my current expedition is 6800 lbs so Im always under that.And I only tow a few times a year.

    So now to the question
    Who else tows with newer 1/2 ton trucks or suvs? What works? What to avoid? What powerplant do you have?
    I dont care what brands just want to know what you all think from your experiances. It will be a 4wd no matter what I choose
  2. schlepcar

    schlepcar Gold Level Contributor

    Everything gets 10mpg when towing. You can spends thousands more on a diesel,but you still will not be able to justify the extra cash when you only tow occasionally. I absolutely hate towing with my half ton. It is like night and day using my 6.0 HD Chevy when it comes to stopping and going. Having said that I would look for a decent 3/4 ton vs. the 1/2 ton. I would stay middle of the road on gears like 3:73 instead of 4:10 or numerically higher. My last 6.0 had 3:73 and pulled great with 16 mpg non towing mpg. My current 6.0 has 4:10 and it has never seen 13 mpg empty or towing.
  3. Topless64-455

    Topless64-455 Well-Known Member

    I have a 2005 suburban 2500 with an 8.1 and 4.10 gears. I will tow 12,000lbs and get you 7 mpg or 11 empty. Don't miss that 5.4 1/2 Ford. It was a 1999 offroad with 3.73 gears.

    I tow a 24ft enclosed with cabinets and diamond plate floors. Loaded with car its about 8,000lbs.
  4. chucknixon

    chucknixon Founders Club Member

    I tow my 24' Pace enclosed trailer with a 2010 Ford Super Duty diesel. With the 1932 Buick inside I figure I am close to 10,000 lbs. Super Duty is great and I have been all over the country with it but everyone is right about mileage. I am lucky to get 10 MPG and mostly 9.0 depending on terrain, wind, stop and go traffic. Get 17 MPG when not towing

    . F250+trailer.jpg
  5. red67wildcat

    red67wildcat Well-Known Member

    Why do you like the 3/4 ton better is it just the power or the heaver suspension and brakes too?

    I had already ruled diesel trucks out as I dont tow much or that heavy of a load so for the extra cost and maintenance it dosnt make sense in my case.
    Like I said I almost always tow fairly light and If I slow a bit on hills not the end of world, so that was my thought on a 1/2 ton. I just dont know if its too light or others have had luck towing under the same loads I do.I defiantly dont want to buy to light of a rig but cant see buying more than I need too.

    I thought the newer suburbans and tahoe's that a 6.0 or 6.2 gas was available and whats the feedback on them as far as quality?
    What about gms smaller engines?

    Ford expedition only has the 5.4
    Does any one know about their 6.2 that is in f150 ?

    Not worried on mileage about what my old dodge got and what my expedition gets too so not really a issue

    Thanks to all for feedback so far
  6. schlepcar

    schlepcar Gold Level Contributor

    Power,brakes,and stability are definitely an issue when towing any double axle or larger trailer. I just think it would be my opinion that anyone not using their truck as a daily driver would be better off heavy than light. Safety is my main concern and you are not getting any mileage with that load behind you. I was quite impressed with my friends 6.2 Chevy half ton as far as power,but it may as well be an HD for the mileage he is getting. The heavy truck has a heavier GVW because it is made to stop and go pulling that weight. I have had this same conversation with my dad,but it took him driving my old super duty Ford before he got it. That thing would stop on a dime pulling 8,000 lbs.
  7. 436'd Skylark

    436'd Skylark Sweet Fancy Moses!!!!!

    Coming from a guy with an 05 Chevy 2500hd with a duramax, the difference is night and day. The power, stopping and stability is so much better. I don't like riding in a half ton while its towing. I only saw 9-10 mpg towing a 73 Eldorado. Other than that I hover around 12. The other plus is the diesels hold there value much better. The downside is the obviously the initial cost. You will not be disappointed though..
  8. 71skylark3504v

    71skylark3504v Goin' Fast In Luxury!

    I also dislike towing with half ton trucks. A good used gas 3/4 ton isn't that much more expensive and they are MUCH nicer. I will never buy another 1/2 ton.
  9. ragtops

    ragtops Gold Level Contributor

    I have owned and towed with half ton, three quarter ton and one ton, dual wheel and single wheel, standard shift and automatic, 2wd and 4x4. For me bigger is better. Right now I use a 2005 Chevy 2500HD 4x4 extended cab which I like very much, the 6.0 has plenty of power and the brakes are great.
    Not to bash half ton tow rigs, but all trucks are rated for towing weight limit. They will tow more of course but that can cause problems.
    I had a heavy half ton 1994 Chevy 4x4 extended cab long bed with a 350. I towed a 65 GS convertible around a lot one summer using a 32" trailer with extra height and a roof deck. Next summer the engine broke the crankshaft, no warning at all. So I bought a new short block (New, not rebuilt) and swapped it in, it was very soon making a lot of noise when started cold, lots of noise. The crank had too much end play. Thrust bad on the new crank, ruined the bearing and the crank. THE TRUCK HAD A BALOONED CONVERTER causing the engine problems. Bought an expensive converter made to handle the towing and swapped another engine in, this time a rebuilt unit. Sold it and bought the 2500.
    Moral of this story, towing more than your truck is rated for can cause serious problems, as well as expensive. Maybe it won't, but it can.
    The Chevy 2500 has much bigger rear end and suspension, can't speak to the brake size but the 4 wheel disc are far superior to the half ton brakes.
    I see others recommend buying at least a 3/4 ton and I certainly agree. I also like 4x4 to tow with, it can be very handy.

    Good luck,
  10. black70buick

    black70buick Well-Known Member

    Used 3/4 ton Diesel. If you want safety, control, durability and long term value.
    Used 3/4 ton Gas. If you want ease of maintenance, safety, control and durability.

    As others have said night and day when compared to 1/2 ton.

  11. Ttype455

    Ttype455 Well-Known Member

    I drive a 2012 half ton ram 4wd with the hemi. Im kinda like you. I tow very little. When I was testing out new trucks I drove a Chevy with the 5.3 (2012 also) , I'm not a ford fan so that wasn't an option. The Chevy was a slug compared to the ram.
    I just here in September pulled a 24 ft tag enclosed trailer from Cali to Texas FULLY loaded with a 2BR apt I'm guessing I was pulling overweight which I wouldn't do again. But I feel mine would pull the 5k-6k lbs well. The truck has 4 wheel disc and brakes on both axles on the trailer. I'll get 15 mpg avg mixed hwy/ city. I got 7-8 pulling that load. Now don't get me wrong I'd love a diesel 3/4 ton. But just the added expense of buying it and maintenance. It's not really worth it to me with as little as I tow and weight I will normally pull.
  12. 69GS400s

    69GS400s own amusement ride!

    With gas hoverring @ under $2/gal I wouldn't even think of a diesel unless you put a lot of moles on
  13. Brad Conley

    Brad Conley Super Moderator Staff Member

    A couple of observations on towing from over 35 years experience with towing.

    1) Always tow under the maximum capacity of your tow vehicle. If your towing vehicle is rated to tow 10,000 lbs, be under that number. You won't be sorry.
    2) A diesel is MUCH better suited to towing heavy loads than a gas motor, no matter what the size of the gas motor.
    3) You can NEVER justify the additional cost of a diesel over a gas in any savings whatsoever. They will cost more to maintain (our Excursion with the 6.0 diesel takes 15 quarts of oil for example...that's almost 4 gallons!)
    4) You will ALWAYS be able to justify the additional cost of a diesel over a gas in driving pleasure and the ability to accelerate from a stop or up a hill.

    I was in charge for 10 years of our local high school marching band parent volunteers, including having drivers for 4 trailers. Two of those trailers were heavy 28' 10,000 GVW enclosed trailers and two were small single axel open trailers. I would NEVER allow any volunteer to use a 1/2 ton truck to tow either of the enclosed trailers for any reason. I saw what happened when the show choir borrowed our trailer (without our knowledge or permission) and the parent volunteer, with a 1/2 ton pickup, promptly put it in the ditch trying to stop. You've got to be able to steer and stop your load too, ya know. 1/2 ton's, no matter what their rating, do not have the same capacity that a 3/4 ton or larger truck has. Period.

    I know there are several folks using 1/2 ton pickups to tow right up to the capacity of their truck, if not over (EcoBoost Ford's come to mind) but I'm here to tell you, they are making a mistake. I know the engine will pull the load, but like I said earlier, you've got to turn and stop too.

    Please advise us when you with 1/2 ton's are pulling out with an oversize load so we can stay out of your way.
  14. Smokey15

    Smokey15 So old that I use AARP bolts.

    I tow an aluminum open Trailex with an '05 Chevy 1/2 ton 4wd extended cab, short box with a 5.3. I got a decent deal on it from an older guy that took great care of it. He rust proofed it so it still has zero rust (it still has rocker panels!) Tows great. But, if I ever "upgrade" to an enclosed (which I'm thinking of) trailer, I'll be shopping for a 3/4 ton. Not a fan of the 'tail wagging the dog'.
  15. oldsmobiledave

    oldsmobiledave Well-Known Member

    Open car hauler is fine with a modern half ton. As soon as you go to an enclosed you need at least a 3/4 ton. I own both a 2500 diesel dodge and a 3500 version dually. The 2500 can handle anything I need to tow but the dually does it so much better. Once you've towed with training wheels you never go back to SRW.
  16. nekkidhillbilly

    nekkidhillbilly post whore

    granted I own a 1 ton but never had a complaint with my old Silverado half ton pulling a car on a trailer. my reasoning for upgrading to a hd was I was exceeding it with other things not the my car.
  17. Brad Conley

    Brad Conley Super Moderator Staff Member

    Open trailers with an A or G body, no problem with a 1/2 ton. Once you move to enclosed it's a whole new ball game.
  18. black70buick

    black70buick Well-Known Member

    Well said.

    To add to those statements.

    And if you choose to tow at the limit of a 1/2 even occasionally, how much more in maintenance will it cost you? I randomly choose the two vehicles below. Given the likelihood of only one "at limit" tow with an enclosed trailer (flat bed does tow differently), is the $14K "savings" worth the added $s if you loose control of the load? Pay me know or pay me later. I have a 2002 Tahoe and quickly realized my loaded 23' travel trailer, even though I drove slower, the Tahoe wasn't cutting it. I went to a 04 F250 Diesel. Even with the issues I had with the truck initially, still worth the assurance. Oil cost for maintenance really, if you need to pinch pennies DIY for a while. Worse case, buy a 3/4 (diesel) try it, then get your money back if you don't like it. The 3/4 (diesel) will retain value longer so your net loss is only in maintenance.
  19. black70buick

    black70buick Well-Known Member

    I should add that the diesels you can tune to get better MPG when you are using it as a DD. So fuel costs could go down comparatively.
  20. newmexguy

    newmexguy Well-Known Member

    Some very good posts here. Wish i could afford a newer 3/4 ton truck. Use an elderly 1/2 ton silverado to haul loads of parts to swaps and occasionally a roller. Would never consider towing a heavy fully together vehicle, it would kill the poor girl (252k miles, original drive train)

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