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Old 06-01-2012, 09:37 AM   #1
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Shopping for a truck to tow our trailer.

This weekend my wife and I will be shopping for a truck to pull our new TT. The trailer, loaded will weigh about 7000lbs and I will be looking at both 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton but would like to know what the optimum RA ratio would be. I would like it low enough to tow easy but not so low that the revs are so high.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:57 AM   #2
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1/2 ton is a garden hauler and should not be considered period.
3/4 ton is a good starting point but real trucks have 4 wheels across the rear are
4x4 crew cab longbed diesels. There are three good choices.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:19 AM   #3
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A lower (higher numerical) rear axle ratio will, without exception, buy you more GCWR and trailer towing capacity and more relaxed towing. Low rear axle ratios are not at all hard to live with in the modern trucks that have double overdrive 6-speed automatics. In our truck (see signature), 5th and 6th gear are both overdrives, and despite the 4.10 rear axle, the engine is only turning 1612 RPM @ 60 MPH. That's quite a change from our previous truck that had a single overdrive manual transmission (6th gear) and 4.10 rear axle - the corresponding engine speed in it was 2000 RPM @ 60 MPH.

If you're sizing a truck, I always go by the trailer's GVWR, not its unladen weight or a guesstimate of its loaded weight.

Depending on where you're located and where you plan to go, 4x4 may or may not be necessary. I've towed with 2WD duallies since 1996 and have never had a problem or been unable to go where I wanted.

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Old 06-01-2012, 10:22 AM   #4
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"1/2 ton is a garden hauler and should not be considered period"

I disagree with the above quote; we use a 2004 Dodge Quad Cab 1/2 ton with Hemi Engine and 3.55 rear gears, two wheel drive......it has performed flawless in the mountains and in the hot plains and canyons of Texas, has been from coast to coast and as far north as northern Ohio. Our TT weighs in at 7830# and we tow everywhere we want to go. The truck has plenty of power and never seems to be under a strain, As of today, it will turn 160K on the odometer and still going.

There are too many people who think if you don't buy the "maximum" then you have less. It's like some people believe that if you don't buy a Harley, then you don't have a motorcycle. The Dodge Hemi is my latest truck; I have owned Ford, Chevy, GMC......and the Dodge is waaaaay better than all of the rest. Just my opinions, but IMO they can be relevant.

Next year we are planning on a new truck; we will install a "new" crate motor and "new" transmission, rebuild the rear end, and only have spent around $17K..........sure it's a '04, but a new "equal" is around $35K.............the difference buys a lot of gas on the road.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:37 AM   #5
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1/2 ton is a garden hauler and should not be considered period.
3/4 ton is a good starting point but real trucks have 4 wheels across the rear are
4x4 crew cab longbed diesels. There are three good choices.

There was a time when you should have automaticly ruled out using a 1/2 ton trucks for a 7k towing load.
Those day are long past now. I have a old (1977) F150 that I use for what it was intended. I would NOT take it on a long trip towing a 7k TT.
It just wasen't made for that.

The latest designs 09-12 Fords 09-12 Dodge Rams 1/2 can be equipped to tow a 7K TT without a problem. IF unladen MPG is important then either
The ford Ecoboost engine or the MDS Hemi are quite capable of getting
20 MPG or better IF driven at a sedate pace.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:53 AM   #6
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I will stand by my statements, 4x4 is not a service detriment or major cost option as in the past. Getting stuck in the boonies once...will be lesson enough.

1/2 ton trucks have a disclaimer on the driver door frame to not mount a camper without suspension upgrades. If you want to tow with that type truck I just hope not to see your trailer sideways on the road as I have seen several times.
Trucks with 4 wheels across the back, OK 2wd also, do not get wagged around as a
non-dually. To each their own.
While I have always been a GM guy the other brands are good vehicles too, just a matter of what you like.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:00 AM   #7
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I understand your premise; my son lives in Ohio and insists that "everything" have 4 wheel drive; this is understandable, but "you see what you see, because you are where you are".............the only upgrade we did to our suspension was Monroe load leveler shocks and a good quality brake job. We use a quality weight distribution hitch with sway control and everything works fine. Panic stops, and there have been two, were straight as an arrow from highway speeds.

The only other change we made was Firestone Transforce HT tires; a real truck tire versus what came on the truck.

Handling is great, and driving heights are almost level; the front end of the truck measures slightly over one inch of rise when we are loaded and ready to hit the road. Much of a tow vehicles ability to pull and handle safely are greatly affected by its setup and its driver's habits.

My point of view is not to disparage your remarks, but in all of my posts I attempt to voice neutral opinions according to the way the OP is phrased. Surely, a 4x4 or dually is "better", but, being honest.....is it necessary for "everybody's" application.??
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:10 AM   #8
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I will stand by my statements, 4x4 is not a service detriment or major cost option as in the past. Getting stuck in the boonies once...will be lesson enough.
Not all of us drag our RVs deep into the boonies. As I said, I've been towing 5th wheels with 2WD duallies since 1996 and have never been stuck or been unable to go anywhere I wanted to go. If you'll note, I live in SE Texas - snow and ice aren't problems we have to deal with. Horses for courses - 4WD is NOT an absolute requirement to tow a 5th wheel RV.

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Old 06-01-2012, 11:16 AM   #9
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While the manufacturers have increase the tow ratings on the 1/2 ton truck, I am not convenced that they have actually done much to increase the ability to tow other than more power. It still ahs a 1/2 chassis. 1/2 ton brakes and a 1/2 ton axle design.

For occasional towing woth a laoded weight of 7000# of trailer (not a 5er), you may be OK with a 1/2 ton truck that is properly equipped. I would get a minimum of a 3.73 axle ratio and certainly not a 3.55 or a 3.42. I would also set the tires up to LT instead of P series tires.

For a more heavy use for towing, I'd go with a 3/4 ton truck with the towing package and a 3.73 axle. The truck will have better brakes, suspension, heavier axle and chassis.

It all goes back to not sending a boy to do a mans job.

I have to agree with Rusty on the 4 wheel drive. It cost more, cost more to repair and maintain and reduces the fuel economy. Unless you live where you need a 4 wheel drive, it is a waste of money.

we ahve never had an issue with the dually and the trailer. If you get a larger trailer you will need a dually, but for your size, a SRW will work fine.

Ken
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:04 PM   #10
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I have never understood the "must have 4 wd" for a pick up. I've had six pickups, and never had a 4 X 4, never got stuck, never needed one. Correction, I did get stuck once when we lived in northern Utah...in my driveway when I tried to get out without shoveling.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:46 PM   #11
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Don't get me wrong, I love my 2011 F-150 Supercab. I bought it thinking I would never upgrade my trailer. However, the Minister of Finance wanted a bigger trailer. So, by accident, my process was reversed. Had it not been, I'd probably have bought a Ram 2500 with the diesel. My TT weighs about what yours does and the F-150 tows it OK, but the 3/4 ton diesel would have been much better... Yes, even without th edual rear wheels... gimme a break...
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Old 06-02-2012, 01:32 AM   #12
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While the manufacturers have increase the tow ratings on the 1/2 ton truck, I am not convenced that they have actually done much to increase the ability to tow other than more power. It still ahs a 1/2 chassis. 1/2 ton brakes and a 1/2 ton axle design.
...... Ken
OK look at this
My 77 F150 4x4 has the heaviest Engine,(400) and trans (4sp) and the all gear Iron transfer case. Yet it weighs only 4700 lbs Empty.
The brakes under it are the SAME size as what is on my 99 Jeep Wrangler.

THen just look at some of the New F-150s and latest Dodge Rams.
4x2 with alum auto trans and they weight 1000-1500 more.
And then look at the size of the brakes. Much much bigger.


At this site Ford - Cars, SUVs, Trucks & Crossovers | Ford Vehicles | The Official Site of Ford Vehicles | Ford.com
There was/is a video of a F150 Ford pickup towing 11,300lbs and averaging 82 MPH for over 24hours .
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Old 06-02-2012, 12:30 PM   #13
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1/2 tons are highly overated.
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Old 06-02-2012, 02:09 PM   #14
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1/2 tons are highly overated.
What does that mean??????? What real technical results do you base that off of???????

...........sounds like my brother-in-law; we both have dodge trucks and he complains about not getting very good mileage, while mine is great............the whole time he blames the truck, but he drives 80-85 on the interstates and I drive the posted speed limit.
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