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Old 01-21-2014, 08:12 PM   #1
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Towing 1500 vs. 2500 trucks, any notable differnce?

Hello All,

I have 36' Country Coach Inspire with a 425 hp ISL. I've flat towed my Chevy 2500HD D/A truck for 3 years now (since we bought the couch). I flat tow the truck probably 3-5 times per year. Once or twice a year I tow it while also having a Polaris RZR in the back of the truck bed. The RV handles it no problem.
Unloaded, my 2500 weighs right around 6,800 lbs.

I'm in the market for a new truck, and I really want to get another Duramax 2500HD. GM lists the weight as 6,400 lbs but I'm sure it'll be right around the same as my current truck weights.
I'm also weighing the options of getting a 1500 instead of the 2500HD.
I'm considering the 1500, in part, because I'm wondering if (when towing) a lighter truck will handle better…?
Both trucks have the same wheelbase.

My question is, do any of you know (or have experience) if flat towing a half ton (1500 model) that weighs around 5,200 lbs, will tow any easier than a 3/4 ton truck?
Anyone tow both a half ton and a 3/4 ton and have any insight?

There is plenty of power with my Motorhome engine and Allison 3000 tranny to tow and handle either toad. I'm just wondering if it'll make any noticeable difference in handling (for the RV), if the toad was lighter like the half ton.
Less "walking the dog"….?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:33 PM   #2
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I don't think you will notice any difference in either handling or mpg. I would rather have the 3/4 for non towing options.
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:43 PM   #3
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I'm setup to tow a jeep Wrangler at about 4200 lbs or GMC 1/2 ton crew cab at about 5400 lbs. with either M/C or RZR in the bed adds about 1000 lbs. ther is little or no difference in MPG, acceleration or braking. Just hook up and go !
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:40 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses thus far guys, good to hear others' experiences with this...
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Old 01-22-2014, 11:33 AM   #5
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We usually tow a Wrangler Unlimited now, but have towed my 2500HD Duramax crew cab or a enclosed tandem axle enclosed trailer with two Harleys. While traveling with 2 other like Alpines not towing anything or only a 2 door Wrangler, the fuel stops are all within a gallon or two of each other.
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Old 01-22-2014, 03:58 PM   #6
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When I had my Duramax it was the tower rather than the towee. It weighed ~#7200 with aux tank fuel on the scale. We now have a 1500 it tows easy, if it weighs 5200 then you will not notice the wieght difference. The 1500 is easier around town
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Old 02-18-2014, 05:39 PM   #7
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I am curious as to your numbers. Most diesel trucks are north of 7500 pounds. Is yours a regular cab?
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:56 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the replies and advice everyone.
I took the plunge and bought a '14 Denali HD 2500 D/A. Love the truck. Got everything transferred over to the new truck/toad and plan to tow it a short trip to Ventura this weekend and looking forward to the first trip with it.
I appreciate how the half tons are a bit lighter feeling and slightly sportier, but I just can't bring myself to depart from the diesel or Duramax/Allison power train. I love these trucks!
As far as the #'s go dubdub07, to be perfectly honest, I only weight my '05 D/A once while I was at the dump and if memory serves (this was 6+ years ago) I think I weighed in around 7,000 - 7,100 (I think I was just a hair over 7k lbs). I had a passenger with me, and I weigh 205 lbs.
GM probably comes in low on their truck weight estimates, but I just took their listed weights and added a few hundred lbs to it.
I do know that Dodge and Ford 3/4 ton trucks weigh a good amount more than GM trucks. Some of that probably has to do with the solid front axle and whatever else. So those two brands are more in line with your assumption of the 7,500 truck weight.

Anyways, thanks again everyone for giving me the confidence to buy with my heart
See ya'll on the road!
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:00 AM   #9
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I have a 1500 Ram Crew Cab 4 x 2....your 1500 is it 4 x 4? Can I tow standard Ram 1500 (year 2011) as a toad? I have a 36 ft. Dolphin V10 Ford Engine. I've been looking for a new truck and thought I would have to have a 4 x 4. If I don't, then I just can keep my current 2011. Thanks in advance for info.
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:05 AM   #10
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Hey bevnicka1,
Do a google search on the "dinghy towing guide 2011". A link will come up and show you all the vehicles that were approved for that year to be flat towed.
I'm pretty sure you have to have a 4x4, but you may be able to install a driveline disconnect to make your current 4x2 flat towable, but I'm not sure. I think Remco does the driveline disconnect products.
Hope this helps...
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:19 AM   #11
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On a side note, for future reference if anyone goes to install a Blue Ox baseplate on a (estimating) 2011 - 2014 GMC Denali 2500HD, I want to warn you of the "massaging" that's going to be required to get it installed.
On my '05 2500HD it was a piece of cake, less than an hour to install.
My new '14 Denali was a royal pain in the butt and took me probably a total of 6-7 hours of working on it.
The entire front end (bumper and fascia) has to be removed, and then you run into problems with getting the base plate receptacles to slide through the OEM tow hook opening. I don't know if all GMC models have this issue and all the Chevy Silverado models may be easier, but I had to cut slits in the rubber openings, as well as cut off the inner facing pieces of the chrome grill in order to get the bumper back on.
Even once I finally got the clearance within spec and got the bumper to slide through, it was also difficult to get the OEM bumper brackets to line up with the bolt holes to run the OEM bumper bolts through the correct location.
I'm no professional mechanic, but I'm decent with a wrench and this project was a little frustrating to say the least
It obviously can be done, and the finished product looks great. No one would know the cutting I had to do unless I pointed it out, but it would have been nice if Blue Ox made a product that addressed the GMC bumper design (at least the Denali model if not the Sierra as well). Their instructions show a Chevy and I'm wondering if they ever test fit this on a GMC truck or not.
I'm fully aware I'm heavily in the minority for have a 2500HD as a toad, so I guess that's what I get for having an untraditional toad. But I digress…

Happy RV'ing everyone
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Old 02-24-2014, 12:53 PM   #12
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Thanks Manke....I'm thinking of trading in my 1500 4 x 2 for a new 4 x 4. You love your Denali, I love my Ram 1500. I was pretty sure I couldn't tow my 2011 Ram 1500 without doing the driveline disconnect (which I don't want to do)....and want to pull all 4 wheels down.....easier to handle and don't have to worry about trailers et al and where to park them at times.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bevnicka1 View Post
Thanks Manke....I'm thinking of trading in my 1500 4 x 2 for a new 4 x 4. You love your Denali, I love my Ram 1500. I was pretty sure I couldn't tow my 2011 Ram 1500 without doing the driveline disconnect (which I don't want to do)....and want to pull all 4 wheels down.....easier to handle and don't have to worry about trailers et al and where to park them at times.
I think that sounds like a good plan. I agree on not wanting to have to mess with a bunch of modifications to flat tow or having to deal with a dolly or whatever.
I like those Ram 1500's a lot. I initially thought I was going to get a '14 GM 1500, drove it and realized I'd miss a diesel engine too much. Then I was super hung up on that new Ram 1500 ecodiesel that's coming out soon (I do like the Ram's a lot as well).
What finally got me was the price I could get a '14 Duramax for, knowing that power train is tried and true and the nominal (to me) price difference between the old body style 2500 compared to these fancy new half ton trucks.
With your motorhome, I think a half ton truck is ideal, so in that case, that Ram looks pretty darn good to me!
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Old 02-25-2014, 12:31 PM   #14
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Well Guys,
Just read these posts about towing the larger trucks. We've been towing our '11 GMC Sierra 1500 Extra Cab 4x4 on and off for about 8 months. Our coach is an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT. It does well with the truck behind it. It certainly knows its there on most grades, that's for sure. But, we get there when we get there. I set the truck up for towing which, was a piece of cake. Two base plates took me half a day. Then I tied into the factory wiring for the lights so the trucks lights act normal when we're towing it.

And finally, I set up a Ready Brake for it. That was also easy. I modified the R/B setup 'cause some of their install procedures suck. Our cable is NOT tied to the brake pedal 24/7 like R/B would have you do it. And, instead of those hoaky cable clamps for the actuation cable adjustment, I installed a marine grade, stainless steel turn buckle which, makes adjustment of that actuation cable SERIOUSLY easier.

Anyway, I weighed our GMC at a local certified scale and it tipped it at exactly 5300#. We also throw in a Rampage lift/carrier in the back of the truck and load our '08 Honda GL 1800 Goldwing which, tips the scale at close to 900#. It all works just fine. I pull the grade just north of Bishop CA at about 35-40 mph. That's one serious grade. Again, I get there when I get there.

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