How much truck?

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Sep 4, 2020
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Good afternoon! Apologies if there is one or several threads on this already. We're planning for extended trip -- several months. I have the luxury (?) of not having a trailer or tow vehicle yet. In the weeds now, but looking at trucks, it appears there are 1/2 ton set ups that might be fine. But, I've also read that those will strain with heavier trailers no matter what. Example, looking at 27'-30' max trailer, most in the 7,000 to 9,000 lb range (GVWR). Most half-tons on the lot are ill-suited, but it appears that each major make has options that extend tow capacity to 11k or 12k lbs and the GCWR to 17k.

So, is that enough? Or should I simply up to the 2500 group, which would apparently be plenty w/o any "max tow" options, etc.

Not trying to cut it close, but 1500 class has more options, comforts, better efficiency, etc. (I assume?) and probably easier as an everyday vehicle when not towing. Thanks!
 
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Welcome to RVForums @squidvicious. Great to have you join us.
 
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I have towed a 30' pull trailer years ago with an F150. It really was not too much of a problem, but I had a camper shell on the back that was the same height as the cab and I made a custom aerodynamic wind deflector on the back of the shell that was easily removed. If the flare was off it was a struggle for the F150. It would tow ok but not much above 60mph and the fuel mileage took a big hit. Wind drag really effects towing.

Another vehicle to consider is the Titan XD. I have one with the gas engine. It kind of falls between an F150-F250 or Chevy 1500-2500. It even comes standard with electric brakes and center bed hitch for a goose neck trailer. I have one "2017" and love it. I have the 7 speed transmission, but I think the newer ones are 10 speed.
It pulled my 5th will fine, but a bumper pull would probably tow better. With the same size trailer a 5th wheel is much heavier.
I tend to buy a basic truck and add what I want on them. :)



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Welcome to RVF, @squidvicious; glad to have you here with us.

Prior to moving to motorhomes, we towed several straight-pull and 5th wheel trailers with both a F150 and a F-350. The F-150 was barely adequate for the straight-pull trailers and totally unsuitable for a larger 5th wheel, IMO. If I were in the market for a trailer in the weight class you are considering, I would not even consider a half-ton. They just do not have what it takes to tow effectively and safely.

Most 3/4-ton trucks will be OK and the 1-ton (F-350, 3500, etc.) would be exceptional; again IMO.

YMMV

TJ
 
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Here is good video on trucks

 
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Thanks, all, for the insights. Helpful to hear from folks w/ experience. I know tow capacity ratings are frequently... generous. Didn't know if beefed up 1/2 ton would be adequate, but apparently not. For safety and ease of use (it's supposed to be fun!!!), it sounds like extra truck is better than not enough.
 

LSG

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Sep 24, 2020
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Bigger is always better for towing, 8000 pounds seems to be the magical weight where half ton and light 3/4 ton trucks just fall short. You may be able to compensate with air bags and your brakes and tires however heres my story.

death and injury comes in a nano second. I have a fairly large boat i owned a 1 ton 2013 Chevy crew cab diesel that handled it fairly well. Its bulky total GVW 19,000 pounds which is well within its range. I had the opportunity to move into a new dually a year ago. Its literally 40% more stabile in all conditions. A month ago I discovered that being prepared and it handles it OK are two different things. At 59 MPH in the right hand lane on a busy Oregon coastal highway i see a small ford car in the left lane stopped trying to turn left when out my window i see a 3/4 ton truck pulling a 20 something foot boat passing me. I dont know if curse words are ok but there were about ten that went through my mind in a nano second. I nailed the brakes and made a light vere to the right As much as possible. All twelve tires were locked up from what the car behind me told me afterwards The other truck now realizes this is a sht show beyond belief. In my head hes going to clip me as he has now locked his brakes and overcorrected to the right which is well ugh where 65 feet of ME is. In my head in a nano second I’m visualizing him clipping me which would jackknife me spit me into the trees the boats going flying off the trailer hes going to drive all over the car pushing it into oncoming traffic and were about to taNile with 100 other cars that now cant stop in time.

What happened however me the heaviest rig at the party longest as well managed to stay in control I had all six wheels on the right side in the grass at this point and my left 6 wheels are in the rough on the side of the road. he missed me by a foot at best and somehow managed to wiggle and I mean wiggle past the car without touching it it had to be inches.

If I had been in my old one ton which as a stated handled the load well enough and it was for sure under that trucks GVW specs I most likely would have a far different tail to tell.

So my advise would be to down size the trailer or upsize the truck which ever is in your budget.
 
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Noted. Wondering if folks here have a preference for diesel vs. gas :)

friend said both will pull (diesel better) but that mileage will be really bad w/ gas vs. diesel under load. Is that a big deal?
 
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If money isn't a concern diesel is the way to go.
 

LSG

Joined
Sep 24, 2020
Messages
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I can throw out some real figures I currently own three diesel trucks and one gas truck and have in not that long of a time span owned two other gas trucks

Diesel will save you time and money in fuel consumption how much is a variable and there’s other things higher maintenance costs DEF i assume your talking a new enough rig to have DEF.

2019 Chevy dually 1 ton 6.6 diesel 13 to 14 MPG at 75 MPH unloaded 11 to 12 MPG pulling a close to 13,000 pound triple axle boat that has a heavy wind drag at 60 MPH
same truck pulling a $6500 pound travel trailer at 70 MPH 12to 13 MPG and it is just barely noticeable

2018 GMC Canyon diesel 2.8
24 to 30 MPG with a canopy at 75 MPH without the canopy 28 to 31 MPG
pulling the same 6500 Pound travel trailer 18 to 19 MPG at 60 MPH its not something youll be leading the pack up hill with but it handles the load adequately enough I’m putting air bags on it and its pulling the trailer to Florida and Back

Ive had two earliEr model Chevrolet gas trucks extended cab 5.7 and 6.0 liter both 3/4 ton all of the rigs are 4WD as well unloaded the best mileage was 14 maybe 15 on some non stop no city highway trips but realistic highway mileage 122 to 14 mpg 8 to 9 MPG pulling a 7000 dump trailer i will assume a travel trailer will be less because of the wind drag. I’m told the latest gas rigs might get 1 to 2 MG better

I doubt a gas version of my GMC Canyon would even be adequate to pull the travel trailer over mountains or steep hills I know its trailer weight is less ratings

Now my last stay at an Rv park I was there a month and had a few neighbors who gloated about 19 MG out of a Dodge 3/4 ton diesel 2019 I believe and several Chevy owners that said the same. This was pulling a trailer that was probably 8000 to 9000 they were bigger than mine. However i think people talk a lot of smack to convince themselves its great or they drive a lot slower than me. I cant say that ive ever been in a full sized truck that got 20 MPG empty let alone with a 300 plus foot travel trailer behind it. But I’m just stating what I heard.

diesels are not for all you may have a major failure at some point I’m reading right now about a fuel failure on my Ford F550 at higher mileage the repairs can hit $8000 to $9000 the preventive maintenance to help reduce this possible failure is a fuel filter change at 15,000 miles or less adding a fuel lubricant with fill ups ( more money) and then the overall maintenance costs on this truck is fairly high. thing is I make my living with this truck I have to factor in costs and fix it if it breaks grumble a little and move on. New rigs $100K so its not like I’m going to walk away from it if I have to put $7000 into it

I own two automotive shops and do my own work so i dont have to figure the costs of. but the parts alone are a lot more the F550s oil filter is $27 just to grasp the costs differences. This is the same engine as in Thee F 250 and F350 models so there are costs with some that should be known before committing

I will plug the Chevy 6.6 duramax with a big thumbs up it takes normal engine oil Walmart sells a genuine GM filter for it. I love the Chevy in handling braking and in several comparisons the Chevy beat them all in the entire range of performance even though one of the competitors has more torque on paper. The Ford diesel tanks a special oil and filters its not a cheap oil change at all and its the one with the fuel starvation Problem that you do not want to get bit by. However I like the Fords interior and vent controls better than the Chevy but not enough to trade my chevy for a Ford at all. It as has the exhaust brakes and trailer mode two separate manually selected options when driving that the Ford does not and the exhaust brakes are FM the M stands for magic and it will flat slow you down while the Ford has nothing on the GM line up as far as braking goes if you do go with a diesel And be a aware the Dodge 3500 Could have air brakes which can be one headache to deal with in some licensing formats because there are requirements for CDL commercially it could be a factor in certain GVW ranges but thats me just speculating. I know i did not even want a Dodge because of this.

For those reading this thinking about a Canyon or Colorado everyone seems to love this truck so much that its odometer is spinning like a fan I’m figuring it will have 200K on it in a nano second as a result if you have a 6000 Ish pound trailer dont need a full sized truck this is one small truck with a lot of big truck feel. I probably wouldn’t pull a 7700 pound travel trailer across the country with it but I will Tow one that will for sure weigh 6500 pounds.
 
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On the humorous side. Hear is an option. :)
 

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LSG

Joined
Sep 24, 2020
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Hells yah you priced a fifth wheel hitch lately you can just steal half a truck plus you got extra storage room in there as well. So does that count as a tandom trailer when you go through the weigh stations;0) If they were still making more episodes of Trailer park boys they could for sure get a lot of action with this set up.
 
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Nice stuff. So, one final (? probably not) question... We've settled on the 5th wheel RV (hitch @ about 1,200#) and I've narrowed down trucks. So, let me qualify this by saying, I may be over-thinking all of this, but here it is...

Payload vs. tow capacity vs. GCWR

Clearly, I don't want to be over any of those, but gas vehicles will likely come in with lower tow/GCWR and higher payload compared to diesel. is any one of those ratings *more important* than the others? Like, if I'm only at 80% of tow capacity but 95% of GCWR, is that acceptable or no way?

Like, example below, it almost makes no sense to get diesel for 5th wheel since the payload and tow is marginal despite the higher GCWR. In fairness, the straight tow rating of the diesel is significantly higher (almost 19,000#). But, that's not what I have... so, perhaps I've answered my own question :confused::p

Ram 2500 gas diesel
payload = 3,210 2,400
tow (5th) = 14,060 11,640
GCWR = 21,500 27,000

By the way, I have to give it to Ram for having a VIN lookup which allows specific tow information for the vehicle... wish others had same.
 
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If you are going to order the truck make use you state that you won't accept it with lower a number. I had a gas 2020 Ram 2500 that the VIN check said 3210 but the yellow tag on the door stated 2644 - big difference. I was pulling an Airstream with the RAM.
 
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Nice stuff. So, one final (? probably not) question... We've settled on the 5th wheel RV (hitch @ about 1,200#) and I've narrowed down trucks. So, let me qualify this by saying, I may be over-thinking all of this, but here it is...

Payload vs. tow capacity vs. GCWR

Clearly, I don't want to be over any of those, but gas vehicles will likely come in with lower tow/GCWR and higher payload compared to diesel. is any one of those ratings *more important* than the others? Like, if I'm only at 80% of tow capacity but 95% of GCWR, is that acceptable or no way?

Like, example below, it almost makes no sense to get diesel for 5th wheel since the payload and tow is marginal despite the higher GCWR. In fairness, the straight tow rating of the diesel is significantly higher (almost 19,000#). But, that's not what I have... so, perhaps I've answered my own question :confused::p

Ram 2500 gas diesel
payload = 3,210 2,400
tow (5th) = 14,060 11,640
GCWR = 21,500 27,000

By the way, I have to give it to Ram for having a VIN lookup which allows specific tow information for the vehicle... wish others had same.
What the truck is rated to pull ("tow capacity") is only part of the story. The rest of the story is what can it safely handle in cornering and stopping. I think all the ratings are inter-related and any time you push the limits on one, you actually push the limits on all of them.

IMHO, most potential RVers go about the selection of truck and trailer backwards. They either have a truck, or have their mind made up about what truck they want, and then go out and buy the trailer they want. This should be a coordinated endeavor. Let me suggest that a better way is to select the trailer you want to buy and then go out and buy the truck that is appropriate to tow it.

TJ
 

LSG

Joined
Sep 24, 2020
Messages
25
theres More than just weight. load characteristics size shape length play as big a factor on each level.

a bulky tall long load will create unfavorable conditions where a much larger weight in a lower center of gravity and smaller wind deflection will perform more stabile so its not just a matter of how close to specs. An example is my 12,000 pound boat and trailer but its 11’8” tall 9’6” wide I pull a 17000 utility trailer every now and then the utility trailer is a piece of cake compared to the boat 4000 to 5000 pounds less trailer and its tongue weight will drop your potential dodge 3/4 ton to the ground. But the load is low wide and wind doesn’t play much of a factor.

its my beliefs with a fifth wheel ( over a bumper pull) you can be closer to both cgvw and each rigs gvw be it truck or trailer or both especially in a heavier 3/4 ton. Things you can do if you find your trailers slightly over your comfort zone is heavier shocks helper springs air bags and better load leveling systems and sway control but be aware the costs of these make stepping into a one ton less money. A Chevy work truck price difference between a 3/4 ton and a 1 ton is about $1200 a good load leveling system $800 plus air bags installed $1200 so my vote is to think about a 1 ton before making the purchase. Fuel mileage is usually pretty close. I know more people that wished they bought more truck given the minimal cost difference new.

so my input if your 3/4 truck is going to be pulling 80% or better of its cgvw or gvw look at a one ton in case the price isn’t much more if it is buy What’s in your budget.
 
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Good afternoon! Apologies if there is one or several threads on this already. We're planning for extended trip -- several months. I have the luxury (?) of not having a trailer or tow vehicle yet. In the weeds now, but looking at trucks, it appears there are 1/2 ton set ups that might be fine. But, I've also read that those will strain with heavier trailers no matter what. Example, looking at 27'-30' max trailer, most in the 7,000 to 9,000 lb range (GVWR). Most half-tons on the lot are ill-suited, but it appears that each major make has options that extend tow capacity to 11k or 12k lbs and the GCWR to 17k.

So, is that enough? Or should I simply up to the 2500 group, which would apparently be plenty w/o any "max tow" options, etc.

Not trying to cut it close, but 1500 class has more options, comforts, better efficiency, etc. (I assume?) and probably easier as an everyday vehicle when not towing. Thanks!
I would definitely go with a 2500. Remember you need to stop it as well as tow it. You would not be happy with a 1/2 ton PU. Trust me. I have towing since 1969.
 
Joined
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What the truck is rated to pull ("tow capacity") is only part of the story. The rest of the story is what can it safely handle in cornering and stopping. I think all the ratings are inter-related and any time you push the limits on one, you actually push the limits on all of them.

IMHO, most potential RVers go about the selection of truck and trailer backwards. They either have a truck, or have their mind made up about what truck they want, and then go out and buy the trailer they want. This should be a coordinated endeavor. Let me suggest that a better way is to select the trailer you want to buy and then go out and buy the truck that is appropriate to tow it.

TJ
Amen !!!
 
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