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Old 08-08-2008, 10:43 AM   #43
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Something a lot of people are failing to take into consideration is beyond simple suspension upgrades. 3/4 and 1-ton trucks are not simply 1/2-ton trucks with beefier springs. They also have heavier driveline components, stronger axles, much bigger brakes and, in many cases, even heavier frames. The brakes on my 1-ton would make the brakes on a 1/2-ton Chevy of the same year look like they came off of a Honda Civic. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that should my trailer brakes fail, I can get my rig stopped, even on the side of a mountain. You can install air bags, helper springs, oil coolers, transmission coolers, and all the whiz bang aftermarket gizmos you want, but a light duty truck or SUV will never measure up to simply buying a heavier duty version of the same vehicle. You can make any vehicle tow something it was not designed to, but it will not do it safely or reliably. Also, for someone new to towing, more truck is always a good thing. If the truck will handle much more than the trailer requires of it, it's a lot safer for someone who may not have the experience to handle their rig when things go wrong.
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Old 08-08-2008, 11:21 AM   #44
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Perhaps I am missing something, but I have not seen anyone post and say a 3/4 ton truck is nothing more than a 1/2 ton truck with heavier springs. The differences between 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton trucks vary by manufacturer/model. Some components are different; some are the same. You could always put your '97 Chevy and your '69 Tradewind on the back of a flatbed pulled by a 2008 Peterbuilt. Now that would be overkill... but it would be very safe.

Let's go back to the original post. After wisely doing some research, Jeff decided his Explorer might not be up to pulling a 2005 Safari with a dry weight of 5600 pounds. He also wanted a tow vehicle that he plan to drive every day and is "reasonable on gas." Does Jeff "need" a 3/4 ton truck or is there a 1/2 ton truck on the market that will safely tow the aforementioned travel trailer?

Let's look at the Tundra (which Jeff has mentioned). Our example 2007 Tundra has a GCWR of 16,000 lbs. (I picked a configuration where it was easy to find data). This same truck has a curb weight of 5600 lbs (ironically the same weight as the AS). The maximum loaded weight of the 05' Safari 25 is 7600 lbs, if I remember correctly. The GVWR of the Tundra is 6800 pounds. If Jeff loads his trailer to the maximum weight recommended by Airstream and his truck to the maximum weight recommended by Toyota, he's still 1600 pounds under the GCWR. Of course, to be more accurate, some of the Tundra's weight loaded weight would be the pin weight of the trailer so we're doing a little double counting.

If we look at the 20 percent below GCWR "guideline," we talking about the fully loaded Tundra and trailer staying below 12800 lbs. This means keeping the load in the truck under 800 pounds and the load in the trailer under 800 pounds... or some combination thereof. Is 1600 lbs enough to accommodate Jeff, companions, fuel, water, propane, stuffed animals, fuzzy dice, etc? Only Jeff knows for sure. Now, to my original point... will Jeff appreciate have some "gizmos" like make towing more comfortable? I don't know, but I like them. Please note that I'm not saying anything he would bolt on would add a pound to the weight ratings. In some cases, the improvements might add weight which should be factored in to the GCWR. My recommendation to Jeff is, once you have everthing loaded, hitched and ready to roll, find a scale and determine the exact way. Like the quote from the movie, "Aliens," there's only one way to be sure.
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:31 PM   #45
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I agree (w/ hampstead88.) It's easy to say 'you need this' or 'you need that' - and yes, it's true, a 3/4 ton will tow and stop a 25'er easier than a 1/2 ton, and a 1 ton dually even better, and a Peterbilt even better and a diesel locomotive best of all if you put steel wheels on the A/S and pull it on rails. My 2500HD certainly does a better job than my prior Chevy Avalanche with my 28'er in all departments and I wouldn't go back to the Avalanche in my situation. But, there are a number of smaller vehicles out there (1/2 ton truck/truck based SUV) that will tow and stop a 25'er pretty well and still be a decent daily driver, which is the original goal here. A solid 1/2 ton truck with an adequate tow rating and GCVR seems like the ticket to me.
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Old 08-08-2008, 03:40 PM   #46
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So Brad, did you get a truck bed long enough to haul a golf cart to Ft. Wilderness? A short bed can handle it with the tail gate removed.
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Old 08-08-2008, 05:50 PM   #47
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If the GVWR is 6800 lbs and the truck weighs 5600 lbs dry. That gives you 1200 lbs to load on the truck. (1/2 ton truck)
Tongue weight is probably 800 lbs or more. Gas and two people and you're near the limit.
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Old 08-08-2008, 07:47 PM   #48
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You are absolutely right, Hen. My suggestion to Jeff is if he wants a Tundra, go to the Toyota web site (which I just found). There's an interactive tool that allows you to pick any configuration of 2008 Tundra and gives you the curb weight and GVWR. The "spread" varies depending on what model you pick, e.g., the double cab, 4x4, 5.7L V8 has a curb weight of 5445 and a GVWR of 7100. Minus the 800lb hitch weight and you still have a little wiggle room. By the way, this is a pretty good primer on towing (albeit from a Toyota perspective):

http://www.toyotatundraforum.com/PDF...wing_guide.pdf

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Old 08-08-2008, 08:14 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
Perhaps I am missing something, but I have not seen anyone post and say a 3/4 ton truck is nothing more than a 1/2 ton truck with heavier springs.
A Ford F-150 (1/2 ton) is a completely different animal than an F-250 (3/4 ton) and F-350 (1 ton). The (06) F-250 is a lighten spring version of the F-350. The axles are the same.
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Old 08-08-2008, 08:44 PM   #50
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MAN O MAN I'm glad I bought the big truck way before I Ever thought of buyin the Airstream.
I have done a brake job on both my F150 and F350 there is a world of difference in the size of Brake PADS and the Calipers on the F350 they feel like they weight 30 lbs. Bet ya don't find brakes like that on a TOYOTA.
We get 18mpg(7.3 liter)towing the Overland 27ft we have the long wheelbase Crewcab that gives us the ride of a Lincoln.
I just feel safer with a little heavier truck 45 yrs of haulin a little of everything makes one wise when it comes to tow'n
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Old 08-08-2008, 10:36 PM   #51
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Sometimes I lean one way, sometimes another.
If the trailer has brakes. Inspected, adjusted, maintained, I have certain expectations of them. If the trailer's brakes aren't contributing mightily to the scrubbing of energy in a panic stop, I think I'd expect a jackknife.

Panic stop... I had an instructor once who'd hit me in the head if I stabbed at the brakes in a Citabria. Since then I've figured if I had to panic stop, I've already lost. I've never, ever, engaged the antilocks or screeched while pulling a trailer.

Then there are pictures like this from the 1969 Airstream brochure,
and other things, like the 1985 brochure which shows a 34' trailer being towed by a sedan. Presumably this was before they had ratings, so we were OK back then :-)

Seriously, what would the tow rating (in today's terms) of a Travelall or a '70's Suburban have been?

So much of what keeps us in one piece is between the ears.

I used to pull a roughly 27' long (sailplane) trailer with a Honda Accord, a Ranger, and an F150, and knew a guy who pulled one with a Fiero. It was around 7' tall at it's max, no sway control, no weight distribution, no brakes... all up it weighed between 1000 and 1500 pounds. Tongue weight was maybe 40 pounds. It really wasn't a problem, although I didn't like to go very fast with it behind the Honda. Behind the short bed F150 on a bumper hitch, it was fine up to about 78 mph - which I once held most of the way back to Albuquerque from Hobbs (~300 mi), caravanning with some friends after a weekend of flying. The Ranger was a 4 banger, and much above 7000 feet it just didn't go very fast, no matter how hard I wedged the pedal to the floor. It was even slower towing the trailer but it worked after a fashion.

Same sailplane, but different trailer, slightly shorter, much more tongue weight, about a foot lower. Handled badly. Very badly. It shouldn't have, and that's always puzzled me.

So I'm not convinced I know all there is to know on the subject, and I'm especially not convinced that Length and Weight are actually as important as we get comfortable thinking they are. Sure a 3/4 ton will pull lots of things with a comfortable margin, but at some point, someone is paying for the luxury of not figuring things out.

How much is too much to pay? Hire a guy with a Pete to take your trailer somewhere? That's the safest by far, but who can afford it. Pull a 30' with a Tacoma? Clearly nuts. Somewhere, in between those extremes is a large area of possibilities where skill, common sense, prudence, and reason can combine for a satisfying - and safe - experience.
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Old 08-08-2008, 11:20 PM   #52
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Well, the answer is obvious.

F-150
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Old 08-09-2008, 05:31 AM   #53
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The message to listen to in this thread is, do your homework, know your trailer GVWR, know the capacities of your tow vehicle, then when in doubt, defer to engineering science.
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Old 08-09-2008, 07:09 AM   #54
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Yep, I distinctly remember the first Airstream my father bought...1662 31', and he pulled it with his company's 1962 Ford 1/2 ton pickup equipped with a 292 V8, auto and who knows what gear ratio. That thing was sick by it's self, let alone pulling the trailer. We took the rig hunting one year in West Texas, and I thought we would never get there.

Later, he bought a 1/2 ton Suburban with a big block (396?), and drove them for years again pulling 31 footers. They must have changed something because it was in the late 70's, or early 80's he started having trouble with rear wheel bearings and found out he had the truck overloaded, but never had any trouble with handling. And, if you knew how my Dad drove, that's really saying something. Anyway, after he went to a 3/4 ton Suburban, the wheel bearing troubles went away. By the way, my Dad drove trucks for a living when he was young, so he did have some experience, and IMHO, it's more important to have a good, experienced driver, than to have a big super tow vehicle.
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Old 08-09-2008, 08:23 AM   #55
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The opinions I expressed are only mine. I agree with HENW. DO YOUR HOME WORK. LOOK at your surroundings and where U intend on towing too. Then the decision is yours and the comfort level U are at ease with. I also have 45 yrs of experience with big trucks and heavy loads(I was A HEAVY HAULER never legal) Experience level it of great importance. What we are tellin U here is from experience. Read and learn.
Remember ITS ALL ABOUT SAFTEY Not only yours but Mine too. CHOOSE WISELY!
Roger
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:25 AM   #56
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I like my Super Duty. It will tow anything I will ever need it to. If I was to buy another truck new I would make sure it had everything on it from the factory so when something fails they cant blame it on the other guy. I do think Ford had something when they put in the trailer brakeing system.
She is a hard workin truck. I went overkill this time and am glad I did. Never a scarey or tense moment when towing. A relaxeing pleasure to tow with for me. If I got sick my son or girlfriend would have no problem,taking over the helm and I could sleep comfortable. I am sure Dodge and Chevy heavy units are pretty stable also. Toyota Nissan and all the light duty vehicle I couldnt say that for. If I have to factor in weight of plastic bags and incidentals I got the wrong vehicle, I would never want to be in that situation. Price difference isnt much between units. I we hit an antique shop and want to buy. We do. These are just my thought to help you make decissions.
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