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Old 11-09-2007, 05:16 PM   #1
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Big 3 1/2 Ton vs 3/4 Ton Trucks

I have seen on a number of occasions for the Big 3 V8 "gassers" that they apparently use the same engine in the 3/4 ton truck as they use in the 1/2 ton truck. To me if the 3/4 ton truck is "beefier" (i.e. heavier suspension, higher weight carrying capacity, greater tow capacity, blah, blah, blah), how can that be when the truck is heavier than a 1/2 ton and hence must lug that additional weight around plus whatever extra cargo capacity someone may want to handle. An example would be the 5.4L V8 that alot of F150s have in them. I've seen plenty of F250s with what is apparently the SAME engine. Is the F250's 5.4L "geared or programmed" differently so it can do more for a heavier truck with a potentially heavier (than an F150's capacity) load? All of what I said applies to the Dodge 5.7L Hemi seen in their 1/2 ton trucks and also I've seen in their 2500 Heavy Duty pickups.
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Old 11-09-2007, 05:44 PM   #2
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If you ever have the chance to look in at a shop working on a 3/4 ton with wheels off, take a look at the brakes.
You will not have to measure anything, they are so massive, you will be sold.

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Old 11-09-2007, 06:12 PM   #3
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The engines are essentially the same. The difference is in the driveline and suspensions. Everything is bigger, beefier, heavier, stronger on the HD trucks. The gearing and axle ratios are or can be different on the heavier trucks which help them launch the load easier. For example the Ram 1500 with 5.7 Hemi comes standard with a 3:55 alxle ratio. The 3/4 ton or 2500 will come standard with a 3:73 ratio and that can be upgraded to 4:10.
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:01 PM   #4
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In a perfect world of straight roads and no wind and no semi's and no downhills and every other unforseen occurrence your right the same engine in the lighter 1/2 should outpull the heavier 3/4. But, with curves, bumps, big trucks and wet downhills and other surprises too numerous to mention the heavier suspension and bigger brakes make for a much more stable platform in the 3/4 ton. Tried my buddy's 3/4 5.4 and that engine is not worth having if you want to pull your 25'er. IMHO the only Gassers worth a look are the Ford or Dodge 10 cylinders or the big Chevy 8. something.
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Hunt
In a perfect world of straight roads and no wind and no semi's and no downhills and every other unforseen occurrence your right the same engine in the lighter 1/2 should outpull the heavier 3/4. But, with curves, bumps, big trucks and wet downhills and other surprises too numerous to mention the heavier suspension and bigger brakes make for a much more stable platform in the 3/4 ton. Tried my buddy's 3/4 5.4 and that engine is not worth having if you want to pull your 25'er. IMHO the only Gassers worth a look are the Ford or Dodge 10 cylinders or the big Chevy 8. something.
When I was looking at the '01 Chevy 2500, 2500hd and 1500hd, I looked not only at engines but the drivetrain including rear end differential and brakes. I eliminated any of those with the two piece driveshaft. They are more trouble than they are worth. I then compared the frames of those three models and found the 2500hd had a taller frame from the rear fenderwell to the end of the bumper. I then looked at the rear differential. The 2500hd in both diesel and 8.1 gas had the larger 11.5 ring gear that the 3500 had. The 8.1 and diesel were available with the Allison 5 speed auto trans. When it was over, I chose the 8.1 over the 6.0 due to the beefier components which came with that combination and the fact that I could not afford the extra $ for the diesel. That truck just hit 70,000 miles and has been very dependable.
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Old 11-10-2007, 05:34 AM   #6
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Ok. I can buy all the stuff about axle ratios and beefier components. But in the end a 5.4L in an F150 puts out the SAME HP as a 5.4L in an F250 which is a significantly HEAVIER truck, correct? So it sounds like to me you gotta go with bigger than a 5.4L engine in an F250 to COMPENSATE for the heavier components and greater cargo capacity. I am not even talking about towing anything yet, just moving the truck from A to B.
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Old 11-10-2007, 06:40 AM   #7
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Sure, if you want the 3/4 to be able to go as fast as the 1/2. If the 5.4 or 5.7 won't pull your trailer "fast" enough, then yes, go to a bigger engine. In the case of the Dodge, 5.7 is as big as they get in gas engines. They no longer make the V-10.

Even with the same engines, the 3/4's will out perform the 1/2's when towing. Except maybe when driving down that long, flat, straight, dry road Brad mentioned.
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Old 11-10-2007, 06:45 AM   #8
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I take your point, but the heavier frame and components are worth the weight considering the intented use of each truck. The 5.4 engine is simply the entry level engine for the 3/4 ton truck, the way a six cylinder engine is the base engine for a 1/2 ton. If one wanted a heavier payload than the 1/2 ton, and the lower cost of a smaller engine, the 5.4. is the base model. If one required more power and performance, he would have to spend more money and upgrade to the larger engine.
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:25 AM   #9
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You bring up some good points, but in the GM lineup (that I am aware of-- I don't follow Ford or Dodge all that closely) the 6.0L is only offered in 3/4 ton or higher. There was (not sure if it still is out there) a 1500HD that had the 6.0L engine loaded into it.

Most of the GM 1/2 tons have 4.8L or 5.3L. To get a power boost, you had to go to the 8.1L which from what I can tell is no longer availible, which then leaves you with the Duramax option which is only availible in the 2500 or larger Vans and trucks.

Everything eveyone has said so far though is right on....the real difference in the 1/2 to 3/4 and beyond are brakes, transmissions, hubs, suspensions, axles, differentiales, frames, etc. Then engines aren't the issue, they have enough power, you just need to match the engine with the application. For example, if you have a 25 to 28, maybe 30' Airstream, the 6.0L is more than enough. Less than 25', 1/2 ton and a 5.3L.

Larger than 30' and you intend to fully load it up maxing out the NCC to reach the full GVWR, you might just be leaning toward the Duramax....IMHO, at 34' with or without a slide, I think your doing more than just leaning toward a Duramax.
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:49 AM   #10
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Went from an F-250 with a V-10 to a GMC 2500 with a 6.0 to pull a 25' AS. I gave up some power, but the better ride and creature comforts were worth the trade.

I suspect that if there was an Airstream Forum back in the fifties, there would be plenty of posts on the virtues of pulling with a Buick Roadmaster vs. an IH 4x4 with a service body! And there would be some clown touting the virtues of pulling a Bambi with a Toyopet.
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:16 AM   #11
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Good post!
Another thing to keep in mind; the 3/4 ton with small block gassers are the "entry" level of the HD trucks. Yes you can get the hemi in a 1/2 ton and a 3/4 ton, but you can also step up to the diesel or ?(does Chysler offer a bb?) or Ford's equivalent as you found out is the 5.4 versus the V10 bb. For GM it is a 6.0 versus the diesel (why they did away with the 8.1 we'll never know?).
So yes, you can get all the other "good stuff" like bigger brakes, higher payload. etc and an entry level small block with a 3/4 ton. These are often marketed to contractors as "wd" packages (stripped down-no options,hd chassis to haul a lot of crap in the bed, but not any big time towing, so they put in a small gasser) But if you are towing big, I would go for the big ponies, not just the chassis...

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Old 11-10-2007, 11:27 AM   #12
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I have had a gas F-250 and it was anemic. It also had a manual transmission. Both were a mistake. Of course when I bought the truck I did notenvision towing a 31 ft trailer. I had envisioned a small boat.

The 250 will carry more but it does not accelerate as well as the F-150.
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Old 11-10-2007, 12:16 PM   #13
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What to tow with?

I find what you guys have to say about the 1/2 ton vs the 3/4 ton trucks confusing. I never have understood how to know what is the best vehicle to tow your particular trailer.
I have a 31' international land yacht dry weight 4960, tongue weight 490. I pull it with a silverado 1/2 ton. I live in Colorado, I easily do 65-70 on a straight road in drive (not overdrive) and about 40-50 going up the mountains.
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Old 11-10-2007, 04:00 PM   #14
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Solitaire: Your 70' 31' weighs about the same as my 07' 25'. The 3/4 will stop much more efficiently. I am curious, what motor does your Silverado have and what RPMs are you making at 70 mph. The 40-50 mph in the mountains, is that because the engine is straining or because thats the safest way to travel in the mountains? (I live in IL. and all of my pulling is in flatter country so I don't know).

All I know is that with Ford 7.3s or Cummins 5.9s you don't ever worry about Engine lug or running in drive instead of overdrive and at 60-70 mph your showing only 1700-2000 rpms. 3/4 tons are only slightly more expensive than 1/2 tons that I guess I am just skewed that way.
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