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Old 12-01-2011, 08:29 AM   #1
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Interesting.....

As some of you know, I used to tow a 25' with a 1/2 ton GMC pickup, 5.3L engine, four speed trans, 3.73 gears, and later, 4.10 gears. I was dissatisfied with it, so I traded for my current 3/4 ton Diesel....all is well.

Yesterday I had a unique expereince. Helping a friend decide if his later model 1/2 GMC truck would pull a 31' trailer, we hooked it up to another friends 31' trailer with a ProPride hitch. This truck is basically the same as I had, except for two things, the gears are 3.42, and the transmission is the new 6 speed.

He asked me several times if the truck would pull the trailer, and I always told it it would, but didn't know if it would do it to his satisfaction. Anyway, trying to keep it short, the truck did a wonderful job. It towed the 30', a slide out, so it's heavy, better than my 1/2 ton towed my 25'. I was amazed.

We towed it up IH10 to Comfort to get it into some hills, and it easily went up hills in fouth gear, 65 MPH, that my 1/2 ton would have been in second gear, screaming at 4K RPM, and 50 MPG. I cannot think of anything other than the transmission that made the difference.
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Old 12-01-2011, 08:36 AM   #2
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While picking up my trailer from the repair shop yesterday, I spoke with a gentleman about the very same thing. I found it interesting that a 1/2 ton pickup comes with a 6-speed tranny and he also told me that the towing capacity on the Z71 package was at 9500 pounds. If that is true, then that is significant for a 1/2 ton.
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:16 AM   #3
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"I used to tow a 25' with a 1/2 ton GMC pickup, 5.3L engine, four speed trans, 3.73 gears, and later, 4.10 gears. I was dissatisfied with it, so I traded for my current 3/4 ton Diesel....all is well."

Steve,
We had exactly that truck when we bought our AS this spring. After one trip, like you, we upgraded to the Dmax/Allison. Nice to hear the new GMCs can do the job. Hope the tranny holds up over the long run like ours should.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:27 AM   #4
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Even more interesting, but sort of scary.

Yesterday, I helped the same friend go and get a near new 31', 2011 Airstream close to Houston. (about 250 miles each way) The issue was, the trailer did not come with a WD hitch. And since his existing hitch (a Reese Dual Cam with the bolted on cams) will go with his existing trailer he has for sale, and since he didn't want to drill any holes in the new trailer because he wants to go with a ProPride, we decided to tow it home with only a ball, but we would use my 3/4 ton truck.

I was not crazy about the idea, but it was the only practical thing to do. In short, it was non eventful. We brought the trailer home without a problem. It did "wiggle" around a little when we had cross winds, and when the direction of the road was such that the winds were at our side, we drove slower. We could definately feel the passing trucks and such. However, there were long stretches of IH10 where the wind was directly at our back, and we were cruising along at 65 with the cruise control, hand poised for quick access to the trailer brakes.

I would not recommend doing this, but Airstreams are great towing trailers.
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:27 AM   #5
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The "1/2 ton" trucks have come a long way. My 2009 F150 is rated to tow 11,300# with a 5.4L gas engine and six speed transmission. I would add two observations to the published numbers....

We tow with a ProPride hitch. It has made all the difference as far as sway. Originally we had a Reese W/D setup.

Second when I park my F150 next to my buddies older F250, It is hard to miss that they are the same overall size. I would put forth that in order to compete in the "towing wars" the truck manufactures have upsized the trucks in order to reach the higher towing capacity.
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:34 AM   #6
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Still the GVWR of the new 1/2-ton trucks, even with stronger V-8s and better transmissions, is their big limiting factor in towing and hauling.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:09 PM   #7
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I have never been happy with rear ends like 4.10 or 3.73. The engine seems to be always racing. I currently own a 2011 Chevy 1/2 ton 5.3 liter with 3.42 rear end and 6 speed trans. It pulls my 28' Safari with ease.
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Old 12-03-2011, 11:51 AM   #8
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Trying to decide

I'm about to order a new truck (Dodge 4x4 ) and still can't decide on a 1/2 or 3/4 ton. Every maufacturer has certainly improved the towing capacities in all their 1/2 tons. My big issues with the Dodge 1/2 ton are 20" wheels and only room for a 17' temporary spare , as well as the coil spring suspension. I talked to a guy at the dealership who had to add air bags to their 1/2 ton truck in order to tow his 26' SOB , so tongue weight must be an issue . Also to get max towing on the 1/2 ton it requires a 3.92 rear end. My current truck is a Dodge 2500 4x4 and has been a great truck but I'm at 142,000 miles and would like a new one. It sure is not any easy decision on what to buy.
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:46 AM   #9
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Heres a comparison of a -ton 2009 GMC Sierra 1500 and a -ton 2009 GMC Sierra 2500:
Sierra 1500 Curb wt: 4,558 lbs; GVWR: 6,100 lbs; GCWR: 9,500 lbs
Sierra 2500 Curb wt: 5,276 lbs; GVWR: 9,200 lbs; GCWR: 15,926 lbs
If towing an 8,000 lb Airstream with the -ton Sierra 1500, well be at the allowable GVWR and GCWR with just the tongue weight (800 lbs), passengers (400 lbs) and fuel (200 lbs) before we add any cargo to the truck bed or cab. The -ton Sierra 2500, on the other hand, could handle a ton of cargo in addition to the tongue weight, passengers and fuel.
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Old 12-05-2011, 01:33 PM   #10
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Nice Side-By-Side

Thanks for the interesting side-by-side comparison stats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBinKC View Post
Heres a comparison of a -ton 2009 GMC Sierra 1500 and a -ton 2009 GMC Sierra 2500:
Sierra 1500 Curb wt: 4,558 lbs; GVWR: 6,100 lbs; GCWR: 9,500 lbs
Sierra 2500 Curb wt: 5,276 lbs; GVWR: 9,200 lbs; GCWR: 15,926 lbs
If towing an 8,000 lb Airstream with the -ton Sierra 1500, well be at the allowable GVWR and GCWR with just the tongue weight (800 lbs), passengers (400 lbs) and fuel (200 lbs) before we add any cargo to the truck bed or cab. The -ton Sierra 2500, on the other hand, could handle a ton of cargo in addition to the tongue weight, passengers and fuel.
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:59 PM   #11
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I pull my 25' Safari with a 2010 Silverado 1500. It pulls like a champ with the 6 speed tranny. I think it is a great setup for my purposes, but that is just my opinion.

There is a downside to this rig. You really have to keep an eye on what you put in or load onto the truck or it gets overloaded very quickly. By the time I put in my generator, a tool box, me and the DW, the tongue weight of the trailer almost puts the truck at it's maximum cargo capacity. I have only additional capacity for a few hundred pounds of "optional" stuff in the truck. So most things end up in the trailer.

I end up grossing between 11,500 and 12,000 lbs when I'm loaded to travel, with only 10 to 20 gallons of fresh water.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:17 PM   #12
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My 2011 f150 has the 3.5 liter turbo gas engine and has a max tow capacity of 11300lb and a GCWR of 17000 lbs.
It pulls my 31 foot Airstream effortlessly. 365 hp and 420ftlb of torque.
Very impressive. My truck is a supercab with 8 foot box. Really long but boy does it smooth out the bumps in the road.
Al
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