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Old 10-17-2008, 07:59 PM   #1
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One ton purchase unwise?

We recently bought a 2005 Classic 30 and towed it home from Ohio with our 1/2T extended cab 4x4 Sierra.

Power didn't seem too much of a problem, (its pretty flat around here!) but I did notice some sway and at times felt that we just didn't have enough truck for the job.

In addition to ordering a Hensley hitch - which I haven't installed yet - I decided that we would be wise to move to a larger truck, particularly as we like to travel the SW USA in winter.

Based on what I had seen on this forum, I had pretty much decided on
a 2500HD diesel - maybe an 07 or an 08.

Now however, our local GMC dealer has a bunch of 3500 diesel's - supposedly all GM exec. driven models, with very low mileage, tow packages, crew cabs, short box, brake controllers, leather interior etc.

I think I could get a good deal on one of these.

I am a bit concerned however about comments I have read here about one ton trucks having a much stiffer suspension to the point that they can damage the trailer - loosening rivets etc.

Is this enough of a concern that I should give these one ton trucks a miss? Does a modern one ton truck really ride much rougher than a 3/4 ton? Maybe I'd better take a few test rides!

This is about the only factor causing me to have doubts about opting for the one ton if the price is right. I don't really have a feel for whether this is a serious issue or just opinion that it "might" cause a problem.

I know that a 3/4 ton would be plenty of truck for my trailer, but what the dealer happens to have is 1 ton models, five of them!

Anyone's real life experience towing with a 3500 much appreciated

Thanks ......... Brian, Burlington Ont.
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:22 PM   #2
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I have a one ton dually. The one tons have helpers full leaf springs in the back to carry the heavy loads. Take a look under the truck at the spring setup and you will see what I mean. When you are trailering you never get into the helper springs ever contacting their mounts at the end so you really do not get the stiff suspension until you put a real heavy load into the back of the truck. The ride (as evaluated from the driver's seat when running down the same rough city road at moderate speed) was smoother with the one ton than it was running down the same road 1/2 hour earlier on a test run with a HD 2500. You might also run the tire pressures down a bit in the back of the one ton (keeping within the recommended loading range for the tires) to lower the stiffness a bit. Rough roads are rough on trailers even with a soft sprung car for a tv. I did have substancial damage to my 77 after 6,000 miles of some rough Canadian highways towing with the dually. The stiff suspension will likely just damage the area closes to the hitch as that is where it moves the trailer around. I would stay away from any stiff 1000 pound bars or stiff WD bars for the Hensely or the really stiff bars that come with the Equalizer type hitches. I think they impart too much torque on the trailer and you really do not need the weight redistribution for the truck as it was designed to be able to handle a big load in the box without any WD stuff.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:54 PM   #3
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Unless it's a slide out, I would shy away from a 1 tonner....heck, even without a slide the 1 tonner is just too harsh of a ride. Look for a 3/4 diesel and I think you'll be pretty satisfied.
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Old 10-17-2008, 10:13 PM   #4
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Yeah, why would you want a one ton.... way to much truck for the trailer.... did you have sway control on it when you towed it?? try your new hitch before getting a new truck!!!
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Old 10-18-2008, 12:12 AM   #5
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3/4 ton with overload springs

Thats pretty much what a 1 ton is. I have a dodge 3500 that tows my bambi ( I like the power) rides the same as my brothers 2500 same year same cummins diesel engine. Only differnece are the overload/ helper springs that only come into play when very heavy load compresses the main spring pack till it hits the overloads. 1 ton will have better re-sale and all have cab lights that increase visibility . I have a single axle as the duels tend to hit stuff cause they are so wide. Buy what you like, dont' let anyone tell you a 1 ton pickup is too much truck. You should air your tires accordingly to what your towing regardless of the vehicle.
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Old 10-18-2008, 01:51 AM   #6
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Towing on paved roads is not a big issue. What has not been mentioned yet is when towing on less than good pavement with a 3/4 or 1 ton, especially washboard, the tv besides transferring more shock and vibration to the trailer trasfers even more to the passengers. While the truck jackhammers down the road, with passengers teeth chattering, the wheels also tend to bounce from bump to bump resulting in loss of contact with the road and less steering control. Unless you take the "damn the torpedos, full speed ahead" approach you will be towing very, very slowly.
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi View Post
I have a one ton dually. The one tons have helpers full leaf springs in the back to carry the heavy loads. Take a look under the truck at the spring setup and you will see what I mean. When you are trailering you never get into the helper springs ever contacting their mounts at the end so you really do not get the stiff suspension until you put a real heavy load into the back of the truck. The ride (as evaluated from the driver's seat when running down the same rough city road at moderate speed) was smoother with the one ton than it was running down the same road 1/2 hour earlier on a test run with a HD 2500. You might also run the tire pressures down a bit in the back of the one ton (keeping within the recommended loading range for the tires) to lower the stiffness a bit. Rough roads are rough on trailers even with a soft sprung car for a tv. I did have substancial damage to my 77 after 6,000 miles of some rough Canadian highways towing with the dually. The stiff suspension will likely just damage the area closes to the hitch as that is where it moves the trailer around. I would stay away from any stiff 1000 pound bars or stiff WD bars for the Hensely or the really stiff bars that come with the Equalizer type hitches. I think they impart too much torque on the trailer and you really do not need the weight redistribution for the truck as it was designed to be able to handle a big load in the box without any WD stuff.
Thanks for the info. I did meet a guy with a fifth wheel when we were coming home with the new Trailer a few weeks back. He had a 1 ton and showed me the helper springs. He said they never came into play with his fifth wheel.

A assumed though - maybe incorrectly - that in addition to the helpers, the main springs would be stiffer as well with a 1 ton compared to 3/4, both at rear and front.

I do have a brand new hensley, not installed yet, and I think that the bars are 1000#, not sure if they sell lighter bars.

Brian
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:08 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie View Post
Unless it's a slide out, I would shy away from a 1 tonner....heck, even without a slide the 1 tonner is just too harsh of a ride. Look for a 3/4 diesel and I think you'll be pretty satisfied.
Well, I expected to get opposing replies - just figured I'd look at the whole picture and see if I could draw any reasonable conclusions! Did you at one time tow with a one ton truck and decide it was too harsh?

Thanks ...... Brian
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:21 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by purman View Post
Yeah, why would you want a one ton.... way to much truck for the trailer.... did you have sway control on it when you towed it?? try your new hitch before getting a new truck!!!
Not so much that I "want" a one ton, just that in my local search I haven't come across any recent 3/4 ton 4x4 trucks equipped the way i would want, and all of a sudden, my local GMC dealer has 5 one tonners all diesel, low mileage, equipped for towing. All that I want, except being one ton rather than 3/4 ton.

I know I don't need one ton - just trying to get a feel as to whether it would be a really bad move to buy one rather than waiting for a deal on a 3/4 ton!


Thanks .............. Brian.
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post

I do have a brand new hensley, not installed yet, and I think that the bars are 1000#, not sure if they sell lighter bars.

Brian
Good day neighbor...

We live down near Ikea. Airstreams tow very easily. The Hensley will make a huge difference. Hook it up to your present truck and enjoy the ride.

PS.. I see you like the Brit sports cars. My first two vehicles were an Austin Mini 850 and then a Mini 1000. They weren't Cooper S's but still fun to drive!.
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:35 AM   #11
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You might well find with the Hensley that you half tonner is plenty. On the other hand, I've got an '08 GMC 3/4 with diesel / Allison, and the fuel economy is pretty good power is startling, and passing is easy on two lane roads. On the other hand, I'm only pulling an little 23 footer!

One note: if you're going heavy duty, check out the tire pressure monitoring system and how it works. Mine goes nuts if I try to reduce the tire pressures from "max" to "reasonable" pressures for the job at hand.
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:37 AM   #12
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The one ton rear springs are NOT just 3/4 with helpers added.

Been at Chevy stores quite a few years now, both models are GREAT trucks. If they are serious about selling you one of those in stock one toners, they should let you use it over a weekend for evaluation. We have done that more than once recently. The market is way down now and believe me they want to move them. Check carefully the hitch height, you will need at least an 8 inch drop stinger for your HAHA. I have driven a lot of different one tons, and I think the GM offerings are among the best riding.
Point of interest...have seen quite a few with smashed rear fenders, mostly from sharp turns with a fifth wheel. Watch those mirrors on your road tests!!!!
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:44 AM   #13
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Brian, I suspect that most coments you will hear about a ton truck are from non owners of a new one ton.With Ford ( which is what I am familiar with) The new trucks are much more tractable than the trucks of yor. I have a 1994 1/2 F350 4x4 that is very harsh. It is a 7.3 diesel. I tow my '67 with it, I run my tire PSI as low as possible ,don't tow over 60(the truck will go like hell) and don't use a load leveler hitch. I have tubs of power and NO sway or handling problems. I use this truck cause I already own it- so I have addapted.
That being said the 2008 F350, single or duell rear wheel is a MUCH improved beast! I worked for Ford at thier Volvo proving ground in Wittman Az a few years ago. The springs on the new Fords are much softer than the older model. We did many spring swaps while the engineers played with differant spring rates. The leaf length on the new models is about 8 inches longer,and the leaf is tapered giving it a progresive load rate as it is compressed. It is not just helper springs that make a ton truck a ton truck. The entire spring pack is differant.
Also a load leveler hitch will impart a significant amout of stiffness to your Airstream. Be very carefull with overly stiff load bars. John
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:50 AM   #14
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I may well wind up trying the 1/2 ton with the Hensley. It towed fine on the way home from Ohio with the new (to us) AS.

The only time I started feeling any sway was when running at about 65mph - which I suppose I shouldn't be doing anyway! I expect that the Hensley will take care of that.

the 1/2 ton power seemed adequate, but then it is pretty flat between here and Ohio, We head to SW USA most winters and I don't want to be labouring up those hills at 30mph! My truck does have a 4.11 diff though so it might be ok. Maybe we will find out!

My trailer is pretty heavy though, I think the light weight is 7300# and the GVW is 8700#.

That is getting pretty close to the max tow rating for my present truck - 9100# as i recall. I have been taking to heart the 80% rule that most people quote, which is why I was figuring to go for a 3/4 ton truck.

Only reason I was now considering a 1T is that Leggat's here in Burlington have five of the suckers - all diesel, top of the line models, with low mileage.




Not so much into Brit sports cars these days although I do have a fully restored and much modified 79 Mini in the garage that has won a few prizes. I sold a TR6 a few years back and got into bikes after many years away - presently have a Goldwing 1800 that I love!

Nice to be retired and have time to play with these toys!


Cheers ....... Brian
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