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mandolindave 10-03-2007 10:13 AM

How can the new 1/2 tons tow 10K??
Can anyone explain to me why the 2008 pickup trucks and vans have about twice the towing capabilities of the earier versions.

Boondocker 10-03-2007 10:15 AM

Great question! and not to hijack on only the second post, but do they have the breaks and suspensions to go along with all this new found power?

jcanavera 10-03-2007 10:23 AM

Like all evolutions things have changed over the past few years. My experience is with GM vans and I haven't seen any great breakthough on towing capacities. At the time I bought my GMC van in 2004, the 3/4 ton 6 liter gas 4.10 axle had the greatest towing capacity of any GM van built. That capacity was 9,900 lbs. Now they offer a diesel which I'm sure alters that.

Rodney makes a good point about all the other pieces, and I can tell you that my 3/4 ton van suspension, brakes and frame are vastly superior over my 1/2 ton GM van. You can feel it.

Now in the pickup range a lot of the manufacturers have made suspension modifications that in some cases are turning 1/2 ton pickups into 3/4 ton vehicles, even though they are still labeled with the 1/2 ton monikers. My neighbor has a Ford F150 that I really think can be considered a 250 as far as towing is concerned.

Bottom line you really need to research and compare the 1/2 ton vs. 3/4 ton specs on any truck prior to plunking down your hard earned cash. Don't believe the salesman, many have no flying idea. The person who I bought my van from had never had a customer configure a van for towing. She learned a lot from me and even consulted with me after the sale on another customer who was ordering a vehicle for towing.


Minnie's Mate 10-03-2007 10:28 AM


Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
Great question! and not to hijack on only the second post, but do they have the breaks and suspensions to go along with all this new found power?

This is my concern with them and why I went ahead and bought a 3/4 ton when we were planning our purchase. I thought the 1/2 tons, per their specs, could tow the 30' Safari, but I was concerned about the stopping power and the suspension vs. tongue weight.

I also was concerned about the service life as well. I tend to keep a vehicle for 8-10 years and was concerned that towing a 7K LB trailer with a 5.4 V-8 might wear it out too quick. IIRC, the price difference between an F-150 crew cab Lariat and an F-250 crew cab Lariat with V-8 gasser with similar equipment was about $750. That wasn't much so the only real difference was the cost of the diesel engine. Now if I had been planning on trading in 4-5 years, I would have probably saved the cost of the diesel engine and gone with the V-10 engine. IIRC, the V-10 was about $450 extra at the time.

With diesel more expensive than gasoline, I won't recoup the difference in price in better fuel mileage alone, but I feel more at ease about the longevity of the engine and it tows superbly. Plus, at the time, the only way to get the extendible towing mirrors and built-in brake controller was on the F-250. Chevy and Dodge have great 3/4 ton trucks as well, but at the time neither had the built-in brake controller and only Dodge had the extendible tow mirrors.

jcanavera 10-03-2007 10:36 AM


Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
IIRC, the price difference between an F-150 crew cab Lariat and an F-250 crew cab Lariat with V-8 gasser with similar equipment was about $750.

This is a great point because the difference to go from 1/2 ton to 3/4 ton in the van world was really minor for me too. What you get for that minor difference was bigger wheels, brakes, a heavier duty transmission, transmission oil cooler, and more engine/axle options which in turn had minor costs. When comparing actual dollars spent you get a lot for your money by going to 3/4 ton.

Use caution however because if you think 3/4 ton is great, 1 ton would be better. In the van line, 1 ton gives you less towing capacity due to the increased weight of the van frame.


Wayward 10-03-2007 11:25 AM


Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
the price difference between an F-150 crew cab Lariat and an F-250 crew cab Lariat with V-8 gasser with similar equipment was about $750.

Yet going from an F150 up to the F250 with v8 only gives you an additional 100 lbs towing capacity. The F150 with the 5.4 has 11,000 lbs towing capacity while the F250 with the v8 and same rear end gearing has 11,100 lb towing capacity.

As always, tonnage ratings (1/2 ton vs 3/4 ton) apply generaly to raw payload capacity. In the past going up to a 3/4 ton often got you more towing capacity too because of bigger motors, stouter chassis and more rear end gearing selections. Much of this is market segmentation.

The new half tons, like everything else in the industry are getting far better chassis/frame engineering, trannys, cooling, tow options and power. The 1/2 ton market segment is growing, competition is stiff, so among many other things , truck makers are building more towing capacity into the 1/2 tons to compete.

The new generation Tundra is a great example - that is a ground-up new truck: frame/chassis, brakes - you name it. Toyota engineered it's 16,000 lb combined weight rating - they did not just edit the brochure. And have no doubt - Ford will respond in 2009.

The old rules of thumb just do not apply any more. Just look at the specifications - the rules have changed for 1/2 tons.

BillTex 10-03-2007 12:17 PM

Yes, the advertised capacities of trucks can be confusing. But getting a load to move, and safely and comfortably controlling that load over great distances, is two different things. I recall a certain gimmick of someone pulling some silver camper with a bicycle…that doesn’t mean you would want to jump on the freeway and tow 1000 miles.
I have towed with ½ ton trucks and Suburbans and now have a ¾ ton. A ½ ton is a nice compromise between as car and truck. A ¾ ton is NO compromise. It is a tool. A completely different experience. Had I not owned and towed with both I would never believe the difference. I will not tow with anything less again.
Is there some overlap in engine configurations with ½ versus ¾ ton’s? Yes. But a ¾ ton with a small V8 would be aimed at a certain market, I would guess the small 8 heavy duty trucks go to contractors and such, who need the durability of a heavy duty, but don’t necessarily need tow capacity. Of course if you will be towing, you can put large V8’s and diesels in ¾ tons. You cannot, right now, get those in ½ ton trucks. Many of us will tow with whatever we have when we get started. For those in the market, that is the time to get the right tool for the job. ½ tons and towing do not mix well. (Qualifying statement; towing often, long, and over 6000# or so. If you only tow a couple of times a year, or lighter loads, this may not hold true.). Is the ¾ ton a beast around town? Yes. Is it the best towing vehicle we have ever owned? You bet! That white knuckle crap does not inspire frequent expeditions with the AS! Got To go now…packing up for another journey!


bobfowler 10-03-2007 01:28 PM

I tow with a 2000 GMC 3/4 ton cargo van. My van has a 5.0 liter engine and what must be highway gears in the rear. It's OK with the Base Camp, but the 20' Argosy really holds her back on hills. I've been thinking about getting a higher ratio gear set, but I'm also thinking about getting a 3/4 ton 'Burb with a bigger engine...

flitzwhopper 10-03-2007 01:46 PM

the difference between duty and heavy duty or he ain't heavy he's my TV
capacities have to do with an "in the moment" measurement. Spring rates and sizes can be the same but.... Will the axel bearings carry the load? Will the brakes stop the vehicle and will the drive train do the pulling. For the new 1/2 ton units the answer is yes. How long will they operate in a maintenance cycle under continuous use. Not as long as a 3/4 ton. Why? different rear ends - usually fully floating axels in the 3/4's. Different brakes - bigger rotors and more swept area for the pads. Different transmissions and differentials. If all of these are the upgraded devices in the 1/2 ton then there is no difference.

Coastalview 10-03-2007 02:17 PM


Originally Posted by mandolindave
Can anyone explain to me why the 2008 pickup trucks and vans have about twice the towing capabilities of the earier versions.

Can you post some links to these figures?
I just surfed a few truck web sites, and the towing weights look impressive, but they all seem to have a note attached regarding payload capacities to achief these towing limits.
I'm sure you can increase towing capacities, but you will be limited by payload capacity at the same time. You won't get both with any truck.

HiHoAgRV 10-03-2007 02:31 PM

It sounds like a P.T. Barnum routine

"Our new 1/2 ton has more capabilities than Brand X's 3/4 ton! Come by and see the new 2009 models available in November 2007"

BTW - pay no attention to the man behind the curtian:lol:

Safari-Rick 10-03-2007 02:53 PM

I agree with BillTex. But, let's not forget 4:10 rear ends, 4x4wd, increased engine torque. All for a price! The Toyota you see pulling up the 10 lb. container has all the above and is not no $19,900 truck! If you go to Pickup Truck News, Reviews, Community and Help Finding a New or Used Pickup it has some interesting data on all the pickups.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it!


CanoeStream 10-03-2007 03:14 PM

Consider that 11-13% of trailer gross weight must be on the tongue or else you're trying to throw an arrow through the air backwards -- it'll want to switch ends on you. Yes, the drivetrain can pull these Madison Avenue numbers. To fit within the TV payload restriction (better yet -- within 80% of the load capacity) the big BUT is that your 12 year old will have to do the driving with only a quart of gasoline onboard and next to nothing/nobody else in the truck. I'd use the laughing smily here -- but inflated tow capacity is getting pretty *)($*(*%#+_ ridiculous. I exaggerate but they should know better. Somebody is going to get hurt.

Rollerboy 10-03-2007 03:22 PM

not trying to hijack this thread but...
called my chevy dealer to inquire as to how much my van can tow, he says well you have a 2002 gmc 2500 with a 5.4 can tow 13,000 lbs.I think he may be a bit nutty eh?

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