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Old 05-04-2019, 05:14 PM   #1
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Switching from 1/2 ton to 3/4 or 1 ton

All,

I've been following threads but haven't seen this explicitly mentioned (nor did a search turn up anything; likely searching poorly) so I am asking it here.

I have a 1/2 ton (F150, but this is a somewhat generic question) with which I tow a 27' Flying Cloud front bed with a tongue weight in the 800-900 lb territory. Tow weight is fine but payload is more iffy. I am fine for now but in a couple of years we are wanting to spend more time on the road and will also start carrying more weight (generator, topper, kayaks).

So, my question is; what do I need to change in the hitch or other if I am replacing a 1/2 ton with, say, a 1 ton? I currently have a Equalizer hitch with 1,000 lb bars. I would imagine that something like an Air Safe would be good? Should I reduce the bar weight down some? I can drop the hitch at the same height and I guess I could measure the front-end deflection as a first shot at weight distribution, but I am not sure how much it is even necessary (other than sway) with a one-ton. Maybe it is with a 3/4 ton.

At this point it is an intellectual exercise but I am a scientist and love intellectual exercises :-) I'm not looking for exact details, but a rough set of concepts to deal with when taking the same trailer to a different truck with different specs.

Thanks! And yes I could have posted this in the hitch thread but didn't want to battle with people telling me I need to get a Hensley. :-)
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Old 05-04-2019, 05:46 PM   #2
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I tow a 27FBT with a 2017 CCLB 6.7 super duty and use a shocker hitch. Works for me
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Old 05-04-2019, 05:57 PM   #3
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I think the same Equalizer with the 1000 bars would still work fine on the 3/4 ton. If you are happy with the hitch now...? I prefer a different hitch but that is just me. I pull with a 3/4 ton and I consider the WD necessary. I would also think WD is necessary on a 1 ton. I have been on lots of caravans. Out of hundreds of rigs I have never seen a WBCCI caravan trailer of any size from 16' to 34 being pulled without a WD hitch. So it is certainly not a common practice among one experienced group of Airstreamers. I have seen a lot of them pulling all sizes with a 150 and carrying a lot of stuff. But I suspect it depends upon just what 150 one has.
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Old 05-04-2019, 06:02 PM   #4
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Not sure you would need to change your hitch at all. The bars are there to transfer the tongue weight. If 1000lb bar works for the F150 it will work great for the 3/4 ton. I have a propride and the bar size is dependent upon the tongue weight and not the size of the truck.

The Air Safe might make for a softer ride, but lots of people tow with 3/4 ton a normal hitch set up. Any reason for going with the Air Safe?
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Old 05-04-2019, 06:03 PM   #5
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Do you need a 1 ton? Are brakes bigger on the 1 ton? Are the axles bigger or is it just bigger springs. I would back off the load distribution bars some unless you are at payload capacity. You could run without the Airsafe but I would pay attention to broken rivets etc and signs of extreme vibration.



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Old 05-04-2019, 06:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daquenzer View Post
Not sure you would need to change your hitch at all. The bars are there to transfer the tongue weight. If 1000lb bar works for the F150 it will work great for the 3/4 ton. I have a propride and the bar size is dependent upon the tongue weight and not the size of the truck.

The Air Safe might make for a softer ride, but lots of people tow with 3/4 ton a normal hitch set up. Any reason for going with the Air Safe?
At this time I'm just thinking about it and in another thread a person was setting up a one ton and used the Air Safe. I suppose it would depend on what kind of roads I was going to be traveling on. Smooth asphalt, pitted asphalt or some occasional dirt roads for boon docking in the west. I was basically thinking to reduce the shock to the AS with the stiffer suspension in a one ton. But perhaps if I load it up anyway the suspension will be more compliant.
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Old 05-04-2019, 06:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
Do you need a 1 ton? Are brakes bigger on the 1 ton? Are the axles bigger or is it just bigger springs. I would back off the load distribution bars some unless you are at payload capacity. You could run without the Airsafe but I would pay attention to broken rivets etc and signs of extreme vibration.



Perry
I do not know. When we start to set up for the future I will weigh things out and decide what I need. I have seen some payload numbers for 3/4 ton Fords with the diesel and they aren't super high. It will depend on how much I want to load it up, but I am pretty sure that from a payload perspective I will want a 3/4 ton as I am bumping up against that limit with my current set up when I take the grandkids and have things loaded up.
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Old 05-04-2019, 06:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
I think the same Equalizer with the 1000 bars would still work fine on the 3/4 ton. If you are happy with the hitch now...? I prefer a different hitch but that is just me. I pull with a 3/4 ton and I consider the WD necessary. I would also think WD is necessary on a 1 ton. I have been on lots of caravans. Out of hundreds of rigs I have never seen a WBCCI caravan trailer of any size from 16' to 34 being pulled without a WD hitch. So it is certainly not a common practice among one experienced group of Airstreamers. I have seen a lot of them pulling all sizes with a 150 and carrying a lot of stuff. But I suspect it depends upon just what 150 one has.
Thank you! I am happy with my current set up but I've never used anything else (my first camper). But I feel comfortable with the feedback I get from the trailer without feeling that it is steering the truck, even in some pretty good breezes. Just from the sway perspective and the overall balance it seems smart to use a WD/anti-sway hitch with that much tongue weight anyway, no matter what you are pulling it with.
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Old 05-04-2019, 06:52 PM   #9
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I'm towing a 30 foot airstream with an f250 using the same equalizer hitch I used to tow a 25 foot airstream with an f150.

Just set the hitch up with the new truck like you are starting from scratch.
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:39 AM   #10
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My 2500 is several inches taller than 1500, and I did have to buy a longer shank from Equailzer. Then set up from scratch as already recommended

3/4 tons are real trucks. Half tons are half cars. (If you have owned both, you get this.) 3/4 tons are very capable at Airstream levels. I looked briefly at 3500. The difference in those and 2500 are springs and axles, that equals a rough ride. 2500 rides rough unloaded already, and I don't think Airstream even approaches weight limits, so my opinion is 1 ton is overkill. (WD tag along trailer limit is 13k pounds on my 2500HD. My trailer is max 8900.)

If you are pulling 14k gooseneck equipment trailer every day, then go 1 ton!

Door sticker on my 2500 has 3322lb payload. That covers anything my 30 foot travel trailer can hold, plus any camping junk I want to throw in the bed.

My .02 worth. I really do think you will be much happier with moving up from the half ton, that's a good decision. The HD trucks have much better transmissions, differentials, axle ratings, and really nice big big brakes. I do think the 3/4 ton is a sweet spot for bigger Airstreams.
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:14 AM   #11
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Hi

There are a lot more similarities between the F150/F250/F350 than back 20 years ago. *YES* you get a different set of options as you move up the line. Things like brakes and the cab and the interior (and the ride) are not as big a difference as they used to be. My F250 is just about same / same vs the base F350 payload wise.

Does that mean there are zero differences? No, of course not. What it means is that there is a wide range of vehicles in each "badge" and that they overlap. Back years ago, you hopped into a F350 (or even a F250) and you *knew* it was different than a F150. Drive around the block and there was no doubt about it. Today ... not so much.

So, shop for the features you need. Shop for the payload you need. Don't bother a lot with the badge on the truck. If it turns out to be a base F350 and not a loaded up F250 that's not a big deal.

Hitch wise, the receiver on the F250's and F350's is big. They give you a reducer to get it back to the "normal" size. Some are not really excited about this and get a big shank to fit the receiver without a reducer.

Any time you buy a truck there is the chance it's higher or lower off the ground than the old one. Will the shank adjust to fit? Who knows / that depends. Maybe a good excuse to put a lift kit on the Airstream

The first question to ask any time you start worrying about payload is: "Do we really *need* all this crap?" I'm suggesting that most of us ( .... errr ... all of us ...) haul around stuff we never use / never need / can't find if we needed it. Just how many wrench sets do I ... errr ... you ... need? Why are there two in the truck and three in the trailer ... errr .... . Far cheaper to leave the rock collection home than to buy a new truck ....

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Old 05-05-2019, 08:19 AM   #12
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I tow the same trailer with a SRW F-350 6.7 diesel CC. My payload sticker says 3393. I use a fast lane WD hitch and it does just fine. I love having the payload to do anything I want. I don’t see any reason to get a 250. The extra money to get a lot of additional capacity is minimal. If you want any specific measurements let me know!

Almost forgot the receiver is 2.5” on the super duty trucks so you will need a sleeve or a new drop bar. I went the drop bar route much better IMO.

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Old 05-05-2019, 08:34 AM   #13
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Good point on the receiver difference, eagle keeper. Best to get an upsized shank than to use the adapters, which have been known to wallow out on the Fords and on my GM it resulted in a noticeable clunk when pulling away from a stop.
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle Keeper View Post
Almost forgot the receiver is 2.5Ē on the super duty trucks so you will need a sleeve or a new drop bar.
FYI: On some trucks, using an adapter sleeve de-rates the towing capacity of the hitch.
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Old 05-05-2019, 09:52 AM   #15
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Rent versus buy and WD hitch stops noise

We live on Vancouver Island. Recently saw some research that shows the average person uses their car 4% of the time. This got me wondering about renting a 3/4 ton when I need it versus replacing my Silverado 1/2 ton.
We are doing 3 to 4 monthly home exchanges around the world, we winter in Mexico by renting condos, and we live at a lake.
Thus if I did want to do a month long tow in the Rockies, renting a truck beat the purchase by a huge amount.
We Canadians have politicians who are likely going to see us have $8.00 gallon gas (4 litres) this summer, so renting a diesel may be my best option. There are lots of them available because of the industrial use of HD trucks.

The first time I tried a WD hitch it eliminated the rattle you get from the ball on rough roads. When we lived in the cold and the dark (Regina) it was always an 8 hour haul, we love the peace and quiet you get from a WD hitch.
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Old 05-05-2019, 10:18 AM   #16
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Old 05-05-2019, 03:31 PM   #17
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Thanks all for the info, all! I am sure I will be adding enough stuff to go for the 3/4 ton so I will probably look at the door stickers on the appropriately spec'd trucks when I'm ready and if it is over about 2500 lbs I will probably be fine. Mostly I was wondering about the hitch so thanks for the info on sleeves. With the AS, none of them are heavy enough to approach the towing limit even for my F150 (11,000lbs) so it is really about payload for me. I will almost certainly not load it up with four wheelers and things I have seen others have in their bed so a 3/4 ton may be more than sufficient. I am not too concerned about a rough ride because it will not be a daily driver and when I do drive it I expect to have it loaded sufficiently to smooth out the ride.

Anyway, thanks for giving me some things to consider.
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:29 PM   #18
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Hey there, I also live in Frederick. I tow my 30 footer with a Ford F250 and a diesel. We tow cross country every year so we cross the Rockies and other mountain ranges out there every year and a diesel in my opinion is the only way to go. It is just so much easier, plus I can maintain highway speed, even accelerate if need be going up any mountain grade.
I went up and back to Rocky Gap state park this weekend, and there are a few steep grades, Sideling Hill for example. With the diesel brake and the push button shift on the gear selector, I don't even have to touch the brakes at all when going down these steep grades. The diesel pulls like the trailer is not even back there. It makes it so effortless if you pay attention to the grades. I pulled with a 5.7L Tundra for several years before that.
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:40 PM   #19
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I am not sure he is on here anymore, but InlandAndy had a lot of experience over many decades. His rule was use 1000 lb. WD bars with a car, 750/800 lb. WD bars with a half ton pickup, and 550/600 lb. WD bars with a 3/4 or 1 ton pickup. The theory being that the stronger truck did not need as much weight transfer, but their stiff suspensions would beat up the trailer (front end separation, popped interior rivets, etc.). This recommendation was totally independent of the tongue weight of the Airstream. The WD bars were important as much for sway control as WD on a heavy truck. I have been successfully using 550/600 lb. WD bars with my 3/4 ton pickup for years following his philosophy. Some will likely disagree with this theory. I provide it to get you thinking.
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Old 05-06-2019, 05:27 AM   #20
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I am not sure he is on here anymore, but InlandAndy had a lot of experience over many decades. His rule was use 1000 lb. WD bars with a car, 750/800 lb. WD bars with a half ton pickup, and 550/600 lb. WD bars with a 3/4 or 1 ton pickup. The theory being that the stronger truck did not need as much weight transfer, but their stiff suspensions would beat up the trailer (front end separation, popped interior rivets, etc.). This recommendation was totally independent of the tongue weight of the Airstream. The WD bars were important as much for sway control as WD on a heavy truck. I have been successfully using 550/600 lb. WD bars with my 3/4 ton pickup for years following his philosophy. Some will likely disagree with this theory. I provide it to get you thinking.
I have seen some similar comments about reducing the bar size but I would want to have a chat with Equalizer before I did so. The weight pushing on those bars is also the main mechanism for sway control with that hitch so I would be reluctant to reduce it much. The stiff suspension is why I would consider something like an AirSafe. Good thing about this process; I can do it in steps that are reversible!
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