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1/2 vs 3/4 Tow Rig

 
Old 09-09-2018, 11:19 AM
  #21  
TrackAire
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First thing, take the fuel economy equation out of your thought process......since you drive so little per year towing (3500 miles) you'll never recoup your costs. Just some basic math, which I'm sure you've already done. But people worry about how much mpg a truck gets. The true thing to look at is what did it cost per trip?

If your gasoline powered tow vehicle gets 9 mpg while towing, then at $3.00 per gallon (gasoline) for 3500 miles of towing, your fuel cost would be around $1166.00
If your diesel powered tow vehicle gets 13 mpg while towing, then at $3.50 per gallon (diesel) for 3500 miles of towing, your fuel cost would be around $942.00

I've owned 4 diesels and towed my 24' enclosed trailer with AC's on top, Vette inside, etc. On flat ground towing, I get nearly the exact same mileage whether there is a car inside or no car inside. Weight will only really matter on take off, braking and most importantly climbing hills. Once at cruising speed on flat ground, what is killing you is the huge aerodynamic drag an enclosed trailer has. Flat nose, V nose, slop nose is not going to matter much. There is still surface area and that creates air friction. I usually tow at 68 to 70 mph and that really causes my mileage in both my 2007 F350 6.0 diesel and my 2016 F350 6.7 diesel to suck. I usually average 10-11 mpg at those speeds. If I could keep it at the California legal 55 mph, I'd probably get 12-13 mpg. It is not worth the extra fuel cost to put up with being so slow compared to flow of traffic....dangerous in my opinion. I also tow an all steel bed heavy duty 20' equipment trailer with pallets of product on it. With no load on the trailer, I'm at a combined 14,000 lbs going through the scale at the dumps. With 4 pallets of product on the trailer and driving at 60-65 mph, I get an easy 14 mpg due to the much lower aerodynamic drag, yet I'm at a combined weight of 18000 lbs. What is amazing is I was getting the same mileage out of my 2007 diesel as I get out of my 2016 diesel. At the end of the day, it takes X amount of fuel to move Y amount of trailer at your desired speed. Modern trucks are all very comparable in efficiency. Headwinds and vehicle speed are going to effect your mpg more than anything else, period.

Here is a good article on trailer aero from Peter Brock (the Shelby guy) that explains the issues with enclosed trailers. I'm not suggesting buying his trailer, but it will give you an insight as to enclosed trailer efficiency, etc.:
https://www.bre2.net/aerovault.info/the-aerovault/

If you don't need a large vehicle full time, the idea of renting a truck from Enterprise is brilliant. Towing 12 times a year for under 300 miles per round trip....it is a very viable option.

Also, I've had the late 90's GM SUV's and the mid 2000 GM SUV's and felt they had the worst stopping power of any vehicle I've ever owned. Hopefully the new GM trucks and SUV's are better. A lot of modern pickups now have electronic trailer sway control (even the half tons) built into the stability and traction control which can also help limit the trailer wagging its tail. A good quality weight equalizing hitch and better sway control system (there are a lot of options here) can make any half ton pickup dead stable.

I've also found that the longer the tow vehicle, the more stable it is....my 2007 F350 was a crew cab with an 8 foot bed. My 2016 F350 is a crew cab with a 6 foot bed. The longer truck was slightly more stable in high winds, bouncy expansion joints on the freeway, etc.

Lastly, if shopping for a 3/4 ton or larger truck and one you'll be driving on the road when not towing, lower the air pressures to about 50 psi front and 45 psi rear to give you an accurate ride quality on the highway. Any truck with 80 psi in the tires and no load is going to ride terrible. In my 2016, when running empty I run 45 psi on the front and 40 psi in the rear....truck rides excellent and would be a very comfortable daily driver.

Good luck!!
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Old 09-09-2018, 07:35 PM
  #22  
henryr
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Originally Posted by SIK02SS View Post
As far as comfort goes, I canít speak for Ford or Dodge, but I used to tow a 40ft enclosed race trailer all the time with a 2005 Duramax 3500. While towing, it was very comfortable and very stable. Without any weight in the back it rode awful. We traded it in a couple years ago for a 2016 Duramax 3500 and the trucks are night and day different. I actually daily drove it for the first about 15k miles it was so comfortable. Just a pain in parking lots because itís so wide and long. But I think you should go test drive an F250 diesel and Duramax 2500 and see how they ride 1st hand rather than go by old hearsay. I also have a 2004 Avalanche 2500 with 8.1 and 175k, when it dies itíll be replaced with a diesel 2500. And she towes my 20í open trailer with no problem and is also comfortable (for 2004 expectations and a small lift on 33s).

Go to enough tracks and you see just about everything. I used to race with a guy that towed a trailer probably same size/weight as yours and towed it with a F150 Lightning. Never heard him complain until he was stuck in the mud one day. What Iím saying is it comes down to your comfort ability in what you feel better towing with. Canít go wrong either way, has or diesel, 1500/2500, all great trucks/suvís with crazy tow ratings these days
the would be peter - im guessing
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Old 09-10-2018, 08:23 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by henryr View Post
the would be peter - im guessing
the Lightning? lol no I guess thereís more than 1! Steve out of San Diego who used to race SCCA T-1 with me
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Old 09-10-2018, 08:25 AM
  #24  
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Some great advice here. Thanks guys. Based on this and some other research I'm narrowing my search to 3/4 ton gas.
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Old 09-10-2018, 01:34 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by argonaut View Post
I need a new tow rig and would like advice on pros and cons of 1/2 ton vs 3/4 ton truck. My current vehicle is '07 GMC Yukon XL Denali with 6.2L and air suspension, with a weight distributing hitch and sway control. Other than its just getting old, my concerns with the Denali are: its under braked, really worries me on steep downhills (even with trailer brakes); it gets about 10 mpg pulling; uphill it does 'ok' - have to rev it to about 3000 rpm and then it pulls fine; most concerning of all is the way the trailer can toss it around - like in high wind or when a big rig blows by me, even with sway controller, its still pretty nerve racking.

Trailer is 24 ft and estimated weight is probably around 6K, (the car is only 1300 pounds but the trailer does have cabinets in it).

Intended use will be towing trailer to tracks - 10-15 events per year (about 3500 miles) and then general trips as well as hauling around town: estimate less than 10,000 annually with 35% of that pulling a load. It will not be daily driven.



So I've been looking at 3/4 ton, diesel pickups as a possible replacement but there are clearly pros and cons here: obviously it would pull better and be more stable but on the con side:
- price - at equivalent trim levels an F-250 Diesel is 5-10K more expensive than F-150 ecoboost;
- I've never owned a diesel truck (got a diesel tractor :-) but have heard they are more expensive to maintain
- Ride and comfort - they are stiffer ride, less comfortable, bigger, harder to park, etc (although it would not be a daily driver, mostly used for towing and hauling)
- Cost of fuel (do they get better mileage, especially when towing?)

Any objective advice would be appreciated but I'd most like to hear from anyone who has experience with both.

TIA
I replaced a 2500 with a Silverado 1500 6.2 NHT Max Tow. Its basically a 3/4 ton rear with 1/2 ton front. Bigger diff, sway bars, coolers, & 3.73 gearing. Drives like a Camaro empty. Tows better than my 6.0 2500. Only thing lacking was brakes & PFC pads fixed that. I avoided the diesels because of our cold , maint expense, & I love how tossable it is empty.
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Old 09-10-2018, 03:00 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by argonaut View Post
Some great advice here. Thanks guys. Based on this and some other research I'm narrowing my search to 3/4 ton gas.
Good compromise. We have one 3/4 ton gas burner (Ford V10) and a couple of 3/4 ton diesels in our fleet for pulling heavy short distance loads, gooseneck etc. vs our 10 or 12 diesels (7.3, 6.0, and 6.7s) for continuous, long distance pulling. Overall, the gasser has been been dead reliable and cheaper to operate cost/mile vs the diesels. Now on our other trucks that routinely go on 4,000 mile trips, they are all Powerstrokes.

BTW.... my 2003 F250 with 7.3 is approaching 400,000 miles and except for a transmission rebuild several times it's basically the way it left the factory.

Smart choice given your duty cycle. Cheers
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:32 AM
  #27  
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I had a 08 Yukon Denali w 6.2L and this worked great with my old 18' aluminum flat trailer. I towed my first 20' enclosed trailer only once with the Denali.... not easy and did not feel comfortable doing so. A little scary at times. This was running near the towing limit of the Denali rated at 7000 LBS

I moved up to a 24' enclosed trailer that weighs an estimated 8,000 LB fully loaded with corvette, extra tires, tools, etc. And, I elected to go to a 2015 Chevy 3/4 ton diesel with a topper and put additional tires, fuel cans, spare parts, coolers,etc in the truck. Overall weight GCVW of both is estimated to be 16,500 LBS, which is not near the limit for a 3/4 ton, but is close to the Gross Combined Vehicle Limit of a 1/2 ton pickup.

I'm glad I went with a 3/4 ton truck, because it handles the loaded trailer easily and have no problems getting pushed around as I pass semis or with cross winds.. It is very comfortable to drive and with the diesel will run as fast as you need/want to go. If interstate traffic is going 80, so do I. I pass slow cars on 2 lane roads... easily. I do run with load equalizing bars and this makes the truck and trailer work together even better.

Bottom line is I don't want my tow vehicle to be towing near its limit. I want some buffer, or cushion in case I need to stop fast or make a quick lane change. Plus this makes for a much more comfortable ride.
I've had the Duramax for 3.5 years and just turned 100,000 miles. No issues. It runs great. I do trailer about 10,000 miles per year or about 1/3 of the time.

As far as fuel economy, when towing I get 11-12 MPG whether the trailer is empty or loaded. I typically run about 75 MPH on the interstate here in the Midwest (no big slopes) The truck will get 20 MPG when empty and not towing.

You should be happier with a 3/4 ton. I'm sure the diesel would be a nice addition to that but the math may not justify it for you.
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Old 09-11-2018, 08:30 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Glowing Rotors View Post
I had a 08 Yukon Denali w 6.2L and this worked great with my old 18' aluminum flat trailer. I towed my first 20' enclosed trailer only once with the Denali.... not easy and did not feel comfortable doing so. A little scary at times. This was running near the towing limit of the Denali rated at 7000 LBS
This is spot on with my experience. The Denali worked great for a flatbed but the enclosed is a whole other experience when hit with cross winds, and not a pleasant one.
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Old 09-11-2018, 09:26 PM
  #29  
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If you tow a lot, the diesel has much better loaded efficiency. By contrast, the EcoBoost trucks get TERRIBLE efficiency when loaded and towing.

The big trucks drive a lot better now. The other option is the middle ground, the titan xd.
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:21 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by FAUEE View Post
The other option is the middle ground, the titan xd.
Agree. Brother in Law bought one in the spring and it does the job very well. Same transmission as in my truck I am told. Our trailer loaded is about 9500 lbs. Has enough power and is geared well so it easily moves the loaded trailer. He looked for awhile and it was less than 50k OTD as I recall. Has been extremely reliable so far and does the job asked of it perfectly.


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Old 09-11-2018, 10:22 PM
  #31  
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It looks like you've made up your mind on a 3/4 ton and I think that's a wise decision. If you have any doubt, go over to RV.net and talk to some of the folks over there. They take their trailering pretty seriously. There is some contention if all the various weight ratings are legal limits or recommended limits. With many court cases sealed, we may never know. I think I'll follow all the recommendations from the manufacture just to be sure. I sure don't want to lose everything I own because I was a few pounds over a weight rating. Things to consider are: GVWR, GCVWR, payload rating, FAWR, RAWR, Tire ratings, Hitch ratings, etc. Most 1/2 ton trucks run out of payload long before they run out of trailering limits. I've towed with both 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton, both open and enclosed trailers. I'll never tow with a 1/2 ton again.
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Old 09-18-2018, 05:54 AM
  #32  
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I think there's a lot of truck bloat when it comes to what people think they need for hauling. I use a GMC Canyon diesel and have towed up to 7400lbs with zero issues. At that point I knew it was back there in regards to acceleration but handled well, got 17mpg, zero sway. When just hauling the car and tools its around 6000-6300lbs. Granted this is open air so aero is not really an issue. Unhook and I get 28-30mpg all day. This is a daily that does track days on weekends in summer so unloaded performance was more the priority. Tongue weight is a bit annoying to get in the target zone but I got one of those hitches with built in scale. Its an overkill 12k steel trailer with double axle brakes since I knew I'd be hauling at close to capacity when I move.

Only thing I plan to add is a tune. A far cry from full size prices or mileage and a great tow vehicle. A 1/2 ton full size with tow package is plenty unless you're looking at double car haulers or double deckers.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:31 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by argonaut View Post
I need a new tow rig and would like advice on pros and cons of 1/2 ton vs 3/4 ton truck. My current vehicle is '07 GMC Yukon XL Denali with 6.2L and air suspension, with a weight distributing hitch and sway control. Other than its just getting old, my concerns with the Denali are: its under braked, really worries me on steep downhills (even with trailer brakes); it gets about 10 mpg pulling; uphill it does 'ok' - have to rev it to about 3000 rpm and then it pulls fine; most concerning of all is the way the trailer can toss it around - like in high wind or when a big rig blows by me, even with sway controller, its still pretty nerve racking.

Trailer is 24 ft and estimated weight is probably around 6K, (the car is only 1300 pounds but the trailer does have cabinets in it).

Intended use will be towing trailer to tracks - 10-15 events per year (about 3500 miles) and then general trips as well as hauling around town: estimate less than 10,000 annually with 35% of that pulling a load. It will not be daily driven.



So I've been looking at 3/4 ton, diesel pickups as a possible replacement but there are clearly pros and cons here: obviously it would pull better and be more stable but on the con side:
- price - at equivalent trim levels an F-250 Diesel is 5-10K more expensive than F-150 ecoboost;
- I've never owned a diesel truck (got a diesel tractor :-) but have heard they are more expensive to maintain
- Ride and comfort - they are stiffer ride, less comfortable, bigger, harder to park, etc (although it would not be a daily driver, mostly used for towing and hauling)
- Cost of fuel (do they get better mileage, especially when towing?)

Any objective advice would be appreciated but I'd most like to hear from anyone who has experience with both.

TIA
I have a 08 2500hd (6.0 w/6 speed) gas I pull my 24ft enclosed with, i have never weighed it but im going to rough guess by simple math im averaging 7,500 to 8,500 pounds most of the time. It gets the job done just fine i left the diesel world around 5yrs ago when i was only pulling my trailer 1 or 2 times a weekend and could not off set the cost in maintenance and extra diesel fuel cost. Also for me leaving for work early in the morning letting a diesel warm up for 30 mins didn't make my neighbors happy.

The one in the middle, my budddy also has the same set up and you can see he carries a gator in the bed as well.

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Old 05-06-2019, 12:43 PM
  #34  
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UPDATE: 5-6-2019 - 2018 F250 for the win! I first created this post 8 months ago when I started thinking about buying a new tow vehicle. Over the winter I bought a 2018 F250 XLT gas and this past weekend used it for the first time towing to an event. All I have to say is WOW! what a huge difference compared to my previous 1/2 Yukon. I didn't even use the torsion bars or sway control on the WD hitch and the truck handles the trailer so much better. Gone is that white knuckle sway every time an 18-wheeler passes me. Thanks again to everyone who previously gave input on this post - your experience and advice guided me in its purchase and I couldn't be happier.
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Old 05-06-2019, 01:22 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by argonaut View Post
UPDATE: 5-6-2019 - 2018 F250 for the win! I first created this post 8 months ago when I started thinking about buying a new tow vehicle. Over the winter I bought a 2018 F250 XLT gas and this past weekend used it for the first time towing to an event. All I have to say is WOW! what a huge difference compared to my previous 1/2 Yukon. I didn't even use the torsion bars or sway control on the WD hitch and the truck handles the trailer so much better. Gone is that white knuckle sway every time an 18-wheeler passes me. Thanks again to everyone who previously gave input on this post - your experience and advice guided me in its purchase and I couldn't be happier.
Great choice! Now go look up Forscan on the Superduty forums for the various things you can change, like eliminating that super annoying double honk when you get out with it running.


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Old 05-07-2019, 08:25 AM
  #36  
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"Forscan" - ha, ha. Thanks, I check it out. By the way - how do you connect the safety chains from the trailer to the truck? I looked for hooks that were big enough but eventually gave up and installed hammerlock links. Works well but kind of sucks having links permanently attached to the truck.

Last edited by argonaut; 05-07-2019 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:24 AM
  #37  
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Hammerlock links are the way, or d-links. Either way, normal chains don't fit. Stupid design.


Last edited by fleming23; 05-07-2019 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 05-10-2019, 10:38 AM
  #38  
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Had you ponied up for the dually, you could do slide in plus trailer. It's the adult way to go to the track.
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