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View Full Version : How much can you haul with a half ton truck?



Paris
Jun. 14, 2010, 11:46 AM
I currently have a 3/4 ton and pull a 4 horse.. but am thinking of downsizing.. how much can a half ton truck haul normally? (of course I'd check the specs on the specific truck too)

thanks

GoForAGallop
Jun. 14, 2010, 11:48 AM
(of course I'd check the specs on the specific truck too)

thanks

Well there ya go.

Fairview Horse Center
Jun. 14, 2010, 11:54 AM
check the specs on the specific truck

That is the only way of knowing what a specific truck can haul. I have a 1/2 ton Dodge Club cab, and haul a 2 horse combo all aluminum g/n. It is a pretty big trailer, but only weighs 2500 lbs, so I have plenty of "room" before getting to my truck's 7500 max.

Paris
Jun. 14, 2010, 12:54 PM
That's just the type of information I am looking for.

Anyone else with actual truck/trailer specs?

DD_TrailerMan
Jun. 14, 2010, 01:28 PM
2 horse combo all aluminum g/n. It is a pretty big trailer, but only weighs 2500 lbs

that weight seems light. I just weighed the following all alum trailers last week
1. 2H BP with DR, total length of 15', 6'9" wide, 7'6" tall, weighs 3300lbs
2. 2H GN with sideramp, no DR, 6'9" wide, 7'6" tall, box length 14', total length 21' 6", weighs 3800lbs.

Bartley Heath
bartley@DoubleDTrailers.com
Buy Factory Direct and $ave at DoubleDTrailers.com

Ty2003
Jun. 14, 2010, 01:35 PM
I have a 2007 Ford F-150 (5.4 liter xtra cab 4x4) with the 4.10 gear ratio which gives it more towing capability (up to 9,300 lbs vs. 7,800 lbs with the 3.55 gear ratio). I haul a two horse Hawk trailer with dressing room (GVWR 7,000) and have never had any problems. It's got plenty of pick up even with two big horses in the trailer, and it brakes well, doesn't sway, etc. I live in New England, and it's been everywhere from hilly CT to more mountainous VT and it's been great.

tangledweb
Jun. 14, 2010, 01:36 PM
I currently have a 3/4 ton and pull a 4 horse.. but am thinking of downsizing.. how much can a half ton truck haul normally? (of course I'd check the specs on the specific truck too)

thanks

"Normally" anything from about 5K to about 13K. You really need to look at specific ones to get a useful answer.

Ibex
Jun. 14, 2010, 02:29 PM
I have an '09 1500 Ram, with a V8 Hemi and a factory tow package that's rated to 8500lbs off the lot. I haven't bought a trailer yet, so I can't comment on how it handles. The "plan" is to buy something rated to about 7000lbs, and would probably only ever be loaded to 5-6000lbs to keep me well within safety margins.

I wouldn't try towing with a V6...

TrotTrotPumpkn
Jun. 14, 2010, 03:46 PM
It really does vary. My dad's Yukon (not extended) is rated to 7500 lb and my father-in-laws Ford F-150 is only 6500!

The new 2010 Ford F-150 can be configured to tow up to 11,300 lb I believe.

ryansgirl
Jun. 14, 2010, 09:35 PM
I have an '09 1500 Ram, with a V8 Hemi and a factory tow package that's rated to 8500lbs off the lot. I haven't bought a trailer yet, so I can't comment on how it handles. The "plan" is to buy something rated to about 7000lbs, and would probably only ever be loaded to 5-6000lbs to keep me well within safety margins.

I wouldn't try towing with a V6...

I have a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 and it's also rated to tow 8500 lbs. I had a Ram 3/4-ton previously and that was rated to tow 8850 lbs. My trailer only weighs about 2300 lbs empty (basic Kingston 2-horse BP no DR). It handles exceptionally well and I've been happy with it.

Like everyone has said it all depends on how the truck is set up so you have to read the info it comes with to know exactly.

Guilherme
Jun. 14, 2010, 10:20 PM
That's just the type of information I am looking for.

Anyone else with actual truck/trailer specs?

http://www.trailerlife.com/output.cfm?id=42175

G.

carolprudm
Jun. 14, 2010, 10:23 PM
Also depends on your location. Coastal VA (flat) is very different than Reno to Tahoe

Guilherme
Jun. 15, 2010, 07:20 AM
Also depends on your location. Coastal VA (flat) is very different than Reno to Tahoe

I disagree. Trucks, by definition, are mobile. This means that Richmond today and Ashville tomorrow is a real possibility. And the Laws of Physics are the same in both places. ;)

G.

carolprudm
Jun. 15, 2010, 09:20 AM
I disagree. Trucks, by definition, are mobile. This means that Richmond today and Ashville tomorrow is a real possibility. And the Laws of Physics are the same in both places. ;)

G.
Some people don't travel far from home.
Or perhaps they live in Kansas. I think it's silly to disregard travel habits geography and climate when considering a purchase.

My current trailer is about 8 years old. It has been west of Charlottesville three times and three times to Gaithersburg MD.

I don't like to travel and have to be really really motivated to go beyond about 40 miles. Luckily there is lots to keep me busy around here.

FWIW I did take my old half ton Suburban and steel trailer with 2 mares west of Blacksburg twice. It did require careful planning and driving. It's not something I would make a habit of doing

wildlifer
Jun. 15, 2010, 09:45 AM
carol's right. If you live in Kansas, your truck's not going to work as hard as if you live in Asheville or the Rocky Mtns, given the same hauling schedule.

A gooseneck trailer that only weighs 2300 lbs? What's the frame made out of, tinfoil?

CatOnLap
Jun. 15, 2010, 11:37 AM
what motor? Half tons still come with 6 cylinder gas motors which will have trouble hauling anything bigger than a mini in a wheelbarrow.
Which gears and transmission? Half tons even with 8 cylinder gas motors can have a hard time towing if they are not geared right.
Which springs and shocks in the rear? The tongue weight of some trailers is enough to overwhelm the shocks in some stock pickups and will have your driver stargazing once you hitch up.
Do you have an equalizer or stabilizer frame mounted hitch? Those trucks that advertise they can pull 8000 lbs off the bumper are NOT talking about horses in a horse trailer!
Do you have a brake controller? need it. Heavy duty brakes? Lots of trucks are rated to pull heavy loads, I am not so confident in their ability to stop heavy loads.
Do you have a transmission cooler? need it. In smaller half tons it will save you replacing your transmission after a few years.

and so on.

mvp
Jun. 15, 2010, 12:12 PM
what motor? Half tons still come with 6 cylinder gas motors which will have trouble hauling anything bigger than a mini in a wheelbarrow.
Which gears and transmission? Half tons even with 8 cylinder gas motors can have a hard time towing if they are not geared right.
Which springs and shocks in the rear? The tongue weight of some trailers is enough to overwhelm the shocks in some stock pickups and will have your driver stargazing once you hitch up.
Do you have an equalizer or stabilizer frame mounted hitch? Those trucks that advertise they can pull 8000 lbs off the bumper are NOT talking about horses in a horse trailer!
Do you have a brake controller? need it. Heavy duty brakes? Lots of trucks are rated to pull heavy loads, I am not so confident in their ability to stop heavy loads.
Do you have a transmission cooler? need it. In smaller half tons it will save you replacing your transmission after a few years.

and so on.

All this is so helpful! So, to recap:

8 cylinders in a dinky half-ton gasoline.

Gears in the half ton must be 4.10? No 3.73? And nothing shorter than that?

Yes, get the tow package for these features especially:
Firmer suspension, better cooling and better tranny or just a cooler for it? Anything separate elements of the "two package" I have left out and ought to inquire about?

I assume you can install whatever bad-a$$ trailer-brake controller you'd like and get the trailer to perform as an anchor if you want. That's right or wrong?

By the way, I also don't know how y'all are getting goosenecks that are an anorexic 2,300#. My aluminum 2H DR bumper pull is 3,500# and it doesn't look fat to me.

Yes, tongue weight is important but I don't know that for trailer. How do I figure that out? Key because I'm too damned lazy for stabilizer bars. Get mad at me if you want for that, but please don't jinx me and cause a wreck with your powers just to make a point. I'll know it was you. Does that mean slackers like me can't afford to drop below the 3/4 ton mark?

For those of you willing and able to read through all the truck specs Guilherme offered, a big question: How many lbs over the truck's rating do you want? Or is the trick to reading these about looking for shocks, coolers, gears and engine size and not just the manufacturer's final tow rating?

I agree that you might not want to get really close to the final weight rating for horses since they can jump up and down in a way that even a really pissed off boat can't.

walktrot
Jun. 15, 2010, 01:55 PM
My b/o hauled a 4-horse with a 3/4 ton GMC pickup and was never happy. She finally went out a bought her dream truck, a 1 ton GMC dually with all the bells and whistles in the towing package. The first time I rode in the truck with her I was amazed at what a difference it made. Maybe on flat ground you could tow a 4-horse with a 1/2 ton, but she also wore out the tranny in her Suburban towing a steel 2-horse. No trailer hitch on the new Suburban!

EiRide
Jun. 15, 2010, 02:55 PM
You know . . . I don't feel safe controlling a horse trailer loaded to the gills with a 1/2 ton after pulling the same thing with a 3/4 ton. Even with a two horse I'd not go back down in truck size. And yes, it was all within the specs of the truck by a reasonable margin--but of course, a live load is not the same as pulling a boat, either.

2bee
Jun. 15, 2010, 03:56 PM
You know . . . I don't feel safe controlling a horse trailer loaded to the gills with a 1/2 ton after pulling the same thing with a 3/4 ton. Even with a two horse I'd not go back down in truck size. And yes, it was all within the specs of the truck by a reasonable margin--but of course, a live load is not the same as pulling a boat, either.

Your answer is a 1/2 ton can haul nothing? :rolleyes:

So with basically no knowledge on the subject you feel compelled to answer this technical question?

2bee
Jun. 15, 2010, 04:01 PM
How much can a 1/2 ton haul? Short, short answer;

Assuming a 1/2 ton set up to tow from the past decade or so,

loaded 2H BP-- no problem

loaded 3H BP-- likely getting close to the limit

loaded 2H GN-- probably, but running out of payload on the pickup

loaded 3H GN-- not likely, pickup payload capacity will be lacking

Guilherme
Jun. 15, 2010, 04:26 PM
The problem with this question is that it's generating answers that are perfectly general, perfectly true, and perfectly meaningless.

Every truck made in modern times has a rated hauling capacity. It's in the owner's manual. It's on the Trailer Life website in the Towing Guide. I suspect for newer trucks you can find it on Edmunds or Kelley.

Of course then we must ask, "Are the numbers published realistic?" Lately some of the claims for half ton trucks bugger credulity. And has the half ton numbers have ballooned, the numbers for 3/4 and one ton trucks are flirting with fantasy.

Or, put another way, I get the sick feeling the current numbers are much more the product of the Marketing Department than the Engineering Department.

So rephrase the question for a specific vehicle. Then look it up in an authoritative source.

G.

2bee
Jun. 15, 2010, 04:42 PM
The problem with this question is that it's generating answers that are perfectly general, perfectly true, and perfectly meaningless.

Every truck made in modern times has a rated hauling capacity. It's in the owner's manual. It's on the Trailer Life website in the Towing Guide. I suspect for newer trucks you can find it on Edmunds or Kelley.

Of course then we must ask, "Are the numbers published realistic?" Lately some of the claims for half ton trucks bugger credulity. And has the half ton numbers have ballooned, the numbers for 3/4 and one ton trucks are flirting with fantasy.

Or, put another way, I get the sick feeling the current numbers are much more the product of the Marketing Department than the Engineering Department.

So rephrase the question for a specific vehicle. Then look it up in an authoritative source.

G.

Nothing wrong with the 1/2 ton's numbers, or the 3/4 and 1 ton, usually the expectations of inexperienced drivers are the issue. There are Standardized tow ratings (http://www.automobilemag.com/features/news/0912_sae_tow_ratings_finally_pass_sniff_test/index.html) in the works, Toyota is reportedly already using them and their Tundra is still rated for ~10,000lbs.

tangledweb
Jun. 15, 2010, 05:58 PM
Lately some of the claims for half ton trucks bugger credulity.

I don't normally pick on word choice, but that's the second time I've giggled when you used that phrase. I don't think that word means what you think it means. You are probably looking for "Beggar Credulity"

mvp
Jun. 15, 2010, 10:11 PM
Every truck made in modern times has a rated hauling capacity. It's in the owner's manual. It's on the Trailer Life website in the Towing Guide. I suspect for newer trucks you can find it on Edmunds or Kelley.

Of course then we must ask, "Are the numbers published realistic?" Lately some of the claims for half ton trucks bugger credulity. And has the half ton numbers have ballooned, the numbers for 3/4 and one ton trucks are flirting with fantasy.

So rephrase the question for a specific vehicle. Then look it up in an authoritative source.

G.

I'm with you, hence my question. By how many lbs do I need to over-estimate the weight of the load I'll haul in order to read these numbers and find the truck that will actually do the job for live cargo? Or do I need to look at more details than total towing capacity-- looking into the shocks, tranny and gearing that generates tow capacity?


I don't normally pick on word choice, but that's the second time I've giggled when you used that phrase. I don't think that word means what you think it means. You are probably looking for "Beggar Credulity"

I like to think Guilherme did mean bugger, as in, "give it to credulity up the a$$."

CatOnLap
Jun. 16, 2010, 12:02 AM
Get mad at me if you want for that, but please don't jinx me and cause a wreck with your powers just to make a point. I'll know it was you. Does that mean slackers like me can't afford to drop below the 3/4 ton mark?

:lol:
I wouldn't use my powers for evil.


And I love that your recap was longer than my original post.

Tongue weight is usually written on the trailer specs sticker, inside one of the doors, if it can still be read.
Tranny cooler - with some towing packages, it is already built in on newer models.

I had a really nice 1990 F150 short box with the 4:10 gears and the beefed up suspension and heavy duty brakes and I added a tranny cooler that saved the 3 speed overdive automatic tranny's life as it hauled the (over rated weight) steel 2H BP around for 15 years, without stabilizer bars, but with a really good equalizer hitch. The tongue weight was over 300 lbs- jacking it off the ball took a strong arm even with the little turnscrew.

EiRide
Jun. 16, 2010, 08:59 AM
Your answer is a 1/2 ton can haul nothing? :rolleyes:

So with basically no knowledge on the subject you feel compelled to answer this technical question?

Excuse me? Don't put words in my mouth.

I said *I* do not feel comfortable doing it having felt the difference between the two, and that *I* would not go back to hauling a two horse with a half ton.

I was offering my experience of hauling the same rig with two different vehicles, and how I personally felt about the difference. I hauled with a half ton for years. Now I've been hauling with a 3/4 ton for years. I would not go back. Had I started with a 3/4 and gone down to a 1/2 ton I probably would not feel safe, and I probably would have ended up selling the truck sooner than was economically sensible.

I did not say no one should ever haul with a half ton. I merely pointed out my personal experience with the difference between towing vehicles, as an alternative to 'this is the specs.' There are specs, and there is feel. More truck DOES control the load differently.

Dalemma
Jun. 16, 2010, 09:38 AM
I am another one of those persons that would never haul a horse trailer with a half ton......I have towed with an old 3/4 ton and while it was adeqaute would never go back after towing with a one ton diesel. In the case of towing horses bigger is better.

Daleamma

CatOnLap
Jun. 16, 2010, 10:07 AM
Well, I would go back to my old rig in a second, after now owning a one ton dually and 3H gooseneck for 3 years.
The half ton rig was easier to manouvre and park, easier to hitch, easier and cheaper to fix and although hauling with the one ton is like there's no trailer behind me, it is way more rig than I need right now.
The half ton and 2H BP was plenty for a little local hauler like me. I don't know why I got stars in my eyes and replaced it with the F350 and the 3H GN. But now that I have it, I can live with it ;)

mvp
Jun. 16, 2010, 11:23 AM
Yeah, I expected my trailer's spec plate to give tongue weight and it does not. I seem to have 500# as the number floating around in my head. Is that realistic for a 3500# (empty) 15' or so long 2H DR thing?

How big (how many pounds) is the margin of error with tongue weight?

And on the "fanny feel" of different sized trucks. Hauling the above trailer with an old 7.3L diesel 3/4 ton, I feel good. I can't imagine needing a 1 ton. But I have ridden around with others hauling similar tailer with softly-sprung 1/2 tons and I don't like it. They do. To me, this goes to show that fanny feel doesn't mean much for people thinking about switching truck sizes or engine types. We won't even talk about the people willing to shorten up wheel bases for the SUV option. My butt says bad.

2bee
Jun. 16, 2010, 12:15 PM
Excuse me? Don't put words in my mouth.

I said *I* do not feel comfortable doing it having felt the difference between the two, and that *I* would not go back to hauling a two horse with a half ton.

I was offering my experience of hauling the same rig with two different vehicles, and how I personally felt about the difference. I hauled with a half ton for years. Now I've been hauling with a 3/4 ton for years. I would not go back. Had I started with a 3/4 and gone down to a 1/2 ton I probably would not feel safe, and I probably would have ended up selling the truck sooner than was economically sensible.

I did not say no one should ever haul with a half ton. I merely pointed out my personal experience with the difference between towing vehicles, as an alternative to 'this is the specs.' There are specs, and there is feel. More truck DOES control the load differently.

You're excused. Not sure what repeating yourself was supposed to accomplish.

Nike13
Jun. 17, 2010, 01:47 PM
So how much $/how difficult is it to install an after market tranny cooler? I have a 16" GN, empty weight aprox. 3400 lb. I'm wondering if I can get away with a heavy 1/2 ton, or should I just take the gas mileage hit and get a 3/4? It will be used to drive to work too, not just hauling horses. My primary concern is the transmission.
I once hauled a 2H BP with a Ford Ranger.... it was just 5 miles over flat ground to the vet, so don't shoot me.;) Can't say that I recommend it though.

Guilherme
Jun. 17, 2010, 10:59 PM
I like to think Guilherme did mean bugger, as in, "give it to credulity up the a$$."

You got it!!!!!!! ;)

Because I'm risk averse and don't really trust the numbers that come with most pickups I made up my own rule: The 90% Rule. I won't load more than 90% of the rated load under normal conditions.

I really don't have more than a "gut feeling" about this issue, but here in the mountains we have flat-landers being pushed about by their "tows" on a regular basis.

I worry less about the ability of the engine to pull the load than all the other systems (drive train, brakes, suspension, etc.) involved in stopping the load. From this I derived another rule: Starting is optional, stopping is not. :)

When we had a '92 F350 with a 7.3L engine and automatic tranny we went through four transmissions in 100,000 miles. I didn't follow the 90% rule then. We solved the tranny problem with an aftermarket cooler. I don't remember the cost (it was not all that much) and it stopped transmissions failures cold. When we sold the truck it had more than 150,000 miles on it.

Very few trailers I've ever seen have reliable weigh data associated with them. Best to take them to a commercial scale (one brand is the CAT Scale found at most truck stops). IIRC they can not only give you the total weight but also the weights on the front and rear tires of the truck. Weigh the combo then the truck by itself and do a little math. :cool:

No matter what set of rules you follow on weight it's really important to ensure that the truck and trailer are properly serviced (especially tire pressures); that bearings are properly serviced (something often lacking on trailers); that the braking system is in proper working order (truck and trailer, including the brake controller, wiring, and trailer brakes); that the tires are in serviceable condition; and that speed is managed. If you tow "light" you might get away with some "fudging" on these items. If you tow heavy you'd best not. And "light" and "heavy" are percentages of your rated capacity, not just raw poundage.

G.

FatPalomino
Jun. 17, 2010, 11:01 PM
Where are you OP? My 1/2 ton was fine pulling a basic 2H BP in NJ, but I never felt comfortable in Colorado. I got a 3/4 ton and a 2H GN and am much happier- but I often go hauling up very steep Rocky Mtn inclines, switchbacks, and dirt roads (sometimes all at once).

weasel1088
Jun. 18, 2010, 06:28 PM
You guys need to go to a scale and WEIGH your trailers!!! the weight on the title or from the manufacturer is probably waaaay lower than what it actually weighs. weigh your truck empty on the scale then weigh your truck and trailer.

mares tails
Jun. 21, 2010, 09:46 AM
Don't forget that today's "half-ton" trucks beat those of ten years ago on HP and torque by a lot...

DD_TrailerMan
Jun. 21, 2010, 09:56 AM
Yeah, I expected my trailer's spec plate to give tongue weight and it does not. I seem to have 500# as the number floating around in my head. Is that realistic for a 3500# (empty) 15' or so long 2H DR thing?


500lbs tongue weight is in the range, probably a little light though. On a 2H straight with DR, there is little wiggle room for axles, as any escape doors have to clear fenders. If fenders are 12" from rear, empty tongue weight should be 650ish lbs.

Diamondindykin
Jun. 21, 2010, 03:52 PM
I am another one of those persons that would never haul a horse trailer with a half ton......I have towed with an old 3/4 ton and while it was adeqaute would never go back after towing with a one ton diesel. In the case of towing horses bigger is better.

Daleamma


I am another one that would not haul with anything less than a 3/4 ton truck.

My neighbor has a 1/2 ton GMC truck that she hauls a two horse steel trailer with and when she has two horses in it the back-end of the truck squats so bad she would probably bottom out the hitch if she hit a pot hole. It is a wreck waiting to happen IMHO :eek:

Guilherme
Jun. 21, 2010, 04:53 PM
Don't forget that today's "half-ton" trucks beat those of ten years ago on HP and torque by a lot...

No doubt. But do they beat them on brakes???

G.

mares tails
Jun. 22, 2010, 09:25 AM
No doubt. But do they beat them on brakes???

G.
For the most part, yes. (e.g. ABS, disc vs drum, etc.)