1/2 ton towing/weight capacity

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Nov 16, 2015
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I've down sized to a 7x20 stock trailer.
I'll hold 8-9 - 1200# cows or 15-16 -600# calves, about 10000# not including trailer.

I'd like to get away from a 3/4 ton pickup and downsize to a 1/2 ton.

Would a 1/2 ton handle it ?
Weight ratings show a towing capacity of around 9-10k on a standard 1/2 ton
It will pull it as long as you are not in a hurry to get where ever you are going. Also make sure you have good trailer brakes.
I'm a little concerned about the weight.
I think the engine and transmission will handle it if I take it easy and push it.
But I don't know if the pickup, axle, wheels bearing and etc can handle it.
True Grit Farms":76u6tqr5 said:
A Ram with a Hemi will tow it. M-5 has a 1/2 ton Ram with air bags and he'll tow anything a 3/4 ton will, plus some.

yep, Todays 1/2 tons will handle it, the biggest problem is suspension because they engineer them for a smooth ride so leaf springs are omitted and coil springs are used. I do not attempt to tow everyday and I know the limits but for occasional pulling and minor distances (100 to 200 miles) round trip I will not hesitate to do it. I also don't get in a big hurry and have a good understanding what the truck is capable of handling.
my set up the truck is 10,400 # towing capacity. I run AT tires and air bags. I balance the load I am hauling and I haul it. You can over think a lot of things. If I break something I know I did something wrong and wont do that again. as of today I have not broke anything .....Knock on wood
If you don't mind me asking, what is the reason for going to a 1/2 ton?

If you pull regularly you will wear the truck our faster. The transmission, brakes, etc are not set up for managing loads like a 3/4 ton. You will have to weigh if the cost savings of the 1/2 ton is worth the premature wear from pulling. Plus you will take a beating selling a 1/2 ton with a hitch in the bed.

I'm not a big fan of 1/2 tons in general now just because they make them so light duty and for comfort. The front ends parts and stuff just don't hold up to much gravel road, rough, pasture driving. The half tons now are not made for work. They are slightly above a car with a bed.
It's a daily driver and I don't tow a lot
Half a dozen times a year 60-100 mile trips if that much.
I'm going back to a gas pickup and fuel mileage is the biggest reason for wanting a 1/2 ton
I could keep a 3/4 ton for towing but the insurance, tags, a place to park it taking up space and it sitting 99% of the time, so I'd like to avoid that but that may be the best option if the 1/2 cant handle it
most all 1/2 tons have towing packages now for travel trailers and such. ITs really not that big of a deal and people tend to over analyze things. The trucks can handle what your wanting to do. go to the sale barn and look at the ones over 60 that have not been brain washed that you have to have a 3500 dually to pull a 16ft bumper pull to the barn 4 times a yr. Todays trucks are far better suited for towing than the trucks of the 70 and 80's except for leaf springs but that can be fixed with airbags.
I made a half ton do the work of a 3/4 ton for years. Infact I always bought a 6 cylinder straight shift (cheapest full size I could buy). I would add those leaf springs they used to sell. Haven't seen them in a while. Anyway, it never failed to pull loads like your talking. Hills would slow me down, but I always made it over. Pulled a 24' steel horse trailer around the world and back.
Well a 1 ton GM truck has the same size u-joints as a half ton truck. And to me the u-joints are where the heavy duty running gear starts. You guy's can dislike Dodge - Ram all you want but so far since 2012 we've put well over 300k on 3 Ram trucks and only one truck has needed to go back for service. And all it needed was a fuel sending unit for the fuel gauge.
I'm sure a couple of you guy's work your trucks harder than I do. But towing 30,000 lb+ behind a 1 ton is a load and I do it for 10k+ miles a year every year. Towing 20k is like a day off, even up Jellico mountain and I 81 in the southwestern part of Virginia. If you think you have a tough truck trying pulling a 20k pound dozer up either one of those hills over 60mph.
I think you would be fine, just try to get one with the 10k tow rating if possible. My father has a 15' F-150 with 5.0 and basically does the same and for same reasons, no issues so far. On a separate note, I use to have a 05' Chevy 1500 with 4.3/auto tranny. I added a tranny cooler in line with the factory one, had a welder put a GN hitch in it, put brake controller,added Timbren overloads to it and beat the snot out of the truck. Heaviest load I hauled with was 50- 10' RR bridge ties and good ones at that. Probably around 10k in cargo plus trailer. It was not a fast 80 mile trip, it held 60-65 pretty good. I was surprised what that little motor would pull...I did some stupid stuff with it before upgrading back to 3/4 ton.
Years ago I used to pull a 16' bumper pull with a 5.0 ford.
It pulled it without a problem,but cattle walking around and shifting really rocked the pickup around.
Just wasn't enough pickup.
Maybe a GN would be better ?
Cross-7":3dci8a9u said:
It's a daily driver and I don't tow a lot
Half a dozen times a year 60-100 mile trips if that much.
I'm going back to a gas pickup and fuel mileage is the biggest reason for wanting a 1/2 ton
I could keep a 3/4 ton for towing but the insurance, tags, a place to park it taking up space and it sitting 99% of the time, so I'd like to avoid that but that may be the best option if the 1/2 cant handle it

Got ya. It can definitely be done. You can adjust you loads to what you are comfortable pulling.

Ill throw out a couple things out there to think about.

By the time you put good pasture/ towing tires on a half ton with all the tools and stuff your gas millage may be 2 or 3mpgs better than a 3/4 ton at best.

There is not that much price difference between a new 3/4 ton and new 1/2 ton. Maybe a couple grand at most.

Things are not the same as they use to be. You load up 9, #1200 cows and have a wreck they will sue you and your insurance co may not back you. Check your ratings and add in the trailer weight.

When I was growing up no one had any thing more than a 1/2 ton in my family. My dad and uncles use to drive miles and miles to feed cattle in and old car with a bed built on the back. Any thing those trucks couldn't handle we contracted out. If we needed to move tractors and equipment down the road we drove them. I drove tractors when I was 10 years old, 15 mph for 40 miles, from one place to another. We rode the majority of the time on the toolbox from place to place.... BUT.... back in those days we could go from property to property and never meet a car. If we did meet some one we knew them. If there were more than 3 cars we followed them because some thing was wrong some where. On those same roads today you can pass 20 cars now going from one place to another and they are hauling butt. 6 or 7 years ago I was hit from behind on a tractor and Im lucky to be here. We haul our tractors and equipment now. People will not slow down and cut you any slack.

Also a couple years ago I was towing a jeep back on a low boy. Not much of a load. It could easily be done with a 1/2 ton. A 18 wheeler with a float pulled out and got hung up across hw 59. We all started locking brakes up and sliding. I was the front truck and stopped 10' from a float right above hood level with that jeep. I was very glad I had those big breaks, exhaust brakes, and what ever else they put on the 3/4 tons.

Personally, if I can help it I would much rather run on the low side of some things operating range than the high. Things like the jeep instance have happened multiple times to me. No matter how careful you are you cant dodge the idiots around you.

That's just my opinion based on my experiences... but it could be the brain washing talking also. :tiphat:
My dad hauled thousands of cows in the 80s with an 81 F150 with a 4 speed and 300 6 cylinder. It's funny to look back at what little they used back then, now guys won't pull anything without a 1000 ft lb diesel.

Almost daily I see huge campers behind a little Ecoboost F150. There's no doubt that they can, but it doesn't mean that you should.

I agree with Brute, there's a good chance the 1/2 and 3/4 will have similar drive trains anyway. Might as well get the tougher suspension and brakes to go with it. The gas savings will be dismal, and gas is cheap.
Y'all just don't get it. If any of you drove the thousands of miles a yr doing a job where your only hauling your fat azz around you couldn't reasonably say the mileage is not much difference. Not to mention comfort and less maintenance. Cross and I do similar things. I drive about 50k a yr EMPTY, I estimate I haul something 500 to 1000 miles a yr. Anybody can get run over by an idiot thats life. If you do everything right it can still happen , I carry a commercial policy on my truck. I do everything to avoid any accident. Driving a fancy 3500 ain't gonna do a darn thing if your run over by someone else . a 1500 truck and trailer equipped correctly will stop if you did your job when you loaded it.