Doing real work with a 1/2 ton truck?

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shaz

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Well, it's time for a new(er) truck. I currently have my 2008 F350 for farm work and a 2002 Rav4 for daily driver. Both of these are on their last leg. I'd like to just drive a 1/2 truck as my daily driver and farm truck.
Here's my typical truck chore list -
1) haul firewood - doesn't matter how much I haul at a time
2) hay - I haul hay on a 16ft utility trailer 8 4x5 rolls at a time. Would guess this load 9K lbs but I can fewer if need be. I'm not hauling hay more than 3 miles so many trips isn't a show stopper.
3) Cows - I have a 20ft trailer now but could see myself downsizing to something like a 12 or 16 ft. I can hire someone to haul my big loads to the salebarn.

So the question is which truck and what year would you be looking at if you were in my boat? Is there such thing as doing work with a 1/2 ton or is that just for rednecks like me?
 

Little Joe

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I have a half ton chevrolet and it does fine for the type of work you described. I pull 14' stock trailer and a 18' car hauler with it without a problem. I went to Baton Rouge ( 7. 5 hour drive one way from me) and hauled back another half ton chevrolet 4x4 crew cab with it on my 18' car hauler with no problem.
 

Stocker Steve

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Rated towing capacity has increased a lot with the newer half tons. Take a look at pounds and gear ratios. I think you would be in spec, but not sure how long it would hold up.

I used to occasionally haul nine 5x6s with a 2011 Chev half ton, but the tranny went out at 140K and a differential went out at 170K... I would buy a pre 2008 3/4 ton with 6.0L.
 
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shaz

shaz

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Thanks for the replies,
My last 1/2 ton was a 2003 GMC and I couldn't hurt that thing. Gave it to my step daughter in 2012 with 250K miles and she drove it for years after that.
 

Atimm693

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There are some, like the GM 1500s with the 6.2 and 6L90E trans, that are real workhorses. Tundras are pretty underrated too.

F150s were offered with the 6.2, but only for a couple years and in certain trims. Might be a hard one to find, but a very good option. Not sure how well the 5.0 is for work.

A Ram with the Hemi is not a bad choice either.

Regardless, I would get the biggest engine offered, it'll also come with the strongest transmission and suspension package. The fuel savings are often inconsequential.

Newer trucks are sprung very soft. They'll squat bad with any kind of load, but some helper bags can take care of that.
 

DLD

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I used a 2018 F-150 with the 3.5 eco boost and 10 speed automatic as my daily for a little while. No other gas engine in a half ton has the torque of the eco boost, at least not when we bought it. It pulled great - unlike most naturally aspirated gas engines, it makes it‘s torque at lower rpm’s, so it doesn’t have to be wound up to pull. I added a superspring in the rear, and it held up a load quite well. My two stock trailers (that are in go anywhere condition anyway) are 6’8” x 20’ and 6’ x 24’ and both weigh in the 5100# range empty, so I was always careful not to load over 6k or so of cattle. It pulled it great, and I’m a stickler about brakes and tires on everything, so that was a non issue. But I pull a stock trailer a bare minimum of 200 miles a week, often more. Plus I knew that before long I’d start stretching that 6k, more and more. I had zero issues, but I just couldn’t stop the nagging feeling I was gonna tear something up sooner or later, so when I found a great deal on a 2015 Chevy 2500 6.0 with super low miles, I jumped on it.

All that said though, it sounds like you should be able get along fine with a half ton. The comfort and lower initial cost and operating cost are worth a lot.
 
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RDFF

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I wouldn't every have a half ton for "work"... my first truck was a 1/2T Chev... put a load of small squares on it and it was swimming all over the road... suspension just isn't meant for weight. And then there's all the rest of the components that also AREN'T meant for weight. Heavier springs, heavier frame, heavier brakes, heavier axles, heavier everything. There's a reason why they're rated for the weight that they are. Get a real truck like you had (tonner), and don't worry about that it's "heavy". When you've got a load to move, you've got a truck that will do it properly. When you don't, it'll still ride comfortably and get you there, with very little extra fuel, unless you're used to running in a very lightweight vehicle, like your Rav4. The difference in fuel isn't all that substantial, if you're considering either a full size half ton to a tonner.

If you're still insisting on going there though............. I'm not a Ford man... but I have heard really good things about the power and fuel economy of the EcoBoost Fords. All of the "big three" have a high efficiency pickup in their lineup now I guess.... but it sounds like the Ford has the edge in "pull" with their small engine.
 

Nesikep

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I'm sure the 1/2 ton CAN do everything you need, but SHOULD it?
It's not for nothing 3/4 tons have 8 bolt axles, and heavier frames

I don't see the disadvantage to driving a 3/4 ton, given the same length of truck (cab/bed options) it's not going to be harder to park, etc
 

Mshane6542

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Not sure if you are looking at new or used but both Ford and Chevy now have diesel models in the half ton size that could be a good in-between for the 1/2 ton gas and 3/4 gas/diesel trucks. I believe they have around 12-14k in towing capacity.
 
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shaz

shaz

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I'm sure the 1/2 ton CAN do everything you need, but SHOULD it?
It's not for nothing 3/4 tons have 8 bolt axles, and heavier frames

I don't see the disadvantage to driving a 3/4 ton, given the same length of truck (cab/bed options) it's not going to be harder to park, etc
should it? That's the 64$ question.
 
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shaz

shaz

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Not sure if you are looking at new or used but both Ford and Chevy now have diesel models in the half ton size that could be a good in-between for the 1/2 ton gas and 3/4 gas/diesel trucks. I believe they have around 12-14k in towing capacity.
Thanks but I'm not wanting a diesel. Just can't handle all this emission crap they have.
 

Lucky

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I’m sure the 1/2 ton will do just fine for you. I’ve got several friends that have duallys but drive 1/2 tons for everyday use and light to moderate towing. My question is what is the advantage to having a 1/2 ton over a heavier truck? I haven’t owned one in 20+ years so really don’t know.
 
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shaz

shaz

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I’m sure the 1/2 ton will do just fine for you. I’ve got several friends that have duallys but drive 1/2 tons for everyday use and light to moderate towing. My question is what is the advantage to having a 1/2 ton over a heavier truck? I haven’t owned one in 20+ years so really don’t know.
Selection, price, gas mileage and size.
 

Stocker Steve

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Thanks for the replies,
My last 1/2 ton was a 2003 GMC and I couldn't hurt that thing. Gave it to my step daughter in 2012 with 250K miles and she drove it for years after that.
Buy another one. They are more reliable than the newer variable cylinder 6 speed stuff.
 

jltrent

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Guy I ran into often had an older F150 6 speed manual that he had added an extra leaf spring to the rears made deliveries from his company to coal mines. He said the truck kelp at least 2 ton in the bed at all times and north of 200k miles on it. I saw it with my on eyes.
 
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shaz

shaz

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Guy I ran into often had an older F150 6 speed manual that he had added an extra leaf spring to the rears made deliveries from his company to coal mines. He said the truck kelp at least 2 ton in the bed at all times and north of 200k miles on it. I saw it with my on eyes.
sadly, I can't get a manual either. The transmission is what worries me the most.
 

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