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Author Topic: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks  (Read 829 times)

Anewjrny

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Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« on: October 02, 2017, 02:50:20 PM »
Hi all I have a Chevy 1500 crew cab V8 4.8L and wondering from people who have done this vs what a book says. Just trying to get an idea of what I should be looking for. I do not want to go through a dealer really so just looking through private sellers. So my question is what would be a good first time trailer with some room for my son, 2 small dogs and myself. We are planning on doing a 49 state tour so we will be living in it for a while.
Thanks in advance!

Pugapooh

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2017, 03:29:31 PM »
Depending on the year,your truck probably has a yellow sticker inside the driver side door jamb.  This will give the numbers we need to help you pick a trailer. 
2006 Dutchmen Denali 29 RL fiver
2006 Dodge 2500 Big Horn
2001 GMC Sierra 3500
1996 Dodge Ram 1500

keymastr

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2017, 04:37:28 PM »
It can be hard to get an idea from ads because some brands list overall length including bumper and hitch while others have just the box  size of the trailer listed so a 23 foot trailer like mine is actually nearly 28 feet long. Same is true of weights. Just because it says ultra light or half ton towable does not mean that it really is.

A comfortable size and weight for that truck is about 5000 pounds gross which is probably 4200 dry. 26 feet overall length is a good place to be both from a handling perspective as well as available campsites. Any longer and you are much  more prone to being pushed around by the wind and wake from passing semis. Many state parks have a size limit and usually 26 feet is the cutoff.  They may have spaces for longer rigs but getting in and out may be more challenging or they may stick you in the bus parking lot where the rigs are lined up like parking at the mall. Fine for overnights but not so good as destinations.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2017, 01:36:33 PM »
Start out with the trailer tow guides to establish the capability of your particular truck configuration.

http://www.trailerlife.com/trailer-towing-guides/

The general advice that keymastr gave should get you in the right ball park, but you really need to check the specs.
Gary
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Danny Pyle

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2017, 01:49:39 PM »
I had a 2008 F150 with the 5.4 Triton, it had a towing capacity of 9200 lbs but I purchased a trailer with a dry weight of 4600lbs and it struggled on hills with it. I have since upgraded to aF250 with the 6.2 gas engine. Much more comfortable towing!
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blw2

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2017, 03:30:47 PM »
with my '06 Silvy, I found out that just because it has the tow package from the factory, it doesn't mean it can tow a lot.
When we were looking to upgrade away form the little popup, we were considering a larger travel trailer.  Found several we liked for my family of 5.....
but when i started digging into the numbers I found out that I couldn't really tow those larger ones.
Look in your glove box.  There's a sticker in there someplace with all the option codes.

Here's the first thing that came up as a reference when I googled it...
http://www.gmc4x4.com/topic/305-deciphering-the-glovebox-rpo-codes/

One of those codes will let you know which rear end differential gear ratio you have.  Others tell you the engine, etc...

Now, look in the manual and someplace in there will be capacities..  find the right area based on your engine, diff ratio, etc... to find your capacities.

I had already previously weighed my truck with my normal compliment of junk under the seats, family on board, etc... and with that I was able to determine that my truck had a "highway" gear, and not a towing gear.....

I've towed big trailers before that were right on the edge of a truck's capacity and it's not a good way to travel.  It can be done, but not comfortable and arguably not safe.
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
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'06 Silverado
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Gizmo

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2017, 04:47:15 PM »
On my current & previous truck the towing capacity & payload capacity is on the driver side door pillar, others have it in the glove box as mentioned and some may locate it in both places.  Another thought to check out, on the Ram website the mfg. of my truck, you can input the vin # and it will reveal the tow and payload capacity of the specific truck, perhaps you can obtain the info from Chevy.  Once armed with those numbers you can shop trailers, but make sure you only look at the GVWR and not the dry weight.  The GVWR is the total combined weight of the trailer plus allowable cargo. 
« Last Edit: October 03, 2017, 04:49:29 PM by Gizmo »
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
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blw2

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2017, 10:44:35 AM »
actually
GVWR = vehicle weight rating = the heaviest the truck it's self can weigh (steer axle + rear axle), regardless if coupled to a trailer or not
GCVWR is the number for the whole rig (steer axle + rear axle + trailer axle)

The general tow capacity numbers you see are almost meaningless.  To generic.
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
’13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

Gizmo

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2017, 11:04:13 AM »
I was referring to the GVWR of the trailer so the OP can look at that number and compare to the towing capacity of his truck.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
2014 Northwoods Snow River 246RKS &
2013 Aliner Expedition

QZ

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2017, 11:54:40 AM »
I'd agree with keymstr. I had a Chevy 1/2 ext cab 4x4 SB max tow 9700 payload 1650 pulling about 5000 TT. The payload was over by 150 lb when I started that trip and dropped off a few items later so I was back just under payload. That set up pulled well, wasn't white knuckle and would get up and go when needed.

Here are some figures I found on a forum. As mentioned above you can find your truck specs.

2WD Auto w/3.73 - 7,100
2WD Auto w/3.42 - 6,100
2WD Man w/3.73 - 5,100
2WD Man w/3.42 - 4,100

4WD Auto w/3.73 - 6,800
4WD Auto w/4.10 - 7,800
4WD Man w/3.73 - 4,800
4WD Man w/4.10 - 5,800

The maximum GCWR varies from 9,500 - 13,000.
 
Just say you are at 7,000. You may be able to pull it but the issue is do you want to. If that truck is at max  or if mine had been at max it it would be pure heck to drive. I couldn't imagine pulling 7000 with the Chevy I had but people do it. It depends on how far a person is going too. If you are doing this full time you want it to be comfortable and low stress. Also remember that the numbers they give will only include iirc a driver of about 150 pounds. All passengers, dogs, fuel and everything else have to be subtracted. Dont believe anyone or any sales people, believe a scale weight. Weigh after you set up your rig so the tongue weight is correct and you are safe before hitting the road.

Some websites will have people arguing that they tow at max all the time and there is no problem blah blah blah. Again, there is a big difference between what you can pull and what you will want to pull. The risk you are up against is setting this all up and being unhappy with it. If nothing else beg borrow or rent an expected weight of trailer and see how it pulls. A utility trailer is not going to duplicate the frontal area of a TT. It sounds like a pita but you are putting together a long term living accommodation not just keep your kid happy by taking him to a local campground now and then and then parking it all.  It can seem daunting at times but you just have to work through it. If you had a one to or 3/4 you have a huge variety of rigs to choose from. When you have a minimal tow vehicle you have to make compromises.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 12:23:21 PM by QZ »

Gizmo

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2017, 12:28:16 PM »
The maximum GCWR varies from 9,500 - 13,000.
 
Just say you are at 7,000. You may be able to pull it but the issue is do you want to. If that truck is at max  or if mine had been at max it it would be pure heck to drive. I couldn't imagine pulling 7000 with the Chevy I had but people do it. It depends on how far a person is going too. If you are doing this full time you want it to be comfortable and low stress. Also remember that the numbers they give will only include iirc a driver of about 150 pounds. All passengers, dogs, fuel and everything else have to be subtracted. Dont believe anyone or any sales people, believe a scale weight. Weigh after you set up your rig so the tongue weight is correct and you are safe before hitting the road.
I agree, when I was towing trailers my goal was to tow no more than 20% of the rated tow capacity since I live and travel in the west.  When I lived in the Midwest and all my towing was limited to mostly flat terrain and a few hills here and there, I used a 10% factor.  With my last rig the tow capacity of the truck I had was somewhere north of 9500 and my TT when fully loaded for travel was 6800 lbs.  I had no issues even on steep grades, but I would not have wanted to tow more than 7K with that truck in the region I live and travel.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
2014 Northwoods Snow River 246RKS &
2013 Aliner Expedition

Jkenerson

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2017, 09:17:25 PM »
I'm running a Keystone 2450RB with a shipping weight of 5065 I figure 25 gallons of water and another 25 gray/black for a total 430lbs plus additional gear (say another 500lbs), so an all up weight of 6000lbs.
 I am towing this 26ft trailer with a 2002 Chevy Suburban 1500 Z71 with a 10 bolt rear end using a weight distribution hitch. The truck pulls this trailer beautifully with no squatting and good handling, however the rear differential could not handle it. I thought it was just the old rear end so I had it completely rebuilt only to have it go out two more times. The axle shop I'm using has been really good about rebuilding it but they are done and have told me the trailer is doing the damage and this is the last time they will repair it without charging me for more than the parts.
 I have been told repeatedly by different people that the rear end should be able to handle it but that does not seem to be the case. My plan is to sell the 1500 and upgrade to a 2500, hopefully it will be rock solid towing my rig.
 

RVRAC

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2017, 09:35:21 PM »
I used to have a  2014 1500 Silverado with towing package and that engine you mentioned.  I pulled a 26' TT with a GVWR of 6,000.  That was as much as I would recommend.  It is not only the weight of the TT you need to keep in mind but also the length of it.  26' is a lot for it.
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spencerpj

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2017, 12:59:07 PM »
Anewjrny , Your truck and intention, I would stick with something under 21', and under 4500 Dry weight, and under 600# tongue weight.  Shop Craigslist and google the trailer for specs.  Nothing stinks more than being under powered. 
2005 GMC Yukon XL, 1500, 4WD
2012 Puma, 19fs

postmandug

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2017, 06:55:41 PM »
That's exactly why I purchased more truck than I needed back in September in anticipation of buying a TT.  Just because you CAN pull that much weight and length, doesn't necessarily mean you CAN safely or without wearing out that half ton PU.
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TonyDtorch

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2017, 07:21:04 PM »
I used to have a  2014 1500 Silverado with towing package and that engine you mentioned.  I pulled a 26' TT with a GVWR of 6,000.  That was as much as I would recommend.  It is not only the weight of the TT you need to keep in mind but also the length of it.  26' is a lot for it.

I'm not sure if the trailer length has a whole lot to do with it.

 It's not like the mass of a 3/4 ton truck is so much greater than a 1/2 ton truck that it would eliminate the 'wag of the tail' effect of a longer trailer.

Proper trailer loading and a leveling/sway hitch is always a good thing.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 07:56:47 PM by TonyDtorch »

kdbgoat

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2017, 05:52:44 AM »
I'm not sure if the trailer length has a whole lot to do with it.

 It's not like the mass of a 3/4 ton truck is so much greater than a 1/2 ton truck that it would eliminate the 'wag of the tail' effect of a longer trailer.

Proper trailer loading and a leveling/sway hitch is always a good thing.

I'm one of those folks that agree that there are many capable half ton pick-ups out there. They have come a long way in the last 5 to 7 years. My opinion is that trailer length will affect how a rig handles side winds, semi's passing etc. Most of the 3/4 and 1 ton trucks I have driven weigh 1500 to 2000# more than the 1/2 tons I've driven. The heavier trucks also have stiffer suspensions, and stiffer tires. That helps with the side winds etc. As far as sway, like Tony says, most of that comes from an improperly loaded trailer, and pulling off level.
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TonyDtorch

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2017, 09:06:24 AM »
 a long truck wheelbase really helps,  1/2 or 3/4 ton

SuwanneeDave

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Re: Trailers for 1/2 ton trucks
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2017, 05:04:56 PM »
The transmission has a lot to do with it. We tow a 21' Flagstaff Microlite that weighs about 4000lbs with a Ram 1500 6.7 liter with an 8 speed transmission. The 8 speeds provide a wide range of ratios to maximize torque and mileage. There are now 10 speeds available with some brand. In any event about 10mpg is about the average you can expect.

 

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