1/2 Ton at limit?

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TRCutt

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Joined
Jun 9, 2006
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This has probably been asked a million times in the past but, here she goes anyways.........

We have a 2007 Jayco 29BHS ordered and it should arrive most anytime. This rv has a dry weight of approximately 5,600 lbs & 30ft long. Here's the kicker.... We own a 98 Chevy x-cab 2wd 1/2 ton with 5.7 v8 and 3.42 gears.
If any of you guys have ever been, or currently in my position, I'd value your advise whether it is worth the effort and expense to change to 3.73 gears....not to mention heavier shocks. Our truck, which we purchased new, has 60k miles and runs like a champ. I'm just concerned about the safety factor...brakes / sway.  Get a 3/4 ton, or can the 1/2 ton do it?  Thanks in advance.
 

Carl L

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Mar 14, 2005
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west Los Angeles
Trailer Life gives 7000 lbs as the tow rating for a 5.3L V8 in a 1500 with a 3.42 rear end.    If you tow in the east, I recommend a 10% safety factor for aging truck, which gives you a rating of 6300 lbs.  If you tow in the far west, make that factor 20% for a gas engine to allow for high altitudes and long steep grades.  That gives a tow rating of 5600 lbs..    That's if your unit has automatic transmission.  With a manual all bets are off.

You are close to those limits with your truck.  Switching to a 3.73 rear end will gain you 1000lbs in tow rating.  800 lbs in the far west.  That would help.  However, whether it would be worth the expense, I would leave it to tho others as to its economics and practicality.  A 98 is getting long in the tooth.  Another possibility is a unit like Gear Vendor's over/underdrive auxiliary transmission. 

 

Lou Schneider

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The 5.7 L is a very good engine, but consider that at 60,000 miles you're approaching the middle of it's expected lifespan.  I've owned a  couple of 5.7 L pickups, one with a 3.42 and the other with a 4.12 rear end.  IMO, changing the rear end ratio won't make enough of a difference in the performance to be worthwhile.

It's very easy to load up on aftermarket accessories, speinding a little bit here, a little bit there for an auxiliary transmission/gear splitter, headers, gear changes, etc. in hopes of getting more performance out of an existing truck.  But consider that your truck is not new, it's performance will decrease towards the end of the drivertrain's life, especially under heavy use, and you'll probably never see any of that money when you decide to trade in the truck.

Personally, I'd either accept your truck as-is, or bite the bullet, take the good trade-in you'd get for your truck right now and look for one that has more headroom in towing capacity as it comes off of the showroom floor.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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I too recommend that you swap for a 3/4 ton - it is an all-around sturdier tow vehicle. Consider a diesel while you are at it, unless you don't plan to tow often or far. The diesel will be worth the extra bucks if you tow much.
 
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