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Old 08-20-2013, 09:58 PM   #1
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Impressions towing with 3/4 ton vs 1/2 ton

After logging 3,355 miles since Aug. 8 with our WhiteHawk 27DSLR, driving from TX to Westport, WA before reversing course, I can offer some observations about the difference between towing the trailer with the "old" 2011 Silverado 1500 (LWB, extended cab, Z71, 5.3L engine and 3.42 gears with 6-speed auto) and the "new" 2012 Sierra 2500HD (LWB, extended cab, Z71, 6.0 engine and 3.73 gears with 6-speed auto.)

First, I should state that I used the old truck twice to tow the trailer: once to drive to Middlebury, IN and pick it up dry and haul it back to TX; and the other time to make a weekend trip to a state park about 120 miles from our home, in May. The trip from IN went well, we hauled mostly on Interstates at 65-70 mph, the old truck performed well and delivered 8.2 MPG overall. On the second haul in May, it also drove well, but labored more with the loaded trailer, and I noted tranny temps of 217 on a day with 88F degree air temp and not very big hills in Central TX. After mulling this over with the fact that the 1/2 ton truck, unloaded with full tank of gas, two passengers weighed 6620 lbs on the CAT scale, I decided to go for a 3/4 ton. (The WH would throw about 975 lbs fully loaded onto the TV, putting me well past the GVWR of the truck at 7000 lbs.)

The 3/4 ton truck, as expected, rides rougher, especially on our ranch roads, and gets worse gas mileage, unloaded. (About 12 MPG compared to 15 MPG with the 1/2 ton.) However, it definitely seems more stable with the trailer while on the road. When leaving TX, we encountered all kinds of conditions, including 20 mph head winds, a dust storm, and a giant dust devil that swept across the road right into our path. The dust devil caused the only "twitch" of the trip, and it was slight. So far, all the other conditions have not caused anything that gave me cause for concern. And, the 6-speed auto trans. tow/haul mode is great for getting over, and down mountain passes. In many cases, I only need tap the brakes and the tranny downshifts to slow the rig down. Mileage has ranged from 7.5 (steep mountain passes) to 10.3 (flat OR coastal plains) while towing the trailer. Today's mileage, 340 miles from Yakima, WA to St. Regis, MT was 8.3.

All in all, I'm very glad I made the upgrade from 1/2 ton to 3/4 ton, even though the 1/2 ton likely would have done just fine for any TX destination. When you start hauling trailers over mountain passes, it's clear that one really can't have too much TV!

In closing, I just wish I had found this forum BEFORE I started shopping for a new TT, and learned about the importance of weighing one's TV to see what it really is capable of. We went for the WH because it seemed a great match for the TV; only later did I figure out that the TV had much less capacity than it originally seemed. Such is life!

In the meantime, we are thoroughly enjoying our month-long run from TX to the Pacific, and back!
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:25 PM   #2
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That story sounds much like ours, we moved from f150 to ram 3500. Truck was fine for local trips but doing 5+ hour trips was just a little too much for my liking. As you said wish I would have known more before buying although I love the new truck. Don't listen to the sales people they jut tell you tow ratings not gvw ratings.
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:55 AM   #3
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Yeah I`ve done the 1500 to 2500 thing also. Still have and love both of em, but the 2500 is a towbeast compared to the 1500!
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:12 AM   #4
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Also went from 1500 to 2500....gasser to diesel. Amazing difference! Pulling a 3k trailer with the 1500, I got 10 mpg. Pulling a 6k trailer with the 2500, I get 13 mpg. I'm happy, happy, happy!
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:25 PM   #5
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Glad to hear you made the switch and are happy with it. I went from 2450# unloaded tongue weight on our previous 5er to 1400# unloaded tongue weight on the Jayco 5er. So, I kept the GMC 2500 D/A but traded the RV. MUCH happier and more relaxed when towing.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:31 PM   #6
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We did a similar thing except we had a 3/4 ton and bought a 1 ton SRW. The bigger truck handles the weight much better. Because both are diesel we didn't see any difference in fuel mileage.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clutch View Post
We did a similar thing except we had a 3/4 ton and bought a 1 ton SRW. The bigger truck handles the weight much better. Because both are diesel we didn't see any difference in fuel mileage.
X2 except with 3,450 lbs. pin weight we went from 3/4 ton to 1 ton DRW
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:04 PM   #8
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Just upgraded to a 2014 White Hawk 30DSRE and love it. Tow Vehicle is an 08 Silverado 1500 4x4 with tow package and mid sized Vortec V8. Pulled home to Ky after picking up in Middlebury [great dealer] In with no issues. Hitch ball was 3 or 4 inches low since that was the highest my tow bar could be raised. Since have added a taller hi rise bar to accomodate the extra hight the dealer said I needed for level pull. 2nd tow was less than 100 miles but several big hills and lots of start and stop. Again not issues and it seemed to pull easier than the 28' TT I had before [1500 lbs less dry weight]. Did experience some tranny heat build up on the big hills but no problem holding and or gaining speed. Can drop the tran temp 10 degrees or so by turning off the AC. Truck normally runs at 210 water temp and tran temp is 190 - 210 range unless climbing or start and stop driving. My GM dealer told me not to worry with temps up to 230 or even 240 for short distances and to ease the load when necessary by turning off the AC. Power with the 5.4 has not been an issue since I'm not trying to set any records. The TV/TT combo seems well balanced and easy to pull. Plan to go to a 2500 next time we trade, but no plans in the short run. We went to the White Hawk because of the weight and features.
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Old 08-23-2013, 02:13 PM   #9
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I'm guessing I will be the only one to say this, and maybe I did something wrong, but I'm not sure I will ever tow our 242 with a 3/4 ton again. I normally use my Tahoe and it tows great (although a little sluggish) but I had a opertunity to use my folks 03 SD F250 7.3L to pull our camper to northern MI for a 3 day meeting and the best I could do was 60 on the freeway with out the thing moving all over the road. Now, I did not have the TB's on but I did have my sway control on. the camper when hooked up was sitting level (maybe a little high off level, but darn close) and the truck barely budged so I didn't think TB's were necessary. The only good thing about pulling with that truck is I managed to get 16mpg pulling.
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Old 08-23-2013, 02:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plowtoy View Post
I'm guessing I will be the only one to say this, and maybe I did something wrong, but I'm not sure I will ever tow our 242 with a 3/4 ton again. I normally use my Tahoe and it tows great (although a little sluggish) but I had a opertunity to use my folks 03 SD F250 7.3L to pull our camper to northern MI for a 3 day meeting and the best I could do was 60 on the freeway with out the thing moving all over the road. Now, I did not have the TB's on but I did have my sway control on. the camper when hooked up was sitting level (maybe a little high off level, but darn close) and the truck barely budged so I didn't think TB's were necessary. The only good thing about pulling with that truck is I managed to get 16mpg pulling.
Something must have been amiss with that particular setup. I would not come to the conclusion that all 3/4 ton rigs are going to provide a worse towing experience then the Tahoe.....
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