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Old January 30th, 2010, 11:10 AM   #1
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Default 1/2 Ton Towing

Im thinking about doing some upgrades to my 03 Ram 1500.
It has the Hemi Motor, Quad Cab, 4x4, and a short bed. The rear axle is the Crysler 9.25. My plan is to do airbags in the rear and slotted/vented brakes and ceramic pads all around also get some load range E tires and also start using a weight distribution hitch. I had thought about buying an oversized rear diff cover to keep it cooler out back but I dont know if this is worth the $$.

Anyone have any other ideas to upgrade a 1/2 ton truck for hauling.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 05:02 PM   #2
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how much do you plan on towing?
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Old January 30th, 2010, 05:14 PM   #3
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how much do you plan on towing?
x2. it would be very helpful to know what kinda loads you plan on pulling and how far/often.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 05:16 PM   #4
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increased trans capacity and cooling.

Lower gears

Air bags

Brake upgrade/electric brake controller

Other than that upgrade the truck....don't pour more money into it than its worth.......and I am a proponent of half ton trucks, I think they tow much better than most give them credit for...
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Old January 30th, 2010, 05:22 PM   #5
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Just because you can tow more, doesn't necessarily mean you should. Keep an eye on on those GVWR's.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 05:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by kickstand View Post
increased trans capacity and cooling.

Lower gears

Air bags

Brake upgrade/electric brake controller

Other than that upgrade the truck....don't pour more money into it than its worth.......and I am a proponent of half ton trucks, I think they tow much better than most give them credit for...
what he said ... i have a 03 silverado 1/2 ton that hauls my yj and a pretty beefy trailer. all ive done is put a brake controller on it but i have plans of air bags in the future as the rear sags a bit, if you even the load out right theres no issues tho
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Old January 30th, 2010, 10:30 PM   #7
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Air bags are awesome. But before I upgrade trans, brakes and gears, I am going to just go buy a bigger truck.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 10:30 PM   #8
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these are some bad pics but you get an idea of what im pulling. I also wanna get a small truck bed camper too. I would like to tow alot this summer (2x per month)but we will see how that goes. The farthest I have towed with my current set up was from west MI to attica, and it was not that bad. One of the big downfalls of my current set up is 35" tires.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 10:31 PM   #9
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Air bags are awesome. But before I upgrade trans, brakes and gears, I am going to just go buy a bigger truck.
I will have this one paid off in less than 1 year so i would like to make it work if I could. It only has like 65,000 miles on it.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 10:45 PM   #10
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I have load range E tires and Monroe sensetrac shocks with coil helpers on the rear. I think it helps alot. Less sag than before. Obviously a Brake controller is a good idea too. I haven't been using a weight distributing hitch but I have one, just need to get a new ball on it and the some new snap up brackets. That would help even more. In all honesty, I think it tows fine. The brake upgrades are a good idea too. I know I have warped my rotors on more than one occasion as a result of an emergency stop. I've never had them fail, just create a pulse in them.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 11:14 PM   #11
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truck bed campers are sweet. i have one and enjoy it. unfortunately you do not have enough truck to tow a jeep on a trailer, and have tc in the bed. you could do one or the other, not both.
almost every tc on the market will put your 1/2 ton over its gvw with out towing anything. a small tc is gonna be 1200 to 1500 pounds empty and dry. you will put 500lbs minium in it for gear and food and water and propane. add near 1k lbs of tounge weight to that and your asking for trouble. i know its not what you wanna hear, but what you wanna do is far from safe. being a little over gvw aint a big deal. you will be way past a little over gvw. trade the 1/2 ton on a used one ton. 1/2 tons are for hauling plywood.

i speak from experience. go to rv. nets truck camper fourm for tons of info from people that know tc's inside and out. my 3/4 ton is over gvw. my camper is medium sized(about 2500lbs loaded). my trailer is light compared to most. im upgrading my truck soon, looking for a short bed dually. on the scale ticket im packed super light.
i have been 17k lbs.


Last edited by joe_jeep; January 30th, 2010 at 11:24 PM.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 11:19 PM   #12
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Even with brake and suspention upgrades this still would not be safe?
I realy like my truck but I dont wanna put $$ into it if I cant do what I want safely. What would be my weak/unsafe link with this set up?
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Old January 30th, 2010, 11:29 PM   #13
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http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...ecs_price.html
Towing cap. is 9200lbs
GVWR 6550lbs
would this be too little?
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Old January 30th, 2010, 11:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curbdog17 View Post
Even with brake and suspention upgrades this still would not be safe?
I realy like my truck but I dont wanna put $$ into it if I cant do what I want safely. What would be my weak/unsafe link with this set up?
yes it is unsafe. there is nothing that can fix it. sorry!

whats your gvw rating in the door jam? weight the truck with you and a passenger and a full tank of fuel. subtract that from your gvw thats what you can carry. you would be 3k to 4k over gvw i bet. your rims are not rated to carry that kind of weight. your tires would not be rated to carry that kind of weight. your axles are not rated to carry that kind of weight. your brakes would be way over worked. your springs and shocks would be wasted pretty quickly.

alot of people are a little over their gvw rating when loaded.
never ever ignore the axle ratings, tire ratings, rim ratings. these are important safety ratings. the rest of the numbers can be fuzzy sometimes. also gvcw needs to be looked into cause your towing. also the weight is up really high so your center of gravity would be really screwey.

thought about a bed tent? or sleeping under a bedcap?

my 3/4 ton can be a handful when real heavy. your 1/2 ton would be crazy.
i have never seen a fully self contained camper less than 1k lbs. most are 1500lbs minium.

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Old January 30th, 2010, 11:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curbdog17 View Post
http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...ecs_price.html
Towing cap. is 9200lbs
GVWR 6550lbs
would this be too little?
your gvwr is 6550 that the most you can carry. whats your truck weigh?? 5200 to 5500lbs empty? weigh it to be sure. being 1k lbs overweight on a 1/2 ton is alot. tire, rim, and axle ratings are set in stone! do not exceede them.
gvw and gvcw are guide lines.

what your towing in not whats hurting you so much. its mostly payload capacity and braking thats gonna limit you.

go to rv .net's truck camper fourm. its got so much info you head will spin.
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Old January 31st, 2010, 07:21 AM   #16
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Thanks Joe Jeep. I dont wanna put my family or yours in danger. I just may have to get a new truck if I wanna do both at the same time.
Again thanks
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Old January 31st, 2010, 07:50 AM   #17
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a good choice! find the camper you want. then get the truck that can fit your needs.
if you go with a very small light pop up style camper you could get away with a 3/4 ton(just barely).
for nice tc's that are fairly light look into outfitter, fourwheel camper, palimino, alaskan,
northernlight, sunlight. a couple of thse might have gone out of buisness recently.
also look into used its so much cheaper.
good luck
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Old January 31st, 2010, 10:30 PM   #18
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you need a Semi! towing with anything less is against the rules..

No seriously..
bag it.
Cool it (trans, diff, Possibly oil)
a cold air intake and exh will help the engine keep up too..
that WDH is going help you the most ! you wont need the bags much with that.. (at least thats what they're made for..

Also an SRT pillar and a trans temp gauge are not a bad idea to keep an eye on it..
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Old February 1st, 2010, 09:59 AM   #19
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bags and 4.56 gears. it would be nice if they could update your trans programming to the 06-08 style trucks like mine where you can lock out 4th and 5th gear but i don't think there is a way to. a lower and lighter trailer would help out alot too by getting that jeep out of the wind and lower to the ground where it is more stable. i pull an xj on a normal car hauler once a month spring to fall and i can set the cruise at 70 and not worry about it, and my truck is stock with the towing package (3.92 gears).
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Old February 1st, 2010, 10:50 AM   #20
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Remember that solutions like air bags only are preventing sag and stiffening up the rear springs. That really isn't the limiting factor, design wise with a half ton. But people do it because they don't like the look/feel when its sagged.

Towing-wise, a half ton can do a good job for most of what people are doing. But I would agree that if you are looking to add a slide-in camper, and tow, its getting to the point where a 3/4 is a better choice.

If you want to try it, then what you'd want to do, is get the camper loaded in the truck, and then go have your truck weighed, front, rear, and total weight. Compare that to your ratings, which should be listed on your door jam sticker. It will have a total GVWR, as well as front and rear axle weight ratings.

Now, you'd need to then add in your cargo and people loads on top of that, and then your trailer and tongue weights on top of that.

A properly selected and installed weight distributing hitch will transfer some weight off the rear axle to the front axle, which makes it preferable to air bags which don't do anything except beef up the springs. The semi-floating rear axle, or your total GCWR is liekly going to be your limiting factor.

I love how my 09 F150 tows, compared with my 96 Ram 2500.
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