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1/2 vs 3/4 ton truck for 9k lb boat/trailer

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1/2 vs 3/4 ton truck for 9k lb boat/trailer

Old 11-07-2020, 06:05 AM
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Default 1/2 vs 3/4 ton truck for 9k lb boat/trailer

Looking for advice from anyone who has towed a similarly weighted boat/trailer setup. This includes gear and topped-off gas and water tanks.

The 1/2 ton Im looking at is rated to tow 11.5k lb and the 3/4 is rated for 13k lb. It seems like the 1/2 ton has plenty of capability, but Im wondering how much the truck will get pushed around on the road while towing. I realize the 3/4 wont have that problem, but the truck is almost $10k more. The plan is to tow it multiple times per year at around a 600 mile round trip each time. Safety is my number one concern, but wondering if itd be overkill. Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

Last edited by awyman; 11-07-2020 at 06:29 AM.
Old 11-07-2020, 06:12 AM
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I towed a 9,800# rig with the following trucks for four years.
2013 F150 EB
2016 F150 EB
2013 Silverado 2500
2015 Silverado 1500

the fords suspension sucks for that much weight but the engine is good. The Chevy 1500 suspension was much better but coming off of the EB the Chevy 5.3 was lackluster engine. The 2500 Duramax was a beast in all areas but a bit much for a daily driver.

We ended up slippping the boat as between towing, ramps and what not it was just easier.

If you are going to tow short distance or only move the boat a few times a year you will be OK with the 1500, if you are going to tow more I would get a 2500 but shy away from Diesel as the gas technology has come along so far and the Diesels seem to have astronomical emission repairs.

Oh, I did try using a WD hitch for the F150 and it helped but was yet another thing to do in order to use the boat.
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Old 11-07-2020, 06:13 AM
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As long as your trailer is set up properly, you will not have any issues. I have been pulling 7-9k with half tons since the mid 90s and i'm still alive. Most pulls were 600 mole round trip weekend tows to chase salmon.

Right now I have 2 half tons and a 3/4 ton. The latter sits unless i have to pull over 9k.
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Old 11-07-2020, 06:21 AM
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If your not using the truck as a daily driver or tow every weekend Id go 3/4 ton. I have a Chevy 1/2 ton with the 6.2 and tow around 9500 a couple times per year. Power wise zero issues. Handling was a little sketchy so I added air bags which made a significant difference. But if I was doing it more Id really want something bigger.
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Old 11-07-2020, 07:03 AM
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For frequently towing that distance I would want 3/4 ton. Same weight infrequently it short distances I would lean the other way.
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Old 11-07-2020, 07:26 AM
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1/2 ton will handle that no problem. Post the vin number here or pm it to me before you buy. Not all 1/2 tons are adequately equipped for 11.5k pounds
example: 56% of xlt f150 with 3.5 eb can only tow 5k ish pounds.
84% of Ram 1500 can only tow 8k

I don't have figures for GM but can still run the vin to confirm limits
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Old 11-07-2020, 03:52 PM
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I bought a 2019 Sierra Duramax 2500 for my 32 boat and only tow it a few miles a couple times a year. Regret not buying a 1/2 for the comfort and simplicity of a gas engine these days. I only have 5000 miles on the truck so i am only happy because it wont depreciate as much as a 1/2 ton..

if I were you Id get a diesel 2500. Its an awesome truck for long and heavy hauls.
Old 11-07-2020, 06:54 PM
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Ive towed a similar load with both a gas Chevy 1500 and a diesel Denali 2500. The 2500 pulls and handles the load way better. Much more comfortable. A half ton can absolutely pull a boat that big if equipped properly but a 2500 will do it better and easier. Im a little over a year into my ownership of my duramax and Ive put 26k miles on it. Zero issues and its a blast to drive.
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Old 11-08-2020, 06:49 AM
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Any of the trucks mentioned above will pull the load. But panic stops, swerves, emergency moves of any kind... you need the 3/4 ton.

It's heavier, the chassis is sturdier, the brakes are bigger. Even a HD2500 gasser has hill descent control.

As a person who tumbled a truck and trailer several times in the median of I-75 the bigger truck gets my vote. No question.
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Old 11-08-2020, 05:56 PM
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I am with Hot Rod on this. Manufactures nowadays are so concerned with being number one that they will push the limits. I can't imagine towing 11.5k with a 1500, that's a lot of weight. If I am not mistaken my friends 06 36 Contender is around that weight, hull only. I can't see a 1500 with that monster behind it and having to handle the load in an emergency situation.
Old 11-08-2020, 06:11 PM
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600 miles is a long ways. I would go 2500, possibly gas.
Old 11-08-2020, 08:25 PM
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I towed a 4500 lb. boat with my 2020 F150 SuperCrew truck last month, and it was not the best ride. Remember that 1/2 ton trucks are fine for towing medium size loads (4-5000 lbs.), but their big tires and tall suspensions are more for looks than load.

I keep my old F250 diesel in reserve to tow my heavy loads--like a 36' fifth wheel trailer (RV.) The 3/4 ton or 1 ton truck is the only way to go with a load what you're describing.
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Old 11-08-2020, 08:57 PM
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I just went through this drill. I had a Toyota Tundra pulling a 8,000 lb boat. Sure, it could tow boat and trailer but at highway speeds up and down hills, no doubt that boat was pushing the truck.

So I stepped up for a Nissan Titan XD gasser. Bigger footprint, you can call that truck a 5/8 ton. It handled boat and trailer fine. On the first long range tow trip (250 miles to Canada) I had to make a panic move to avoid rear-ending a street sweeping truck. The Titan XD paid for itself that day—-no way the Tundra would have brought truck and trailer to a complete stop in the skinny amount of highway I had available to me the way the Titan XD did.

So two weeks ago I stepped up for an 11,000 lb boat. The Titan XD, being 4x4, was only rated for 9,750. Yes, it towed the boat fine at highway speeds the day I went to pick it up from the manufacturer but no doubt, I could tell that in a panic situation, it would be sketchy—-just not enough foot print and brake rotors for that sized boat when playing dodgem’ on the interstate.

I really liked that Nissan Titan XD. It only had 40,000 miles on it. But I pinched my nose, stuck it on CRaigslist and picked up a Ford F250 with the 7.3L as soon as the Titan XD sold (it sold in 20 minutes on Craigslist)

The difference when towing the new boat with the 3/4 ton is significant. You just know it’s the right tool for the job and the Nissan Titan XD was not.

And I’ll admit—-if I’d hung on to the Titan XD and had a mishap on the highway, the fact that I was towing an 11,000 lb boat with a truck rated for 9,750 lbs would have left me open to liability and that pointy little detail played a part in my decision to sell the Titan XD

It would be prudent to make that part of your decision process when chosing either a 1/2 ton or a 3/4 ton

Last edited by marketic; 11-08-2020 at 09:03 PM.
Old 11-09-2020, 06:49 AM
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I don't think you need a diesel unless you might pull something bigger. My HD2500 is a 6L gas truck and it pulls 10k great. The mileage is bad, around 6-7 mpg but it was $11000 less than a comparable diesel and I figured I'd have to drive the truck 250k miles or more to break even. I don't want to. I get a new truck every few years. Benefit of owning a small business.
Old 11-09-2020, 07:18 AM
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A 3/4 ton truck will be the better choice for long highway speed trips. A 1/2 ton will work just fine, however, as long as it has all the optional tow equipment and you drive conservatively.

What people fail to consider in the choice is the trailer and its brakes. Full-stainless disk brakes on all axles and an electric over hydraulic actuator will greatly improve braking (stainless because they will be easier to maintain over time). A heavy duty trailer with high-quality tires will also improve stability. I suggest budgeting more for the trailer rather than buying a just-enough trailer that many boat dealers sell. A high-end 10,500 pound gross weight dual axel trailer is going to cost you around $10k.
Old 11-09-2020, 10:53 AM
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There's a world of difference between what the manufacturer rates a truck at towing and what the truck is comfortable towing. I've towed my current boat (8400 lbs) with both a Silverado 1500 with the 5.3 and a 2500 with the LBZ/Alison combination and I can tell you that there is a world of difference between the two. While the 1500 towed the boat, you could tell it was pretty much maxed out while with the 2500, you knew you were pulling a load from a stop, but at speed, it was comfortable with that weight and hardly working. Even going up smaller hills, it stayed in OD and just walked up the hills.
Old 11-09-2020, 01:23 PM
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3/4 ton without even thinking twice. A gasser, is fine. GM FORD or CHRYSLER. All will do it and cruise on the highway EASILY compared to a 1500....
Old 11-10-2020, 08:07 PM
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Everyone is giving suggestions without asking where and when the towing is being done.

I could tow most of Fla with a 1/2 ton no problem. But take that same boat through W Va and into south western PA ... and you're gonna want a 3/4 ton to be safe. Add Spring or Fall towing, through W Va mountains or over the PA ridges, and a 1/2 ton at 9k lbs could be dangerous.

add in ... while 3/4 ton parts are more expensive, they also last longer. At that weight, a 3/4 ton will live a much easier life.
Old 11-11-2020, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Jjbuck21 View Post
Everyone is giving suggestions without asking where and when the towing is being done.

I could tow most of Fla with a 1/2 ton no problem. But take that same boat through W Va and into south western PA ... and you're gonna want a 3/4 ton to be safe. Add Spring or Fall towing, through W Va mountains or over the PA ridges, and a 1/2 ton at 9k lbs could be dangerous.

add in ... while 3/4 ton parts are more expensive, they also last longer. At that weight, a 3/4 ton will live a much easier life.
I have to disagree. A 3/4 ton will feel much better towing on flat or hills. The 1/2 ton will just crash sooner in hills.....
Old 11-11-2020, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by avalonandl View Post
I have to disagree. A 3/4 ton will feel much better towing on flat or hills. The 1/2 ton will just crash sooner in hills.....
We're not disagreeing.

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