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View Full Version : will a 1/2 ton be enough?


RLS24
01-12-2009, 02:03 PM
I'm going to buy a truck...I have, however, come to the conclusion that for the money I am able/willing to spend, a 1/2 ton is going to be my best value, meaning I could get an older 3/4 ton with a lot of miles on it for the same price as a couple year old 1/2 ton with very few miles. I found a wonderful 2006 Chevy 1/2 ton that looks like just what I need, has low miles, and most importantly, the dealer is going to give me a great deal on my trade and the price on the truck is right.

I am, however, worried that the 1/2 ton isnt going to be enough for what I need, or I am going to be pushing it as far as the limits of it goes. I am going to be towing my 6x10 trailer with my mowers (see list in my sig below), prob have the bed filled with grass at the same time, and on landscaping jobs prob have the bed at least half full of mulch and prob towing the trailer with some tools in it. I am also going to be plowing with it in the winter.

All that said, I would highly consider putting airbags in the back to help with the load, and level the front out by either using airbags, timbrens, cranking the torsion bars, or a combination of all 3. Is doing this going to actually help, or just visually mask the problem (if it even will be a problem)? I have had several chevy trucks when I was younger and I worked as a tech at a Chevy dealer for a while, so I know these trucks are built good and it will last me mechanically, but I am just worried I am going to be putting too much on it and "overloading it" at times.

Thanks for your help guys....oh and I will be getting rid of my Jeep, which can't tow anything no can I put anything in the back of it so it's pretty much useless as a landscape vehicle to me....I sure will miss the little thing plowing though!

seabee1
01-12-2009, 02:08 PM
i think the 1/2 ton would be more than enough ! :usflag:

Gravel Rat
01-12-2009, 02:22 PM
Just remember it is a half ton and don't overload it too much. The only thing your going to be doing allot is replacing the brakes because the truck will be heavy all the time. Make sure your trailers have good brakes and a good brake controller in the truck.

You don't want air bags a heavier set of springs would help or add timbrens.

All_Toro_4ME
01-12-2009, 02:48 PM
theres a ton of guys on plowsite that use the large 9.5' boss plow with their half ton.

CoupesCuts
01-12-2009, 02:50 PM
Depends on how much you want to grow. If you put helpers and bags on a 1/2 ton, at the end of the day its still a half ton. If you want a bigger trailer down the road, you are going to want a bigger truck. Plowing? If put a sander in the back you will beat that truck.

RLS24
01-12-2009, 06:22 PM
Depends on how much you want to grow. If you put helpers and bags on a 1/2 ton, at the end of the day its still a half ton. If you want a bigger trailer down the road, you are going to want a bigger truck. Plowing? If put a sander in the back you will beat that truck.

I see where you're coming from. I would never put a sander or salter in the back though.

I'm kind of in a tough position though, I NEED a truck, there are no 2 ways about that. Problem is, I REALLY can't afford any more of a payment than I am making now (it would be $4.22 more a month on this particular truck). Optimistically, I know that once the season starts up I will probably be able to afford a higher truck payment that could be for a 3/4 ton, but I don't want to put all of my eggs in that basket. I know that, even if the s*** hits the fan, and I don't get the landscaping and mowing work I am hoping for, I can still afford the payment on the 1/2 ton working my part time job delivering auto parts.

beano
01-12-2009, 06:32 PM
I think a half ton would be more than enough. Here's a pic of mine and it has 2 wb's a ztr and a bunch of other tools. I also pull a 6x12 open with 5 yds of mulch and it does fine. Would i like a 3/4 ton sometimes ....yes but it does just fine.

slamjamrockinman
01-12-2009, 08:45 PM
I'm going to buy a truck...I have, however, come to the conclusion that for the money I am able/willing to spend, a 1/2 ton is going to be my best value, meaning I could get an older 3/4 ton with a lot of miles on it for the same price as a couple year old 1/2 ton with very few miles. I found a wonderful 2006 Chevy 1/2 ton that looks like just what I need, has low miles, and most importantly, the dealer is going to give me a great deal on my trade and the price on the truck is right.

I am, however, worried that the 1/2 ton isnt going to be enough for what I need, or I am going to be pushing it as far as the limits of it goes. I am going to be towing my 6x10 trailer with my mowers (see list in my sig below), prob have the bed filled with grass at the same time, and on landscaping jobs prob have the bed at least half full of mulch and prob towing the trailer with some tools in it. I am also going to be plowing with it in the winter.

All that said, I would highly consider putting airbags in the back to help with the load, and level the front out by either using airbags, timbrens, cranking the torsion bars, or a combination of all 3. Is doing this going to actually help, or just visually mask the problem (if it even will be a problem)? I have had several chevy trucks when I was younger and I worked as a tech at a Chevy dealer for a while, so I know these trucks are built good and it will last me mechanically, but I am just worried I am going to be putting too much on it and "overloading it" at times.

Thanks for your help guys....oh and I will be getting rid of my Jeep, which can't tow anything no can I put anything in the back of it so it's pretty much useless as a landscape vehicle to me....I sure will miss the little thing plowing though!

I'm kind of in the same situation, so any help from you guys would be appreciated. I want a 3/4 ton but half ton does seem to be a lot better value.

THEoneandonlyLawnRanger
01-13-2009, 07:38 AM
Sounds like it would work good for what you have in mind for it.

dura to the max
01-13-2009, 05:00 PM
i think the half ton would tow your load just fine. but i would be scared to plow w/ that size truck (i am a southern boy that live up north for about 4 months). just remember, unless you steal it, you'll eventually lose money on it. that said you wont get what you have in it back out of it when you need the bigger truck. i would look for a 3/4 ton so that you can grow, and there are some great deals on the larger trucks now too.

Petr51488
01-13-2009, 10:19 PM
I started out with a half ton and worked fine for me, although i would never put a plow on a half ton. As my business grew, i needed a large truck. When you start out in a 1/2 ton, then upgrade to a 3/4 ton, you;ll notice how much more of a truck it is then the 1/2 ton. THe 1500 worked great the first 3 years that i've owned it.... but a few years down the road (today) all that overloading, overworking cought up. With that being said, i put well over 7k into my truck. Everything from the trans, brakes, roaters, oil cooler lines, exhaust, radiator, cooling gaskets, and little stuff that just pisses you off from time to time.

Gravel Rat
01-14-2009, 12:34 AM
I started off with a half ton too but it wasn't a 06 model it was a 1979 150 4x4. Lets see I broke the springs,had wheel bearing problems, rear end blew.

It was from overloading the truck I used to sell firewood when I was 18 so the truck used to see some heavy loads. When I turned 20 I bought a 77 1 ton dually flatdeck and never went back to a smaller truck since. Had a another newer 1 ton dually then moved into 1.5 ton trucks and thats all I ever owned since. Use them for my work truck/daily driver.

I learned beefing up the suspension on a 1/2 ton wasn't a good idea and found out a 9 inch Ford rear axle doesn't do well under a heavy load.

I did have a 78 3/4 ton 4x4 didn't keep it long only had it for 6 months I needed something after I sold my 77 F-350 dually.

topsites
01-14-2009, 01:29 AM
Do a search, this subject has been beaten to death.

rfed32
01-16-2009, 11:25 PM
i have a 1/2 and i do just fine...ive pulled 3.5ton in a dump trailer with my bed also filled with trash...drove a little slow...thats all but i bought my 1/2ton when i was working construction, i plow with it i pull equpt. with it i love it...the only thing i wish is i got a reg cab with a 8foot bed instead of the extended cab with 6'5'' bed...but youll be fine

touhey33
01-17-2009, 01:25 PM
Most new 1/2 tons are rated to pull a pretty good amount of weight. If you are going to be loading the truck itself its only rated for 1000lbs, but it should pull 5000-7000lbs fine.

corey4671
01-17-2009, 01:33 PM
Like others have said...I was going to tell you the 1/2 ton would be fine until you mentioned plowing. Now I do not nor will I ever plow where I live, but I have learned from this site over the last few years that most guys that plow use no less than a 3/4 ton truck. there's a reason for that. I used a 1/2 ton for YEARS pulling an 18 ft trailer. I didn't realize how muchI was abusing that truck until I got a 3/4 ton. $ for $ you'd better off IMO to step up to the 3/4 now. Like folks have said, the market on these trucks right now is down and there are deals to be found both new and used...personally I'd steer you to a used one..but I know there are some on here that'l blast me for that advice as well.

tyler_mott85
01-17-2009, 06:33 PM
I have a couple points on this. I currently have a 93 chevy 1500 long bed with the W/T package. When you hear w/t you immediately think it is good for some work! Maybe if you're delivering flowers...
After doing the math of the GVWR's and all those numbers my 8 foot bed is only good for 750 lbs! Now why would I have ton truck say you can only put 750 lbs in the bed? Beats me. But that got me thinking. I called a couple mechanics I know and asked them what would change the payload rating on a truck. The rear 8.5" axle in my truck is in all the other 1/2 ton trucks in my body style. they used it in 4x4, z71, extended cab. Whatever you needed in a 1/2 ton it has this axle. So if other trucks are rated at a higher rating then that takes out the axle. The transmission, the 4l60E is used in all kinds of trucks as well, 4x4 as well. So this only leads me to believe that the spring pack themselves is the weak point. So how much weight can you shove into the bed of a 1/2 ton truck after to improve the suspension? Let me know...I am needing to decide about this decision as well. Even if you get a 3/4 truck that is not all that much more powerful than yours, and the suspension rating is similar within a few hundred lbs there are much more to 3/4 trucks. Brakes, Frame, Steering. all of these things play a Huge roll in towing and hauling.

But...my next truck will also be my daily driver. So do I want to pay for the gas mileage and tires on a 3/4 truck when I'm not using it for work? Eliphino!

MileHigh
01-17-2009, 09:41 PM
I have a half ton and a 3/4.

No comparison at all.

The gwr in 1/2 tons are crap, and that's what they can hold...crap.

My 1/2 ton plows very like a champ...but It's overloaded for sure.

As of right now...with the way dealers are giving away trucks, It's the time to step up and buy a truck you can grow with.

O, and by the way...my 6.0 diesel gets better gas mileage than my 4.6 triton empty or loaded...and I can actually keep up and pass traffic with the 3/4 ton..

M&SLawnCare
01-17-2009, 11:36 PM
Will a half ton work? Yes. If it safe? With that small of a trailer yes. The question is (expectually if you plan to plow) how long do you want it to last? A 3/4 is built to handle the abuse better and will generally be more reliable and durable even if you don't put a lot of weight in it. Also if you plan to grow some day, expectually into a bigger enclosed trailer, you'll want the bigger truck. Lastly 3/4 and up generally hold their value much better than a 1/2 ton.

If you have to buy a truck, buy the one thats built for the job and will give you more options in the future. Also if you don't need it right away, try to avoid dealers. You can always get a better deal buying from a private seller as they don't have to turn a profit. I recently bought a 99 f250 diesel with around 120k on it in near mint condition, plow included, for 11k. Similar trucks where going for 17-20k at every dealer in the area and didn't include a plow.

LawnTamer
01-18-2009, 12:42 AM
I made a half ton work for years. If I could go back, I would have started with a 3/4 ton, or higher. When I had my half ton, I did brake jobs constantly, had all sorts of issues, truck started to sag in the middle etc.

I added a 3/4ton and was amazed by the difference. Then 2 yrs ago I bought one of the 2500HDs. I will never consider a 1/2 ton for a work truck again. The braking power, the stability, the balance and power aren't even comparable. With a half ton, it was all I could do to haul some dirt, or 30 bags (3/4 ton) of fertilizer, the suspension got all floaty, it never liked braking when hauling of towing. With my 2500HD I can load 80 bags (2 tons) and it drives about the same as it does empty. Brakes are nice and firm, even hauling or towing. Suspension is nice and stiff, no floating around in my lane.

No offense to people using half tons, like I said, I did for years; but once you buy a real work truck, you realize that half tons are made for the guy who wants to haul groceries or soccer equipment once a week.

When I ran my half ton, I changed out brake pads every 12k, miles, and rotors about ever 25-30 k miles. My 2500HD is up to about 55K, and is maybe half way through the original pads.

MileHigh
01-18-2009, 01:55 AM
I made a half ton work for years. had all sorts of issues, truck started to sag in the middle etc.

I added a 3/4ton and was amazed by the difference. . I will never consider a 1/2 ton for a work truck again.

once you buy a real work truck, you realize that half tons are made for the guy who wants to haul groceries or soccer equipment once a week.


yup...:drinkup::drinkup::drinkup::drinkup:

punt66
01-18-2009, 06:08 AM
I made a half ton work for years. If I could go back, I would have started with a 3/4 ton, or higher. When I had my half ton, I did brake jobs constantly, had all sorts of issues, truck started to sag in the middle etc.

I added a 3/4ton and was amazed by the difference. Then 2 yrs ago I bought one of the 2500HDs. I will never consider a 1/2 ton for a work truck again. The braking power, the stability, the balance and power aren't even comparable. With a half ton, it was all I could do to haul some dirt, or 30 bags (3/4 ton) of fertilizer, the suspension got all floaty, it never liked braking when hauling of towing. With my 2500HD I can load 80 bags (2 tons) and it drives about the same as it does empty. Brakes are nice and firm, even hauling or towing. Suspension is nice and stiff, no floating around in my lane.

No offense to people using half tons, like I said, I did for years; but once you buy a real work truck, you realize that half tons are made for the guy who wants to haul groceries or soccer equipment once a week.

When I ran my half ton, I changed out brake pads every 12k, miles, and rotors about ever 25-30 k miles. My 2500HD is up to about 55K, and is maybe half way through the original pads.


Well i will say this I have been using a 3/4 ton since i bought it new in 1991. Dodge 250. Last summer i bought a new 1500 quad cab because i was sick of bouncing down the road. Now i ride in comfort. The hemi powered 1500 is rated to haul 7100 lbs and it would have to be a hell of a load to stop it. That being said, it will never see a dump insert, leaf box, and leaf loader. My old dodge i still own for that reason. Its now a dedicated mulch/leaf/brush. backup plow truck. My new 1500 with the new boss plow plows better then any 3/4 ton i i have plowed with. Its a myth that you need a 3/4t or higher truck for plowing. Its funny to see guys from tennessee or texas tell you what you need for plowing :hammerhead:. For residential drives a 1/2 ton or less is ideal. For larger areas such as parking lots a 3/4 ton or higher is the way to go. Make sure it has the towing package because it will have a heavy duty tranny cooler.

http://www.lawnsite.com/picture.php?albumid=11&pictureid=485

http://www.lawnsite.com/picture.php?albumid=11&pictureid=96

whoopassonthebluegrass
01-18-2009, 11:14 AM
My 1/2 ton just bit the dust. (In fact, I just wrote its eulogy in the Off-Topic Forum. :laugh: ) And I, too, would have to say that it was totally underbuilt for the work I made it do.

I had to add 3,500# leaf-spring helpers to keep from bottoming out.

I carry my spraying equipment in the bed. When fully loaded, that's 3,500# worth of gear. Over time I tore up the bushings, etc in the front suspension.

I have a 7x14 trailer with the grass box built onto the trailer. It was all my '98 k1500 (5.0L) could do to pull that up a steep hill. I would literally floor the gas and wait for a second or two before the truck managed to move at all!! Not a good way to turn across a road with traffic. And I should mention, too that I went from 16mpg unloaded to 7-8mpg loaded.

If your trailer has brakes, things won't be quite so bad in that department. But if it doesn't, you can plan on replacing them like every other month.

In those lucky weeks where I had my spray gear filled AND towed my trailer, I had to put along at like 25mph everywhere because it couldn't go any faster, and because I needed plenty of time to come to a stop...

All said and done, I'd NEVER buy a half ton truck for this line of work unless absolutely forced to do so by budget constraints (knock on wood).

LB1234
01-18-2009, 11:16 AM
You don't want air bags a heavier set of springs would help or add timbrens.



Why is that? Due to it being only a 1500?

I have a set of air bags on the rear of my chevy 2500 and I like them a lot. Really takes the sag out of it when towing or helps if I have a heavy load (pallet of block or something) in the back. What I like about it is I can adjust the pressure depending on which of the four trailers I'm towing and deflate them down to like 15psi if no trailer is attached and no weight in it so it rides a little softer. Haven't been able to prove it but I think I'm getting a little better tire wear as well.

johnnybravo8802
01-20-2009, 12:17 AM
I have a Dodge 1500 that's been flawless-106,000 miles. I have a trailer behind it over 75% of the time. I pull my tractor with a loader and bushhog and it does fine. However, I do plan to step up to a 1 ton or better with my next truck. Everything people say about a 1/2 ton is true but I have been really proud of mine. I had a light duty F250 back in 98' and I'd take my Dodge anyday over that truck.

All_Toro_4ME
01-21-2009, 08:55 AM
Well i will say this I have been using a 3/4 ton since i bought it new in 1991. Dodge 250. Last summer i bought a new 1500 quad cab because i was sick of bouncing down the road. Now i ride in comfort. The hemi powered 1500 is rated to haul 7100 lbs and it would have to be a hell of a load to stop it. That being said, it will never see a dump insert, leaf box, and leaf loader. My old dodge i still own for that reason. Its now a dedicated mulch/leaf/brush. backup plow truck. My new 1500 with the new boss plow plows better then any 3/4 ton i i have plowed with. Its a myth that you need a 3/4t or higher truck for plowing. Its funny to see guys from tennessee or texas tell you what you need for plowing :hammerhead:. For residential drives a 1/2 ton or less is ideal. For larger areas such as parking lots a 3/4 ton or higher is the way to go. Make sure it has the towing package because it will have a heavy duty tranny cooler.

http://www.lawnsite.com/picture.php?albumid=11&pictureid=485

http://www.lawnsite.com/picture.php?albumid=11&pictureid=96

Nice post and pics punt.

CLARK LAWN
01-21-2009, 10:43 AM
compare your total ost per year it is probably less to operate the 3/4 ton than the 1/2 ton. when i had my 1/2 ton i did brakes every year, the milage when towing was terrible, i was destroying the truck. when i switched up to a 3/4 ton it is much better. while the payment may be a little higher it will be cheaper in the long run.

Elks
01-21-2009, 11:07 AM
i want to see that jeep plow snow.

touhey33
01-21-2009, 11:37 AM
I've been using an 2001 f150 for 4 years, and its been fine. I don't load anything into the truck, just pull with it. I don't plow either. I also havn't had many break issues. If the pads wear down they have a lifetime warranty so it wouldn' matter anyway. Maybe I just don't drive my truck as hard as some of you.

punt66
01-22-2009, 07:31 PM
compare your total ost per year it is probably less to operate the 3/4 ton than the 1/2 ton. when i had my 1/2 ton i did brakes every year, the milage when towing was terrible, i was destroying the truck. when i switched up to a 3/4 ton it is much better. while the payment may be a little higher it will be cheaper in the long run.



My new trck is not so new anymore. 1.5 years old. 23,000 miles of all towing and plowing. Brakes and tires are fine. Trck rns flawless. ???????

whoopassonthebluegrass
01-22-2009, 07:41 PM
My new trck is not so new anymore. 1.5 years old. 23,000 miles of all towing and plowing. Brakes and tires are fine. Trck rns flawless. ???????

Pssshhhhht. 23k is aged for you? Puh-leaze. :laugh:

A friggin' tricycle would make it that long.

punt66
01-22-2009, 07:42 PM
Pssshhhhht. 23k is aged for you? Puh-leaze. :laugh:

A friggin' tricycle would make it that long.

My point was. brakes are still good and so are the tires.

whoopassonthebluegrass
01-22-2009, 07:43 PM
My point was. brakes are still good and so are the tires.

I'm just giving you a hard time, rich guy. :waving: (1.5 years old... hahahahahaha...)

JPsDuramax
01-29-2009, 11:26 PM
I had a 2000 Chevy 1500 that I put through h3ll. I bought it with 60xxx miles on it and used everyday for four years. I hauled all my materials, pulled a 18ft open trailer, pulled out shrubs and took it off road (more than I should of). It survived 3 accidents but the fourth one killed it. It had 142xxx on it when it was killed. I probably could have bought it back and fixed because only the back axel was broken but I bought an 2004 Duramax 2500hd and will never look back.

I worked more last year than I ever had and spent about the same on fuel. Just think Diesel hit $4.99 here and I had been buying gas the year before for $2.80 and still spent the same amount.

Go with the Diesel if you can.

Sorry I kind of rambled