1/2 ton strength vs. 3/4 ton

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by Garet, Apr 14, 2001.

  1. Garet

    Garet LawnSite Member
    Messages: 157

    About how well does the 1/2 compete against the 3/4 as far as off-roading goes? I know the 3/4 ton has heavier axles but does this really help when going off-road with say 33 size tires? I figure this is about the max size Super Swamper tire I should get for my 1/2 ton. The suspension can be made all the same can't it? How much can the 12-bolt take off-roading? Is it durable enough?

  2. karl klein

    karl klein LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    i feel a half ton truck is better becuase the stronger springs on a 3/4 ton dont give you as much control
  3. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    I think a lot depends on how aggressively you plan on driving your truck. IMO, the most important factor is the driveline - especially the axles.

    If your going to be "pounding" on it, I'd advise going with the heavier-duty (3/4 ton & up) trucks over a 1/2 ton. If on the other hand you just plan on the occasional rough-country excursion, the 1/2 ton should do OK as long as you drive it sensibly - the 1/2 ton driveline parts ARE lighter (= weaker). And, the newer the truck the lighter everything is.

    Up until '80, GM used a (strong) full-floater axle in the rear of their 3/4 ton trucks. 1-tons had full floating axles front & rear and kingpins instead of balljoints on the steer axle. http://www.chuckschevytruckpages is a good place to find out more about the parts combos.

    About 10 years ago I helped a friend of mine build a "Godzilla" truck based on '79 Chevy 3/4 ton running gear. He lived about half a mile from some vacant land we called the "dunes" which was our R&D lab: Build something, take it out there & pound on it, and if it broke it wasn't adequately designed/built! While not everything we built worked out 100%, we always made it home under our own power!

    We're both currently building one truck each: Both will be 1-ton 4x4's, with everything built heavy-duty to match. We like 'em strong! Disadvantage? They're heavy - and they like their fuel! Since neither will be a daily driver, mileage wasn't a huge concern.
  4. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,555

    the 1/2tons do better due to better articulation,and lighter weight.The soft suspension,and smaller differential pumpkins,give it better traction,and increased ground clearance.The problems start if you overload the truck/and or put big tires on it.If you leave it stock-or even go 1-2" bigger tires,you're OK for mild wheeling-but if your going to hammer it-say good bye to U-joints,rear ends,trannyETC--.So if your goin to lift,and get big tires,carry lots of weight off road-get a 3/4 ton HD-with full floating rear,8 lugs.
  5. Garet

    Garet LawnSite Member
    Messages: 157

    I plan on putting 33x12.50-50 super swampers on it. As far as off-roading, it is mostly going to be a hunting truck. The roads around my place are really muddy and poorly maintained so I imagine I'll get into stuff like that. it is not going to be a recreational off-raoding pick-up though. Well, maybe once in a while. I dont plan on stump jumping it though.
  6. Kyle

    Kyle LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I don't know what kind of soils (clay, silt, sand) you are talking about when you say you will be mudding up and down poorly maintained roads but I have this picture of a road like those around here which the primary problems is keeping it in the road and keeping it moving. We feed lots of cattle down roads that a lot of "off roaders" in our area claim to be impassible with their machines (because they spin on top of the clay and silt). Our secret is very tall (for axle clearance) and narrow (to sink through the slop and get to solid ground) Farmland tires. This is on very heavy vehicles such as One and three quarter ton trucks with single wheels and Dew-eze hydrabeads (weighing close to a ton by themselves). On top of that we will have at least a ton and a half load on the bead. When you try to make it through the feilds, you have to be carefull where you let the load off, because when you are unloaded, you likely can't make it without a fast run at the slick spots. Otherwise, we just crawl around in granny gear through just about anything.

    This of course will not work if the road has no solid subsoil like some of our quicksand hills where you sink to your axles. In this situation, you are better off with the lighter vehicle with mile wide swampers.

    Just some things to think about.
  7. Garet

    Garet LawnSite Member
    Messages: 157

    Well, around here we have city people come over in their gigantic off-roaders and they tear the hell out of everything. Deep mud with solid ground beneath is about how it is. Lots of pot holes and whatnot. Lots of snow during this time of the year too. My idea of off-roading is crawling through muddy terrain, not flying through it(unless the roads are in good shape) so I need the best traction available. Flying through a mud hole and then slamming a foot deep or more pothole is not good.
  8. Garet

    Garet LawnSite Member
    Messages: 157

    I live in the Pacific Northwest. Wet wet wet.
  9. RTallday

    RTallday LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214

    I would go with the 3/4 ton, cause there is a big difference between the two as far as carrying stuff. The 3/4 ton can carry MUCH more than the 1/2 ton. They are heavier duty and can take more abuse. Also, a stock 3/4 ton is higher than a stock 1/2 ton is, so theres your ground clearance.

  10. Garet

    Garet LawnSite Member
    Messages: 157

    I don't plan on carrying much of anything in this truck. It is strictly going to be a recreational vehicle. Whenever I do carry anything its not going to be coupled with hard driving conditions. Besides getting a 3/4 ton rear axle is there anything else I can do to beaf up my truck to prolong component life?


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