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Beefing Up Towing Capacity Of 1-Ton Van?

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by Ursushorribilus, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. Ursushorribilus

    Ursushorribilus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 207

    Take a 98 1-Ton Chevy Express cargo van. 6.5 turbo-diesel, with a listed towing capacity of 7,500 lbs. I have a trailer rated for 13,500 lbs. Anyone know what the torque is on this engine, or the transmission's capabilities? I know that my buddy who sold it too me used to haul trailers loaded with granite that had to weigh 20,000 lbs (he did, however, have to rebuild his transmission because of this = $3,800), and he swears that the van will pull a 13,000 trailer uphill at 80 mph with no problem.

    What possibilites exist to strengthen and increase the suspension, and/or the transmission? Heavier springs? Transmission cooler? Any input is appreciated...Tony
  2. pottstim

    pottstim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    I'll go ahead and give you my opinion and please don't be offended. If the manufacturer rates its certain vehicle to tow 7,500 lbs, then you shouldn't exceed that rating. There is nothing you can do to that vehicle to increase the towing capacity. You can add extra leaf springs or make some performance upgrades to the engine like K+N air filters, performance exhaust, or computer chips to make it perform better. This IMO doesn't build the vehicle up, it just helps it do the job better that it was rated for by the manufacturer. It sounds to me like your buddy exagerates a little bit. I've driven a couple of 6.5's and they are not powerhouses. They probably have the throttle response of a 350 gas engine. Even in the old 1 ton pickups, the 6.5 was only rated to tow 8,000 lbs, whereas the 454 trucks were rated to tow 10,000. That should tell you something right there. I'd like to see a 6.5 powered truck pull a 13,000 lb trailer up a hill at 80 mph. I really don't see it happening. IMO, if you want to pull that much, buy a 1 ton diesel or big block dually and pull the smaller loads with the van. Besides, a van chassis (mainly the frame) is not built as strong as a pickup chassis. Best of luck to you.
  3. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,752

    Pulling is one thing , stopping is the other . Towing ratings also have to do with the stopping power of the truck.
  4. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    You have to keep in mind vans do not make good tow vehicals you have too much over hang behind the rear wheels you may bend the rear frame horns. If the manufacturer says 7500lbs you don't want to exceed that you may end up with bent sheet metal and broken parts.

    As for the 6.5 its a flat out TURD I wouldn't want to be working it too hard pulling a heavy trailer it may fall apart or leave its bottom end on the road.

    If you need to pull a heavier trailer better get a P/U truck or stick with a 7500lb trailer.

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    The other thing you need to remember is pull rates are all bogus. They imply that a vehicle with a certain rating can pull, on a day in, day out basis, the amount of weight the truck is rated at. So, lets examine this. You honsetly belive that a an F-150 or a Titan is going to pull 9500 lbs 8 hours a day, 6 days a week without serious suspension and brake issues in a short amount of time? Guess again. Manufacturers bend those ratings and use them to bolster sales. As a standard rule of thumb if you want something to last, you get a vehicle rated at least 25% heavier in tow capacity than what you are going to pull.
  6. Ursushorribilus

    Ursushorribilus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 207

    Thanks Guys, you're all saying the same thing,so I will definitely look into getting a beefier vehicle...Tony

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