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Author Topic:   Turning a 1/2 into a 3/4
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 53
posted April 01, 2005 05:18 PM  
Is it the springs that make it a 3/4 ton truck? Or is it a combo of shocks, springs and maybe the frame. Looking to buy a 85 Chevy 1/2 ton truck (cheap) but want it to be able to pull a car and trailer, I know the motor and trany can handle it. I dont know were to post this so I hope it's O.K here.
Thanks in advance!

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 5390
posted April 01, 2005 06:32 PM  
swapping springs will do the trick. a buddy of mine did this to his 1/2 ton and he pulled a 28ft bumper pull enclosed trailer with it for about 5 years.


Dirt Freak

Total posts: 243
posted April 01, 2005 08:15 PM  
3/4 ton springs will bolt right up. If you plan on pulling a trailer quite often then u need the heavier springs.

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 635
posted April 01, 2005 08:47 PM  
Don't bother with the heavier springs. Spend the money on a weight distributing hitch for the trailer.

I have a open trailer with a box on the front (25' total) and have towed it with my '99 F150 4wd and a friends 2002 F250 Superduty. When we used his 250 SD, I didn't have the distributed hitch. The truck would 'porpoise' alot over bumps. My F150 was worse. So I bought a distributing hitch and set it up so the truck only went down 1/4" when the trailer was loaded. Without the hitch the rear would go down about 3" and the front would rise about the same.

Now, it's a piece of cake to drive, doesn't bounce or sway. Well worth the $$$ for the hitch. This looks like the one I bought (I know it was a Husky, fairly sure it was this one).

Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 113
posted April 02, 2005 01:10 PM  
What about brakes? Does your trailer have brakes? If not it will be hard to stop with stock 1/2 ton brakes. We bought an old 89 dodge 1 ton church van. only 113,000 miles. BIG brakes and cheap $250. BIGG C

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 279
posted April 02, 2005 09:18 PM  
Hey Raz, what's the procedure for setting one of those weight distribution set ups? I just bought a nice used one and another racer told me that you've got to raise the front of the trailer along with the rear of the truck and then lock in the chains, then lower the trailer back down and you're set. That's how I've been doing it; is that correct?

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 569
posted April 04, 2005 06:50 AM  
A race car and trailer isn't really much of a load, a 1/2 ton should be fine. 3/4 tons makes things easier, but a half will be fine. The bigger brakes on a 3/4 ton are what help the most and changing springs won't do a thing for that. Seems to me that a 1/2 with trailer brakes would stop better than a 3/4 without, maybe you be better investing in trailer brakes as opposed to 3/4 ton springs. Just my .02.

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 370
posted April 04, 2005 09:33 AM  
If it was me i would see how the half ton pulled as is. I used to have an 86 chevy 1/2 and i will swear it pulls just as good if not A LOT better than my 3/4 ton. I thought the ride was a little nicer and it didnt squat it. Weve had a full size caprice and all. Didnt really bother it.

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 303
posted April 04, 2005 12:09 PM  
We do not raise the trailer to lock the weight chains, just pull them up with a little cheater bar. Usually drop enough links to just put some tension on the chains.

Ego Racing
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 724
posted April 04, 2005 12:45 PM  
Someone told my father inlaw the same thing about jacking the front of the trailer and the rear of the truck up for the dist hitch. While on vacation he was in rain and had to panic stop and the thing jackknifed and destroyed three veichles. He was ticketed in the accident and they determined he had jacked it up so far that when he hit the brakes it unloaded the rear of the truck. Setting still the rear was over 1 inch higher than when the camper was not hooked up.

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 635
posted April 05, 2005 06:25 PM  
The procedure that came with the hitch was to measure the height of the front and rear bumpers of the truck unloaded. Then put the trailer (loaded of course) and anything else in the truck and remeasure. If memory serves it called for 1/2" of squat in the rear. Mine was 1/4" with the trailer on but without all the other stuff in the bed of the truck, which is about 500-600lb if not a couple 100 more. So I'm probably right around 1/2"-1" squat in the rear.

I use the cheater bar (a 18" tube came with the hitch) method too. I lower the trailer down until the ball latches, then lift the bars into place and let it all the way down. If you jack it up to high and put too much pressure on the bars, it'll actually take weight off the back of the truck and put it on the trailer wheels and front of the truck. Then the jack kniving problem comes up. If you're trailer brakes are weak or non-existant, it'll jack knife even easier. I have a new trailer (2004 anyway) with 4 wheel 10" drum brakes. With the trailer brakes set on 40, I can stop the whole rig with just the trailer brakes in a reasonable amount of space. Although I will say the rear discs on the back of my '99 are a nice thing to have if the plug gets corroded or the trailer brakes stop working for any reason.

The hitch I bought was for up to 1000# tongue weight. I'm thinking mine is around 700#. So if I fully loaded the bars, it would take at least 300# off the rear wheels of the truck.

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 2007
posted April 07, 2005 11:57 AM  
Just something to keep in mind...

Yes the springs are heavier, but a 3/4 ton gets bigger brakes than a 1/2 ton, heavier duty axles, usually bigger cooling system, and sometimes a heavier tranny.

IF your '85 was a 'heavy' half then you most likely already have heavier springs, cooling system, and tranny. The only thing missing would be brakes and axles.

Heavier springs in the rear wont hurt, but a weight distribution hitch will help the thing ride better as well as provide some sway control. Trailer brakes are always a plus and actually i think are required by law on trailers over a certain weight, but I cant remember what it is. Something else to think about is the tires on your tow vehicle. Good heavy duty tires will make a huge difference in stability. And stay away from the big oversized swampers, they will wallow all over the place as well as kill your torque.

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 370
posted April 07, 2005 01:42 PM  
The very best thing you can do is not to install 3/4 ton springs. if you do, Not all 3/4 ton springs will work on your truck. Some 3/4's have one ton underneath and some have 3/4 ton. Same with ford.

The best is an overload kit, I like the air bag deal but the brackets on frame overload is the least maintenance. You won't go wrong there. With a Torsion hitch setup and the overloads you'll be cruising along more comfortably than most 3/4's. The rear sway bar is a good thing to use also. I worked spring shops for years and swaybars, overload kits were by far the best deal. Especially on these slide'in camper deals and heavy ***overloaded*** trailers. Air'LIFT makes a good kit ....around 185 bucks (put them on yourself) and the OL kits are about 225. Install in an hour or so with hand tools.

unregistered Total posts: 370
posted April 07, 2005 05:48 PM           send a private message to juliaferrell   Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/QuoteBBBBBB
I have a 93 crew cab ford dually and my 28 ft enclosed with extra motor 4 3rd members and a bunch of other stuff sinks it to the ground.

I use a load distribution hitch, and jack the trailer up and the back of the truck with the trailer jack a lot, my truck is still low about 2 inches but it tows fine, I use a 3 ft bar and get all I can from my bars.

I stayed away from the air bags because in my opinion they will raise the vehicle back up but dont distribute any wt any place different. Like the front tires, they are still unloaded arent they?? So what do the bags really accomplish other than you sit level??


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