Do I need a ½ ton, ¾ ton or 1 ton pickup, with a short or long bed?

The size of the truck you need depends of course on your needs. ½ tons and light duty ¾ tons are for light duty work, loaded part-time. Heavy-duty ¾ tons, 1 tons and above are designed to be loaded all of the time. They have twice as many tapered bearings in the rear axle. It's called a full floating axle, similar to semi-truck eighteen-wheelers. While ½ ton pickups have a semi-floating axle similar to a car, with just 2 bearings. ½ tons and light duty ¾ tons will have a flush axle housing matching the wheel. With the heavy duty ¾ ton, 1 ton trucks and larger, the rear axle housing will actually stick out past the wheel and have an additional 8 bolts on the end of the hub holding the axle into the differential. 

This Full floating axle provides a more even weight distribution over the axle than a semi-floating axle. By removing a rear axle hubcap, you can determine if the truck is a ½ ton, light duty ¾ ton or a heavy-duty ¾ ton, 1 ton. On the 1rst two pages of my web site, I show pictures of the different axles at Heavy-duty ¾ tons, 1 tons and larger will have heavier springs, shocks and in some cases thicker, stronger frames. In recent years pickup truck manufactures have designed a different look between the ½ ton and HD ¾ ton. The majority of the time, if you compare a ½ ton to a HD ¾ ton pickup with the same gas engine option, the price is very close. And the ¾ tons will usually have more rear axle ratio and tow package options. Because of the resale value of a ¾ ton verses the price of a ½ ton, I usually recommend a heavy duty ¾ ton. But keep in mined because of a slight weight difference and the higher axle ratio in a ½ ton pickup, that a ½ ton can have better gas mileage. The EPA doesn t test fuel mileage on most ¾ ton trucks if they are over 8500# GVWR, (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating,) so you won t find a mileage rating on HD ¾ ton and higher trucks.

Here is the break down of manufacture models.
  • ½ tons, Ford (F100, F150,) GM, (Chevy, GMC) 1/2 tons, (C or K10, 15, 1500, HD 1500) Dodge, (D100, 150, Ram 1500.) Toyota, (T100, Tundra,)
  • ¾ tons, Ford (Light Duty F250, Heavy Duty, Super Duty, F250,) GM, (Chevy, GMC)  (C or K 20, 25, 2500, HD 2500) Dodge, (D200, 250, Ram 2500.)
  • 1 tons, Ford (F350,) GM, (C or K 30, 35, 3500, HD 3500) Dodge, (D300, 350, Ram 3500.)
  • 1 ½ tons, Ford (Super Duty, F450, F550,) GM, (Heavy Duty Cab and Chassis Series and C 4500 and C 5500.) Dodge, (3500 HD Cab and Chassis.)
If you are pulling a fifth wheel or gooseneck trailer, I recommend a long bed. Sometime in some RV parks or corrals you will need to "jack knife" your trailer. (Your truck and trailer at 90 degrees.) I pulled beyond the proper recommended trailer weights and wanted all my springs and axles working so my trailers  where attached to my truck 5 inches in front of the rear axle. It s generally recommended to place your ball or mini-fifth wheel hitch 2 to 4 inches in front of your rear axle, this is where I recommend for proper steering weight and a level load. If you have a short box and you "jack-knife," your trailer may kiss your cab! Full sheets of plywood or sheet rock fit into a long box with the tailgate closed. Short boxes are popular today with the mini- garages and those famous drive-up windows. If you end up with a short bed, there are sliding hitches, you can buy to move you trailer hitch forward or backward to give you more room between the cab and the neck of the trailer for jack-knifing. With lighter loads on the short beds you can place your hitch directly above your rear axle.
I have pulled a lot of different trailers and remember how glad I was when I could afford to go from a bumper pull type trailer to a gooseneck. Fifth wheel or gooseneck trailers pull so straight with very little whip if loaded correctly compared to bumper types. And talk about backing a trailer. Bumper type trailers seem to react twice as fast as an easy going slow reacting anybody could back-it, gooseneck trailer. Come by for a visit at,

Till next time, Good Truck'n.
Kent Sundling (MrTruck)

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