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What is happening in the truck market?


Kirk W

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I only recently joined the truck owners side of the RV community after downsizing from a motorhome and at first towing our small travel trailer with an SUV. While I bought mine used and my RV is small enough to be towed by the majority of truck choices, it has caused me to take more notice of the recent changes in trucks and also to discuss them more with my neighbors. I find that two of my neighbors who have long towed larger fifth wheels have now traded for new pickup trucks in the 350/3500 rating group which have tow capacities that match or exceed what their former medium duty truck had. Are we about to see the medium duty trucks cease production, like the mini trucks did?

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We're into our initial stages of looking for a new tow vehicle, and I've noticed that, too. Comparing Fords, A 2016 F350 with high capacity tow package had a higher tow and carrying capacity than our current 2009 F450. What I did find surprising is that Ford lowered the 2016 F450 Pickup's GVWR to 14,000 lbs vs ours at 14,500 lbs. Ford's 2015s may be the same, but I don't know that. Don't know what Ford's 2017s will have. I guess that lowered GVWR is done to get away from the medium duty classification & the issues many of us experienced getting insurance. 2016 3500 RAMs beat or exceed or truck's capacity, too. Haven't gotten to GM products, but I expect the same. Be interesting to see what others think. David

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Guess it depends on what one considers a medium duty truck :) . If you mean just the class 4 and 5 pickup trucks then you may be on to something. If however you mean class 6 trucks like the FL M2 106s and IHs that deliver all our beer then I would say NO, they are here to stay. I'm guessing you are referring to just the pick up truck component of the MDT class of vehicles. Best Wishes, Jay

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I don't pretend to know the answer either. But my guess it's all about buyers wanting more and the manufacturers rationalizing their product line.

 

When you look around there are precious few medium duty trucks on the road. I doubt there is enough to sustain a viable production number for the manufacturers.

 

Buyers also want 'more'. And expect 'more'. Remember when we all thought 180-200hp was a great number for a dp A class motorhome? Now it's 500hp or bigger. Have a look at the number of F350/3500 etc trucks getting around that never do anything but go to Walmart. It's all simply the manufacturers concentrating on selling more 1 ton trucks.

 

regards

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One item that concerns me about the new "Super" pickups, Ford or Dodge, is that they are relying heavily on the trailer braking system to be operating without fail. There's no room for error. I understand the variable vane turbo's and exhaust brakes, and sway control etc that they all have, but when someone stops in front of you, or pulls out without looking, and 1 trailer wheel decides to fail, is the truck going to stop the trailer.....

We had it happen- 1st time we had the electric brake wiring torn from underneath while driving thru an accident happening around us. 2nd time a lady decided to turn left from the far right lane at 35mph. 35mph is too slow for an exhaust brake to work effectively, plus reaction time of brakes, etc. We didn't hit her, but we did jackknife to avoid her.

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I would not think the small/midsized truck market is going anywhere. You have buyers who want the four doors with the 4' to 6' open bed.

Chevy Colorado - GMC Canyon - Toyota Tundra - Nissan Frontier - Honda Ridgeline- Ford Ranger, and Dodge Dakota.

Then you have a step-up to Ford F150 - Dodge 1500 - Chevy 1500.

With Ford's new F150 frame and the continuing improvements to engine/rear-end designs and building materials the smaller trucks will tow better. Then you've got the RV manufacturers who are continuing to make RVs lighter and more appealing to the weekend user.

I don't think you will see much interest in those trucks except as toads from the full time RV market place.

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Another strange issue with the 1/2 ton crowd is how low the Cargo Weight is on some models. Sure, some advertise towing 12,000# with a V6...but a 12K trailer will have and need upwards of 1200 to 1800 pounds on the hitch and/or in the bed. The new Nissan diesel, with the usual options, only has a 1400-1700 payload rating. A couple fat kids and a dog and a tank of fuel and you are near loaded.

 

I see folks loading 4500 pound pick up truck campers on 3/4 ton trucks with 2500# payload capacity. And it is done all the time.

 

Just recently I read a review of a new "super lightweight PU truck camper"....Designed for a 1/2 ton PU...It weighed 2500 pounds! Most 1/2 tons with no fuel, no people and no gear, might be able to carry it...but no rear seat, no 4X4, no comfort options.......Must be hard for a new truck buyer to figure it all out.

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The fine print is not good news for many trucks, I have an issue with the 150 pound driver's weight allowance, while the wife is not so happy with the "no passengers" footnote.

 

Haven't looked lately but are they also still calculating carrying capacity with only 1/8th of a tank of fuel too?

 

----------------

 

Don't get distracted by the Class of the truck or the terms LDT, MDT and HDT as they are really commercial tax classifications. Look at the real numbers or if the manufacturer is publishing funny numbers and lots of footnotes get as close to real numbers as possible and make your decisions based on them.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truck_classification

 

 

In the United States, commercial truck classification is determined based on the vehicle's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). The classes range from 1–8.

 

Trucks are also classified more broadly by the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), which groups classes 1–3 as light duty, 4–6 as medium duty, and 7–8 as heavy duty.

 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has a separate system of emissions classifications for trucks.

 

The United States Census Bureau also assigned classifications in its now-discontinued Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey (TIUS) (formerly Truck Inventory and Use Survey (TIUS)).

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So far my Chevy DMax 3500 dually (23,000 # max trailer weight) has been pulling "the Castle" (18000#) Nicely. The ride is occasionally a little rough, in spite of the fact that I've spent over $4000 on air pin boxes, hitches and axle bags. For that reason ONLY am I considering an HDT with an air ride cab/seats. That and the sleeper where Momma can safely take a nap whilst motoring.

 

Jim......EVERY 18 Wheeler and other heavy trailer out there relies on the trailer brakes. Nature of the beast. Yes, I too have lost them but unlike the 18's where they lock up then and there it gets "interesting" on a light truck. Nature of the beast. So you have a point in that a fail-brake system may be an improvement. The truck that would stop my trailer by itself is not being built, period.

 

As always the 80% rule is a good one.

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"EVERY 18 Wheeler and other heavy trailer out there relies on the trailer brakes"...entirely different animal. First, the truck to trailer connection is air hose, not wire, second....there is no losing trailer brakes on a commercial truck and not knowing it, like with an RV puller...lose air on a big truck/trailer and you stop automatically....the wheels refuse to roll.

 

Regards

Gemstone

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Yes..the RAM 3500 (as well as the associated ford/chevy) has more power than my class 5 but for towing there is no way I would ever go back to a pick up truck...there is just zero comparison. Stats just don't tell the story. Power isn't everything...especially if you RV more than a weekend warrior.

 

The power compaction between the big three is becoming a bit silly.

 

And yes, I notice a major upswing in the disc brake upgrade for trailers..

 

And like Glen, I accidentally towed my rig for @ 3 hours last summer and didn't notice a problem until I realized I have no rig lights..

 

I think Dr. Phil said "you either understand or you don't..:..

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm glad to see that I am not the only one who failed to hook up. That was the last time that ANYONE will be allowed to interrupt me while hooking up. Drove about 25 miles before I noticed it but those big air brakes did their job. Only thing that happened was the truck seemed to notice the trailer when stopping a little more than before. And to to super pickup truck owners, I also have a 6.7 F350 dually. Love the truck but no comparison to the M2-112.

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I have a 2014 F-350 that has a GVWR of 14,000 and the brakes are much better than older trucks, four wheel disk. I had a trailer wiring fault last month when coming home from south Texas in the rain, I did not know what that meant so I drove on. I hit south Dallas right at 5:00 and drove 25 miles on freeways in rush hour traffic that took me over on hour. That night when researching the fault I read that meant the trailer brakes were not working and I did not notice the difference. I now am finding out what is causing the error. I towed the same FW with a 2011 F-250 and it never happened, so it sounds like it is the truck or something happened with the trailer wiring.

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Kirk, I think things might go as you describe. The ratings for cl 1-3 are climbing at a fast pace but it's just jockeying for #1 sales spot. Even GM's 1/2T pickups have different ratings; for instance GM's 1/2T "work truck" has heavier suspension (weight ratings) than their 1/2T Silverado/Serria models.

We've reached the point where a 1/2T pickup must be licensed to gross 11,000# , or only operated at 1/2 load capacity and be licensed to gross 7,000#_ridiculous. Remember the Ford Ranchero pickup? Its CCC was 700#, that was somewhat unrealistic too.

Cl 4/5 might disappear, but 6-8 will never go away.

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Personally, after owning a pickup with 23000 lbs of towing capacity, I didn't consider it a MDT, just a great pickup. Our M2 with a towing capacity around 35000 lbs is what I consider a MDT.

My Ram 3500 is rated to tow 30k. And it does it under great and confident control. The exhaust/turbo brake work AWESOME!!

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What really matters is the weight differential between the tow vehicle and the trailer. There is a recent discussion on this matter in the 5th wheel forum.

That can't be true or we would never see semi-tractor trailers hauling our stuff to stores.

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That can't be true or we would never see semi-tractor trailers hauling our stuff to stores.

A common misconception. The majority of the weight of a commercial trailer is pin weight, i.e. on the tow vehicle. Notice where the axles are located on a commercial trailer. It is simple physics that the safest lash-up is one where the tow vehicle weighs as much or more than the trailer. The more you deviate towards trailer weight the less safe you are. Please go to the 5er forum "A weighty issue" for a better discussion.

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A common misconception. The majority of the weight of a commercial trailer is pin weight, i.e. on the tow vehicle. Notice where the axles are located on a commercial trailer. It is simple physics that the safest lash-up is one where the tow vehicle weighs as much or more than the trailer. The more you deviate towards trailer weight the less safe you are. Please go to the 5er forum "A weighty issue" for a better discussion.

I visited that thread, not much to learn other than the HDT folks arguing theirs is the only way to tow.

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What lead me to ask the question is the towing weight capacities that are listed for some of the new, 2016 heavy pickups. A good friend just bought an F350, Ford that got me to looking at the Ford specs which go as high as 26,400# of fifth wheel towing capacity for the F550. Looking and the new 2016 Ram(Dodge) they state" Properly equipped, the 3500, 4500 and 5500 models can tow 22,750, 24,650 and 29,600 pounds, respectively."

 

Even the GM 3500 is now claiming to tow up to 23,200# of fifth wheel trailer.

 

  • Maximum conventional trailering capacity of 19,600 lbs2
  • Maximum fifth-wheel trailering capacity of 23,200 lbs2
  • Maximum payload of 7,180 lbs3

The thing that I'm asking is, are they really capable of safely towing those weights? I know that the heavy truck folks will be slow to come around but I have already seen several of the medium duty truck owners trade for one of the more pickup like models because they prefer the smaller size for easier entry and exit as well as the ease of parking it when not towing the fifth wheel. So where is the market heading?

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What lead me to ask the question is the towing weight capacities that are listed for some of the new, 2016 heavy pickups. A good friend just bought an F350, Ford that got me to looking at the Ford specs which go as high as 26,400# of fifth wheel towing capacity for the F550. Looking and the new 2016 Ram(Dodge) they state" Properly equipped, the 3500, 4500 and 5500 models can tow 22,750, 24,650 and 29,600 pounds, respectively."

 

Even the GM 3500 is now claiming to tow up to 23,200# of fifth wheel trailer.

The thing that I'm asking is, are they really capable of safely towing those weights? I know that the heavy truck folks will be slow to come around but I have already seen several of the medium duty truck owners trade for one of the more pickup like models because they prefer the smaller size for easier entry and exit as well as the ease of parking it when not towing the fifth wheel. So where is the market heading?

Kirk, the big three have been engaged in horsepower/torque/towing weight wars for several years now and I believe that the public IS being misled. The terms safe and unsafe really don't apply here or for that matter in most human endeavors. The terms should be safer or less safe and towing a 23,000 lb trailer with a 9000 lb truck is MUCH less safe than I would be willing to accept. I really wouldn't care If someone wanted to tow a toy-hauler with a pedal car except that doing so could well impact the safety of others around him on the road should that 23,000 lb trailer lose it's brakes, and losing trailer brakes can and does happen for a myriad of reasons, it's happened to me three separate times over the years for different reasons. I would hope that someone contemplating towing a large heavy trailer would look beyond the hype and select an appropriate tow vehicle to keep himself and everyone around him safer.

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