Let me chime in here on downshifting...
There are a few tricks I have learned hauling heavier loads than just horses, while driving stick shift and automatic transmissions.
I prefer a stick for hauling hands down.
The trickto downshifting with a stick is to goose the throttle to bring the engine speed up on par with the tranny gear, so it lessens the direct load on the clutch.
That helps the clutch and the engine both do their job.
It then let's the engine compression slow your drive wheels, slowing everything down.
Downshiftingan auto tranny is similar, but you lightly step on the brakes to disengage the torque converter before you downshift, then a little gas to smooth out the shifting.
On a half ton truck, which is more of a toy than a truck, you'll have to be especially awaret of not downshifting and over revving the engine. That essentially means rpm's no night than what you would normally up shift at.
For example, I generally up shift between 1800 and 2000 rpm. I avoid downshifting until my RPMs get into that range, braking until I get it there, which is about 500rpm lower.
I have gone as high as 3500, but that was an emergency type situation.
Common lifespan for a clutch on my truck is about 75k miles. I'm at 150k.
Just a thought to ponder.
Don't believe me?
Ask a trucker about it.
They run trucks with 3x the horse power andthe same clutch I run in mine, and get 250-300k out of theirs.