Advice on truck and trailer - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 09-13-2020, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Mar 2015
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Advice on truck and trailer

I'm starting to look into buying my first truck and trailer, but all the information is overwhelming and everywhere I look online is trying to sell me something 😅.
I found a basic starter questionnaire online, and I know I want a gas truck with good gas mileage (I know trucks have worse mpg than cars, just don't want a gas chugger), also a regular length bed, year 2000 or newer, and either a crew cab or extended cab (I have a big dog and he needs a backseat to ride in or he vomits all over the place). No preference for ford/chevy/toyota/whatever else brands there are, just so long as it's not crazy upkeep or stupid expensive for parts.
For a trailer I only need a 2 horse bumper pull or stock trailer, so it shouldn't be very heavy. Both horses are around 8-900 pounds full grown.
I just have no idea where to go from here, I probably won't be buying until next spring unless someone gives me a bunch of money 😂. I just want to be prepared since it's the first vehicle I'll be buying by myself.
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post #2 of 16 Old 09-13-2020, 10:58 PM
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So narrow down the brand of trailer you want and find a acceptable weight for that trailer.
Now add your horses, so 1000 pounds a piece, now your tack and all in the truck itself..
That starts you on the journey for a truck...
You must buy by the VIN number so you can run it and see exactly how the truck was configured at the factory cause it matters and matters plenty.
Not every truck is sized to pull the same cargo loads...engine, drivetrain and transmission all make a huge difference.
Do not buy any truck for towing with a 6 cylinder gas engine...it will work so hard you will be wearing out parts faster than you want to know about.
8 cylinder engines in the vicinity of 350/5.0 or larger is where I would search.
This size engine gives you the ability to have a daily driver with decent gas mileage yet the uumph to get you to cruising speed when loaded towing to merge safely into traffic.
For a truck bed...8' bed to me gives you the best ride = longer wheelbase is stability and ride comfort for all occupants of truck or trailer.
8' bed also allows you use the truck for projects and not have it hanging off ridiculously getting bounce damaged.
4x4 is something to think about if you plan on horse shows since most 2wd can't get out of their own way on damp grass. If you are trail riding, no way would I not have 4x4 as by me we often tow in on fire roads that are very loose sand and you will be stuck and stuck good.

Now, I don't do Toys or anything other than the 3 of Chevy, Ford or Ram aka Dodge.
I do have a 2003 Dodge 2500 Quad Cab, 4x4 with Hemi engine{5.7} manual transmission, 8' bed...
I tow a BP 4 horse steel semi-stock trailer. My horses average 1200 pounds apiece plus my trailer is not light.
My friend has a Chevy Silverado 1500, 4x4, 8 cyl automatic, 6' bed...her truck squats terrible with my trailer and she has crap for acceleration and gas guzzles...
As a daily driver I find her ride bumpier than my truck and my truck still gets better gas mileage being bigger than hers.
Another friend has a Ford 250 but I've never been in hers when she tows her horse trailer, but her truck butt hangs down and I just don't like what it looks like... she has a 2 horse with dressing room and 1 horse about 1100 pounds..not impressed.
I see more Dodge/Ram or Chevy/GMC near me towing cattle trailers or horse trailers than Fords in actuality.
Toys we see pulling small boats or are what I refer to as "yuppie people movers"...they are fine on paved road but once you go off the pavement they lose and lose big...I'm not impressed, in fact my husband has put a chain to a Toy and towed it with their 2 horse trailer loaded behind my 4 horse loaded out of soft sand and my truck did not labor to do the job..enough said, not a fan of Toys!


I have not done the actual comparisons but what you find will be different between 150/1500 and 250/2500 is the size of the brakes on the vehicles, the size and thickness of the truck frame, transmission coolers, radiators and all the supportive hardware/systems and components that goes along with these "size-up".
You also want a brake controller {a must for safe handling/stopping}, a class 5 hitch or larger {frame hitch}and matching ball rating not a bumper hitch...remember a bumper is held on by 2 bolts, 4 bolts at most holding your precious horses and those bumpers twist easily.

Remember any information you read about towing capabilities are done with stagnant weight...a camper, jet-ski...never is it a live cargo weight that moves and shifts as you go down the road.
There are happy mediums out and about on the roads...
Know the capabilities of the exact truck you are looking to buy no matter from where...that is the VIN number that tells you that precious information.
If you look at "fancied" trucks with aftermarket wheels be aware that many wheels are not rated to handle the extra weight a BP will put to the vehicle, so keep that in mind too. We won't get into gooseneck as you specified BP trailer.
The longer your wheelbase the better the ride but the more difficult to park in parking lots too, so that is just being honest.

These places all have some good resources of information shared to educate you before making the actual move of purchasing..
https://www.dhmco.com/resources/
https://horsetrailerworld.com/home/newhome.asp
https://mrtrailer.com/

Enjoy your search for information and the truck & trailer of your dreams and meets your varied needs.
...
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post #3 of 16 Old 09-14-2020, 01:39 PM
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I am looking for a truck, too. From what I understand, extended cab is smaller than the crew, but most of what I am finding for my wish list, 1500 chevy 2wd, are short bed. I'm looking at around 2000 models. I know I need a longer wheel base for pulling a trailer but am confused about all this bed length thing.

Since I am not a car person, I have been trying to just eyeball photos. Hopefully something will come up soon for me.
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post #4 of 16 Old 09-14-2020, 04:05 PM
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If you really want a gasoline engine and good mileage (for daily driving, not for towing -- nothing will give you good towing mileage) you might want to look at the turbocharged Ford F150. As horselovinguy says, it is crucial that you make sure you have all the towing options on your particular truck, including the factory brake controller, lower geared differential, transmission cooler, receiver hitch, etc. A properly configured recent model F150 has more than enough towing capacity for a two horse trailer.


On the other hand, for around $20,000 you can buy a fairly late model Chevrolet or GMC 2500 with the 6.0 liter gas engine and around 100,000 miles on it. The gas mileage will be horrible, but the drive-trains are good for 300,000 miles plus and unless you are doing a long daily commute in your pickup, you will never recoup the difference in initial cost in gas savings. The 3/4 ton GMs are almost all configured for heavy towing and will handle a bigger trailer if you ever decide you want to move up.
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-15-2020, 09:10 AM
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I would suggest going to a dealership and test driving some trucks. You might not have a preference now, but once you sit in a truck and drive it, you might have a make that you much prefer.

I've only owned dodge and Toyota trucks. The Yoda was never used for hauling, so I can't comment on that. My parents have a Tundra they use to haul wood as well as their 5th Wheel camper and they really like their truck.

My first truck I hauled with was a 2012 Ram 1500 Hemi - and I did not like the way it hauled. I also found it to be very hard on fuel when it was hauling. I had a 3 horse steel BP trailer.

I do like Dodge trucks, so I ended up getting a 3/4 ton diesel and I love my truck. Having the exhaust brake makes such a huge difference.

As someone mentioned, the biggest thing is that the truck is set up for hauling with tow/haul mode option as well as the trailer brake. I'm not sure if gas trucks have the exhaust brake option or not?

Remember, anything can pull something, it is stopping that is the issue. And if you EVER think you might upgrade to a bigger trailer, you need to make sure your truck can handle it.

As for trailers - research brands. Go kick some tires at a dealership. I did a TON of research before buying my trailer - and knew which brands I was going to stay away from. Having a price point helps. For myself, I ended up getting an older more reputable brand rather than a newer mediocre make of trailer. The trailer is still fairly new to me so I hope I made the right choice.
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post #6 of 16 Old 09-15-2020, 11:25 AM
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Length is important for stability, but the other advantage to a long bed is if you are towing a gooseneck trailer. In that case your turning range increases because you have more clearance in the bed and the gooseneck won't hit the cab.

I've also been shopping. I've been learning a lot too. The best youtube channel I found is The Fast Lane Truck. They take out similar model trucks of different brands and test them with various kinds of trailers, including horse trailers, and they talk about all kinds of things I never thought to think about. I would recommend it for anyone who wants to know a bit more about getting the right set up.

I've found the trucks I want but I've hit a road block with trailers in my area :( Everyone wants a trailer for fire evacuations so they are all double what we'd typically see here.

Good luck!
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-15-2020, 11:52 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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Lots of good advice:)

Here are my thoughts:

I ditched my two horse in a very short time because my horse fought loading all the time. The minute I hooked up the 4-horse open stock, was the minute I only had to throw the rope over him, say “get up in there”, and he did.

I am a firm believer in nothing less than a 3/4 ton truck, even if the trailer is a 2-horse.

Brakes are bigger, cooling system is bigger, the truck is heavier and has a bigger GVW rating than a half ton.

My 3/4 ton gets the same gas mileage pulling two horses in a stock trailer as it would pulling a 2-horse. With a 4-horse stock, you can throw gear, feed, etc. in the back end if you’re camping for a weekend — the horses will be up front and they can just wait 15 more minutes while you unload what’s behind them —- they are trail horses or good working horses, they expect to chill until someone opens the door:)

If you want to go really big and have to sneak up on the truck with a key, just to get it started, buy a one ton dually with a full back seat:).

Although 3/4 tons also comes with a back seat, but I don’t think it’s considered a full back seat. It should be big enough for your dog, unless your dog weighs more than 120 pounds:)
.

However, if this is also to be your daily driver, stick with a 3/4 ton Long bed; 4-wheel drive would be great. 3/4 tons are not near the behemoth to jockey around town that a one ton Dually is - we have one of each and the only reason I like the dually is for AC:):) my ex-logger truck is really stripped down and a rough ride:)

When it comes to truck brand — I would look at good used trucks and to me, it’s whichever truck has the best track repair record for the year you are looking at.

I think gas is the better option because they are much cheaper to mechanically maintenance and repair.

My ‘78 GMC has a 1973 454 that I had rebuilt to my spec for mountain hauling. DH’s ‘88 F-350 dually has a 460 that he rebuilt. Both still run like the dickens (and have been paid off for years) will pull the house off the foundation, so-to-speak but the dually will do it faster than my ex-logging truck:). DH does all the maintenance on both of them:)

Both of our trucks are lucky to get 8.5 to 9 MPG but with them, their gas mileage has never varied, if they were making a run to Lowe’s, or hauling a horse or car trailer cross-country.

I hope this is some help in at least narrowing down your search:)
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Last edited by walkinthewalk; 09-15-2020 at 12:01 PM.
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post #8 of 16 Old 09-15-2020, 01:24 PM
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I think it also matters if you plan to travel longer distances, gravel mountain roads, or every weekend in season.

If you are just going to get to a local show now and then, or haul a couple of small horses a half hour on flat paved roads to a trail head every once in awhile, you simply do not need to punish yourself, the environment, and your wallet by driving a heavy-duty big engine truck all the time. A Ford F-150 turbo would do you just fine for that kind of hauling. You simply do not need a 3/4th ton or a diesel for that.

My Ford of that description gets around 22 mpg.
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post #9 of 16 Old 09-19-2020, 11:03 PM
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Get more truck than you think you need.
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-20-2020, 09:07 PM
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It's amazing when I think about towing over time. If anyone hasn't seen the 1954 movie "The Long, Long Trailer", Lucille Ball and her real life husband Desi Arnez it's worth watching. A house trailer towed by a Ford convertible.
Years ago I traveled a lot (49 states, Canada, Mexico) with grandparents who had Airstream trailers, Wally Byam rallies and also with my parents. We never owned a truck, always the tow vehicle was a variety of cars: Packard, Chrysler, Rambler.
One cross country vacation we traveled with a couple, he pulled a huge single axle trailer with a 6 cylinder Rambler American with a boat on car roof luggage rack...and that trip included crossing pikes peak and no trailer brakes!
Times have changed...

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