Which heavy duty truck is best for you? Is it a 3/4-ton (2500 series) or a 1-ton (3500 series) truck with a single rear wheel? Also, should you get an HD truck with a short or a long bed? If you have some of these questions – this TFL’s expert buyer’s guide is for you.
These considerations apply to any brand of a heavy duty truck, not just Chevrolet and Ram that are featured in this video.
3/4-Ton 2500 Series
A 2500 HD truck has a suspension system that offers a more compliant ride quality when empty when compared to a 3500 HD truck. If you plan to drive your heavy duty truck empty most of the time, the a 3/4-ton truck would be a better choice.
A 2500 HD truck may not have enough payload for what you need. Yes, a base 2WD model with a gas V8 may have a maximum payload rating that approaches 4,000 lbs. When you consider a crew cab 4×4 with a heavy diesel engine and all luxury options available, then the payload drops way down to or below 2,000 lbs (as you see in this video). A fully loaded 3/4-ton truck like this will likely not be able to handle a 5th-wheel or gooseneck trailer due to the payload restriction.
1-Ton 3500 Series
A 3500 HD truck should have all of the payload capacity that you want to have. We are focusing this comparison on a 1-ton truck with a single rear wheel (SRW), not a dually. A payload rating on a SRW starts around 4,300 lbs, but a well equipped diesel model can still carry around 3,500 lbs (as you see in the video). This is plenty for a large truck camper, a 5th-wheel trailer, or most anything else you can imagine.
This truck may be good on payload, but it’s a much rougher ride when empty. The springs are built to carry a heavier weight, but they do not have much give when running without a payload. If you are planning to drive an HD truck empty on a regular basis, a 1-ton truck may just be too rough of a ride.
A short bed in heavy duty truck speak is approximately six and a half feet long. It allows you to carry a truck camper with an 8-foot floor with the tailgate down. It makes the truck more maneuverable on a daily basis for parking and turning around.
Obviously, you are giving up cargo volume to a long bed. A short HD truck bed hold anywhere from 25-30% less volume than a full 8-foot bed. If your short-bed HD truck is equipped with a gooseneck or a 5th-wheel hitch, then you may run a risk of running the trailer into the cab when making tight turns. A trailer neck extension may be required to allow a 5th-wheel trailer enough turning radius.
Yes, you can easily carry more cargo, and tow a 5th-wheel trailer with an 8-foot bed. The longer bed usually means that the truck’s wheelbase is longer as well. A longer wheelbase makes for a more stable towing platform. The longer the truck, the better chance it has to stay stable at speed with a large trailer behind and a stiff cross wind.
A truck with a longer wheelbase and a longer bed is more difficult to maneuver in tight parking lots. You will find yourself backing up into most parking spaces to get into position.
Please take a look at the video below for much more discussion between Kent “MrTruck” Sundling, Nathan, and I.