truck for towing horse trailer

buster7buster7 Member Posts: 3
edited February 2014 in General
I recently bought a large 2-horse trailer, and now
I need a good used pickup to tow it. Anybody have
experience with towing horse trailers? Any


  • stanfordstanford Member Posts: 606
    Just about any decent fullsize can pull a 2-horse. What kind of distances are you looking at, with what kind of budget?
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJMember Posts: 3,516
    dave40 - relax, friend - buster said USED truck.

    As stanford said, any truck can get a 2-horse moving. To keep a decent speed over the road, a 3/4 ton pickup with a mid-to-large V8 or a diesel will do the job very well, by ensuring that you have more than enough truck for both the trailer and the truck passengers (and their gear).

    As for prices, assume a late model truck will cost about 50% of its original sticker if it's 4 to 5 years old and in good-to-excellent condition.
  • stanfordstanford Member Posts: 606
    I'd even go with a half ton, if this is a secondary vehicle and no really long trips (several hundred miles) with the trailer are in its future. If it is a longer haul, let us know.

    For a Ford, go with the 300 I-6, the 302, or the 351 engine. With a Chevy, I'd take the 350 -- many 305 engines were specd with very poor rear end ratios for towing. For a dodge, either the 5.2 (318) or 5.9 (360) will do the job just fine.

    I'd probably go with an automatic trans for convenience, both while towing and (since its used) for possible maintenance reasons. An auto can be fully rebuilt for around the cost of a manual clutch replacement these days. That's more of a personal preference though -- either one would be fine.

    A diesel would probably be overkill, and requires more work finding fuel, maintaining, et cetera. It would certainly get the job done though.

    If you can find a nice 3/4 ton in good condition, that would be great. My old '89 F250 with the 460 gas engine (auto) got around the same mileage as folk with the 351 were reporting, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend that combination to anyone :-)
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJMember Posts: 3,516

    this looks like a job for the most overlooked truck in the genre - the light duty "2" series. The 7000-7700 GVWR class of 3/4 ton. Has the engines we've recommended, and is not so strong and heavy duty that the ride would be compromised as a daily-driver.

    These trucks include:
    - Ford light duty F250
    - Dodge light duty Ram 2500 (94-96) or D/W250 (93 and earlier)
    - Chevy/GMC light duty 2500
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    You all need to remember that a couple of horses and a large horse trailer will probably go well above 5,000 lbs tow weight.
    Buster7 - how much will the rig weigh?
  • stanfordstanford Member Posts: 606
    That also depends on the distance travelled. I've never known anyone have difficulties with an F150 (or equiv) pulling a 2-horse. Heck, I know lots of people who use S10s and rangers for little local (10-20 mile) jaunts.
  • buster7buster7 Member Posts: 3
    First, thank you all for your great responses!
    I would guess that when the trailer is fully loaded with 2 (big!) horses plus gear, the total trailer weight will be over 5000 pounds. Add in the weight of the passengers and additional gear, and it could easily get to 6000 pounds total.
    Distances will generally be short: very rarely over 100 miles one-way. I live in san diego and the area has some pretty good hills, so I have to take that into account.
    I don't doubt that the smaller trucks (Ranger, S10, etc.) are capable for very short haul, but I don't feel comfortable using a small truck for this.
    For others who might be interested, I found a GREAT book on the subject: "The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer." It includes lots of good info on buying a truck for towing, pro's and con's of different hitch types, that sort of thing.
    Thanks again, and keep the info coming!
  • stanfordstanford Member Posts: 606
    For that much weight and that long a distance, if this isn't to be used for much other than towing then I'd look for a 5-10 year old F250 (I think in Ford terms, I'm sure the others are just fine) with the 460 engine.

    You can get a great price on an older truck, especially when compared to a new one. If you go with a gas engine figure on spending $1K for an engine rebuild if needed. With that in mind, you can save a bundle (including the $1K) and you probably won't need to have the engine rebuilt anyway (saving the $1K too).

    In this area, '89 - '92 F250s are around $5K - $9K, depending on options (ie: diesel SCab 4X4 is more than 460 4x2).
  • etuffly2etuffly2 Member Posts: 29
  • stanfordstanford Member Posts: 606
    Etuffly2: If you have a serious response, please make it. If not.. well.. please stop SHOUTING at any rate.
  • dodgeramdodgeram Member Posts: 202
    etuffly2, looks like you want to be a dave40 wannabe!
  • ladyblueladyblue Member Posts: 326
    Actually, he's dave40's evil twin.
  • dave40dave40 Member Posts: 582
    Did Somebody mention the Devil!
  • etuffly2etuffly2 Member Posts: 29
    dodgeram - dodges are on another site. Talk about a wannabe - your screen name is a truck??? Pick a real person to model yourself after - not a truck!

    stanford - I am serious. I can talk to horses better than the Horse Whisperer - and they don't like Fords. THIS SITE IS FOR CHEVY LOVERS!!! YOU CAN'T STYMIE MY ENTHUSIASM!!! GO 6.6 LEVIATHON!
  • dave40dave40 Member Posts: 582
    F oreign
    O bjects that smell like
    R oad horse
    D roppings

    C hariots
    H auling
    E nvied
    V ictors and lots of
    Y ounger girls
  • dodgeramdodgeram Member Posts: 202
    eatufluffy2 whats that?. I don't need modeling, but sounds like your modeling for you pet dave40.
  • etuffly2etuffly2 Member Posts: 29
    Ouch! I really like dave40 but my legs are too ugly to model for anyone. Didn't mean to upset you there dodgeram. Take a deep breath.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJMember Posts: 3,516
    etuffly - post 15

    Look at the top of the page - this site is NOT for Chevy lovers. Keep your bravado to a low simmer, ok?
  • etuffly2etuffly2 Member Posts: 29
    Just pullin' dodgeram's chain. Worked pretty good too.
  • dodgeramdodgeram Member Posts: 202
    Why did etuffly2 also circle the block 26 times?

  • RichRich Member Posts: 128
    Ladies and Gentlemen,
    Could we leave the flames and bravado for the Internet use groups and return to the discussion of towing heavy loads.
  • buster7buster7 Member Posts: 3
    This forum is only as useful as we make it. At first, I got some good responses. I was hoping for more, but the recent flames and personal off-topic chit-chat isn't very useful to me. And I'm afraid it's scaring off those who might have real info.

    Please, keep the chatter to personal email.

    Now, anybody have any specific suggestions? A few of these posts have been really helpful, and I'd love to hear more.
  • cowpokescowpokes Member Posts: 33
    Hello Buster7
    Are you still looking for info on trucks to haul your trailer?
    Probably by this time you have purchased and are off working some of the winter pounds off your animals.
  • shellynshellyn Member Posts: 1
    I have hauled horses with an old gmc 3/4 ton 6.2L diesel for a number of years. Can't exactly fly down the freeway, but I do eventually get up the many hills here in the Pacific Northwest. Make sure you have enough guts to get the job done. I was with a friend once hauling two horses in an aluminum trailer up a winding hill is a 1/2 ton pickup. The truck was straining and slowing to a crawl when it just stopped in the middle of a switchback turn. Had to stop traffic both directions, back up and take another running start at the curve. Not fun.

    Also, I highly recommend the truck includes the extra radiator for the transmission and you use a load leveling hitch system (aka swaybars). Gives extra security and I think more comfort for the horses. And, always, always check the hitch is secure to the ball every time you leave the driveway. I was driving someone elses rig, fulled loaded with two horses when the trailer detached from the truck. Thank goodness for safety chains!!
    Good luck and happy hauling.
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