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Would you rather try to increase a Titan’s towing capacity or buy an older American truck?

  • Beef up the Titan. You just can’t get the same quality in an American truck.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Don’t do it. You’re going to have way too many problems.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I’m not sure but I’ll be interested to see what you decide and how things go.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I are thinking about becoming full-time RVers but on a limited budget. I kind of have my heart set on a Titan because they’re so well-made, reliable, roomy/comfortable and, in general, nice to drive. With our budget, I’m looking at an older one. Probably’06-‘08.

Where things get complicated for me is that my wife really wants a good-sized 5th wheel (I do, too, actually) and although we can find what we’re looking for in our price range, most of the ones were looking at are around 10,000 pounds (which I know exceeds the Titan’s capacity). I really don’t want to go with a 3/4 or 1 ton pickup from one of the “big 3” because I don’t think there’s anything in our price range unless it’s REALLY old and that’s going to have a LOT more problems. (Even if I could afford one that was 10 years old or so, I still have serious doubts about reliability and maintenance and repair costs relative to a Titan.) Plus it’s not going to be nearly as nice to drive around once we’ve parked and unhitched the trailer.

Sorry for the long preamble but my questions are...
1. If I made “all the right upgrades” to beef up a Titan and really max out it’s towing capacity, how much higher do you think I could go beyond the rated 9800 pounds? (I should add that I will drive as gently as possible.)
2. What would “all the right upgrades” be? Transmission cooler upgrade? Air bags? Upgraded brakes? Is it possible to have the frame reinforced?
3. Am I just asking for trouble, here? I’m sure I’ll be putting more stress on my Titan and that will lead to some problems, but are they really going to be worse than the problems I can expect from an old American pickup?
 

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Can a 1/2 Ton chassis be beefed up to handle the loud that requires a 3/4 or 1 ton chassis. I that is a tough question.
Will the alterations you make hold up to day to day driving and then hauling a heavy load.. If you get started with a very clean vehicle with low miles your work to upgrade will be easer but it will take a lot. I believe 2009 was the first year a goose neck or fifth wheel couples was available so chassis structure had to be improved by then. So I would think if your ready to do or have some welding done would help. Air bags will help level a sagging rear end but they are not meant to compensate for substandard springs and frame strength. I have seen some people use blocks between the frame and axle tube. This is a good way to damage the axle housing tube and the frame.
Drive line on stock truck is tough, I believe every year has factory engine oil coolers, you may need to upgrade the radiator and a larger trans cooler suggest. Get something rated for 15,000-18,000 pounds.
Earlier year Titans came with Dana 44 rear differentials, I'm not sure of later years. Those are a strong unit until the axle seals start leaking. Once run low on oil it will blow. They will also run hot when worked hard, some have finned diff covers as coolers that works ok. I believe the rear itself is under rated for load over 12,000 pounds.
The brakes on earlier Titans were a issue, I replaced mine with Power Stop Tow/Haul with drilled and slotted rotors and matching pads. Increasing disc and brake size is tough due to tire and rim size limits that. A oversized wheel and tire may look better but it also decreases the gear ratio. So sticking with factory size tire and wheel will help keep gearing better matched to load handling and engine and trans. The parking brake system in my opinion has always been a weak spot, mine and many others have not held up when parking on hills and even worse under loads.
The engine power can be upgraded with a fresh air intake system, some exhaust headers with dual exhaust and a engine tuner to free up some horsepower that is there but not totally available with factory settings in place.
These are amazing vehicles, I purchased mine new in 2006 and have been towing with it since it had 500 miles. I tow everything from jet skies, utility trailers, our 7000 pound boat, and 2 and 4 horses trailers and a open car trailer. The truck has always performed will and is a very comfortable reliable vehicle that handles our family hauling when vacationing or going to weekend horse shows.

If purchasing a used trunk try to get a low mileage rust free vehicle from 2009 or newer. Getting a Big Tow Package for you needs should be a key item. Good luck in you hunt for the perfect used truck.
 
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