How bad is a 3/4 ton truck off road?

The_Reason_Outdoors

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Nov 18, 2020
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I used to take my 96 ram 2500 out on some small trails! Had 37” tires wheel spacers and a 5” lift she did great just have to forget about clean paint cause there will be plenty of scratches. But also remember that if you were to get stuck it’s gonna take another big truck to pull you out!
 

KB_

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Jul 12, 2018
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Location
Bozemen, Montana
I really like the looks of the new Chevy's, But my 08 f250 v10 has been spectacular for me and I have no plans on changing. its the crew cab with 8 ft box. Also has a giant front bumper that weighs way more then I need. Driven it in some mud that I probably shouldnt have, but lock the hubs and send it. I recommend a good AT tire instead of MTs. You will want to ram your head into a wall listening to that heavy truck wear down those MT's when driving down the highway. Also looking into getting an air locker for the rear end for when it gets really western.

I would not go diesel in your case, unless you haul more then 8000lbs pretty regularly. Those big gassers have tons of torque and are pretty easy to maintain. Except I have nothing good to say about Chevy's gasser or Diesel other then they look cool. I am also biased and always enjoyed my fords and had great luck with them.
 

idnative1948

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Just my opinion, but I drive off road in very rough country in a 3/4 ton Chevy a lot, but it’s a 6.0 gas V8, not a diesel. It’s an extended cab, 6.5 foot bed, with a spacer leveling kit (I wouldn’t have chosen that if it it was my personal truck). You’ll notice a pretty big difference in ride quality. That stiff suspension can beat me up, but the truck still gets around very well. The turning radius isn’t good.

A diesel will be a lot easier to get stuck when the snow hits. With the cost of a diesel, I’d go gas unless I was towing a lot of weight very frequently. The 6.0 isn’t racy, but it’s a very reliable engine and I’ve towed some heavy stuff with it.

I definitely prefer driving my Tundra off road, but I’ve taken this truck, my previous 2014 GMC 3/4 ton, and a couple older 3/4 ton work trucks into some pretty terrible places.
My 6.0 gasser gets it done, but without 500# in the back really rocks the kidneys.
 

Doubleplay

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Feb 11, 2021
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I own a 2016 Ram 2500 Diesel which I drove 100K miles and I do a lot of towing. Any 1/2 ton or bigger truck is a terrible platform to go off road. They're heavy, wide and because their suspensions are designed for heavy loads and towing, they don't behave well. Yes, I took mine off road and I'm not talking about dirt roads, serious off road and lived to tell about it but I would avoid it if I can.
 

npaden

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Lubbock, Texas
I've had the truck for just over 2 months and am really liking it. I pulled my toyhauler on a quick trip to our hunting property and back (100 miles each way) and it pulled like a dream. Just set the cruise at 75 and relax. The fancy bits are really nice, I put in the trailer tire air pressure and temperature sensors in so I can see the air pressure and temperature of the trailer tires right on the screen in the truck and they will give a low pressure warning if I don't have that screen up. I sprung the $350 for the invisible trailer camera but didn't have that setup when I took my last trip but think that is going to be a pretty cool feature as well.

I live 2 miles off pavement and so far it seems like it drives about like my 1/2 ton did on that. Nothing too muddy yet, but it does decent enough in the snow we had the last week. Pretty happy with it overall.
 

lifeisgoodsteve

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Feb 2, 2019
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Bitterroot Valley
As I think on it all, there really is no universal answer. For almost all the dirt roads I travelled before to access where I was hunting I was just fine with the 3/4 ton duramax. Just the one spot in the video I'd not go back to, but didn't see any deer from that access point anyways.

That said, I'm exploring a whole vast new area of forest roads now so we will see how the diesel will do. Look to buy a UTV to work on my property which could double for dirt road access transportation. Nice thing about the diesel is that throwing a <50" sxs in the bed or towing a bigger one on/in a trailer is easy.

npaden - in your case, looks like you made a good choice, as towing your toy hauler will be a dream now and was a high priority.

Cheers,

s
 

npaden

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I’ve now had the truck almost a year and am still very happy with it.

I’ve pulled my toy hauler a little over 7,500 miles with it and it is just SO MUCH nicer than pulling with my gas 1/2 ton. I have had it off road (2 track forest service roads) and it did well but it does have a stiff suspension and a crappy turning radius.

Got it stuck for the first time yesterday and it actually came out pretty easy. Just hooked up a strap to the front recovery hooks and a little tug and it was out. It for sure helped that the truck doing the tugging was on dry solid ground. If it had been the the mud too it for sure wouldn't have been so easy.

The water company had left a clean out running for over a day and it just looked like a small puddle but it was mush under there. Can’t believe the front got through it but the back just fell in. It was up to the axle on pretty much the entire back end. After it had set a while waiting for help to arrive to pull me out the water actually rose up past the 1/2 way mark on the tire. It was mush.

EE648361-A525-4EB2-B093-E2A47312FF28.jpg

Took the picture after we had done some digging around the tire. No damage done and I learned a lesson on being more careful on soft ground in a truck that weighs 8,000 pounds.
 

JLS

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Mar 26, 2012
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Almost Arkansas…..
That sucks. Nothing worse than being on the frame rails.

Glad you like the truck. Towing with my Tundra is no where near as easy as the CTD 2500, but driving up to some of hunt areas is far faster and more comfortable too.
 

HONEYBADGER

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Aug 24, 2013
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339
Well, I’m leaning very strongly toward buying a new 3/4 ton truck. Most likely a 2021 Chevy 2500HD Diesel. Pulling our toy hauler has just gotten too much for our current 1/2 ton and I think the right thing to do is make the step up to a 3/4 ton and might as well go all the way with the diesel.

This thread isn’t about whether I need a 3/4 ton to pull my toy hauler, I think I’ve read and watched enough YouTube videos on that, but what I’m trying to decide is just how much of a pain is it going to be to be driving a 3/4 ton truck around on crappy 2 track roads.

The 3/4 ton diesel is over 2,000 pounds heavier than my 1/2 ton which is great for towing but not for driving in mud and soft ground. It actually has more ground clearance, but a longer wheel base so my approach and departure angles are going to suck and chances of high centering on a hill are a lot higher. Going up a steep hill seems like it would be harder as well with all that extra weight and not a lot more ground contact.

I’ve watched a few videos where they go through some obstacles and stuff but nothing really out there just talking about how they do in real world situations.

I would have a Rzr for ATV trails and stuff hence the toy hauler but I still do a lot of driving in the truck on 2 tracks earning my racing pinstripes and all that fun stuff. My side steps on my current truck are pretty dented up from banging on rocks and stuff, it definitely gets used as a 4wd vehicle.

Am I going to be shocked at how crappy the 3/4 ton does off road or am I just going to notice a slight difference in turning and have to pay attention to approach and departure angles?

Any real world input from people who have taken both 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton trucks on some sketchy roads?

Thanks, Nathan
They are bad, not meant for off roading at all save for the basic dry dirt road driving. Had a Duramax for 12 years. Loved the truck, did what I could to make it off road worthy, but in the end, once that big heavy diesel engine gets pointed in a direction, that is the direction the truck is going to go. Not good for muddy, slick, nasty, mountain roads.
 

hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
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SW NM
I’ve now had the truck almost a year and am still very happy with it.

I’ve pulled my toy hauler a little over 7,500 miles with it and it is just SO MUCH nicer than pulling with my gas 1/2 ton. I have had it off road (2 track forest service roads) and it did well but it does have a stiff suspension and a crappy turning radius.

Got it stuck for the first time yesterday and it actually came out pretty easy. Just hooked up a strap to the front recovery hooks and a little tug and it was out. It for sure helped that the truck doing the tugging was on dry solid ground. If it had been the the mud too it for sure wouldn't have been so easy.

The water company had left a clean out running for over a day and it just looked like a small puddle but it was mush under there. Can’t believe the front got through it but the back just fell in. It was up to the axle on pretty much the entire back end. After it had set a while waiting for help to arrive to pull me out the water actually rose up past the 1/2 way mark on the tire. It was mush.

View attachment 203265

Took the picture after we had done some digging around the tire. No damage done and I learned a lesson on being more careful on soft ground in a truck that weighs 8,000 pounds.
Hell, I've done that in my 1/2 ton.....lol
 

WyoDoug

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Cheyenne, Wyoming
I think you would do good with a 3/4 ton. I had a Ford F250 that went where I needed it to do and pulled others out of the mud. Beat up but it was a hunting truck. I put A/T tires on it and went over some badly rutted roads and even through some mud without issues.
 

WyoDoug

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Cheyenne, Wyoming
Real answer is, it's not so much the truck but the person behind the wheel. You are not driving on the highway and can not drive two tracks and backcountry roads the same way you would on the highway. One example is when you go through marshy areas or mud you don't dare brake or stop or you get struck. It's all about experience and knowing what you are doing when you drive backcountry roads especially in wet or muddy conditions.
 

bisblue

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Sep 21, 2016
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I have a 2001 Dodge diesel with 355,000 mi on it.
I also worked as a park ranger for the BLM covering 2.5 million acres driving 3/4 ton trucks with stock size all terrain tires. If you don't feel the need to drive like a Baja champion and know what four lo is you should be able to do anything you need to do with a 3/4 ton truck especially if you're hauling a camper and a side-by-side.

I generally sleep out of the back of my truck and hike into hunt or pull a small stock trailer with my pack llamas in it. They're not as smooth but my general goal is also to drive as little as possible, doing most of my driving the first day and then hiking after that.
 

Bldrinker

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Dec 29, 2021
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I just ordered an F250 with the 7.3 and 4:30 gears.

I’m starting to think I will take my Rubicon hunting this year. So I don’t have to worry about getting stuck or scratched lol
 

mxracer317

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Nov 20, 2020
Messages
378
I just ordered an F250 with the 7.3 and 4:30 gears.

I’m starting to think I will take my Rubicon hunting this year. So I don’t have to worry about getting stuck or scratched lol
It’s the reason I just picked up a Polaris General! Smoked my truck in a tree slipping in the mud.
 
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