Building a tow rig is very similar to building a trail rig, as the goals of strength, reliability, and power are high atop the list. Whether you have a 1/2-, 3/4-, or 1-ton tow mule, the basics of beefing up a tow rig are all similar throughout.
One of the most common mistakes we hear about it is people towing way over their truck's suggest weight rating. Sure, you might be able to pull it, but are those light-duty brakes enough to stop you in a pinch? Towing more than your truck is rated to handle is no different than running 54-inch tires on a 1/4-ton axles-you're asking for trouble.
While many late-model trucks tow great from the factory, there are a few tips and tricks that make towing easier on you and your truck. So before you make your next tow, check out this list of basic must-have add-ons and tips.
Diesel Deal Though many of the late-model 1/2-ton trucks are rated to tow 10,000 pounds, we strongly suggest looking into a 3/4- or 1-ton diesel if you foresee a lot of heavy towing in your future. The added torque of the diesel will make pulling easier, and the beefier full-float rear axles are designed for the heavier loads.
Though modern diesel trucks are super plush and more refined than the early '90s rattle boxes, they are also more expensive. If you are working on a budget but still need a reliable tow rig, we suggest looking at the mid- to late-'90s Dodge Rams equipped with the Cummins diesel engine. The early inline-six models are equipped with mechanically injected 12-vavle style, while the later trucks ('97-'02) have a bit more modern 24-vavle design. Both Cummins engines are easy to pull extra power out of and have great performance aftermarket support.
This is not to say that the early Ford and Chevy diesels are bad. We're simply partial to the torque of the inline Cummins versus the earlier diesel offerings from Ford and GM, and we're not huge fans of GM's independent front suspension since towing off road is part of our regiment.