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Old 07-14-2018, 10:29 AM   #1
CanadianCamper
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Towing capacity

Looking at a Keystone Ultralite

Our 2018 Toyota Sienna has 3500 lb towing capacity with tongue weight of 500 lbs.

We were considering the 175BH which has a dryweight of 3100 - not giving us a lot of wiggle room for extras

But the trailer dealer and Toyota said it should work - sure the trailer dealer is just telling us what we want to hear

Any recommendations for towing? Will there be issues towing? My wife loves the trailer - itís a new van so getting another vehicle unfortunately isnít an option.
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:54 AM   #2
Ken / Claudia
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Your making the NEWBIE mistake most make. #1 You compare the tow vehicles max. capabilities and use the RV empty weight. Use the GVWR Gross vehicle weight rating of the RV which is loaded weight. You will never tow any RV at the empty weight.
#2 you need the payload rating of the tow vehicle. That is how much can it carry not tow. You have the tow number. Payload includes gear. persons and maybe fuel.
#3 you need to know the tongue weight of the trailer. That could be figured as a guess if you use the GVWR of the trailer and figure as high as 15% of that number. Normal could be 10% to 12% of the total trailer weight.
See my trailer the listed, tongue weigh empty was 545, as I recall, A scale check showed it at 920 lbs loaded for camping. Food, clothing, fresh water tank full, just the normal camping stuff adds up.
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:55 AM   #3
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The dealer makes money by selling RVs. You are very correct to suspect ulterior motives from the dealer. I don't think your van would be much fun towing that much weight. I am sure the experts will be all over this with facts and computations but I would be scared to pull that much weight with a vehicle intended for hauling kiddos and not trailers. If you have the money, buy a used 1/2 ton of any sort and use it for towing. I am sure you can find one cheap enough that it would be a lot more fun to camp when you are not putting your safety and vehicle in jepordy.
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:03 AM   #4
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Thanks for your responses - it’s what I expected.

Any recommendations for a smaller Keystone model?
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:04 AM   #5
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With the dry weight of the camper only 400 pounds less than the towing capacity of the vehicle it will be virtually impossible for you to stay under the MAXIMUM weight your vehicle is rated for. In addition to the dry weight of the camper you have to add the weight of any passengers, pets, or other cargo in the vehicle that was not original equipment. Then add the weight of the hitch. Figure 50 pounds for a battery and 20-40 pounds for propane, depending on whether you have one or two tanks. That's towing with NO water in any of the holding tanks or even bottled drinking water (8 pounds a gallon).

Good information is available in the Trailer Life Towing Guides: http://www.trailerlife.com/trailer-towing-guides/
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:16 AM   #6
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As was pointed out, you are making the mistake many first time buyers do; comparing the most optimistic, unrealistic numbers to make the vehicle fit the trailer that you love. Reality, unfortunately, many times is different.

Your van can POSSIBLY tow up to 3500 lbs. Look inside the driver door of your van and find the payload. A Sienna is a light weight mini van - a grocery getter, not a tow vehicle. Since you are looking at a bunkhouse model I assume you have kids.

The listed dry weight of the 175bh according to Keystone is 3255 with a gvw of 4500 lbs. You need to use 4500 since you will never see the 3255 except on paper. With 2 adults and children you will carry quite a load - you can't keep from it unless you don't go camping.

Back to payload; you will have the adults, kids and all your gear in the van. That number has to be deducted from the payload listed on the door; lets just say 600 lbs. conservatively. Now you have to take the hitch into effect; say 100 lbs.; now the tongue weight...at 4500 lbs. figure a tongue weight of 525-550 conservatively. Adding those up you have about 1250 vs whatever the payload is on the door. In addition, the tongue weight is over the limit of your hitch, and could be by a considerable margin.

Keep in mind that the Sienna was never meant to be a real "tow" vehicle, it has VERY marginal towing capability. The suspension is made to give you a comfortable ride around town, not to control 4500 lbs. swinging in the wind behind you.

All that said, you can probably surmise that I would advise against it. It would be a bad choice IMO and compromise the safety of you, your wife and family. Buy that used 1/2 ton and make yourself a much happier, and safer, camper. JMO
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadianCamper View Post
Thanks for your responses - itís what I expected.

Any recommendations for a smaller Keystone model?

I don't know that Keystone makes something that small that would be acceptable. I just looked through a few and nothing comes in under 3500 lbs. that I could find. I did find the Bullet Colt 171RKCT with a gvw of 3850 lbs. - but I doubt you will like the floorplan. IF, and I say IF, you could load it light (it only has 811 lbs. of carry capacity) and keep it at under 3500 (dry weight is 3049) it "might" work. Still too much for the vehicle in my opinion but the only thing I could find even close to your van's capabilities. If the 1/2 ton truck is out I think I would be looking at a pop up of some kind until you could move up to a larger TV and then a larger RV.
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by compeakw View Post
With the dry weight of the camper only 400 pounds less than the towing capacity of the vehicle it will be virtually impossible for you to stay under the MAXIMUM weight your vehicle is rated for. In addition to the dry weight of the camper you have to add the weight of any passengers, pets, or other cargo in the vehicle that was not original equipment. Then add the weight of the hitch. Figure 50 pounds for a battery and 20-40 pounds for propane, depending on whether you have one or two tanks. That's towing with NO water in any of the holding tanks or even bottled drinking water (8 pounds a gallon).

Good information is available in the Trailer Life Towing Guides: http://www.trailerlife.com/trailer-towing-guides/
You yourself are probably at or over GCWR for that 6000lb.GVWR Colorado CC 5.2' bed. Base curb weigh for yours 4,390lbs. Your payload capacity closer to 1,400lbs. Your GCWR is around 11,600lbs You TT is over 6,000lbs loaded. Use this calculator http://fifthwheelst.com/rvtc_calculator.html
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Old 07-14-2018, 12:06 PM   #9
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Well, now that you have heard from the computer folks, what are you needs for camping? Kids? I am thinking probably because you own a mini-van? There may be other brands that work better for your needs but if you describe them, perhaps someone will have better suggestions. I already suggested a used 1/2 ton which would allow you to buy a trailer that can be pulled with some ease!
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Old 07-14-2018, 12:37 PM   #10
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We have an old ‘98 popup but are looking to upgrade to meet our growing family - two small kids. My wife wants a hardtop camper.

We usually go on short drives to campsites with full amenities - no off-road or off-the-grid camping. But it has no air conditioning and short on storage space which makes packing a challenge already.

A vehicle upgrade I guess is in order

Thanks everyone for the advice and warnings. This newbie shopper needed it!
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