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Old 06-25-2011, 08:32 PM   #11
Txoutback
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I actually pulled the 20% out of my, ah, well ear? trying to quantify a derating measurement to account for calculation errors, not overburdoning the TV and a margin of safety. The advertised dry weight and tounge weight of the TT doesn't account for anything added.
The sticky should have caution and warnings in regards to tounge weight and how you pack your TT. Any weight added forward of the axles that is not countered by added weight aft of axles will add to the tounge weight. You can start with the 100# for propane and battery. This was apparent with my last TT. The bedroom was up front. It had a large under bed storage area where we stored heavy items such as cases of sodas and bottled water and can food, all cloths went in the wardrobe located all the way forward, the only outside storage was all the way forward, floor jack, tool box, 4-way tire wrench, grease gun, power cable and hose, several wooden blocks. All located forward while adding nothing aft of the axles. All this threw the advertised tounge weight out the window.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:04 AM   #12
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Travel Trailer vs Fifth Wheel Tow Vehicles

Every trailer has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) which is the maximum allowable weight of a trailer with cargo included (i.e. propane, fuel, food). If you put anything in it or on it, it adds to the weight. Every tow vehicle (TV) has a Maximum Towing capacity and every trailer has a Maximum Cargo Weight. Whether you have a trailer or a fifth wheel, the GVW of your trailer plus everything in it must be less than the maximum towing capacity of your TV.

The trailer weight provided in the manufacturer's brochure, is the shipping weight. This is a completely empty trailer. No propane, batteries, water and camping supplies. If you take this shipping weight and add your trailer's maximum cargo capacity, you have the maximum GVW of your trailer, the GVWR. The maximums for your specific trailer will be found on a yellow sticker on the entrance door to your trailer (which also includes your vehicles VIN).

Always find the actual manual for the TV to determine the towing specifics of your vehicle. Never trust a salesperson for the trailer or the truck. The towing capability changes based on manual vs automatic, 4x4 vs 4x2 and so on. Find the specifics for your vehicle on the manufacturer's website, in the manual or on the vehicle's door panel. Once you know your trailers maximum GVW and your TV maximum towing capacity, you have the first value you can use to determine if the TV you are considering will work.

Most people suggest the TV should have capacities 20% greater than the trailer weight, just to add a margin of safety and to put less wear and tear on the TV. Since you won't always load your trailer the exact same way on every trip, having a little safety margin is a good thing.

The TV numbers should never be exceeded!

When towing a travel trailer the Maximum Tongue Load is important. A trailer uses the bumper or hitch area to tow a trailer. Your trailer will have an associated hitch weight that takes into account a properly loaded and balanced trailer cargo. If you put lead weights in the front of your trailer you will dramatically throw off your hitch weight and all bets are off. Your TV must have a maximum tongue load greater than the trailer hitch value. Again a margin of error is prudent.

When towing a fifth wheel, the Payload is important. The weight of the trailer is put into the bed rather than on a bumper or lower hitch. The hitch weight of a fifth wheel will be dramatically higher than the hitch weight of a travel trailer. A fifth wheel hitch weight must be less than the tow vehicles' maximum payload value.

When you are looking at Toy Haulers, you will see a high hitch weight. This is the hitch weight of an unloaded trailer. Toy Haulers are designed to have heavy things in the back of the trailer. This levering action lowers the actual hitch weight. It is generally accepted that hitch weights of any fifth wheel should be 10-15% of the loaded trailer when properly balanced.

If you don't properly balance your trailer, whether a travel trailer, fifth wheel or toy hauler, you can exceed your tow vehicles specifications and create a dangerous towing situation. So how can you determine if your trailer is properly balanced and your TV capacities aren't exceeded?

Once you have your trailer and TV, visit a CAT weigh scale and weigh your fully loaded TV (kids, dogs, coolers, spouse, etc.) and fully loaded Trailer (propane, water, beer, oh, and some food too), your trailer by itself and your TV by itself. The operator at the scale will usually be happy to help you. There will probably be a nominal fee to do this (less than $20). Only after weighing your TV and Trailer will you know you have everything set up properly and are operating in the safest manner.

Here are a couple websites that can help to determine the Tow Vehicle necessary for your particular situation:
Travel Trailer to Tow Vehicle calculator
Fifth Wheel to Tow Vehicle calculator

Happy Trailering!
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:15 AM   #13
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Buyer beware

I've seen a lot of good information given so far but one thing I haven't really seen is the "BUYER BEWARE" comment. Since dealing with sales people as part of my job and dealing with them as a retail customer I see this all the time. The one thing I see sales people do constantly is try to sell a product by it's dry weight and not it's GVWR. I have seen a couple of comments that had mentioned looking at the GVWR of the towed unit be it a TT or 5ver. I think when looking at purchasing a new towable would be looking at GVWR of the unit on the sticker and not asking the dealer. I have come across a couple of dealers that when I asked what the GVWR of the unit was they just looked at me and said "well what are going to pull it with" or I also have come across where I have told them that I didn't want to be over say 8000 lbs GVWR and they start showing me trailers with a dry weight of 7500 lbs. Sales people will tell you what you want to hear just to make a sale. I have had sales people that I work with wanting me to fudge spec's on something just so they can sell it.

I've also seen several comments about the tongue weight and yes this should be a consideration also. Working in the RV industry I know that most manufactures take into consideration the tongue weight when setting the axle placement. For example: Most toy haulers have a 2000 lbs limit in the rear cargo area so the manufacture will set the axles to add more dry tongue weight. Industry hitch weight standards are; non toy hauler travel trailers will be 10% - 15% depending on floor plan (ie, front living, rear living, front or rear kitchen, etc.), non toy hauler 5th wheel will be 15% - 20% (again will very by floor plan), toy hauler travel trailer will be 14% - 18% (again will very per floor plan and number of axles), toy hauler 5th wheels will be 18% - 23% (again will very per floor plan and number of axles). So if you are looking at a rear living unit that has a lot of storage in front of the axles they will set the tongue weight to the lower percentage and vise versa if you have a rear kitchen they will set the tongue weight to the heavier percentage to help off set the weight of what you would put in the storage areas. Granted it's hard to anticipate what people are going to put in the storage area's so it comes down to using a reasonable estimate.

As for buying a tow vehical, my personal opinion is the same as most of the other people on this forum. First I would look at the GVWR of the trailer I want to pull then look at the max towing of the TV and then filter down to payload, GVWR of TV, etc. Everyone will have their favorites when it comes to manufacture be it Ford, Dodge, GM, etc. And someone else said something about options, the ride, etc., but there is one thing I haven't seen anyone say and that is fuel economy. I know for me that was a big issue when looking for a bigger TV. The bad thing is when it comes to 3/4 ton or 1 ton trucks it's hard to find fuel ratings for these types of vehicals. So one way I found was to visit the forums and ask what other people are getting and to check reviews of the truck you are considering. Of course when doing my research I found a diverse range because of mods people had done or their driving habbits. So I took it all in and basicaly figured an average. I did this for towing and none towing as well as gas and diesel. As for us going from a 1/2 ton that was getting 16 city and 19 hwy not towing and getting 8 to 10 towing I knew we would want something that was going to get us the same or better not towing and considerably better towing. When doing my research I found out that the gas 3/4 or 1 ton wouldn't get me really any better improvment so we looked into the diesels. At the end of the day it comes down to personal preferance and weighing the options of getting a gas or diesel or 1/2 ton, 3/4 ton or 1 ton. The one thing I think everyone could agree on when it comes to choosing a TV would be getting something that will make towing safe. Yes there are a lot of 1/2 ton trucks out there that say they can pull 10,000+ lbs but can they do it safely is the question as well as 3/4 ton trucks saying they will tow 17,000+ lbs an so on. Do the research and don't trust the answer of just one or two people!
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:50 AM   #14
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I agree with most of what has been said and I see there is no reason to repeat what has been already discussed.
I would only add this to the discussion, is what is being done in the engineering world for Automotive manufactures. I would recommend that the new SAE towing standard be re-print with SAE permission of course. This is SAE J2807 which will be implemented in 2013. This may help the novice RV'er in picking a tow vehicle.
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:46 AM   #15
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Jim:
Do you have handy a website for these new SAE towing standards? If so, could you please edit and add it to your above post? Thanks for your input.
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:26 AM   #16
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Note to Members:
This thread will close on Friday, July 15th. If you have any recommendations for our proposed Sticky ( "What Kind of Truck Should I Get?"), please post them here on or before the closing date.
Thank you
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:12 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=Festus2;15966]Jim:
Do you have handy a website for these new SAE towing standards? If so, could you please edit and add it to your above post? Thanks for your input.[/QUOTE[/I]

I sent you a private e-mail to you.
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Old 07-06-2011, 06:42 AM   #18
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In addition to the technical points listed above, I would recommend that the buyer also look a the following deciding factors when selecting a tow vehicle-

1) How many people are camping with you? - if you have two kids and your camper is a bunk house, you may need to factor in people capacity. If each kid brings a friend, you now need to transport 6 people while towing the camper. A super crew pick up with a front bench seat will suffice for a short trip, but will get pretty uncomfortable after an hour or so. This was the deciding factor in my getting the Expedition EL. Everyone gets a comfy seat and there is plenty of room in the "way back" for our 100lb dog. Can't do that in a super crew.

2) Will this be your daily driver? - Again, using my case, the Expedition is also my daily driver. And I commute 2 hours a day. A diesel would be a nice option, but in my area diesel fuel is anywhere from 30 to 60 cents more than regular gas. Ergo, my annual fuel costs would increase and I will need to budget accordingly.

3) Alternate use - in addition to towing, what other purpose would your tow vehicle serve? Are you into home improvements or gardening? Then a pick up may be a better option over a full sized SUV. Do you bike, ski, kayak, etc? Will you need an 8' bed for your other toys or will you need to set up a rack system to fit that beautiful new 14' kayak that you just bought? Factor in the cost of the rack system.
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:32 AM   #19
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First suggestion is for folks to not buy either a trailer or a tow vehicle until they settle on both. It's understood that most folks can't do both at once, but too many have bought one or the other and now are scrambling to fix a problem. So I think the first point should be to not rush into buying something until you have sorted out both pieces.

Also, without being mean, stress what campingcpl has said. Don't trust either the truck salesman or the RV salesman. Both will try to get you into what they think they can sell you on.
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:11 PM   #20
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X3 on the GVWR "look at the stickers" and "Buyer Beware".
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