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Baysider
07-10-2021, 11:10 AM
Ok, Iíve been reading and calculating and my head hurts. Iím a long time tower of boats and 2-horse trailers. But we have now bought 2521 RL GT. Reading the threads here I have gotten the idea that the sales people at the dealer may not be especially reliable. Duh. So here is what I think and I wish for yíall to tell me how much Iíve bit off that canít be chewed:

2003 Dodge Dakota 4.7L 4x4 Crew Cab. 139k miles Class III Hitch 2 5/16 ball.
Available payload using registration figures is 1,600 pounds (GVWR 7,000 lbs.).
Trailer tongue weight from dealer specs is 635lbs. That leaves me an available payload on the truck at 965 lbs. Total weight of fully loaded trailer is 7,000 lbs.

So what I get is since the trailer GVW includes the available payload 1,724 lbs. we should load our gear in the trailer not the truck. The truck should be able to move all this down the highway safely. True or not?

chuckster57
07-10-2021, 11:25 AM
welcome to the forum :wlcm:

Auto and RV sales people are only interested in how much money they are putting in their pocket, that being said lets look at the numbers:

Your truck- The sticker in the drivers door says you have 1600 pounds? DO NOT use the registration as it may not pertain to YOUR vehicle. But lets use 1600 pounds.

You, the wife and kids and everything you will carry cannot exceed the 1600 pounds, that includes the tongue weight of the trailer and hitch. DO NOT use the hitch weight as that is BEFORE you add propane, battery(s). General rule on a bumper pull is 10% of GVWR or in your case 7000 pounds so 700 pounds.

That leave you with 900 pounds to load into the truck, How much do you and everyone else weigh? You dont need to post the weight, just calculate it in your head. Then all the stuff your going to carry, and even if you put it in the trailer it will affect the tongue weight. A good weight distribution/ sway control hitch will be close to 100 pounds, maybe a little less but 100 is a good number to use.

So now hyour down to 800 pounds for everything in the truck. Without knowing what all your going to carry and hwo much all the people weigh, I cant say for sure your going to be ok..but I do think your going to be close.

flybouy
07-10-2021, 11:56 AM
Do yourself a favor and get yout truck weighed at the scales with everyone and everything you would have in it to go camping. . Subtract that scale weight and you have the remaining payload number. BUT, that would have been applicable 18 or more years and 139K miles ago when the truck was new. What condition is that truck in now? I'm not asking jow shiney the paint is but rather the drivetrain, the steering, the suspension, etc. Even with "regular maintenance" that truck has got to be getting tired.

IMHO a Dodge Dakota has No buisness towing a 7k travel trailer. We owned one years ago and it was a great little truck but it was just that, a little truck. Short narrow wheelbase pulling a box with a high center of gravity and a large sail area will not be a pleasent experience.

sourdough
07-10-2021, 11:58 AM
Some things to consider:

Payload is 1600lbs from registration but sounds high to me for that vehicle - it is a mid sized pickup. And like some gvwrs that number could have been pulled from a hat.

GVW of the trailer is 7000lbs. so trying to cover your bases (loading) figure 13% of that = 910lbs. I'm going to use 1400lbs. for payload and think that still may be too high then minus the 910 = 490lbs. From that take approx. 100lbs. for a hitch = 390lbs. From that then take occupant weight, puppies, kids, tools, bbq etc. I suspect you will exceed that quite easily.

Now the kicker; a 30', 7000lb. 11' high RV (box) does not belong on the back of a mid sized truck. It is the perfect scenario for the "tail wagging the dog" situation....in fact encourages it. It's short and narrow and will allow that trailer to control the truck any time it wants to....and then there's trying to stop, which the truck won't be able to do either. Not a good match IMO.

wiredgeorge
07-10-2021, 12:27 PM
Not sure there will be a payload placard on a 2003. The Dakota likely has a bit less than the 1600 lbs the OP intimated. The scales would be the place to see how happy a camper the OP will be. He likely won't.

chuckster57
07-10-2021, 12:39 PM
Not sure there will be a payload placard on a 2003. The Dakota likely has a bit less than the 1600 lbs the OP intimated. The scales would be the place to see how happy a camper the OP will be. He likely won't.

My Ď94 Ford has a placard, not yellow but I think that sticker has been federally mandated for a while. As I recall even my Ď86 F250 had one.

sourdough
07-10-2021, 01:10 PM
OP I just realized I did not welcome you to the forum but instead went straight to your question. First and foremost Welcome! My previous post is my take on the proposed combination of truck and trailer. I understand the excitement when you get drawn into one of those scenarios but you owe it to yourself and family to closely look at the numbers and objectively consider whether it is the right thing to do.

One thing I failed to mention is that your truck is 18 years old with 139k miles on it. The numbers we are discussing would overtax a brand new truck. At 18 years of age, and deterioration....I've already given my opinion.

LHaven
07-10-2021, 03:08 PM
To answer your original question directly:
Gear stowed in your truck comes directly off your truck's payload budget.
Gear stowed in your trailer -- provided you don't overload its max weight and don't try to play games with your tongue loading (e.g., +300 lbs. in the trailer results in +40 lbs. at the tongue) -- adds only the tongue weight to your truck's payload budget. Essentially, you're using the trailer axles' budget to carry payload.

Baysider
07-10-2021, 03:57 PM
Thanks to all of you! When we started out I told my wife we didnít have enough truck. But, if we had bought the truck first, likely we would never have bought the trailer. Explaining your posts to my wife has convinced her this is not about me wanting a bigger truck. I have learned a lot in this exercise. And I will pay it forward should I encounter someone needing help.

We live in Coastal Virginia which is basically a flat plain. No interstates. I will drive cautiously likely annoying people around me. We have 3 RV parks we want to frequent with our Jeep Club crowd. All are within 70 miles of home We are late to the party for this season so trips will be few. By next spring hopefully we will be better fixed.

With all I have learned today I am much better off. Thanks again!

chuckster57
07-10-2021, 04:03 PM
Iím glad you decided to come here and ask, and glad you didnít get upset with the answers. Now that you know where you stand, you can take the needed steps to fix it. Enjoy and be as safe as you can.

sourdough
07-10-2021, 04:40 PM
Some things you need to weigh as you look at doing this and some assumptions you've possibly made;

Yes, the gvw of the trailer includes the 17xx payload. The degree to which that affects the tongue weight depends on how/where you load the trailer. If all your storage is up front that 13% figure might be 15 or 16. If you try to load to the rear to avoid putting a load on your truck the tongue will become too light and you really will have a problem with stability.

Some of the realities are that you HAVE to load the things you need/want to enjoy camping in an RV - it's unavoidable. The truck is 18 years old so not adequate for that size trailer. 70 miles, 700 or 7....that does not make a difference; failures happen when/where they want to and at THAT time you have to have the equipment to be able to control it.....or not. Plowing head on into a family in a minivan on a 2 lane rural highway 10 miles from home because the trailer can't be controlled is no different than the same thing happening on an interstate 700 miles from home - and the distance has zero bearing on the probability of that occurrence. Keep that in mind as you go looking for that new, more capable truck tomorrow. :) Be sure you take all precautions to be safe until then and happy camping.

wiredgeorge
07-10-2021, 06:04 PM
My ‘94 Ford has a placard, not yellow but I think that sticker has been federally mandated for a while. As I recall even my ‘86 F250 had one.


I am pretty sure my 96 F250 didn't have any sticker but since it was a clunker (just like my 2006) it may be fallen off. Saw an article in a quick google search from the NY Times that said Ford started in 2000. Dunno for sure.

chuckster57
07-10-2021, 06:17 PM
I am pretty sure my 96 F250 didn't have any sticker but since it was a clunker (just like my 2006) it may be fallen off. Saw an article in a quick google search from the NY Times that said Ford started in 2000. Dunno for sure.

Iíll take a look in the morning while the temps are only 2 digits.

Northofu1
07-10-2021, 07:14 PM
Personally, I think your in 3/4 ton territory for that trailer. I've done the 1/2 ton 7500 lb TT and as you can see in my signature I traded it in on a 2500. The 1500 was 2 yrs old when traded. you will have a lot less weight worry about what's in the truck /what's in the trailer. JMHO
Good luck :)

sourdough
07-10-2021, 07:28 PM
I am pretty sure my 96 F250 didn't have any sticker but since it was a clunker (just like my 2006) it may be fallen off. Saw an article in a quick google search from the NY Times that said Ford started in 2000. Dunno for sure.


George gotta get those "extra strong specs" to see where that sticker may or may not have gone. These days, between magnifying glasses and all the other things to help us see, I have 3 bright LED flashlights sitting on the top of the piano trying to read small print, 3 different sets of sunglasses in case I go in bright light...well, it just gets better :facepalm: At least I don't need glasses to feel my holster on my right hip.....

travelin texans
07-10-2021, 07:39 PM
Personally, I think your in 3/4 ton territory for that trailer. I've done the 1/2 ton 7500 lb TT and as you can see in my signature I traded it in on a 2500. The 1500 was 2 yrs old when traded. you will have a lot less weight worry about what's in the truck /what's in the trailer. JMHO
Good luck :)

If your upgrading anyways go with the 350/3500 SRW, appearance, ride, mileage & price are all about the same as a 250/2500 but the payload will be significantly more for future RV upgrades.

Baysider
07-11-2021, 01:05 AM
Once again, thanks for all your comments and the great welcome here.

flybouy
07-11-2021, 02:52 AM
Thanks to all of you! When we started out I told my wife we didnít have enough truck. But, if we had bought the truck first, likely we would never have bought the trailer. Explaining your posts to my wife has convinced her this is not about me wanting a bigger truck. I have learned a lot in this exercise. And I will pay it forward should I encounter someone needing help.

We live in Coastal Virginia which is basically a flat plain. No interstates. I will drive cautiously likely annoying people around me. We have 3 RV parks we want to frequent with our Jeep Club crowd. All are within 70 miles of home We are late to the party for this season so trips will be few. By next spring hopefully we will be better fixed.

With all I have learned today I am much better off. Thanks again!

It's good to see your reaction to the responses to your query. Many times folfs get upset at the messanger for delivering the news they don't want to get. I'd urge you to use extreem caution with that rig. It's not a matter of will you encounter handling issues but rather how severe they will be.

Many, many times we've read the rational similar to yours, "we won't take much", "we won't travel with the tanks full", "we only stay close to home", or "we won't travel on the interstates". These are all irrational arguments. Let's take a look at a few of them.

"We travel light, empty tanks, etc." I have yet to personally witness this and seriously question claims from someone that proclaims they do. This happens with a pop up because there's no other option, you're basically tent camping off the ground. You travel few days because that's all the supplies you can pack for. With a larger trailer it "feels like home" and will end up being outfitted "like home". The food, the drinks, the cooking "essentials", the linens, the clothing, the toiletries, etc. Think of it like packing an overnight bag for a plane trip for 1 night vs packing for a 10 day cruise onboard a ship.

"We don't travel that far". When you overload the truck tires, axles, suspension, cooling system, transmission and differential gears, brakes,etc., the effect is immediate. These are machines, there is no presence of surroundings or distance. After the first coiple of miles the running gear ( temps, pressures, stresses) are in full effect. The mechanicals have no awareness of where they are. These factors will not vary after reaching "operating norms" unless there's a failure of a component. You're just as likely to encounter wind, rain, etc. Close to home or 300 miles away. In your instance likely more pronr to wind and rain where you live. The only advantage is that you're likely closer to a hospital so it would be z shorter ride in the ambulance.

"We won't drive the interstates". Aside from the physics that speed is the same (i.e. 55 mph on a rural road is still 55 mph on the interstate) there are other disadvantages to traveling on rural roads. On the interstate highway the road is divided so less chance of a head on collision. All traffic is flowing jn the same direction so when the trailer starts swaying there's less chance it will hit oncomming traffic. There's also more room on the interstate with typically 2 or more travel lanes + shoulders. More room for a swaying trailerm, a shoulder to pull over to vs 18" of asphalt then a 2' drop into a ditch with trees beyound. Interstates typically have wider lanes, more gentle curves, and less grade changes. Being controlled acess roads you donít have people pulling out from side roads or stopping completly to turn across traffic.

"Cautious driving" is of course necessary no matter what. But when you're towing such an unbalanced rig you can loose control at relativly slow speeds. Any drastic steering or brake inputs will have greater effects as the weight pulls and pushes in every direftion. Traveling down a rural road with vegitation and forrest mere feet from the edge of the pavement reduces the visibility and therefore the reaction time. Driving at 40-45 mph can present a false feeling of security. Drive around a sharp curve or have a deer jump out infront of you will cause a radical movement. If you are driving 40 mph then you are traveling nearly 60 ft per second. A radical manuver can easily cause the truck to get pushed uncontrollably by the trailer.

So I apologize for the length of this but my ojly motive is to make you aware of the very real possabilities. Can you tow it without incidence? Perhaps. Jow lucky sre you? For me personally I won't "bet my families safety or lives" on something that is high risk and easily preventable. If I was in the situation I would consider one of 2 "short term" solutions. First would be to rent a capable truck for the few trips you say are remaing this season. That would also give you opportunity to try different trucks with a "real time" experience towing YOUR trailer.

The second alternative will be more challenging in the opportunity. Find a seasonal site and have your camper towed to it. That would remove the pressure of being "forced" inuo buying a new truck during this difficult truck market environment. Whatever you decide I wish you well and stay safe.

Baysider
07-12-2021, 08:45 AM
Went to the landfill scales where there is big digital display. 4,920 Lbs. Truck plus me.

I can go back tomorrow with the trailer and get the total bad news. Pull the truck on the scale and get the total value of tongue weight, truck, me, and the wife. When I signal the attendant will print me a weight slip. Then I pull the whole rig on the scale and get another weight slip so I can get a true weight of the empty trailer.

Using the 6016 GVW on the sticker I get 1069 pounds in true 18 year old available payload. 1/2 ton. So given this truck is too small, a full size half ton pickup is not going to be much better. Ill start at one ton and go from there.

I’m documenting here for those that might be doing research who are in similar situation.

LHaven
07-12-2021, 12:42 PM
Had I known then what I know now, I would have skipped the 3/4 ton and gone directly to the 1 ton. Dealer assured me I had zero chance of finding a 1 ton in gas, and that was DW's requirement, but I'm told now I could have gotten one. So go for it.

Baysider
07-12-2021, 01:05 PM
We want to eventually go across country. This truck can’t take us. The next one will.

Baysider
07-15-2021, 02:12 AM
Well, we pulled our Passport home with the Dakota in 100-105 heat index. The heat coming off the asphalt was blistering. Within a mile of the dealership the AC vents start blowing hot air. Open the windows and shut off the AC. Temperature gauge climbed past normal. We had a Echo brake controller installed but we came to a light that went yellow and we were unable to stop, so we went through. It changed to red as we passed. I had trouble seeing around the trailer in my stock mirrors. We began to wonder if the Dakota was going to give out on the highway. The wind was blowing us around to where I could feel it but not swaying. We made it home and backed the Passport safely into the driveway. Even with the loan we had just made for the trailer, we decided we had to buy a bigger truck or not go any where.

We went to the local new car dealer and ended buying a beast (to us). A 2014 Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi, lifted, with spaced wheels to a wide stance. With a Class IV hitch rated to pull over 10,000 lbs., 3,000 over the rated GVWR of the trailer. Maximum tongue weight over 1,000 lbs, 400 lbs. more than the maximum loaded tongue weight of the trailer. Itís still a half ton pickup but safer by far. We now a have monthly rig combined cost of over $600 in new loans plus increased insurance and personal property tax. So we wonder if we can afford to go camping!

Still to be bought is an anti-sway kit, running boards for the truck, and oh yes, the truck probably going to get about 9 miles to gallon when we are pulling. But, a friend called and said they are doing a weekend at a campground not far from here and the one spot left open is right next to themÖÖ

Campermike
07-15-2021, 03:36 AM
What wdh do you have now? I would definitely want wdh with sway control. Equalizer e4 is a popular one. I have the lower model fastesway e2 and it does the job for my smaller trailer. For a longer one id want the e4.
Also although the ram is probably much better than you had, many of them still have limited payload. Mine is only 1401 lbs. The motor will likely pull your trailer fine but you will be close or over on payload and may still be fighting the trailer in windy conditions. I know I am close with my 2300bh as I have scaled the rig before. Your trailer is larger and heavier.

flybouy
07-15-2021, 03:56 AM
Well, we pulled our Passport home with the Dakota in 100-105 heat index. The heat coming off the asphalt was blistering. Within a mile of the dealership the AC vents start blowing hot air. Open the windows and shut off the AC. Temperature gauge climbed past normal. We had a Echo brake controller installed but we came to a light that went yellow and we were unable to stop, so we went through. It changed to red as we passed. I had trouble seeing around the trailer in my stock mirrors. We began to wonder if the Dakota was going to give out on the highway. The wind was blowing us around to where I could feel it but not swaying. We made it home and backed the Passport safely into the driveway. Even with the loan we had just made for the trailer, we decided we had to buy a bigger truck or not go any where.

We went to the local new car dealer and ended buying a beast (to us). A 2014 Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi, lifted, with spaced wheels to a wide stance. With a Class IV hitch rated to pull over 10,000 lbs., 3,000 over the rated GVWR of the trailer. Maximum tongue weight over 1,000 lbs, 400 lbs. more than the maximum loaded tongue weight of the trailer. Itís still a half ton pickup but safer by far. We now a have monthly rig combined cost of over $600 in new loans plus increased insurance and personal property tax. So we wonder if we can afford to go camping!

Still to be bought is an anti-sway kit, running boards for the truck, and oh yes, the truck probably going to get about 9 miles to gallon when we are pulling. But, a friend called and said they are doing a weekend at a campground not far from here and the one spot left open is right next to themÖÖ

Not trying to be cynical but this is bad decision #3. A "lifted truck with offset wheels" is not a truck built for towing, period! What you have described is a truck that's been altered (butchered IMO) for no practical purpose and at the detriment to it's towing capability which likely wasn't much to begin with.

When you lift a truck you raise the center of gravity, bad for towing. Lifting also changes the steering geometry, rear differential pinion angle and other issues if not done properly. What's that mean? Handling issues which will be accenyuated while towing and premature component wear. Wheel offsets will have the same effect with added negative effects. I'm guessing you're new "beast" has some tires with off road aggressive tread which also is bad for towing.

Not to burst your bubble but your "beast" is most likely a " show queen" and has no buissness towing a camper. Sounds like you've been mis-lead by yet another salesman. If you have a "buyer's remorse" law where you live where you can rrturn that truck J would exercise that option.

wiredgeorge
07-15-2021, 04:27 AM
The struggle goes on. Camping ain't cheap and the wrong truck will make it a whole lot less safe and less fun. Buying a truck that was lifted and had the wheels spaced doesn't seem like a great way to tow. If you can shed yourself of that truck and get one that was modified in a manner inappropriatly for towing you might give it a shot.

sourdough
07-15-2021, 06:10 AM
I hate to pile on but what has been said is accurate. It's very unfortunate but if you have the right of rescission I would exercise that today. The mods on that truck are not conducive to towing in any manner and in fact can be dangerous.

Lifts have a place; clearance for offroading or for showing off, not much else. Have lifted quite a few trucks but strictly for ground clearance off road. In every case it makes them much more unstable in sudden maneuvers at speed. Also if they did not do a bonafide full on lift (completely new suspension/springs/bolts etc.) but instead used something like blocks on the rear axle or any other shortcut it's a recipe for failure even without the stress of an RV on/behind it.

Spacing the wheels out has no practical purpose other than show. It weakens the suspension, axles, spindles, wheels and tires when supporting a load because the rest of the truck was not meant for the support points to be moved out that far.

I could go on because there are many, many problems with using a truck like that to tow a 7k lb. trailer with. Do some do it? Yes. Is it smart or safe? No. Hopefully you can work a deal wherever you got it and get something more adequate for towing. Remember; towing an RV is serious stuff and should be approached as serious "business" and not as a frivolous, fun, "show off" type of activity. Good luck.

Baysider
07-15-2021, 06:12 AM
Nope I’ll do what have to with this truck including undoing the lift and the tires. Thanks for all your help. Adios.

sourdough
07-15-2021, 07:29 AM
Nope Iíll do what have to with this truck including undoing the lift and the tires. Thanks for all your help. Adios.



Assess what they have done to modify it. May be nothing more than spacers behind the wheels and blocks under the suspension springs. If they bought new offset wheels and a full lifted suspension it gets more difficult and costly to bring back to OEM (or at least close).

If they offset the tires I suspect they put larger tires on the truck. If so that's not a complete show stopper. If they are wider with aggressive tread they aren't as good as a less aggressive tire for stability/stopping/rain etc. but will work until it's time to replace them.

I've owned several 5.7L combinations and the engine will work fine with that trailer. IIRC the '14 has the 6 speed tranny; what rear axle ratio do you have? 3.55 will get by on a stock truck but really struggle if it has oversized tires. 3.92 or 4.10 are much better.

Congrats on getting a bigger truck; the Dakota wasn't going to cut it from any perspective and good luck on getting this one "unmodded" so that it works well for towing your trailer.

travelin texans
07-15-2021, 08:21 AM
Hate pile on, but the Dakota wasn't near enough truck so you took a baby step forward & went to the "beast" 1500????? I think you should've taken a giant step & at least got the "for sure beast" 2500.......unmodified!!!! The 2500 is the same size truck, same motor/tranny, same mpg & probably very little difference in price, but much better suited to your needs than the 1500.

Baysider
07-17-2021, 05:39 AM
Ok I bought a pussy cat not a beast. And a modified one at that. Dog pile the Newb it’s ok. Mistakes continue to be made, i get it. I continue to believe this forum is the best place to get good advice . Anyway, i took the rig to the scales and drove it on the highway a short distance. Big improvement, that’s a fact. Here are the figures I got: Truck and 2 passengers 5,760lbs. Tongue weight 880 lbs. Bumper drop 4 inches. Trailer empty 5,540 lbs. Whole rig weighs 11,300 lbs. Truck payload sticker 1,313 lbs. Tow rating class IV hitch 10,000 lbs. Payload on trailer 1,724 lbs. as listed on the sticker.

Sourdough, it looks like springs and shocks. There are front and rear anti sway bars. It would be nice if the Rough Country sticker had the lift height listed. I know there is a way to measure the suspension and figure the lift probably in the RAM forum.

Here is how I intend to proceed, comments welcome:

1. Order a weight distribution hitch kit. Done. Edit: 800-1200 lbs tongue weight
2. Run all tires at max load psi when towing.
3. Distribute loading in the trailer to minimize additional tongue weight.
4. Run all tanks empty on the road.
5. Edit: Echo brake controller added.

I forgot to mention the pussycat has straight pipes (with cats for inspection). Ought to be a big hit around the campground about 5 in the morning. I will wait until a decent hour and eventually add mufflers (darn).

Baysider
07-17-2021, 07:33 AM
Sourdough, I got in touch with the previous owner. The truck has a 2 inch leveling kit only in the front.

wiredgeorge
07-17-2021, 07:52 AM
Sourdough, I got in touch with the previous owner. The truck has a 2 inch leveling kit only in the front.


This might be a dumb question for a guy who has owned pickups for many years but how do they space the tires out when it is lifted? That really doesn't seem like a good idea for the paint, etc. or folks behind if there is gravel involved.

travelin texans
07-17-2021, 08:04 AM
This might be a dumb question for a guy who has owned pickups for many years but how do they space the tires out when it is lifted? That really doesn't seem like a good idea for the paint, etc. or folks behind if there is gravel involved.

George
Go online & look up " wheel spacers".
My son had them on a couple lifted Jeeps so the gigantic wheels/tires had more room.

wiredgeorge
07-17-2021, 08:29 AM
George
Go online & look up " wheel spacers".
My son had them on a couple lifted Jeeps so the gigantic wheels/tires had more room.


Thanks. Did and can't think why anyone would want to stress their axles with those things but to each his own.

flybouy
07-17-2021, 08:36 AM
This might be a dumb question for a guy who has owned pickups for many years but how do they space the tires out when it is lifted? That really doesn't seem like a good idea for the paint, etc. or folks behind if there is gravel involved.

From his description the aftermarket wheels did not have the same offset and needed the spacers for "tire clearence" . That sounds to me like someone didnít know what they were doing when they decided to go macho on the looks. Wheel spacers to compensate the wrong offset. Problem is many wheel spacers don't meet ghe demands of a loaded truck and stud failures are common on unloaded trucks that get driven hard. That's the problem when someone that doesnít know what they are doing starts buying and installing parts based on looks and ignors function. All kinds of issue can arise like the steering wheel not returning to center after a turn, suspension binding during turns or bumps, excessive pinion angle that can cause u-joint binding and premature pinion bearing and seal wear, znd the list can gobon.

Baysider
07-17-2021, 09:14 AM
Flybuoy, I may be able to sell the wheels and tires to get back to normal running gear but it will have to be done in one move. I can’t go anywhere with the trailer until our DMV appointment on the 30th. I’m sure the Good Year shop nearby can fix me up with the correct tires for what I’m doing. These tires alone are worth $250 a piece. The wheels I have no clue but they look expensive. Maybe they will make an exchange. What I want to put on has to be cheaper.

JRTJH
07-17-2021, 10:02 AM
Flybuoy, I may be able to sell the wheels and tires to get back to normal running gear but it will have to be done in one move. I can’t go anywhere with the trailer until our DMV appointment on the 30th. I’m sure the Good Year shop nearby can fix me up with the correct tires for what I’m doing. These tires alone are worth $250 a piece. The wheels I have no clue but they look expensive. Maybe they will make an exchange. What I want to put on has to be cheaper.

As an "outsider with no idea about your financial situation", it sure looks to me like the truck you bought is ill equipped to do what you're asking it to do. Attempting to "undo a previous owner's modifications" will only add to the purchase costs of that truck and still will leave you with unanswered questions regarding how his mods affected the OEM components that you're not replacing....

In other words, even when you're done buying new tires and wheels and removing a lift kit, will the truck have the "objective reliability needed for heavy duty towing?"... Yes, you're beyond the "light duty towing" realm when you put a travel trailer that size and weight behind any truck, whether it's a half ton, 3/4 ton or one ton variety...

My opinion, for what it might be worth to you, is this: Surely there must be another "not abused with mods and unknown driving conditions" truck that you could have selected..... It looks like this has become a "try to make a bad situation work as a last resort"... Isn't there a better truck available to consider? With the costs to "un-mod this one" you've increased your purchase price considerably.... I'd look at options slightly above the purchase price of this one, knowing the costs involved to remove the mods....

Baysider
07-17-2021, 10:48 AM
JRTH, Yep, you are absolutely right. And, everyone who helped me get into this fix sold me something. They both knew what i needed, I made it plain, and they both did me wrong. Had I a chance to do this over again, i wouldn’t. Simple as that. Now I’m stuck and my wife doesn’t understand any of this. So the only choice I have is to make it as right as can be done with what I have. I’m going to see my long time friend who runs our local Good Year store Monday and lay it out for him. He will set me straight even if it is the old arm over the shoulder talk. Then I will have to explain at home. But I will have a plan.

sourdough
07-17-2021, 10:48 AM
If there is no way to "undo" the acquisition of that 14 Ram 1500 (a very good truck IMO but this one is not set up to tow a larger trailer) and you are going to try to "unmod" the truck there might be some good news (I have no idea what was done technically).

If, ant that's a big IF, the previous owner went cheap and placed spacers under the front springs as the leveling kit all you have to do is raise the truck, disengage the springs and pull the spacers....IF. Also, MAYBE the previous owner did not go to the expense of buying expensive new offset wheels and just used spacers behind them. If so all you have to do is remove them. From the way you describe them he could have very well bought the expensive new wheels with a different offset. If so that might be an expensive proposition to correct but mandatory IMO to tow that trailer safely.

Now straight pipes on a pickup... All I can ask is WHY?? I tried a dual catback system on a new Ram 1500 along with a cold air intake and kept it on there about 3 weeks before I took it all off. I could not stand the noise and droning while driving. And as you said, no one in a campground is going to appreciate it one bit plus there will be noise limitations in a campground and probably in the state, city or county. Drop the pipes, add some good Flowmasters, cut the cats back in and go on down the road.....quietly!:D

Northofu1
07-17-2021, 11:05 AM
If the wheels and tires were expensive and popular you will be able to sell them.
Loud truck? Who cares, there are enough motorcycle riders out there that don't care either. :lol:
WDH? I never had a problem with the Blue Ox Swaypro 10k. Worked great, with my 1500 and the 2500. Was 1/2 the price of the Equalizer 4pt at the time of purchase. Took me 2 days to sell it when I moved into the 5er.

Baysider
07-17-2021, 03:35 PM
So I guess we have beat this to death but i contacted the previous owner again. The wheels are the new and expensive back spaced type built for the look. Frankly, I like the look too. The tires protrude about 1.5 inches. There are no spacers behind the wheels. I do have a question. If the new weight distribution hitch kit that’s coming in the mail reduces my tongue weight to 200 lbs and bumper drop to 1/2 inch or less how do i go about snapping a wheel off? And the Echo brake controller how do I not benefit from that? So your cheers and jeers have all been accepted with thanks. I think I’m going to be ok with due caution. Thanks again. See you around the forum.

sourdough
07-17-2021, 06:14 PM
You have very high expectations of that wdh (don't remember which one and doesn't matter). It's not going to reduce your tongue weight to 200 lbs. and most certainly won't leave you with a rear bumper with 1/2" drop FROM FACTORY. You have a truck with a 2" spacer in the front springs....raises the front too high for headlights in the first place without being professionally adjusted. You will add 900lbs. of tongue weight to a truck already compromised by lifting the front 2"....and no, that 900lbs. is always there, it doesn't turn to 200lbs. In fact, it just drops the rear bumper further which compromises truck handling, sway control and every other thing about "towing", not looking cool. You either have a truck to tow and do what it takes to make it tow well, and safely, or you make a street queen and don't tow - pretty simple.

How do the offset wheels affect towing/stability/safety? Pure physics. Don't know if you've ever messed with wheels, tires, axles, spindles etc. but I have - just had 2 axles pulled and 2 new ones installed today. Envision a toothpick 4" long with support points at each end (axle/spindles/bearings) and calculate whatever the weight in the middle might be before that toothpick bends or breaks. Now, take a little piece of straw and add an inch to each end and drop that same weight in the middle - plop...it wasn't made to hold under that extension. It adds tremendous stress to the spindles and bearings to do that sort of ad hoc mod to make things "look cool".

You have a 7k trailer. It's not a toy and certainly not meant to be modded and used as a "show queen". Towing is serious business - and dangerous when folks try to make a truck something they're not.

Baysider
07-18-2021, 05:59 AM
Sourdough, Please stop implying I’m a reckless idiot. It muddies your message which I guess is trying to help me. First impression of this forum is that it is decidedly unfriendly to beginners. I give respect, I expect respect. For better or worse I am a Keystone Passport owner. If I’m in the wrong place suggest a more friendly forum for me to join.

Now, why exactly do I need a weight distributing hitch? Or do I not need one?

Second. On your advice I am going to get a second opinion in person here locally as to the safety of my truck for pulling my trailer. There may come from that a plan to return the truck to stock. Part of the plan will be to remove the leveling kit. I will report back on what I learn. Just getting rid of the truck is a non-starter.

JRTJH
07-18-2021, 06:32 AM
Sourdough, Please stop implying I’m a reckless idiot. It muddies your message which I guess is trying to help me. First impression of this forum is that it is decidedly unfriendly to beginners. I give respect, I expect respect. For better or worse I am a Keystone Passport owner. If I’m in the wrong place suggest a more friendly forum for me to join.

Now, why exactly do I need a weight distributing hitch? Or do I not need one?

Second. On your advice I am going to get a second opinion in person here locally as to the safety of my truck for pulling my trailer. There may come from that a plan to return the truck to stock. Part of the plan will be to remove the leveling kit. I will report back on what I learn. Just getting rid of the truck is a non-starter.


Questions like the one I highlighted in your post are exactly the reason why people are "pounding safety into the thread"....

Granted, you (and everyone else including me) don't know what you don't know... That said, towing a travel trailer is not a "caviler or a recreational event" It's an extremely hazardous activity that usually goes OK, but can, in an instant turn deadly. That's why we "preach safety and urge adequate tow vehicles". Living on the edge is best left to those with parasails and good life insurance when jumping off a cliff"... THERE IS NO NEED FOR ANYONE TO JUMP OFF A CLIFF WHEN TOWING....

The reason you need a weight distribution hitch is multifold. Primarily, it "distributes the weight across both vehicle axles and puts some of that weight back on the trailer axles. It does NOT remove any hitch weight. It redistributes that weight away from the fulcrum (rear axle) to better manage and balance the weight you've added. If you have too much weight on the rear of your truck (how much is too much?) You'll know when you cross over a railroad track at 50 MPH and the steering wheel no longer feels connected to the front tires.... Yes, it happens, probably more than you'd imagine. Granted, that's an extreme, but the purpose of a weight distribution hitch primarily is to compensate for the enormous weight placed behind the rear axle by the trailer tongue.

Think about a teeter-totter with a "fat kid" on one end and a "skinny kid" on the other end. Who is "in the air, trapped and not having fun".... The same happens to your truck when you hitch a heavy trailer behind the fulcrum (the rear axle). That "fat kid trailer" does the same thing as the "fat kid on the teeter-totter"....

Now, consider "both tow vehicle axles attempting to brake to a stop in an emergency" and the "fat kid" on the back is preventing the "skinny kid" on the front axle from being in "firm contact with the road surface"... How can the front brakes effectively help stop your rig? How can the front tires effectively help steer around a hazard? In short, the WD hitch acts to eliminate all or most of the weight shift created "by the fat kid".....

I think, at least the way I read your responses, the impression has been that "this is what it is, I'm going to use this truck, no matter what, and if it's not safe, there's not much I can do, but I'm going to stick with this an try to make it work".... That's the "no, No, NO!!!!!" that you're sensing in posts that seem to be "pushing the brink"..... We all want you to enjoy RVing, we all want you to be safe when RVing, we all want you to return and post about your successful RVing.... None of us want to read about your insurance claims and hospital bills.... That's the reason we "push to be safe" and "are critical of unsafe potentials"....

Remember this, none of us (NOT EVEN ONE) has any financial stake (profit or loss) in what you do. We didn't sell you a "too big trailer" or a "too small truck" and we don't stand to make even a single penny from telling you the truth, no matter how much it may "sting" to hear it.....

sourdough
07-18-2021, 06:53 AM
Sourdough, Please stop implying I’m a reckless idiot. It muddies your message which I guess is trying to help me. First impression of this forum is that it is decidedly unfriendly to beginners. I give respect, I expect respect. For better or worse I am a Keystone Passport owner. If I’m in the wrong place suggest a more friendly forum for me to join.

Now, why exactly do I need a weight distributing hitch? Or do I not need one?

Second. On your advice I am going to get a second opinion in person here locally as to the safety of my truck for pulling my trailer. There may come from that a plan to return the truck to stock. Part of the plan will be to remove the leveling kit. I will report back on what I learn. Just getting rid of the truck is a non-starter.\


I'm sorry you feel that way. I haven't implied anything nor intended to. I have however told you what you need to think/worry about as would anyone familiar with towing a 7k lb. RV.

This IS a friendly forum and has been for countless members. We do however take safety seriously, have countless decades if not centuries of experience, and know an unsafe situation when we see it - your Dakota was one and now you've opted to buy a "cool" truck vs a "tow" truck - big difference and we are trying to point that out. After you said you were not going to get a new truck I even tried to tell you how to "unmod" your truck to try to make it more safe for you and your family (if there is one) - even if it still wasn't anywhere optimal - a 1313 lb. payload is small by any standard for a even a 1/2 ton truck, and, I suspect it is much smaller due to all the "mods" done by the previous owner.

The requirement for a wdh/sway control has been addressed multiple times now yet you seem heckbound to find someone to tell you it's not needed. I'm sure someone at the grocery store can give you the answers you seem to be looking for. Hopefully you've noticed that no one with experience towing has told you what a great towing machine you have.

In the end it's your truck, your trailer and your life. My/our only wish is for you to be safe (and keep others on the highway safe as well) and understand what's wrong with the combo and what you can do to try to improve the towing capability of yet another truck not set up for pulling a bigger RV. If that makes you feel reckless, or you think I'm implying you are (which I'm not), I'm sorry.

Baysider
07-18-2021, 07:35 AM
Sourdough, we are good. JRTJH, I now understand the weight distributing hitch function and requirement. I’m a retired engineer, I love details. I have one on order. I get what you are both telling me. The truck is too small no matter what I do to it. I can make it better but I can’t make it right. That’s the rock, the hard place is it’s what I have for the foreseeable future. I’m going off and think about this awhile.

sourdough
07-18-2021, 08:14 AM
Thanks for trying to be open minded and working to figure out what you can do. You do have the proverbial "rock and a hard place" kind of situation that without a different truck needs to be addressed in some fashion. Since I don't have any illusions that you will be letting the trailer just sit until a new truck comes along, please let us help you with suggestions to help you minimize any potential major malfunctions. We want to help so just let us know after you think about it.

JRTJH
07-18-2021, 08:32 AM
Thinking about your expertise (or lack of knowledge) about weight distribution hitches, there are "just as many right and wrong choices" when shopping for a WD hitch as there are "right and wrong vehicles" to use as tow vehicles.

WD hitches range from Harbor Freight antiquated technology" types to "state of the art 4 point sway control" types. Not only is the "right tow vehicle" necessary to meet a wide range of trailer weights/types, the "right WD hitch" is needed to better manage not only the weight placed on the rear of your tow vehicle, but also to manage (or help manage) the sway induced by sidewinds, "bow wave forces" from other large vehicles on the road and braking effort "unequal forces" caused by trailer load shifting/imbalance and road conditions...

Buying a WD hitch is not an easy, simple choice like buying a box of salt. It's more like buying a "custom fit suit" where not only color matters, but also fit, warmth, durability and a wide range of other factors dramatically affect the outcome.

You mentioned that you "ordered a hitch and when it comes in you'll start using it.... Like the tow vehicle, if you ordered the wrong hitch, you can just as easily "make matters worse" as you could "solve a problem"....

So........ Hitch matters just like "vehicle matters".....

LHaven
07-18-2021, 01:05 PM
Remember this, none of us (NOT EVEN ONE) has any financial stake (profit or loss) in what you do. We didn't sell you a "too big trailer" or a "too small truck" and we don't stand to make even a single penny from telling you the truth, no matter how much it may "sting" to hear it.....

Plus, pretty much all of us have been lied to by ignorant or venal RV/Truck dealers who invariably say "Sure, that thing can pull that other thing."

Baysider
07-18-2021, 01:32 PM
Ok, the hitch I ordered is Husky 31423 Round Bar Weight Distribution Hitch with bolt together ball mount/shank assembly 1200 lb. max tongue weight. Give me a couple of choices if you can or tell me what else you need from me to make a suggestion. I will send the Husky back when it gets here. But that will imply that there are things that can be done to make this truck better if only safer. If we don’t believe that then getting a great hitch is a waste of money isn’t it? I’m wide open here. If it can be helped I want to help it if not, then I understand. Question, what do air bags do and does it help in this case?

sourdough
07-18-2021, 01:53 PM
Ok, the hitch I ordered is Husky 31423 Round Bar Weight Distribution Hitch with bolt together ball mount/shank assembly 1200 lb. max tongue weight. Give me a couple of choices if you can or tell me what else you need from me to make a suggestion. I will send the Husky back when it gets here. But that will imply that there are things that can be done to make this truck better if only safer. If we donít believe that then getting a great hitch is a waste of money isnít it? Iím wide open here. If it can be helped I want to help it if not, then I understand. Question, what do air bags do and does it help in this case?


You need to send the hitch back. It does not have sway control. Sway control can be "added" by adding a ball to the head and a little friction bar on the side. Sway control, which you will desperately need, will be virtually absent even with the little bar - I've used them.

That said I would (my preference) buy an Equalizer 4 point wdh/sway control. It has 4 points of built in sway control, no add ons required, works extremely well and you don't have to disconnect the bars to back up, turn etc. Not many on the market that compare to the Equalizer in that price range.

At the risk being repetitive, you absolutely need weight distribution (properly adjusted) to keep that trailer from degrading the control of the truck considerably as has been described. You absolutely need the sway control because the height and length of that trailer can catch enough side wind from gusts, constant velocity wind, passing cars/semis to whip that trailer from side to side. With a 1/2 ton truck the trailer weighs more than the truck so it WILL do what it wants to with the truck and occupants once it get going. The sway control is to prevent, or at least minimize, that.

Other things; make sure all the tires on the truck are LT tires. I know the PO made mods to the wheels and tires - we don't know what but we DO know that if P rated tires they will be "squishy" under load and fail to give you the control you will need. If you retain the offset wheels (I hope you don't) those problems will just be exacerbated.

Many folks add air bags thinking they "add payload"...they don't; instead they detract from it. In your case it won't matter because no matter what you do you will be overweight. In that scenario the air bags can help stabilize the ride and the tendency of softer 1/2 ton springs to want to "give" and "roll" under load. That giving and rolling can lead to loss of control of the vehicle.

You need to remove that leveling kit. They pose problems with headlight positioning without a load in a truck. With that trailer on the truck, with a wdh and air bags, those headlights will still be blinding oncoming traffic. For towing they do nothing more than cause problems.

Look at the receiver on that truck. With that small of a payload I'm concerned it didn't come with a towing package which then makes me wonder about the class of receiver they may have put on it. The weight limits with and without a wdh should be stamped (hopefully) or stickered on it. Let us know what that says.

IMO opinion it is a very bad idea to tow that trailer with that truck unless you remove some of the mods....for the safety of you, yours and others. If you are going to tow with it, which I get the distinct impression you are, my only goal is to minimize the dangers you and others will face.

JRTJH
07-18-2021, 02:24 PM
Well, the first thing I'd recommend is that you stop "throwing money at internet sites and buying vehicles without thinking through the appropriateness of your purchases..... As Grandpa used to tell me, "You can not unring a bell" (once something is done, it's done) but you certainly can stop ringing the damn thing... (stop making matters worse until you know where you're at and where you're headed)

That Husky hitch is the "most antiquated type of weight distribution hitch on the market" and is very similar to what Harbor Freight sells. It's a "rudimentary round bar spring type hitch" with no sway control built in. To that hitch, you'll need to add one or two "rudimentary sway control kits". One sway control kit will handle up to "about 5000 pounds" so at 7000, one isn't enough.

So, add the $70 each for those, and you're at $140 plus the $250 for the hitch and you've still got to pay someone to weld or otherwise mount the balls onto the tongue so you can connect them to the trailer. So you're looking at roughly $400 plus installation for a "rudimentary hitch". A "top of the line" Equalizer 4 point WD hitch with built in sway control costs roughly $650 and is significantly better at preventing sway than any "clamp bar sway kit".

Right now, it appears to me that you're frustrated, upset, want to "fix it now" and in that "frame of mind" what you're really doing is "jumping to solutions with no regard to which solution is best or even appropriate" and quite likely, without even knowing "what the bottom line problem is" ....

SLOW DOWN and think things through before you spend any more money, order any more "fixings" (without a solution to what needs to be fixed) and take a DEEP BREATH......

Your issues are not "either or" (either the hitch will work or if not, a better hitch that will work means the truck is really OK) Neither is the correct solution. Your truck is a poor tow vehicle in its current configuration. Can you make it a "mediocre tow vehicle" ?? Yes, but it will NEVER be ideal for a 7K trailer regardless of which hitch you use to drag the trailer... As for hitches behind "that truck", you can buy some WD hitches that will make towing worse than having no hitch at all and you can buy some hitches that will make a bad situation "mediocre" but you can't buy a hitch that will make that truck "tow like a HD truck". What that means, at least to me, is that with the right decisions and the right accessories, you can make a currently "terrible" situation somewhat better. Good enough to "make do" is a possibility. You can make it good enough to call it "OK towing in a safe rig." That's attainable. On the other hand, to expect it to be great enough to say, "This is the way towing is supposed to be", well, not so much......

Baysider
07-18-2021, 03:06 PM
Ok, the Husky goes back. Now to selling Equalizer hitch to my wife, I’m sold. And I would be delighted to be mediocre at this point. I’m having thoughts that the big fix is to get rid of the trailer. I must have a truck but a trailer I need less and less. You are right, I am frustrated big time. This was supposed to be fun. By the way the tires are LT Load Range E at max psi cold. I think I posted the specifics way back there somewhere.

Baysider
07-18-2021, 03:18 PM
Equalizer 4 point anti-sway hitch max trailer weight 10,000 lbs. max tongue weight 1,000 lbs. Sound about right?

chuckster57
07-18-2021, 03:20 PM
Ok, the Husky goes back. Now to selling Equalizer hitch to my wife, Iím sold. And I would be delighted to be mediocre at this point. Iím having thoughts that the big fix is to get rid of the trailer. I must have a truck but a trailer I need less and less. You are right, I am frustrated big time. This was supposed to be fun. By the way the tires are LT Load Range E at max psi cold. I think I posted the specifics way back there somewhere.

It can still be fun. Itís just a lot more fun when your not stressed out getting to the fun spot.

sourdough
07-18-2021, 03:25 PM
Ok, the Husky goes back. Now to selling Equalizer hitch to my wife, Iím sold. And I would be delighted to be mediocre at this point. Iím having thoughts that the big fix is to get rid of the trailer. I must have a truck but a trailer I need less and less. You are right, I am frustrated big time. This was supposed to be fun. By the way the tires are LT Load Range E at max psi cold. I think I posted the specifics way back there somewhere.


Getting into RVs and all the equipment required to do so properly is not "cheap" in any way or fashion. In your situation the Equalizer should not have to be "sold" to your wife; it is a requirement to even tow that trailer and be "sort of" safe - hopefully she can understand that.

As John mentioned, you're not going to be able to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but, maybe you can turn into a canvas bag......IF you take the measures required to do so. If not, for your safety and the safety of others, you very well may want to divest yourself of the trailer until you can get a proper tow vehicle.

Baysider
07-18-2021, 03:36 PM
So that little 2 inch hockey puck requires the removal of the whole strut to get it out. Mercy. Is adjusting out the lift using the headlight adjusting screws an option? I see the reverse rake is Factory installed. For bed loading I guess?

JRTJH
07-18-2021, 04:23 PM
When towing, it's much MUCH more than just headlight adjustment.

The truck frame is "linear". You're connecting an "angular hitch" to the rear of the frame and then applying downward tension to the trailer frame, lifting the rear of the tow vehicle using the fulcrum of the rear axle to apply a portion of that tension to the front axle. The "rake" diminishes the amount of tension you can apply without changing the angle of the hitch which makes uncoupling the "linear trailer coupler impossible. So, it ALL has to work together when towing.

Yes, you can probably compensate and leave the "hockey pucks behind the front struts, but if you do, how is that going to affect another component "along that linear frame all the way back to the angular hitch ????? And we haven't even started to consider the trailer weight, the "spring action" of the WD bars and how that affects the "rocking of the entire rig" every time you cross over an expansion joint on a concrete highway....

That said, if you're going to "try to do it the best way you can" and then "create a work-around on the first component working from front to rear"... well, it's going to be a "dismal failure by the time you get to that new equalizer 4 point hitch on the back of the truck (and we still haven't even started to set up the trailer yet......

Shortcuts, they just don't work when you're in "over your head to begin"....

Sort of like having $10 and needing $15 by Friday and asking, "Can I spend $2 on a hamburger and make it up later in the week?"

IMHO, set up the front suspension to be as "rock solid stock" as possible, then move to the next step. Don't take shortcuts along the way, you'll wind up "dollars short on Friday"....

Baysider
07-18-2021, 04:37 PM
Ok, so tomorrow I start the process of getting rid of the trailer. I’ll maybe start with the credit union and move on to the dealer. I’ve had it. Good night all.

chuckster57
07-18-2021, 05:03 PM
Ok, so tomorrow I start the process of getting rid of the trailer. Iíll maybe start with the credit union and move on to the dealer. Iíve had it. Good night all.

Think it over tonite.