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Old 10-15-2013, 03:19 PM   #1
GACamper
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Introduction - Researching - Learning

Hello All!

I'm new to this forum, so making my introduction! My name is Doug, and I live in Grovetown, GA (Augusta suburb). I'm overseas right now as a DoD Contractor assigned to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, so if you reply please be patient. Internet here is sketchy at best :-).

My wife and I are in the market for a bunk-house travel trailer. We're seriously considering one of three Keystone models. The The Premier 34BHPR or 31BHPR or the Sprinter 316IK-WB. Similar models (or brands) are not out of the question either.

We have 4 little tax deducing monsters (5 to 13 in age) that really enjoy the outdoors, and the DW and I have wanted for years to be able to take our 4 darling leaches on real American vacations. Just for the memories and experiences alone are worth the cost of the TT! Places that without a camper would be MOST cost prohibitive for us to go (think Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Mt. Rushmore, Canada/Alaska, Alamo, etc...). So as you can imagine it's time we "pull the trigger" and buy us a camper! I signed up to this forum to glean as much info as possible about Keystone and their products and see what is available and hopefully talk to some knowledgeable people regarding our soon-to-be purchase.

Our tow vehicle is a 2008, 5.7L-V8, Toyota Sequoia Limited. We've got a 10,000lbs towing capacity (not sure about hitch weight cap). Should be able to handle most TT's fairly well.

I'm sincerely looking forward to spending some time on this forum and getting to know some of you fine folks! Again, my intentions are to research the various Keystone products and use this forum as a way of helping us either decide to buy Keystone, or take our desires elsewhere. Being a complete newbie to the TT world, I'm hoping I can find quality advice on this forum!

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this community, and I sincerely look forward to talking with many of you in the not-so-distant future!

Sincerely,

Doug (aka. GACamper).
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Old 10-15-2013, 03:45 PM   #2
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Welcome Doug and thank you for your contributions to support our military in Afghanistan.

You say you're considering purchasing a travel trailer to tow with your Sequoia. You're right, it has the power to tow "most any travel trailer" but it does not have the wheelbase or the payload to do that.

As a rule, the formula for deciding how long a trailer a vehicle can tow (without sway/controlability problems) is a 20 foot trailer for the first 110" of wheelbase. Add 1 foot of trailer length for every 4" of additional wheelbase. So, a 122" wheelbase can safely pull a 23' travel trailer.

Many members here have tried to pull longer trailers using suggestions from other members, trying different hitches, rear air bags, different tires on the TV. Most of them have had dismal results in improving towability and controlability with those measures. The only "given" solution is to include a Hensley hitch in your system. Everyone I've talked to and heard from on this forum and on other forums has been satisfied with the controllability provided by the Hensley system. Keep in mind, it costs upwards of $2500.

Another consideration is the GVW of your Sequoia. With 6 people, some luggage and travel supplies, how much additional weight can you add before you reach your GVW? You will need to consider the hitch, spring bars, trailer tongue weight, propane, battery, water, etc that you will be adding to the RV as part of the GVW on the Sequoia.

As a given suggestion, on any travel trailer you consider, use the trailer GVW to calculate tongue weight. Expect the tongue weight to be between 11% and 15% of the trailer's GVW.

So, if you are looking at a trailer for a 122" wheelbase 2014 Sequoia, with a GVW of 7100 lbs and a vehicle weight of 5730 with a GCW of 13,600 lbs, you are going to be able to carry a payload of about 1370 lbs. If you and your wife weigh about 160 each and the kids weigh 120, 100, 80, 60 (remember they will continue to grow and weigh more each year) the total occupant weight will be 680 lbs. That leaves you 690 lbs for everything else. That's not a "really big, or really long travel trailer. Realistically, most 23' travel trailers that meet the recommendations for your wheelbase will be at the top of the range in tongue weight (when you deduct for the added hitch weight).

So, look cautiously, carefully and with an eye on keeping your tax deductions safe when travelling to see these great sites you want to visit. Being able to get them back home safely is more important than towing a longer travel trailer than your Sequoia is capable of handling safely
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Old 10-15-2013, 04:08 PM   #3
Terry W.
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Hello Doug
Let me say Thank You for your service. As a veteran what to say Thank You. I work for Lockheed on Mid life extention on P-3 aircraft.
Be safy and Keep your head down
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Old 10-15-2013, 04:41 PM   #4
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Doug -
I would echo JRTJH's concerns and cautions regarding the "short" wheelbase of the Toyota when considering the 3 TT's you are looking at. The TV may have the torque and adequate towing capacity but its shorter wheelbase would give me cause to reconsider using the Toyota to tow any of the TT's you have in mind. As a father of 4 youngsters, I am sure that getting your family from point A to point B as safely as possible would be a major factor in deciding what you want to do.

If you use our forum search function and enter each one of the TT's, you should get some feedback about those bunkhouse models. It is also worth noting that, according to a survey we conducted a couple of years ago, slightly more than 90% of our members indicated that they would purchase another Keystone product. You can draw your own conclusions from that outcome.

Welcome to the forum and I am sure other members will offer their advice and opinions about your TV and the TT's you are considering.
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:56 PM   #5
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First off thank you for your service. Second be sure your family is safe when you travel. I have the 31 bhpr and tow with a F150 ext cab. It tows great but I am close on payload and somewhat close on trailer weight. We love the trailer but I would not want to tow more than the 35 feet of this trailer.
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Old 10-15-2013, 10:22 PM   #6
GACamper
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Originally Posted by JRTJH View Post
Welcome Doug and thank you for your contributions to support our military in Afghanistan.

You say you're considering purchasing a travel trailer to tow with your Sequoia. You're right, it has the power to tow "most any travel trailer" but it does not have the wheelbase or the payload to do that.

As a rule, the formula for deciding how long a trailer a vehicle can tow (without sway/controlability problems) is a 20 foot trailer for the first 110" of wheelbase. Add 1 foot of trailer length for every 4" of additional wheelbase. So, a 122" wheelbase can safely pull a 23' travel trailer.

Many members here have tried to pull longer trailers using suggestions from other members, trying different hitches, rear air bags, different tires on the TV. Most of them have had dismal results in improving towability and controlability with those measures. The only "given" solution is to include a Hensley hitch in your system. Everyone I've talked to and heard from on this forum and on other forums has been satisfied with the controllability provided by the Hensley system. Keep in mind, it costs upwards of $2500.

Another consideration is the GVW of your Sequoia. With 6 people, some luggage and travel supplies, how much additional weight can you add before you reach your GVW? You will need to consider the hitch, spring bars, trailer tongue weight, propane, battery, water, etc that you will be adding to the RV as part of the GVW on the Sequoia.

As a given suggestion, on any travel trailer you consider, use the trailer GVW to calculate tongue weight. Expect the tongue weight to be between 11% and 15% of the trailer's GVW.

So, if you are looking at a trailer for a 122" wheelbase 2014 Sequoia, with a GVW of 7100 lbs and a vehicle weight of 5730 with a GCW of 13,600 lbs, you are going to be able to carry a payload of about 1370 lbs. If you and your wife weigh about 160 each and the kids weigh 120, 100, 80, 60 (remember they will continue to grow and weigh more each year) the total occupant weight will be 680 lbs. That leaves you 690 lbs for everything else. That's not a "really big, or really long travel trailer. Realistically, most 23' travel trailers that meet the recommendations for your wheelbase will be at the top of the range in tongue weight (when you deduct for the added hitch weight).

So, look cautiously, carefully and with an eye on keeping your tax deductions safe when travelling to see these great sites you want to visit. Being able to get them back home safely is more important than towing a longer travel trailer than your Sequoia is capable of handling safely

AWESOME Advise! Thankyou! I've posted a more detailed question into another thread specifically geared to a few other trailers not expecting to get much in the way of quality advise in this thread. BOY was I mistaken! This is awesome! I'll certainly take this under advisement! WOO-HOO!

- Doug
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Old 10-15-2013, 10:28 PM   #7
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First off thank you for your service. Second be sure your family is safe when you travel. I have the 31 bhpr and tow with a F150 ext cab. It tows great but I am close on payload and somewhat close on trailer weight. We love the trailer but I would not want to tow more than the 35 feet of this trailer.
May I ask how long your wheelbase is on your F-150? I think the performance of our two TV's are quite similar, however I believe my shorter wheelbase is probably a significant factor in the difference between the two?

Man, I wish I knew 1/8th the stuff you guys know about this stuff!

Thanks!

Doug
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Old 10-15-2013, 10:30 PM   #8
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Smile

Thank you everyone for your sentiment! I've been "deployed" for almost 7 years now, and feel it's just about that time to pack it in. :-) It's why I'm so seriously considering a TT now, as when I'm home for the first couple years, the fam and I will be taking weekend trips at least once a month, and longer trips over as many school breaks we can get away with. I've got a LOT of catching up to do with the weefae and the chitlins, and can think of no better way to do it than with a comfy TT (sure does beat the crap out of a tent or hotel rooms!). Count me crazy, but I've grown quite fond of air conditioning and cushy beds! lol.
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Old 10-16-2013, 02:11 AM   #9
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The only "given" solution is to include a Hensley hitch in your system. Everyone I've talked to and heard from on this forum and on other forums has been satisfied with the controllability provided by the Hensley system. Keep in mind, it costs upwards of $2500.
There are at least two other hitches that, like the Hensley Arrow, either move or project the hitch point forward to the rear axle of the T.V. If I remember correctly, there is one made by ProPride that is very similar to the Hensley, but less expensive. I think that Pullrite has one that physically moves the pivot point. It requires a fair bit of "room" under the rear of the vehicle, though.

Also, look for a used Hensley Arrow, either from an individual or direct from Hensley.
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:28 AM   #10
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There are at least two other hitches that, like the Hensley Arrow, either move or project the hitch point forward to the rear axle of the T.V. If I remember correctly, there is one made by ProPride that is very similar to the Hensley, but less expensive. I think that Pullrite has one that physically moves the pivot point. It requires a fair bit of "room" under the rear of the vehicle, though.

Also, look for a used Hensley Arrow, either from an individual or direct from Hensley.
You do remember correctly, there is the "Propride" hitch. It's a spinoff of the Hensley, about $300 less expensive. Both are available in "used form" from the manufacturer as well as on Craigslist, EBay, Amazon, and a variety of other sources. The Pullrite is an entirely different towing concept and I don't believe it is even available for the Sequoia. (The Pullrite website does not indicate any fitment guide for the Sequoia.)

There's a certain amount of "overload" that can be inserted in one post before the basic message becomes so diluted that readers lose sight of what's important. Droning on about various brands of a hitch concept would, in my opinion, dilute the basic message.

That basic message is: The Toyota Sequoia is not a good (or even mediocre) tow vehicle for any (REPEAT ANY) travel trailer in the 35' range.
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Old 10-16-2013, 12:36 PM   #11
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May I ask how long your wheelbase is on your F-150? I think the performance of our two TV's are quite similar, however I believe my shorter wheelbase is probably a significant factor in the difference between the two?

Man, I wish I knew 1/8th the stuff you guys know about this stuff!

Thanks!

Doug
My wheelbase is 142 or 144. Actually looking at a F250 with a wheelbase of about 156.
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Old 10-16-2013, 01:51 PM   #12
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JRTJH,

What 7+ PAX TV would you consider to be a good TV for a 35'+ trailer?

What is everyone's thoughts on Ford's 6.0L-V8 (diesel), Excursion (circa 2005)? I'm thinking about trading in my Sequoia on one of these? I should be able to get a 1:1 trade for a ~100k miles Excursion.

From my limited knowledge of towing and such, it appears I could tow the Sprinter 316BIK with the Excursion fairly well. However I'm still learning everything. From what I can glean online the Excursion has:

137.1" Wheelbase with a GVWR of 9,200lbs. Should be able to tow 11klbs +/- with it.

Adding a Hensley or Propride WDH to the sucker and a decent trailer brake setup would this work? (what about the Equal-I-zer hitch, those any good?):

Sprinter 316BIK:

GVWR: 11,175 / 1,564 hitch (given the 14% of GVWR for hitch weight rule)
35.8' OAL.

Lastly... Exactly what are the dangers of towing too much trailer for a given vehicle?

Thanks Guys!

Doug
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:18 PM   #13
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JRTJH,

What 7+ PAX TV would you consider to be a good TV for a 35'+ trailer?

What is everyone's thoughts on Ford's 6.0L-V8 (diesel), Excursion (circa 2005)? I'm thinking about trading in my Sequoia on one of these? I should be able to get a 1:1 trade for a ~100k miles Excursion.

From my limited knowledge of towing and such, it appears I could tow the Sprinter 316BIK with the Excursion fairly well. However I'm still learning everything. From what I can glean online the Excursion has:

137.1" Wheelbase with a GVWR of 9,200lbs. Should be able to tow 11klbs +/- with it.

Adding a Hensley or Propride WDH to the sucker and a decent trailer brake setup would this work? (what about the Equal-I-zer hitch, those any good?):

Sprinter 316BIK:

GVWR: 11,175 / 1,564 hitch (given the 14% of GVWR for hitch weight rule)
35.8' OAL.

Lastly... Exactly what are the dangers of towing too much trailer for a given vehicle?

Thanks Guys!

Doug
I know the other guys are going to chime in on the towing capacities of the Excursion so I'll leave that to the more knowledgeable. I wanted to chime in to say that the Excursion is a fantastic vehicle. The 6.0 engine is a great engine IF you do some small fixes to the factory setup. I'm not going to clog up the thread with the info, but if you want more info I would be happy to help. If you are wondering why I am saying this, it is because the 6.0 has a bad rep to those who are under informed. Personally, I love mine!

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Old 10-16-2013, 06:48 PM   #14
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I know the other guys are going to chime in on the towing capacities of the Excursion so I'll leave that to the more knowledgeable. I wanted to chime in to say that the Excursion is a fantastic vehicle. The 6.0 engine is a great engine IF you do some small fixes to the factory setup. I'm not going to clog up the thread with the info, but if you want more info I would be happy to help. If you are wondering why I am saying this, it is because the 6.0 has a bad rep to those who are under informed. Personally, I love mine!

Matt,

I would LOVE to know more about the 6.0L Excursion! I'm seriously considering trading my Sequoia for one of these. My choices now are:

1. Get a lesser TT that I know I will not be happy with, and I'll constantly be wanting a bigger one, every time we're out-n-about... (BAD, BAD, BAD situation for the pocket book)...

and

2. Trade in the Sequoia for an '05 diesel Excursion with around 120,000 (or thereabout) miles (still a young vehicle), and get the trailer we want.

I've read a LOT of posts on this forum and others where folks are hauling 35/36' trailers with their Excursions with ease. So I "assume" I will be okay with this setup myself. Still researching the truck, but it's looking more and more like the way we'll be going here soon.

With such a large trailer as the 316BIK or even the soon-to-be-released 316BIK-WB (same trailer just wider with a king bed instead of a queen ), I'm trying to figure out, definitively, if the Excursion with a sway eliminating hitch (think Hensley or Propride), will work, be within safety metrics, and adequate for 49 State + Canada vacationing or not?

The last thing I want to do is get into something and find out that I'm either not legal and unsafe as all get out, or I'm legal but unsafe.... Or worse that I get into an accident and find out my insurance carrier wont cover the damages due to being an improper or "ify" setup (assuming my family in unharmed). There's simply a LOT to consider with all this, and coming from a situation like mine where I "don't know dic*", this is more than a little disconcerting and quite a bit daunting!

Thanks everyone for their help.


Right now I've decided (thanks to everyone's help) that my Sequoia wont cut it. Now just to find an adequate TV (that I can afford), that will fit my family, and get-er-done in a way I have nothing to worry about (legally/insurance wise) if something does go wrong.

- Doug
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:30 PM   #15
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The Excursion is basically an F-250 with an SUV body. The Ford variant of the 6.0L diesel developed a bad reputation for a few specific problems. Some of them are silent failures that eventually turn into blown head gaskets and sometimes even hydro locked engines. Before trading for one, get it checked out by someone with specific knowledge of that engine.

That said, with some up-front modifications to fix the problems, it is, IMHO, the best combination of people and trailer hauler ever built. We plan to keep ours as long as we possibly can.

We pulled a 28ft, 7000lb Jayco using a standard weight distributing hitch and the combination was completely stable under all conditions. You'll be a lot closer to the trailer weight limit, though, and you'll need to check the GCWR and axle limits, too.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:46 PM   #16
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Thanks! I'm pretty sure we're not going to be able to get the TT we're ideally want. There's simply not a TV capable to pulling the sucker safely and fitting my family at the same time. It's a bloomin miracle that Keystone even sells any of them at all.

I'll have to look into the Econo-line vans to be sure. So Sequoia is out. Excursion is out, Suburban is out.... Im running out of rope to hang myself with here.....
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:26 PM   #17
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Doug -
A suggestion or two ----
1) Don't discard the Excursion just yet. Give JRTJH time to look over the stats you supplied in another area on the forum, read his reply and perhaps the Excursion might just work for you. So keep this TV on the "back burner".

2) Don't reject a TV based on the comment(s) of one or two replies. If, however, you get a fairly large number of members advising you that TV "x" isn't a good idea, then that should provide you with a better sampling.

3) Take your time - don't start bashing your head now. It's early and you have plenty of time to look at other TV options and TT options. I realize it must be frustrating for you trying to sort all this "stuff" out but you don't have to make this decision in the next day or two.

(As a side note, since you have two threads running here on the forum in two different locations and are essentially asking the same questions in each, it doesn't make things easy for members to reply. I find myself asking, "Should I respond in this thread or the other one?" But that's another issue which you don't need to worry about - you are busy trying to sort all this out.)

4) Have some other TT options. Doesn't have to be a Keystone you know. If you see something that might just "fit the bill" somewhere else - have a close look at that too.

5) The size of your family is a factor which puts limitations on both your TT and your TV. Most of us when looking for a TT, are looking at 2, 3 or 4 "bodies" not 6 (plus a dog). This is something that you will have to work around and do the best you can. It would be pretty intimidating for seasoned RVers!

This will all come together - maybe not today or tomorrow but it will sort itself out eventually. Stop banging your head. All it does is give you a headache.
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Old 10-17-2013, 05:15 AM   #18
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GACamper,

See my comments on the other thread in the travel trailers section. I put some informaiton in there about dangers of mismatched TV / TT.

Also on towing with and Excursion. I also have an 03 Excursion with a 6.0 litre engine and Ihave had some new engine (03 was the first year and I have an early 03 to make it that much more cutting edge) and at 214,000 miles is going strong.

Don't shy away form this platform. Just find a good one from a source you can trust. The 6.0 platform is solid and well engineered. Jsut needs good maintenance habits and if disired a few mods to make then totally bullet proof.

If you want to hear my stories or more informaiton on Excursion or the 6.0 engine, send me a PM and I'll be happy to share.

Mike
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Old 10-17-2013, 04:46 PM   #19
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Thanks for everyone's reply! My initial intention was not to start two discussion threads. I intended to introduce myself with this thread, and seek advice in the more appropriate sections. It's gravitated into being essentially two discussions on the same theme :-). Sorry for the confusion.

So I propose we move the further discussions to this thread instead:

http://www.keystonerv.org/forums/showthread.php?t=14163

(See there for replies! Thanks!)
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