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Old 08-19-2019, 03:51 PM   #1
Irishman2014
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Another "do I have the right tow vehicle" question

Hello all. Iím another one of those forum subscribers wanting to know if I have the right TV for my TT. Itís a 2012 RAM 1500 Quad Cab with a 5.7 hemi, 6 speed trans, 3.55 rear axle ratio, General Grabber LT275/65R20/E tires, Air Lift 1000 air bags and new struts and shocks. The specs off the label on the door column are 3700 lb GAWR front, 3900 lb GAWR rear and a 1581 lb cargo weight. The GVWR of 6800 lbs and the base weight of 5085 lbs are listed on a PDF chart (not the door column) from Fiat Chrysler. Using the charts info my cargo weight is 1715 lbs, but Iíll use the 1581 lbs listed on the door column.
The TT is a 2014 Cougar 27RLSWE with an ďadvertisedĒ shipping weight of 6271 lbs, carrying capacity of 1729 lbs and a hitch weight of 610 lbs.
On a recent trip I went and got weighed at a scale. We had everything in the TT and TV that we normally travel with (including the number of passengers, cargo, full propane tanks and a full tank of gas).
The results with the TV and TT combined are: 2940 lbs on the steer axel, 3760 lbs on the drive axle and 6220 lbs on the trailer axles. Without the TT the TV came in at 3220 lbs on the steer and 2560 on the drive.
So, here are my calculations: The TV weight when hooked up to the TT is 6700 lbs, which is only 100 lbs less than the GVWR. Is that too close? The 6700 lbs less the base weight of 5085 lbs equals a cargo weight of 1615 lbs. Thatís 24 lbs over the cargo weight of 1581 lbs listed on the door column. Is that too close to call? I believe that my pin weight is 920 lbs which is 15%. Iíd appreciate any feedback on whether or not my math correct.
Iím not saying those numbers are acceptable, but even if they are Iím still concerned that I donít have enough truck. The distribution weight hitch is a Pro Series Weight Distribution System with Friction Sway Control. I generally run from 60 to 65 mph on freeways and no matter how tight or loose I have the round bars and no matter how tight or loose the sway bar is I still experience a fair amount of sway, especially when passing or being passed by trucks (even smaller ones). Might the weight not be distributed correctly? Too much weight on the drive axel and not enough on the steering axle?

Lastly, Iím not convinced the hemi has enough horse power or torque. The transmission shifts a considerable amount even on the smaller uphill grades. I know my 3.55 rear end and my somewhat over size tires are probably not helping. We live on the coast in southern Cal and itís not uncommon for us to travel from sea level to 4,000 feet and sometimes 8,000 feet. I suspect that Iím really taxing the engine and transmission, especially without any special cooling set-up.

Iíd appreciate hearing comments/advice/opinions relative to whether or not I have enough truck. Maybe thatís all I should expect from Ĺ ton pickup??? But will it last and how long before I have trouble??? Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 08-19-2019, 04:43 PM   #2
sourdough
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Had one just about yours; same year, axle, engine, cab, tires were the factory 20s, airbags, etc.

I don't know where you got your numbers but I just pulled up 2 sites with specs for that trailer and both show a dry weight of 7590 and payload of 2740 for a gvw of 10,330 (those numbers do seem high to me for that trailer and I think they may be suspect given your scale numbers).

Using your numbers you cut it very close if you are going to have any safety cushion. I like it, some don't care. What I'm seeing says that trailer is about 30' long. If that is correct, and the trailer is weighing about 7200 without being hitched, it seems you should be OK but no safety cushion.

I think the issue with sway is the truck being 1/2 ton and the lighter suspension components. You've added air bags, what do you run them at loaded? What tires do you have? Are they still P rated? If so I would upgrade to LTs. I looked at the wdh/sway you listed. It has the little "add on" sway bar on the side; they never did much for me. If it were me I would put nothing less than the Equalizer 4 point on it. You need effective sway control with a 1/2 ton. I also wonder about how effective the weight distribution is from the hitch - is it cranked up properly. You may need to work on setting it up some more or get a different one. Weight distribution in the trailer could also be a factor. Seems to me like you will have to start tweaking on things because the trailer shouldn't be causing really bad issues.

To your question, the math looks OK. Your thought process appears to be on the right path. The hemi and 3.55 will work with that trailer. You need to keep tow/haul engaged all the time the trailer is hooked up. If it is constantly kicking into overdrive even in tow/haul just lock it out.
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Old 08-19-2019, 04:47 PM   #3
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I zero in on the cargo limit right off, because that's the one that screwed me.

Add the weights of your riders, pets, other truck cargo (generator, toys), and maybe a full tank of gas (I don't know whether the published cargo weights already assume a full fuel tank or not) -- then add the TT tongue weight and see if you're over 80% of that figure. In your case, I think the tongue weight leaves you 654 lb. for everything else.

In my case, I was over a 100% of that figure, so truly in the bad zone.

I like the tow calculator at http://changingears.com/rv-sec-calc-...eight-tt.shtml .
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Old 08-19-2019, 04:58 PM   #4
Irishman2014
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Thanks sourdough. To answer your questions, I run my air bags at 30 psi and I do have light truck tires. I got rid of the passenger tires that came with the truck. Thanks again.
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Old 08-19-2019, 05:00 PM   #5
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I have a Curt True-Track hitch (which is very similar to the hitch Sourdough suggested) for my half ton and trailer, and I really like it. After I set my hitch up, my steer axle returned exactly to what I have unloaded, and I'm at about 13 percent tongue weight. I may need to return a little weight back to the drive axles, not sure, but so far it tows nicely.

This is my first experience with a WDH and a bumper pull camper, all my experience in the past was super duties and fifth wheels. I really do think I like the hitch though, with the built in sway control. It uses spring loaded detents in the head to encourage the camper to stay at center and return to it, and the torsion bars rest directly on, and slide in, an L bracket for metal on metal friction, to help resist sway.
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Old 08-19-2019, 05:02 PM   #6
Irishman2014
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Thanks LHaven. I'll try the calculator and see what it tells me. Did you originally have a 1/2 ton before you upgraded to the F250? Looks like your trailer is about 5500 pounds. does the F250 tow it with ease? What size engine? What about sway?
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Old 08-19-2019, 05:11 PM   #7
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Until eight weeks ago, I had an F-150. With passengers, retriever dogs, and a ProPride hitch on the trailer, which really piles on extra tongue weight, we were over payload. The trailer is 6980 dry and 8800 max. I'd like to tell you that the F-250 tows it with ease, but as we haven't yet gotten the truck to actuate the trailer brakes due to what looks like a fleet-wide design issue with the truck's brake controller, we've only towed it as of yet to repair shops in short hops at slow speeds.
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Old 08-19-2019, 05:18 PM   #8
sourdough
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Irishman, I forgot to add one point. I did everything I could for the 1/2 ton, got another one almost exactly but with a 3.92 with similar results, got tired of that and got a 2500.....THAT fixed everything...period.
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Old 08-19-2019, 06:47 PM   #9
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Here's a couple of "generalities" to consider and then we'll apply them to your specific situation.

Generally a trailer tongue weight should be 10-15% of the total trailer weight.
Generally, a WD hitch should transfer 20% of the tongue weight to the front axle and 15% to the trailer axles.

Now, per your "numbers" when hitched, your front axle is about 10% lighter than unhitched and your rear axle is about 32% heavier than unhitched. So, there's very little (in fact negative) weight transfer to the front axle as it's nearly 300 pounds lighter when the trailer is hitched.

Looking at the numbers, your trailer tongue weight is roughly 920 pounds. With a trailer weight of 6220 (axles) and 920 (tongue) your trailer is roughly 7140 pounds. With 100 pounds for the hitch, then your actual tongue weight would be 820 pounds. That's about 11.4% of the trailer total weight.

My concern is that you likely don't have your hitch set up correctly. Usually, when the front fender is returned to the "pre trailer height" by adjusting the WD bars, about 20% of the hitch weight is being transferred forward. With your current setup, it look like you're "unloading" the front axle by about 280 pounds.

I'd suggest you find a level concrete pad (a church parking lot is often "perfect" on a Saturday afternoon) and measure your front fenderwell height, hitch the trailer, adjust your WD bars to return the fenderwell to that distance, then reweigh the rig. I think you'll find that your front axle weight will be slightly heavier than the unloaded weight and some of the current rear axle weight will have been shifted forward. You'll also find that a small bit of that rear axle weight will have been transferred back to the trailer axles.

Doing that should eliminate some of the sway, but as suggested by others, a friction sway plate isn't an "ideal sway control device" and really does little to keep your rig "in line"... With a 30' trailer, you're really in the Equalizer 4 point sway control hitch category.

With the "unloaded front axle" and the light chassis weight of your truck, the trailer tongue is "levering the hinge point (hitch ball) with every gust of wind from a passing truck. As the hitch ball moves left, that force is applied to the front axle in the opposite direction (the rear axle/tires is the lever point) and causing the sway problems you feel in the steering wheel.

Making the front axle heavier and properly adjusting your hitch "may" make enough difference for you to feel comfortable. I'd suspect you'll eventually want to get a better hitch. I'd suggest you try adjusting your current hitch first and see how it feels. I wouldn't go spending money until you've tried all the "cost free adjustments" first.....
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Old 08-23-2019, 07:39 PM   #10
Free88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sourdough View Post
Irishman, I forgot to add one point. I did everything I could for the 1/2 ton, got another one almost exactly but with a 3.92 with similar results, got tired of that and got a 2500.....THAT fixed everything...period.
This is the correct answer. Get a 3/4-ton and all these issues go away, period. The real shame of it is that the gas 3/4-tons are basically the same price as the half-tons, apples for apples. Often its a few thousand more for the half-ton, because to get the properly equipped half-tons that could even barely possibly match the towing capability of the nearly equivalent 3/4-tons usually means you are pushed into a top trim level with all the bells and whistles (much beyond what you will need and/or has nothing to do with towing). And while the stated towing numbers may look nearly matched, the reality is far from that.

I think a lot people dont realize, though, just how far away a 3/4-ton is from a half-ton when it comes to towing and hauling. The 3/4-tons and 1 tons are actually not that far apart. But the 3/4-tons and half-tons are. The 3/4-tons are not the midway point between the half-ton and 1 tons. Its more like:

half-ton............................................... .....3/4-ton....1 ton

I have a Cougar 27SAB which has a minimum essentials weight right at about 7000lbs. It can max out at 8800lbs, though this would be rare for us. I dont even bother with a WD hitch. Doesnt need it at all! I get zero sway, and it rides perfect. No additional equipment to buy, tinker with, rebalance gear in the trailer, and so forth. It just works.

My advice is get a truck that wont require any special trailering equipment, such as WD hitches, anti-sway devices, air bags, etc., for whatever you intend to tow. All that stuff is either a PITA to deal with, solves one problem only to cause another, or is just plain ineffective. 5000lbs and under, get a half-ton. Above that, do yourself a favor and get the right truck.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:59 AM   #11
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I think anytime you start a thread...stating do you think I have the right truck and or is my trailer too big for my truck ; your asking for a good razzing-lol
I mean seriously... you need to do a little research on your truck as well as potential TT.
Some of us on this forum rock a 1/2 ton and thoroughly enjoy the towing experience..... especially with a Keystone 328RL.Click image for larger version

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