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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Truck Campers- Towing With A Truck Camper

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wellsdesigned

Above the Sacramento Fog, CA

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Posted: 09/28/04 10:37am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Truck Campers- Towing With A Truck Camper
Many people buy a truck camper to have the flexibility to tow utility, boat or horse trailers. The basic understanding of truck campers is that everything is about weight. Towing is no different. The hitch weight of your trailer must be taken into consideration for your cargo capacity. If you have a 4000 lb camper on a 6200 lb truck rated for 8800 total lbs, towing anything with a large hitch weight like a pontoon boat or car cargo trailer is not advised. Also, you have now opened up a new consideration, the Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Ratio (GCVWR). There are a lot of references to how heavy a trailer can be for most makes and models of trucks. If you're only carrying a trailer, this is very helpful info. If you're using a camper and trailer, especially heavily loaded trailers like horse trailers, you must know the GCVWR and stay with it much more strictly than the GVWR.

Why? A truck rated with a GVWR of 8,800 lbs will have a GCVWR of around 18,000 lbs, implying you can carry a 9,200 lb trailer. The engine, transmission, and differential are built to pull a total of 18,000 lbs. That’s why a truck which is 1,000 lbs over its 8,800 lb GVWR is not going to have engine and transmission troubles. As noted above, suspension and braking are the key considerations. But if you are going to add a trailer, it now becomes all about GCVWR and it’s not just the suspension, but everything about the truck that will be handling the load. If you have a 4000 lb camper, your trailer cannot be 9,200 lbs. This will be unsafe no matter what. A 4000 lb camper on a 6200 lb truck rated with a GCVWR of 18,000 lbs can only have a 7,800 lb trailer at the most. I won’t advocate anything else because going over is doubling and probably logarithmically increasing the hazards of overloading when compared to simply going over the vehicle gross weight only

See also:
Truck Campers- Overall Weight Basics
Truck Campers- Stepping Beyond Weight Basics
Truck Campers- Axle Weights
Truck Campers- Tires
Truck Campers- Suspension Upgrades
Truck Campers- Camper Options
Truck Campers- A Word About Brakes
Truck Campers- Towing With A Truck Camper
Truck Campers- Center of Gravity (COG)


I’ve talked about the basics, now’s the chance for specifics. Reply to this topic with your specific truck camper situation and if you're new, ask questions.

* This post was edited 09/28/04 11:15am by wellsdesigned *


2002 2500HD 4X4 Ext. Cab 6.0L V8
2004 Eagle Cap 850 Camper w/slide-out

Visit my Truck Camper Travels site.


roadranger

Colorado Springs, Colo

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Posted: 09/28/04 11:40am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'd also STRONGLY suggest that whatever trailer you end up with, that you get BRAKES ON ALL AXLES of it.

It doesn't make sense to be adding another 7000-10,000 lbs of trailer weight pushing your (already heavy) truck and camper down the road and not have the additional braking power to help stop the whole rig.

The trailer mfg's ought to be required to put brakes on ALL axles of their units, instead of leaving them the option to be cheap and have brakes on one axle only. You don't see the DOT allowing this on tractor trailer rigs...

------------------------------------------------------------------


'01 Dodge 2500 4x4 QuadCab HO Cummins 6 spd,19.5 Ricksons,Ranchos,Hellwig sway,4 leaf helper springs,Titan V hitch w/28in. extension.

'03 EAGLE CAP 950,slide out,dual batteries,Honda EU2000.

Tow- 7000lb.tandem axle Cargo trailer

Semper Fi, RVN

Rather B Fishin

McMinnville, OR

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Posted: 09/28/04 10:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

What I think should be banned is surge brakes. As a driver you have no control over them. Also, going down a long hill, the mechanism can slowly compress and you loose the brakes altogether. Adjusting them for differing loads is also a pain if not impossible.


Unless of course you are a boater. Surge brakes are the only reliable option there is. Electric brakes and submersion in water dont mix.


2000 F-350,PSD,CC,DRW,4x4,Rancho RSX's, DP Tuner,Banks Gages,Tymar Air Intake,2.5" Zone lift, 255/85 BFG's, Ride-Rite's, Super Hitch, Torklifts
2005 Four Wheel Camper - Grandby
2006 Pig of a jetboat, 315hp Yanmar Diesel, H212 Jet,Hard Top,and some stuff.

Backcountry Riders

Anoka, MN, USA

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Posted: 09/29/04 04:16am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Diesel exhaust brake does the trick too!

Henry

WarrenS

Cypress, CA, USA

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Posted: 09/28/04 07:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

I'd also STRONGLY suggest that whatever trailer you end up with, that you get BRAKES ON ALL AXLES of it.

It doesn't make sense to be adding another 7000-10,000 lbs of trailer weight pushing your (already heavy) truck and camper down the road and not have the additional braking power to help stop the whole rig.

The trailer mfg's ought to be required to put brakes on ALL axles of their units, instead of leaving them the option to be cheap and have brakes on one axle only. You don't see the DOT allowing this on tractor trailer rigs...

------------------------------------------------------------------


I tow a car hauler (2000lbs. empty, 7000lbs+ with the car, sometimes another 1000 lbs. of "stuff") that has brakes (electric) only on one axel (axels are rated to 5000lbs each). My stopping distance with the trailer loaded up to around 8000lbs. is shorter than the truck and camper alone. I know because I've tested it.

What I think should be banned is surge brakes. As a driver you have no control over them. Also, going down a long hill, the mechanism can slowly compress and you loose the brakes altogether. Adjusting them for differing loads is also a pain if not impossible.

Tractor trailers need them on all axels because of the extremely heavy loads they carry. Notice that they also have dual wheels on each axel. Comparing a tractor trailer to a single car hauler is comparing apples to oranges.

On heavier trailers (like big toy boxes or 5ers) in the 10k and higher range) multiple braking axels are a necessity.


Happy Trails,
- Warren
Wife, 8 year old boy, 6 year old girl
01 Lance 961 (9'6 with slide out). TorkLift Frame Moutned tie downs, FastGuns, SuperHitch
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WarrenS

Cypress, CA, USA

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Posted: 09/28/04 11:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Quote:

What I think should be banned is surge brakes. As a driver you have no control over them. Also, going down a long hill, the mechanism can slowly compress and you loose the brakes altogether. Adjusting them for differing loads is also a pain if not impossible.


Unless of course you are a boater. Surge brakes are the only reliable option there is. Electric brakes and submersion in water dont mix.


Good point. I stand corrected. It seems to me that someone could fix this problem though.

BlueOvalBoy

Denver,CO,USA

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Posted: 09/29/04 04:24am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

It seems to me that someone could fix this problem though.
.

Once again its down to mfg and the cost. I figured around 400 bucks to convert my boat trailer to electric over hydraulic. 400 dollars extra on a trailer worth 900. The mfg won't do it. I may someday.
BTW the surge brakes on my trailer work great. Have disc on both axles. Mountains, flatland, uphill, downhill.. No issues yet.


8-1/2 ft Tracker Trailstar slide-in camper
Mounted on one 99.5 Ford F-?50 XLT PSD S/C LWB 4x4. 4 in. lift and 35's RS9000's Welds Ride-Rite's Warn 6ton hidden winch. All in support of one 21 ft Tracker Tahoe Q7 Bowrider.

vanbikehorse

Green Lane, PA

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Posted: 09/29/04 10:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 16000 GCWR and 13,800 GCW. I have had to move weight off of the truck axle and to the rear of the trailer (on the non-horse side, his weight is distributed quite well). The combination of a heavy tounge weight (caused by loading of non-horse cargo) and the shift of weight off the front and on to the back by the extended hitch caused my upgraded tires to approach their limit. Now I am back to the vendor's advertised 200 lb tounge weight on a 4000 lb + loaded trailer.

So figuring empty weight I have a 5600 lb truck, a 2700 lb camper, and a 2000 lb trailer, I am carring an extra 3500 lbs of stuff! I guess that's what Truck Camping is about, taking your stuff with.

The surge brakes handle the job quite well under every downhill and panic situation I have encountered (some braking quite hairy on I95 at rush hour in the rain!). It helps to have a trick trailer designed to be pulled by small european cars.


2005 Chevy 2500HD SB X-CAB,4X4,G-80,D/A,ALCOA Wls,265/75R16E, Air Lift Sure Set, SuperSprings, RS9000x, Curt 14108.
2003 Alpenlite Laramie w/X CAB & Polar Cub A/C, Happijac FM, EU-2000.
2000 Brenderup Baron TC Horse Tailer
1996 Arab Endurance Race Horse

Frank_EP

Fountain Valley, CA

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Posted: 09/29/04 10:49am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Surge breaks are great. They are simple, reliable and easy to fix.

They self adjust for every load. More load means more braking. Harder stops
mean more braking.

As far as the master cylinder leaking, this is bogus argument. A master cylinder
can leak on any hydraulic brake system, and an electric brake system can
fail in many ways.

I have 13" Kodiak disk brakes and a surge brake controller on my trailer. Braking
is excellent, even coming down 6000' grades out of the Sierra.


2003 Lance 1071 maxed out plus 200 watts PV, accumulator and bottle opener
2004 Chevy 2500HD Duramax 167", Hellwig, Reese Titan, Reese Front, LineX, AirLift, bed mat, Rancho9000, Rickson 19.5" Eliminators with Mich 225/70 XDE M/S
KF6JGX; 5W on Yaesu FT530

hoppyinak

New Mexico

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Posted: 09/29/04 04:32am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As you are entering most cities there are signs that say exhaust brakes prohibited by law. My question is; does this include us or just the big rigs? Are exhaust brakes on a regular truck very loud like they are on the big rigs? I'd like to get one but had a couple of questions about them first, kinda new and wanna make sure I have all the equipment I need for the new camper and trailer I'm soon to be towing.


2002 GMC 3500 MAX/ALLY Indigo Blue
2004 Arctic Fox 1150

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