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RE: Looking for new tow vehicle

A late model 1500 class pickup will outperform in all respects a 20 year old 2500 class pickup. More engine power, more transmission speeds, better engine and transmission cooling, better brakes, and often stronger frames. Pre-2016 Ford 2500/3500 trucks were notorious for the frame breaking in half right behind the cab. With Chevy the only real difference between the 2500 and the 3500 trucks is that with the latter there is the option for DRW and there are fewer cab and bed options. Not so with the Ford and Ram trucks. A key problem is that the 1500 trucks and SUVs ship from the factory with tall gears so as to get better EPA fuel economy ratings and so are ill equipped for towing a heavy trailer. To get a low gear ratio for all but the Toyota Tundra trucks one needs to special order the truck from the factory. And with Chevy it is even worse as their is no provision for a larger fuel tank and it is not legal to replace the factory gas tank with a larger one (OK for diesel trucks). Stopping distances with a 7,000 lb trailer load is very different with an SUV as compared to a 1500 pickup or a 2500 pickup and when one has to quickly slow the vehicle and trailer when some yahoo pulls out in front of you. I sold my 2500 Tahoe after realizing that even with a 3500 lb trailer load I was 100% dependent on the trailer brakes operating perfectly. What is also ignored and seldom tested for is how long (time and distance) does it take to go from 25 mph up to 65 mph to be able to safely merge with freeway traffic with a heavy trailer in tow. This is no fun even with lots of horsepower available but decidedly dangerous if it takes 30 seconds to get up to 65 mph.
wintersun 06/24/21 04:56pm Travel Trailers
RE: Ram 2500 CTD and GM 2500 Dmax up the Ike.

Not a good test at all by these fellows. Far better are the ones done by mrtrailer.com where all aspects are evaluated. A key reason for paying for a diesel engine is the availability of the exhaust brake and how effective and easy this key feature is depends on the manufacturer. Good example of a good testing evaluation is this one from 2011 https://mrtrailer.com/puchurtlocker2.htm There are also differences under the skin that the approach of these guys ignores completely. For example the frame of the 2500/3500 Chevy trucks was made much stronger for their 2011 and later trucks but Ram did not do this until 2013 for their 3500 trucks and not until 2014 for their 2500 trucks. Ford did not increase the strength of their heavy duty truck frames until 2016. Engine reliability also varies from make to make and from year to year and who wants the "best" truck in a test when later they find that it is requiring frequent or very expensive repairs to keep it on the road. Also towing features are changing greatly year to year including special modes for backing up a trailer, trailier TPMS, and multiple cameras and crash avoidance with coverage of the lanes on the sides of the trailer in addition to that of the truck. Ford appears to be ahead as of 2020 but no telling what will be available in the 2022 models from the big three pickup manufacturers. Factory trailer brake controllers vary from one make to the next and some are great and others are not purchased as their owners prefer third party ones.
wintersun 06/24/21 04:38pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Watts needed

So much has changed with regard to electric only refrigerators and electric convection ovens and induction cooktop burners and large screen televisions and other "necessities" that there can be no rule of thumb other than more solar and more battery bank capacity is a worthwhile investment. I went from one extreme with a camper with a 3-way fridge and propane oven and cooktop and 200W of solar on the roof to a new motorhome with a DC only fridge and induction cooktop and convection oven and AC heat pump with only 200W of solar on the roof and 125Ah of usable lead acid batteries and so the need to frequently run the generator (my previous camper was without any kind of generator). With the electric only fridge and cooktop and oven and microwave the use of lithium phosphate batteries become essential if one want to operate off the grid and without running the generator for a couple hours each day. To that end I added 290W of solar panels to the roof and replaced the lead acid batteries to lithium-phosphate ones. Cost of these two upgrades was $4,000 but for us it was price to be paid for the configuration of our 2021 Navion. But the Navion was one of very few new motorhomes available for immediate purchase in 2020.
wintersun 06/24/21 03:29pm Tech Issues
RE: Bike rack

Check the websites for the e-bike racks as these racks will handle 120 lbs with ease. The Hollywood, Thule, Yakima, Swagman, and 1up manufacturers will specify if the racks need a 1-1/4 or 2 inch hitch receiver or can be mounted on a bumper. Easiest to mount the rack on the tow vehicle and not off the rear of the trailer. There are dual hitch receiver adapters so the tow vehicle can be attached to the trailer and also have a place to mount a bike rack that requires a hitch mount.
wintersun 06/24/21 02:14pm Travel Trailers
RE: Looking for new tow vehicle

For the most comfortable ride the best class 1500 pickups are the ones from Ram which have coil springs on all four wheels. Advantage of a crew cab pickup is havingt the rear bed for cargo. Add a fiberglass cap and you can use the space for gear, like firewood or a dog, that you do not want inside the cab or the trailer. Also adding a roof rack makes it relatively easy to transport kayaks. Order the truck with the larger fuel tank and the electronic locking rear differential and the 3.92 rear axle ratio and the truck can tow up to 12,000 lbs safely. Add the Trailer-Tow Group to get the trailer brake controller, trailer TPMS, and trailer reverse steering control.
wintersun 06/24/21 01:58pm Travel Trailers
RE: F250 or F350 to Haul a 5th Wheel???

80% of the people towing 5th wheel travel trailers on the highway are doing so with a SRW truck. The dual rear wheel is needed to support the load when the weight of the 5th wheel mount on the bed of the truck is more than 4,000 lbs. One advantage in the past with Ram and Chevy is that their 2500 and 3500 trucks used the same frame and brakes and drivetrain whereas Ford has had significant differences between its F-250 and F-350 trucks. Ford also makes two versions of the F-450 with one configured for heavy hauling and the other for heavy towing. Don't overlook available fuel tanks and mounting for a 5th wheel trailer with a reinforced frame under the bed. Some cab configurations may not be available for one of the class trucks. With a trailer load of more than 12,000 lbs a diesel engine is important for the extra torque it provides. With a 13,000 lb trailer load my Chevy 2500 with its diesel engine was able to safely merge with traffic when getting on the freeway and safely able to pass semi's going up grades and on open roads. The exhaust brake of the diesel trucks is also extremely helpful when going down steep grades with a heavy trailer. Something else that is often overlooked but important is that a diesel pickup may get 11 mpg with a heavy trailer in tow but the gas engine powered one may get only 8 mpg. That makes a very big difference in how far one can travel on a full tank of fuel before having to make a stop to refuel.
wintersun 06/23/21 06:18pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: expedition or tahoe for 33' TT

When I owned a Tahoe I chose it over the Expedition to get the rear leaf springs. The Expedition had rear coil springs which makes mods to improve load capacity or leveling much more difficult. What is important is the final gear ratio and usually it is much too tall so as to improve EPA fuel economy numbers during testing. If one had 3.73 gears and the other had 3.21 gears I would go with the former. Weight is only one factor when towing and Ford spells this out quite nicely in their towing guide. The frontal area of a travel has a huge impact on the total load on the engine and drive train for the tow vehicle. I would go with a 1500 or 2500 class pickup with a crew cab over an SUV any day if planning to do serious towing.
wintersun 06/23/21 06:09pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Looks like electric trucks and RVs may be delayed...

Electric Class 4 trucks are where viable solutions exist as an EV is much less expensive to operate than a truck with an internal combustion engine. For RV's there are no real advantages and they are not going to be usable for dry camping. Ford is going to be releasing an electric F-150 pickup truck but their target market is tradespeople who will have the truck at the shop each night recharging and where the truck becomes a portable generator for their power tools.
wintersun 06/23/21 06:02pm Around the Campfire
RE: new camper needs help!

When my wife and I were short of funds we used two tents (one for use by my wife and I and one for our boy and two sheepdogs. Add in a Coleman cookstove and an insulated cooler and a stainless coffee percolator and we were good to go and we used this setup for 10 years. Buying a small Burro type trailer and learning how to hook it up and tow it safely and adding all the stuff inside is not all that much easier than pitching a tent and firing up a cookstove and pulling out a couple of lanterns. Go to the nearest state or national park campground and take a look at what people are using and talk to them about how much they spent to get started. A separate benefit of tent camping is that you can use any one of the campsites in any campground which is not true with trailers and motorhomes.
wintersun 06/23/21 05:58pm Beginning RVing
RE: fuel additives

Diesel engine fuel is prone to algae growth which then clogs the fuel system and this is a very expensive repair. When the engine is going to sit for a month or more I put in diesel fuel stabilizer which is dirt cheap insurance at less than $5 per tank of fuel. The additive also keeps the injectors cleaner and more effective which helps wit power and fuel economy.
wintersun 06/23/21 05:49pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Watts needed

With two flooded lead acid 125Ah batteries being charged by two 100W solar panels the draw from the fridge and freezer would take the batteries down to 50% SOc after two days and no actual use of the fridge. With a 3-way fridge the juice to power the fridge electronics is very small and with our prior camper going for weeks with only two 100W panels was not a problem and we did not take a generator. When I replaced the lead batteries with lithium phosphate ones of equal capacity I found that the solar was better able to keep up with demand as the controller could provide a higher level of charge and the batteries charge much faster and so make better use of available light. I want as much battery capacity as will fit in the RV and as much in the way of solar production on the roof as I can find space for on the roof. Panels are cheap at roughly $115 for each 100 Watts of panel output. By far the most expensive aspect of adding solar is doing the wiring runs inside the RV.
wintersun 06/23/21 05:45pm Tech Issues
RE: Lights on a bicycle carrier

With my 1up 2-bike rack I needed to add a 4" x 36" x 1/8" piece of aluminum to have the turn and brake lights visible to following cars. The Curt light kit is pre-wired and fast to install although the lights are not the brightest. https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R3LKCESL6E9M5P/ref=cm_cr_othr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1592339336
wintersun 06/14/21 06:52pm General RVing Issues
RE: Braking system required?

The coach may be able to tow a 5,000 lb trailer but that does not mean that the brakes are going to be effective at stopping the RV quickly with the additional load or not result in a jackknife situation. At the very least I would want a trailer with surge brakes which is a simpler setup and requires less maintenance.
wintersun 06/06/21 04:11pm Dinghy Towing
RE: Question about solar and my LiFePo4 batteries

I would suspect the problem lies with the controller of the panel kit. Considering the price at which they are selling the controller has to be marginal and this is more likely to be a problem with the new batteries. Charge controllers for lithium phosphate batteries only hit the market a couple of years ago and there were suggested work arounds but not charging profiles matched to lithium phosphate batteries. One good thing I found with these batteries in my RV was that the solar charging was much more effective and fewer hours of sunlight were needed to keep them at 100% SOC.
wintersun 06/06/21 04:08pm Tech Issues
RE: Need to Haul Cargo with a Truck registered as an RV (CA)

When I had a truck with a slide-in camper it was considered by the California DMV to be a commercial vehicle as the camper was not welded permanently to the bed of the truck. Unless your truck is improperly loaded, as in overloaded for the suspension, the CHP is going to ignore you completely. If there is a lot of sway or you move around in the lane or fail to drive at a steady speed, then you will be noticed. As long as the GCWR is not exceeded with your load you will be legal and if in doubt pay the $15 to have the loaded vehicle weighed at a local CAT scale.
wintersun 06/06/21 04:03pm Truck Campers
RE: Ford F150 vs Ram 1500 Hybrids Ike Gauntlet Test

Higher octane gas does nothing unless the engine has a higher compression ratio and will knock or have the spark ******** by the engine computer under load. Octane is not a measure of btu from a gallon of gasoline but rather its resistance to pre-ignition when the fuel enters the hot cyclinders of the engine. Pre-ignition results in the engine computer retarding the spark advance and this reduces the power output of the engine. Putting high octane rated gas in an engine than it was designed to use accomplishes nothing for the engine but does help increase the profits of the oil companies. The 89 Octane is a "plus" in that it is rated higher in terms of pre-ignition than regular 87 Octane gas. Octane is also not linear so mixing 1 gallon of 93 and one gallon of 87 octane gas does not result in 90 Octane but a mix closer to 92 octane in terms of pre-ignition. Poorly done test. The guys should have driven both trucks up the grade at 55 mph using cruise control and then noted the MPG with each. They also do not understand how Tow Haul mode works as it is designed to keep the ATF cooler but keeping the torque converter clutch engaged longer between shifts and nothing more. No evaluation of engine braking going down the grade which is even more important than MPG going up the grade.
wintersun 06/06/21 03:58pm Tow Vehicles
RE: how long to lower temps When living quarters at 100

AC units for buildings are usually size so that there is a 20 degrees of cooling from the ambient temperature. With an RV the problem can be that the AC units are not sized correctly or have too short a cycle time. It takes time to remove the moisture from the air and cool down the interior spaces and sometimes a lower BTU rated unit that runs "continuously" works better than a high BTU AC. Most RV's are built for "3-season" use and so not insulated for temperatures below freezing and so also not going to be great when temperatures are over 100 degrees. The advantage of an RV is that it can be moved to where the outside temperatures are warmer or cooler. I grew up without air conditioning in my houses or my cars and trucks and it was not something that bothered me all that much. Friends with homes in the desert did not have AC either. Now AC is considered a necessity in the USA and so we use more electricity and add more to global warming which is not a good cycle to be in for us or for future generations. If one is planning to spend months in the desert then building a structure to provide shade is worth considering. I see this often with trailers in areas where there is a snow load to worry about and the similar protection could be provided against solar loads. On a more immediate basis if you can locate the RV so the rear is to the south then there will be less wall area exposed directly to the sun and having the side with the awning facing southwest would also help, if you have an awning.
wintersun 06/06/21 03:11pm Tech Issues
RE: What to do about old gas in tank

I would add a double dose of fuel stabilizer and not worry about it if it is a gas tank. With diesel fuel I would have the tank drained and the diesel fuel recycled. With diesel there is the potential for mold in the fuel tank and if this clogs the fuel system it can result in an expensive repair job.
wintersun 03/11/21 05:40pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Is a toad necessary with a small motor home?

WE spent many years with a truck with a slide-in camper that was 22 feet in length and 7.5 feet in width, or about the same as our new Class C motorhome. The big difference is that the pickup had a foot more ground clearance and so I neverr worried about taking it anywhere. With the motorhome I do have to be more careful not to drag the rear, even when exiting a parking lot. It is quite restrictive to have a toad and if one has a Class A motorhome it is a necessary evil, so to speak. Lots of work arounds for dealing with fuel stops but if you are driving along and want to pull off to see the view or stop for a bit to eat then you need a lot more space and also have concerns about getting back on the road. With the toad you pretty much have to find a place to park the motorhome and then detach the vehicle and run your errands or explorations and that affects how one travels. If you don't mind planning stops and staying in one location for days at a time then the toad works well, much as would having a tow vehicle and a travel trailer. We wanted the simpler mode of travel with the motorhome and no trailer or towed vehicle to worry about. No issues with making tight turns or backing up or finding a place to park or going into a restaurant or grocery store while in route to our next location. The advantage of the toad is in part having a 4 passenger vehicle and room for attaching kayaks or bicycles or e-bikes and other recreational equipment. But it entails a $20,000 or more investment in the toad purchase and insurance and the hitch and brake controller. For our motorhome I have been looking at cargo carrying e-bikes that could be carried on a special bike rack on the motorhome. At this time these racks cannot be bought as they have been sold out eeverywhere for many months.
wintersun 03/11/21 05:37pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Weight Police inverse?

The frame on the 1500 will not be strong enough regardless of the payload capacity. It was a problem on the F-350 trucks and lots of picture on the web of ones with the frames broken apart. GM beefed up their 2500/3500 truck frames in 2011 and Ram in 2014 and Ford in 2016 so they could handle greater tow loads. The tires on a 1500 class truck also have a much lower load capacity which is also going to limit the payload. Worse are the 1500 class trucks with coil springs as with the Ram 1500 pickups.
wintersun 03/08/21 12:22pm Fifth-Wheels
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