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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > Purchasing first TT, need a bit of sanity checking advice

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kcstrom

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Posted: 05/11/22 11:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm looking to purchase my first travel trailer. SO and I have narrowed down the choices to the ***Link Removed***.

This has all the main features we're looking for and I think should be towable by our truck okay. I'd like some sanity checking on this by others more knowledgeable and experienced in this area than myself.

Edit: Re-evaluated. New trailer I'm looking at is in this post further down.

Freedom Express 238BH:
UVW: 5314lb
Hitch weight: 694lb
Length: 25'9"

Truck:
2013 RAM 1500 4x4 Crew Cab 5.7L
Towing capacity: 6500lb
Payload: 1650lb
GAWR (rear): 3900
GAWR (front): 3900
Measured weight (rear): 2580lb
Measured weight (front): 3480lb

This was only with me in the truck and 3/4 tank of gas. SO and kids will add ~350lb total.

I am planning to get a 2 or 4 point weight distribution hitch. Unloaded TT is 81.75% of the max towing capacity.

The hitch weight was a bit concerning to me at first, but it seems like a properly adjust WD hitch should alleviate that by placing ~20% back onto front axles and ~20% onto trailer axles.

I would need to keep additional weight loaded onto trailer and truck bed to less than 1K lbs to stay under max towing capacity.

I live in a flat area, but am planning to drive to hilly areas (like SD and Wyoming/Yellowstone), so it'll see some decent grades.

This trailer is heavier than I originally set out to look at, but seems like we can keep within all the max weights with a bit of planning.

Am I making a stupid decision if I buy this and pull with my truck?

* This post was edited 05/13/22 11:46am by kcstrom *

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 05/11/22 11:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very few Hemi 1500s with that low of tow rating. If the tow rating is accurate, then it's a 3.21 gear truck and heavily loaded with options.
That was also a crossover year, last year of the crappy 545rfe trans and first year 8HP. If you have the 8speed, even with the high gears, I wouldn't be concerned with a 6500-7klb trailer, although it will be right at the max of what I'd want to deal with.
If the 5speed trans, I wouldn't want to flog that thing as hard as a trailer that size will do out west.

Chassis wise, that trailer is fine, albeit, you'll need something for the weak coils in back. Rest of the truck is same chassi as the 9-10klb tow rating trucks.

Don't get all balled up over the "payload" and tongue weight. Rookie move that is exasterbated on this forum continuously. Focus more on what I said up top. The truck itself IS big enough and capable of handling the load safely. Its the performance aspect that is slightly concerning depending on there rest of the info that I filled in the blanks for you.


2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29

teejaywhy

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Posted: 05/11/22 11:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

kcstrom wrote:



Freedom Express 238BH:
UVW: 5314lb
Hitch weight: 694lb


Truck:
2013 RAM 1500 4x4 Crew Cab 5.7L
Towing capacity: 6500lb
Payload: 1650lb


IMO, it's not wise to use the unloaded weights for consideration. While you may not reach the GVWR of the trailer when loaded, you should look at that as being closer to the actual weight than the empty weight.

The GVWR is 7600 lbs, which would put the tongue weight at about 912 lb.

I think that trailer may be too big for your truck


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Feddy

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Posted: 05/11/22 11:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

yeah towing capacity means it will tow it but it doesn't mean it will tow it well. I recently had a trailer that was about 5000lbs loaded and my max tow capacity is 9500 lbs. It did it but it was not fun and my gas mileage was about 5.5 MPG. terrible!

Grit dog

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Posted: 05/11/22 12:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP, basically, you'll get 10 to 1 responses saying everything from "not ideal" to "OMG, what are you thinking"
Would I rather have a big ole diesel to chug along like nothing was behind me? I do (for personal use) and I like it. I also tow about anything a 1/2 ton will move down the road without bottoming out the rear suspension up n over mountains.
I think nothing of hooking 10klbs to an average half ton. It's a truck, it does work and my company doesn't buy me a big ole diesel.
Rock what you got. No point in trying to upgrade trucks right now. Wait a cpl years for that.
The one thing not mentioned yet is the condition of the truck. I'd want it to be in great shape mechanically, not 150k miles and dunno when the trans was serviced last.....

Alos, the biggest factor in how it tows is the size of the box, speed and wind resistance, not the weight (within reason). You could get a 26' "ultra light" trailer that is 5500lbs instead of 7klbs like the one you're considering and it will tow about the same.

valhalla360

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Posted: 05/11/22 01:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Several issues:

Truck Payload:
What is the GVWR on the truck? The highest I found with a quick search is 6800lb.

If your measured weights are 6080lb and you are adding 350lbs with the family...that only leaves only 390lb for the hitch and anything else you put in the truck.

Tow rating:
A 7500lb GVWR trailer is well above the 6500lb tow rating. Keep in mind, battery, water, propane, are not included in the empty weight. It's surprisingly easy to add 1500-2000lb without realizing it.

Hitch weight: Assuming 12-15%, you looking at 900-1125lb hitch weight.

Will the engine blow up or will the rear axle break in half...probably not. But expect it to be a pig towing and get pushed around due to overloading...if you are lucky it will just be a white knuckle drive but it can also turn bad if you react poorly to the bad handling. If you use it a lot, expect more wear and tear related expenses.

As someone else mentioned, best to go off GVWR of the trailer and assume 15% hitch weight...then you can be pleasantly surprised if it comes in with lower weights.

Either look at smaller trailers or a bigger truck.


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kcstrom

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Posted: 05/11/22 01:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the responses and thoughts folks; sounds like I should probably look at a smaller trailer (don't really want to buy new trailer and new truck at the same time).

I realized I left some info out of the OP:

* GCWR is 12,100 from the 2013 Ram 1500 Towing chart (my links are removed from some reason, guess I'm too new)
* 6'4" bed
* Rear axle ration: 3.21

I wasn't using the GVWR of the trailer since I would make sure not to put 2300lbs on it. If I have a smaller trailer with a lower CCC, I would be limited by how much I could put on there.

GCW left from truck itself for trailer would be 12100 - 6060 = 6040. Add 350lb for family to truck = 5690. Hmm, I guess I didn't do this arithmetic before convincing myself I really wanted this trailer. Dang it. This math would work out a lot better if I didn't have 8-speed transmission with the lowest axle ratio. 6-speed transmission with its lowest axle ration would have increased GCWR and towing capacity by 2000lb.

Second Chance

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Posted: 05/11/22 02:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Plug your numbers into this calculator:

Changing Gears Travel Trailer Weight Calculator

Rob


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valhalla360

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Posted: 05/11/22 03:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

kcstrom wrote:

Thanks for the responses and thoughts folks; sounds like I should probably look at a smaller trailer (don't really want to buy new trailer and new truck at the same time).

I realized I left some info out of the OP:

* GCWR is 12,100 from the 2013 Ram 1500 Towing chart (my links are removed from some reason, guess I'm too new)
* 6'4" bed
* Rear axle ration: 3.21

I wasn't using the GVWR of the trailer since I would make sure not to put 2300lbs on it. If I have a smaller trailer with a lower CCC, I would be limited by how much I could put on there.

GCW left from truck itself for trailer would be 12100 - 6060 = 6040. Add 350lb for family to truck = 5690. Hmm, I guess I didn't do this arithmetic before convincing myself I really wanted this trailer. Dang it. This math would work out a lot better if I didn't have 8-speed transmission with the lowest axle ratio. 6-speed transmission with its lowest axle ration would have increased GCWR and towing capacity by 2000lb.


GVWR =/= GCWR
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (Truck by itself or trailer by itself at max loading)
- Gross Combined Weight Rating (Total of both truck and trailer combined at max loading)

Though you will struggle with the GCWR as you found. Keep in mind battery, propane and water count against the trailer payload, so the odds of you staying within the GCWR is basically nil before you add clothes, food, cooking utensils, kids bikes, firewood, etc...

But that still leaves the GVWR as a potential issue....If the 6800 GVWR I found online is correct (check the sticker on the door jam), you have less than 400lb of payload in the truck, once you put the family in it. That's way too light of a hitch weight assuming you put nothing else in the truck.

If I already had the truck and was legitimately within a couple hundred pounds, I might try to make do but you are likely going to be over by 800-1000lb if you are very strict about not taking anything unless it's absolutely needed. If you aren't careful, you could easily be 1500-2000lb over some of the limits. That's not something I would be comfortable with.

Grit dog

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Posted: 05/11/22 03:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

kcstrom wrote:

Thanks for the responses and thoughts folks; sounds like I should probably look at a smaller trailer (don't really want to buy new trailer and new truck at the same time).

I realized I left some info out of the OP:

* GCWR is 12,100 from the 2013 Ram 1500 Towing chart (my links are removed from some reason, guess I'm too new)
* 6'4" bed
* Rear axle ration: 3.21

I wasn't using the GVWR of the trailer since I would make sure not to put 2300lbs on it. If I have a smaller trailer with a lower CCC, I would be limited by how much I could put on there.

GCW left from truck itself for trailer would be 12100 - 6060 = 6040. Add 350lb for family to truck = 5690. Hmm, I guess I didn't do this arithmetic before convincing myself I really wanted this trailer. Dang it. This math would work out a lot better if I didn't have 8-speed transmission with the lowest axle ratio. 6-speed transmission with its lowest axle ration would have increased GCWR and towing capacity by 2000lb.


So you do have the 8HP.
You are backwards on your understanding of what is the better setup for these trucks.
Look up the trans ratios for yours vs the lesser 5 speed (not 6). The other trans is a 65rfe.
Your truck has 4.69 first gear. Eeven with the 3.21 gears has a lower overall first gear than the 65rfe even if it came with 3.92 gears. Your truck has 2 more gears between first gear and direct 1:1.
You have an anomaly of a truck if you look at the towing rating charts. Idk why Ram saddled some of the first year 8 speeds with such a low gvw.
And know the 65rfe is a veritable piece of _____compared to the 8HPs. So bonus you got a way better towing setup than you even knew about.
You can spend more money due to lack of understanding and believing those who can’t tell you anything other than “read the numbers”.
Or you can be knowledgeable enough to make an educated decision based on the details and not just the gcvw “rating.”

And all of this relates to power for pulling. Which is nice. I wouldn’t hesitate to pull that trailer anywhere. I was only ishy at first because I thought you had the chitty transmission being it was the low gvw model.
Back to the chassis. Every 2013 Ram half ton is effectively the same. Same frame same suspension (maybe different rear spring rates), same axles. Everything that matters is the same.
But car dealers LOVE people who don’t make informed decisions. I swear most of the members must be used car salesmen as the upsell from the peanut gallery is strong.
You can decide whether you want to make an informed decision or just spend your way into better or perceived better performance, depending on what you would “upgrade” to.

* This post was edited 05/11/22 06:23pm by Grit dog *

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