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Old 05-22-2016, 08:51 AM   #1
Rich and Kat
 
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Please help newbie demystify towing ...

Hello all. I'm brand new here. My wife and I had a pop-up years ago and decided to start camping again. We just discovered Airstream and visited the dealer yesterday. Our plan is to buy once and not upgrade; we fell in love with the International Serenity 28 Twin. My concern is that I have a new truck - purchased only with the intention of pulling a pop-up camper:
  • 2016 RAM 1500, 5.7L Hemi / 8 Spd Auto Trans, 4x4, Crew Cab, 6'4" Bed, 3:21 gears and four-corner airbag suspension.
I used the RAM online utility to obtain my max tow information and it reports:
  • Max Payload: 1,300 lbs
  • Max Towing: 7,850 lbs
  • Door sticker, "The combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed 1040 lbs."
I'm concerned that I don't have enough truck to safely pull the 28':
  • 950 lbs tongue weight
  • 5923 lbs empty
  • 7600 lbs full gvwr plus we'll add the options (not solar)
Questions:
  1. Does Max Payload of 1300 lbs mean tongue weight, while 1,040 lbs means additional cabin and truck bed contents?
  2. Can we SAFELY proceed with this set-up for a couple of years (we live in VA) if we avoid the Rockies?
  3. Adding anti-sway "stuff" will subtract weight we can carry with us ... pots, pans, plates, chairs ... stuff ...
We'll eventually upgrade the truck to a 2500 or 3500 ... but we just can't do that right now. Thanks so much for your time and assistance and please do weigh in. Thanks so much! Sincerely, Rich
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:31 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.
I really doubt you'll be able to put over 1500 pounds of stuff in your trailer, unless you take your anvil collection along. Water will be the heaviest thing you carry, around 400 or so pounds for fresh, and you should dump your black and grey before going much of anywhere. With that in mind, I can't see you putting 1100 pounds of items in the trailer.
In short, you should be fine with the truck you have.
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:37 AM   #3
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no no no no no....

1040 lbs is the TOTAL payload of the truck, including you, and gas, and trailer tongue weight.

"Door sticker, "The combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed 1040 lbs."" This is the magic number! It's wieght after add on's llllllike 4x4, or running boards, or moonroofs... or whatever else already added on more weight.

Your trailer with 950 lbs tongue only leaves you 90 lbs.

Gas at 6lbs per gallon + your weight, wifes weight, any gear and you're over on the rear axle.. makes for a squirrely ride man... I wouldn't feel comfy doing it.

especially no on any declines! A overloaded rear axle makes a truck trailer combo very squirrly! All the flex is already gone, and the truck has no more oomph to pull the trailer back up right or straight in line from lateral forces or YAW forces, like when you go through a dip in the road only on one side. the truck dips, the truck comes back up, the trailer dips... the trailer stays dipped lazily and the weight pull the rear end of the truck over towards the yaw.. when the trailer comes back, it snaps the truck up... force carries to the other side, makes the trailer yaw that way, the back snaps funny on the tires, and you'll need fresh underwear in short order.
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:40 AM   #4
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watch the videos in this post.

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f45/towin...ty-289650.html
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:43 AM   #5
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not to mention your hitch will weight a ton!
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riffin-rich View Post
Thanks Terry - but I still don't understand the numbers. I suspect the 1500 lbs you're referring to is the net cargo weight in the trailer, where 400 is water and 1100 is cargo(?)

So what does this mean for my truck's "Max Payload: 1,300 lbs" vs. the Door sticker, "The combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed 1040 lbs."

And trailer and cargo and weight distribution where the trailer is 950 lbs tongue weight?

I apologize for my silly questions ...

Thanks,
Rich
the vehicle alone started with a 1300 lb payload,... then they added 4x4, running boards, and who knows what else, reducing the payload to 1040.
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:50 AM   #7
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The published tongue weights by Airstream are always low. The 28 model has the highest tongue weight of all the Airstream models.

So the current tow vehicle will be overloaded if a weight distribution hitch is attached and there is a passenger along.
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:58 AM   #8
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No doubt, it's not even close....

if you're sticker said 1580 lbs... well on flat ground... short runs, yeah maybe.. with a light load. but at 1040..no way I'd do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by switz View Post
The published tongue weights by Airstream are always low. The 28 model has the highest tongue weight of all the Airstream models.

So the current tow vehicle will be overloaded if a weight distribution hitch is attached and there is a passenger along.
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:07 AM   #9
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Plasma / All, this sucks but I'm so glad I asked before trusting the dealership. I guess we'll either need to downsize the trailer purchase to match our existing truck, or reassess upgrading the truck before we buy the 28. The dealership told me that my truck would pull the 28' just fine and that they'd just put good sway bars on... Thanks so much for your time/feedback!

Sincerely,
Rich
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:21 AM   #10
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Find the best 'horse' option before buying the 'wagon'

Quote:
Originally Posted by riffin-rich View Post
Plasma / All, this sucks but I'm so glad I asked before trusting the dealership. I guess we'll either need to downsize the trailer purchase to match our existing truck, or reassess upgrading the truck before we buy the 28. The dealership told me that my truck would pull the 28' just fine and that they'd just put good sway bars on... Thanks so much for your time/feedback!

Sincerely,
Rich
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Our first purchase of an Airstream the sales people kept repeating how important safety was, yet would sell anything on the lot for you to tow away. We did what you are going to do and that is to do the homework yourself.

Plasma is getting your attention and that is a great start.

Research the trailer you find best for you and then find a tow vehicle. It is always a package deal, but buy the 'horse' before the 'wagon'.

Decide, also, what your style of trailer needs are before you buy a trailer. Some lengths are poor for Boondocking due to more trailer than space to fit, and if you prefer the RV Campgrounds... your 28 foot is a great match.

Sales people move from selling cars one year to trailers the next. They need that signature on the bottom line, with deposit... and then break the news to you.
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:21 AM   #11
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We had a 2012 Ram Hemi 6-spd 3.55 gears pulling our FC 25 which is 300 lbs lighter GVWR than the 28. It was an excellent tow vehicle, we towed our Airstream all over the country with it. The easiest, most cost effective way to ensure safety is to control speed for conditions, especially up and down steep grades. The easiest, most cost effective way to ensure sufficient load capacity is to hold or reduce the load to the truck's capabilities.

My concern with your truck is the 3.21 gears which is for economy, not power. I'm pretty sure the 8-speed transmission will compensate for that, you won't see the higher gears often but that's okay. The other concern is the air suspension which has light load capacity for trailer and stuff in the bed. We control that with a high quality weight distribution hitch, virtually no gear in the truck bed behind the truck's rear axle, and virtually no gear in the front of the trailer.

We use a ProPride 1400 hitch to ensure no sway, side wind, or semi bow wave pushing our truck around, and distribute the weight we need. At the last scale weight of the loaded truck and then the loaded truck and trailer together our Airstream and ProPride added 820 lbs to the truck's weight. I believe this hitch adds little if any additional weight to the trailer because it moves the trailer further back from the truck's receiver, where the hitch weight is carried. With weight distribution applied, our truck's axle loads are near equal.

Our truck axles are rated at 3900 lbs, almost 1000 lbs higher than truck GVWR so have little concern if we occasionally go a little over GVWR. We have steel spring suspension. I understand the air suspension has sensors to measure load, and probably retains it in the computer. It may even send this out in the email monthly report our (and probably your) truck sends out. I don't know how that may affect your truck's warranty if the truck is occasionally over GVWR, but Chrysler will have access to the info.

That said, if you can maintain the loads and drive according to conditions it is a really nice tow vehicle for a mid-size Airstream. Nice smooth and economical Hemi engine and terrific transmission. Travel light and load smart, your only real concern is controlling the load.
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:25 AM   #12
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The published 1300# payload is for a bare bones truck with no options/accessories. The door sticker number is the payload for YOUR truck with all the options/accessories installed. You should always go with the door sticker number, as the published number is always higher. I consider the published number a marketing gimmick -- you would almost never find a truck with that much payload, as nobody wants a truck without power seats, etc, and those all reduce payload.

Another problem you may face is that if you overload the truck, since you have air suspension, it will be recorded by the truck computer. Next time you go for a service, a code will show up, and the dealer would know that you overloaded your truck. They may or may not deny a warranty service.
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:37 AM   #13
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Your truck will get an unloaded trailer home from the dealer for sure. You can see how it does with that and then assess.

The above is right though, the 3.21 gears are hurting you.

One tip I find helpful, go down a hill in the same gear you go up. Particularly with your gears, don't go to 8th on the way down if you are in 4th on the way up. Stay in 4th and let the engine rev for compression braking (except in slippery conditions).
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Old 05-22-2016, 10:46 AM   #14
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Rich, careful about internet advice, some post with no towing experience of there own. Some have never attempted to set up he truck/trailer combo in question.

As for downsizing trailer to meet the raw numbers some are suggesting without actually setting up and weighing the rig, I think you would find the downsizing needs to be much, much smaller trailer. There's also some differences in trailer design that affect hitch weights. For example front bed models may appear lighter when empty, but tend to load heavy in front. Rear bed models may appear heavier, but tend to load heavy in back. That's where the storage is.

Your goal is tongue weight not less than 10% of the trailer's actual loaded weight, and not more than the 1,000 lb maximum tongue weight mandated by your Airstream Owners Manual.
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