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Old 11-24-2006, 07:55 PM   #1
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Question Weight Rating ?s

Alright on to post number 2. My wife and I are looking to buy a 25' Safari FB and I'm a little confused on tow ratings. My 94 Chevy CK 1500 4x4 is rated at 6000lbs. The air stream website has a couple of different weights on the spec page and I'm not sure what is what. Is the GVWR of 7300 the trailer weight? Or is it the UBW of 5210? Also has anyone pulled a 25' with a half-ton, and is it recomended? Thanks in advance for your relpies, JAMES
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Old 11-24-2006, 08:16 PM   #2
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Aha -- right up my alley! A half ton would deal with a 24' trailer very nicely 20 years ago. Trouble with newer Airstreams is that they weigh 1000# or more on average. The listed tongue weights should have approximately 200# minimum added to them to account for aftermarket WD/Anti-sway gear, propane in the tanks, and just the beginning of personal gear aboard.

Read any tow vehicle's owners manual as far as advice on towing. Also look for the listed payload or load capacity of your TV (payload = truck GVWR minus the unloaded curb weight). This payload is the maximum of tongue weight, passengers, pets, cargo, truck cap and other options aboard a tow vehicle. That is going to impose a stronger limit on what you can look at than looking at tow capacity.

You'll definitely want a larger 8-cylinder engine in whatever you do. It doesn't have to be the 8 liter Chev or 10-cylinder Ford. I have found a lot about 1/2-tonners that isn't up to pulling a newer 25 footer, though some would handle it reasonably until you could upgrade. If you were buying from the start I'd probably suggest thinking carefully before throwing good money in that direction. You have a younger family? Can you get them all in a crew cab? For a newer 25' Safari, 3/4-ton in a truck or large SUV is where I'd start if looking to acquire a TV.

There are more factors than this post will cover in 2 paragraphs. An SUV will probably treat the hitch softer than a corresponding truck. You're 2 for 2 on good threads started. Keep pulling more info out of us!
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:19 PM   #3
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You will not be happy. Towing a trailer that is near the max allowable will result in anemic prefromance especially if you are towning in the mountains. I got a chance to up grade from my 5.4L gas F-250 to a 6.0L Diesel F-250 huge difference towing a Classic 31, weighing in around 8,000 lbs. My truck is 7,000 lbs.
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:33 PM   #4
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I agree

I agree with Canoe stream and thecatsandi. Having both a Safari 25FB/SE and a F250 (3/4 ton) diesel, I wouldnt do it any other way. The late model Airstreams (AS) need more tow vehicle than the vintage AS. The GVWR is the maximum weight of the trailer fully loaded, it is the maximum weight the AS is designed to handle. The UBW is the trailer dry weight which does not include fluids, options or anything you put in or on your AS.

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Old 11-24-2006, 11:42 PM   #5
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Weight Rating ?'s

Greetings James!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesscavies
Alright on to post number 2. My wife and I are looking to buy a 25' Safari FB and I'm a little confused on tow ratings. My 94 Chevy CK 1500 4x4 is rated at 6000lbs. The air stream website has a couple of different weights on the spec page and I'm not sure what is what. Is the GVWR of 7300 the trailer weight? Or is it the UBW of 5210? Also has anyone pulled a 25' with a half-ton, and is it recomended? Thanks in advance for your relpies, JAMES
Your tow vehicle is very similar to the first tow vehicle that I purchased new -- a 1995 Chevrolet K1500 Z71 club cab. I thought that it would be a near perfect match for my '64 Overlander that has a gross weight of between 6,000 and 6,100 pounds when loaded for a vacation -- with conservative packing, I though that I could keep the gross weight below 6,000 pounds (actual empty weight of the coach is 4,400 pounds -- while the advertised weight was 3,930 pounds). For some unknown reason, I bought into the salesman's story that advancements in engine management technology would make the 5.7 Liter (350 cubic engine) more powerful than my '84 Jeep Grand Wagoneer's 360 H.O. V8.

It took less than three seasons to disprove my original assumption. The suspension and chassis of the K1500 was up to the task, but the power was greatly lacking -- it had the 5.7 Liter with 3.73 differentials including the complete factory heavy duty trailer towing package. Any hill proved an obstacle -- even the modest hills of Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri, and Southwest Wisconsin. I suspect that you would find the situation much worse where the likely loaded weight would be in excess of 7,000 pounds.

It is astounding what difference adequate power can make. I traded the '95 Z71 in on a new '99 Suburban K2500 with 7400 Vortec, and have been thrilled with the difference -- no more wondering whether the tow vehicle will handle the next grade -- and a side benefit has been that 90% or more of my towing can now be done in overdrive. My most recent trip pushed the odometer reading on the Suburban to just short of 177,000 miles (with no significant motor or transmission problems -- the electronic 4WD transfer case is a different matter). I fully expect to get in excess of 300,000 miles out of this tow vehicle.

Good luck with your research -- matching tow vehicle/trailer combinations can be quite a puzzle.

Kevin
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Old 11-25-2006, 10:03 AM   #6
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Most people don't realized that "towing capacity" ISN'T a rating. It's an often overstated MARKETING TERM who's value is determined by taking the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) aka Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR) and subtracting from it the weight of the absolutely most no-optioned vehicle with that engine, transmission, and axle ratio. No options, and sometimes no fuel, and even no driver, certainly no passengers or cargo in the tow vehicle. Based on the GCWR, which itself only addresses PULLING a load on flat and level ground, the towing capacity doesn't come close to telling you what you might experience if you're going to tow through mountains, or even hills where you can find 7% or steeper grades.

And worse, the so-called "towing capacity" totally ignores tongue weight and its effect on the tow vehicle's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the axles' Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR).

Your tow vehicle's GVWR and GAWR should be on a plate or sticker in one of the door jambs. The GCWR or GCVWR should be in the owners manual.

If you want to find your tow vehicle's remaining capability, fuel it up, load it with all the people and cargo that will be in it when towing, and take it to a scale that measures axle weights independently.

If you're only going to be on flat and level ground, subtract the total scale weight from the GCWR or GCVWR. If you're towing through hills or mountains, subtract the total scale weight from 80% of the GCWR or GCVWR. That will give you an idea of how much total FULLY LOADED trailer weight your truck can comfortably PULL, assuming it hasn't lost any compression and the engine's as strong as it was new.

To find out how much tongue weight your truck can CARRY, subtract the total scale weight from the GVWR and subtract the rear axle scale weight from the rear axle GAWR. Take the smallest of the two results. If you don't have a hitch head in the truck, subtract that from the smaller number. That, and the spring bars, etc, can be 80-150 pounds or more. What's left is how much tongue weight your truck can CARRY.


Now you get to the RV. There are some MARKETING TERMS here too, but they're instead often understated. That is especially the Unit Base Weight (UBW). Theoretically, it's the weight of the absolutely most no-optioned unit (i.e. no air-conditioner, oven, or microwave if they aren't standard equipment), with no propane, freshwater, and sometimes no batteries (even if they are standard equipment). Certainly, no personal effects. But even that weight is often low-balled, sometimes grossly so. Nor do I trust the MARKETING TERMS Tongue Weight (aka Hitch Weight) and Net Carrying Capacity (NCC).

There are only two "ratings" on travel trailers, the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the axles' Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR). These ratings are the most the axles (GAWR x number of axles) and total trailer (GVWR, axles plus tongue) can legally weigh, including base weight, options, batteries, propane, freshwater, and all your "stuff" aboard.

The GVWR is often just the GAWR times the number of axles, plus some tongue weight value. If the stated GVWR is less than that calculation, it's sometimes because there's another limiting factor, such as frame strength. But it could also be the manufacturer used oversized axles for durability.

For towing capability calculations, use the trailer's GVWR for the PULLING aspect, and 12% of the trailer's GVWR for the CARRYING aspect. But if you want to know the actual unloaded tongue weight and trailer weight (very useful for calculating real-world NCC), there is no substitute for THE CHAMBER OF TRUTH, i.e. the scales.

Finally, if you're close the maximum, even though you're within limits, remember that fits the definition of MARGINAL.
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Old 11-25-2006, 10:25 AM   #7
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How happy you will be is something only you can determine.

Weight ratings and similar specifications are a combination of many factors. They are not magical 'do or die' markers. The factors involve handling, wear and maintenance, and performance.

Many folks these days like to have air conditioning in 110F heat going up 10% grades at 10,000 feet and still be able to put a foot on it to pass anything on the road while carrying everything including the kitchen sink and their tool shop. This is what makes them happy. It didn't used to be that way.

On these forums you will find the antidote to most of the 'salesmen' type. But do be aware that both the 'yes that will tow it fine' and the 'must have overwhelming force to be happy' positions are the extremes and there is a lot of room between them.

Of all of the specs, the GCWR (combined) is the least precise and most wishy washy. The most precise are the GAWR (axle). Pay attention to Maurice's advice but don't get obsessed on the numbers and engineering.

What you really need to pay attention to is how your rig drives for the way you use it. Those planning on a new rig can use the specs as a guide as it is often better to be well within spec. But too much can be as 'bad' as too little as well. Only experience will really tell what is best for you.
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Old 11-25-2006, 05:52 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of your input. My wife and I went to the dealer today and they have a brand new 06 22' ccd for under 38K. It fit's our budget better than the 25' FB and is around a 1000lbs lighter. My only dislike for the 22' is the seemingly useless desk space in the rear. It seems this space could have been put to better use. Thanks again, hope to meet some of you soon out on the road.
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Old 11-25-2006, 06:04 PM   #9
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I think a slighty bigger TV comes into play when you need to get past a problem, or must get out into oncoming traffic without getting rear ended.

Also over time you add more weight than you realize.

I race a sailboat, and before a big race we go thru all the lockers and have off loaded 300lbs easy.

Also a bigger engine towing gets better MPG than a smaller in most cases.
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Old 11-25-2006, 09:14 PM   #10
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Nice

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesscavies
Thanks for all of your input. My wife and I went to the dealer today and they have a brand new 06 22' ccd for under 38K.
Another great choice. Congratulations and we will all be looking for you.

John
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