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Old 04-19-2017, 05:04 AM   #1
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Ram 1500 - can it tow an Airstream 28?

I just looked at a Ram 1500. The door payload label says the maximum load is 945 lbs. That's occupants + cargo + tongue weight. The Airstream has a dry weight of 5979 lbs and a hitch weight of 976 lbs. It would be tricky to make this work.
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:28 AM   #2
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I have a 2016 Ram 1500 and my payload is closer to 1400, so it works for us. But 945? That's really low and I don't see how it will work. Your best case real tongue weigh is at least 1000 pounds. The number Airstream, and other RV manufactures, is never correct because it doesn't account for options, cargo, etc. It really is dry with batteries and LP tanks. You should count 67% percent of the tongue weight as payload on the truck with a weight distribution hitch, plus the weight of the hitch. Best case that means IMO at least 700 pounds of your payload is taking up by the trailer tongue weight and hitch leaving you less than 250 pounds for people, cargo, etc. in the truck. I just don't think that would work.
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:40 AM   #3
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The disconcerting thing is that Ram's payload chart for this vehicle, a 4x4 crew cab with 5.7 L V-8, with 5'7" box, lists the payload at 1680 lbs (the footnote says it's estimated). So how does one estimate a load at 1680 lbs and the actual turns out to be only 945 lbs? Let the buyer beware!

You might be able to eke this out if you shift weight from the front of the Airstream to behind the axle, being careful not to go below 10% tongue load.
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mergatroyd View Post
I just looked at a Ram 1500. The door payload label says the maximum load is 945 lbs. That's occupants + cargo + tongue weight. The Airstream has a dry weight of 5979 lbs and a hitch weight of 976 lbs. It would be tricky to make this work.
Try a search on 'hitch reinforcement' to get some solutions.
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:55 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mergatroyd View Post
The disconcerting thing is that Ram's payload chart for this vehicle, a 4x4 crew cab with 5.7 L V-8, with 5'7" box, lists the payload at 1680 lbs (the footnote says it's estimated). So how does one estimate a load at 1680 lbs and the actual turns out to be only 945 lbs? Let the buyer beware!

You might be able to eke this out if you shift weight from the front of the Airstream to behind the axle, being careful not to go below 10% tongue load.

Those charts don't take in account options. Powered seats, side steps, anything else like that. The payload sticker is what counts because that is how the truck was configured when it rolled off the factory floor.
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:37 AM   #6
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Those charts don't take in account options. Powered seats, side steps, anything else like that. The payload sticker is what counts because that is how the truck was configured when it rolled off the factory floor.
That is true. This was a fully loaded Ram with tow hitch, sun roof, heavy leather seats, Ram cargo boxes, etc.

It's not just Ram stretching the payload advertisements. I was at an auto show yesterday and I checked a lot of trucks from different manufacturers. They are all doing it.

If you ask a salesman how much you can tow he will give you maximum trailer weight rating. They all have impressive numbers. But once you check the payload label on the actual vehicle you can rarely ever tow that much.
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:16 AM   #7
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The first piece to know what it really can tow is to bring it to a scale. Even then you don't know how its going to react to your WDH and TT. How much weight can you move to the front axle? How much weight can you move to the TT axle? What does your TT really weigh - it changes every day?

So the first step is to take a test drive across a CAT scale. Then find the GVWR weight on the DOT sticker inside the driver's door and subtract the actual CAT scale weight from the GVWR weight. This is the true payload of the truck. My truck's true payload was 150# more than the yellow sticker payload. I'm not sure if all manufacturers subtract 150# for a driver on the yellow tire sticker. So the 945# may become 1095#.

The next step would be to work on the TT tongue weight. You could remove one 30# propane tank and save 55#. You could remove the spare tire and bracket and save 75#. You could remove one 12v battery and save another 45#. This totals 175#. So if 1000# tongue weight is "typical" and we can save 175#, then we are at 825#. Then if we can use a WDH and move a net 100# to the TT axles, we are at 725# of payload from the TT.

So let's add this up. Payload of 1095# minus 725# net WDH tongue weight leaves 370# remaining payload. If you and your passengers are below 370#, you may be able to pull a 28' Airstream with this truck and still be within the DOT sticker GVWR limit. But again, until you have all the pieces, truck, hitch and TT all hitched up and ready to go camping, we can only guess if we can accomplish this plan.

This Ford dealer's website shows the payload and DOT sticker for every truck on their lot. http://www.hannafords.ca/all-inventory/index.htm . There is an F-250 Diesel with only 1864# of payload. How about an F-150 with only 1352# of payload. http://www.hannafords.ca/new/Ford/20...55f18a2d97.htm If you load up the vehicle, the payload drops dramatically!
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:57 AM   #8
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So the first step is to take a test drive across a CAT scale. Then find the GVWR weight on the DOT sticker inside the driver's door and subtract the actual CAT scale weight from the GVWR weight. This is the true payload of the truck. My truck's true payload was 150# more than the yellow sticker payload. I'm not sure if all manufacturers subtract 150# for a driver on the yellow tire sticker. So the 945# may become 1095#.
That sounds logical, but I'm not sure the two labels always agree. Does your "Tire and loading information" label agree with your GVWR minus CAT scale reading?

The "Tire and Loading Information" label refers to "occupants" and cargo, so I assume it includes the driver.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:02 AM   #9
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"two labels don't agree"

Exactly correct. I would use the yellow tire payload sticker to narrow down which truck I would consider buying. Then as a test drive, I would go to a CAT scale and weigh it. Take the DOT sticker's GVWR minus the actual weight of the empty truck on the CAT scale and that is your true payload. The true payload probably will not agree with the yellow tire payload sticker. My truck's "empty" true payload was 150# more than its yellow tire payload sticker. I'm assuming my truck's yellow tire payload sticker deducted 150# for the weight of a driver.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:25 AM   #10
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That payload /GVWR number has to account for the vast majority of people who will not take the time to load their vehicle for best weight management, or hitch a travel trailer with a quality, properly set up and adjusted weight distribution hitch. And the simple math does not reflect actual axle loads when set up properly for towing. Our payload number is 1050, our axle ratings indicate much more capability, we usually end up about 300 lbs over the payload number, but well below the axle ratings and GCWR.

We manage our loads in the truck to keep the camping equipment reasonable and toward the front, use a weight distribution hitch set up so it can spread the load and hitch weight evenly across the two Ram 1500 lb GAWR axles (as well as 200 lbs or so to the trailer axles), keep the whole under the vehicle's GCWR, verify it all on the CAT scale, use a good, properly adjusted brake controller, and the truck will handle and brake as nicely as it does with no Airstream attached. Maybe a little better because the axle loads are even, not light in the rear, the trailer just follows.

We have been traveling with our Ram 1500's and 25' Airstream (GVWR 300 lbs less than a 28) all over this country in every state but a few in the northeast for many years and are completely comfortable with our trucks. We use a ProPride/Hensley style hitch to keep the trailer aligned with our truck going down the road, and prevent any sway tendencies.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:37 AM   #11
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Just looking at my SUV owner's manual, it says the "Tire and Loading Information" label includes the driver and passengers. As to the other label, the "Vehicle Identification Plate" that gives the GVWR, the manual makes reference to the fuel being included. So I'm thinking now that the fuel is making the difference between the labels.

24 gal of gas = 144 lbs.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:47 AM   #12
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People need to spend less time fussing about labels and more time getting their weight distribution systems and brake controllers set up properly, and they will have much improved towing experiences.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:56 AM   #13
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Here is another way to pull the 28 with a 945 lb max payload TV:

Load all your stuff and your wife's stuff (good luck with that) behind the axles under the bed of the 28. If you have 800 lbs of stuff and an 80 lb WD hitch the cargo will take 148 lbs off the tongue weight. Now, if the WD hitch takes off 1/3 of the remaining tongue load you will have the truck carrying 552 lbs. Add in two occupants wearing clothes for another 350 lbs and you still have room for a 43 lb. dog.

The tongue load will be 12%, so it should still be safe.
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:00 AM   #14
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I can see Doug's position of using axle weights, but have not come to grips with it myself. For example, a Ford F-150 has a GVWR of 9900#, but axle ratings totaling 11540#. http://www.hannafords.ca/new/Ford/20...ac1b99162f.htm In this example, it appears Ford is gaming the 10000# commercial truck classification by lowering the GVWR below 10000#. But what purpose would Nissan, in my case, or Dodge in this thread's case have for purposely lowering the GVWR on trucks with total axles weights below 10000#? My truck's axle ratings are 4900# each totaling 9800#. Why do they then lower my GVWR to 8950#? It makes no sense and is completely confusing.
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