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Old 08-22-2013, 10:03 AM   #1
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Tow Vehicle questions....

Hi folks. Newbie here. And actually a pre-newbie I guess since I don’t own an Airstream….yet. Yes it’s still a dream at the moment waiting on my retirement. We won’t go into the reasons why I’m waiting but suffice it to say I like to plan…way ahead.
That being said I’m trying to learn and one of the major purchases is of course the TOW vehicle. I know we all have manufacturer preferences so I’m more concerned about the towing requirements. The calculations required I found on a website… http://changingears.com/rv-sec-calc-trailer-weight-tt.shtml …now how to make me understand.
Example…I looked up the 2014 Chevy Tahoe stats and fed them into the website calculator.
Chevy: V8 5.3L / 320hp / 335lbs
Curb Wt: 5467
Max Payload: 1633
GVWR: 7100
Max Trailer: 8500____Airstream Flying Cloud 25____GVWR: 7300
GCWR: 14000
Now a simple mind would look at Max Trailer towing weight (8500) versus the Trailer weight (7300) and figure all is good.
If I use the towing calculator using GVWR for both it says I CANNOT tow this trailer.
Am I using MAX when I should be using a lesser number for both since it is highly unlikely that I will max out both vehicles?
So add Curb weight + Driver + Passenger + cargo + base Trailer (5600) + water (all colors) + cargo, and then all this not to exceed the GCWR of 14000?
Is that correct?
And to open another can of worms…is this gas engine too small? Do I need larger? Or is diesel the way to go?
Please in your responses keep it simple and relate it as to a simpleton since I have no experience in towing a large trailer (just a tent trailer in the past).
Thanks all,
Mike


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Old 08-22-2013, 11:33 AM   #2
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Realize the numbers will only take you so far and in many cases be misleading.
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:25 PM   #3
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Realize the numbers will only take you so far and in many cases be misleading.
yeah...well that helped a lot. Thanks.
With that info I guess I should just ingore all the numbers and just see what happens...maybe get a VW Golf with a hitch.
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:42 PM   #4
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yeah...well that helped a lot. Thanks.
With that info I guess I should just ingore all the numbers and just see what happens...maybe get a VW Golf with a hitch.
My point is there are many folks on this forum that put their rigs together using the numbers and found themselves unhappy with handling, comfort, safety, performance etc.

Sure some numbers are important but you also should consider many other factors that will influence towing success.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:36 PM   #5
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Real experience, real numbers.

I have a tow vehicle and trailer similar to your example. I have weighed the combination on the truck scales several times, and found that my rig is under the stated limits.

My tow vehicle is a 2010 Yukon Denali (short wheelbase, with 6.2 liter V8). The specs are
Front axle rating: 3550
Rear axle rating: 4200
Gross vehicle rating: 7300 (note: this is less than the sum of the axle ratings)
Gross combined rating: 14000

The trailer is a 2013 Flying Cloud 25FB (GVWR 7300) with twin beds and no options. When we brought it home we got the following numbers. This is with no water in the trailer, and no camping gear at all.

First, just the vehicle with driver and passenger, about 1/2 tank gas:
Front 3060, rear 2920, total 5980
Then with the trailer hooked up and weight distribution set:
Front 3080, rear 3580, trailer axles 4920, total of all axles 11580.
Note that the trailer weight (subtract the Yukon solo weight from the combined weight) is 5600 pounds. So we're way under the limits here.

Since that time, I changed brands of weight distribution hitch, and found that this rig is more stable on the road with a greater amount of weight distribution. Here are the numbers with the new setup. This data came during a four-week trip, with 1//3 tank of gas, empty waste tanks, full hot water tank, and just a few gallons in the fresh tank.

Front 3240, rear 3720, trailer axles 5640, total of all axles 12600.

I did not weight the tow vehicle by itself this time, so I can't derive the trailer weight. Compared to empty, we can see that the combination gained 1020 pounds of water and gear.

With these weights, we have 310 pounds of margin on the front axle, 480 on the rear, 340 on the Yukon GVWR, and 1400 on the GCWR. The trailer is also well under it's GVWR.

I hope these real world numbers help you understand your options.

By the way, we don't need the Yukon's third row seats for passengers, so we removed them--that's 110 pounds we don't have to carry around.
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:08 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forums. You have come to the right place to learn.

Max trailer weight rating means nothing. You will exceed the tv gvwr and the tv rear axle weight rating long before you get to the max trailer weight rating. This is the case with essentially all the half ton trucks.

Looks like SS has done his homework.

Dan
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:39 PM   #7
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Welcome to the forums. You have come to the right place to learn.

Max trailer weight rating means nothing. You will exceed the tv gvwr and the tv rear axle weight rating long before you get to the max trailer weight rating. This is the case with essentially all the half ton trucks.

Looks like SS has done his homework.

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Old 08-23-2013, 11:05 AM   #8
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Were your proposed TT the conventional SOB then concerns about weight and having to use a truck to pull a sub-30' TT might make the conventional advice in re towing a closer fit. As an A/S of the same size needs neither the same HP demand nor, due to low COG and suspension sophistication, the same TV "weight and wheelbase" one is not limited to inherently unstable tow vehicle as a pickup truck.

As was gently pointed out to you above, and per your comments, a focus on weight is but one considertion. And NOT the most important when it comes to a TV.

If your proposed trailer brand can get through a slalom behind a better TV far faster than any pickup truck (not to mention stop faster) why then the emphasis on weight? Propensity to rollover should cause anyone to pause.

None of us in the 1960's or for several decades past would have chosen the lousy performance of a pickup truck when a car was a far better choice. The differences between those two types changed by the mid-1980's, but what is important hasn't. Fully independent suspension with low center of gravity and disc brakes on both vehicles makes the most stable, accident-avoiding combination rig.

Now, if you intend to carry along enough equipment, tools, supplies for a three-month expedition then a pickup is fine.

And there are SUV's that bridge the gap (Expedition EL, or the latest Durango). There are SUV's that don't (Tahoe or Suburban).

You can play with "weight charts" all you want. They are recommendations, nothing more. The DO NOT EXCEED is in the tire and axle ratings. And plenty of leeway in setting a WD hitch to properly make best use of such.

The trailer was the important decision in all this. Hitch rigging (hitch type/brand) and TT disc brakes are more important than the specific TV. Those can be changed as often as one likes. Hitch and brakes remain with the TT.

In other words, try to avoid making the TV the weak link in the chain of combined vehicle stability.

Good thing you've started early. And no end of threads for your perusal.

.
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Old 08-23-2013, 12:53 PM   #9
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If you haven't purchased the Tahoe yet, consider a well-appointed 2014 Silverado or GMC Sierra (or similar trucks from Ford, Dodge, etc). My family and I are weighing options for a tow vehicle too, and we've set aside an SUV configuration in favor of better towing options.

First these newer trucks have fantastic interiors, and for us we really only wanted the SUV so our dog could travel with us. But the trucks offer that size and we're considering a cap that will allow us to let the furball ride pleasantly with us.

Just a thought, and good luck with your journey. Don't wait for your retirement! Think of all that fun you can have just practicing for it ahead of time
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:53 PM   #10
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The main, maybe only, reason we bought a 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 reg cab truck over a Durango/Grand Cherokee SUV with the same engine was at least $15,000 less cost.

Pickups can be inexpensive but reliable mules, emphasis on the "can be". Turns out this one is also nice to drive with or without the trailer, and handy around the home place.

doug
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Old 08-23-2013, 04:29 PM   #11
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I tow a 25'FB with a 2011 Silverado Crew Cab. Specs are very similar to your described vehicle except for wheel base which is longer. The 5.3L coupled with a six speed transmission tows the airstream very well. Although this is my first trailer with nothing to compare it to. Limiting factor was trucks GVWR with just the two of us we only had another 300 pounds before we reached the 7,000lb limit.
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Old 08-23-2013, 05:48 PM   #12
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It's probably also worth considering what the main use of the vehicle will be.

Will it be a daily driver, with towing just one of many jobs you'll need it for? Or are you planning on fulltiming where the main job of the vehicle will be to move the trailer and carry additional equipment such as generators or firewood?
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Old 08-24-2013, 08:23 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
The main, maybe only, reason we bought a 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 reg cab truck over a Durango/Grand Cherokee SUV with the same engine was at least $15,000 less cost.

Pickups can be inexpensive but reliable mules, emphasis on the "can be". Turns out this one is also nice to drive with or without the trailer, and handy around the home place.

doug
Doug
That is why we bought our very well equiped Tundra. It was only 25k out the door.

Dan
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:16 PM   #14
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Thanks guys this is the exact dialogue I was looking for.

The TV would be the main vehicle for towing as we travel the states. So no we don't need it for 'other' uses. I wanted an enclosed area like a Tahoe/Burban versus a 'outside' storage area as a pick-up would have...even with a camper shell enclosure.

I find now that GM is only offering (2014) one engine size (5.3L) and basically the same tow ratings for both Tahoe and Burb. No more 2500 series I guess.

I'll read up on the special hitches...I understand that's a major upgrade to have.


No rush on my part....I'll start reading other posts and gleen what I can.

Thank you again.
I'll be back...it may be a while ..but I'll be back.
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