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Old 02-14-2019, 01:03 PM   #1
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Tow this or not?? Help with the numbers please

Hello everyone...first time poster here. Thanks for all the great information provided here! I have a question on towing a trailer.
We have a 2005 Pleasureway Excel TS, V10 E350
Fully loaded we weight 8550 lbs. - GVWR =9500 lbs leaving us 950lb CCC.
GCVWR = 14500#
Hitch is rated at 500/5000 or WD of 1000/10,000

Trailer dry is 3400# tongue weight dry 377# we plan to use weight distributing hitch.

My question is this...in real world actual use numbers I'm assuming this trailer will be loaded at about 4500# and tongue weight will probably be around 550#

The Pleasureway is prone to sway and we will be approaching very closely the max towing numbers for this van, even though I feel confident we will be under. Has anyone actually towed a travel trailer of this weight with a Excel TS and what are your opinions of trying this setup?
Thanks in advance for any input!
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:24 PM   #2
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Hi Mark, welcome to the forum. Since nobody else has replied yet, I'll give you my opinion, for what it's worth. I'm going to say no...

First, I would advise that you make sure that you are working with accurate numbers as far as what the tow ratings are for the Excel. Admittedly, I am not familiar with the Excel. Does it have any frame extension at all, or is the hitch connected to the factory chassis frame? My B+/C has a frame extension. It also has a 500 tongue/5000 trailer rated hitch installed if you look at the numbers on the hitch, but since I have a frame extension, the manufacturer has limited the capacity numbers by posting a towing capabilities sheet inside of my rig (limited to 250 tongue wt. in my particular case). You may or may not have that issue, but it's worth confirming.

What is the GVWR of the trailer? It is usually advised to use that number and not the dry weight numbers, as brochure numbers can differ from what's posted on each individual trailer for one, and that people almost always end up loading up more weight than they think they will. If the GVWR number is significantly higher than your estimates, it is probably getting into a not a good idea area. I'm very concerned about the tongue weight. A travel trailer usually has the battery or two, a propane cylinder or two all up front on the tongue that is not accounted for in dry weight numbers. Next, I'd remind you that a good WD hitch itself weighs about 100 lbs., so add that to your tongue weight estimation if you haven't. If you estimate 4500 lbs of trailer weight, your 550 lb tongue weight estimate is based on a 10% tongue weight assumption + hitch. 10% is the recommended minimum, and it can be very difficult to do. It could end up being 15%, then you're at 775 lb with hitch. All of this is if you actually limit your load to 4500 lb.

Lastly, with a single wheel axle, I would look at GAWR of that rear and what it actually carries per a scale, and the load ratings of your tires. I don't mean to rain on your parade. You maybe could make it work, but if you have to work that hard to do it, it might not be right. Best of luck to you. Happy travels.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:39 PM   #3
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That is exactly why I asked the question here. I have got myself wrapped up in the numbers and according to the numbers...it' feasible. But, I've been around RV's and towing enough to know I'm pushing it to put it mildly. I'm not sure about frame extensions but to the best of my knowledge, the frame is not extended. I think it is built on a stock E350 frame. The axle weight is what's got me concerned...actually the tire weight ratings even more. Our perfect scenario would be to have a class B van that would pull a comfortable living area and give us the freedom to tour the area we are in with the van...but everything in this game is a sacrifice of some amenity to gain another. I think the van would handle the weight just fine under normal circumstances . but in the event of an emergency maneuver, I'm doubtful, and that is where I've got to decide what I think is safe for me and others. The numbers say it's within the limits...reality says not so much. I'd feel alot better if someone else who's had some experience with a similar set up could tell me it does just fine.....or not. I forgot to add that I called Phil at Pleasureway directly just to confirm that the tow rating were as I saw posted in the van. They are 500/5000 for the van. The HITCH says it can use 1000/10000 with load distributing gear....but that is only the hitch specs...not the Pleasureway specs...to be clear. There is a lot of grey area in those numbers.....
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Old 02-15-2019, 06:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markgable View Post
Hello everyone...
We have a 2005 Pleasureway Excel TS, V10 E350
Fully loaded we weight 8550 lbs. - GVWR =9500 lbs leaving us 950lb CCC.
GCVWR = 14500#
Hitch is rated at 500/5000 or WD of 1000/10,000...
You state you have a GVW of 8550 lbs, loaded. BTW, this seems "light" to me, based on the loaded weight of my 9600 GVWR Chevy based Roadtrek. How did you arrive at this value? Does this include full fuel, water, clothes, tools, people, pets, etc? Did you weigh it yourself or is it a value on a camper label? If you had it weighed at a CAT scale, then you should have the individual axle weights. If you do have the axle weights, then how do they compare to the axle (and tire) weight ratings? We need these values because:

A dead weight trailer tongue weight will add weight to the rear axle and may reduce the load on the front axle.

A weight distributed tongue weight will add some weight to both the front and rear axles.

I'm actually new to this Class B stuff, but I've had several large gas Class A's and liading weights and towing weights became important factors for me. I've learned a lot about this on larger RV forums. This knowledge applies directly to Class B sized RV's, but Class B' have lower margins for errors. (The overall ratio of RV weight to trailer weight for Class B's is much smaller than for large Class A's.)

BTW, make sure that trailer has good brakes on it!
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Old 02-15-2019, 06:56 AM   #5
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I had it weighed but they just had one large drive on scale so I could not get accurate axle weight distribution, but it did weigh 8550 overall with all our gear ready to camp. We really don't take that much stuff, plus the storage on our unit is so small that you really can't pack much anyway! I would definitely use a WD hitch to get more of that weight shifted to the front axle.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:14 AM   #6
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You need to be cautious about shifting too much weight to the front axle. On my RT, the front axle is near capacity, as weighed. Do you have a truck stop nearby (Loves, Pilot, Flying J, ect.) that has a CAT scale to get accurate axle weights? It would be even better if you had the trailer attached and get the whole thing weighed together.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:48 AM   #7
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I do have CAT scales about 30 minutes away...probably a good idea to go get that done. Unfortunately we won't be able to weigh the trailer until we buy it so that's why I am really taking a hard look at these numbers.
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Old 02-19-2019, 04:41 AM   #8
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I performed a similar juggling act when we owned an Airstream trailer and ended up using a ProPride hitch (expensive and heavy) to get my GL350 SUV within it’s axle capacities. It towed great but reinforced the hitch because you’re putting a lot of force on it. The Airstream folks have very active “discussions” about tow setups, you might gain from review of their forum and I’m including a link. Also, if you’re traveling in the Savannah area I could meet you at the local truck scale with a open trailer with car loaded that would “simulate” exactly what you propose towing. Great thing about the scales is there a nominal fee (<15$) and subsequent trips within 24 hours across the scales is only one dollar. I use to move weight on my setup and get axle weights, then do a road test and adjust, and then repeat until I nailed it.
Towing, Tow Vehicles & Hitches - Airstream Forums
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Old 02-20-2019, 06:25 PM   #9
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jmcarter, what a thoughtful reply and offer...thank you. We actually ended up not buying the trailer we were considering but will continue looking. I am most concerned with the weight on the rear axle and tires, the drivetrain, I feel will handle the load with ease, but the SRW narrow rear axle setup on the Pleasureway is already a bit on the "wondering" side, so I am going to look a bit closer at what we intend to tow. Thanks to everyone for all the responses. If I end up with a set up that works well, I will be sure to post it here so others can benefit. thanks!
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