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Old 11-04-2018, 05:04 PM   #1
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Weight Question

For the novice, weight issues tend to be a bit intimidating. Particularly in forums where everyone seems to have an opinion ranging from "ORV trailers are heavy" to the "general inadequacies of 1/2 ton trucks" when it comes to towing.

We (retired couple + smallish dog) bought a first trailer last month. Never owned one, never towed one. We had some initial criteria, 1. keep our existing truck 2. Given experience level - stay on the smaller side 3. Want to be 2nd owner. Had our Ford dealer pull the specs so I had something to work with:

06 Ford F150 Lariat Supercab, 4x4, 5.4L V8, 3.73 Axle Ratio, 18" wheels
144.5" wheelbase, GVW 7,200 lbs
tow package (of the day)
Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight: 9,300 lbs
GCWR: 15,000 lbs

We only looked at trailers between 18 and 22 ft. While we saw many ultra-light, somewhat roomy trailers, there often seemed to be a trade-off between weight and construction. But as luck would have it we came across a very well maintained 18' ORV trailer, really liked it, bought it, and put it in storage at the dealer until March. TT specs:

'11 ORV Tamarack Trail 718FQ
Full Featured dry weight: 3,300 lbs
Cargo carrying capacity: 1,200 lbs
Hitch Dry Weight: 375 lbs
Maximum Trailer Weight: 4,500 lbs

With my (somewhat limited) understanding of weights, I felt this TT and TV combo would be fine. The dealer said "you aren't going to have a problem".

But I find, after reading many forum posts on the subject, that I am totally confused on hitch weight. I don't really understand how much is too much, and even worse, the stated problems of having too little, and how you find yourself with "too little". I realize loading up and going to a weigh scale is advised, but so far we don't have much to load in it and it couldn't happen until March, anyway.

The dealer is committed to install the existing WDH in March and go over the process with me. Meanwhile I am studying the ins and outs of trailer towing online. I would appreciate any advice on:

what I have to work with (tv & tt)
hitch/tongue weight and what to do about over/under
What should I be really paying attention to when the WDH is installed, along with what, if any, questions I should be asking the dealer. (And yeah, I've watch quite a few youtube videos on the subject - which sometimes isn't always a good thing).

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-04-2018, 07:53 PM   #2
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Like yourself I too found a very well maintained ORV. We bought ours last year. I think the statement that ORVs are on the heavy side is somewhat true for newer models, not so much for the older ones like you and I have. Mine is a 2011 ORV (a Creekside 22RB) and its dry weight is around 4600 lbs and 485 lb advertised tongue weight. I travel light with around 450 pounds of stuff in it (weighed on a bathroom scale). I pull it easily with a 2012 Ram 1500 so even if you loaded your trailer to its 4500 lb. max you'll be fine, tongue weight included unless you go really crazy loading heavy items in the back of the truck. In the truck I carry a generator, a couple of camp lounges, tool box, and blocks for the stab jacks.

As for the hitch, the dealer will likely set it up to how it leaves the dealership. Ask if you can bring it back in a week or so to have it fined tuned with your gear loaded in it. They might have to swap out the weight distribution bars with a more appropriate weight rating but unlikely. After I got mine home and loaded I had to tilt the bars down a bit. Don't forget to talk to them about the sway control. Some hitches have built in sway control, others need an additional piece of equipment.

But before you take it back I suggest you do a few nights driveway camping to help you figure what you'll likely need as far as supplies go. Things like dishes, water, food, bedding, clothes, etc. It'll also give you a chance to find out if there are any problems with it. Once you feel you are close to having a typical load then take it back to have the hitch adjusted to the new weight. Don't forget about what you'll likely carry in the truck too.
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Old 11-04-2018, 08:20 PM   #3
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What most people seem to over look is payload, normally with a 1/2 ton truck that's your limiting factor. There should be a payload sticker on your door. That number includes a full tank of gas and a 150 lb driver. Take that number, subtract the weight of your cargo, including passengers and any options installed after your truck left the factory, ie canopy, running boards. Then take that number and compare to your hitch weight, your hitch weight needs to be less than the remaining payload.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:11 AM   #4
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Sleep well your truck will pull that trailer just fine. 4500 pounds of maximum trailer weight is not much.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:40 AM   #5
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You have nothing to worry about. That TT will be perfect behind your truck. 2011 was just as ORV was getting started and they had a combination of wood and aluminum framing as well as alum and fiberglass skins. I believe that the Tamarack Trail was the second tier of entry level Fiberglass skinned units with Timber Ridge and Wind River above them.

I watched a you tube video of this unit and that is a nice plan for a couple traveling and camping. Good choice. We had a similar bed in our 22H, the only problem with it is that the person in the back must crawl over the person in front if you have to make a night trip to the bathroom.

You will probably be able to go with either 750 or 1000LB bars on your WD hitch. You are not going to have much of a tail wagging the dog as the TT is lighter than the truck.
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Old 11-08-2018, 02:14 PM   #6
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Thanks all for the advice.
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