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Old 07-27-2010, 06:57 AM   #1
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3500 gas dually tow capacity - am I understanding correctly?

Hi - In the past we've done lots of tent and popup camping, but it's been awhile and we'd now like to move into something "more comfortable".

We are looking for an older 5th wheel, and had hoped to find a 4-seasons trailer, but knowing they tend to be heavy, we're now doubting our TV could even handle one, having recently learned of its tow ratings. I'm hoping to get some input as to whether my understanding of all this is correct.

Here are the specs... (though we have yet to actually weigh our truck and I know that will need to be done for complete accuracy)

07 Dodge Ram 3500HD 5.7 Hemi, DRW, 4x4, manual trans, reg cab, long bed

GVWR 11500 - GCWR 17000 - Max Trailer Wt 10400

BASE CURB WT 6454 (Front 3564, Rear 2890)

GAWR Front 5200 - GAWR Rear 9350

(I believe the truck has a 4.10 gear ratio, and the tires have an E rating but I haven't figured out what weight, etc they are rated for)

Realizing the listed curb weight is probably less than the actual weight, and figuring gas, passengers, truck cargo and a little extra for good measure, I wondered if around 8000# for loaded vehicle wt would be about right.

If so, would that indicate we could at the max pull about a 9000# loaded 5th wheel, and should look for something with a dry weight of only 7000-8000# or so? (We do know how to pack light, but I know it would be easy to load up more weight than we realize.)

The 5th wheels we've been interested in have a dry wt of 9-10,000 which seems to be too much for our TV, before even putting any cargo onboard.

If it's true we should be looking for 7-8000# trailers, I'd love to hear recommendations on brands for that weight range. Had hoped to get an older but "better quality" type but the weight issue may prevent that. We had been interested in mid to late 90's Carri-lite, Newmar, Travel Supreme, etc. What lighter-weight brands would be good to look for?

Thanks so much for any and all input... really appreciate your help and advice!
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:29 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC-mom View Post
If it's true we should be looking for 7-8000# trailers, I'd love to hear recommendations on brands for that weight range. Had hoped to get an older but "better quality" type but the weight issue may prevent that. We had been interested in mid to late 90's Carri-lite, Newmar, Travel Supreme, etc. What lighter-weight brands would be good to look for?
!
Look at the HitchHiker II "LS" or "S" series, the 'LS' stands for light series and they're generally somewhat lighter than their bigger brother the Discover America and Champagne models but still have the quality of construction that NuWa is known for.. On the NuWa website there are some archived specs that may help you with their dry weight specs.

For example, a 1999 HitchHiker II 'S' model 26.5RK is 27' 7" long and has a listed dry weight of 8377#. I realize that example may be too small for your plans but as the length goes up so does the weight.
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:18 AM   #3
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Sounds like the GCVW is low. (maybe the Hemi) Our 01 is 21500.
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Old 07-27-2010, 10:20 PM   #4
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Thank you for the replies and brand suggestion! I appreciate it and any others that people could suggest that might be good for our situation.

Can anyone confirm or correct my line of thinking about the trailer weight we'd be able to tow? Am I figuring things correctly when it comes to the trailer weights we should be looking for?

Also, we would most likely not do extended traveling; our favorite campgrounds are only 30-60 miles away so we wouldn't be towing far. Our main concern is getting up and down the few steep hills leading into the lakeside campgrounds.

Ideally we had hoped to have a 4-seasons trailer for use here at the home as a guest house when not out camping. I'm sure it would get plenty of use here, besides our actual camping trips. Just trying to find something we can safely tow and enjoy here, too!
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Old 07-27-2010, 10:26 PM   #5
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JC-mom
Sounds like the GCVW is low. (maybe the Hemi) Our 01 is 21500.
Yes, we knew that this truck's towing ability wouldn't compare to a diesel, but we were really surprised (shocked) to learn just how *much* difference between their towing capacities...
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:44 AM   #6
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quote
Realizing the listed curb weight is probably less than the actual weight, and figuring gas, passengers, truck cargo and a little extra for good measure, I wondered if around 8000# for loaded vehicle wt would be about right. quote

I checked on Trailer Life Tow Ratings and your numbers look about right but I couldn't match with yours exactly. There is about 5K between the gas & the diesel. You need to weigh the truck (loaded the way you will travel) and subtract from the GCVW to determine the trailer GVW.

quote
If so, would that indicate we could at the max pull about a 9000# loaded 5th wheel, and should look for something with a dry weight of only 7000-8000# or so? (We do know how to pack light, but I know it would be easy to load up more weight than we realize. quote

Don't use the dry weight as it is meaningless. Our TT had a dry weight of 6300 and a GVW of 10400. We run about 9k when traveling and I know we don't haul 3K with us. I would stay away from a trailer with difference between Dry Weight & GVW of 1K & 1.5K because a change of clothes, a sandwich with a tank of water will overload it.
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC-mom View Post
Realizing the listed curb weight is probably less than the actual weight, and figuring gas, passengers, truck cargo and a little extra for good measure, I wondered if around 8000# for loaded vehicle wt would be about right.
Since your loaded truck (you, all passengers and gear...including a fifth wheel hitch...and a full tank of fuel) will weigh at a minimum, 7,000# (I would suspect more, but you'll need to weigh it to find out the actual loaded weight), a fifth wheel with a GVWR of 8,000# would be about right.
Quote:
If so, would that indicate we could at the max pull about a 9000# loaded 5th wheel, and should look for something with a dry weight of only 7000-8000# or so?
At 9,000# GVWR for a fifth wheel, you're starting to get too close to your truck's actual towing capacity (17,000# GCWR minus a minimum "real life" weight of 7,000# for the truck leaves a *maximum* of 10,000#...if your truck weighs more than 7,000# fully loaded...say closer to 8,000#, then you're down to around a 9,000# maximum towing capacity).
Quote:
The 5th wheels we've been interested in have a dry wt of 9-10,000 which seems to be too much for our TV, before even putting any cargo onboard.
Yes, those would be far too heavy for your truck, even assuming the 9,000# - 10,000# dry weight was the "real life" dry weight...which I'd be willing to bet money they are not. Published dry weight doesn't include manufacturer-added options, dealer-added options, and certainly not anything added by a previous owner. So "real life" dry weight might be in the range of 1,000# or more of the published dry weight.
Quote:
If it's true we should be looking for 7-8000# trailers
As long as you mean a 7,000# to 8,000# GVWR, yes, this is what you should be looking for...not dry weight.
Quote:
We had been interested in mid to late 90's Carri-lite, Newmar, Travel Supreme, etc.
All nice rigs, but I doubt you'll find one light enough to pull with your current truck.
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:31 PM   #8
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APOLOGIES for my delay in responding - have been out of town and haven't had a chance to reply till now...


Quote:
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Don't use the dry weight as it is meaningless. Our TT had a dry weight of 6300 and a GVW of 10400. We run about 9k when traveling and I know we don't haul 3K with us.

I understand your point - and the fact that, as you indicated, the dry weights are usually grossly under-stated. It hasn't been easy to find what the GVW rating is, though - or any rating, actually - due to the fact that we're looking at older trailers, and the manufacturer's ratings label on the outside of the trailer is often no longer readable.

Sometimes we've found ratings listed inside the trailer; the last trailer we looked at had an unreadable outside label and had the dry weight listed inside but not the GVW. (I figure a couple thousand extra pounds over the dry weight might be a reasonable amount for the GVW, if only the dry weight is known.)

But I do understand how a person needs to use the GVW when calculating the tow capacity, not the dry weight. Your TT example was a good one, thanks for sharing that!

----------

Originally posted by JC-mom:
"Realizing the listed curb weight (6454) is probably less than the actual weight, and figuring gas, passengers, truck cargo and a little extra for good measure, I wondered if around 8000# for loaded vehicle wt would be about right."


Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaH View Post
Since your loaded truck (you, all passengers and gear...including a fifth wheel hitch...and a full tank of fuel) will weigh at a minimum, 7,000# (I would suspect more, but you'll need to weigh it to find out the actual loaded weight), a fifth wheel with a GVWR of 8,000# would be about right.
Actually, when I mentioned the 8,000# I was referring to what the estimated TV loaded weight might be. (Hopefully we'll get our truck weighed soon so we can get a more accurate idea of our towing capacity!) As it turns out, though, it looks like that 8000 figure is also about the max for GVW of the trailer we should be looking for.

Thank you for your detailed reply answering my questions and explaining all of this - it's really been helpful!
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Old 08-08-2010, 06:03 PM   #9
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Hi,

Whilemy situation is slightly different, I totally understand the surprise and disappointment. I have an F250 Diesel CC, SRD, 4X2. While it can "pull" a very large 5th wheel. It cannot support the pin weight of the larger 5th wheels. So we were limited to under 9K fifth wheels also. However this turned out to be a blessing. After using our "smaller and lighter" 5th wheel....we love it and are glad the limits of the F250 forced us to reduce our expectations.
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:39 PM   #10
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Excel-in........
What is the trailer you settled on?
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:30 PM   #11
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Hi,

We purchased a Flagstaff 8528 CKSS. We like it very much. It was the only floorplan we could find with a fireplace and under 1500 pounds of pin weight.
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:42 PM   #12
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Hi,

We purchased a Flagstaff 8528 CKSS. We like it very much. It was the only floorplan we could find with a fireplace and under 1500 pounds of pin weight.
I just went out to look at it....... VERY nice!!!

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Old 08-11-2010, 01:13 PM   #13
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I just went out to look at it....... VERY nice!!!

Sheila

Thanks....we like it lots. Just sorta seemed like the sweet spot...Layout we wanted, fireplace, split bath, and helped us stay within the weight limits on our F250.
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Old 08-11-2010, 01:18 PM   #14
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Hi,

Whilemy situation is slightly different, I totally understand the surprise and disappointment. I have an F250 Diesel CC, SRD, 4X2. While it can "pull" a very large 5th wheel. It cannot support the pin weight of the larger 5th wheels. So we were limited to under 9K fifth wheels also. However this turned out to be a blessing. After using our "smaller and lighter" 5th wheel....we love it and are glad the limits of the F250 forced us to reduce our expectations.
I really appreciated your comment, and glad the situation turned out well for you in the end! We, too, are having to lower our expectations - it's ironic that in both of our situations we're limited to about the same weights, but for opposite reasons: ours by towing capacity although having high payload ability, and yours by the reverse situation.

So glad you found something you're happy with! I looked up your model online... wow, that's NICE!
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