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Old 12-23-2011, 05:08 AM   #1
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Double Tow

OK, Posting this tread is going to get me flamed. But here goes...We have a 2002 F-350 Powerstroke, Crewcab, Dually, 4x4. The running gear is a 6 speed stick shift, and the final gear ratio is 4:10. GVW is 11,500, and the truck weighs 6400 lbs. the truck is rated to tow 15K. The truck is equiped with a B&W gooseneck hitch that is rated for 30K. We also have a B&W 5th wheel hitch that connects to the gooseneck hitch and is rated for 17K.We have two boats. One is a 22 foot sport boat with a bigblock Chevy engine. The boat and dual axle aluminum trailer weigh 5500 lbs with a full tank of fuel and normal equipment onboard. The trailer has twin Dexter 3500 lb axles with ELECTRIC brakes. The trailer has a break-away battery and controler. The other boat is a 17.6 bass boat with a single axle trailer and one Dexter 3500 lb axle, also with ELECTRIC brakes. It has the same system with a break-away switch and controller. The bass boat and trailer weigh 3500 lbs. We used to own a 36 foot Holiday Rambler 5th wheel, and had it rigged with a class 3 hitch. The hitch tube was 12 feet long and was welded to the frame of the camper in 6 places. The end of the hitch tube terminated just behind the rear axle on the trailer. I had installed 7K Dexter axles and 12x3 electric brakes. We upgraded to 16 inch Dexter wheels, and were using 10 ply rated Michelin tires on the trailer. We towed the bass boat, and the rig handled fine behind the dually. The length of the trailer caused a lot of frame flexing and the trailer developed stress cracks. I had the trailer professionally repaired and stopped towing anything behind it.The welding shop who did the work thought that the trailer was too long to be towing anything behind it, although the rig handled well and did not sway. We are thinking about another RV. We are currently considering a truck camper, but are finding nice used 5th wheels for a fraction of the price. I am considering a 1988 Holiday Rambler Alumalite 26 foot unit that is in nice condition, and can be purchased for 4K. I am thinking that the trailer will require some additional frame support to do this task. Years ago I worked in the RV business, and we had some problems with large 5th wheels sagging from weak frames. The factory warrenty repair was to weld 2 inch heavy guage tubing to the bottom of the 6 inch tube frame from the front to the rear of the unit. It was surprising how stiff these frames were with this repair. We would love the tow the large boat, but probably should be thinking about towing the small boat instead. We tow in NC, GA, and AL. NC allows double towing. GA and AL do not, but do not currently enforce it.OK, Go ahead and flame me...
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Old 12-23-2011, 05:09 AM   #2
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Stupid computer ran all the paragraphs together. I will try to fix it when I get home. Sorry.
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:36 AM   #3
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Is there a question in your post somewhere? It sounds like you've already decided what you're going to do.

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Old 12-23-2011, 07:49 AM   #4
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Is there a question in your post somewhere? It sounds like you've already decided what you're going to do.

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+! Reads like a blog entry.
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Old 12-23-2011, 04:00 PM   #5
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Not a blog. If I had not posted the known items like the tow vehicle stats, capacities, the hitch, and specs on the trailers to be towed, we would have spent the next several days debating useless stuff like tow length, GVWR's and braking abilities.

I am not towing with an F-150, and am towing with an F-350 dually which is important...

I am looking for some well thought out opinions, constructive feedback from members with previous experience double towing, and there are some on this site.
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:03 PM   #6
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What is your GCWR, that is the key number here.

I question the truck's weight of 6,400, Fords are very heavy, I'd weight it if I could. Forget Ford's tow rating of 15k...the actual tow capacity of ANY vehicle is the GCWR minus the weight of the tow vehicle when ready to tow, or the hitch capacity, whichever is lower.
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:26 PM   #7
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I will only say this: Double tow laws vary from state to state (And sometimes within the state on a road by road or city by city basis). Know the law before you tow.. I can not assist you in this area.

Second, check your "Bumper to bumper" total consist length.. Maximum combined vehicle length also varies from state to state (And likewise in some cases road to road, city to city etc) so once again same advice applies.

Beyond that all you need worry about is the braking system (required) and the towing capacity of the tow vehicle. And I think others are covering that last item.
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:39 PM   #8
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What is your GCWR, that is the key number here.

I question the truck's weight of 6,400, Fords are very heavy, I'd weight it if I could. Forget Ford's tow rating of 15k...the actual tow capacity of ANY vehicle is the GCWR minus the weight of the tow vehicle when ready to tow, or the hitch capacity, whichever is lower.
6400 is the actual weight of the truck, with a 1/2 tank of fuel, a small tool box and no passengers.The GCWR rating is 26,000 The tow rating increases or decreases determined by the weight of the cargo, fuel, passengers hauled in the truck itself.The truck weight of 6400 + 2000 lbs of people, cargo, and fuel, + 8000 loaded weight off the camper, and the 5500 lbs for the boat = 21,900 lbs, or 3100 lbs below the 26,000 GCWR.
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:03 PM   #9
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NC and Tenn allow double tows, up to 80 feet. The rig will be approx 70 feet total. In AL it is illegal to tow double, however they don't enforce the law. The big problem that I see is if there were an accident, my insurnace may refuse to pay. When we were towing with the 36 footer, which was clearly in volation of GA laws, I sent the specs and pics to State Farm, and they said that I was fine. Thankfully, we never put it to test. Georgia is in the process of changing the laws. In GA the first trailer has to be a 5th wheel, and all axles are required to have brakes. Neither trailer can excede 28 feet in length, the same as the 28 foot simi trailers called pups. Again, enforcement has not been an issue, however it may become one in the future. It may be that I am treading on thin ice with the legal issues.
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:06 PM   #10
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I double towed with a '90 2500 chevy pulling a 26' Aljo 5er with a 18.5' 3400 lb boat for eight years. The 26' 5er 8600 GVWR has a short overhang so frame flex wasn't a issue with this particular unit.
I had a custom hitch welded to the trailers main frame and added two extra cross members. Pulled all over OK/TX/KS/MO/AR with no issues.

IMO you have a good grasp of tech issues involving all the issues with a light weight frame. The F350 DRW is a added bonus with plenty of excess every thing in a tow vehicle.

Just be prepared to deal with DOTs drop the second trailer request if or when they decide to enfoce double towing regs starting with you.
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:17 PM   #11
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I see fifth wheels pulling trailers with golf carts all the time at Myrtle beach. I also double tow pulling a golf cart.
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Old 12-24-2011, 04:30 AM   #12
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We are very partial to the HRC coaches from the 70's and 80's. The older Holiday Rambler trailers are built like a tank. One thing that will complicate adding a hitch and extra bracing is that the campers were built with a full belly pan, and the frame is completely enclosed. Our 36 HRC Imperial had an 8 inch C-channel frame. The manner that the coaches were built with welded aluminum side walls and ceiling the coach acts more like a unitized body than a body on frame design. Without the coach body, the frame is very springy and flexable. I have seen a couple of them that were wrecked and the body had been removed.
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Old 12-24-2011, 04:52 AM   #13
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Our 36 HRC Imperial had an 8 inch C-channel frame.....Without the coach body, the frame is very springy and flexable.
Ummmm....yep, a C-channel, structurally speaking, is nothing worth writing home about. It behaves like a rectangular section box beam with one side missing. That's why hot rodders would box in the C-channel frames on old Fords if they were adding modern drivetrains.

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Old 12-24-2011, 06:41 AM   #14
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Considering all of the issues, and potential issues this project will entail, I think that the best option is to scrap this idea and go back to the truck camper plan. Technically and mechanically it can be made to work. It's the legal issues that scare me. One accident could get me sued. Thanks for everyone's thoughts and ideas. Charles
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