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Old 08-08-2014, 02:04 PM   #1
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Greenhorn Jitters

Gentlemen (and Women), fire up your opinions. This brand spankin' newbie just bought the 2014 Big Horn Crew Cab 6'4" bed 5.7 Hemi with 3.92 in the rear end and towing pkg with integrated brake controller. On Monday we're going to pick up (unless logic dictates otherwise) a 2014 Crossroads Zinger travel trailer model ZT32qb. Trailer specs are as follows: 6900# dry weight, 9500# GVWR, 33' 10" overall length. Got it? Good. Now the fun begins.
Yonder website ramtrucks.com says that my truck (after plugging in the VIN in their fancy calculator) is rated for 1600# cargo and 10250# towing. Now I understand that as you add cargo to the vehicle yer towing capabilities have to slide accordingly and that's fine with me. I've got no beef with physics. Here's the brown trout in the beer cooler. Sticker inside the door says do not exceed total 1404# passenger + cargo. Fine.
Enter trailer tongue weight. For those who've never had to deal with this realm of interpretive math I am envious. Tongue weight is variable (unless I'm mistaken) by yer trailer's weight when loaded with all you'll be taking. As long as you know how to load a trailer properly this number is ideally 10-15% of loaded trailer weight. By my estimation my trailer will come in right at 8400# cocked, locked, and ready to rock giving me an (ideal) tongue weight of 840#. But wait, there's more. Add 2 lp tanks @ 70# a pop, a 70# deep cycle battery and now yer up at a grand on yer class IV receiver. What's the weight limit of a class IV receiver? Depends. Some say 1000 tongue/10000 tow, some say 1200 tongue/12000 tow. Hmmm.
Well, now you know what I know. Here's my big question. Understanding that this rig is knocking fervently on the door of max duty ratings how nuts is it to take it on the highways and byways of 'Merica? Would you? I'm sitting on a fairly high sphincter/pucker ratio at the moment and I can't wait to hear what all you seasoned veterans have to say. Before I hit "post" I should include that the only things in the truck proper while towing will be me, the woman, the boy (15 months) and a couple of dogs. Grand total on that is 425#. Ya'll have a good weekend, I'll be here.

---Ray
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:22 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new toys!

I'll let our trailer experts chime in on the weight questions but it does seem that you've done your homework and it's understandable that you would have a high pucker factor at this point.

Best of luck.

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Old 08-08-2014, 02:25 PM   #3
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Your doing the math correctly , your going to be, way to close for comfort. On the RAWR, and probably tire ratings. Sorry.
JHMO: Too much trailer for that truck.

Hopefully , you've read through the " Sticky " at the top of the page on Tow vehicle sizing .

EDIT: Don't forget the weight of the , insert and , equalizer bars in your tongue weight calculations. 80 + lbs , there too.
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:33 PM   #4
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I hate to rain on your parade, but I think you are right on the cusp of your vehicles max. You will always have to watch what cargo you load both in the trailer and the tow vehicle.



Glad you're here.
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:33 PM   #5
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The weight police should chime in anytime now.
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:47 PM   #6
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howdy
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Old 08-08-2014, 05:23 PM   #7
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If you get a good anti sway / weight distribution system that will help. What my guess is as to what will happen is:

As you enter the on ramp you will notice engine noise will not match acceleration rate. As you get up to 55mph things will be fine, as you hit 60 mph things will be fine, as you hit 65 mph you will know if you are ok or not. If you are making a lot of steering corrections 65mph is too fast.

Anyway...what has happened in the last year or two is the speed limits have been increased to 70mph in the states I travel. You may notice semi trucks as they pass you. Their air wave will cause a vacuum and 1st suck your rig toward their rig. Then as they pass you will by pushed away.

Give it a try - you will know by how safe you feel. Good luck.
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Old 08-08-2014, 05:55 PM   #8
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I just traded up from a F-150 and my trailer weighs only 6200# loaded and ready, and is about 30' long. I was not at the cusp of limits and I was still uncomfortable. I've towed once with the new rig and the difference is night and day. Just my opinion, but just because you can do something, and just because others are doing it... doesn't mean you should. I think you have too much trailer for the truck... and I'm not a member of the weight police... I got tired of trucks pulling and pushing me all over the hiway at 65 mph. There are a few places in my state where the speed limit is 85 mph...

Welcome to the forums... lots of good people here with good help and advise...
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Old 08-09-2014, 09:56 AM   #9
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Hi, Ray, and

Some call me a member of the weight police - I guess because I passed 8th grade math and I can read and comprehend weight limits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RayPippin View Post
Trailer specs are as follows: 6900# dry weight, 9500# GVWR, ... By my estimation my trailer will come in right at 8400# ...giving me an (ideal) tongue weight of 840#.
Ignore dry weight. Only a CAT scale can tell for sure, but your estimate of 8,400 wet and loaded trailer weight is reasonable. However, your estimate of only 10% tongue weight is very optimistic. Average is 12.5% to 13%, and mine is close to 15%. So until you can weigh the tongue when the trailer is wet and loaded for the road, estimate 12.5% minimum. 8,400 x 12.5% = 1,050. And if you want to be certain of not being overloaded, use 15% or 1,260.

Quote:
Sticker inside the door says do not exceed total 1404# passenger + cargo.
Typical half-ton pickup. Mine is 1,366.

1404 minus 1050 tongue weight leaves a max of 354 payload available for driver, passenger, kids and puppydogs. No tools or jacks, nothing added after the truck left the factory, such as a tonneau cover or bedliner or running boards - nothing. So if your crew weighs 425 as you estimated, and you don't add anything to the truck, and you don't carry any tools or jacks or extra fliuds, then you're going to be overloaded over the GVWR of your tow vehicle.

So if your trailer turns out to have 12.5% tongue weight and a wet and loaded weight of 8,400 pounds, then you're going to be right at the limits of the capacity of the truck's suspension and brakes., or slightly overloaded.

That's assuming your trailer grosses 8,400 pounds when wet and loaded. My half-ton pickup with close to the same payload capacity as yours is overloaded with my smaller TT that has a wet and loaded weight of only 4,870 pounds with a hitch weight around 600 pounds.

Quote:
... What's the weight limit of a class IV receiver? Depends. Some say 1000 tongue/10000 tow, some say 1200 tongue/12000 tow. Hmmm.
Crawl under the back of the truck and look up to the frame of the receiver. You'll see a sticker that includes the weight limits of the receiver. Mine says 500/5,000 WC, 1050/10,500 WD. WC means weight carrying and WD means with a weight-distributing hitch.

Quote:
Understanding that this rig is knocking fervently on the door of max duty ratings how nuts is it to take it on the highways and byways of 'Merica? Would you?
Probably not. If you already have the pickup, but haven't spent the money on the trailer yet, then wake up and go find a TT that will better fit the weight capacity of your tow vehicle.

But if you ignore the advice of the old man, then at least spend the money for an excellent weight-distributing hitch with excellent sway control. Don't consider any WD hitch that you can buy for less than $500 from discount internet sources. Insist on a Reese Strait-Line dual cam with trunnion bars, or an Equal-I-Zer, or a Husky Centerline. Reese and Husky make cheap hitches as well as the Strait-Line and Centerline, so pay attention to details when you order your WD hitch. Here's the one I use on my 7,000-pound cargo trailer:
Strait-Line Weight Distribution System w Sway Control - Trunnion Bar - 12,000 lbs GTW, 1,200 lbs TW Reese Weight Distribution RP66084

Notice that phrase "includes shank". They sell the same hitch without a shank for around $100 less money, but you gotta have the shank.

And here's the one I use on my TT. Notice it's a lot more expensive, but it guarantees absolutely no sway. If you've ever experienced uncontrollable sway, then you'll understand why I spent the big bucks for that hitch:
Trailer Sway Control Hitch Guaranteed to Eliminate Trailer Sway - ProPride 3P

Quote:
Before I hit "post" I should include that the only things in the truck proper while towing will be me, the woman, the boy (15 months) and a couple of dogs. Grand total on that is 425#.
Estimates are fine go get you into the ball park. But before you spend the big bucks on a TT, then why not spend $10 for a CAT scale ticket to be certain where you stand? Load the pickup with everything and everybody that will be in it when towing, including the shank and head of your WD hitch. Don't you carry a few tools in the truck? A good jack and maybe a base for the jack? Go to a truckstop that has a CAT scale and fill up with gas. Then weight the wet and loaded truck. Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded truck from the GVWR of the truck and the answer will be the max hitch weight you can have without being overloaded.

Divide that max hitch weight by 0.15 and the answer is the max GVWR of any TT I would consider buying to tow with that truck. Yes, it will be a lot less trailer than the one you have your heart set on, but your precious family will be safer on the highway.
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:11 PM   #10
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Welcome. You come to the right place for answers from a variety of perspectives. The prevailing thought is that your trailer gvwr should be no more than 80% of your tow vehicle tow rating. Its a judgement call after that. My first trailer GVWR was right at my TV tow rating. It was such a white knuckle ride we never camped more than 45min from home-the drive just exhausted me. I never let my family ride in the tow vehicle. When it was windy or lots of traffic the rig was too uncontrollable.

I would encourage you to consider all the stuff you might bring with you when you travel. Tools/jack as mentioned, beverage coolers (yours and one for the family ;-)) food, water (ok, you can tell we live in Texas), firewood, charcoal. There is lots of weight adders that go unoticed.

Also,.we found that one of the best.parts of having a trailer is that you can leave it packed and ready to go. For us this means clothes, toiletries, pots/pans,.linens, paper products (cups, plates, plastic utensils, table cloths), towels, swimsuits, grill, easyup, tiki lights...you get the picture.

Finally, consider where you plan to travel. We didn't on our first trailer. If you plan to stay near home that is one thing. If you want to travel to opposite ends of the country...those white knuckle drives get old very fast. Further if you plan to go across Colorado, Smokey Mountains, California or other places at elevation your mileage will be one consideration and your ability to pull your rig uphill and control it coming back down should be another consideration.

Good luck and frequent the forums. You will find them very valuable.
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Old 08-09-2014, 02:27 PM   #11
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Well Ray, I think you get the jist of what people are saying here. I just skimmed through because I've read many like this one. If you've already laid down the bucks and signed all the papers it's a little late to give much advice. But, you're going to be over for that truck plain and simple. But it's a Ram and it will probably do it with a careful driver and just watching what ya put in the TT. Put some good E rated tires on that truck. You can't deal with soft mushy tires and a possible blow out. Air bags for the rear coils will help with all that weight. Get the brake controller set correctly, you're going to need it. Keep your speed down, it's a lot easier to go from 55 to 0 than 65 to 0. My son has a truck just like yours and that 8 speed trans and 3.92's will do the job, just be careful. Take a practice tow before the trip. Let us know how it goes. Good luck and WELCOME to the forum!
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Old 08-09-2014, 09:47 PM   #12
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Thanks for the warm welcome and sage advice. I've learned stuff from grumpy old men that's kept me alive this long and every ounce of honesty is appreciated. I have to openly admit that I did leave out a few details only because I needed the harsh light of outside opinion. First of which is that I've been pulling trailers and vehicles of some sort since my first provisional license at 15. Hearing the concern in some of the posts only reinforces how glad I am to have found this forum. Yeah, it's a big rig but we're back road boondockers at heart. I've added HOURS to trips to avoid an interstate. Not many Big Rigs blowing by you on a two lane blacktop state road. Dealer's installing a Blue Ox Sway Pro 1000. Never used one, hear they do the trick. Just finished installing Airlift 1000 bags in the rear (independent lines, no T-fitting) to help out with the tongue weight. As far as cargo in the truck proper it's just me, the woman, the boy and a couple of dogs. Everything else gets balanced in the TT.
All in all I understand that maybe this setup might make a few people uncomfortable but I needed to hear it from all angles to make sure I hadn't overlooked anything in the process. We're on the road 6-8 weeks at a time 4-5 times a year and creepy crawly 100-150 mile travel days are the farthest we'd ever want to do. Not sure if it's in practice but I'd love an iRV2 sticker in the window so if you spot the rig you could come say howdy. You people care, not many do anymore. Proud to be a part of it all. Safe travels, ya'll.

---Ray
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:48 PM   #13
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Fantastic! Hope to see a first trip debrief.
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Old 08-10-2014, 12:18 AM   #14
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OK, you know what you've got and what you need to do to stay out of trouble so I think you'll be just fine. Let us know how it all works out.
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