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Old 11-23-2010, 05:11 PM   #1
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Is it any wonder 1/2 ton trucks get overloaded?

I happened to be on the Keystone Cougar website & spied a category labeled "1/2 TON SERIES". Just for the heck of it I downloaded the 2011 brochure to see what they had. To my surprise, they showed 14 models they claim are towable by 1/2 ton trucks. That included a 9000 lb, 35ft+ TT & a 10,200 lb, 31ft+ 5-r.

Is it just me or does anyone else think those are not 1/2 ton towable? Ok towable, maybe...but stoppable?

Lori-
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Old 11-23-2010, 05:35 PM   #2
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The new Ford 150 can tow something like 11,200lbs I think.. Toyota is over 10,000 lbs and Ram 1500 is stock at 9,800lbs up to 10,450lbs
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Old 11-23-2010, 05:54 PM   #3
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The truck "manufacturer's trailer tow ratings" are just as misleading as the RV manufacturers' dry weights they publish in their brochures. Here's why:

1. Truck manufacturers calculate their trailer tow ratings as gross combination vehicle weight (GCWR) minus the truck's curb weight. Unfortunately, they use the curb weight of a base truck (no options or accessories) with only a 150 lb driver. This makes the curb weight unrealistically low and the trailer tow rating unrealistically high.

2. The trailer tow rating doesn't even mention the truck's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross axle weight ratings (GAWRs) UNTIL you get in the fine print where buried there will be a cop-out to the effect that "None of the truck's other ratings are to be exceeded when towing." Invariably, a single rear wheel truck loaded with accessories, passengers, cargo, a 5th wheel hitch, etc. will exceed its limited GVWR long before it reaches its trailer tow rating.

It's up to the consumer to be aware of the above and to run the numbers for himself/herself. This will require some work or investigation to determine the actual laden curb weight (LCW) of the truck with full fuel tank(s), driver, passengers, pets, accessories, cargo, a trailer hitch, etc. With this actual LCW, the following formulas can then be used to size an RV that will be within the truck's ratings:

Truck's GCWR minus truck's LCW = maximum allowable total weight of LOADED trailer.

Truck's GVWR minus truck's LCW = maximum allowable pin/hitch weight of LOADED trailer.

The conservative approach is to compare the numbers above with the prospective trailer's GVWR as a total weight and 20% of the trailer's GVWR (for a 5th wheel) or 12% of the trailer's GVWR (for a TT) as pin/hitch weight.

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Old 11-23-2010, 08:46 PM   #4
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That's so true, Rusty. Both mfr's want to sell units so badly, they will portray the numbers to their advantage. Buyers zero in on the UVW's on the RV's & the touted truck towing capacities shown on the TV commercials. I wish there were some recourse against either side for misleading advertising, but it's the fine print that keeps 'em out of hot water. That's what ticks me off the most.

Weight numbers aside, I wouldn't even attempt to tow a 35ft+ TT with that small a truck. That's just nuts.

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Old 11-24-2010, 09:36 PM   #5
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Rusty that is excellent. It should be mandatory reading before anyone may purchase a pickup for towing. I once attempted to explain that, as best I could, to some RV salesmen. I received a lot of ridicule for my effort, nothing else.
I fully support the proposed new towing standards tests for tow vehicle manufacturers.(a thread elsewhere on irv2.com)
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:42 PM   #6
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How about you look at it this way GCWR as the sum of the TT GVWR and truck GVWR - say you have a GVWR of 16,000 lbs, the trucks GVWR is 7200 lbs therefore the GVWR of the TT should be no more than 16,000-7200 or 8800 lbs. I am also looking forward to the new SAE based tow ratings.
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy the sly old fox View Post
...- say you have a GVWR of 16,000 lbs...
Shouldn't that be GCWR of 16,000 lbs?

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Old 11-24-2010, 11:52 PM   #8
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I had a 99 GMC 1/2 ton that I pulled a 27' Komfort travel trailer 7,000lb with for a month. Bought a 2003 GMC 3/4 ton and it made all the difference in the world for stability and smooth straight stopping.

As NLOVNIT said, and I agree, they really shouldn't be towing that much weight with a 1/2 ton.
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:17 AM   #9
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Yes I meant GCWR not GVWR - but you knew that already
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Old 11-25-2010, 05:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy the sly old fox View Post
How about you look at it this way GCWR as the sum of the TT GVWR and truck GVWR - say you have a GCWR of 16,000 lbs, the trucks GVWR is 7200 lbs therefore the GVWR of the TT should be no more than 16,000-7200 or 8800 lbs. I am also looking forward to the new SAE based tow ratings.
Randy,

The only problem with that approach is that it doesn't take into account the percentage of the trailer's weight that is carried by the truck as hitch or pin weight where it counts against the truck's GVWR as well as the fact that the truck's LCW is less than the GVWR. Let's take my rig for an example. The truck's GVWR is 11,500 lbs (it's a 4x2) and GCWR is 26,000 lbs while the trailer's GVWR is 16,000 lbs. Its estimated LCW (I haven't made it to the scales yet) is 8,000 lbs - my previous 2002 dually was 7,680.

Using your formula, truck GCWR (26,000) minus truck GVWR (11,500) means that I shouldn't pull a trailer with a GVWR of more than 14,500 lbs, so I'm 1,500 lbs overloaded.

Using the formulas I provided:

Truck GCWR (26,000) minus truck LCW (8,000) = maximum weight of loaded trailer of 18,000 lbs. Trailer's GVWR is 16,000, so I'm 2,000 lbs to the good.

Truck GVWR (11,500) minus truck LCW (8,000) = maximum pin/hitch weight of loaded trailer of 3,500 lbs. At 20% of GVWR (20% x 16,000), or 3,200 lbs pin weight, I'm 300 lbs to the good.

Having said that, your formula is even more conservative than mine, so if one sizes a trailer using your formula, they'll never be overloaded. They are, however, leaving some capacity on the table.

HERE is the thread you reference regarding SAE standards for trailer tow ratings.

Rusty
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Old 11-25-2010, 08:23 AM   #11
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Is it any wonder ton trucks get overloaded?

The same can be said for ton and 1 ton trucks also. I have even seen some F450s that are overloaded.

You have to get into the MDTs or the HDTs before it becomes nearly impossible to overload the truck. My truck with an unloaded weight of 14.5K and a GVWR of 31K, I run out of room for stuff long before I get close to any rating.
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:08 AM   #12
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Your point is taken that, whatever tow vehicle one might have, there's something more capable out there - just as a tandem dually Class 8 tractor would dwarf the capabilities of your MDT.

What I've tried to point out, in response to the original poster, is how one can take ALL of the truck's ratings into account when sizing a potential RV to ensure that the tow vehicle is sufficient to handle the RV while remaining at or below the manufacturer's ratings. How much margin one might want over and above sufficiency is a matter for each user to decide.

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Old 11-25-2010, 09:16 AM   #13
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Stoppable

Quote:
Originally Posted by NLOVNIT View Post
I happened to be on the Keystone Cougar website & spied a category labeled "1/2 TON SERIES". Just for the heck of it I downloaded the 2011 brochure to see what they had. To my surprise, they showed 14 models they claim are towable by 1/2 ton trucks. That included a 9000 lb, 35ft+ TT & a 10,200 lb, 31ft+ 5-r.

Is it just me or does anyone else think those are not 1/2 ton towable? Ok towable, maybe...but stoppable?

Lori-

My Nash 25R weighed 5600 and the chassis was rated for 10000. They are built like tanks. It could stop itself and my 2007 1/2 ton Silverado by itself using the brake controller.
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
I had a 99 GMC 1/2 ton that I pulled a 27' Komfort travel trailer 7,000lb with for a month. Bought a 2003 GMC 3/4 ton and it made all the difference in the world for stability and smooth straight stopping.

As NLOVNIT said, and I agree, they really shouldn't be towing that much weight with a 1/2 ton.
I was the same here, I thought I could pull my 32 foot trailer with my 99 GMC 1/2 ton. But after two trips, and stressing about getting home, It was not long before I bought my new 3/4 truck. I learned the valuable lesson of research before you buy!
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