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Old 04-30-2015, 07:16 PM   #1
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Is it the truck or the camper

We have a 2000 Jayco Eagle 27ft fifth wheel, GVW 6,900lbs. Because we do dog shows we carry a lot of stuff but definitely no more than 1500lb at the very most. Our tow vehicle is a 2005 GMC Sierra HD set up for towing. The additional weight in the pickup including crates, people and the generator is less than 1000lbs.
Not towing, our truck gets 14-15 mpg. Towing that drops to 9-11 mpg. The minute we run into any head wind or incline, the truck is searching for gears. My husband says the camper is just too heavy and he is looking at a 2007 Wilderness Scout 25ft (GVW 5,400lb), before we spend that money and ditch what is a very comfortable, camper I cannot help but wonder if the truck is a bit of a lemon. Would love to read the opinions of others and no need to worry about stirring up trouble between husband and wide, after 43 years we can cope. Thanks in anticipation
Pam
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Old 04-30-2015, 07:26 PM   #2
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You mean the transmission is hunting between drive and overdrive? If that is what it is doing the fix is simple. Drop it into drive (or lock out overdrive) and go for it. Running a bit higher rpms won't hurt a thing and will help save the transmission.
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Old 04-30-2015, 07:33 PM   #3
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I agree with MnTom, the searching is common when towing with a marginal rear axle ratio. The cure for this searching is as was said above, lock out the OD and run in drive.
Frank
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Old 04-30-2015, 07:50 PM   #4
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Welcome to iRV2 , Pam , what MnTom has posted is good info.
To provide even better info we'll need more from you .
Is the P/U gas or diesel , engine size and differential ratio ( 3.73 or 4.10) if gas.
Before you go spending $$$ you should get some actual scale weights of your combination ready for travel. The result of a trip over the scales could be the deciding factor to see if the trailer is too heavy for your truck.
Compare the scale weight to your rated axle weights and vehicle GCWR.
The fuel economy you mention is about all you can expect while towing, and very few combinations of tow vehicle and trailer will hold top gear ( OD ) when faced with a head wind.
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Old 04-30-2015, 08:38 PM   #5
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Load up the trailer with everything, have it weighted, you might be surprised!
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Old 04-30-2015, 08:46 PM   #6
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It sounds like you have a gas (not diesel) engine and the wrong final gear ratio, as has been said.
I assume you have it in tow/haul and O/D off.
The only advice that's cheap and easy is to manually limit it from upshifting... just hold it in a lower gear. That's easier on the engine and MUCH easier on the tranny. Also, slow down! You can't maintain 65mph on grades. When the trailer becomes harder to pull, make it easier by reducing aerodynamic drag.
Next reasonable step it to trade it in for a better truck. Spending thousands on a 10 year old truck to change gearing is not the answer. And you will hate it when not towing on the highway.
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Old 04-30-2015, 08:48 PM   #7
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I'm with Skip. Need to know more information about the truck. What size is it, what is the GVWR, GAWR and GCWR? Also the loaded weight of the truck on the front and rear axles with full fuel and everything in it you are carrying.

Then hook up the 5er and do it again. The trailer should be loaded with everything you normally take with you including water if you carry water in the tank. Get front and rear axles weights as well as weight on trailer wheels.

With the trailer on look at the weight on the rear axle. If it is larger than the GAWR (rear) you are overloaded. If you add the front and rear axle together and they are larger than the GVWR you are overloaded. If you add the weight of the front axle, rear axle and trailer and they are more than the GCWR you are overloaded.

If any one of the three is over you are overloaded. Then you have to make the decision to buy a larger truck, smaller trailer or continue to travel overloaded.

If you are looking for a new trailer a simple way of calculating (rough) the max size of the new unit use this formula. Subtract the weight of the rear axle of the truck you weighed without the trailer but full fuel, passengers, etc from the GAWR (rear). Divide that number by .2 to .25. The number will be approximately the GVWR of the new trailer.
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Old 05-01-2015, 12:20 AM   #8
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Just keep the RPMs at 3000 for best fuel mileage.
I never use overdrive with my gas trucks with a trailer in tow. No matter the weight.
Your unit is not a weight problem but a wind drag problem. The only solution to wind drag is a 5th wheel with the trailer closer to the cab.
A truck cap might help. Sure works with my Ranger V6 towing a heavy trailer.
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Old 05-01-2015, 07:27 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone, will need to go through this, digest it, get the info and find a public scale. We won't be rushing out to buy another trailer until we have a much better understanding of the issue.
Responses much appreciated, I will be back on when I have the info needed to make a better judgement call.
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caissiel View Post
The only solution to wind drag is a 5th wheel with the trailer closer to the cab.
A truck cap might help.
How do you run a cap and a 5th wheel?
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Old 05-01-2015, 07:09 PM   #11
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For a TT using a truck cap will bring the truck closer to the trailer and reduce the frontal area of a TT
I found that even a good set of old fashion cab height truck racks does wonders. Hardly ever see them anymore. But I always use them.
I gain a lot of unloaded MPG when I have mine on the F250.
When not setup for towing my 5th wheel, I keep the racks on to save on fuel and for extra space in the box. While preventing anyone loading my truck from the side and scratching my box sides.
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Old 05-05-2015, 11:58 AM   #12
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Thanks again to everyone who responded. The ability to lock it out of overdrive is only available on the Allison transmission which we don't have (it is a Sierra 2500 HD SLE 6.0 liter gas truck) . It does have a tow/haul feature on the transmission which Chris has only used for pulling away.We will be taking our first trip in three weeks so will try leaving it in tow/haul mode.
As we will be carrying all our usual stuff, we will take the opportunity to use a public scale and get it weighed. However, I want to be sure I understand the correct way (no pun intended) to do it.
Please correct me if I am wrong.
With the trailer on:
weight of trailer
weight on truck front axle
weight on truck rear axle
With trailer off:
weight on truck front axle
weight on truck rear axle
Please let me know if I have misunderstood anything
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2005 GMC Sierra HD Crew Cab
2000 Jayco Eagle 27ft Fifth Wheel
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Old 05-05-2015, 01:22 PM   #13
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You need to use the tow/haul all the time when towing. It's like a special mapping for the transmission. You can expect to see higher rpm as the engine will hold the gears longer and even downshift on braking to help you slow. Some people don't like to hear the engine "racing" but that is nonsense.

As far as the scales, they are not specifically public scales. Don't drive to a weigh station on an interstate. You need to go to a truckstop and pay to use the scale.
You will want to know what the weight of the truck is separately and hitched with the trailer. And the trailer axles without the truck on the scale. Then you can do the math to figure out what the rig weighs and how much is really on your rear axle, etc.
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:00 AM   #14
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If you check with the highway scales they may weigh you if they are not busy. Their mandate is public safety and as such they have an interest. However if they determine you are over they may require you unhook and return with an adequate truck.

Many times the scale is left on when the officers are not in attendance.

At least in the jurisdiction I am in. If you have any doubts you can call your DOT and ask about how they would deal with the situation.
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