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Old 05-19-2016, 06:07 PM   #1
Ste
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My towing experience(for others to learn from)

I thought I would share my story for others to learn from and possibly find some humor.
In the spring of 2015 we removed our 2013 catalina(27 ft??) from storage and started looking at toy haulers as this would better suit our needs. Long story short we found a 2014 puma TT toyhauler we could afford(one year old at the time...first red flag). I was hesitant about the size of it at 34 feet overall length and the weight around 8000 lbs dry(red flag number 2). The salesman assured me my 99 2500 GMC 6.0 liter ext cab short box was more than capable(red flag number 3). In spite of my own brains best effort we decided to buy the toy hauler("must..have..new..camper"). Now, I will say I have been a bus/truck mechanic for 24 years, I have driven a wrecker, a ramp truck worked on farms towing trailers so I am no stranger to towing things and the capability of trucks. I thought "sure it will be heavy but we will just use our head" (roll eyes at this point).
So we got the new camper home and loaded for our first long trip. I am guessing with the golf cart in the back and everything else it was pushing or over 10,000 pounds(yep....red flag 4...) I also noticed holes in the tongue that perfectly matched up with the mounts for my reese dual cam arms(hmm). Once on the highway it became clear why someone had traded their one year old travel trailer toy hauler in. At 55 mph every time a box truck or tractor trailer went by us we would get sucked over into the left lane, and God forbid the wind was blowing across the highway in a clearing. Couple this with the 6 liter screaming away to climb up grades at 4500 rpms minutes at a time made for a less than enjoyable trip. On a six hour round trip I managed 6 mpg!! What fun!!
One trip was enough! I went shopping for a bigger truck and purchased a 2002 dodge 3500 dually with an 8.0 liter. I could not find one in my price range with a diesel. I know the merits of 5.9 and 6.7 cummins as I work on them every day at my current job but the 8.0 liter works good for me. It tows much better now as the longer wheel base of the truck, the weight and dual wheels keep it stable. Power is much better now but gas mileage still sucks....8 mpg!!! LOL good thing I only have a 5 mile drive to work!

One more thing, I have hauled 10,000 pounds of coal in a dump trailer on the highway with my 3/4 ton with no problems but those 12 foot sides on a travel trailer are a total different animal!! It's not all about weight..

Happy Camping!
Steve
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Old 05-19-2016, 07:45 PM   #2
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While the 2500 was a marginal truck for that trailer. I can't imagine it being as bad as your saying. Hitch set up, weak 17 year old springs, and shocks could have been the majority of the problem. I have two 6.0 trucks and while my dually is the main tow vehical, I have towed with my reg cab 2500hd at a combined weight of around 17,000lbs with no problems at 70mph. We don't go to the mountains and I'm sure the trucks would struggle on major grades.

I'm glad you got the dually I really enjoy the look and ride of mine. I just think your old truck was either wore out or not set up right. It also sounds like not enough tongue weigh or just a tail heavy trailer
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Old 05-20-2016, 05:20 AM   #3
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2500, the springs were fine as I have hauled two full pallets of pavers at once (around 3000 lbs) with out trouble, springs were not on the bumpers or anything. Shocks had recently been replace with nice KYB units, I had just done a bunch of work to the old girl getting it ready for summer(belts, hoses, plugs, wires, exhaust manifold bolts, gaskets). As far as set up what I did not say earlier is I tried several things ie... towing with water, towing with out water, adjusting the dual cam set up, selling the dual cam and buying an equalizer, the equalizer was installed and set up at an RV dealer, I helped the mechanic so I know for certain he measured ride height of the truck before and after as well as the levelness of the camper. It was better at that point but not comfortable. I have also noticed that there is a lot of trailer in front of the axles because it is a toyhauler. I also see my model is the longest TT toyhauler puma builds, then it is 5ers. I think between the geometry of the TT and the fact that it has 12' sides the full length practically it is just a bear to tow.
Like I said, I have picked up 10,000 lbs of coal in Wilkesbarre PA with a dump trailer and scaled out of the pit at over 18,000 pounds total and was able to come back North on the highway safely at 60 mph feeling comfortable.

The toyhauler never did really sway it just pulled my whole truck which ever way it wanted, as if the truck was not heavy enough.


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Old 05-20-2016, 05:30 PM   #4
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My toy hauler does/ did the same thing. It pushes the truck to one side with passing vehicles. I reduced sway by filling the water tanks full (slosh was noticeable before this) or having not more than 10 gallons in them. I had it worse with less expensive tires I had on it, but way less now with Michelin tires on the truck. Both sets are load range E. I put Maxxis Marathons on the trailer. I went up from load range D to E on the trailer too and run max inflation on them as the GVWR is 11,300 on the trailer and load range D was right at the limits for 4 tires and the tongue weight. Trailer actually weighs 10,000 or just a little better with my Orien Reeper in it. 9,600 with golf cart , and 9,200 with my motorcycle in it. That gives me 1,300 lbs before trailer GVWR. I got lucky and found a 2006 Dodge 2500 quad cab SLT w the 5.9 Cummins. It tows it beautifully, even in the Smokey Mountains. Best thing to reduce the amount of push felt is slowing down. I can, and do 70 mph when passing, but 62 to 64 seems to be the sweet spot on the highway and slower is better.
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:59 AM   #5
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Thanks NFLcamper. I believe I am going to order some LRE tires for the TT Monday. Mine current tires are el cheapo 8 ply as well.

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Old 05-21-2016, 08:12 AM   #6
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I've also read somewhere, and I can't recall where, that some trailers are just more unstable than others. Having something to do with the weight placement before, over and after the axles, and even some math on height over axles, and brand of trailer axle used and so forth.... I wonder if that could have contributed?
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:01 AM   #7
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IDK, mine is fairly stable now that I have figured out to fill or empty the tanks, not travel with 1\2 tanks of water. New quality tires inflated properly.
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Old 05-21-2016, 12:28 PM   #8
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My guess is some trailers are unstable because of the various floor plans. There are front kitchen, rear kitchen, mid kitchen. Lots of different slide configurations too. Never used ease of towing vs floor plan to decide which to buy. Always weight and floor plan are the deciding factors.
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