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Old 10-22-2008, 03:54 PM   #1
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Hi all,

A few years back, I got some great info from folks on this board when I was contemplating the purchase of a Hilo trailer.

I am now looking at buying a small 5th wheel trailer - a 22 foot Coachmen Catalina Lite with a UVWR of 4500lbs and GVWR of 6400lbs.

I have a Dodge Ram 1500 4WD with a 5.7l Hemi. It has a tow rating of 8500lbs. I believe the GCVWR is around 15000lbs, GV-6700lbs and payload-1380lbs.

I've spent a fair bit of time reviewing posts about towing and weights and now realize that it is far more complicated than selecting a trailer within the tow rating of my truck but I have really gotten a little muddled trying to put all the conflicting information together..

So I find myself still having to ask. Can I safely and legally tow this trailer with my wife and 3 growing boys on board?
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Old 10-22-2008, 03:54 PM   #2
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Hi all,

A few years back, I got some great info from folks on this board when I was contemplating the purchase of a Hilo trailer.

I am now looking at buying a small 5th wheel trailer - a 22 foot Coachmen Catalina Lite with a UVWR of 4500lbs and GVWR of 6400lbs.

I have a Dodge Ram 1500 4WD with a 5.7l Hemi. It has a tow rating of 8500lbs. I believe the GCVWR is around 15000lbs, GV-6700lbs and payload-1380lbs.

I've spent a fair bit of time reviewing posts about towing and weights and now realize that it is far more complicated than selecting a trailer within the tow rating of my truck but I have really gotten a little muddled trying to put all the conflicting information together..

So I find myself still having to ask. Can I safely and legally tow this trailer with my wife and 3 growing boys on board?
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Old 10-22-2008, 04:24 PM   #3
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Bazimars, good to be asking these questions first.

First thing to do is load up the family, fill up the gas tank and add the normal travel cargo to the truck and head down to the scales. Get the weight on each axle and a total weight (or add the axle weights) and add about 150# for a 5er hitch. This is you Laden Vehicle Weight or LVW.

On the drivers door jamb you will find a sticker with the GVWR or gross vehicle weight rating which is the most you vehicle is rated to weigh when fully loaded. Next find the rear GAWR or gross axle weight rating.

Look in the owners manual and find the GCWR or gross combined vehicle weight rating which the most your truck and any towed load combined weight is rated. This will be a number specific to the cab model, engine and rear axle ratio. If you do not know the rear axle ratio, there should be a axle code on the door tag which can be decoded by the dealer or possibly by a member here.

Now for the math:

GCWR - LVW = maximum loaded trailer weight you can tow.

GVWR - LVW = maximum loaded trailer pin weight you can carry.

Your pin weight plus the rear axle weight should not exceed the axle GAWR.

Now what does the trailer weigh loaded. You can ignore the brochure dry weight and brochure pin weight. This a base number and included no options. Any item listed in the brochure as an option is not included in the dry weight.

Inside the trailer (in a cabinet or closet) there is a tag listing the UVW or unloaded vehicle weight which should include any factory options, but none added by the dealer. Add to this weight, about 1/4 tank of water at 8.33 #/gal, and 6.0 #/gal for propane plus your foof and supplies. It is pretty easy to have a trailer at 750# or more over the unloaded or dry weight.

Pin weight can be estimated at 20& of the trailer GVWR for rough numbers.

The loaded weight and pin weight should not exceed the weights you calculated above.

The problem you will have with the 1/2 ton truck is the GVWR and the pin weight. You can pull a larger travel trailer than a 5er due to the lower hitch weight on a travel trailer.

More than likely, a 22' 5er plus the family will have you right at the limits if not a bit over the limits unless you load really light.

Have fun shopping.

Ken
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Old 10-22-2008, 04:33 PM   #4
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Hi Bazimars....consider the truck frame, size of brake pads, amount of engine torque, suspension etc.
I towed a 27' lite weight Terry Dakota for a few years with a 1500 GMC. While I had the HP to haul, the torque was lacking in all uphill or windy cituations. I installed rear airbags for the truck suspension, changed the rear gear ratio from 3:43 to 3:73. With just D/W and I, I was on pins and needles all the time, feeling I was holding traffic. Your cituation is similar, can be done, but I would avoid the same scenerio at all costs now. The three growing boys will be a factor in your calculations as well. I personally think too much power is definately the better way to go. Much better to have it, and not use it than need it and not have it. I too, was in the some place and ended up changing trucks.
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Old 10-23-2008, 06:08 AM   #5
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Ken gave you a really good step by step to determine what you should or should not tow. However I have simplified it a great deal. Get the scaled weight of your trucks loaded ready to camp. Add 250 pounds for the hitch. Never seen a 150 pound fiver hitch. To this add 20% of the intended fivers GVWR and you should have a fairly close estimate of how much the truck will weigh all hitched up and ready to go camping. From the drivers door post you can get the GVWR numbers along with the axle ratings. Now, it is a simple matter of reading to see if you are going to be comfortable at those numbers. All before you spend a dime.
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Old 10-23-2008, 09:47 AM   #6
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All these other guys have far more knowledge and experience that I, but I think you'll exceed your stated payload with this small trailer. In this case the weight of the trailer should pose no problem, but I calculate your pin weighy (at trailer GVWR) to be just 100 pounds less than your stated max payload.

Maybe you can do it without stuff, people, or gas.

Ralph
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Old 10-23-2008, 06:25 PM   #7
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I was figuring it will close on weight and that is why I suggest weighing the truck in travel trim. The smaller Reese 5er hitches will probably be closer to 150# in weight then 250#.

Ken
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Old 10-25-2008, 02:26 PM   #8
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Bazimars...HEREis a link that will help you calculate your number requirments. Brad
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Old 11-03-2008, 04:54 PM   #9
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Thanks for all of the great advice. As a result, I have abandoned the idea of getting a 5TH wheel. The Ram is my first real pickup and I giess I was seduced by all the towing advantages that I had heard of over the years about 5th wheels. I realize now that a 1500 would have far too many limitations. For one, I would never be able to have that 20% safety margin that I prefer and have generally had pulling a tt.

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Old 11-07-2008, 01:06 PM   #10
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Another point is that if you ever decide to upgrade to a bigger fithwheel, you would also have to upgrade your truck.
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