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Old 09-29-2014, 05:28 PM   #1
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They're Killing Us

I realize this is long, but it is worth reading.
The automotive manufacturers of light-weight pickup trucks, commonly referred to as "half-ton" pickups, should be investigated in regards to their inflated towing and payload capacity claims for 5th wheel type recreational vehicles! The 5th wheel recreational vehicle manufacturers, realizing the phenominal sales of these half-ton pickup trucks, should also be investigated in regards to their claims of being easily towed by these vehicles. Both are guilty of violating the trust and safety of us consumers. All of the major automotive manufacturers market half-ton pickup trucks; Dodge RAM, Chevrolet, GMC, and Ford. They all claim towing and payload capacities far in excess of actual abilities. Most recreational vehicle manufacturers, and there are dozens, market a 5th wheel type trailer designed lightweight enough to be towed by half-ton pickup trucks. In truth, and known by both, the capabilities of these half-ton pickup trucks are exceeded. The advertised payloads of these half-ton trucks are fictional! Take for an example, a 2014 Dodge RAM 1500 pickup truck. This truck, as advertised, has the ability to tow a maximum of 13,400 pounds with a maximum payload of 1,730 pounds, when properly configured with necessary options. Each truck has its payload shown on a decal affixed to the drivers side door. But this figure is not a real-life working number. The real number is buried under so much hype and advertising that it becomes out of sight and out of mind. Consumers quickly grow weary of digging through the smokescreen trying to determine the real payload and instead just accept the number as offered. How the number is created is purposely not clear. It starts with the maximum load capacity of the tires and front and rear axles. In the example, the maximum weight on the front steering axle is rated at 3,700 pounds, and for the rear drive axle 3,900 pounds. It appears together they would support 7,600 pounds. But then the truck frame and chassis components must be considered. To increase miles-per-gallon figures Dodge has reduced the weight of the truck by reducing the weight of the materials used. Because of the limited strength of these lighter materials used, Dodge RAM has reduced the maximum vehicle weight from 7,600 pounds to 6,800 pounds. The actual weight of the truck with all fuel and lubricants and it's options is then deducted from this maximum weight. In the example, the curb weight is 5,070 pounds with a full tank of gas. This leaves a maximum payload of 1,730 pounds. But, factory add-on options must be deducted from this weight as well. As an example, running boards are added weighing 44 pounds each, leaving 1,642 pounds. This is the payload of the truck as it leaves the factory, and is that figure recorded on the decal near the drivers side door; "The maximum weight of all cargo and passengers must not exceed 1,642 pounds." Now, in order to tow a 5th wheel type trailer, a hitch pin receiver must be bolted inside the truck bed. A typical receiver weighs 150 pounds and its weight must be subtracted from the payload, leaving 1,492 pounds. Also, the weight of the driver must be deducted. And, as hardly no one travels alone, the weight of a passenger must be deducted. Considering 180 pounds for the driver and 150 pounds for the passenger, this leaves 1,162 pounds for payload. The weight of the 5th wheel recreational vehicle which must be carried by the pickup trucks rear axle is known as the pin weight. In this example, without considering any other cargo or camping gear carried in the truck, the maximum pin weight which can be carried by this truck is 1,162 pounds. It is difficult to near impossible to find a 5th wheel type recreational vehicle, when fully loaded with its cargo, having anywhere near this pin weight. Most are in the neighborhood of 1,500 pounds or more. But the recreational vehicle manufacturers realize the half-ton pickup trucks pin weight limitation, and they design their 5th wheel trailers to have a pin weight of less than 1,200 pounds. And, they loudly advertise this light pin weight. They claim "Half-ton compatible!" and "Ultra light weight!" But, this is for an EMPTY trailer! They fully realize that one must add such things as clothing, food, water, camping supplies, etc. And, they fully realize that when those items are added that the pin weight is greatly increased and the maximum payload of the truck is grossly exceeded. In fact, by the design of a 5th wheel trailer, most, if not all, of the added weight is to the front of the trailer, in the basement storage area, carried by the hitch pin. This overloads the trucks rear axle, forcing the front of the truck pointing up into the sky, and reducing visibility and the ability to properly steer the vehicle, putting stress on the springs, shocks, drive components, and especially the brakes of the truck. This makes for a very unsafe condition. Not only is this unsafe for the occupants of the truck towing the trailer, but also for anyone in the vicinity of the vehicles. This causes premature wear, fatigue, and failure of the parts. This practice must be stopped before another person is critically injured or killed. Manufacturers must be required to publish realistic payloads using real world configurations. Nobody travels with an empty trailer and very few persons travel alone. Payload figures should specify exactly what is included and what is not included, and 5th wheel trailer pin weights should be published for fully loaded trailers. Most people would readily purchase the proper vehicle if they had all the correct information. But, alas, if manufacturers made this information available, sales of half-ton trucks would decrease, along with subsequent sales of half-ton compatible, ultra lightweight 5th wheel trailers. The real-world weights are disguised by claims of inflated payloads no where near actual weights. Truck and RV manufacturers must take responsibility for their actions. I realize taking on the truck and recreational vehicle dealers is like taking on an 800 pound gorilla. They spend more on advertising and marketing than any other commerce, but at the loss of human life. These are the lives of yours and mine. This practice has to be stopped!

Chillbilly - Maryville, TN - Forest River Rockwood 5th Wheel - Ford F250 - Semper-Fi
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Old 09-29-2014, 05:55 PM   #2
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I always tell ; anyone who'll listen to size the truck to the trailer , 5er , GVWR, because the only time a trailer is dry is pulling it off the assembly line.
Anytime an RV salesman starts quoting dry weigh, walk away.

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Old 09-29-2014, 06:00 PM   #3
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Things like this are just another reason sites like this are good, otherwise many more people would buy things based on what the salespeople tell them.

Joe 1998 Itasca Sunflyer Ford 460
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:29 PM   #4
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I have been saying for some time that those commercials where they show a way too small truck towing a way too big trailer, or an airplane, or a _______ (Fill in the blank with something way too big) are dangerous.

You simply took the time to explain in detail why I say that...

Of course some companies care about customers living long enough to buy another _____.

Other companies want you to crash and burn so you will need to get another ______ sooner (if that is you survive)

I won't say which companies.
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:55 PM   #5
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Oh come on now

I saw a Toyota truck commercial were it was pulling the space shuttle on it's moth ball journey to it's resting place. You mean I can't tow a 5th wheel with one.

Great post and stats by the way.
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:57 PM   #6
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Big difference in hauling the Space Shuttle vs towing a 5W. It's called pin weight.

I don't have a problem with the pick-up manufacturers - I think their claims can be supported with actual testing, especially now that they all subscribe to SAE J2807. I don't recall any truck manufacturer stating they could haul a 10,000+ lb 5W, and they really can move a travel or utility trailer that size.

But I do find nonsense claims by RV trailer builders that their trailer is "half ton towable", even though the pin weight of that trailer is well beyond the payload of even a hefty half ton pick-up. That's false advertising, in my book.
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:07 PM   #7
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Big difference in hauling the Space Shuttle vs towing a 5W. It's called pin weight.
Really ????? Thank for stating the obvious. It was a joke. Ha.
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:07 PM   #8
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That not only applies to 5th wheels, but bumper pull trailers as well. Too many times I have seen a half ton towing a trailer 24 feet and up. It might work fine until you get into a wind storm or similar. Not enough truck for the job. Ford Chev Dodge or what ever!
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Old 09-29-2014, 09:56 PM   #9
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My BIL finally gave up on all those promises after numerous 5th wheel/truck problems, and bought a Diesel Chevy. Not a problem since. But don't forget, people load their RV and 5th wheels up beyond max weight all the time,and that plays a role as well.
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Old 09-29-2014, 11:00 PM   #10
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They're Killing Us

I'm not intimate with the numbers, but based on yours I'd say your point is at least half valid.

You tossed s lot of numbers about half-ton pickups, and in the end showed that they carry about a half ton load. I don't see the problem there. If some idiot buys one to carry a ton of pin weight towing 6 ton of trailer, that's not the truck builder's fault.

On the trailers, it seems the low end fw builders pull the same type of scam that small low end MH makers do-- playing design games with wheel position so the looong rear extension serves to lighten the front end. Works on paper, but results in an unsafe machine , and buyers who don't bother or don't know how to do their homework are left at the mercy of fraudulent sales pitches.

I have no experience with 5ers, but I've dealt with a lot of other land-, sea-, and air-borne vehicles. Just by observation and applying a common sense rule, it looks to me like any 5er at 35 ft or over ought to be towed by an MDT.. On some roads I've seen F350 crewcab dualies that were dwarfed by their trailers. You could tell just by looking that it wasn't right.
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Old 09-30-2014, 12:22 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Chillbilly View Post
They're Killing Us
Well, not all of us. Only those of us that are too ignorant to properly match the tow vehicle to the trailer, and those of us that don't want to buy enough tow vehicle for their trailer because the proper vehicle to tow their trailer is longer/heavier/wider/rougher riding and gets worse MPG than they want for a daily driver, or too big to fit in their garage.

With just a little research, info is available to properly match the tow vehicle to a trailer. You must ignore the manufacturer's misleading claims, and do the math. It requires only junior-high math to come up with the right answers. But lots of otherwise-bright people don't like the answers, so they rationalize all sorts of excuses to ignore all or part of the answer.

Lots of those rationalizers call me part of the weight police, because I call out those that make false claims about matching tow vehicle to trailer. For example, I often see "Ford says my F-150 can tow an 11,000 pound trailer". No, Ford didn't say that. Ford said that your F-150 can tow up to 11,000 pounds travel trailer (TT) only if the F-150 is "properly equipped" with the maximum towing package or the very rare heavy duty payload package, AND you never exceed the GVWR or the GAWRs of the tow vehicle.

If you use valid weight estimates, you'll quickly determine that the F-150 with only the max tow package cannot tow an 11,000 pound TT that has the average of 13% tongue weight without exceeding the GVWR of the F-150. You'll run out of payload capacity long before you reach 11,000 pounds gross trailer weight. And even with the rare heavy duty payload package that has more GVWR, you'll probably run out of payload capacity before you reach 10,000 pounds gross trailer weight, because your wet and loaded F-150 will weigh more than the shipping weight Ford used to determine the tow rating.
Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 3.5L EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 09-30-2014, 01:45 PM   #12
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The sales bs at the tampa show got hysterical. It didnt matter what ever silly combo you threw at a salesman they all said "oh yes an f-150 will tow that". Everyone we came across said the same thing. Usually we laughed and walked away.
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Old 09-30-2014, 01:58 PM   #13
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Do you mean to say that one mustn't expect advertising to be truthful?

No wonder I'm fat, old, ugly, and broke.
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Old 09-30-2014, 02:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Francesca View Post
Do you mean to say that one mustn't expect advertising to be truthful?

No wonder I'm fat, old, ugly, and broke.
Now, Now Francesca don't be so hard on yourself!

You're not broke!

(just kidding! Just kidding!)

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