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Old 02-19-2019, 06:16 PM   #1
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Tundra to tow 7,000 lb (wet) trailer?

Hi,

We're total newbies - haven't even bought a trailer yet. Would love the benefit of the experience people here on the forum have to pick a truck to tow a trailer we like - across the USA and Canda: mountains, deserts, the works.

We really like the Cougar 26RBS - a 26 ft trailer with a dry weight of around 6550 lbs. Approximate wet weight would be around 7,000 lbs. We won't be putting any significant payload in the bed. Just the two of us, clothes, and normal camping gear (mostly in the trailer).

I've read several other threads about towing, which is why we've abandoned the dealer recommendation to buy a Jeep Grand Cherokee to tow the Cougar. We're thinking a Ram 2500 or a Toyota Tundra (5.7L V8 with towing package) - We'd prefer the Tundra.

From personal experience, does anyone have an opinion about the Tundra vs. Ram? I know the Tundra weighs about 1500 lbs less than the Ram 2500. All its other numbers look like they are well in excess of our requirements (towing capacity, or GVWR, or GCVWR, etc.) - at least to my newbie eyes.

I'm also wondering specifically what it is about a 3/4 ton truck that makes it safer to pull a trailer like this vs using a 1/2 ton truck or SUV. I understand it's not just about the towing capacity, or GVWR, or GCVWR. Is it the weight of the truck itself that will resist being pulled around by a trailer in windy conditions, including 18 wheeler drafts? Is it the wheelbase that gives it more stability? Is it the heftier suspension - with tow package? I don't know anything about trucks, but I teach physics, so want to learn what the factors are - clearly, the RV dealers don't have a clue and the truck dealers will sell me anything I ask for while looking at the ceiling and saying "that should work".

I really appreciate any advice, suggestions, experiences anyone can share. I hope to someday be able to give others advice when I've learned a few things.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:15 PM   #2
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From the TV only perspective both increased mass and/or wheelbase improves stability. The way it does this is by keeping the TV center of gravity away from it’s rear axle. The truth is though towing stability is dependent on both TV and trailer characteristics. A trailer with high yaw inertia may require a TV of higher mass and/or WB even when it’s weight is significantly below the TV rating. RV TTs generally have higher yaw inertia then other trailer types so floor plan can make a difference.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:25 PM   #3
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A 3/4 ton truck will give you more margin. Margin is equal to pucker factor when things get serious. Better brakes, tranny, stability etc....


It's not just about if the truck can tow the trailer but also about how the rig will handle in a panic situation or 50mph cross wind. Go big.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demiles View Post
From the TV only perspective both increased mass and/or wheelbase improves stability. The way it does this is by keeping the TV center of gravity away from itís rear axle. The truth is though towing stability is dependent on both TV and trailer characteristics. A trailer with high yaw inertia may require a TV of higher mass and/or WB even when itís weight is significantly below the TV rating. RV TTs generally have higher yaw inertia then other trailer types so floor plan can make a difference.
Hey, thanks a lot! I'll look into the weight and balance affects on yaw inertia. Maybe I'll reach out to Keystone to ask their opinion on the tundra pulling the cost, and recommendation for weight and balance.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:36 PM   #5
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Thanks really appreciate your feedback!
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:37 PM   #6
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One thing that the 3/4 ton truck will have other than weighing 1,500 lbs. more will be the wheelbase. Wheelbase of the tow vehicle helps control the trailer.

I do not know much about the Tundra because I read it was not as refined as the other 1/2 ton trucks and saw the frame was not quite as good as Ford or Ram and now the new Chevy.

Before you buy a truck look at them all. The 2019 Ram 1500 is one super nice capable truck. Now you have the new redesigned Chevy. The Ford, Ram and Chevy are really nice trucks.

I towed a 6,500 lb trailer with a 1/2 ton Ram hemi truck last summer. The truck did ok. I figured my max with a 1/2 ton truck would be 7,500lbs. This Ram truck was a 2005. The wheelbase on all the new trucks have increased.

The Ford F-150 with the Heavy Duty Payload Package (HDPP) would be the best so called 1/2 ton truck to use to tow. It has a long wheelbase, powerful engine and it's own thicker frame.

You can tow that trailer ok with any of the newer 1/2 ton trucks and a good WD hitch with sway control. A 3/4 ton truck would make towing easier.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:40 PM   #7
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We have towed our 28'8" ORV Timber Ridge trailer just fine with our 2014 Tundra. It's dry weight is 6600 the same as your Cougar. ( The ORV, are very heavy trailers, but they also come with the MorRyde 3000 suspension). Wet were in the 7800-8000 range.

Depending on the loaded tongue weight, you may have to add Firestone air bags to the Tundra as I did. The reliability of the Toyota, and my past Toyota's ( three 4Runners) adds that piece of mind while traveling.

Of course a 3/4 or one ton diesel or gas truck will move you down the road far fast / more confidently, but will sacrifice ride comfort, lighter wallet.

Did a 3000 mile / 6 week trip to the New England state this past fall. With mostly mountain camping. In 2016 did a 14k mile / 4 month Alaska trip with a slightly smaller 26' trailer with 100% confidence.

Now have I seen "others" tow at or over the Tundra's towing stated capacities (9900 lbs max trailer towing) . Yes, some well over, Yes, some WAY over....But you get that with all brands of trucks.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:47 PM   #8
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Both are good trucks depending on what they will be used for. Can you tell us why you prefer the Tundra? Is the Tundra a four wheel drive crew cab version?

*The Cougar 26RBS has a gross weight rating (GVWR) of 8,800 lbs.

A 2018 5.7L Tundra (4x2) will have a payload/cargo capacity range of 1,600 to 1,730 lbs depending on options and a towing capacity up to 10,200 lbs depending on model and options. A 2018 5.7L Ram 2500 (4x2) will have a payload capacity about 4,000 lbs and towing capacity up to 13,900 lbs.

Payload capacity, NOT TOWING CAPACITY, is usually the limiting factor in a truck, especially a 1/2 ton pickup. Figuring a tongue weight of a minimum 10% of the GVWR of the Cougar gives an 880 lbs. of additional payload on the tow vehicle. Add about 80 lbs for the weight distribution/sway hitch means 960 lbs. of cargo. Then add about 500 lbs. of passengers and other things carried in the truck which is a total payload of 1,460 lbs. This may be under the maximum payload capacity of the Tundra. However, if it is a 4x4, then it will have a somewhat lower maximum payload and towing capacity.

Also, most experts advise not towing a travel trailer over 80% of the maximum towing capacity. 80% of the highest Tundra towing capacity, 10,200 lbs, is 8,160 lbs. which is NOT under the Cougar's GVWR of 8,800. But, it's close.

Obviously, the Ram 2500 maximum payload and towing capacity will be well below the GVWR of the Cougar.

Based on the above example, either vehicle can safely tow the Cougar 26RBS. However, as happens with a lot of TT owners, if you decide in the future to get a larger TT, the Tundra may not have the rated capacity for a larger unit. With the Ram 2500, there is a lot of extra capacity to get a heavier TT.

I tried to be unbiased in the above information. Now, for my opinion. If I owned a Tundra that met the above maximum ratings, I'd be comfortable using it to tow the Cougar TT. However, if given the choice, I'd go with a 3/4 ton pickup like the Ram 2500 because it would be a more stable towing vehicle, especially in cross winds, and have the extra capacity if I decided to upgrade the TT. Again, just my personal opinion which is not as important as your opinion.

*Source - https://www.rvusa.com/rv-guide/2019-...-26rbs-tr37900
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Hey, thanks a lot! I'll look into the weight and balance affects on yaw inertia. Maybe I'll reach out to Keystone to ask their opinion on the tundra pulling the cost, and recommendation for weight and balance.
Don't even think about asking Keystone about "What you can tow" They will nod their heads even if you said Subaru.


Quote:
Based on the above example, either vehicle can safely tow the Cougar 26RBS. However, as happens with a lot of TT owners, if you decide in the future to get a larger TT, the Tundra may not have the rated capacity for a larger unit. With the Ram 2500, there is a lot of extra capacity to get a heavier TT.
I would agree, we first looked at a Arctic Fox 30' / 7400 dry unit. I never even thought about being able to tow "that" unit with my Tundra. Some might...but I wanted 20% under my max towing number. What we have now will out last my Tundra. Waiting for the next gen Tundra's maybe in 2021?

We trailer hunted for 18 months. Was disappointed with many brands of RV trailers being sold in the Midwest. Not till kicking tires on some Arctic Fox and ORV (sister companies) brands did we find that next RV. We always wanted to stay under 30'. My sweet spot (wish) was in the 26-28' range, where some are not happy under 35-40'.


Quote:
Also, most experts advise not towing a travel trailer over 80% of the maximum towing capacity. 80% of the highest Tundra towing capacity, 10,200 lbs, is 8,160 lbs. which is NOT under the Cougar's GVWR of 8,800. But, it's close.
The GVWR is at least in my opinion "not" a good barometer in what a vehicle can tow. You have three 30' RV trailers. #1 has a cargo capacity of 1200 lbs., #2 a cargo capacity of 2000 lbs, #3 a cargo capacity of 3000 lbs. My ORV as a 3400 lbs CCC. I don't own enough stuff in my home to stuff into my RV. Knowing I have 3400 lbs. of cargo capacity, I'm I going to "some" day put that much stuff in. NO, I know in my own travel patterns I'm going to be in the 1200 lbs. range of cargo. 1450 lbs If I travel with some water.
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:30 PM   #10
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I'm pretty sure you will be adding more than your estimated 450 pounds to the dry weight. If you have 2 30 lb propane tanks that's 60 pounds of propane right there. The dry weight probably doesn't include a 60 pound battery either. Even if you have no water in your fresh water tank (which is a bad idea in my opinion) you would still have 6 gallons in your water heater unless you go to the trouble to drain it each time. That's another almost 50 pounds.I'd keep at least 5 to 10 gallons of water on board in case you need to use the toilet, wash your hands, get a drink, etc. so there's another 40 to 80 pounds. Food and beverages are heavy. Dishes, utensils, pots, pans, tools, leveling blocks, lawn chairs, clothes, linens, towels, personal items, books, computer, step stool, etc. all adds up.
I would bet you will be between 7,500 and 8,000 loaded to camp. That will likely mean 800 to 1000 pounds of tongue weight plus the hitch.
The Tundra may do it if you pack the truck light too. If it were me, I'd go with a heavier duty truck. I like to have some extra capacity and margin for error.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:04 PM   #11
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I wanted to buy a Tundra but check the driver door yellow sticker at the dealer parking lot. I found a few Tundras with a payload of 1430 pounds. These were the lower trim double cabs. The typical 4wd Crew cab was closer to 1100-1200 pounds. Add driver and passenger plus tongue weight of trailer and you are out of payload quickly.

I ended up buying a GMC 2500HD with a door sticker payload of 2662 pounds.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:16 PM   #12
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That trailers 29'11" not 26'. Dry tongue weight is 880 lbs. Add 1-2 batteries, propane and some normal gear to the front of the TT and you'll easily be over 1,000 lbs for tongue weight. Add that to you and what ever else goes in the truck and you could be adding 1300-1400 lbs to the payload. Might want to check your door sticker or better yet load the truck up like you would and go weigh it. Subtract that weight form the trucks GVWR and thats how much you have for tongue weight. Add the WDH to that also.

BTDT with a 7300 lb, 950 lb TW TT @31' and a 1/2 ton with max tow. It wasn't always fun and games. Moved to a 3/4 ton and things were way way better.
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Old 02-20-2019, 04:34 AM   #13
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THANK you to all responders!! I've learned a lot already. Really impressed by how many people are helping out a newbie asking basic questions. Much appreciated!!

IBTRipping asked why we prefer a Tundra: We've driven Toyota Siennas for many years. Love the brand and reliability. BUT, in looking into TUndra vs other 1/2 ton trucks after seeing your comments, I see it's on the small end. Somehow, I had thought it was sort of in the middle between 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton trucks. Obviously not. We have yet to test drive a 3/4 ton truck. We're not pickup people, so I guess it just seemed like a huge vehicle. But we need to go try one. OTOH several are saying the newer 1/2 tons like the Ram 1500 or Ford 150 are very capable of towing this size trailer.

Also had not considered the payload angle, as I wasn't planning to put much of anything in the bed (that I know of now). Even though I really don't think we'll be getting near the 8800 lbs GVWR of the Cougar, your point is a good one. Still makes things pretty close to margins.

Tuffr2: Thanks for the personal experience! I have to look up the WD hitch.

Superslif: Thanks for sharing your experiences! I don't think we're going to be loading 4,000 lbs of stuff either. My wife does not like clutter, OTOH, her purse will weigh in at about 2500 lbs. (Ouch, she just hit me)

KD4UPL: Thanks for that perspective! I knew about the liquid weight, and other things, but each didn't seem that significant. Put them all down and add them up - they get to be significant.

astrocamper and Cumminsfan: Appreciate the thoughts on the weight. I'm going to be looking at the Ram 1500 and 2500 now. Toyota Tundra just seems to close to the margins. I like to play it safe - especially when I'm new at something. That's how I survived many solo treks into the wilderness when I was younger and learning as I went.
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Old 02-20-2019, 04:56 AM   #14
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If the trailer starts at 6500 lbs., it's much safer to assume that it will be closer to 8,000 lbs. with gear, propane, some water in the tank, etc. Having owned a Tundra, it could tow it but it would be a heavier load than I would recommend. I towed a Minnie 2201DS that weighed in the area of 6,500 lbs. loaded, and it was a great combo. But I towed a heavier, close to 8K trailer when I first bought the Tundra and you could tell that it was approaching the limit for the Tundra. So, I'm glad you've decided to go with the Ram.

I strongly suggest that you go with a 3/4 ton truck. It will cost a little more, but you'll have a tow vehicle that has a lot more capacity should you decide to get a different trailer in the future. I know they've increased the tow ratings on 1/2 ton trucks in recent years, but going with the 3/4 ton truck would be the smarter choice if you plan to continue towing.

You and the DW can get used to a larger truck. When we bought our first TT, a 2002 Sunline (28'), I ended up buying a used 2001 Dodge 3500 (gas) dually. And my wife ended up using it to drive to work as she only had to go a mile down the road. But, she adjusted to driving it and would take it shopping if necessary. It was more truck than we needed, but I had to find a used truck and it was the best deal around. We kept the truck and trailer for 10 years!
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