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Old 09-22-2017, 01:01 PM   #1
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Can I tow this?

This is all new to me but I've been reading a lot on this forum and trying to decide what to purchase. I read a lot about how you can't trust what car and rv dealers tell me, and to be honest I don't understand these calculations that tell me how much I can tow so I'm hoping you can help me .what I'd like to do is purchase a Dodge Durango with a V8 engine and has a towing capacity of 7400 lb. The travel trailers I really like when you add up dry weight, hitch weight , and wet weight equal 7000 lb. Is that running it too close? I will be using this for cross-country trips so I can guarantee I will not always be going on straight flat highways. If it is what would you recommend the heaviest total weight I could tow with this Dodge Durango thanks for your help.
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Old 09-22-2017, 02:45 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimcht View Post
This is all new to me but I've been reading a lot on this forum and trying to decide what to purchase. I read a lot about how you can't trust what car and rv dealers tell me, and to be honest I don't understand these calculations that tell me how much I can tow so I'm hoping you can help me .what I'd like to do is purchase a Dodge Durango with a V8 engine and has a towing capacity of 7400 lb. The travel trailers I really like when you add up dry weight, hitch weight , and wet weight equal 7000 lb. Is that running it too close? I will be using this for cross-country trips so I can guarantee I will not always be going on straight flat highways. If it is what would you recommend the heaviest total weight I could tow with this Dodge Durango thanks for your help.
You need to know what the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the trailer you are looking at. This weigh included what you've mention above plus allows for the "stuff" that you plan to take with you. "Stuff" is, food, clothing, bicycles ( if you plan to carry them ) chairs, bottled drinks, bedding, cleaning supplies, towels and many other things.
Believe me, the weight of "stuff" adds up fast. PLUS, you'll find as you go along, you will inevitably add more stuff.
Assuming your loaded trailer does not exceed your 7000lb expectation, towing it with a vehicle that only has a 400 lb margin to it's GVWR, in my opinion, is not wise.
If you want to tow with a Durango, I'd suggest you find a lighter TT.
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Old 09-22-2017, 04:08 PM   #3
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the GVWR is 7000. with a towing capacity of 7400, what would you say a safe GVWR would be?
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Old 09-22-2017, 04:45 PM   #4
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A vehicle with a tow rating of 7400 lbs will probably not have the payload capacity to handle a 7000 lb trailer. That tow rating is within the range of a mid-range half-ton truck, and it's the payload capacity (up to 1500 lbs) that's usually the limiter there. The tongue weight alone is going to eat up most or all of that.

I don't know the actual weight of that vehicle, but for a generous estimate, let's assume you have 1500 lbs available. That 1500 lbs needs to allow for the tongue weight, your hitch weight, the fuel weight, any in-vehicle cargo weight, and the weight of the passengers. With some standard numbers, you'll probably have in the range of 150 - 500 lbs available for vehicle cargo and passengers.
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Old 09-22-2017, 04:49 PM   #5
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the GVWR is 7000. with a towing capacity of 7400, what would you say a safe GVWR would be?
I've used this website before
Travel Trailer Weight Calculator
They recommend a 20% margin for safely towing.
Others may have different suggestions..
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Old 09-22-2017, 04:56 PM   #6
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I've used this website before
Travel Trailer Weight Calculator
They recommend a 20% margin for safely towing.
Others may have different suggestions..
I feel that's a very good recommendation. I have towed the same trailer (~7000 lbs dry) with three different trucks (1/2 ton gas/crew cab/short box with 9500 max tow, 3/4 ton diesel/double cab/long box with 13000 max tow, and 3/4 gas/double cab/long box with 13000 max tow), I've reached a number of conclusions:

1. Beyond 80% of the max tow, you'll really notice the road bounce and sway.
2. Between the two 3/4 tons, the longer wheel base of the diesel/long box does have a noticeable improvement on the sway.
3. The diesel's torque is much better at hills, but the 3/4 ton gas was sufficient to maintain speed over any pass we threw at it. The 1/2 ton gas could only manage 30 MPH up any hill.
4. The diesel MPG is roughly the same on flat ground but far exceeds the gas on hills. Still, I calculated it at 50,000-100,000 miles before the increased cost of the diesel engine offsets the reduced overall fuel cost.
5. A hitch with some kind of sway control does have a noticeable improvement on sway, especially when it's windy.
6. The stiffer suspension of the 3/4 tons is very helpful in reducing road bounce.
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Old 09-23-2017, 06:15 AM   #7
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I appreciate the recommendations and the calculators but they aren't helping me. #1 its a foreign language to me but #2 I am trying to purchase the right vehicle for the trailer I want so I don't have the numbers for those calculations. So.... Just in general what kind of towing capacity would I need to tow a full weighted trailer of 6000 #. Or 7000#. Can I do the Durango at 7400 tow rating? Or do I need to go to a 1/2 ton truck?
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Old 09-23-2017, 06:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by kimcht View Post
I appreciate the recommendations and the calculators but they aren't helping me. #1 its a foreign language to me but #2 I am trying to purchase the right vehicle for the trailer I want so I don't have the numbers for those calculations. So.... Just in general what kind of towing capacity would I need to tow a full weighted trailer of 6000 #. Or 7000#. Can I do the Durango at 7400 tow rating? Or do I need to go to a 1/2 ton truck?
Trying to pull any trailer with a tow vehicle that is with a couple hundred pounds of its max tow weight is asking for trouble. You will be white knuckled the whole ride as that TT shoves and pushes you all over the road, everyone will be blowing the horn at you as you back up traffic on every hill, you will be saying prayers at every traffic light you come to that it will be green so you don't have to try and bring that load to a stop, and heaven forbid someone stops short in front of you for a sudden turn or a squirrel in the road. If the Durango will tow 7000, I would hook anything heavier to than around 4500 lbs. I had a RAM 1500 rated at 8200 lbs, purchased a TT that was reportedly 6300 lbs, thinking I would be good. I found out quickly on the ride home from the RV dealer I was wrong. Two weeks later RAM was upgraded to a 2500 Diesel. I'm not saying don't tow with anything less than a duelly, don't get me wrong. There are RVs out there a Durango will certainly handle fine. Just don't cut it that close, leave a lot of room, like the above mentioned 20% at a minimum. A good crew cab, 1/2 ton pick-up with a factory tow package would fit your needs better though, it sounds like. Good luck and safe travels.
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Old 09-23-2017, 06:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by kimcht View Post
I appreciate the recommendations and the calculators but they aren't helping me. #1 its a foreign language to me but #2 I am trying to purchase the right vehicle for the trailer I want so I don't have the numbers for those calculations. So.... Just in general what kind of towing capacity would I need to tow a full weighted trailer of 6000 #. Or 7000#. Can I do the Durango at 7400 tow rating? Or do I need to go to a 1/2 ton truck?
The simple answer, sure, you can tow it, but will you be able to stop it? Aside from that, I don't think you'll be happy heading up a 4% or 5% grade with a 7000# trailer being pulled by a Durango. The real fun will begin when you crest the hill and head down the other side.
Everyone loves to spend other people's money so get a half ton truck instead of the Durango. By the way, the tow vehicle doesn't have to be "new", there are some decent buys on 1 to 3 year old half ton trucks.
What you don't want to do is buy something and then realize you don't have enough power to accomplish the task at hand. Don't ask how I know this.
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Old 09-23-2017, 07:33 AM   #10
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Get a 3/4 ton truck. I assume the trailer you want is over 28 feet long if it weighs that much. It will not be an enjoyable ride pulling that much length with a 1/2 ton.
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Old 09-23-2017, 07:45 AM   #11
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You should not buy a Durango to tow a 7000 pound trailer. Since you have options look at other trucks or SUVs. Most f150s with the tow package would tow that and if you can find one with the HD payload option even better.

The problem with SUVs is folks want to carry lots of people AND tow a trailer. They usually only have the ability to do one of those things at a time so then they try to play the load it light game to reduce the tongue weight. That results in trailer sway with a tow vehicle that is not robust enough to overcome it.

There is a yellow loading sticker on the drivers door sill that shows the cargo capacity of that particular vehicle so be sure to check it before you buy. That trailer even empty should have a tongue weight around 700 pounds to tow properly and when loaded for camping will be between 850 to 1000 pounds. Add in 100 for the hitch and any gear and passengers you will carry to find out how much cargo capacity your truck will need and add at least 10% to that number. Keep in mind that ANY tow vehicle at max rated weight will not be enjoyable to drive and the closer you are to the maximum the better you need to have the hitch and balance of the trailer set up. A little off when you have lots of safety margin is not a big deal but becomes a big deal when you are close to overweight.
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Old 09-23-2017, 08:10 AM   #12
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I have a boat that weighs around 7000 lbs, as well as an enclosed trailer that has a gvwr of 7000 lbs. I pull them with a 5.7 Tundra half ton. I wouldnt want to pull much more, even though its rated for over 10. To me that weight feels like its approaching the SAFE maximum I should be pulling. I think you wont have enough truck with a durango. Go at least to a half ton with the tow package like mine. Rated for 10000 but keep it around 7000 to 8000 max. You would be surprised how much all the little things you and the wife put in the trailer add up.
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Old 09-23-2017, 08:23 AM   #13
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You have never lived until a loaded trailer decides to push your (in my case 1/2 ton) truck all over a three lane highway with each oscillation of the trailer threatens to roll it's self and your truck over. One of my more white knuckel experiences. Seriously, look at a 3/4 ton diesel.
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Old 09-23-2017, 03:45 PM   #14
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Kimcht, help us out a little bit and we will help you. It really sounds like you want the Durango, which is a nice SUV to be sure. Tell us how much you want to haul around we will try to get you close. Will you be just the two of you or will you have 4-5 people in the car? Do you bring bikes, kids toys and stuff, coolers, lots of other "stuff" in the car? Are you going to want the trailer "luxed" up with lots of options and packages for longer term RVing, or do you want bare bones for simple camping? Are you going to have a generator? Are you going to want extra batteries for "boondocking"? Are you going to want the added convenience of travelling "wet" by having your water tank full or will you fill up with water when you arrive at your campsite? (If you travel dry then you can't use the potty on the way). Will you be fully stocking your kitchen and pantry for cooking or do you usually only use the RV for sleeping and will eat out most days/nights? The reasons for these questions have to do with weight and how heavy you will be while towing. Are there any forum members out there with a late model Durango that can share their actual and gross weight ratings for the vehicle and both axles? With this information, we can use the towing calculators and come up with a range of reasonable estimate of trailer dry weight that you can then use for shopping around. Everyone has a different opinion of margin of safety from none to 25% so don't be surprised by a pretty wide range of answers. Come on everyone, lets help out Kimcht.
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