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Old 11-18-2013, 09:02 PM   #1
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New and Looking for Advice

Hello all!

I have been looking for a TT, but before I spend the money I would like to hear from others with a little experience.

This will be my first, but I have a good friend that has a TT that my wife and myself have stayed in. Also, my father has had several, and is now full timing in a 5er. I say that to give my full experience with camping.

We have just had our first child, which is why we are looking to buy a TT. I have a 1/2 ton 2011 Dodge Ram with the 5.7 and 3.92 gearing. So, I have the truck to pull about 9500lbs, but I would prefer to stay way under that. After looking at many different models we have both agreed that we want a rear living model. I really like the models that have the opposing slides because of the space it gives you. I'm an only child, and I enjoy my personal space.

We will mostly be taking trips within a few hundred miles from home "weekend getaways", but would like to take a more extended trip once or twice a year.

I have only been inside the Heartland Wilderness 3175RE and a few Coleman models. The Coleman's seemed a little overpriced, and I don't want to just buy the only model I've ever been in.

So, my question is, are there other recommended models that I should seek out and try to find in person? Are there any recommendations against going for a rear living model? I have also looked at 1/2 ton towable 5th wheels, but I would like to bring a golf cart along when possible, and that rules out a 5er unless there are light 5er toy haulers out there.

As you can tell, I'm very undecided, and I am having a hard time really narrowing down my selection. Thanks for any experience that can be bestowed upon me.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:36 PM   #2
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Buying TT

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenCatch View Post
Hello all!

I have been looking for a TT, but before I spend the money I would like to hear from others with a little experience.

This will be my first, but I have a good friend that has a TT that my wife and myself have stayed in. Also, my father has had several, and is now full timing in a 5er. I say that to give my full experience with camping.

We have just had our first child, which is why we are looking to buy a TT. I have a 1/2 ton 2011 Dodge Ram with the 5.7 and 3.92 gearing. So, I have the truck to pull about 9500lbs, but I would prefer to stay way under that. After looking at many different models we have both agreed that we want a rear living model. I really like the models that have the opposing slides because of the space it gives you. I'm an only child, and I enjoy my personal space.

We will mostly be taking trips within a few hundred miles from home "weekend getaways", but would like to take a more extended trip once or twice a year.

I have only been inside the Heartland Wilderness 3175RE and a few Coleman models. The Coleman's seemed a little overpriced, and I don't want to just buy the only model I've ever been in.

So, my question is, are there other recommended models that I should seek out and try to find in person? Are there any recommendations against going for a rear living model? I have also looked at 1/2 ton towable 5th wheels, but I would like to bring a golf cart along when possible, and that rules out a 5er unless there are light 5er toy haulers out there.

As you can tell, I'm very undecided, and I am having a hard time really narrowing down my selection. Thanks for any experience that can be bestowed upon me.
I would stay away from Coleman TT they are cheap and not well made.
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:30 PM   #3
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We came out of our 6th motorhome this year and purchased a travel trailer and a new Dodge truck. We were also looking for the most room while keeping the weight down. We have a similar truck to yours and ended up with a 24" rear kitchen Keystone Bullet with a loaded weight of 6500lbs. and it pulls great with the Ram. It has only one slide but has good room inside. We plan to spend 5 months in it this winter so we will find out! Good luck with your search--it's a great lifestyle!
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:02 AM   #4
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sounds like you should look at some toy haulers ..... They make some really nice ones nowadays
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bellsharbor View Post
We came out of our 6th motorhome this year and purchased a travel trailer and a new Dodge truck. We were also looking for the most room while keeping the weight down. We have a similar truck to yours and ended up with a 24" rear kitchen Keystone Bullet with a loaded weight of 6500lbs. and it pulls great with the Ram. It has only one slide but has good room inside. We plan to spend 5 months in it this winter so we will find out! Good luck with your search--it's a great lifestyle!
What kind of mileage are you getting on you Ram while towing your Keystone? Can you sustain your speed while climbing a moderate hill?

Another question about weight, when I'm reading the specs on any given model, what can I expect to actually be pulling? For instance, say I'm looking at a TT that weighs in at 5000lbs, what can I expect to pull in the real world?
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:40 AM   #6
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With your tow vehicle you are not looking at big TT......Slides mean more weight as well...I would think opposing slides are a no go with your current vehicle. As well the weight of the trailer from the factory is the dry weight....add things like propane and a TT full of personal items, etc....well you get the idea...your weight goes up. Think about a "lite" model TT....or a smaller 5th wheel. Although folks do tow near or over their trucks tow capacity....its a gamble with yours and other folks safety.....as well an insurer might void the ins policy if it were discovered after an accident the TT 's weight over the capacity of the pickup......You may want to consider upgrading your truck to a one ton diesel, which gives you a lot more possibilities and given you have a young family look towards your future needs as well.....What ever you do....welcome to IRV2 and your next adventure.
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:14 PM   #7
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I would start by determining what the actual payload capacity is for your truck. Don't shop on the basis of the manufacturer's "towing capacity", you need to think about your payload. And don't shop on the basis of dry weight listed by manufacturer's. To be on the safe side, use the trailer's GVWR for total weight and 15% of that for tongue weight. If your truck has an extended or crew cab, long box or is 4x4, your actual payload capacity could be quite a bit less than what's on the door jamb sticker. And if has other factory options like say tow hooks, those can all be heavy and also reduce the payload capacity. We "lost" around 900 lbs of capacity in our truck because of the options we have and the canopy we added. A golf cart would take away a lot of payload cap. so be cautious.

Don't forget that the payload capacity on the sticker only includes a full tank of fuel and a skinny driver. If you have a family, pets, groceries plus camping gear in the back, that will take away from payload capacity. The can easily be in the 400-500 lb range and more. Payload capacity can be more important than towing capacity. Most TV manufacturer's are trying to outdo each other on towing capacity while being silent on payload capacity.

You want to avoid towing near/at the truck's capacities. It won't make for enjoyable towing in hilly and steeper areas and/or if it's really windy. We were towing a max. towing capacity with our old truck and TT and on steep inclines on the interstate, could only make 30-35 mph on the right shoulder with the semis. On the flat with strong headwinds, it was really hard to maintain a decent and even speed. Not good for the truck. In fact, we had to stop at 3 Ford dealers along an 1800 mile trip for minor engine repairs due to the TT's strain on it.

Once you have determined your payload cap. you have available for tongue wt., then you can safely and confidently go shopping for a trailer. You may want to look at axle ratings and GCWR, but I'm guessing it's payload that will be the deciding criteria.

Forget about anything that is advertised as "1/2 ton towable". That's just a marketing ploy. Unless you have specifically ordered your truck with options for maximum payload and towing capacity, a lot of the "1/2 ton towable" trailers are too much for most trucks. For example, KZ has their Durango 5th wheel line which for the largest unit, has a GVWR of 10,800 lbs. Pin weight would be up around 2,000 lbs or more. I'm not sure what 1/2T trucks are good enough for that. If a dealer says "sure your truck can handle that no problem", run and find another dealer...

Some purchasers unfortunately find that the new trailer they purchased is too much weight for their truck. I would try and negotiate a clause in the purchase agreement that you can return the trailer for a full refund (with a reasonable period) if it's not working for you. Otherwise, your only way out may be to buy a bigger truck.

Be wary of any trailer that is called a "lite-weight". Light weight means thinner and less substantial construction in order to save weight. Even frames can be sub-standard to lose weight.

I'd take a look at trailers with 2 year warranties like Jayco and KZ. Jayco seems to be a popular and well-liked brand. It can easily take over a year to find major faults, especially if you bought your unit in the offseason and it sits idle in your yard with the warranty ticking away. BTW, extended warranties by most people's opinions, and ours, are not worth the money.

You don't mention budget. Notwithstanding weight and capacity limits of your truck, even if just as a quality reference, I'd take a look at Outdoors RV products. I like what I've heard about them and what I've read on their website. Don't get sucked in by the eye candy appeal at a dealer lot or show. Look at and think about things you can't see at first glance like the frame and suspension. There's a lot of low quality trailers out there and you kind of get what you pay for. If a certain brand/model catches your attention, read anything and everything about it you can find on the internet and make sure you include words like "quality, issues, problems and frame cracks". Also, besides trailer quality, you would be smart to think about dealer quality. Some are terrific but some are bad. We've experienced both. A bad dealer can turn a perfectly good RV into a nightmare. Some manufacturers will go to bat for you and stand behind their warranty. Some will try and avoid their warranty obligations. Sometimes they will pass you off onto a 3rd party supplier like Lippert to battle it out with. Forest River has a number of brands under their umbrella. Some of their makes and models are better than others as is the warranty and factory support.

The internet is one of your best tools. Going to an RV show is also good because you will be warm and dry and spend lots of time there. Just don't expect sales people including factory reps to answer technical questions like say on frames and suspension. I've had a couple of salesmen ask me what the heck I'm doing crawling under their trailer. "Oh, nothing".... It's amazing how much frame design varies and you'll never find info. on them on a manufacturer's website.
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Old 11-19-2013, 11:06 PM   #8
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Wow! Thanks for the in depth information. I have definitely taken into consideration the towing and payload capacities, and I understand that what I have described pretty well meets or exceeds my trucks capabilities. However, I do believe that there is a camper out there that will meet my needs without needing to upgrade my vehicle. I have owned a diesel in the past, and while I love the power, I do not love the fuel prices and general maintenance prices that go along with them. I drive my current truck at least 500 miles a week, mostly in town, and that just doesn't fit the profile for a 1 ton truck.

I only gave the opposing slides as a reference so that the forum would have a good understanding of what I have found that I like so far. Of course, I realize that compromises will likely need to be made, and I'm hoping to get recommendations on different manufacturers floor plans that I may have never seen.

I looked at the outdoors rv product, but unfortunately, there is not a dealer within 1300 miles of my location. My budget is 25,000 which is limited I know, but I'm not opposed to buying used. The budget could be stretched if the right TT came along.

Again, thanks for all responses, I look forward to more.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:58 PM   #9
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I tow a 29' TT with an F-150 with the 5.0 V8. It weighs about 6200 loaded and we have thoroughly enjoyed it. Good advise above about the towing capacity of your truck. I have a Surveyor SV264 and the quality is OK, but not stellar. I spent the same as your mentioned budget. My slide only goes out 18" but it is adequate. My walls are 2" thick and that helps. We use ours summer and winter. R values are something to consider. I really like the looks of the Outdoors RV products, but I'm in the same boat with you... no dealers for many miles...

Thanks myredracer... very good post!

Welcome to the insanity....

JW
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:08 PM   #10
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welcome to irv2
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:02 PM   #11
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Do your home work first. Get an actual weight of the truck with full fuel and passenger cargo as well as what would be the normal camping gear in the truck. This is your laden curb weight (LCW).

The GVWR is on the drivers door jamb and the GCWR is in the owners manual for your specific cab, engine and axle ratio.

GCWR - LCW = max loaded trailer weight

GVWR - LCW = max loaded trailer hitch weight.

A typical bumper pull travel trailer will have a loaded hitch weight of 10 to 15% of the trailers GVWR. Use 13% as an average (15% to be safe) for estimating purposes.

A 1/2 ton truck will reach it's GVWR long before you reach the GCWR.

The tow rating listed by the truck manufactures is based on a base model truck, no options or accessories, no cargo, no hitch and only a 150# driver on board. This stripped base model is used to maximize the "towing capacity" with no regard to the GVWR or cargo capacity. If you read the foot notes under the "towing capacity" there is a note stating something like the GVWR, GCWR or GAWR is not to be exceeded when towing.

A 1/2 ton truck is typically supplied with P series passenger car tires and soft springs to run around town and getting the groceries. You need to up grade to LT series tires for a stiffer sidewall and better handling with a trailer.

Personally, I'd max out at about 26 or 27' trailer with your truck provided it is within the trucks ratings.

Ken
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:23 PM   #12
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We just bought our first TT in Oct and we spent months "undecided" and shopping around. First thing I did was math... like the others suggested... to determine what weights you should look for. My payload was the limiting factor which is what steered me away from a fifth wheel.

Then on advice from a long time friend who has owned several TT... Floor Plan, Floor plan, Floor plan. Consider what you are going to use it for and find the floor plan to match. Then go find the TT that meets your needs.

You should be able to find opposing slides in your weight range. I was looking for the same thing and finally found it. We ended up with a Enterra by Cruiser RV.

Good Luck
FB
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:45 PM   #13
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Bought our first TT in September. Looked around a lot and purchased a Camplite 21BHS (24' total length). Has a queen bed with two bunks, and a dry bath. Aluminum construction with Azdel interior walls and cabinets, aluminum roof (no wood). Looks a bit less luxurious than others, and a bit more expensive, but built very well. GVW of 5000 pounds with a dry weight of 3500 pounds. Tows terrific with my 2009 Ram 1500 (4.7L).

Construction Video

Info on 21BHS
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