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Old 06-18-2010, 06:34 PM   #1
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Arrow % of actual weight to truck rating question

I'm new to the world of RV's. I've learned alot so far but I need help understanding the % of my truck rating to actual weights.

I'm pulling a TT with a pickup. I've weighed my truck alone (loaded including passengers) and then weighed the whole rig (truck loaded and trailer loaded - GCW). I did the calculations and found that my loaded trailer is 30% below my truck's suggested Maximum Trailer Weight. But, when I calculated my truck's GCWR to the actual GCW I found that I'm only 10% below the GCWR. In other words, the weight of my TT loaded is well below suggested Maximum Trailer Weight for my truck (30%) but the whole rig is only 10% below GCWR. Is that too close for comfort?

I need help understanding the whole concept of weights and truck ratings.

Thanks
Andy8125
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:09 PM   #2
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GCWR is something of a relative thing. I'd be more worried about a Ford Ranger within 10% of it's GCWR than I would a 3500 within 10% of it's GCWR.

Tell us what you're pulling and what you're pulling it with and that'll help us along.

My personal numbers for regular pulling is within 25% of trailer weight and 20% of GCWR. While I don't have anything to back that up in my experience it drives and handles much better at that level.
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
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GCWR is something of a relative thing. I'd be more worried about a Ford Ranger within 10% of it's GCWR than I would a 3500 within 10% of it's GCWR.

Tell us what you're pulling and what you're pulling it with and that'll help us along.

My personal numbers for regular pulling is within 25% of trailer weight and 20% of GCWR. While I don't have anything to back that up in my experience it drives and handles much better at that level.
Thanks for the response. My tow vehicle is a 4x4 Ford Ranger 4.0 liter 6cylinder. My TT is a 17' Gulfstream. The truck's Maximum Trailer Weight is 5120 lbs - the actual weight of the trailer loaded is 3500 lbs- this is 30% below. My truck's GCWR is 9500 lbs - the loaded truck and loaded trailer weigh 8120 lbs GCW- this is 15% below suggested GCWR. (the 10% stated in my first posting was a mistake in math).
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:31 PM   #4
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I love it when somebody has actual numbers! Kudos!

You should be just fine especially at 15%. I'd make sure that the trailer has brakes and you have a good brake controller. As long as that's in good order you're going to be fine.

I'd do a few things to the truck such as adding coolers for the engine oil and auxiliary cooler for the transmission. I'm personally a proponent of synthetic fluids in everything. This won't add more than 20ish pounds so it's lightweight protection.

Since you have weights I'm assuming you've pulled it at max weight, how does it feel?
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:07 PM   #5
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We tried pulling a 17' fiver behind our Ranger V6 4X4. It worked..... on level ground. In the mountains the poor beast cried pitifully. Pedal to the metal with the hazards on and fuel mileage went out the window. Trailer was within the published limits for the tv but the numbers were not at all realistic. You really need a 1/2 ton with the larger engine.
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:19 PM   #6
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Good that you are looking at the real weights. The probelm with manufacturers tow ratings,is that they are trying to get a maximum number so they use a stripped base model truck for the number. Your truck is a 4 x 4 with a hitch and options and passengers. To get a comparison for the numbers, you need to figure everything over the base truck weight and subtract that from the max tow rating.

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Old 06-19-2010, 07:33 AM   #7
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I've only done short trips so far and my truck handles the load surprisingly well. Of course I live in Florida where hills don't exist so I think I'll be fine as long as I don't leave the State. I have a weight distribution hitch and sway bar so tv and tt are level. my only complaint is that I feel a little uncomfortable in windy conditions. It's not that it sways in the wind, it just feels like I have less control which forces me to slow down considerable. The only other thing I'm fussing with is the brake control. I haven't quite found that right combination of output and ramp time yet.

This rig for me and my wife is an experiment in RVing. If we like it we'll upgrade within a year. We thought that this small rig would get us started at low cost. Meanwhile we can think about what to upgrade to.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 06-19-2010, 07:39 AM   #8
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I love it when somebody has actual numbers! Kudos!

You should be just fine especially at 15%. I'd make sure that the trailer has brakes and you have a good brake controller. As long as that's in good order you're going to be fine.

I'd do a few things to the truck such as adding coolers for the engine oil and auxiliary cooler for the transmission. I'm personally a proponent of synthetic fluids in everything. This won't add more than 20ish pounds so it's lightweight protection.

Since you have weights I'm assuming you've pulled it at max weight, how does it feel?
Sorry sknight. I need to learn how to use this Web site better. I responded to you as a quick reply. See it in this thread.
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Old 06-19-2010, 08:03 AM   #9
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Those brake controllers do take time to get right but once you have it you can't tell you're stopping a trailer. I fiddle with mine the first five miles of every trip, I'd do just as well if I just left the blooming thing alone!

Wind is a double edged sword just like it is with motorcycles. A larger unit is heavier thus less prone to being pushed around by the wind, except that larger unit has a larger cross section, and is more effected by the wind!

It's a mix of you get used to it and if you step up to more truck they're usually better equipped to counter wind. I just lay into the wheel a bit to compensate now. When I was pulling the same TT with a 1500 (Right on the weight limits, within a hundred pounds.) wind was an issue and passing big trucks was a real adventure. Stepped up to a diesel 2500 and now it's just a mild nudge.
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Old 06-19-2010, 09:10 AM   #10
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So what you have discovered after all this is that, your Ford has a MAX rating, which is based on a number of factors, none of which translate into real world usable numbers. GCWR minus the actual loaded ready to camp trucks scaled weight is how much trailer you can handle. Now, if you choose to subtract 10 or 20% as a safety margin, from that that's OK too.
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Old 06-19-2010, 05:42 PM   #11
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I never did like the inertia brake controllers because of the constant adjusting, when starting out and city to highway. I would suggest you go to a MaxBrake which is hydraulic based. it is a bit more trouble to install when compared to the Prodigy controllers.

I set mine and have not adjusted it except for when I did a brake job on the trailer.

Also, my Dual Cam HP set up is not bothered by cross winds at all.

Ken
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Old 07-02-2010, 03:27 PM   #12
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I think you will be fine on level ground at sea level - that is usually where the big three do their testing to determine vehicle performance - that includes the GCWR. By defination the GCWR is the most the truck and TT combo can weigh - and is an indication of the drivetrain performance. The trailer tow rating is usually derived by subtracting the curb wt of a base truck and 150 lbs for the driver from the GCWR. Where most people fail is by assuming that the tow rating is independent of the payload of the truck - in most all cases the payload of the truck is already included in the tow rating so the more you load the truck the less you can tow. I think you already know this. I have towed a combo that was at or slightly over the GCWR and it is no fun - esp in hills. I am sure that over time you will upgrade both your TT and truck - take a look and the new F150, Dodge RAM and GM trucks and I think you will be impressed with the overall comfort and tow ability they offer.
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