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Old 11-05-2013, 10:13 AM   #1
Mez
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Soon to be new TT owner seeking advice. (Lots of it too)

Hello,

I have been doing lots of looking for campers of late and have narrowed my choices down to a few. I am seeking anyones advice and also review good/bad on the trailers plus some ideas of what all I would want to purchase with the camper.

I just purchased a RAM 2014 5.7 Hemi with 3.92 gear ratio which allows me to pull 10,150 pounds. I will most likely haul locally with-in the tristate area give or take 2/3 hrs haul. Living in PA, there are so many different places to go, but I do plan or hope to do a week trip much further out say anywhere from Ocean City MD to Myrtle Beach, somewhere with a beach on the east coast. I am a family of 4, two younger kids 9 and 12. Sometimes I would bring 2 kayaks (light about 30 pounds each) and bikes. Otherwise I plan to pack as light as we can.

First I was wondering if you have any list of items I would want to purchase before getting this new camper to expand the fun we will have and also all the necessities. Plus any ways to save on weight with amenities? I was planning on looking into getting a central vacuum system for the camper as well, any thoughts on those?

Lastly, here are the choices of trailers I am looking to get and am hoping anyone with a history or owns one of these if you have any input good/bad that I should know about or may want to consider when purchasing, it would be great appreciated.

1. My favorite is the Keystone Sprinter 316 BIK - New 2014 Keystone Sprinter 316BIK travel trailer RV camper for sale in Pennsylvania-PA RV dealer - YouTube
This is 8700 #'s which I think is cutting things real close for my towing capacity once fully loaded. There is a wider and lighter version in production now for 2014 that may be lighter than this which I would go for as well, but nothing is final on Keystones stats yet

2. Keystone Cougar X-Lite 32RBK - 2014 Cougar 32RBK 500561 - YouTube
This one is 7400#'s and is very similar to the first one but much lighter, and sacrificing a few options but I like it.

3. Heritage Glen 300BH - Jill's New 2014 Heritage Glen 300BH Three Slide Bunk House Travel Trailer. Thanks, and Enjoy! - YouTube
I like this as well, but it isn't my first choice plus it is 8400#'s so it is a bit lighter.

I sadly have the unfortunate luck of living in PA where the common known issue is that the salesman don't work with you on price much, so most likely will be purchasing this in Ohio where they are very accommodating. I was told a warranty is pretty much pointless from many sales people I have spoke with, but where better than to hear it from here if they should be bought.

Thanks,

Mez
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:30 PM   #2
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Go Bucs !!!

Those are all kind of heavy for 1/2 truck but with a good weight distribution hitch and good sway control it can be done. I would guess in a year or two you will be looking for a 3/4ton truck.

I towed 5,500lbs with a 2011 F-150. That set up was comfortable. You will be adding at least another ton. Again get a pro-pride or similar quality sway control/WD hitch and it is doable but you may not enjoy the travel. Seems 1/2 ton trucks towing these sized trailers tow around 55 to 60 mph.

Behind a 3/4 ton truck they travel 65 to 70 mph. It is that a 3/4 ton truck weighs 2000lbs more than a 1/2 ton truck.

Your Ram weighs just 5,700lbs. Ram 2500 weighs 7,700lbs. The added weight is used in the frame, springs, and body of the bigger truck as the seats, radio etc weight the same between trucks.

Good luck
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:42 PM   #3
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I'd suggest before buying anything have it weighed. The listed weights often don't represent the real weight. The weight listed often doesn't include any options or extras. Since you are dancing close to the max your truck can tow, I'd want a weight ticket of the empty trailer before I signed anything. Good luck!
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:25 PM   #4
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The weight numbers you are posting for those RV's are the empty weights UVW (no options, no propane...just the bare bones RV). What you need to be considering is the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) for those RV's - which in the case of the Keystone, for example, is 11,175. You will also need to be looking at the GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) for the truck + RV so you don't go over that, as well as the axel rating for the truck.

Having owned both a TT & A 5-r, I have to agree w/tuffr2. Your 1/2t is too light for what you're considering to be safe. You will need to reconsider your choice of RV or get a 3/4t truck.

I know it's not what you want to hear, but it's what is safe for you, your family & the rest of us sharing the road w/you.

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Old 11-05-2013, 03:29 PM   #5
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Thanks all for the replies. I prefer to hear it true then vs what I want so I am grateful for the facts

I guess my next question is the Keystone Cougar has a weight on average of 7400 pounds which is 1000 pounds less than the other two. Would that qualify as with-in range? I ask because my brother in law has a Heritage Glen that weighs 8400 and he tows it with a 2010 F150 that has a TC of 9500.

I went to the one dealer looking at them and the sales guy said with my truck stats I could go up to about 8800 pounds safely dry weight. However, I dont mean to sound rude but he wants a sale, and like you I am more concerned about the safety factor!! For me and my family and everyone else on the road as well!

Thanks
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:54 PM   #6
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Personally i wouldn't go over 7500lbs loaded with a 1/2 ton although people do it all the time, i would just feel a lot more comfortable with a 3/4 ton. If you are going to haul near your max weight, get a Hensley Arrow or Propride hitch for sure. Factor that into your budget at nearly $3k. These hitches project the pivot point over the rear axle so it feels like you're towing a 5th wheel and is inherently stable. Whereas a standard WD hitch just tries to dampen out or bind down the sway that exists when pulling from 3 feet behind the axle.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:39 PM   #7
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As a point of reference, We have a TT with a dry weight of 6300, GVWR 10400 and actual traveling weight of about 9000. I towed it with a 3/4T Dodge for a few years and felt it was OK. We did get pushed around by big trucks & MHs. When we upgraded the TV we got a 1T Dodge dually. With it no more being pushed around and much better ride.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:39 PM   #8
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Another item to consider is axle weight limits for your truck.. It's far easier on your truck to tow a 10000lb boat than a 7000 trailer because boat trailers have much lower tongue weights.

A wdh helps but then it increases the load on the trailer's axle(and the truck's front). Some trailers axles max weight can be much lower than the loaded gvwr... Lots to consider beyond floorplan and price.

Most 1/2 ton trucks will handle 5000 lb empty (6000 lb loaded) trailers well as long as you don't have too much payload in the truck. That gives you a tongue weight of about 700lbs. That rules out any trailer over 30' or with more than 1slide.

Consider you will have 4 occupants in the truck, what does that leave you with for payload? (gear +hitch +tongue weight)

Exactly what model and configuration is your truck?
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:06 AM   #9
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I too have a ram 1/2 ton with the hemi. Just bought 2014 coachman 34 foot 3 slide one of then deep slides. The trailer weight 7400 lbs. dry. I have no trouble towing it at all. Set the cruise at mph and roll on. If I notice anything even with the WD hitch it was that the 1/2 ton coil springs could not deal with the weight. Typical look of the trailer wagging the truck although it pulled straight as an arrow. I added air bag springs inside the coils and with only 30 lbs of air she sits dead level now.
I've heard that some of the 14 rams have air ride suspension so you may not have this problem.
The 2014 coachman freedom express 322 RLDSLE with the island kitchen is absolutely beautiful.
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Old 11-06-2013, 12:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Coachman322 View Post
I too have a ram 1/2 ton with the hemi. Just bought 2014 coachman 34 foot 3 slide one of then deep slides. The trailer weight 7400 lbs. dry. I have no trouble towing it at all. Set the cruise at mph and roll on. If I notice anything even with the WD hitch it was that the 1/2 ton coil springs could not deal with the weight. Typical look of the trailer wagging the truck although it pulled straight as an arrow. I added air bag springs inside the coils and with only 30 lbs of air she sits dead level now.
I've heard that some of the 14 rams have air ride suspension so you may not have this problem.
The 2014 coachman freedom express 322 RLDSLE with the island kitchen is absolutely beautiful.
Wow thank you so much for this info. I like those campers as well. I think my wife likes the other floor plan - 320BHDS. So it may be one we consider instead. Although I am seeing now that the one I love the most is to close for comfort in weight, the other is similar enough and weighs 7400 pounds as well.
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:05 PM   #11
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Another item to consider is axle weight limits for your truck.. It's far easier on your truck to tow a 10000lb boat than a 7000 trailer because boat trailers have much lower tongue weights.

A wdh helps but then it increases the load on the trailer's axle(and the truck's front). Some trailers axles max weight can be much lower than the loaded gvwr... Lots to consider beyond floorplan and price.

Most 1/2 ton trucks will handle 5000 lb empty (6000 lb loaded) trailers well as long as you don't have too much payload in the truck. That gives you a tongue weight of about 700lbs. That rules out any trailer over 30' or with more than 1slide.

Consider you will have 4 occupants in the truck, what does that leave you with for payload? (gear +hitch +tongue weight)

Exactly what model and configuration is your truck?

My Ram is the Express Quad cab 1500 5.7 Hemi 6 speed with the 3.92 gear ration. According to Rams site and my papers it hauls up to 10,150 and the hitch weight is is 10 to 25 percent of the GTW so that is where things get confusing for me. If I buy a camper that weights 7400 and add 500 pounds to that with all the gear I am at 7900. So make it easy and say 8K #'s then my hitch weight would be 800 pounds or more? Sorry, this just gets confusing.
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:34 PM   #12
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Wow thank you so much for this info. I like those campers as well. I think my wife likes the other floor plan - 320BHDS. So it may be one we consider instead. Although I am seeing now that the one I love the most is to close for comfort in weight, the other is similar enough and weighs 7400 pounds as well.
Makes sense with kids to have the bunks. I nearly bought the bunkhouse just for the OD kitchen and space in the bunk area for my traveling office. LOL
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:21 PM   #13
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If I buy a camper that weights 7400 and add 500 pounds to that with all the gear I am at 7900. So make it easy and say 8K #'s then my hitch weight would be 800 pounds or more? Sorry, this just gets confusing.

8000 lbs ... your hitch weight will be around 800 - 1200 lbs (10-15%). Most likely around 1000 lbs. Because of the high side profile, trailer manufacturers have to increase the weight distribution towards the tongue of the trailer in order to improve stability. A boat trailer for comparison would have a lot less weight on the hitch for the same weight boat (as compared to a travel trailer).


With 4 people in the truck, and about 80 lbs for the weight distribution hitch, that could put you over the max payload.

Since you already have the truck, I'd try and get it weighted. Weight the whole truck with just the driver and full tank of gas. Then weight each axle individually. Inside the driver's door, there should be a label indicating the max axle weight rating.

Also, the trailer manufacturer's weight figures only account for a bare bones trailer with no options installed. Yours will presumably going to have 1 or 2 AC units, TVs, etc.... which add to the "dry" weight.


Could you get away with towing a 10000 lb trailer, 1200 lb tongue weight with 4 people in the truck? Probably ... but how safe is it really? After all, it is your family that's going to be onboard. What if you get in an accident and your insurance figures out you were in excess of the manufacturer's specifications?

There are lots of trailers out there that probably meet your family's space requirements and that can be safely towed. Look in the 5000-5600lb dry weight with 1 slide and you should be fine. You'll need to pack lite and travel with the water tanks empty. However, to get a large trailer that's also light, you're giving up some quality. Thinner wood on the floor and roof, aluminium siding as opposed to fiberglass, lighter weight axles, smaller wheels, smaller cabinets ... all the little things add up to a lot of weight savings.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:35 PM   #14
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Forgot to say ... whatever you end up with, your family will have tons of fun and generate great memories ... whether the trailer is 24' or 35' long ... new or used.
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