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Old 05-23-2014, 07:35 AM   #1
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Travel Trailer

How many people are RVing full time in a travel trailer ? How long is your rig? What are you pulling it with?

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Old 05-23-2014, 10:18 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Vetl82 View Post
How many people are RVing full time in a travel trailer ?
A bunch.

How long is your rig?
Varies from too short to too long. Ideal is the expensive 4-seasons TT at least 30' interior length (about 34' total from ball to rear bumper), but lots of full-timers cannot afford ideal and still be full-timers. So they try to get by with not enough tow vehicle and not enough elbow room or cargo weight capacity in their TT.

What are you pulling it with?
Usually with not quite enough truck. Full-timers must haul all their worldly possessions with them when moving from one location to another, and the result is often an overloaded trailer as well as overloaded tow vehicle. But smart full-timers that can afford it have enough tow vehicle that it won't be overloaded over the GVWR of the vehicle when towing their packed-to-the rafters TT. And they weigh the wet and loaded rig to be sure the weigh on the trailer axles does not exceed the combined gross axle weight rating (GAWR) of the trailer axles.

Since the tow vehicle must serve as both a tow vehicle and a grocery getter, most full-timers are reluctant to buy the vehicle they really need as a tow vehicle, because it's not an ideal grocery getter. Most want an F-150 or full-size SUV such as a Tahoe, but most F-150s cannot tow the typical full-timer TT without being severely overloaded over the GVWR.

Example: A popular full-timer's TT is the Artic Fox. 4-seasons, well constructed, and not as expensive as the "luxury" TTs that are also available. The Artic Fox model 30U has two slides and a GVWR of 10,400. The dry hitch weight is over 15% of the dry trailer weight, so you can expect about 15% tongue weight when the trailer is packed to the rafters. So figure on a wet and loaded hitch weight of 1,560 pounds when towing the trailer.

Northwood Manufacturing: Arctic Fox Floorplan

Can a beefed up half ton pickup tow that much trailer without being overloaded? No. The strongest is the Ford F-150 with the HD Payload package. GVWR is 8,200 pounds and the wet and loaded truck will probably gross about 7,000 or more when wet and loaded for a full-timer's move. That leaves only 1,200 pounds for max tongue weight before you're overloaded.

How about an SUV? Nope. The heaviest-duty new SUV is only equivalent to a half-ton pickup, so all would be overloaded with that trailer. For years, GM made the Suburban 2500 SUV that could tow a TT grossing up to around 10,000 pounds without being overloaded. But they ceased production of that "three-quarter-ton" SUV a couple of years ago, so if you want one you must find a used one. After Ford ceased production of the Excursion back in 2006 and GM ceased production of the Yukon XL/Suburban 2500 recently, there are no longer any new SUVs capable of towing a full-timer's TT without being severely overloaded.

For years my dream tow vehicle was an Excursion with the 7.3L diesel drivetrain. But they were priced over my income level, so I never could afford one. And now the newest one is is almost 12 years old.

How about an F-250? GVWR is 10,000, but the F-250 weighs a lot more than the F-150. For a CrewCab diesel 4x4, estimate it at about 8,500, leaving 1,500 pounds for maximum tongue weight. Close but no cigar.

So you probably need an F-350 with single rear wheels (SRW) to tow that heavy trailer without being overloaded.

If you don't want a Ford, GM and Ram both make the equivalent of the F-350 SRW, with either gasoline or diesel engines. I'd probably pay the extra for the diesel. But if you don't plan to be moving very often, then I could "get by" with the big gasoline engines. Nisson and Toyota neither make pickups heavier than a half ton, so those are out if you don't want to tow overloaded.

Notice early in this post I stated that many full-time RVers were towing "usually with not quite enough truck." Many get by with overloading their tow vehicle, but others live to regret it. I'm an old man, but I hope to hang around and RV a bit longer, and towing with an overloaded tow vehicle is not a good idea. If you must compromise so your tow vehicle can be used as both a tow vehicle and a grocery getter, shift the compromise to having enough truck to do the towing job, and "make do" when using that truck as a grocery getter.

Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 3.5L EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:31 PM   #3
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We tow our 27 ft Aspen Trail with a Ram 3/4 ton 4x4 2500 SRW HD Diesel 6.7 auto , has tow package , and we use a WD Hitch , the hitch is standard with sway bar, the gross weight on TT is 7600 lbs fully loaded , it's just me and wife and we like the layout on this trailer , but your right I've seen quite a few FW being pulled by light trucks.
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Old 06-01-2014, 08:12 PM   #4
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I do a 2014 Keystone Laredo 35' (probable 8,500, MAX 9500) with a 2014 Chevy 2500 HD (4.10) crew cab (4 big doors) max tow weight of 13,000. The class 5 hitch has a hitch limit of 1,500. The Equalizer 4 point sway is 1,400 rated (xxxxxRV sales wanted to put on a 1,000 rated hitch). I am just finishing the "road" prep and will CAT weigh it in the next couple of days to have certified weights.

If I had not insisted on 4.10 to get the maximum towing weight the next lower rear end ratio (3.73 I think) was something like 8,500 or 9,000 tow limit.

You have to be careful with what you tow with what and adjust to be within limits that are certifiable.
2014 Chevy 2500HD
2014 Keystone Laredo 314RE
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Old 06-04-2014, 07:52 AM   #5
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I have a z1 and I pull it with a regular SUV and other than the trans slipping a lot into lower gears (because I never put it in tow mode nor 4th gears only) I have had no issues. This setup went from Jersey to Florida and back with no overheating, sway or breakdowns. I am sure the weight is ok and is about 800 lbs below max of total allowed and the tongue weight is fine. when I can afford a bigger truck I will get one post haste but in the mean time I keep it slow and steady and enjoy the weekends.
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Old 06-04-2014, 02:43 PM   #6
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My brother tows a Lance 2385 with a ford F-150 and eco-boost v6. He has plenty of power and capacity.

The 2385 is not huge but with its distinctive front kitchen and rear bedroom, two people could full time in it easily - without driving each other crazy.

Bill Lynch
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Old 06-04-2014, 04:52 PM   #7
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Three adults. Living it full time for 8 years now.

See my signature.

Camping Rig: 2006 Outback 27 RSDS--
2005 Dodge 3500 - Dually- Cummins
Full time since June 2006
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