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Old 01-07-2012, 09:26 PM   #1
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Which one?

My wife and I have decided to accelerate our schedule and would like to purchase our TT at the Florida Super Show if we can find the right deal. We have narrowed it down to two main models and we'd love to hear from anyone that has experience with either brand or the actual model we are looking at. They are near identical bunkhouse floorplans.

2012 Keystone Sprinter 311BHS
2012 Jayco Eagle 324BHDS

We know there is a quality difference between the brands but there also is a fair bit of price difference as well ($7,000ish?). There is also a big difference in the grey tank size of nearly 28gal with the Sprinter having the bigger tanks. The majority of our camping sites will have water and power but we'll use the dump station when we leave. The Jayco 2yr warranty is very attractive to us as we are relative newbies to this. We've borrowed a friends TT several times and my wife grew up in a Pop-up but this is a first for us to own our own. We have two young daughters and would like to have this last us about 8yrs before replacing or upgrading.

Any thoughts or advice would be most welcome. Thank you.

Joe
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:25 AM   #2
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Being a Jayco owner (5 years now ) , You’ll definitely need the extra warranty ... Jayco’s now are made quickly and of the cheapest materials ... Everything the customer can see is pretty , what you can’t see is just hasty assembly and garbage wood ... Our roof is very thin plywood (3/32” measured) and their windows leak , so best Not leave it outside ... no matter what they tell you ...

JMHO... I’d NEVER buy another Jayco ...
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:01 AM   #3
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Thanks for the help. What model do you have?

Joe
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:05 AM   #4
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Joe, I would opt for the Springer...
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:15 AM   #5
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I have friends who have Jaycos and I have friends who have Sprinters. None of these friends has had major trouble but they have all had minor trouble. But, this is par for the course when you buy a camper.

I am wondering if, knowing what you know now about what you are looking for, you might not find something even "better" at the RV show.

As you are looking at the models from the different manufacturers, look in the un-obvious spaces for signs of craftsmanship and attention to detail...
...was the sawdust from under the queen bed vacuumed up?
...how good is the seal around the plumbing under the kitchen sink?
...can I access the plumbing for the shower without cutting a hole in the wall?
...look inside the outside storage bays - what is the fit and finish like?

Even if a unit comes from the factory with sawdust all over the place, a good dealer should clean this up before putting it on display!
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Old 01-08-2012, 02:42 PM   #6
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We have been to the Super Show for the past 3 years. It has been a great tool to compare coaches and floorplans. From lots of research we did (much of it on this forum) we have a list of things to look for like you mentioned. It is surprising what we find under cabinets. We will keep an eye out for New models that might also work. Thanks.

Joe
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:38 PM   #7
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Does anyone know if it's possible to run the Fridge located in the Exterior Kitchens while traveling to a campground? My understanding is that this Fridge is only electric.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:03 AM   #8
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Any thoughts or advice would be most welcome. ... 2005 Ford Excursion Diesel 4X4
I hate throwing ice water on a wet dream, but if the X-Car is your tow vehicle you'll probably be severely overloaded when on the road with the wet and loaded tow vehicle and RV.

Your X has a tow rating of 11,000 pounds, and the Sprinter 311BHS has a GVWR of 10,995, so at first glance that sounds like a perfect fit. You'll be at the max weight for decent performance and not overheating something expensive when dragging that trailer up a mountain pass, and still within the GCWR of your tow vehicle.

But read the fine print and Ford says you should NEVER exceed either the GCWR or the GVWR of the X. The tow rating is misleading because it assumes no options on the X except diesel engine and 4x4, and absolutely no weight in the tow vehicle except a skinny driver. But of course you'll have some weight in the X when wet and loaded for the road. Your GVWR is 9,200 pounds, so hitch weight is your limiter, not the tow rating which is based on GCWR.

If you load the trailer so it has a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds, and properly distribute the weight in the trailer so you have 12 percent hitch weight, you'll have a hitch weight of 1,200 pounds. Subtract 1,200 from the Excursion's GVWR of 9,200 and that means that the max weight of the wet and loaded X-Car before you tie onto the trailer is 8,000 pounds without being overloaded over the GVWR of the X.

Before you buy the trailer, load the X up with family, weight-distributing shank and ball mount, and whatever else you might have in the SUV while towing. Rug rats, cooler, whatever. Go to a truckstop that has a CAT scale, fill your 44 gallon tank with diesel, then weigh the wet and loaded vehicle. If it weighs more than 8,000 pounds, then that 311BHS is too much trailer for your tow vehicle. And I'll bet your wet and loaded X weighs closer to 9,000 pounds than 8,000.

Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded SUV from 9,200 and that will be the max hitch weight you can tow without being overloaded. Divide that hitch weight by 12 percent, and that will give you the max GVWR of any properly loaded TT you can tow without being overloaded.

Example: Your X weighs 8,500, or a max hitch weight of 700 pounds. 700 divided by 0.12 = 5,833. So if your wet and loaded truck weighs 8,500, then the max GVWR of any TT you consider should be less than 5,833 pounds.

Sorry about the ice water.

Baloney, you say. You still want that 11,000 pound TT? Then realize that you'll also need a tow vehicle with more payload capacity. Maybe an F-350 SRW CrewCab 4x4 diesel?

Next thought: All RV trailers, regardless of brand, don't come with enough tire weight capacity. That Sprinter comes with ST225/75R15D tires rated 2,540 pounds, so they're rated for a trailer axle weight of up to 10,160. If you load that trailer to the 11,000 pounds GVWR, then you'll be right at the max weight those tires are designed to carry. And you can count on having trailer tire trouble. So before the first long trip, I'd replace the tires.

The fix is to replace the stock tires with tires that have more weight capacity. 225/75R15 is about the max size you'll find that will fit the stock rims, so as a minimum you'll need to upgrade the tires to a load range E tire. Maxxis and a few others make them in size ST225/75R15E. Weight capacity 2,830 pounds, or trailer axle weight of 11,320. That's a 11.4 percent increase. Maxxis trailer tires are sold by Discount Tire, but you may have to have the dealer order a set for you.
M8008 ST Radial

11.4% fudge factor is better than none, but I'd probably want more. ST235/80R16E trailer tires have a weight capacity of 3,420 pounds, or 13,680 trailer axle weight. That's a nice 34.6 percent fudge factor over stock-size tires, and should almost guarantee you trouble-free trailer tires. But those tires are taller so you'd have less room in the wheel wells. And they require you to replace the wheels with 16" wheels. If your stock wheels have 6 lugs, then you can buy the new 16"x6" trailer wheels cheap from www.southwestwheel.com
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:04 PM   #9
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Smokey, Thanks for the time you took with this response. I was wondering if anyone was going to do the math on my TV versus the TT. I agree on being at my max with either of those trailers. I still think that it's possible and that the majority of my truck comes from a truck capable of towing this weight safely. We are considering the light weight versions of both of those trailers as well but they don't seem to be that much lighter.

The Ex: I could be mistaken but Ford built my truck on the F250 running gear. They changed the frame and suspension points in the rear of the truck for Soccer mom's which really hurts the Max Towing capacity. There are many published (internet) ways to correct the suspension problems with my truck and I've already started on it with the RAS. Swaybars, springs, steering damper and new shocks are also on the list. I'm hoping to get new wheels with a proper offset so that my stance is wider. I've also already addressed many of the powertrain "known" issues. Upgraded Brakes are also on my list. I would think that this should address any of my issues with towing a trailer of this size. We'll have the proper WD hitch and balance our loads as best we can. No doubt we'll still be at the upper end of the limit but we also don't have mountains in Florida unless you count the Skyway Bridge.

History: I don't have quite the towing experience as you do but I've been towing for over 15 years. We used a 7000# enclosed trailer to make deliveries for 10 years. I also towed a triple axle 20,000# (with a Dodge Dually) to drop off bulk sand and paint when I worked in Industrial Painting. Currently I have a side business renting little race cars at HPDE events on the weekends. We use a 28' Pace American with two cars and gear inside. We tip the scales right at 10,000#s and tow it with our Excursion. Mostly it's just me in the truck but I have my coolers and gear with me in the truck. Using the Equalizer hitch and 10K bars. The RAS made a big difference in controlling the rear steer inherent in my trucks design.

Trailer Tires - I couldn't agree with you more. I already replaced the D rated tires on my race trailer and would plan to do the same on the TT. I usually take off two right away and use for spares and then sell the other two. I was using E rated Maxxis on the race trailer and had good luck with them in the summer towing here in Florida. I'd have to see if the 16" Rims and Tires would fit on the new TT when we get it, but that is not a bad idea. I looked into doing the same on the race trailer but there wasn't enough room in the fender box (trailer is much lower than the TT will be).

So with all this being said, do you still think I'm crazy to even try it? If my truck were a F250 4X4 Diesel, would you think that is enough? We like the Ex for the "SUV" part of it but we could forsake it for a truck if we have to. Not sure I can sell my wife on the F350 as they ride pretty hard compared to the F250 and she drives this most of the time.

How do you like the EcoBoost so far? I watched the whole video series on the truck and it's quite impressive.

Thanks again for your information and time.

Joe
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Old 01-10-2012, 04:18 PM   #10
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Maybe I'm missing something in your calc's. The Ford site shows the truck weight at 9200#, says the hitch weight is 1200 and max trailer is 11,000. How could my truck weigh less than the 9200#? I thought those weights are posted with the 150lb driver, 1/4 tank of gas and basic model options ie Diesel and 4X4.

With the kids, wife and gear with a full tank I'm adding about 1000# to the truck. The trailer I'm guessing we'll add about 1800#. The Eagle states it weighs 8000#. So we'd be towing 10,000#.

Joe
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:06 PM   #11
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The Ex: I could be mistaken but Ford built my truck on the F250 running gear.
Right. The 2005 F-250 4x4 diesel had a GVWR of 10,000. But the X-Car running gear was a holdover from the 1999-2004 models, when the F-250 had a GVWR of 8,800 pounds. So the X-Car has more GVWR than the 137" wheelbase F-250 Regular cab pickup on which it's based.

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I would think that this should address any of my issues with towing a trailer of this size.
You're rationalizing. Nothing you can do will increase your GVWR from 9,200 pounds. When you get on the CAT scale with more than 9,200 pounds on the four truck tires, you're overloaded.

Airbags in the rear suspension, pumped up so the SUV has the proper stance, will help keep the headlights out of oncoming drivers' eyes, but they won't increase the GVWR or hauling capacity of your tow vehicle.

Quote:
No doubt we'll still be at the upper end of the limit...

No, you'll be overloaded - past the limit of the GVWR of your truck.
Quote:
... but we also don't have mountains in Florida unless you count the Skyway Bridge.
Your X has plenty of power and torque to drag the trailer over the mountain passes. So GCWR is not your problem. GVWR is your problem. You don't have enough of it tow a 5er that weighs more than about 6,000 pounds without exceeding the GVWR of the tow vehicle.

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So with all this being said, do you still think I'm crazy to even try it?
If you get in an accident where someone gets hurt or killed when you're overloaded over the GVWR of your tow vehicle, any decent trial layer will ruin your life. It's not worth the risk to me.

Quote:
If my truck were a F250 4X4 Diesel, would you think that is enough?
2004 or earlier, no. 2005-up, probably, but with no wiggle room. CrewCab 4x4 diesel will weigh about 8,500 wet and loaded, and has 10,000 GVWR for a max hitch weight of 1,500 pounds. So even loaded to the 11,000 GVWR, your trailer should have less than 1,500 pounds hitch weight.

That 800 pounds more GVWR the 2005-up pickup has compared to your X makes a big difference, and the pickup is lighter than the SUV, so that adds up too.

Tell the wife that there is absolutely no difference in the ride of an F-250 and an F-350 SRW with identical configuration and options. None. Zero. Nada. I prefer a little wiggle in my trailer weights, so I'd really rather tow that trailer with an F-350 SRW with the 1,500 pounds more weight-carrying capacity.

Quote:
How do you like the EcoBoost so far?
Love it. But I have only a coupla hundred miles on it so far. It has a lot more pep when unloaded than I expected from such a small engine in such a big pickup. It's a lot more peppy than either the 1999.5 7.3L hot-rodded diesel or the 2003 4.6L V8 previous pickups. The pickup itself seems much bigger than the 2003 F-150 SuperCrew 4.6L we traded in for it, but that probably due too styling more than fact.

But the proof in the pudding will be in April when we tow an empty 7x14 cargo trailer over the three west Texas mountain passes to El Paso, then tow it back to Midland loaded to about 6,000 pounds gross trailer weight.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:24 PM   #12
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Smokey,

Again, thanks for the reply and info. No doubt I can't do anything to increase my GVWR short of buying a new truck. My modifications were to try and make my truck more stable and capable at it's limit, not try and go over it. I don't have a CAT scale nearby but we have a simple vehicle scale at a moving company that I can check my truck weight on. I'm also going to see if the race car scales can handle my truck.

I need help clearing up something. The sticker on the door of my truck reads as follows. Curb = 9200#, Front Axle GAW 4700#, Rear Axle GAW 5250#. Doesn't this mean that my GVWR is 9950# maxed out?

Then per Ford it is rated to tow 11000# with 1100# on the ball. It actually also states that with the proper WD hitch it's rated to 1250# on the ball and 12500# trailer but that it's over the trucks GCWR. My truck is listed (by Ford) to have a GCWR of 20,000#. So if I have a trailer at 10,000# (8000# plus 2000# of gear) and I have my truck at max GVWR of 9950# then shouldn't I be under my GCWR of 20,000 and just need to keep my hitch weight correct? Or are you saying that I have to add my hitch weight to the truck weight and that is sending me over the limit on the truck but not my GCWR? I'm slow so have patience.

I assume you meant to say I don't have enough to tow a TT not "5er". The TT's we are looking at are the Jayco Eagle 324BHDS and the Sprinter 311BHS.

Once I weigh the truck I'll let you know what it tips the scales at.

My sister has a 2011 F150 with the 5.0L. It's a very nice truck and I think it is bigger than the older trucks. Her truck is the crew cab and it's huge inside compared to other older versions I've driven (raised on Fords). Good luck with your trip. Sounds like fun. I'm curious to hear how well the tow/haul mode works on your truck. The one on my Ex is pretty smart.

Joe
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:05 AM   #13
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Joe , just another thing to be aware of is some trailer weights are listed/advertised without any options... things like spare tires, awnings, outdoor showers, BBQs, hitch parts and the like ... and of course , nothing in the tanks , and NONE of your gear ... My Jayco FS 197 was listed at 4000lb. with a 900lb. cargo weight ... but that was without the options ,dry tanks, and extremely heavy hitch ... so once the tanks were filled , icebox was filled , and the wife and dog were aboard , we were overweight ... Grrrrr!!! And while my Truck is rated at 5000 tow capacity , it does struggle on even shallow hills , and the trailer not being aerodynamically “clean” in any manner , burns twice as much gas ..

Just from experience , RV salesmen are even bigger liars than politicians , so don’t believe ANYTHING they say ... prove it to yourself Before you buy ... and Yes , DO Read the “fine Print” before you sign .... try to get an owners manual and read it CAREFULLY before you decide...


Best stay away from anything with a NORCOLD reefer in it too ... The new ones just don’t seem to last longer than your warranty ...
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:42 AM   #14
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I need help clearing up something. The sticker on the door of my truck reads as follows. Curb = 9200#, Front Axle GAW 4700#, Rear Axle GAW 5250#. Doesn't this mean that my GVWR is 9950# maxed out?
No, your GVWR is 9,200. In other words, your max curb weight on the 4 truck tires is 9,200 pounds. The front and rear GAWRs are not additive. Together they add up to more than the GVWR to allow for heavier loads on either the front or rear axles, but not both at the same time.

Quote:
Then per Ford it is rated to tow 11000# with 1100# on the ball.
Yes, your powerful diesel engine and drivetrain is rated to tow up to 11,000 pounds - but only if you don't exceed the GVWR or any other weight rating while doing it. In other words, you could tow a "wagon style" trailer, such as a farmer's grain trailer that has minimal hitch weight, that could weigh up to 11,000 pounds with an X-Car that weighed 9,000 pounds without being overloaded.

But if you put 1,100 pounds on the ball, then the wet and loaded truck without the trailer couldn't weigh more than 8,100 pounds without exceeding the GVWR of the tow vehicle. And you're not going to find an X-Car diesel 4x4 that is even close to 8,100 pounds wet.

A normal tandam-axle tag trailer will have 10 to 15 percent hitch weight. 10 is the minimum, but most tag trailers will have 11 to 12 percent hitch weight when properly loaded. So use 12 percent hitch weight in any computations to match trailer to tow vehicle. And if you want to be certain of never exceeding the GVWR of the tow vehicle, then use 15 percent hitch weight in your computations.

Quote:
It actually also states that with the proper WD hitch it's rated to 1250# on the ball and 12500# trailer but that it's over the trucks GCWR.
Yes, with a tow rating of 11,000 pounds, Ford couldn't install the normal receiver rated 1,000/10,000 WD. So they had to go up a notch to 1,250/12,500 WD rating. So your receiver is rated higher than the GCWR of the truck. Just like your tires are probably rated higher than the GVWR of the truck, and your rear axle is rated higher than your rear GAWR.

Quote:
My truck is listed (by Ford) to have a GCWR of 20,000#. So if I have a trailer at 10,000# (8000# plus 2000# of gear) and I have my truck at max GVWR of 9950# then shouldn't I be under my GCWR of 20,000 and just need to keep my hitch weight correct?
10,000 trailer plus 9,200 truck is less than your GCWR. So don't worry about GCWR. Worry about GVWR.

Quote:
Or are you saying that I have to add my hitch weight to the truck weight and that is sending me over the limit on the truck but not my GCWR?
You have more than enough GCWR. So don't worry about GCWR or tow rating. (Tow rating is GCWR minus truck weight. Factory tow ratings are overstated because they don't provide for a realistic truck weight.)

Your limiter is GVWR and therefore hitch weight. And yes, the GVW is the weight on the 4 truck tires, which includes hitch weight. When you weigh the rig on a CAT scale with the trailer tied on and the WD bars hooked up, you can't have more weight on the 4 truck tires than the truck's GVWR.

Quote:
I assume you meant to say I don't have enough to tow a TT not "5er". The TT's we are looking at are the Jayco Eagle 324BHDS and the Sprinter 311BHS.
Yep. I'm an old man trying to walk and chew gum at the same time, and sometimes I get confused as to which rig I'm discussing.
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