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Old 09-03-2016, 05:48 PM   #1
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Class C Towing Rating Dilemma and Utter Confusion.

I am looking at buying a used Cruise America Class C. It would likely be a 2011.

I own a 2008 FJ Cruiser and love that vehicle. I'm also an off-road instructor and that is my training vehicle.

I would like to avoid towing my FJC on all 4, even with a driveshaft disconnect, or even on a dolly. I would prefer a trailer to keep it off the ground.

My issue is figuring out if the RV I am looking at will tow it. I have had multiple answers and opinions and it is just confusing.

The FJ has a curb weight of 4,200 and GVWR of about 5550. The weight will increase a bit once I put on the bull bar, winch, rear bumper/tire rack, etc.

The trailer I am looking at, a featherlite, weighs about 1,300lbs.

My initial interest was the 23A, but with a V8 I don't think it will handle the tow.

Specs for 23A:
ChassisE350
Engine TypeTriton
Engine Size5.4 Liter V8

Specs for 27G
ChassisE450
Engine TypeTriton
Engine SizeV10

Specs for 28A
ChassisE450
Engine TypeTriton
Engine Size6.8 Liter V10

I wanted to not have too long an RV, but it seems the V10 is the way to go.

Three years ago I towed a Jeep TJ on a Uhaul trailer with a 10' Uhaul truck. The truck was filled to the max and had two adults and a large dog.
The Jeep curb weight is 3,073, probably a bit more with the bull bar, rear bumper/tire/jery can rack, and full rook rack. It was also loaded up.
The truck pulled just fine from FL to AZ.

On another forum someone mentioned the RV's long frame could be a problem. Cruise America said that I would have to install a welded class 4 hitch.

Any input is appreciated.
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Old 09-03-2016, 05:51 PM   #2
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What is the GCVWR (Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating) of the three RV's you're looking at?
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Old 09-03-2016, 06:27 PM   #3
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Joe45-

In addition to the GCWRs, we'll need to know the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the hitch ratings for each of the three models. For the hitches, we'll need to know the maximum tow (pull) rating and the maximum tongue weight rating.

This information may vary by model year, so it's important to get the numbers for the model years you're considering.
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Old 09-03-2016, 06:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l1v3fr33ord1 View Post
Joe45-

In addition to the GCWRs, we'll need to know the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the hitch ratings for each of the three models. This information may vary by model year, so it's important to get the numbers for the model years you're considering.
OP stated that there is no hitch on the rigs and one needs to be welded on
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:34 PM   #5
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Mr_D-

Yes, I missed that detail when I read the OP's post. Thanks for pointing it out.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:31 AM   #6
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I have yet to find a gas motorhome, class A or C that will recommend over 5000lbs and 500lbs hitch weight. My V10 Ford falls within all the limits for GCWR and GVWR but the frame rails and hitch are the limiting factors. We wanted to flat tow a new F150 as they are right at 5K lbs but with anything else in the truck plus a topper etc we would be over. Did not want to damage the frame or worse.

The Ford V10 in the class C's and F53 models I have no doubts could handle the weight Nooooo problem. The engine is a beast.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:47 AM   #7
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There are a few class C manufacturers that rate their newer units to tow the full 7,500# tow rating from Ford for the E 450 (22,000 GCWR - 14,500# GVWR). I believe (too lazy to look it up) that Forest River Cs and their Coachmen C's are among them.
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Old 09-05-2016, 01:16 PM   #8
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If the coach has the E450 chassis, it probably has a sufficient GCWR for a heavy trailer if a suitable hitch can be attached. I say "IF", because most gas coaches have a light duty frame extension on the back of the base chassis and it may not be strong enough for a high-rated hitch receiver.

If those rigs are on the E350 chassis, I don't think they have the chassis & drivetrain strength for a 7000 lb plus trailer and vehicle.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:36 PM   #9
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The Cruise America RVs have an E450 Chassis:

Chassis Manufacturer: Ford
Chassis: E450
Engine Type: Triton
Engine Size: V10

So I guess its determining if the frame can handle the hitch.
I was told by the person I spoke to at Cruise America that the vehicle would need a welded class 4 hitch. I have read that the chassis on those is built heavy duty because its a rental. Trying to figure out how to get confirmation on that.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:22 AM   #10
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Joe45-

The chassis is not the whole story. But, let's start there.

Ford publishes an electronic "Body Builder Layout Book" for each model it makes available for modification. Here's a link to the BBLB for the E-series 2011 model year. (NOTE: A 2011 coach could be built on a 2010 chassis.) Looking at page 18 of that document, you'll see that Ford rated the E-450 SuperDuty Cutaway (6.8L V-10 engine) at a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 14,500 pounds.

According to the Ford Towing Guides (available at this link), the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) for the E-450 SuperDuty Cutaway (6.8L V-10 engine) is either 20,000 pounds (for a 2010 chassis) or 22,000 pounds (for a 2011 chassis).

The weight you can tow is the lowest of these numbers:

Trailer hitch rating (not a factor for you- no hitches installed)
Maximum Trailer Weight Rating (seldom available from the coach builder)
GCWR - Gross Vehicle Weight (not GVWR)

and, the great unknown:

The strength of the frame to which the hitch will attach, as built (not as it comes from Ford).

Assuming for the moment that the coach is fully loaded, such that Gross Vehicle Weight equals GVWR, you can calculate the maximum tow weight, GCWR - GVWR:

20,000 - 14,500 = 5,500 pounds (2010 chassis)
22,000 - 14,500 = 7,500 pounds (2011 chassis)

Now, for the rest of the story.

The coach manufacturer can shorten or lengthen the factory wheelbase. They cut the frame and throw away or add structural steel as needed, then weld the frame back together. In the case of my coach, HR reduced the wheelbase of the 20,500 GVWR F53 chassis from 208 inches to 190 inches, to fit the floorplan. So, your dilemma when using the Ford published values is you don't know what changes the coach manufacturer may have made to the frame. I wouldn't assume that "the chassis on those is built heavy duty because its a rental." It could be the opposite.

There should be a label in each coach that has the GVWR and GCWR. Can Cruise America provide you with photos or copies of the label for each coach you are considering? That way you don't have to guess about those numbers.

A custom hitch installer sometimes can beef up a frame to accommodate higher towing weights. I suspect they prefer to inspect the actual coach to determine what, if anything, can be done. The coach manufacturer's choice of frame extensions (if any) and quality of frame welds/splices (if any) are points to consider.

Finally, published curb weights for vehicles may not match the weight of your actual vehicle. I'd take the FJ in its loaded condition to a scale and have it weighed.
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:44 PM   #11
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WOW! That was great information! I'm going to contact Cruise America about this again.

The trailer I'm looking at is aluminum and I read it weighs about 1,300 lbs, but will double check.

As far as the FJC, I agree as well. I put slider drawers in the back and it has off road equipment, will get a bull bar, winch, rear bumper with tire/jerry can holder, different roof rack… all that will have to be added up by taking it to a scale. But since that is an ongoing process, I think going for 7000lbs at least is a good idea.
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Old 09-07-2016, 01:11 AM   #12
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Does anyone know if a trailer of this style is possible/available to tow a vehicle behind an RV? It seems that the spacing of the tires like a regular vehicle would eliminate tongue weight and allow towing heavier things. I've seen 18 wheelers towing stuff like this on the highway, including some with a rather long tow bar.
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:28 AM   #13
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Probably somebody builds one like that, maybe custom, but they aren't commonly available. Probably pricey, too.

You can get wheeled dolly to support the tongue weight, something like a Trailer Toad, but that only addresses the tongue weight issue. You still need a strong enough hitch receiver and sufficient GCWR on the RV chassis to handle the total weight.
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Old 09-08-2016, 12:24 AM   #14
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I was just thinking:

Like I said, a couple of years ago I drove a loaded to the gills Uhaul 10' truck with two adults and an 80lb dog, towing a Uhaul car trailer that weighs 2,210 lbs with a '97 Jeep wrangler that weighed about 3,073 lbs not counting the heavy bull bar, rear bumper, tire/jerry can rack and full roof rack, or that it was also loaded up. The truck did it fine and someone suggested that although it has a V8 the Uhaul is much lighter than the 28' class c with a V10 and much longer frame/chassis.

So would it be possible for the Cruise America 19 to pull my FJ on a trailer?
Maybe a stupid question but the trailer would be aluminum at about 1300lbs while the FJ approaches 5000lbs.

19' Cruise America
Chassis E350
Engine Type Triton
Engine Size 5.4 L V-8

Haul 10' Truck
Max load: 2,810 lbs.
Gross vehicle weight: 8,600 lbs. max.
Empty weight: 5,790 lbs.
Towing capacity: Up to 6,000 lbs.
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