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Old 09-28-2015, 10:29 PM   #1
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How Many Horses?

I'm actively searching for a used DP. I plan on going full time the beginning of 2016. I know that my toad will be a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and it will be loaded down with a couple of kayaks and maybe more. I estimate that the total weight for the toad will be just under 5k lbs. My question is: What size engine will I need to confidently pull my toad? Is 300 horses enough? 330? More? Or is there a different number I should be looking at? Thanks!
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Old 09-28-2015, 10:37 PM   #2
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We easily towed a 1995 Honda Odyssey on a dolly with a 26' Type C. We did hit one 10% grade coming out of Jackson Hole that slowed us down to 25 though. Made it just fine but it sure took a lot of gas to do it.
Our '98 35' Santara had a 460 and even with a Banks kit it was no powerhouse but it did OK anyway. Never got much over 6 mpg though.
Now we're a little bit larger and more powerful and getting 7.6 MPG over 45,000 miles.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:15 PM   #3
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Gees people, we used to drag 80,000 lbs with 220 ponies.
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:20 AM   #4
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The "rule of thumb" for motorhome horsepower is 100 lbs/hp (that's what the RV builders typically supply). That gives adequate but not hot performance and is probably double what many (most?) heavy duty trucks have. So add the weight of the toad to the loaded weight (or GVWR) of the coach and divide by 100. That should be sufficient. Nowhere near your car of SUV power, though. That would be more like 20 lbs/hp.

So, 300 hp should nicely move a 30,000 lb coach+ toad. 330 hp for 33,000 lbs. Etc.
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Old 09-29-2015, 05:04 PM   #5
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Get the most horsepower you can afford, you won't be sorry.
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Old 09-29-2015, 06:48 PM   #6
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A 300 HP diesel will get you to the top of the same grade as a 500HP diesel, not as fast but then again it's not a race. Once you get out of "vacation mode" you'll find that going at a slower pace is just fine. There is nothing wrong with getting in line with the semis and putz up the hill.
There are more important things to consider than just raw HP. The floor plan, amenities included, maintenance records, tire age, any water intrusion, does everything work, etc.
You will have to pay attention to GCVWR and tow rating. A lower HP rig might not have those ratings or the CCC you want as a full timer.
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Old 09-29-2015, 08:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
We easily towed a 1995 Honda Odyssey on a dolly with a 26' Type C. We did hit one 10% grade coming out of Jackson Hole that slowed us down to 25 though. Made it just fine but it sure took a lot of gas to do it.
Our '98 35' Santara had a 460 and even with a Banks kit it was no powerhouse but it did OK anyway. Never got much over 6 mpg though.
Now we're a little bit larger and more powerful and getting 7.6 MPG over 45,000 miles.
Probably off topic but we made a wrong turn in Jackson Hole and ended up on the Teton Pass which is 10% most of the way to the top. We were also at 25 mph towing our Jeep but thanks to the nice locals behind us there were no issues.
We have 362hp and 450fp of gas power and under most conditions we have plenty of power. My friend who was with us has a 34' with a 300hp diesel and pulled the pass a little better than we did but not by much. I know it's most likely not info that will help you much.
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Old 09-29-2015, 08:43 PM   #8
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Get the biggest engine you can afford! Remember there is no replacement for displacement, I would not get anything smaller that the cummins ISC or Cat C-9. Good luck with you search!
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Old 09-29-2015, 08:52 PM   #9
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Probably off topic but we made a wrong turn in Jackson Hole and ended up on the Teton Pass which is 10% most of the way to the top. We were also at 25 mph towing our Jeep but thanks to the nice locals behind us there were no issues.

We have 362hp and 450fp of gas power and under most conditions we have plenty of power. My friend who was with us has a 34' with a 300hp diesel and pulled the pass a little better than we did but not by much. I know it's most likely not info that will help you much.

You have emphasized one of the major tenants of going F/T: slow is good! For a few MPH on a grade, I fall in with the trucks and enjoy the view. I always win!
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Old 09-29-2015, 08:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Probably off topic but we made a wrong turn in Jackson Hole and ended up on the Teton Pass which is 10% most of the way to the top. We were also at 25 mph towing our Jeep but thanks to the nice locals behind us there were no issues.
We have 362hp and 450fp of gas power and under most conditions we have plenty of power. My friend who was with us has a 34' with a 300hp diesel and pulled the pass a little better than we did but not by much. I know it's most likely not info that will help you much.
It's 10% down the other side too! Burned out the dolly's surge brakes going down the other side. When we got to the bottom I pulled over to let brakes cool. Friend in his Dolphin type A MH went right on by. Turns out he had no brakes left and needed to let them cool.
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:03 PM   #11
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I would check your rear end ratio. I had a Ford 550 with a 7.3 diesel. The truck was cause custom and weighed 10000 pounds. The fifth wheel trailer weighed 13000 pounds and I never experienced any problems in towing. I would think the minimum rear axle ratio you would want would be a 410. Hope this helps
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:07 PM   #12
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OP is looking for a used DP, he won't have a choice of rear end ratios like you can get in pickups.
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:19 PM   #13
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It's 10% down the other side too! Burned out the dolly's surge brakes going down the other side. When we got to the bottom I pulled over to let brakes cool. Friend in his Dolphin type A MH went right on by. Turns out he had no brakes left and needed to let them cool.
Buddy's dp was towing a trailer with a Acura SUV and his brakes were gone by the time we got down the grade. Think he didn't have his trailer brakes set correct cause my brakes were fine with a Brake Buddy in the Wrangler. Don't think I will try the Teton Pass again but sure loved the country we saw. Would I like to have more hp--well of course I would but bought what I could afford and it works just fine for us. Just added a 5 Star tune and now have a little more hp and torque and much better shifting but still no more Teton Pass for me but will definately will be going back to Yellow Stone and the Grand Tetons soon.
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:22 PM   #14
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Hey Mike.

In 1998 I bought Discovery DP with 230 HP ISB. Making the climb into City Park on Lake Austin was painful, but we did it. I put a 28ft inclosed race car trailer behind it loaded held my right foot on the floor and went. Sold it 10 years later.

In 2015 I bought a 2015 Ventana LE 340 HP ISB. These days i'm flat towing a Jeep to wheeling events with the intention of heading to MOAB. My first trip to Hidden Falls i went up 71 and struggled making the grades in the Austin area from a stop light. I came home, lost my a$$ and bought a 450HP Dutch Star.

Can you do it on 230hp, yes. 340hp, yes. You asked about power which leads me to believe you are concerned about it. I would personally trade a few years for HP (really torque) Good luck
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