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Old 10-25-2020, 12:22 AM   #1
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80%

Here we all sit, staring at our screens, despite this Covid world that we all live in now. All of us have been affected by it in some way, shape, or form. A discussion about Covid is not what I am after here. The infamous 80% rule is. Is it really a rule? Should this rule be the main factor when deciding what my next truck will be?

A brand spankin' new Forest River Cherokee 294GEBGBL now sits in my driveway. I towed this 7,619-pound beast home with my 2019 Ram 1500. Max towing capacity of said Ram? 8,190lbs. It was a short, 25-mile drive so I knew that I was going to be fine. Camping season is over up here in Minneapolis so I now have plenty of time to find the correct towing vehicle for this new rig.

When I got into that Ram back at the beginning of 2019, I knew I wanted to buy a camper. I didn't know much, if anything, about towing on this level. Driving a semi-truck for a living is much different than pulling a camper. Once I found out that my max towing capacity was 8,190lbs, I started looking into campers that were in that 7000-8000lbs range. I settled on a 2012 Keystone Bullet Premier 31BHPR. GVWR was 7600, dry was 6325. I figured I was well within my towing limits. Oops. It didn't take much more than our inaugural trip of 150 miles to realize that I needed more truck.

Fast forward to today. We sold the Keystone a month ago. The Forest River Cherokee is our replacement. The GVWR is 9,985. Dry weight is 7,619. That leaves 2,366 for cargo. Itís a safe assumption that 1,500 in cargo is a bit more realistic but still very generous. Taking the dry weight plus the realistic cargo number gives me 9,119. Am I right to assume that a truck that can pull 11,400 would be sufficient? Or should I aim for something that can tow closer to 12,000?
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Old 10-25-2020, 02:30 AM   #2
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The discussion involving the 80% of rated tow capacity; for a trailer GVWR , is based on the fact that truck manufacturers give the max tow capacity with an unrealistic load in the truck .
That being a 150 # allowance for a driver , Last time I weighed 150 , was when I was 12.

Total trailer weight is only part of the safe number calculation , you need all the info on the truck ,total payload and how much of the payload is available at the rear axle.
My last tow vehicle , a 3/4 ton 4X4 , with 4:10 gears had a trailer tow rating of 14,100" with my 10,000 GVWR fiver , hitch , tools and only the DW and I , loaded for travel , I had only 450# left on the rear axle carrying capacity . The max weight trailer would have overloaded the rear axle by 350 # +.

12,000 trailer tow capacity should be the minimum you look at and you want payload over 3,000 for the truck .
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Old 10-25-2020, 06:37 AM   #3
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12,000 trailer tow capacity should be the minimum you look at and you want payload over 3,000 for the truck .
Which means generally you will be looking at a 350/3500 unless you settle for the base trim model, 2WD, regular cab, long bed, with very specific drive train equipment. Usually that truck only exists on paper, not on a dealers lot.
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Old 10-25-2020, 07:18 AM   #4
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You are one crazy guy buying a huge trailer when you have a little truck. So now you are saying you bought the wrong truck just last year. Ok ok...

Agree to tow a 11,000 plus lb. travel trailer you will need a 350/3500. I am not 100% sure you don't need a dually.

I have seen the huge Jayco Eagle 330 series travel trailers with the high sides and huge front. I think dually when I see those travel trailers.
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Old 10-25-2020, 08:35 AM   #5
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Not sure why a 350 series would be a must. I know someone with that same trailer and he has the same truck I do. 2019 ram 2500 gas. Payload is 3210 and towing is 14240. He’s the reason I got the ram. He tells me it tows perfectly with this truck. If you go diesel you can’t tow with the 2500 tho, it eats 1k off the payload. I also noticed that the f 350 seems to only have single rears around here in NJ. Every dealer I see has the non dually 350. Kinda strange.
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Old 10-25-2020, 09:00 AM   #6
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I would just look at the other limits like payload, tongue weight and even axle limits, and make sure you're not going to exceed those. I would practically ignore max tow because you're not going to be anywhere near max tow if the trailer is a travel trailer and you're within those other limits. But yeah, if you somehow manage to get near max tow, that would be a concern--the main concern being you messed up measuring one of those other limits and are actually exceeding payload, tongue weight, etc.

So no 80% rule. That would be absurd when applied to say tongue weight. It might leave you not able to carry anything with axle weight.

BTW, 80% of max tow on my truck (Colorado Duramax) is too high! No way would I pull a 6,000+ pound trailer with my truck (7,700 max tow rating). The engine could do it safely, but not the suspension and brakes.
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Old 10-25-2020, 09:47 AM   #7
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Do you tow a lot? If so then get a 1 ton diesel. Reason is that with a 9,000 lb TT your tongue weight will be around 1080 lbs @12%. Could be higher but shouldn't be lower.
A 1 ton diesel will have 3500- 4000 lbs for payload.
If you don't tow a lot and are a weekend warrior type or if you do tow a lot but very rarely are in the mtns then a 3/4 ton gasser would work. Why because a 3/4 ton gasser will have 2800-3200 lbs for payload.
Now a 3/4 ton diesel would work great if you don't plan on getting a 5th wheel as they have payloads in the 1900-2200 range and that puts a damper on what you can have for pin weights in a 5er.
Forget about a 1/2 ton.

FWIW I tow a 9200-9500 lb loaded 31' TT with a 3500 diesel. I previously towed it with a 2500 gasser. The 2500 handled the TT just fine but living in the PNW and driving in the mtns a lot and doing long (2 week-1 month) trips I opted to get another diesel.

As far as the 80% rule goes. Pure internet myth. Doesn't mean it's not relevant. It's just that it makes no sense when factoring other things.
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Old 10-25-2020, 11:14 AM   #8
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I see a lot of gassers and diesels camping in the northeast. Not to hijack the thread but I got the gas because it had a higher payload than the diesel and I really didnít want to deal with owning a diesel as a daily driver. I plan to get the Jayco Eagle HT 264bhok. Itís got a 10000 gvwr so hopefully the new truck will be good.
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Old 10-25-2020, 11:36 AM   #9
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You are one crazy guy buying a huge trailer when you have a little truck. So now you are saying you bought the wrong truck just last year. Ok ok...
In my post I mentioned that I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when I bought the truck and then the Keystone. I hadn't towed anything like this before. I knew after our very first trip that I needed more truck to haul the 7600 GVWR Keystone.

We ended getting a seasonal site to reduce the amount of times I would have to tow that thing. To answer your question about buying the wrong truck, yes. Absolutely, I bought the wrong truck. That was apparent the very first time I towed our old camper. I do not want to make that mistake again. Which is the reason for my presence on this forum. I'm trying to learn.
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Old 10-25-2020, 02:26 PM   #10
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I do kinda the same thing. I look at trailers I can tow then look at the big boy trailers. I prefer the big boy trailers with multiple slides and plenty of elbow room.
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Old 10-25-2020, 02:28 PM   #11
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When I got into that Ram back at the beginning of 2019, I knew I wanted to buy a camper. I didn't know much, if anything, about towing on this level. . . . Once I found out that my max towing capacity was 8,190lbs, I started looking into campers that were in that 7000-8000lbs range.
First, sorry you had to deal with that other response.

Second, this is why I hate max tow ratings. They deceive consumers and on top of that likely the salesperson for your trailer probably asked you what your max tow was and then said your truck would be fine. Max tow ratings are BS.

As I said above, pay attention to the other ratings, like payload, etc. But for that size of trailer IMHO you need at least a 3/4 ton, if not larger.
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Old 10-25-2020, 02:48 PM   #12
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First, sorry you had to deal with that other response.

Second, this is why I hate max tow ratings. They deceive consumers and on top of that likely the salesperson for your trailer probably asked you what your max tow was and then said your truck would be fine. Max tow ratings are BS.

As I said above, pay attention to the other ratings, like payload, etc. But for that size of trailer IMHO you need at least a 3/4 ton, if not larger.
Yes, I agree, max tow ratings on half tons and suv's are truly deceiving and mostly a sales gimmick. Same thing with some RVs being sold as "Half ton series".
Nothing beats a 3/4-1 ton platform with better cooling systems, brakes, differentials, suspension, lower gear ratios, payload etc...
Personally I've always been in the 75% camp, but that's just me.
As my dad used to say, "just because you can doesn't mean you should".
Good luck in finding a suitable tow vehicle and happy camping.
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Old 10-25-2020, 07:10 PM   #13
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Do you tow a lot? If so then get a 1 ton diesel. Reason is that with a 9,000 lb TT your tongue weight will be around 1080 lbs @12%. Could be higher but shouldn't be lower.
A 1 ton diesel will have 3500- 4000 lbs for payload.
If you don't tow a lot and are a weekend warrior type or if you do tow a lot but very rarely are in the mtns then a 3/4 ton gasser would work. Why because a 3/4 ton gasser will have 2800-3200 lbs for payload.
Now a 3/4 ton diesel would work great if you don't plan on getting a 5th wheel as they have payloads in the 1900-2200 range and that puts a damper on what you can have for pin weights in a 5er.
Forget about a 1/2 ton.

FWIW I tow a 9200-9500 lb loaded 31' TT with a 3500 diesel. I previously towed it with a 2500 gasser. The 2500 handled the TT just fine but living in the PNW and driving in the mtns a lot and doing long (2 week-1 month) trips I opted to get another diesel.

As far as the 80% rule goes. Pure internet myth. Doesn't mean it's not relevant. It's just that it makes no sense when factoring other things.


I do not tow it a lot. We have a seasonal campsite about 100 miles north of the house. I'll bring it there in the spring where it will sit for the duration of the season. In 2022, we are planning a trip to Deadwood, South Dakota and also into the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. I have plenty of time to locate the correct vehicle to pull this rig safely.
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Old 10-25-2020, 07:58 PM   #14
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I do not tow it a lot. We have a seasonal campsite about 100 miles north of the house. I'll bring it there in the spring where it will sit for the duration of the season. In 2022, we are planning a trip to Deadwood, South Dakota and also into the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. I have plenty of time to locate the correct vehicle to pull this rig safely.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is not calculating depreciation when they trade up. So make sure you are happy with what you buy and it fits your needs not just now but years from now as well. If you plan on towing consider a diesel as the cost just might be the same or less than what you will loose on one trade in and if your next camper grows in size you truck can handle it. Just my 2 cents
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