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Old 05-11-2022, 11:36 AM   #1
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Purchasing first TT, need a bit of sanity checking advice

I'm looking to purchase my first travel trailer. SO and I have narrowed down the choices to the ***Link Removed***.

This has all the main features we're looking for and I think should be towable by our truck okay. I'd like some sanity checking on this by others more knowledgeable and experienced in this area than myself.

Freedom Express 238BH:
UVW: 5314lb
Hitch weight: 694lb
Length: 25'9"

Truck:
2013 RAM 1500 4x4 Crew Cab 5.7L
Towing capacity: 6500lb
Payload: 1650lb
GAWR (rear): 3900
GAWR (front): 3900
Measured weight (rear): 2580lb
Measured weight (front): 3480lb

This was only with me in the truck and 3/4 tank of gas. SO and kids will add ~350lb total.

I am planning to get a 2 or 4 point weight distribution hitch. Unloaded TT is 81.75% of the max towing capacity.

The hitch weight was a bit concerning to me at first, but it seems like a properly adjust WD hitch should alleviate that by placing ~20% back onto front axles and ~20% onto trailer axles.

I would need to keep additional weight loaded onto trailer and truck bed to less than 1K lbs to stay under max towing capacity.

I live in a flat area, but am planning to drive to hilly areas (like SD and Wyoming/Yellowstone), so it'll see some decent grades.

This trailer is heavier than I originally set out to look at, but seems like we can keep within all the max weights with a bit of planning.

Am I making a stupid decision if I buy this and pull with my truck?
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Old 05-11-2022, 12:15 PM   #2
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That is a 7600 GVWR Trailer.

Tongue weight will be closer to 900# when loaded up camp ready

Gonna be a bit too much for your 1500
*I take it with a 6500 Tow Rating you must have 3:21 diff
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Old 05-11-2022, 12:30 PM   #3
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Too much trailer.

Your real unloaded weight will probably be closer to 5400-5500 lbs. Adding batteries, propane tank, and extra necessities, your before loading weight will be closer to 5700 lbs. Adding camping gear, your atleast 6000 lbs without water in fresh water tank, black/grey tanks with stuff in them.
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Old 05-11-2022, 02:33 PM   #4
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I think I understand that you have just posted real scale weights for your truck only.

My math on your numbers says you can have 1190# of stuff pushing down on your truck. I took out your kids, and the weight of your hitch already. You should find an actual live trailer and get an image of the real weights as manufactured from the stickers. The stuff you posted about the trailer looks to exactly match the marketing numbers from the manufacture. Those numbers are lies, and 99% of the time they are low. As an example FR loves to post low numbers and claim it will be higher with package "x" or "y". In reality you find out the trailer is only available with either package x or y so they are all heavier. As a specific example my TT is 450# heavier than the stated UVW, and has no "optional" options. No solar, no fiberglass, no genset, and no electric jacks, and it is still 450# over FRs marketing weight at the time of manufacture. Then I added propane and batteries.

I'm not the towing police. I will say this, if you can prevent being at 95%+ percent ... prevent it. You can likely tow this thing, but the odds that it is going to be less than desireable are very high. You want easy to manage, will inherently resist sway, will not be sensitive to minor loading errrors, and won't be a mess in the wind. You have a pretty light duty 1/2 ton by today's standards. That trailer looks to be very 1/2 compatable, but starting with a payload well over 1700# and a towing capacity over the trailer GVW would be a much better place to start.
You don't need a DRW 3500 to tow that trailer, but where will you be if you buy it and hate towing it with your 1500?
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Old 05-11-2022, 02:47 PM   #5
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Based on my experiences with two travel trailers, if the travel trailer is rated at 7600 GVW, you will most likely end up with a loaded trailer at about 7,000 lbs or so. With kids, have you thought about the stuff kids want to take along such as bicycles and other stuff. As already said, you may be able to tow it, but the towing performance won't likely to be very good. I would suggest you consider a lighter trailer unless you know you can upgrade to a different truck if it doesn't work out.

Best of luck, and I hope you're enjoying RVing with the family soon. Our kid's best memories are from our camping days when they were young!
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Old 05-11-2022, 02:49 PM   #6
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Dry tongue weight is irrelevant. You must always use 12-15% of trailer GVWR to determine wet tongue weight. You don’t have enough payload to tow that trailer without exceeding tv rear GAWR and possibly GVWR. Look for a smaller trailer or buy a 3/4 toon truck. Since you’re looking at a bunkhouse, presumably you have kids. There are bunkhouse TTs out there that you can tow with your existing truck. The WBGO Micro Minnie line is a good place to start.
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Old 05-11-2022, 03:16 PM   #7
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I have a '19 Laramie with 1324# cargo capacity and 3.92 rear end. it tows my 6000# 28' travel trailer fine and you have 300# more capacity. your tongue wt. will likely be close to 800# and your trailer will be near 6500# or more so subtract back from there. my WDH weighs 50# so be sure to subtract out the wt. of yours. dont tow wet. dont pack much in the truck. you will be near the max. amount of trailer you should probably tow with that truck but doable.
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Old 05-12-2022, 10:55 AM   #8
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I'd echo Old-Biscuit and Marine359; always look at the trailer's GVWR and figure on 12 - 15% for tongue weight. I have the same RAM 1500 Hemi in my fleet and won't tow over about 6,000 lbs total with it.

2 cents,
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Old 05-12-2022, 06:33 PM   #9
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Just get a 3/4 ton.
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Old 05-13-2022, 05:58 AM   #10
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I am with the others, too much trailer for that truck, it might be ok if you are only taking it to the local lakes on the weekend, but for trans continental adventure it will be miserable driving, and likely on the edge of being unsafe. Towing capacity is not some knife edge scale where adding or removing a pound suddenly makes it ok (other than from a legal perspective), instead it is a sliding scale that has many factors, weight, balance of load, center of momentum, etc is part of it, as you approach this capacity those factors other than weight must be more and more carefully balanced, even then excluding very light loads, heavier loads will tend to be harder to pull than light ones.
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Old 05-13-2022, 07:15 AM   #11
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I really appreciate everyone taking some of their time to share their knowledge with me.

Clarifying which truck I have exactly:

2013 RAM 1500 6'4" Crew Cab BigHorn 5.7L

There is an entry in the 2013 Ram towing capacity chart for each piece of that line. So the numbers I've copied from there are pretty specific to my truck options and trim package.

My actual measured base weight is unfortunately much higher than the spec sheet says. 653lbs more. I don't have anywhere near that much stuff in/on that I've added. Rubber bed mat, log chain (this is 22lbs), and some misc papers and stuff like that.

Repasting the limits from OP with some additions:

Towing capacity: 6500lb
Payload: 1650lb
GAWR (rear): 3900lb
GAWR (front): 3900lb
GVWR: 6800lb
Measured weight (rear): 2580lb
Measured weight (front): 3480lb

Using the actual weight and GVWR instead of base weight and payload from spec sheet (so it takes into account mystery factory weight), I estimate the actual payload I'll have available after SO and kids are in truck, and there is a full propane tank and a battery on the TT tongue is going to be closer to 300lb leftover.

If I wanted to be 100% sure to stay under GCWR, this means loaded hitch weight would have to be less than 300lbs. There are very few small trailers that sleep 5 that meet that.

I'm leaning towards not trying to stay completely with GVWR but trying to keep reasonably close to it (like a guideline) as I definitely don't want to severely overload my truck and risk a lot of damage to it, or worse, causing it to be uncontrollable and leading to accident.

I didn't mention before that I rented a Wolf Pup 16BHS last year, and it seemed like it towed very well. I didn't feel like my truck was handling badly or lacked power or torque. That's part of why I started looking at "bigger" trailers. I wasn't going up and down mountains though, just some smaller hills in SD.

Going through this exercise, I realize I was almost certainly over GVWR some last year as well.

So...looking through a new set of TTs, I'm now thinking about going with the Wolf Pup 17JG (or 17JGBL).
UVW: 3879lb
Hitch weight: 430lb

This would leave about 1664lb before meeting the GCWR of 12100 for my truck. I don't see us packing more than 1000lb .

I know I'll be over GVWR by a couple hundred pounds, but I should still be within GCWR by several hundred.

Is this still too stupid to be considering?

Should I only be considering something smaller like the Wolf Pup 16BHS that will exceed GVWR less?
UVW: 3097lb
Hitch weight: 377lb
Estimate GCW left with this: 2446lb

I feel like the 16BHS was fine last year and pulled much easier than I thought it would.

Is the hitch weight difference of 53lb between the 17JG and 16BHS going to really matter that much? I'm guessing the UWV difference of 782lb between those two TTs is going to make a bigger difference.

Appreciate all the feedback. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
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Old 05-13-2022, 07:48 AM   #12
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Never pay any attention to the UVW or dry weight.
Look at the GVWR of trailer. By the time you add water, propane, gear,food most of us are starting to get close to GVWR of trailer.
I would guess by the time you are loaded, trailer will be around 6,000 lbs.
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Old 05-13-2022, 07:48 AM   #13
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First RV...

While I must agree with others here that your Ram 1500 may be a bit light to tow the trailer you're looking at, I want to talk about something else...

The worst mistake I made when buying my first travel trailer was looking at it as it was set up on the dealer's sales lot with the slides out. The trailer was beautiful with nice luxury features and tons of storage space inside for all our "stuff". It didn't occur to us that it may be different with the slides pulled in and ready for the road.

We didn't realize until after we had signed the paperwork to buy it that a good portion of our beautiful new trailer was not accessible when the slides were pulled in. It was literally impossible to reach the bedroom area or the bathroom because the walls of the retracted slides intruded into the coach and blocked the doors.

If you haven't already done so, make certain that you get a good look at the trailer you want to buy with everything tucked in and ready to tow. It may change your mind about the convenience of pulling into a rest area to have lunch or take a short nap while traveling.
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Old 05-13-2022, 08:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcstrom View Post
I really appreciate everyone taking some of their time to share their knowledge with me.

Clarifying which truck I have exactly:

2013 RAM 1500 6'4" Crew Cab BigHorn 5.7L

There is an entry in the 2013 Ram towing capacity chart for each piece of that line. So the numbers I've copied from there are pretty specific to my truck options and trim package.

My actual measured base weight is unfortunately much higher than the spec sheet says. 653lbs more. I don't have anywhere near that much stuff in/on that I've added. Rubber bed mat, log chain (this is 22lbs), and some misc papers and stuff like that.

Repasting the limits from OP with some additions:

Towing capacity: 6500lb
Payload: 1650lb
GAWR (rear): 3900lb
GAWR (front): 3900lb
GVWR: 6800lb
Measured weight (rear): 2580lb
Measured weight (front): 3480lb

Using the actual weight and GVWR instead of base weight and payload from spec sheet (so it takes into account mystery factory weight), I estimate the actual payload I'll have available after SO and kids are in truck, and there is a full propane tank and a battery on the TT tongue is going to be closer to 300lb leftover.

If I wanted to be 100% sure to stay under GCWR, this means loaded hitch weight would have to be less than 300lbs. There are very few small trailers that sleep 5 that meet that.

I'm leaning towards not trying to stay completely with GVWR but trying to keep reasonably close to it (like a guideline) as I definitely don't want to severely overload my truck and risk a lot of damage to it, or worse, causing it to be uncontrollable and leading to accident.

I didn't mention before that I rented a Wolf Pup 16BHS last year, and it seemed like it towed very well. I didn't feel like my truck was handling badly or lacked power or torque. That's part of why I started looking at "bigger" trailers. I wasn't going up and down mountains though, just some smaller hills in SD.

Going through this exercise, I realize I was almost certainly over GVWR some last year as well.

So...looking through a new set of TTs, I'm now thinking about going with the Wolf Pup 17JG (or 17JGBL).
UVW: 3879lb
Hitch weight: 430lb

This would leave about 1664lb before meeting the GCWR of 12100 for my truck. I don't see us packing more than 1000lb .

I know I'll be over GVWR by a couple hundred pounds, but I should still be within GCWR by several hundred.

Is this still too stupid to be considering?

Should I only be considering something smaller like the Wolf Pup 16BHS that will exceed GVWR less?
UVW: 3097lb
Hitch weight: 377lb
Estimate GCW left with this: 2446lb

I feel like the 16BHS was fine last year and pulled much easier than I thought it would.

Is the hitch weight difference of 53lb between the 17JG and 16BHS going to really matter that much? I'm guessing the UWV difference of 782lb between those two TTs is going to make a bigger difference.

Appreciate all the feedback. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
You state the following:

6060 truck weight per CAT scale
350 lbs will be added to this for other people etc.

That is 6410 lbs. To this figure add 100 lbs for the hitch. That's a grand total of 6510 lbs.

What I did not see in your info is your truck's listed GVWR - find this from the sticker on the driver's side door pillar.

Subtract the 6510 from the truck's GVWR. This gives you a good idea on what you have left for trailer tongue weight. Divide that figure by 13% (which is average travel trailer tongue weight). The answer will give you a good estimate on your max loaded trailer weight.

This of course assumes that the 6510 weight includes everything that will be in the truck when going camping. If not, adjust if necessary when you do the math.

Example:

GVWR on door sticker: 7000 lbs.

7000 - 6510 = 490.
490 / .13 = 3769 max loaded trailer weight.
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