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Old 07-26-2020, 01:44 AM   #1
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Rate my rig - newbie

Newbie here- first post!

I bought a 2020 Ford Ranger a couple months ago. Has the tow package, 7500# max towing. While we talked about campers before, we never really got serious about it. But having a new truck and frequent tent camping during pandemic really amped up my wife's shopping, and now suddenly we own a 2021 Keystone Bullet 243BHS. Dry wt 5100#, 29ft.

We talked to some RV friends/coworkers, and of course the dreaded dealers, and everyone seems to think we'll be OK, no hesitations. We got sway bars, electronic braking, and will generally be doing long weekends so light packing. We have a good amount of buffer below the 7500# capacity, and will be careful with wt while packing (cant imagine we'd ever go above 6000# loaded). No plans for off grid camping at the moment. The drive home from the dealer seemed OK. Even managed to back into the driveway without any rookie horror stories. But haven't had our first camp trip yet.

But of course after getting everything purchased, one self proclaimed tow expert family member started making me nervous. He says he pulls a 4000# boat trailer with a 07 Tundra, about same tow capacity as my Ranger, and he said my truck will struggle with my camper and he'd personally never drive my setup. Never really made it clear to me what exact struggles I might experience.

I'm not sure if he's comparing apples/oranges with boat vs camper trailer. He doesn't have e brakes and sway. Or if the tech in a 2020 is apple to oranges compared to his 07. He doesn't have the haul mode tech, sway control (if those are worth anything?).

Will I be OK? Is there anything I should be careful with? No long trips, limitations, recommended aftermarket upgrades (air susp, tranny cooler?) What should I expect to experience if my rig isn't up to par? Are we talking wild/bumpy rides, low gas mileage, engine/tranny wear, sluggish acceleration? Sliding into the ditch in a blaze of glory? Not really wanting to trade up my brand new truck at the moment, and my wife definitely doesn't want to give up her dream camper.

Thanks in advance!
Eric
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Old 07-26-2020, 02:59 AM   #2
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I think you already know what to expect with what you questioned in your last two paragraphs.

The first thing i would do is load up your ranger with everything ready to go camping, get it weighed. Then with it still full do the same with your trailer, then get the combined weight. I think you’ll be shocked at what that shows.

Personally i wouldn’t want to pull a 29’ behind any of those “ lite weights “
Have you thought about cross winds? you’ll have the tail waggin the dog.

I wouldn’t want to do it. If i’m going to tow something that long and heavy i want a real p/u, not a grocery getter. All that e junk sounds great, but i want the mass, and power. What your talking about doing is border line for now, but first thing you know you’ll be wanting to go there, hills, get caught in a wind, semi blows by you and now your not having much fun.
Sorry about the rig being new and all, should’ve picked out the trailer first or told your wife no, don’t have enough p/u for that trailer. all jmho

good luck.
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Old 07-26-2020, 03:13 AM   #3
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You should expect about the same towing as you got from the dealer. What was your top speed? That was key for me towing with a Honda Ridgeline. I could tow real nice and easy to about 55mph. But faster than that caused sway. Semi's would push my rig to the right then pull me to the left as they passed. I could not keep up with the right lane traffic that was going from 65mph to 72mph. So you might experience some of that.

I used the Ridgeline for 3 years as I was just towing local on back roads. Again it towed good on the back roads. When I started towing on the highway at the posted speed limit was when I had trouble and got a bigger truck.

I looked at your trailer on a YouTube video. Very nice trailer btw. I like the modern molded one pierce counter tops. Two big bunks in the corner. It is a big jump up from tent camping. Oh, a travel trailer is 1,000 times better than a tent. In a rain storm everything stays dry.

You friend with the 2007 Toyota Tundra. Boats are easier to tow than campers. The boat is typically shaped better while the travel trailer is shaped like a box and is more difficult to tow.

So my guess is your truck will have a problem controlling the trailer at highway speeds...but hopefully not.
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epeddy1 View Post
Newbie here- first post!

I bought a 2020 Ford Ranger a couple months ago. Has the tow package, 7500# max towing. While we talked about campers before, we never really got serious about it. But having a new truck and frequent tent camping during pandemic really amped up my wife's shopping, and now suddenly we own a 2021 Keystone Bullet 243BHS. Dry wt 5100#, 29ft.

We talked to some RV friends/coworkers, and of course the dreaded dealers, and everyone seems to think we'll be OK, no hesitations. We got sway bars, electronic braking, and will generally be doing long weekends so light packing. We have a good amount of buffer below the 7500# capacity, and will be careful with wt while packing (cant imagine we'd ever go above 6000# loaded). No plans for off grid camping at the moment. The drive home from the dealer seemed OK. Even managed to back into the driveway without any rookie horror stories. But haven't had our first camp trip yet.

But of course after getting everything purchased, one self proclaimed tow expert family member started making me nervous. He says he pulls a 4000# boat trailer with a 07 Tundra, about same tow capacity as my Ranger, and he said my truck will struggle with my camper and he'd personally never drive my setup. Never really made it clear to me what exact struggles I might experience.

I'm not sure if he's comparing apples/oranges with boat vs camper trailer. He doesn't have e brakes and sway. Or if the tech in a 2020 is apple to oranges compared to his 07. He doesn't have the haul mode tech, sway control (if those are worth anything?).

Will I be OK? Is there anything I should be careful with? No long trips, limitations, recommended aftermarket upgrades (air susp, tranny cooler?) What should I expect to experience if my rig isn't up to par? Are we talking wild/bumpy rides, low gas mileage, engine/tranny wear, sluggish acceleration? Sliding into the ditch in a blaze of glory? Not really wanting to trade up my brand new truck at the moment, and my wife definitely doesn't want to give up her dream camper.

Thanks in advance!
Eric

So why dont you get the tow specs from the dealer and read them? Dont rely on the tow expert wannabes.
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:18 AM   #5
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wandering - wth do you mean. Who is claiming to be an expert.

Don't be a jerk.
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:37 AM   #6
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Sway bars? I may be wrong ,but I think you meant load bars.
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:39 AM   #7
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One contributing factor is the shorter wheelbase of the Ranger vs. a F150 or other 1/2 ton truck. It's is likely to be less stable and you are pulling a 29' trailer which means you may be more prone to winds or push from passing semis creating problems. You may be OK if you keep the speed down and/or avoid windy towing conditions. I'm certainly no expert, but the shorter wheelbase and 29' trailer would be something I would avoid.

One thing I would check is the tires on the ranger. Replace them if they aren't LT tires. I experienced that when I started pulling a trailer with a Tundra. Replacing the tires made a big difference and the towing performance of the Tundra with a Winnebago Minnie 2201DS was excellent.

While keeping the weight of the trailer well below capacity is good, it doesn't alter the fact of the sheer size of your rig when it comes to crosswinds. Consequently, although you may be able to tow it without a problem in many conditions, you won't know how it will respond when you're suddenly confronted with unexpected crosswinds. Because of that, many of us that prefer to err on the side of safety will express concern and suggest that a more heavy duty truck would be a much better option.
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:53 AM   #8
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For real long distance towing with relaxed driving I would prefer a 3/4 ton pick up. Plenty of capacity, payload, power, stability and most important, brakes.

Sorry but I think your little Ranger will be over whelmed. Nice truck though.

Sorry that you are getting so many negative replys to your first post but we would all want to see you safe and happy with many years of wonderful memories behind you.

Finally and not least, , welcome.
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:11 AM   #9
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I agree with those above, too much trailer for that truck.
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:20 AM   #10
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Like mentioned earlier get them weighed. You will be surprised at how much you weigh. Before you put anything in the trailer get it weighed. Then after you load out what you want take it and weigh it again.
For experience only do this little simple game:
1) weigh the trailer empty before adding anything
2) both of you. husband & wife, do number 3 separate from each other
3) load up, estimate how much every item weighs estimate what you think would be the weight
4) once loaded weigh again.
5) once weighed look at each other and say "WOW". You will be surprised.

Now my question is: Even if you can tow it, can you stop it under control?
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:29 AM   #11
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You didn't list all the weights... so from a little searching these are the numbers I found, make sure to verify your specific doir/trailer tags.

Ranger with tow package:
Trailer max: 7,500
Max payload: 1860*

202o Ford Towing Guide:

https://www.fleet.ford.com/content/d...owingGuide.pdf

Somethings to note about the Ranger:

-The towing guide says up to 7, 500 lb trailer With NO CARGO in the truck... That means driver + gas and NOTHING else in the truck. (pg 16, top).

-Max payload will likely be less on your truck, this value will assume the lowest trim, least options in the truck that will get you the rated capacity. Any extra options add to the empty weight of the truck but don't increase the GVWR. Simply, your actual payload is the GVWR - Empty weight of the truck. You may find the actual payload capacity of your truck to be significantly lower if it is a high option truck. There is a good chance the payload is on the door sticker, already figured out for you.

-To be safe, your available payload needs to cover: Passengers, cargo, and tongue weight.

Trailer, you didn't mention the gvwr, so I searched and found this:

Empty: 5100lbs
GVWR: 6500

You mentioned 'I don't see ever weighing more than 6,000 lbs... IMHO thus is a bad assumption a lot of TT owners make. You are assuming you will have less than 900 lbs of cargo... lets look at this for a bit:

Ever want to go somewhere without hookups? Water in tanks, or grey/black on the way home... weighs 8.34 lbs per gallon, add 40 gallons of water you have already put 336 lbs of cargo in the trailer, to stay below 6,000lbs, you now only have 764 lbs of cargo left, which needs to cover:

-Kitchen dishes and food

-camping items (chairs, folding tables etc)

-Propane (trailers are weighed with no or empty tanks)

-bedding, clothing, towels etc

-Any other fun stuff you want to take

Since you got a bunkhouse I assume there will be at least 3 to 4 people's 'stuff' in the trailer. It would be easy to go over the remaining 760lbs of cargo you gave yourself.

Towing, here is where the design of travel trailers become a pain. They are giant kites! Pulling a flatbed trailer with lumber that weighs 6,500 lbs is a cake walk compared to pulling a 6,500 travel trailer. This is the devil in the details 'trailer tow ratings' hide, they are based solely on weight without considering handling characteristics. Travel trailers catch every cross wind and gust, they get pushed around by semi rigs. This is what drives many travel trailer owners to buy trucks that are significantly heavier than needed to tow the expected weight of the trailer.

My suggestion is to slowly get experience pulling the trailer, I fear you may end up wanting a heavier truck. Start out driving locally with little wind, and then expand from there. Really think twice about hitting the Interstate on windy days where semi-rigs will really push you around.

Other poster covered changing to LT tires and the fact you have a short wheel base truck with a long trailer wich doesn't help either. Unfortunately, I think you will be coming to the conclusion of needing a smaller trailer or larger truck.
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:54 AM   #12
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Also remember that one person’s idea of a truck “struggling” to pull a load is different than another. Your neighbor with the boat may think it struggles because it will not hold 6th gear going 85mph while someone else may think it pulls great and they are pulling at 55mph.

I do think you are getting some good advice here.
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Old 07-26-2020, 07:10 AM   #13
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I agree with: (1) get the set up weighed; and (2) drive it around and see how it feels. I would want to know how much that rig weighed loaded, and then if it has enough weight on the tongue (10-13% total trailer weight), and if it has enough weight on the tongue, is it under the payload and hitch carry-weight rating of your specific truck (based on the stickers on the truck). If it is under these specs, then I'd drive it around and see how it feels. If you are under these specs and feel comfortable towing this set up you are good to go. If you are over payload or hitch limits, or it feels a little spooky to you, like you are getting pushed around, or its uncomfortable driving at highway speeds, time for a new truck.
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Old 07-26-2020, 07:22 AM   #14
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To epeddy. Please don't feel embarrassed over the replies. We have all made mistakes in the RV world and this is what this forum is all about. Helping others.

We enjoy our lifestyle and want to see others enjoy it as well. All our posts are meant as advice, not criticism.

Better to be embarrassed rather than in an accident.

Lord knows I've made some dumb mistakes.

We are in the process of a major change of rv. From a fifth to a coach and I am reading every post I can to gain information. Frankly I am amazed at the assistance that I have received.

Hope you get it all sorted out and enjoy many years of raving.
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