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Old 12-30-2016, 11:08 PM   #1
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What should be my max?

My employer is allowing me to us my work truck to pull a camper(I don't have a personal truck), the problem is it is a 2015 Chevy 1/2ton 5.3L with 3.08 gears. So #6500 is max with wife and 2 young kids I was looking at something like a Grey wolf 26bh (~#4600 dry). Myg wife likes having a dinette and a couch, so 26ft(29 overall) is about as small as I can go. I thought about a 23ft with a Murphy bed, but that "makes it not homey". As I figure it the Grey wolf may be pushing the max, so I'm probably going to have to settle on something that is towable by a midsize truck. I'm trying to find a used cheaper camper for our first. 3.08s stink, but I do get 23mpg in a 1/2ton. Fyi, I have read a lot of 2015 Chevy's marked with 3.43 gears actually have 3.08s installed due to shortages in 3.43s.
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:02 AM   #2
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Disagree about incorrect axle ratios, GM is not going to risk lawsuits, the axle code listed in the glove box will be correct.

Also max tow rating is MAX, not min. Extra cargo and passenger weight reduces the tow number pound for pound.

Finally, the 3.08 means you will probably have to lock out overdrive just to maintain speed, especially with headwinds or AC use. My last 1/2 ton had the 3.73 and it did fine towing 6500 lbs. I wouldn't enjoy the 3.42 or certainly the 3.08 for any significant distance.
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:35 AM   #3
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Really, Max is Max? My question was more what max size/weight would the seasoned Campers recommend. I've been pulling trailers since I started driving (25 yrs) just not huge top heavy sails. I just wanted advice from people with experience with TTs.
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Old 12-31-2016, 11:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjdauzat View Post
My employer is allowing me to us my work truck to pull a camper(I don't have a personal truck), the problem is it is a 2015 Chevy 1/2ton 5.3L with 3.08 gears.
There are two important weight ratings for your truck to determine the max weight of any trailer you can tow without being overloaded.

GCWR is the gross combined weight rating, which is the max combined weight of truck and trailer. Subtract the weight of the truck and the answer is the "tow rating", or the max trailer weight you can tow without overheating anything in the drivetrain, and without being the slowpoke holding up traffic on grades such as hills and mountain passes.

GVWR is the gross vehicle weight rating, which is the max weight you can have on the axles of the truck without overloading the components of the truck, such as suspension, tires, wheels and brakes. GVWR minus the weight of the wet and loaded truck is the max payload capacity available for hitch weight.

GM (and Ram and Ford) says you should never exceed either the GCWR or the GVWR of the tow vehicle.

Almost always, the tow vehicle can PULL more trailer than it can carry the hitch weight of that trailer. So GVWR and not GCWR is almost always the limiter as to how heavy a trailer you can tow without being overloaded.

Specs for a 2014 1500 regular cab 4x2 with 5.3 engine, 3.08 axle, 8' bed
Max tow rating 6,500 pounds
GVWR 6,800 pounds

Here are the specs for a 2014, which didn't change for 2015:
2014 Silverado 1500 Regular Cab Specifications

The tow rating is max, and assumes a pickup with absolutely no options or weight in the pickup. For the actual tow rating for your wet and loaded pickup you must weigh the wet and loaded pickup with everybody and everything that will be in it when towing, including the weight-distributing hitch and a full tank of gas. Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded pickup from the GCWR of that pickup and the answer is the max gross trailer weight you can tow without exceeding the GCWR.

But GCWR is probably not your limiter. GVWR is probably the limiter, so hitch weight and weight in the pickup are the controllable variables to not exceed the GVWR. Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded truck from the GVWR and the answer is the max payload capacity available for hitch weight. Divide that max payload capacity available for hitch weight by 0.13 (13%) and the answer is the max GVWR of any TT you want to tow with that pickup.

Quote:
So #6500 is max with wife and 2 young kids I was looking at something like a Grey wolf 26bh (~#4600 dry).
No. 6,500 is the max trailer weight with absolutely nothing in the pickuo except a full tank of gas and a skinny driver. No wife and kids or anything else. No tools or campfire wood. No options on the truck, such as a bed rug or tonneau cover or camper shell.

And ignore the so-called dry weight of the trailer. You won't be towing a dry trailer. If you don't want to be overloaded when all loaded up and ready to go camping, then use the GVWR of the trailer as the probable weight of the wet and loaded trailer. If the specs don't include GVWR of the trailer, then add the CCC (cargo carrying capacity) of the trailer to the dry weight to get GVWR.

The Grey Wolf 26BH has GVWR of 7595. You can expect to load it up to around 7,000 pounds for a camping trip. With 13% tongue weight, that's 910 pounds tongue weight. Add at least 90 pounds for a good WD hitch and your total hitch weight is 1,000 pounds or more. Does your wet and loaded pickup have 1,000 pounds of payload capacity available for hitch weight? I doubt it.

Quote:
Myg wife likes having a dinette and a couch, so 26ft(29 overall) is about as small as I can go.
Any TT with a 26' box is going to overload your tow vehicle.

My half-ton pickup has GVWR of 7,100, and I'm barely overloaded with my 19' box TT that grosses only 4,870 pounds with 650 pounds tongue weight when wet and loaded on the road. That's loaded with wife, two dogs, toolbox, bed rug and camper shell, with running boards, tailgate step and bed steps.

If you must buy a used camper trailer, then I suspect you'll be very lucky to find a normal TT with 24' or 26' box that will meet your wants without overloading your pickup. My Nomad 19.5S is perfect for two old folks and two dogs, but it doesn't have a couch. DW insisted on a walk-around bed, large closet, and bathtub/shower that didn't require her to sit on the pottie to take a shower. It has "everything" including dinette, microwave, hot water and AC, but no slide and not much room to rattle around inside the camper. Two small kids could sleep on the dinette, but that's a hassle.

So I suspect (assuming you don't want to be overloaded with your precious family with you) you'll be limited to a nice pop-up trailer. Forest River (the same folks that make the Grey Wolf) have nice roomy pop-ups with GVWR less than 4,000 pounds with everything you need for comfortable camping, including hot-water shower and AC. For example at this link, the UVC+CCC is 3,263 pounds, so tongue weight would be only 425 pounds. Surely you can limit the weight in the truck so you would have 425 pounds of payload capacity available for tongue weight.
Flagstaff Tent Folding Camping Trailers by Forest River RV

All the years my kids were growing up, we had a Wheel Camper pop-up camping trailer. We went everywhere from Maine to California and Seattle to Key West with that camper. Fond memories. But when I retired and the kids were gone, I graduated to a small 5er towed with an F-250 diesel. Then 10 years later we decided we didn't need that much camper, so we bought the Nomad 196.5S and my current tow vehicle.
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Old 12-31-2016, 11:30 AM   #5
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Really, Max is Max? My question was more what max size/weight would the seasoned Campers recommend. I've been pulling trailers since I started driving (25 yrs) just not huge top heavy sails. I just wanted advice from people with experience with TTs.
My point was that many people make the mistake of only trying to keep the trailer weight below the max. and forget about the impact of other cargo in the truck. So, deduct maybe 500 lbs for family, WD hitch and misc. added to the truck and the loaded trailer needs to be under 6000 lbs. Trailer dry weight is NOT wet weight and generally does not include weight of the battery. So with battery, propane, minimal water, other RV necessities and food, clothes, personal items, you will add close to 1000 lbs, so target dry weight should be around 5000 lbs. All this assumes you are comfortable towing right at the truck's max. rating. Many suggest a max. weight closer to 80% of the rating, which means a trailer dry weight around 3700 lbs.

Length depends on truck wheelbase and type of anti-sway setup used, best would be the Hensley Arrow or ProPride, but the best is not cheap.
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Old 01-01-2017, 12:47 AM   #6
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The 3.08s are really the limiting factor here. Everything will be the same as far as running gear if you had 3.73 and your carrying capacities would increase by a fair amount. So you could technically tow that 4700lb trailer without problems. However, a truck with 3.08s, I would bet, did not come with factory tow gear like an auxiliary tranny cooler, 7 pin wiring harness, or integrated trailer brakes. All can be added of course but still, those 3.08s will be mighty tall for towing and eventually burn up the tranny. If I was your boss, I would not allow a TT to be towed with my truck. Now I'm not saying you're truck can't tow a 4700lb TT. I've pulled worse with less. It's just not enjoyable. We get campers to enjoy the journey we take with out family and if conditions aren't favorable one day when you're towing, an inadequate tow vehicle can ruin you're whole trip. Trust me, I know. You don't necessarily need a pop up, but I'd limit myself to 5000lb loaded not dry with a full sized trailer. Another option is the Trailmanor line of RVs.
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Old 01-01-2017, 07:19 AM   #7
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I'm thinking of looking for something like a Wolf Pup, they are not easily available around me (Louisiana), but something along those lines around #3000. Most of our trips will be within a 2hr radius, i'm not planning on out of state runs. Later on if the family really likes camping (I'm sure they will) I'll pick me up a used 3/4 or 1 ton, even though I have no desire for a large camper pass a 30ft, u never can have to much truck.
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Old 01-02-2017, 10:14 AM   #8
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I'm thinking of looking for something like a Wolf Pup, they are not easily available around me (Louisiana), but something along those lines around #3000. Most of our trips will be within a 2hr radius, i'm not planning on out of state runs. Later on if the family really likes camping (I'm sure they will) I'll pick me up a used 3/4 or 1 ton, even though I have no desire for a large camper pass a 30ft, u never can have to much truck.
I think you are on the right track at 3K. Have fun.
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by jjdauzat View Post
Really, Max is Max? My question was more what max size/weight would the seasoned Campers recommend. I've been pulling trailers since I started driving (25 yrs) just not huge top heavy sails. I just wanted advice from people with experience with TTs.
You've gotten some good info here. I agree that the Grey Wolf might be a bit much for your TV. You could try looking at something like what I have in my sig (Jay Feather X213). It has a rear slide out king bed and a jackknife sofa. Although the box is just 21 feet, the bed slide makes it effectively more like 24-25 feet. With a 5500 gross trailer weight, it's a lot closer to what you can actually pull with your TV.

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Old 01-03-2017, 12:29 AM   #10
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Seems a little risky to use the company truck to pull your trailer. I guess your boss must have great liability insurance. If it was me I'd get my own truck. Had a friend with a company truck who decided to haul his boat to the lake. Had a wreck and was looking for work the next day. Good luck!
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:29 AM   #11
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I would say that the max weight for your trailer is about 3500 lbs. if you go heavier you will spend all your time in either 2nd or if lucky 3rd gear. Forget about going faster than 40 up any moderate hill. It will be a tiring and stressful trip. Always better to have the truck you need first rather than trying to buy the trailer you want and match it to an existing truck that has no where near the capacity you need. Good luck. If you do intend to tow with this setup please PM me so I can stay off the road if you are in the area.
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