PDA

View Full Version : Want to know what vehicle can pull your rv? A discussion.



Pulltab
06-25-2008, 09:44 AM
Want to know what truck is right for you? I see people almost everyday come onto the forum and ask, "can I pull this?" Let me see if I can decode some of this for you.

First of all I made a post that raised some eyebrows in response to the above question. Part of my post was edited and quite rightly by Jim. He left the first part of my post which said it all but sometimes people skim over what they don't want to hear.

Let's kill a myth here, the most common response to "can I pull this with my truck" is 'yes I pull that with a 3/4 ton pickup no problem.' Folks, look at the whole picture. The least important part of buying a truck is not whether you can pull it but can you stop it! You would not buy a truck if it could not pull your rv so you should think the same way about if you can STOP the rv. Facts are they put trailer brakes on rv's to allow them to do the braking for the rv. Worse case scenario is what if the trailer brakes fail? This is where a GCWR come's into play. PLEASE consider both of these important factors in your decision to buy a truck.

Now lets kill another statement by ALL the manufacturers and that is "You can pull xx,xxx pounds with this truck" read the fine print! It will say "when properly equipped" it doesn't mean that any truck that they make will pull that much. Generally to be able to pull the max load they claim you need at a minimum:

The lowest Rear end ratio available: generally a 4:10 or 4:30
Dual rear wheels:
Usually a Long bed:
usually depends on configuration of the truck, standard cab, quad cab, crew cab etc
and generally their auto trans: (not necessarily always true though, read the fine print)

There ratings are generally based on the above equipment with the truck at bone basic (no options installed) once you start adding options that takes away from your total towable ratings. Lets break it down a little and I will use my Dodge 3500 ram as an example

My dodge is a 4x4 dual wheel, 4:10 rear gear long bed with auto transmission

I believe they claimed I could pull 15,600# if properly equipped. Well by adding the 4x4 I probably lost 600# of my tow rating, mine is a quad cab and that probably cost me some more due to the weight of the additional metal to make the quad cab. The base weight of my truck was somewhere around 7300# or so, that generally means BEFORE you add options. Now I added an additional fuel tank with tool box that added to the gross vehicle weight. Now with both tanks full of fuel (86 gallons) and tools on board and me the wife and the dog and everything I would normally have in the truck it now weighs 9000#

So lets look at figures


Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) which means the total of everything loaded in the truck and the weight of the rv loaded. This is the legal amount you may be if run across the scale.

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) that you see on the rv tag is the maximum amount the RV may weigh by itself loaded at any time.


My GCWR rating for my Dodge is 23,000 lbs
My GVW rating of my rv is 14,000#
the math says that if the actual weight of my truck is 9000# and my GCWR is 23,000# the max amount I can have in my rv and contents would be 14,000#

Please do not go by dry weights as many people will tell you, they will base their info on the fact the base truck weighs 6000 and the dry weight of their rv is only 10,500# they think that means that their GCWR is 23,000# if they subtract the base weight of the truck of 6000# means now they can tow 17,000#'s. That would be true IF your truck weighed only the 6000# they claim

If you want to make an informed decision, get the max limits of both the truck and the rv.

Do your homework and make sure you are properly equiped to haul the max. Then before you buy the truck ask them if you can take it to the scales and weigh it. Might cost you $10 but believe me that is money well spent! Much cheaper than when you find out the truck you just bought CAN"T safely tow, now if you trade up it just cost you $10,000!

Use that weight of the actual truck you intend to buy and try to calculate what you think extra you will have in the truck including tools and people, preferrable is the truck is full of fuel but chances are it wont be so do a little quick math on how much more fuel you will have to add in weight, 8# a gallon is a safe round number, if it is a 40 gallon tank and is only half full figure 20 gallons at 8# equals another 160# in fuel.

Once you have the truck info you can start deciding if the trailer is safe to pull. Subtract your actual calculated weight of the truck from the GCWR and that will give you your GVW of the rv you can pull. Again, don't go by dry weight of the rv, that was a base rv with probably no options pulled off the line and weighed. It may not even include the AC unit or the extra battery and does not include the propane in the tanks or water in the tank etc.

A 10,500 base rv could now weigh 10.800# before you add any dishes or appliances etc.

The whole purpose of buying an RV is to enjoy it. Do it safely. A salesman will always tell you "YEAH you can pull that! And a lot more! Didn't you see our commercial where our truck was pulling a 747 airplane!" Truck salesmen lie and so don't rv salesmen. I have yet in my 10 years of rv'ing ever had a salesman tell me the truth. Beware. Do your homework, don't rely on opinions there are way to many variables

I have tried to make this as informative as can without to much personal opinion but some does exist, nature of the beast :)

By the way, the total weight of my rv and truck fully loaded is 22,760# my GCWR is 23,000# I am not a lot under my gross but I am under and personally that gives me comfort.

Peteandsharon
06-25-2008, 11:04 AM
Some very good information here. You made an interesting comment about automatic transmissions vs. manual transmission which raises a question for me. This is especially important to me since I may or may not be in the beginning stages of transmission issues since my maiden voyage in the Black Hills (see my post from yesterday). A friend who also pulls a fiver with a Ford F350 dually made the comment recently that if he had it to do all over again he would probably opt for the manual transmission in his truck over the automatic. His is a 2001 model, I believe. Does this make sense to anyone else? There were definitely times in the Black Hills when I would have liked the ability to manually kick it down into a more favorable gear but I'm not convinced that the clutch plate etc. is truly that durable for heavy pulling. Any thoughts? Thanks, Pete

Pulltab
06-25-2008, 11:38 AM
I personally don't think I could make an informed statement for you Pete, so many things to consider and I suppose the manufacturer would be the one that would know. Automatics are so go at shifting nowadays without power loss between gears compared to manually shifting a tranny and shocking the clucth and drive train when re engaging the tranny. On the dodge I believe max tow capacity is with the auto. Years ago the manual was hands down the way to go for hauling. My dodge has 6 speeds and can easily be shifted by a rocker switch on the gear lever. Good thing is that normally the computer will not let you over rev the engine. NOT always but normally. Manuals are cheaper to repair for sure but I do like the convenience of an auto.

Peteandsharon
06-25-2008, 12:51 PM
Thanks for the info. My Ford is also very easy to kick out of overdrive which I almost always manually do before it kicks out by itself. There are just times when going up a long steep grade that it would be nice to put it in a gear that is closer to the sweet spot without waiting for it to shift down by itself. I always cringe when it downshifts under load with an automatic. But I also agree that most trucks out there have a higher tow rating with an automatic. I'm sure the torque convertor has some impact on that. Anyway, it's probably like most things. There is no real yes or no answer - just different people with different experiences and different opinions. I do appreciate you getting back to me. Pete

Shadowchek
06-25-2008, 01:01 PM
Very nice breakdown on the weights.

Thanks

Greg

HappyKayakers
06-25-2008, 03:26 PM
Pulltab,
Do you also have your individual axle weights? Folks might be under for one number and over for another number.

Pulltab
06-25-2008, 04:33 PM
Joe, I do not have my individual axle weights but I have my total axle weights and as a total I am in good shape, my rv tows level so there is not much I could do to change it but you are exactly right, axle weights are very important and the more info you have the better off you are. Thanks for bringing that up.

For those wondering, what Joe is referring to is if your rv tows high or low it throws more weight to the opposite axle and can then overload it. For instance if your rv tows high in the front the rear axle will be carrying more weight than the front (this is the most common circumstance). To do it right you should actually have individual weights of all wheels on the truck and rv. You can usually get this done at rv rallys and at the last heartland rally I believe you could get a full report for less than $50 but I could be wrong.

davebennington
06-25-2008, 06:57 PM
pulltab,

Good explanation about truck and trailer weights, you are so right about towing vs stopping. I know I am over weight for my truck (verified by CAT scales) but I try to compensate by driving slower and leaving more distance between me and the guy in front of me.

Dave

deee2
06-25-2008, 07:28 PM
Question. Does a Jake Brake help you stop, or just save on your truck's brakes?
Thanks.

Donna :)

driver311
06-25-2008, 08:44 PM
i would like to post just how i feel about this discussion but i wont:confused::confused:

braking effort is only until anti skid takes over;)

there is only so much rubber on the ground so yes exhaust brakes do a lot to slow u down but the combination of exhaust brake and brakes cant send any more tractive effort to the ground than the amount of rubber that is on the ground

duel wheels are just 2 more tires to ware out:p:p

maintenance is the key take care of your brakes and they will take care of u;);)

driver311NoneNone

kakampers
06-25-2008, 09:56 PM
Even though proper maintenance is definitely important, having larger brakes with more braking capacity is, IMHO, much more important. Especially since the brakes on a given vehicle are designed to handle the gross weight ratings of that vehicle....not several thousand pounds more...which is what some people decide to do. Brakes can only take care of you if they are adequate enough to do so in the first place.

That's why buying the proper truck is vitally important to being able, to not only tow a trailer...but, more importantly, being able to stop it!

kakampers
06-25-2008, 10:05 PM
Tab...you are correct about the individual wheel weights. It costs about $50 and gives a comprehensive report allowing you to see exactly how much weight is on each wheel of both truck and trailer. In fact, we had this done at the Branson rally and discovered that we were slightly "pin high", and this was causing there to be 500lbs more weight on our rear axle than our front axle (on trailer). With this information we were able to lower our hitch by one bolt, effectively lower the pin, and throw more weight to the front axle, taking some of the pressure off the rear axle and it's tires.

We are also heavier on the driver's side of the trailer, however, this is from the design of the unit as we have three slides on that side and there is no way to adjust this situation. However, the axles and all wheels are definitely under their ratings and this makes us feel much more comfortable with our towing situation...would recommend this to everyone...it's nice to KNOW where things stand, and not just assume everything is OK.

davebennington
06-26-2008, 06:16 AM
Deee2,

I have a Jake brake and I think it does help with the braking of the truck. I do not know if the other years and/or other truck manufactures handle the Jake brake function but on my truck the Jake brake works in conjunction with the PCM and as soon as you engage the Jake it starts down shifting the tranny so you slow down even faster. The Jake brake stays engaged until you reach a speed of about 15 to 20 MPH. I use the Jake brake when I am not towing also just to save the trucks brakes.

Dave

Pulltab
06-26-2008, 07:15 AM
Question. Does a Jake Brake help you stop, or just save on your truck's brakes?
Thanks.

Donna :)

Donna, it does both. When the Jake or exhaust brake comes on it uses the engines compression to slow down the engine itself. Normally the pistons are used to create power to move the vehicle, the brake turns this around and uses the pistons to slow the engine and thus the vehicle down. If used on a regular basis it can effectively increase brake lining life also. Just be aware that in slippery conditions on the road the jake or exhaust brake can be capable of creating a dangerous situation due to how quick it can slow the vehicle. So in snow or ice be careful or at least cautious if you are going to use it.

Pulltab
06-26-2008, 07:26 AM
pulltab,

Good explanation about truck and trailer weights, you are so right about towing vs stopping. I know I am over weight for my truck (verified by CAT scales) but I try to compensate by driving slower and leaving more distance between me and the guy in front of me.

DaveVery good point Dave, at the minimum if people would be more cautious with the knowledge that they need more room to stop as you mention it would be better than nothing. I am not advocating that if you are 500 lbs overweight you need to buy a Semi tractor, that is not my point, its more about people not being informed and thinking that a pickup truck can just pull anything. There is as much information required in this decision as there is in the unit you want to buy.

I have towed over weight and it scared me, I upsized my truck when I found it. That an expensive lesson to learn. Since that time I have sold our medium duty truck and the trailer we had and wanted to get back to a 1 ton dually, we found this unit we currently have and are quite happy now and still within our limits even when full fuel and water load.

People don't normally intentionally go over weight, it happens cause often they just don't know. I am trying to help inform those who are not aware. So unfortunately don't care I fear. I nor anyone else can do anything about that. :(

Thanks for being aware and cautious :)

Pulltab
06-26-2008, 09:03 AM
i would like to post just how i feel about this discussion but i wont:confused::confused:

braking effort is only until anti skid takes over;)
Hence why it is important not to overload the vehicle beyond limits

there is only so much rubber on the ground so yes exhaust brakes do a lot to slow u down but the combination of exhaust brake and brakes cant send any more tractive effort to the ground than the amount of rubber that is on the ground
True to a certain extent, the exhaust brake is slowing the engine taking some of the force off the wheels. The amount of rubber on the ground is actually quite sufficient for braking given you are within limits again.
duel wheels are just 2 more tires to ware out:p:p
True, but it is also 50% more tire contact to the road allowing more of the braking to be spread out and the stability of dual wheels towing a 5th when is enormous in my opinion.

maintenance is the key take care of your brakes and they will take care of u;);)

driver311NoneNone

Don't be shy, just say what your thinking

Forrest Fetherolf
06-26-2008, 09:56 AM
Pulltab and others,

Similar statements have been made by several people:

Regarding dual rear tires vs single rear tires..............
True, but it is also 50% more braking capability and the stability of dual wheels towing a 5th when is enormous in my opinion.

I have researched braking and stability. I cannot find anywhere to verify dual tires provide more braking ability and road stability. As I have read, stopping ability is dependent on several factors of which "just more tires on the road" isn't included. Stability is a factor of suspension, frame design, wheel base, tire design, etc, "not just more tires on the road". Most dually owners promote these theories, is this just opinions or based on factual information. If there is factual information, I would sure like to know...........so I and others know for sure. Braking and stability is a serious consideration.............I would hate to see someone get hurt based on incorrect information.

Forrest

Tankie
06-26-2008, 11:56 AM
Please correct me if I am wrong, Dual rear wheels still only have one set of brake shoes per side not two? Lonnie

Forrest Fetherolf
06-26-2008, 12:32 PM
Please correct me if I am wrong, Dual rear wheels still only have one set of brake shoes per side not two? Lonnie

Tankie,

Only one set of brakes per side, Check the GMC specs, the 1 ton dual rear wheels have a slightly smaller rear brake assembly than the 3/4 or 1 ton single rear wheel.

Forrest

Tankie
06-26-2008, 01:15 PM
So do drw have more braking capacity? I understand that they have more payload because of the drw but I don't get the more braking issue.
I have a 2007 Dodge 2500HD GVW rating 9000 lbs GCVW 20000 LBS according to Dodge. According to Trailer Life 2008 Tow Rating Guide max trailer weight is 12800 w/auto,3.73:1 or 4.10:1 axle rating, thats 21800 not 20000. 3500HD SRW you can tow 13800 lbs same trans and axle ratio w/same tires which according to tire rating can carry 6200 lb max. so not sure where the extra 1000 lbs comes from.
3500HD DRW w/auto and 4.10:1 ratio you can tow 16450 lbs w/GCVW OF 23000 LBS. Correct me if I am wrong your truck can only weight 7000 lbs fully loaded. Not sure the numbers really add up, some trailers have a GVWR of 19000 lbs so what do u tow them with? So I am still researching this and this discussion is great love the input that opthers have. Thanks Lonnie

kakampers
06-26-2008, 04:51 PM
Tankie...very simply, if you're towing a trailer with a GVWR of 19,000, you really need to have AT LEAST a medium duty truck...4500/450 or bigger. If it was me...I'd have a Heavy Duty truck, which translates to a Volvo, Freightliner, etc....We tow our 16,000 GVWR trailer with a Chevy 4500. Even though we are way under on all axle weights we are actually a little over on our GCWR of 26,000 lbs. And yes, our 4500 does have much larger brakes giving the capability to stop much better, in fact, we are able to stop our rig without trailer brakes...wouldn't have even tried it with our 1 ton DRW Dodge.

The disparity in those numbers is exactly Tab's point. His truck actually weighs 9,000...so he can't tow the 16,450lbs Dodge says he can, and stay under the GCWR...that's why he is towing a trailer with a GVWR of only 14,000lbs...and he's still at his GCWR limit, or just under it.

The curb weights that all manufacturers supply are ALWAYS way below what these vehicles ACTUALLY weigh. The only way to know for sure is to scale your rig, preferrably weighing all wheels separately.

HappyKayakers
06-26-2008, 05:45 PM
The biggest reason I had an exhaust brake installed on my truck was steep downgrades. With a diesel engine (without exhaust brake), downshifting is not going to help you much going downhill. The only other option is riding your brakes down and overheating them. Going through Monteagle TN, our exhaust brake performed great and gave us a confident feeling as we passed the runaway truck lanes at a safe and sensible speed, without touching the brakes.
Yes, I also use mine when not towing just to save on brake wear.

Pulltab
06-26-2008, 06:07 PM
Pulltab and others,

Similar statements have been made by several people:

Regarding dual rear tires vs single rear tires..............
True, but it is also 50% more braking capability and the stability of dual wheels towing a 5th when is enormous in my opinion.

I have researched braking and stability. I cannot find anywhere to verify dual tires provide more braking ability and road stability. As I have read, stopping ability is dependent on several factors of which "just more tires on the road" isn't included. Stability is a factor of suspension, frame design, wheel base, tire design, etc, "not just more tires on the road". Most dually owners promote these theories, is this just opinions or based on factual information. If there is factual information, I would sure like to know...........so I and others know for sure. Braking and stability is a serious consideration.............I would hate to see someone get hurt based on incorrect information.

Forrest
Forrest, your pulling my leg right?:) Common sense tells you that anytime you can put more rubber to the road you increase contact. Therefore more braking can be applied to the road, (increasing braking 50% was taken out of context and I should have said tire contact in general increases 50% therefore allowing more tire contact to use the applied braking) the same reason top fuel dragsters use 16" wide tires, more rubber to the road the more contact the better the grip for acceleration. Take a pencil and put the eraser down on the paper and push fairly hard, now try to slide the eraser on the paper, ok now take one of those rectangular erasers that are like 2" long and do the same experiment, it is going to be much harder to slide the eraser using the same amount of pressure. In theory tire contact is the same principal.

Now as for dual rear wheels, anytime you can widen the stance you increase stability. Imagine trying to pull a 5ht wheel using a motorcycle and a 50 mph cross wind. Once again using a race car as an example Formula one cars are made as wide as possible for stability otherwise they would build them to look like dragsters and very narrow.

Here is some info from wikipedia on truck campers being used in pickup trucks:
Suitable truck types

Larger North American pickup trucks are generally the best for carrying a truck camper, although many manufacturers produce units for lighter duty European and Japanese models. The gross vehicle weight rating (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_vehicle_weight_rating) (GVWR) of a truck is the figure used to determine what size camper may be carried. The GVWR, minus the weight of the truck with passengers and fuel is the payload that the truck may legally carry. Stability can be improved by the addition of a sway bar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sway_bar), overload springs and inflatable airbags on the rear suspension. Most campers are rated at their "dry weight" which is the weight of the camper less any fluids like fresh water or sewage, and any possessions or add-ons that may add to the total weight. These need to be taken into account when determining the maximum size camper a truck may carry. Tires & Braking capacity are also two important factors when determining maximum payload. It should be noted that the total axle capacity is always higher than the GVWR. Tires & braking are frequently the rate determining factor, from a safety point of view.
Pickups come in many different varieties; Single Rear Wheels (SRWs), Dual Rear Wheels (DRWs), short bed, long bed, gas, diesel, 1/2 tons, 3/4 tons & 1 tons and up. There are also other factors in the equation such as tire rating. A large enough truck should be used to handle the payload of the camper. A DRW will provide more stability and payload than an SRW, however a DRW is more likely to get stuck in snow or sand, and is not as easy to drive around when the camper is off. A one ton truck will carry more than a 3/4 ton truck, which in turn will carry more than a 1/2 ton truck. There is a significant frame difference between a 1/2 ton truck and a 3/4 truck. The frames on a 3/4 ton and 1 ton truck are essentially identical.



Here is a paragraph about the Dodge mega cab:


Featuring dual rear wheels that expand the rear-wheel track to six feet, four inches, the 2006 Dodge Ram Mega Cab Dually provides more payload capacity and enhanced trailer-towing stability. To supply class-leading muscle, the Dodge Ram Mega Cab Dually model comes standard with 610 lb.-ft. of torque, courtesy of its 5.9-liter

Cummins Turbo Diesel engine.
And here is the website it came from http://www.worldcarfans.com/2050930.004/all-new-2006-dodge-ram-mega-cab-dually

Hope that helps some to understand.

Now, 2 things:
I will go back and correct the statement that you have highlighted to prevent further confusion. Thanks for pointing it out, :)

And as for the statement about dual rear wheels increasing stability, to my credit I had put In MY opinion!

Pulltab
06-26-2008, 06:45 PM
The biggest reason I had an exhaust brake installed on my truck was steep downgrades. With a diesel engine (without exhaust brake), downshifting is not going to help you much going downhill. The only other option is riding your brakes down and overheating them. Going through Monteagle TN, our exhaust brake performed great and gave us a confident feeling as we passed the runaway truck lanes at a safe and sensible speed, without touching the brakes.
Yes, I also use mine when not towing just to save on brake wear.

Joe, you are exactly right, an exhaust brake is a huge improvement and addition to making trailering safe. My dodge has the turbo/exhaust brake installed and it works so well with the transmission that on 7-8% grades I have to keep throttle on occasionally to stay at speed due to it slowing the vehicle so well. One of the best investements you can add to a diesel truck if you ask me!:D

Tankie
06-26-2008, 07:06 PM
Weight my truck today at a CAT scale w/ me ,wife, grandkid,full tank of liquid gold, tool box full. Front 4660 Rear 3200 total 7860. Can tow trailer of 12140 lbs, so u need a 1 ton to tow just about anything big enough to live in. Still the numbers these companys are putting out make no sense! if 3500 DWR have no bigger brakes, then they are not using stoppability to base it on. On Dodge change axle ratio and trans from manual to auto will change tow rating.

Pulltab
06-26-2008, 08:15 PM
Weight my truck today at a CAT scale w/ me ,wife, grandkid,full tank of liquid gold, tool box full. Front 4660 Rear 3200 total 7860. Can tow trailer of 12140 lbs, so u need a 1 ton to tow just about anything big enough to live in. Still the numbers these companys are putting out make no sense! if 3500 DWR have no bigger brakes, then they are not using stoppability to base it on. On Dodge change axle ratio and trans from manual to auto will change tow rating.Tankie, good info you got, how does it compare to the base weight of the truck do you know? I believe the the manufacturer will base a part of the GCWR on saving components during the warranty period. For example we bought a new dodge in 2005 that had a 3:73 rear ratio and its GCWR was 21,000, yet if you got the exact same truck but with a 4:10 your GCWR went to 23,000lbs. I find it interesting that both the numbers on the gear and the weight rating were 10% :)

Forrest Fetherolf
06-26-2008, 08:31 PM
Pulltab,

Thanks for taking the time and effort to explain your reasoning.

No.........I am not pulling your leg :eek:.........my arm and/or your leg is to short to reach from Ohio to Nevada.:o

My horoscope for today was:
Quickie: You'll benefit from the ambition of others. Let them do the work while you relax.

Forrest

Pulltab
06-26-2008, 08:42 PM
Pulltab,

Thanks for taking the time and effort to explain your reasoning.

No.........I am not pulling your leg :eek:.........my arm and/or your leg is to short to reach from Ohio to Nevada.:o

My horoscope for today was:
Quickie: You'll benefit from the ambition of others. Let them do the work while you relax.

Forrest:):D:p nice one Forrest!:D

Tankie
06-27-2008, 12:07 AM
Pulltab, the base weight is 4397 front and 2682 rear total 7079. So I am carrying 781 lbs, wow not as much as I thought! plus granddaughter is not with us all the time. I think you are right about them going conservative, the info I got off dodges web site states that all payload and max trailer wts are estimated values. They also recommend exhaust brake w/diesel application w/trailer over 10000 lbs. Next I have to weight whole unit, just because trailer has a gvwr of 16000 lbs don't mean you have to carry that much. We try to carry as little as possible.

Pulltab
06-27-2008, 05:46 AM
That is true Tankie, people who just camp on weekends don't carry near as much as those of us who fulltime. :) At least you are aware and can make changes in your driving style if needed.