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Thread: Want to know what vehicle can pull your rv? A discussion.

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    Senior Member Pulltab's Avatar
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    Want to know what vehicle can pull your rv? A discussion.

    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.
    '07 Bighorn 2925RK, 07 Dodge Ram Big Horn 3500 6.7 Cummins Turbo Diesel, 6 spd auto, 540 watts solar, Tankless water heater, Centerpoint suspension,Trailair pin box http://www.progressiveindustries.net/ems_hw50c.htm
    Heartland Owner 1097

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    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
    Pete and Sharon
    Buttons (Lhasa Poo)
    2008 Bighorn 3055
    2008 Ford F250 Crew Cab Diesel

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    Senior Member Pulltab's Avatar
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    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.
    '07 Bighorn 2925RK, 07 Dodge Ram Big Horn 3500 6.7 Cummins Turbo Diesel, 6 spd auto, 540 watts solar, Tankless water heater, Centerpoint suspension,Trailair pin box http://www.progressiveindustries.net/ems_hw50c.htm
    Heartland Owner 1097

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    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
    Pete and Sharon
    Buttons (Lhasa Poo)
    2008 Bighorn 3055
    2008 Ford F250 Crew Cab Diesel

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    Senior Member Shadowchek's Avatar
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    Very nice breakdown on the weights.

    Thanks

    Greg
    Greg and Shelly
    2008 BH 3400RL
    2002 Ford F350 Lariat 7.3 Diesel 4wd Srw
    Heartland owners club Member #1036

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    Pulltab,
    Do you also have your individual axle weights? Folks might be under for one number and over for another number.
    Joe and Dakota the wacko cat, fulltiming again
    Malabar FL
    '06 BH 3600RL #4144
    '06 Dodge RAM 3500 CTD 6 spd SRW
    Website: http://happykayakers.com

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    Senior Member Pulltab's Avatar
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    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.
    '07 Bighorn 2925RK, 07 Dodge Ram Big Horn 3500 6.7 Cummins Turbo Diesel, 6 spd auto, 540 watts solar, Tankless water heater, Centerpoint suspension,Trailair pin box http://www.progressiveindustries.net/ems_hw50c.htm
    Heartland Owner 1097

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    Southeast Regional Director, HOC davebennington's Avatar
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    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
    Southeast Region Director Heartland Owners Club HOC #1006. 2006 Ram 3500 White Laramie, New: 2015 Landmark 365 - Landmark/Ashland Old: 2006 "Classic Landmark" Heartland/Golden Gate #583. Passport America



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    Question. Does a Jake Brake help you stop, or just save on your truck's brakes?
    Thanks.

    Donna

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    well

    i would like to post just how i feel about this discussion but i wont

    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

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

    driver311NoneNone

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