New Owner: 21FBS + 2011 F150 Super Cab 4X4 RV Towing Recomendations

We are new to RV towing and would like to get feedback on compatibility of our truck (2011 F150 V8 Super Cab 4X4 Factory Brake Controller) with a 2016 Heartland Northtrail 21FBS.

Is the 2011 F150 a reasonable match for the 21FBS?

Also looking for suggestions and feedback on:
- Hitch Recommendations (brand, ratings...)
- Expected Gas Mileage (assume Level terrain)
- Driving tips or weather considerations.
- Other backing, towing, handling or other safety considerations we should be considering....

Thanks for any feedback you can provide,
bryan
 

danemayer

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Bryan,

Welcome to the Heartland Owners Forum. I'm sure you'll get a lot of advice shortly.
 

TravelTiger

Founding Texas-West Chapter Leaders-Retired
You can do some research yourself on this website, it may look targeted to fifth wheels, but he addresses conventional towing as well.

Www.fifthwheelst.com

That said, we had a 2008 North Trail 21FBS and towed with a 2009 Toyota Tundra. According to our math we had plenty of truck. But you will need to do your own figuring.


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h2oskierc

Active Member
Can you post the specs of your truck? Payload capacity from door sticker, axle weight ratings (both front and rear), towing capacity, and hitch capacity?

Also, what is the gross weight of the trailer and the estimated tongue weight?

I tow a 33BUDS with my 2016 Silverado, so I would guess you are fine, however, there’s a lot more to it than just how much your truck can tow vs how much the trailer weighs.

For hitches, I have an Equalizer 4, and really like it. Easy to hook up, and I don’t need to unhook it to backup. It does make noise when cornering at slow speeds, so don’t let that surprise you. Once I got it properly setup, it made a huge difference, and basically eliminated sway for me. Crosswinds are still not fun, but I don’t feel unsafe anymore. I’ve heard a lot of talk about Hensley and ProPride. They are $2500-3500, where the Equalizer is ~$650. If they do what their supporters say, they are probably worth that money, but not necessarily needed.

I would plan to visit a CAT scale once you have the trailer loaded. Plan to go through three times, first weigh is like $12.50 and reweighs are like $2.50. Use their phone app or make sure you tell the attendant. Weigh once with the trailer loaded how you will typically travel. Then take off the weight distribution (on my equalizer that means I swing the sprint arms out) and reweigh. Finally, drop the trailer, and weigh the truck (loaded how you travel and with occupants, trailer hitch connected). Using those numbers I found a spreadsheet that will calculate all the pertinent information. I will ask if I can share it here...

The dealer setup was decent for an unloaded trailer, but once loaded it was horrible. Proper hitch setup is critical, and will make a huge difference.

1d3dd85e5a30163aa3523a0fc20d4817.jpg



Chris
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2021 North Trail Caliber 33 BUDS - 2016 Chevy Silverado 1500 Double Cab w/ 6.5' Box - Z71 5.3L 3.42 Rear End w/ Z82 Trailering Package - Tuson DirectLink Brake Controller
 

'Lil Guy'

Well-known member
You shouldn't have any issues as long as you get a good weight distribution hitch installed and set up right. I pulled our 21FBS with a ram 1/2 T 4X4 with no issues at all. Also install the add on sway bar for your hitch. Enjoy your rig.
 
Re: New Owner: 21FBS + 2011 F150 Super Crew 4X4 RV Towing Recomendations

Thanks to each of you for the responses and show of support - great info!

The truck is 2011 F150 Platinum 6.2L Super Crew (4 Full Size Doors), 4X4 Short Bed with factory tow brake control. Door Sticker: 1467 Lbs Max Combined Occupants and Cargo Capacity

- The Ford published Max towing capacity chart shows "11,100" (Requires Max Trailer Towing Package). Not sure if it has Max Tow Package?
- Trailer Life report from 2011 shows 11,100 lbs for my configuration : "F-150 SuperCrew Cab SB 4WD 6.2L V-8 11,100 (i,t)"
-
Dealer's Used vehicle listing showed tow capacity at 7700 lbs. (probably not accurate?) Payload Capacity: 1550 lbs
- VIN decoder data is not clear - which sets of numbers apply for each entry?

Here are some specs from the VIN decoder:

Front Tire Size P275/55R20
Rear Tire Size P275/55R20
Curb Weight Front - 3419, 3184, 3214 lbs 3184.0 min 3419.0 max
Curb Weight Rear - 2633, 2361, 2363 lbs 2361.0 min 2633.0 max
Gross Axle Wt Rating Front - 3900 lbs 3600.0 min 3900.0 max
Gross Axle Wt Rating Rear - 3850 lbs 3850.0 min 4050.0 max
Curb Weight Front - 3419, 3184, 3214 lbs 3184.0 min 3419.0 max
Curb Weight Rear - 2633, 2361, 2363 lbs 2361.0 min 2633.0 max
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating Cap 7650, 7700, 7350, 7200 lbs 7200.0 min 7700.0 max
Gross Combined Wt Rating - 17100, 15500, 17100, 15500, 14000, 15100, 13500 lbs 11300.0 min 17100.0 max
Dead Weight Hitch Max - Trailer Wt. 5000 lbs 5000.0 min 5000.0 max
Dead Weight Hitch Max - Tongue Wt. 500 lbs 500.0 min 500.0 max
Wt Distributing Hitch - MaxTrailer Wt. 8200, 9700, 9700, 11100, 9300, 7700 lbs 7200.0 min 11100.0 max
Wt Distributing Hitch Max Tongue Wt. - 1230, 1455, 1455, 1665, 1395, 1155 lbs 1080.0 min 1665.0 max
Trailer sway control
Longspindle double wishbone front suspension w/coilovershock IFS
Leaf spring rear suspension w/2stage variable rear springs
Pwr rack & pinion steering
Pwr front/rear disc brakes
Suspension Type Front
Coil Spring
Suspension Type Rear
Leaf Spring
Spring Capacity Front
3900 lbs 3600.0 min 3900.0 max
Spring Capacity Rear
3850 lbs 3850.0 min 4050.0 max
Axle Type Front - Double Wishbone
Axle Type Rear - SemiFloating
Axle Capacity Front - 4050 lbs 4050.0 min 4050.0 max
Axle Capacity Rear - 3500 lbs 3500.0 min 3500.0 max
Axle Ratio :)1) Front - 3.31, 3.73, 3.55 3.31 min 3.73 max
Axle Ratio :)1) Rear - 3.31, 3.73, 3.55 3.31 min 3.73 max
Fuel Tank: 36.00 gallon


The RV: Heartland North Trail 21FBS: GVWR: 6900 Lbs. GAWR: 3500 Lbs each.
- Pro Series Hitch with weight distribution and sway control.

The ability of the truck to transport the RV rolling forward and up a moderate grade is not really a concern -
It has the required power but we would like to know that we are operating well within published safety margins and weight ratings for the integrated truck and trailer system.

We have plenty of experience locally towing small boats and utility trailers... just want to make sure we are not over extending our trucks capabilities.

Thanks again for any help you can provide and for the responses already provided!

bryan
 

danemayer

Moderator
Staff member
You can assume 15% of trailer GVWR on the hitch. Depending on who and what is in the truck, you may be slightly over the truck's max payload.
 

h2oskierc

Active Member
I’m not sure you need to go up a hole. Doesn’t look terrible. Can be hard to tell though. Now get yourself to a cat scale. I got permission from the author to post this, as long as the instructions stay with it...

It takes three passes across the scales.
1. All hitched up as for towing with the truck full of fuel and all occupants and cargo on board. Truck front axle on the first platform, truck rear axle on the second platform, trailer axles on the third platform. Bring a broom handle to reach the squawk box button so you can stay in the truck to be weighed. Say, "First weigh" to the attendant and make up a unit number for your rig. Costs $12.00. Go inside and pay and get the ticket. Or even better, download the WeighMyTruck CAT scale phone app and do it all from the seat of your truck. But take the broom handle anyway, because sometimes the app doesn’t work. Pull off the scales, remove the spring bars and put them in the truck near the tail gate and pull back on the scales.
2. With the trailer attached but with the WDH bars detached and placed in the truck bed near the tailgate. Say, "Re-weigh" and give the last four digits of the first ticket. Costs $2.50. Go inside and pay and get the ticket, or use the app. Pull off the scales, detach the trailer, remove the spring bars AND the hitch head from the truck and pull back on the scales with the TRUCK ONLY.
3. Truck only with trailer detached and with hitch and spring bars REMOVED FROM THE TRUCK. Say, "Re-weigh" and give the last four digits of the first ticket. Costs $2.50. Go inside and pay and get the ticket, or use the app.
4. Weigh the hitch and WDH bars on the bathroom scales. This is necessary to separate the trailer tongue weight from the total hitch receiver weight.
Even if you use the phone app, go inside and get the three printed tickets.

This spreadsheet is set up to weigh the “truck only” with the hitch removed and then weigh the hitch separately. That is done easily on the bathroom scales.

If the hitch is left on the truck for the "truck only" weight, then the numbers on the spreadsheet will be incorrect.

Download the spreadsheet here:
http://trailer.mobilesecurity.win/Truck_and_trailer_weights-Locked.xlsx


Chris
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2021 North Trail Caliber 33 BUDS - 2016 Chevy Silverado 1500 Double Cab w/ 6.5' Box - Z71 5.3L 3.42 Rear End w/ Z82 Trailering Package - Tuson DirectLink Brake Controller
 
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