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Southern NJ

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Joined: 04/20/2008

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Posted: 08/31/19 04:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Weight ratings

Here is a short basic video explaining the different weight ratings.

Desert Storm Vet (US Navy)
2019 Ram 1500 Classic Quad Cab Express 4X4 5.7 Hemi 3.92
2018 Dutchmen Aspen Trail 2880RKS

If you can read this thank a teacher
If you can read this in english thank a vet



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Posted: 08/31/19 05:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Welcome to the site. You have years of experience here to steer you in the right direction. Just because the book says your truck can tow XXX weight trailer doesn't mean you want to. When you push the limits of a tow vehicle it reduces the handling qualities. I towed many years with a 1/2 ton and a 6500lb trailer and that was all I cared to tow with it. Every semi truck that passed me it would wiggle my truck and trailer and I was always correcting for that 'push pull' effect. It was not very relaxing.

We up graded to a new trailer, a 10,000 gvwr, so I had to get a new tow vehicle too, a 3/4 ton GMC. You must also pay attention to your choice of hitch. Don't be cheap on it. I went with the Equal-Izer brand and it works very well with our set up. Make sure it's hefty enough to carry the tongue weight. Exceed the tongue weight by a couple hundred pounds. Ex. If the trailer is 6500 lbs then the tongue will be 10% to 15% of that, so 650 to 700 or so lbs on the tongue weight. A 1000/10,000 hitch should be adequate, BUT if it is close to the top end of those nunbers then go with a 1200/12,000lb hitch. Your towing experience is dependent upon getting this correct.



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Posted: 08/31/19 05:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rv salespeople lie!! #1 rule and they dont camp either
we have the same truck, newer, but otherwise the same
our trailer is 26 ft, 7500 lbs on the road and i wouldnt want to tow anything heavier or longer

2017 Ram 1500 4door, 4x4, 5.7 l hemi, 8 speed
2008 KZ Spree 260


Amarillo, TX

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Posted: 08/31/19 07:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First question to ask: Do you have any used units for sale? Second question: do you have anything cheaper?

If you haven’t done much or any camping, you may not like it and you sure don’t want to be upside down with long term payments on something you don’t like.


Flat Rock

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Posted: 08/31/19 08:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Go visit every RV dealer around you. Look at everything that interests you. We drove several hours from home and got a motel room so we could look at models not available where we live.
You will need to learn the lingo, especially about all the weight ratings and what they mean.
It can be confusing at first, but you’ll catch on and it can be enjoyable.
Be upfront with dealers and salespeople. “I’m just starting to look at trailers and would like to see some.” Not all are liars and crooks.
Find a few floor plans you like, get the brochures.
Keep a notebook of everything you learn.
Pretty soon, you’ll have a good idea of what you like and can get a little more serious about an actual purchase.
Make it a fun quest.

2015 Skyline Dart 214RB
2018 Silverado Double Cab 4x4
Andersen Hitch


Caldwell, Idaho

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Posted: 08/31/19 08:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


Find a used one that you like. Tandem axle trailers tow better than single axle trailers. When you find one that you like make, sure everything works and go RVing. Make note of what you like or don't like. After a few camping trips you will know what you want and don't. If you can find a rental store, rent a couple for a weekend, so much the better, by now you will know what you want and don't want. Then go looking for a new one.


Pacific Northwet & cold

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Posted: 08/31/19 11:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

aftermath wrote:

Ah, the weight police have shown up early. Many here believe that unless you have a 3/4 ton (diesel preferred) you shouldn't tow anything larger than a pop up. You have come to the right place to get answers but be prepared for all sorts of answers.

I am not any sort of towing guru. All I can offer is my own, limited, observations.

I have been driving 1 ton diesel trucks for years. I have been comfortable towing & hauling everything I have tried.

Unfortunately my latest 1 ton is too tall to accommodate my little 5er. So, I bought a used Chevy 2500 with the 6.0 gas motor to pull it with. I have made a handful of local trips and, other than crappy mirrors, it has been OK.

I just took my first long distance trip including a couple of Mountain passes. I am disappointed in so many ways.

Stability, power, fuel mileage and comfort.

My 8000# trailer pushed me around more than I care for. I can't imagine pulling that trailer with a 1/2ton.

Good luck.

2004.5 Dodge 3500 5.9 Cummins, NV5400, 5" turbo back stainless exhaust, Edger programmer & 22.5 Alcoa's
2002 Forest River 36 5th Wheel (staying home)
1992 Jayco 29 5th Wheel (Mexico veteran & headed back)
2002 "faux" Wanderlodge 40' My new toy....


Washington State

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Posted: 09/01/19 08:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

PNW, I respect your take on this but keep in mind that you are pulling a 5th wheeler around. I too could not imagine using a half ton to do any of this.

The issue here is that someone asked for some advice. They clearly stated that they were looking at a specific size trailer. Their choice would make a half ton a legitimate choice. I have been towing smaller trailers around since the 80's. My current trailer has gone over 40K miles hooked up to my half ton Tundra. Half ton TVs are perfectly matched for many smaller trailers. I doubt I would EVER expect one to pull a 5th wheeler.

2017 Toyota Tundra, Double Cab, 5.7L V8
2006 Airstream 25 FB SE
Equalizer Hitch


Huntsville, AL, USA

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Posted: 09/01/19 10:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It is worth doing the homework to at least understand the basic weights and forces involved. I won't second guess the manufacturers and I'll reserve comment on anyone else's comfort with their towing setup. I will agree with other posters that you can't necessarily rely on RV salesmen for useful or even correct information. Some salesmen will flat out lie telling you anything they think you want to hear, but most just aren't knowledgeable enough themselves.

It is also worth doing the research on what options affect towing and how certain options can improve the towing experience if you are looking to buy a new tow vehicle.

There are lots of resources on all of the weights involved and how they affect towing. There are several weight ratings that should be taken into account for safe and comfortable towing, but when you boil it all down, for the most part there are two weight ratings that are usually the limiting factors. First, is the overall weight. Your trailer fully loaded as it will be towed added to the weight of the tow vehicle and its contents needs to be under the GCWR (gross combined weight rating) of your tow vehicle. This is often much easier to satisfy than the next weight limit.

The weight limit that is far more often a limit on what can be towed is the tongue weight. This is the downward force put on the hitch ball (therefore the rear of the truck) from the tongue of the trailer and is usually around 10% of the trailer weight. The tongue weight along with the weight of the vehicle and everything in it including fuel and passengers must be below the GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating).

Vehicles are rated and capable of pulling a lot more than they "haul". This is the limiting factor that pretty much eliminates 1/2 ton pickups from hauling pretty much any fifth wheel. There's an ad Ford recently put out showing their upcoming electric F-150 "towing" a 1.25 million lb train. However, even a cursory look at the video shows several flaws in this story. They use a single web strap to hook the train cars to the truck. The train is on flat ground and obviously on a train track. They also don't claim to be able to stop that weight.

You indicated you already have the tow vehicle. There are many variations of the 2006 RAM 1500 4x4 with payload capacities (GVWR - curb weight, the weight of fuel, occupants, added stuff, and trailer tongue weight) ranging from ~1000 - ~1700 lbs. The max towing capacity (roughly GCWR-curb weight) ranges from ~2900 - ~8700 depending on the specific model. See this link for actual values.

If you are considering a new tow vehicle, there are options that can improve your towing experience. Factory installed max tow packages can be good values. These can include beefier radiators and factory installed transmission oil coolers as well as factory installed heavy duty trailer hitch receivers. Air ride suspension can improve the ride and improve the ability to keep the truck level with the added weight of the trailer tongue.

Regardless of the tow vehicle, the hitch used to hook it up can also have a profound impact on the handling. I've been happy with the equalizer weight distributing hitch, but it's the only weight distributing hitch I've used so I have nothing to compare it to.

If you carry any significant weight in the trailer, the way its loaded can also affect how the trailer tows. Weight added to the front of the trailer increases the tongue weight. Weight added to the back of the trailer decreases the tongue weight. The tongue weight in relation to the overall weight of the trailer affects stability while towing. There are a lot of people with a lot of opinions and some real religious zealots when it comes to weight and towing. I fall somewhere in the middle. I believe its worthwhile understanding the affects and making an informed decision about how to proceed. There are many lengthy threads on this topic most of which devolve into arguments but many are worth reading.

With respect to the most important question to ask RV salespeople, I don't think there is one. I would do my homework here and other places on the web. I think its worthwhile to visit as many places as possible to see as much as you can without pressure before making a decision. RV shows or just walking local RV lots can be good ways to see lots of RVs. At first just tell them you are just looking, maybe pick up some brochures, but most of them are available on line these days. Do your research ahead of time and ask any questions you might have, but don't be surprised if you've read the brochure and know more about a particular unit than your sales person.

Once you have specific questions, come back here and search the forums. If you can't find the answer, ask a specific question. Most here more than willing to help...

2018 Forrest River Salem Hemisphere 282RK - 2017 RAM 1500 TV

Previous RVs and TOADS
2004 Fleetwood Bounder 32W on WH W20
2000 Four Winds 5000 21RB
1986 27' Allegro
2005 Ford Ranger XLT 2WD
2004 Suzuki Aerio
1988 Chevrolet Sprint


San Diego Ca

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Posted: 09/01/19 01:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SoundGuy wrote:

pooretravelers wrote:

We have a 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 and know how much we are able to tow (8400 lbs).
Any advice is welcome!!

No you can't, you'll run out of payload capacity long before you get anywhere near 8400 lbs. That number isn't how heavy the trailer itself can weigh but the maximum the truck is rated to tow / haul counting everything.

You might find it easier to work a bit backwards on figuring out the trailer.

Start with the white and yellow sticker inside the drivers door. You are looking for the line that states "The combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed xxx kg xxx lbs

Once you know your maximum payload you can start subtracting.
  • The combined weight of all the people and pets in the vehicle
  • The estimated weight of bikes or other items in the cab or bed
  • Add 75 lbs for the hitch weight.

Now to do some math.
Lets say your truck has a maximum of 1,200 lbs. And you and all the people and hitch and gear is 600 lbs. 1,200 - 600 = 600lbs. That leave you 600 pounds of weight capacity on the truck.

So now you need to find a truck that when loaded has no more than 600 lbs tongue weight.

2001 Suburban 4x4. 6.0L, 4.10 3/4 ton
2005 Jayco Jay Flight 27BH
1986 Coleman Columbia Popup.

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