First time towing large trailer

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1,435
Location
Warner Robins, GA
First time I've towed a decent size trailer with my Ram. It was a 24ft enclosed trailer with an entire 2b1b household in it along with stuff from a full basement, shed and a bunch of deer stands/hunting stuff. Not sure how much it weighted, but the trailer was full. Was only a 100 mile round trip to where we were moving it. Overall my truck exceeded my expectations. It did squat a good bit (I'd guess 5-6in) but was stable and steering felt normal. The Hemi didn't even break a sweat. I had it in tow/haul mode and manually kept it from going into 8th gear. It mostly stayed in 6th-7th running 55-65 on two lane roads. Computer said I got 11.9mpg. My brother-in-law generally tows it with his Chevy 2500 and it makes his truck squat a good bit as well so it has a lot of tongue weight. I volunteered to pull it because I'm planning to get a camper and wanted to see how it did, and I feel very confident my truck will handle the camper I want especially with some air bags in the back and a weight distributing hitch.
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wwillson

Staff member
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3,498
Location
Naperville, IL
I wrote a article called "Towing Safely" and posted it here:


I see you are going to get a camper, we'd like to have you on the forum.
 
Messages
954
Location
Alberta
By the look of that squat, you were seriously overloaded. What does your door sticker show for payload capacity? Please do some research about tongue weights and occupant weights for your truck BEFORE committing to an RV. It’s the biggest mistake people make buying a travel trailer. RV salespeople will tell you you can tow anything. You will always run out of payload before hitting your truck’s published tow capacity unless towing a boat.
 

nwjones18

Thread starter
Messages
1,435
Location
Warner Robins, GA
By the look of that squat, you were seriously overloaded. What does your door sticker show for payload capacity? Please do some research about tongue weights and occupant weights for your truck BEFORE committing to an RV. It’s the biggest mistake people make buying a travel trailer. RV salespeople will tell you you can tow anything. You will always run out of payload before hitting your truck’s published tow capacity unless towing a boat.
I've been researching all of that. Payload sticker on the truck is between 1100-1200lbs (don't remember the exact number off the top of my head) which is pretty darn low for a truck that is rated to tow in the neighborhood of 10k lbs. I know the trailer is 3500lbs empty and I'd be shocked if we had over 3500 lbs of stuff in it. The truck was empty other than me driving it, so I doubt I was seriously overloaded. The Rams have a tendency to squat worse than other 1/2 tons due to the coil spring rear suspension. I'd definitely want weight distributing hitch for a camper I was going to tow any distance though. However there was no swaying, no floaty sensation, no nothing. Was a drama free experience. Also I really like the built in trailer brake controller.
 

nwjones18

Thread starter
Messages
1,435
Location
Warner Robins, GA
I wrote a article called "Towing Safely" and posted it here:


I see you are going to get a camper, we'd like to have you on the forum.
That was a very good write up! I definitely need some towing mirrors.. The trailers I've been looking at are around 7000 GVWR with a dry weight of around 5000-5500. I figure that will be about right for just passengers in the truck and put everything else in the trailer so we can stay under the payload capacity on the truck.
 
Messages
954
Location
Alberta
We tow a 25ft travel trailer. The published tongue weight was 603 lbs or something like that. Remember, that doesn’t include battery or propane. We have been right around 1000lb tongue weight on most trips after loading the trailer and having the battery and propane on the tongue. Anything you carry in the truck as well as accessories you’ve added combine to reduce you carrying capacity. Don’t forget the 70-100lb WDH. The weight really sneaks up quickly. My truck has 1806lb door sticker and we use every bit of it with two adults and two kids with a trailer that comes in around 7000lbs loaded up (7400lb gvwr). Adding a couple of tandem kayaks and 4 bikes doesn’t help either.
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Messages
5,646
Location
the canyons
If you get a travel trailer, just know that manufacturers claimed dry weight is often much lower than your actual loaded and ready-to-travel weight. If you can do some research on Forums where people own the trailer you're considering, hopefully they can give some actual weigh scale weights, so you're dealing with actual weight, and not some theoretical lighter weight.

Also, always check your tires, brakes, and wheel bearings before and during a trip.

We enjoy our toy hauler.

Good luck with whatever you get.
 
Messages
779
Location
North of you Idaho
10% Tongue weight for all tag along axle or ball hitch trailers. They are pretty finicky about tongue weight when pulling max weight and length of trailer is a major factor for tag axle trailers like the trailer you have mounted due to wind drafts from class 8 trucks let alone mother natures own environmental curve balls she will throw at you.

That trailer is too large and too long for your 1/2 ton truck even though it pulled it just fine.

25% "Pin" Weight for 5th and goose neck trailers. My trailer is 38ft, 16k gross, 4k Pin weight. Overall combo length is at least 55ft. When I moved to Idaho 10 years ago the gross overall, Chevy CC 4wd dually loaded plus loaded trailer was about 29/30k. The truck did not complain at all.
 

nwjones18

Thread starter
Messages
1,435
Location
Warner Robins, GA
We tow a 25ft travel trailer. The published tongue weight was 603 lbs or something like that. Remember, that doesn’t include battery or propane. We have been right around 1000lb tongue weight on most trips after loading the trailer and having the battery and propane on the tongue. Anything you carry in the truck as well as accessories you’ve added combine to reduce you carrying capacity. Don’t forget the 70-100lb WDH. The weight really sneaks up quickly. My truck has 1806lb door sticker and we use every bit of it with two adults and two kids with a trailer that comes in around 7000lbs loaded up (7400lb gvwr). Adding a couple of tandem kayaks and 4 bikes doesn’t help either. View attachment 37430

View attachment 37429
That's a good looking setup. That is a similar camper to what I'm looking at, so there is a pretty good chance I'll end up over my payload by a few hundred pounds.. The F-150 does well with the payload with the aluminum bodies and traditional leaf springs. Rams are heavy trucks to start with plus the coils, and my truck has fancy stuff, 4wd, the bigger gas tank etc etc that eats into payload.
 

BeerCan

$50 Site Donor
Messages
1,626
Location
FL
I agree that trailer is to big for your truck. I have a similar trailer and it is arguably to big for my superduty, I should have DRW.

That being said if you size your camper right you should have no issues. A good WDH, I use blue ox, but there are plenty of good ones.

After you hook your new camper up for the first time make sure you go to the truck scales, it's worth the 10 or so bucks. It will help you adjust the hitch and make sure your load is ok. For example the blue ox has 1k bars and 800lb bars available. A scale will help you decide what are the right parameters for your setup. Ask a lot of questions and remember safety first. wwilson's guide is a great start, I use a similar list to remind myself every single time I tow. I see so much crazy stuff out there, its easy to get complacent.

Get to the destination safely so you can have fun, that's the whole point right? These threads always turn into advise threads, sorry. I'm glad you feel you did well and getting over the hump of the first tow is an accomplishment :)
 
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4,705
Location
Southeast
Neat thread. I suspect one reason the ram drove so well is that it was riding on the bump stop .... look ma no sway!

the rams have the lowest payload capacity of the bunch, but that’s also why they are generally stated as the best driving of all of them too.

properly set up with the WDH and stabilizer, it will have no issue with a happy camper in tow. but there is some wisdom in the above posts.... I learned the white-knuckled way that even at 80% tow rating, trips were not fun.

On the serious side, to the OP, be ready - the RV crowd will be quick to call out reckless thinking, driving, or posts, and sometimes takes some heat for it. they (we) have a reason for it, however, and that is experience gained through doing it. Ask your questions first so you can right-size your new camper before getting it on the road and realizing you’re in trouble. When read reading others‘ posts, evaluate the poster for credibility. I’ve seen too many people justify tow vehicles and tow setups by something like, “I can pass traffic uphill on mountain roads!” and just cringe. These newer trucks have so much power and torque they sure can! But the power train is the least of the safety equation. Loading, Hitch, brakes, suspension, tires, lights and wiring, visibility, all play.

also, I’ll say this - we were told this and it was absolutely true. The first camper is really about learning how you like to use a camper, and the second one is the one you’ll stay with longer. It was true for us. So don’t blow all the savings on the first one.... just buy something which gets you out there and let’s you develop your camping rhythm. And enjoy!

m
 
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