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Author Topic: Ultra-lite versus other models  (Read 362 times)

MikeNNRV

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  • former tent camper
Ultra-lite versus other models
« on: August 02, 2017, 08:28:37 PM »
Considering buying our first TT, don't want to replace our tow vehicle so limited to 4800 pounds.  My question is, if we buy an ultralite would we be sacrificing durability or reliability?  What other risks could we face?
Virginia is for Lovers
current: 2006 Cherokee 25DD
2014 Honda Pilot EX-L
former: 2001 Coleman Sedona pop up

glen54737

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Re: Ultra-lite versus other models
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2017, 07:28:01 AM »
Probably some of the durability they use lighter materials but you usually get a welded aluminum body frame.
2018 Thor Miramar 35.2
2015 F-350 CC short box 6.7l 3.55 axle
2015 Alpine 3510RE-sold

Glen,Nene
Mickey & Jayco (yorkies)

lynnmor

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Re: Ultra-lite versus other models
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 08:00:00 AM »
Don't go by the model names calling them various things like "ultra-light."  The actual weight is what you look at because there are no standards for what might be called lightweight.

You really need to look at the actual construction, for example a flimsy frame on inadequate support for beds and seating.  I have looked into storage areas and ruled out trailers in 10 seconds or less.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Ultra-lite versus other models
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2017, 10:31:41 AM »
Agree with all the above.  The RV marketing people bandy around terms like "ultra light" without any real meaning. However, any trailer that weighs less than another of the same size obviously has had some weight trimmed off it somewhere. Sometimes that can be done by substituting lighter but still strong materials, e.g. aluminum instead of wood or steel, but I would not assume that to be the case without investigating. It is also possible (likely even) that some things were simply made lighter without any real regard for long term reliability.

Obviously no trailer with a gross (not empty or dry) weight of 4800 lbs is not going to be large. Whether it is rugged or not depends on whether the weight was employed for sturdy chassis and structure, or for extra length and fancier furnishings. You can only get so much in 4800 lbs of GVWR, and at least some of that has to be reserved to carry your personal gear.

If you look at two trailers, each with a GVWR of 4800 lbs and an unladen weight of 3800 lbs, and one is 20 ft long while the other is 17 ft, you can bet the longer one was skimped on the trailer frame, wall and floor construction to keep the weight down.

A word of warning: ignore any sales brochure, website or sale person who is pushing an RV with a dry weight at or near your 4800 lb limit. You need a trailer that weights less than 4800 lb when fully loaded. I'd suggest a trailer GVWR limit of 4400 or less, to make sure your loaded weight is within the tow vehicle capacity.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 10:34:24 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
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MikeNNRV

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  • former tent camper
Re: Ultra-lite versus other models
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2017, 11:21:15 AM »
Probably some of the durability they use lighter materials but you usually get a welded aluminum body frame.

Thank you, All, for your comments and suggestions.
I understand that having an aluminum frame is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it maintains chassis integrity and support for beds/furniture.


Again, Thanks
Virginia is for Lovers
current: 2006 Cherokee 25DD
2014 Honda Pilot EX-L
former: 2001 Coleman Sedona pop up

Frizlefrak

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Re: Ultra-lite versus other models
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2017, 10:17:59 PM »
As a point of reference.....my "Ultra Lite" 30' travel trailer weighs in at a portly 8000 lbs.  I once had a guy at a campground admiring it and saying "Hmmm....ultra lite....so my Tacoma can pull it!!".  Well, maybe, but it would walk his little truck all over the highway.  But I digress.

Everything is a tradeoff.  My trailer is aluminum framed, which is considerably lighter weight than wood.  It's also more expensive to build them that way.  The cabinets are thinner veneer....not real wood.  They won't have the same durability as solid wood (though unless you're full timing, you probably still won't ever wear them out).  The frame is likely thinner walled....though I've never had any structural concerns. 

I've had my ultra lite 5 years now.  Bought it new.  Couldn't be happier. 
2014 Ram 2500 Cummins
2012 Palomino 30' TT

Butch54

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Re: Ultra-lite versus other models
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 08:49:19 AM »
As mentioned 'ultra lite' is just a marketing term. As with any trailer, lite or regular flavor, they are only as good as their build quality. Just because a trailer is heavier doesn't mean its built better or will last longer.

Look at the actual UVW (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) and GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) plaque attached to the trailer before making a decision. The difference between the two values is the trailers cargo capacity. Also consider the trailer's tongue weight. Be aware the plaque only describes the trailer as it left the factory. Propane tanks, batteries, etc. are add-ons and not generally included in the UVW nor the specified tongue weight. Good luck with your search.

I should also add make sure the hitch on the truck is the correct class for the chosen trailer. You might also have to beef up your truck's cooling system which might include oil coolers, transmission coolers, and engine coolant. Excessive heat buildup is your trucks worst enemy and needs to be dissipated.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 10:15:43 AM by Butch54 »
2011 Creek Side 22RB
2012 Ram 1500 Crew Cab

OutdoorFT

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Re: Ultra-lite versus other models
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 12:50:41 PM »
I cant help much, but I will add to what Butch said. I have an F350 and it came with a class 3 hitch. for larger TTs, Id need to upgrade it to a 4.
Future Fulltimer

2011 F350 Lariat CCLB SRW
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