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Author Topic: New tower - multiple questions  (Read 366 times)


  • Posts: 1
New tower - multiple questions
« on: July 21, 2020, 11:07:05 PM »
Good afternoon. I have read many posts here regarding towing and am looking for some additional help. Sorry for the dissertation…

First – context:

Vehicle and weights:
- 2015 Durango, Citadel, V8 Hemi, factory installed tow package, technology group (not sure this matters)
- Curb Weight – 5770 pounds (measured on certified scales, full tank, minus my weight)
- Family weight – 610 pounds (me, wife, 3 kids, and dog)
- “Remaining“ cargo weight – GVWR of 7,100 minus 5770 curb weight minus 610 family equals 720 pounds (which I imagine most will be taken up by tongue weight)

Trips – I am planning for 2 trips:
- Trial trip in prep for 2nd trip: long weekend locally (250 miles away here in central Texas) in the next couple of weeks
- Long trip over 2.5 weeks: drive from home to Albuquerque and pick up trailer there. Then poke through midwest/west attractions (Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, onto California for quick visit with in-laws, then back through Zion, Bryce, Four Corners, drop off trailer in Albuquerque, and drive home)

So in looking through Outdoorsey and corresponding with several owners (i.e. asking for the trailers Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and Tongue Weight) I am norming around low-20 footers to rent.

However, I still have several questions:
1) Electronic brake controller: I understand I should use an electronic brake controller – the Tekonsha P3 showed up today and I plan on installing it this coming weekend (I have installed my hardwired dash/rear cam and I have watched the videos on installing the brake controller to the plug on the D, so I am comfortable doing it myself).
   - Given I will be towing infrequently where should I mount it? I was thinking instead of using the screws or bracket, I might use some industrial Velcro and stick it in front of my right knee or on top of the dash to the left of the instrument hood. Has anyone done this? How did it work out? I would be working against central Texas summer heat in the car.

2) Tow weight: I have not gotten a good sense of how much I should/could actually tow. I have had some people say, 7,200 pounds is the tow limit so you can go to 7,200 pounds. I also read about an 80% guideline, etc.
If I take the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 13,100 pounds and subtract out the curb weight of the Durango (5770lbs), the family weight (610lbs), and the tongue weight (max 720lbs for calculation sake), I end up at 6,000 remaining pounds. To me (if I understand everything correctly) that would be the max Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) I can pull. I would assume it is better to stay under this. This assumes all our cargo (clothes, food, camp chairs, bikes, etc.) goes in the trailer since once I factor in the tongue weight, I don’t have any remaining cargo weight in the Durango.

3) Weight distributing hitch: I read several articles and several of the owners referenced a weight distributing hitch (the manual referenced this as mandatory for anything over 5,000 pounds). One owner alluded to the WDH as a way to go above the 720 pound tongue weight limit. That doesn’t seem right to me. I would assume the WDH provides greater safety and control, not a means to exceed the rated tongue weight.

4) Sway bars: I understand these can be integrated into the WDH, but do I need specific ones based on the trailer weight?

5) Tow mirrors: I am assuming the stock side mirrors are not going to be “out” far enough. I have read several posts that reference most add-on mirrors are junk (my words and maybe some of the poster’s words as well). What is a good option?

6) Trailer weight: I have asked all the owners of trailers I am considering the GVWR for their trailer. Most initially give a rough number or the dry weight. I then generally clarify that I want the actual GVWR and what is printed on the sticker. Is this the right number to ask for? I figure this would be the max the trailer would ever weigh.

Any help is greatly appreciated. I think I covered my questions for now.


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  • Posts: 681
Re: New tower - multiple questions
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2020, 09:06:19 AM »
In my old ‘05 Ram 1500 Hemi, I mounted the Prodigy to the bottom of dash to the right of the steering column with 2 screws. I agree that sticky Velcro isn’t good suspending things in the heat.

Many trailer labels I have seen don’t list GVWR but instead list empty weight and cargo capacity so you have to add em to get the GVWR.

Note that you should plan for 10 to 12% of the trailer GVWR as tongue weight, not some marketing number from the manufacturer.

As an aside, when building our spreadsheet of trailers, we put in the hitch weight published as well as a calculated tongue weight and also calculated the % of GVWR that the manufacturer hitch weight was and found a huge variance and almost never even close to the recommended (here) of 10% for TTs and 20% for 5th wheels.
Rob & Deryl, Nettle & Tigger
Clyde, a 2015 RAM 3500 Cummins Longhorn SRW w/ARE cap
14’ V nose utility trailer as mini toy hauler (for now)
A Grand Design 337RLS in the future.
N1ICB (Nursing 1 Ice Cold Beer)
N1SPA (up to my neck in hot water, as always)


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  • Posts: 43
Re: New tower - multiple questions
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2020, 09:32:35 AM »
I had a 08 ram w/ 5.7 hemi and for a gas job, it had a ton of power!  Pulled my 6000lb trailer no problem.

1) I had mounted the brake controller under the dash on the left side of the steering wheel.  Didn't have to drill into the dash just used an existing screw.

2)6-7000 lbs tow capacity sounds about right.  Need to review you specific vehicle

3)WDH will greatly increase your safety.  Not sure about the 5000# rule but I wouldn't tow anything more than a utility trailer without one

4)I have never used a sway bar,  With a WDH and a properly loaded trailer I have not had the need.  I am currently running a Reese Straight Line hitch which does a great job of keeping my 30' trailer where it should be.

5)I have always had the factory trailer mirrors.  If you don't have them, you will need some sort of clip/slide on style which probably are not as good but better then guessing what's back there

6)GVWR is the maximum the trailer SHOULD ever weigh.  This is the dry weight plus the weight of everything else in the trailer (water, propane, gear, beer, etc.).  The trailer's tires, axles are designed to this limit.  exceeding it can be dangerous.

Enjoy your trip!

2020 25Y Arctic Fox
2017 GMC 3500 SRW CC SLT L5P


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  • Posts: 3917
Re: New tower - multiple questions
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2020, 10:16:37 AM »
Forget the advertised curb weight.  Go drive it across a set of scales loaded ready to travel.  Subtract that number from your GVWR.  Once you do that you will be lucky to have 500 pounds.  Using 15% of a trailers true weight as tongue weight means you likely will be limited to a 3500 pound trailer.  Honestly your in tent trailer territory.  Anything more is only going to invite trouble sooner or later.


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  • Posts: 1017
Re: New tower - multiple questions
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2020, 11:36:13 PM »
I got towing mirrors for my Durango from etrailer.com. They have a huge selection and a very knowledgeable staff. And, they are very responsive when phoning them.
1996 Coachmen Catalina 230BH
2004 Dodge Durango SLT 4.7L