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Author Topic: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?  (Read 4563 times)

Fireball05

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Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« on: September 27, 2012, 04:29:12 PM »
Hello all,

We've been toying with the idea of getting a TT and recently attended the Hershey, PA huge RV show.   Got to look at a bunch of different travel trailers and are considering buying our first RV!   Exciting stuff, but I've got a few general and a few specific questions that might help us make this decision.

I do a lot of cycling and we travel up and down the east coast for a variety of races from April to September.   Most of these would be 3 day/2 night trips and be dry camping.   Most races are centered in church or school parking lots, so that would be where we'd stay for the weekends.   Close to civilization so would be easy enough to go get gas for a generator, grab more water, etc. but would not have hookups.   

Most traveling will be done with the family - wife, 2 kids (age 9 and 11) and our dog.    Will occasionally go with another couple, or just me alone with perhaps 2 or 3 other teammates.    So, all that being said, here are my questions:

1.   How difficult will it be to go 3days/2nights?   It sounds like I'd need a generator a nice dual battery system and a few extra 5 gallon jugs of water.   Anything else?   I can convince my travel mates (be it family or friends) to conserve energy and water, but want to be comfortable at the same time.   i.e. would like to be able to take showers, cook food, use TV, radio, laptops, etc.

2.   How comfortable will we be in a ~26' TT?   Tow vehicle is a 2005 Sequoia (GVWR 6,700#, GCWR 12,000#, tow capacity 6,200#).   Spending 30' sitting around in various units at the RV show seemed like we could make it work.   Looked at double bunk house units with queens up front.  This floorplan would work well for us and hopefully allow us some separate space.  Or at least as separate as possible!    I guess my real question is, is a 26' TT too small to comfortably spend 3 days with 4 people in it?

3.  I've been sorting through all the brands and models and there are a ton of them out there!   Sort of intimidating.   Would like to get some recommendations for folks, or perhaps links to more information about various models/brands.  We looked at similar floorplans/sizes and prices ranged from super cheap (Grey Wolf ~$13k new) to some higher end units.       Can anyone point me to the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord of TTs?   :)   I think that's what we're looking for!

4.   Once we get a routine down, what is the additional time and cost for each of these trips going to be?   i.e. for 3 days, how much propane use and generator gas should I expect to use?   I'm guessing grey and blackwater tanks need emptied after every trip, so that will be additional time and cost too.   

Thanks in advance for any thoughts, opinions and advice!

Ben

Jammer

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2012, 05:08:34 PM »
1.   How difficult will it be to go 3days/2nights?   It sounds like I'd need a generator a nice dual battery system and a few extra 5 gallon jugs of water.   Anything else?   I can convince my travel mates (be it family or friends) to conserve energy and water, but want to be comfortable at the same time.   i.e. would like to be able to take showers, cook food, use TV, radio, laptops, etc.

In general we find that we can go 3 days/2 nights without a problem.  A generator is not necessary unless you plan to run the air conditioning, or plan to run the heat extensively (all night).

Quote
2.   How comfortable will we be in a ~26' TT?   Tow vehicle is a 2005 Sequoia (GVWR 6,700#, GCWR 12,000#, tow capacity 6,200#).   Spending 30' sitting around in various units at the RV show seemed like we could make it work.   Looked at double bunk house units with queens up front.  This floorplan would work well for us and hopefully allow us some separate space.  Or at least as separate as possible!    I guess my real question is, is a 26' TT too small to comfortably spend 3 days with 4 people in it?

It depends a little on floorplan and on your kids.  If the two of you are in the bedroom and the kids each get their own bed and the beds are big enough you should be OK.  We use the dinette and the couch (which folds down jack-knife style to a bed) for the kids and find that works well.  They get used to the routine of making and stowing the beds, and sleep in sleeping bags.

Quote
3.  I've been sorting through all the brands and models and there are a ton of them out there!   Sort of intimidating.   Would like to get some recommendations for folks, or perhaps links to more information about various models/brands.  We looked at similar floorplans/sizes and prices ranged from super cheap (Grey Wolf ~$13k new) to some higher end units.       Can anyone point me to the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord of TTs?   :)   I think that's what we're looking for!

Quality overall is low across the industry.  You pay for space and amenities, and in the higher end units, better quality interior buildout.  I like my Airstream -- it has more windows, larger fridge, two air conditioners, better cabinetry and upholstery etc. than most on the market.  You will also want to compare dealers as some are better than others and there are advantages to using a nearby one.

Quote
4.   Once we get a routine down, what is the additional time and cost for each of these trips going to be?   i.e. for 3 days, how much propane use and generator gas should I expect to use?   I'm guessing grey and blackwater tanks need emptied after every trip, so that will be additional time and cost too.   

We don't find that those costs are significant.  Typically you'll pay $10 for a dump station although free ones do exist and some people put setups at their house.  I typically refill the two propane tanks once a year for typically 25 nights out, although you can go through a lot more if you run the fridge on propane while the rig is in storage or if you run the furnace extensively.  I don't have a generator and just rely on the 12v system, or on shore power in campgrounds.

The main expense is the added fuel for the tow vehicle.  We get around 8 mpg while towing.  Some people claim to do better but for a larger trailer like the ones you're considering I would be skeptical of any claims of better than 10 mpg for gasoline engines or maybe 12 mpg for diesel.

2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

Jammer

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2012, 05:11:42 PM »
Another fact to consider is that in most cases it isn't possible to leave a dog unattended in a trailer.  It does depend on the dog, on the weather, and on where you're parked, but we've found that we have to have a plan to bring the dog along on any outings away from the trailer or have someone stay and babysit.
2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

Fireball05

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2012, 05:38:05 PM »
Hi Jammer - thanks for the quick reply!   So you think it's realistic to go 3days/2nights for 4 people without a generator as long as we don't want to use heat or A/C?    It'll be used almost exclusively in the summer, so I definitely think we'll need A/C.    Will probably only have to be run a few hours a day though, which is why a generator will probably be nice.      With a decent $500-800 generator and a full tank of fuel, would that be enough to run the AC for maybe a total of 12 hrs?

Two of the models we liked at the show were the Apex by Coachman 235BHS  http://www.coachmenrv.com/products/apex.aspx?page=floorplandetails&floorplanid=4359   and the Winnebago Minnie 2451BHS.   http://www.pajaycodealer.com/2013-winnebago-minnie-2451bhs-new-travel-trailer-pa-i584708  The Minnie is apparently brand new and I can't seem to find any info at all on it.    That link shows the lime green one.   They also make it in white!!!

One more dumb newbie question - what is the electrical hookup like?   To run all systems does it need a special plug, or can it be plugged into any 110v standard outlet?

Thanks!

Water Dog

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2012, 06:47:04 PM »
Fireball05, not to throw cold water on your plan, but the Apex GVWR (in you link) is over what your Sequoia is rated to pull (according to your numbers). Remember, you can't use base or net weights on trailers. No one goes anywhere empty and according to your post, you will be transporting 4 people and gear. I think you should start by narrowing your selection down to what your tow vehicle is capable of pulling safely first. You may find this to be a limiting factor in what you want to do, but at least you would know before spending a lot more time researching the other parts...JMHO
Dennis

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Ned

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2012, 06:50:52 PM »
Quote
what is the electrical hookup like?   To run all systems does it need a special plug, or can it be plugged into any 110v standard outlet?

The electric will probably be a 30A plug and the campground will have the proper receptacle.  If you ever do need to plug into a standard 15 or 20A outlet there are adapters available for that.  If you have electric available, then you won't need a generator.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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Frizlefrak

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2012, 07:16:31 PM »
Fireball05, not to throw cold water on your plan, but the Apex GVWR (in you link) is over what your Sequoia is rated to pull (according to your numbers).

What Water Dog said.....

Safety first.  Get a trailer with a GROSS weight under what your Sequoia can pull.  This is not an area to juggle numbers.  Staying within your tow vehicle's capabilities is critical.  You may find your selection just narrowed by a good margin.  You mentioned 26-30'.......Even my "Ultra-Lite" 30' is close to 8000 lbs gross....
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Carl L

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2012, 07:35:19 PM »
You may have a problem with your Sequoia.   You give a tow rating of 6200 lbs with that truck.  That tow rating is based on a single 154-lb driver and full fuel and fluids.   You will carrying 3  passenger, a large critter, and bicycles.   To account for things like this we discount that nominal tow rating by 10%.   That would knock your tow rating down to 5580 lbs.
 
You need to compare that to the weight of the trailer to be pulled.   Unloaded trailer weight is useless for the purpose of determining tow-ability.   The number you should use is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) which is unladen weight + maximum carrying capacity.   GVWR can be found on a trailers DOT plate on the left side wall toward the front of the trailer, or in the mfr's specification sheet.
 
The problem here is that you need to restrict your trailer GVWR to 5580 lbs or less if you are going to safely tow it with your Sequoia.   That moves you out of the 26 foot class of TT down to the 24 foot class.   
 
I suspect that your needs dictate a larger tow vehicle, say a pickup in the F150 class or a full sized van like the Ford E 350s.   
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

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Fireball05

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2012, 08:02:17 PM »
Thanks again for the insight.    Not too surprisingly, it appears I've been confused!     I was under the impression that TT GVWR was the maximum weight of the trailer plus any contents inside trailer.     So the Apex GVWR is 6,500.   Base weight of 4,277 is the trailer itself.   From various reading here and talking to folks at the show from dealers,I was told (or under the impression) that ~1,000# seems to be a good number to use for the weight added to a trailer loaded up and ready to go.   So, for the Apex I'd be looking at around 5,277#, which would be under the Sequoia limit.     

Where am I going wrong here?  Need to just look at TT GVWR?   It doesn't seem possible to get 2,223# of gear, load, water, into a 26' trailer unless I try really hard!

For comparison, The Jay Feather Lite X213 was another one we liked, although not quite as much.   Base weight 4,020.   1,480 "cargo capacity" and a GVWR of 5,500.    http://www.jayco.com/products/travel-trailers/jay-feather-ultra-lite/floorplans-specs

Sorry to rehash a topic that's surely been discussed ad nausea.   I thought I had this sorted out already.    Please help  :)


Thanks,

Ben

Fireball05

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2012, 09:25:11 PM »
This was the article I read here:  http://www.rvforum.net/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=187:calculate-trailer-towing-capacity&catid=26:towing-and-towables&Itemid=45

...which seems to corroborate the 1,000# rough guideline that I've heard others suggest.

Please advise!

Frizlefrak

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2012, 09:43:13 PM »
As Carl pointed out, GROSS weight is unladen weight PLUS maximum cargo.  You'd be amazed how fast it adds up.  Water alone can add over 300 lbs in just the fresh tank.  Clothes, groceries, drinks, equipment, etc.

Don't forget to discount the 10%, and deduct the weight of passengers and critters.  1 extra adult and two kids can easily add up to 350 lbs, and that's if they.....uh....have a strict workout plan.  ;)

The really salient point here is that the closer you get to your vehicles maximum weight, the less fun it is towing it.  If you're close, it can become downright stressful, especially if you live near the high country.  Towing it is one thing...controlling it in a bad situation is another.  The tail wagging the dog is a bad feeling.

If the Apex gross is 6500, it's too much trailer for your tow vehicle. 



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jtstromsburg

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2012, 10:06:37 PM »
I think most would agree that the empty weight shown is usually without the options, like AC, awning, propane, etc.  These things add to the brochure weight before it gets to the dealer.  With four people for 2 or 3 days, I think you could easily have 600-1000 lbs of extra "stuff" along.  The best thing to do is load up the sequoia with the fam, dog, bikes, and some gear and scale it to see what you have left in for towing capacity.  Then head to a dealer with the camper you like in stock.  Check the drivers front or door for a yellow sticker that will show the weight leaving the factory.  You can add the 1000lbs to this number and see how it works out with your true towing capacity.

Hope this helps and doesn't confuse more.
Joel

Thanks again for the insight.    Not too surprisingly, it appears I've been confused!     I was under the impression that TT GVWR was the maximum weight of the trailer plus any contents inside trailer.     So the Apex GVWR is 6,500.   Base weight of 4,277 is the trailer itself.   From various reading here and talking to folks at the show from dealers,I was told (or under the impression) that ~1,000# seems to be a good number to use for the weight added to a trailer loaded up and ready to go.   So, for the Apex I'd be looking at around 5,277#, which would be under the Sequoia limit.     

Where am I going wrong here?  Need to just look at TT GVWR?   It doesn't seem possible to get 2,223# of gear, load, water, into a 26' trailer unless I try really hard!

For comparison, The Jay Feather Lite X213 was another one we liked, although not quite as much.   Base weight 4,020.   1,480 "cargo capacity" and a GVWR of 5,500.    http://www.jayco.com/products/travel-trailers/jay-feather-ultra-lite/floorplans-specs

Sorry to rehash a topic that's surely been discussed ad nausea.   I thought I had this sorted out already.    Please help  :)


Thanks,

Ben
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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2012, 09:41:48 AM »
Quote
1.   How difficult will it be to go 3days/2nights?   It sounds like I'd need a generator a nice dual battery system and a few extra 5 gallon jugs of water.   Anything else?   I can convince my travel mates (be it family or friends) to conserve energy and water, but want to be comfortable at the same time.   i.e. would like to be able to take showers, cook food, use TV, radio, laptops, etc.

It really depends on how you define "comfortable". To have 4 people take showers uses a lot of water - water you have to bring with you and also store as waste when used. If 4 people want to shower every day, you probably won't have anywhere near enough water. And you will have to stage the showers to allow the little 6 gallon water heater to recover.  Water tank size (fresh, gray and black) should be a primary consideration if you plan to dry camp most of the time.

Lights, tv/radio/DVD, computers, etc. can suck a lot of power too.  If each of your buddies has a laptop, that's maybe  400 watts of power right there.  You will need an inverter if you have no shore power, and an inverter places a huge draw on the batteries. Few small trailers come with more than one - or maybe two - modest sized batteries, so plan on adding more plus the inverter. Or plan on running the generator a lot of the time.  That means you need to choose a trailer with room for plenty of batteries, both more of them and larger sizes (Group 27 or group 31 instead of the usual group 24's).

Then there is air conditioning. An RV gets quite hot inside if sitting in the open sun in a parking lot, even on a 78 degree day. It's almost a solar oven!  You may find that a/c is a must rather than a nicety when you return after a day of biking..

A small generator doesn't use a lot of fuel. For example, a Honda 2000 will run about 4 hours at full load on a 1.1 gallon tank of fuel.  That would easily handle all your power needs except the a/c.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

Frizlefrak

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2012, 10:27:46 AM »
It really depends on how you define "comfortable". To have 4 people take showers uses a lot of water - water you have to bring with you and also store as waste when used. If 4 people want to shower every day, you probably won't have anywhere near enough water. And you will have to stage the showers to allow the little 6 gallon water heater to recover.  Water tank size (fresh, gray and black) should be a primary consideration if you plan to dry camp most of the time.

What Gary said....and there's alway one participant who doesn't get the concept of conserving.  This will be the same guy that leaves the porch light on all night and runs the battery down too.

You can always bring a handful of 6 gallon totes with you.  We do this when boondocking so we can have showers....BUT....now the subject of weight rears it's ugly head again.  60 extra gallons of water is roughly 500 lbs.  Deduct that off your tow rating.
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Alfa38User

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2012, 11:30:01 AM »
Quote
Will probably only have to be run a few hours a day though, which is why a generator will probably be nice.      With a decent $500-800 generator and a full tank of fuel, would that be enough to run the AC for maybe a total of 12 hrs?

I do not remember seeing this point addressed. Not sure what you mean by a decent $500-800 generator other than it might have sufficient output for the task at hand. There is more to selecting a camping generator than the price. Most lower priced generators, often referred to as 'contractor generators',  are the open to the world type, no covers to muffle the sound. Using one of these for hours in an urban setting (school yards etc) will gain you no friends in the neighbourhood, not to mention among your fellow campers, as they are NOISY and very annoying after several hours. The same holds true for a regular campground. Think gas powered pressure washer........ ouch... There is no sound more annoying to me than that !!!

As to size, that depends on what use wish to run off the generator. A typical RV AC unit will draw about 13-14 amps which translates to about 1680 watts while running. Starting the AC requires quite a bit more so you can see a 2000 watt (2K) generator won't cut it as the advertised output of 2K is the PEAK and is not the average output. 3K would work but $$$ creeping in. Then, you will require a quiet generator like (for example , a Honda, Yamaha, etc.) More $$$.

All this.... just food for thought. The trailer and tow vehicle should be your primary consideration.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2012, 11:39:08 AM by Alfa38User »
Stu
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Jammer

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2012, 02:04:08 PM »
It is my experience that the rvforum moderators and frequent posters offer much more conservative towing advice than most other sources; by the standards given here, perhaps 50% or more of the rigs I see in state parks are unsafe.

I've posted detailed situation-specific rebuttals before but I'm not going to do it here.  You decide for yourself.
2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

Jammer

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2012, 02:17:49 PM »
Hi Jammer - thanks for the quick reply!   So you think it's realistic to go 3days/2nights for 4 people without a generator as long as we don't want to use heat or A/C?    It'll be used almost exclusively in the summer, so I definitely think we'll need A/C.    Will probably only have to be run a few hours a day though, which is why a generator will probably be nice.      With a decent $500-800 generator and a full tank of fuel, would that be enough to run the AC for maybe a total of 12 hrs?

If I were in your situation I'd depend on just the fan and windows or find a campground where I could plug in.

You would need a generator capable of delivering around 3500 watts, though you could get by with a slightly smaller one, maybe, most of the time.  The thing with cutting the sizing too close is you may find that you don't have enough power on really hot days or at high altitude.  Most generators in the $500-$800 price range are too noisy to be practical in a camping situation and are too heavy... Most people who try to run A/C from a generator get a pair of Honda or Yamaha 2000 watt inverter generators, the eu2000i or similar.  They're around $1000 each and you need two wired together to have enough power for the air conditioning.

Quote
One more dumb newbie question - what is the electrical hookup like?   To run all systems does it need a special plug, or can it be plugged into any 110v standard outlet?

Nearly all travel trailers have a TT-30 plug, which isn't used on anything besides RVs.  Campgrounds with electric power have a mating receptacle available at each campsite intended for use by an RV (with rare exceptions that don't really matter much).  There are adapters that can be used to plug into a standard 110v outlet, and most RVers carry one for those situations where they're parked in a driveway or something.

But there are problems running the trailer air conditioning when plugged into a regular 15a/20a outlet... depending on the size of the air conditioner, you may not have quite enough power, and there may be problems with voltage drop if you have to use long extension cords.  And often outside outlets on houses etc are worn and corroded and prone to overheating... leading to a loss of connection.

It can be done and I've done it but without some advance scouting and consideration of all the details I wouldn't want to depend on it.

This is why we tend to open the windows and run the fan...
2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

Frizlefrak

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2012, 04:37:07 PM »
It is my experience that the rvforum moderators and frequent posters offer much more conservative towing advice than most other sources; by the standards given here, perhaps 50% or more of the rigs I see in state parks are unsafe.

I've posted detailed situation-specific rebuttals before but I'm not going to do it here.  You decide for yourself.

I'm guilty of being conservative on tow ratings.  I think it's because of the area that I typically tow in....mountainous, with very long, steep grades.  I've personally seen some ugly RV crashes, and have no desire to participate in one.  The last thing I would ever want to do is be complicit in someone overloading their tow vehicle and having an incident. 
2014 Ram 2500 Cummins
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Fireball05

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2012, 04:57:30 PM »
Thanks again for all the good info.   As long as you guys keep providing helpful responses, I'm going to keep asking questions!   :)

Re: GENERATORS: Can someone provide a link for the Honda generator you speak of?   My google search brought up the sport car, which I'm fairly certain isn't what you're talking about!      Sounds like at least there is a clear concensus that I'll need $2,000 worth of generator to comfortably run the A/C and other power needs for a weekend.  And it sounds like a 5 gallon gas can will power the generators all weekend, so that is good news.    Being in the northeast, I think the A/C would only be necessary for a few of the trips.   Open windows and fans should work just fine.   Might want to run it a few hrs during the day, but I can't think of any events where it would need to run all night.   Usually cools off pretty nicely in the evenings. 

Re: CAMPGROUNDS: What is the preferred website for finding campgrounds?   I'd like to do a few quick searches and see how close a campground would be to a few of our events.   This would certainly be preferred for the longer stays, and make the logistics a bit easier.    Also, what about a list of places for tank cleanout?  For some of the longer outings or one with more folks/usage, could plan a stop to grab more water and empty the tanks if needed. 
 
Re: TOW RATING: I'm in central PA.   Most traveling would be 1-2hrs away.   We've got some rolling hills here, but nothing that I'd call mountainous.   Two or three trips up to NY and VT which have some decent hills, but nothing too terrible.    Sounds like this is a bit of a can of worms, so I'll do some more reading and research.   Good thing that our ridiculously expensive carbon fiber racing bikes only weigh 15# a piece!

Thanks again all.




Larry N.

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2012, 07:10:40 PM »
A search for "Honda eu2000i" (without the quotes, of course) gave me: http://www.google.com/search?q=honda+eu2000i&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

Hope this helps.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2007 Beaver Patriot Thunder 44 Saratoga
2003 Wrangler toad
  de N8GGG

Mopar1973Man

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2012, 11:13:49 AM »
If you change to diesel power tow vehicle the the limitation doesn't apply for the 10% reduction. Not to mention diesel powered vehicle do much better MPG vs gasoline versions. I'm towing a 31' Jayco Travel Trailer total weight between truck and trailer is 16,000# roughly and still getting 12-14 MPG so far.

As for power on my rig I can manage to go 2-3 days on a battery charge if you do things smart. But once you get into using the furnace then battery life goes downhill fast. I typically carry a no name 2Kw genny for charging the batteries up so I can fire my genny charge the batteries before bed and not worry about it one bit.

As for A/C usage normally we don't need the A/C where we are in the forest but now getting down in the desert it seem confining being stuck in a RV during the day so you don't roast. So we typically plan desert trip early spring or late fall. But stay in the forest during mid-summer where its cooler.
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel
2000 Jayco Eagle FBS 296
http://articles.mopar1973man.com/members-rides/17-mopar1973man/27-2000-jayco-eagle-296-fbs
2013 BigTex 70TV Utility Trailer

Fireball05

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2012, 10:21:12 AM »
For anyone that might read this, here's another good link to understand the tow ratings and weights debate:

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?topic=7117.0


Jammer

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2012, 04:25:58 PM »
Fireball

Like most of the threads on this forum, the advice there is overly conservative compared to most other sources.

Most such discussions mix up three things:
1) Safety.
2) Wear on powertrain components that may lead to early failure.
3) Regulatory weight limits.

For safety, you have to comply with the GAWR on your tow vehicle.  For any but the smallest trailers you have to have a WD hitch.  You have to have brakes that work properly.  You have to have sway control, in almost all cases.  You have to be sure that you comply with the GAWR rating on the trailer axles, and also be sure that the individual trailer tires aren't overloaded.

For safety, don't exceed the weight rating on the receiver or any of the hitch components.

In some jurisdictions these safety-related ratings are enforced by law.

The GCWR and towing capacity provided by the vehicle manufacturer are advisory ratings.  Exceeding them may lead to premature powertrain wear.  Some posters like to derate these capacities by 10%, 15%, 20%, depending on where you are and what kind of engine you have but that's all Kentucky windage around how long the transmission (etc.) will last.  Which, if you're going to travel several thousand miles a year or more, may be something you care deeply about.  The vehicle manufacturers don't determine these ratings based on safety, and for RVs they have no legal or regulatory significance of any kind in any state in the U.S.

You have to know the actual loaded weight of the trailer to have any idea what's going on.  The GVWR on my trailer (10,000) is around 1600 pounds more than the maximum load I've ever been able to put in it even with full tanks.  There isn't room for enough cans of baked beans to get it over the max, and it has the optional 2nd air conditioner and some other extras.  So while most trailer manufacturers push the limit, and in many cases ship trailers that are overloaded when empty, not all of them do.

If you're serious about buying a TT but right on the edge for weight then get the dealer to take it over the scales somewhere for you.

There are crashed rigs out there.  We've all seen them or at least pictures and video.  But it isn't about the weight and it is rare indeed that the weight in and of itself led to the crash.  Major causes of loss-of-control crashes:
1) Structural failure of hitch components due to defects or overloading
2) No brakes on trailer.  I can't believe how many RVers see brake controllers as optional.
3) No weight distribution or WD bars not properly in place
4) Use of air-ride suspensions on the tow vehicles that adjust ride height.
5) No sway control of any kind or sway bar not tightened.
6) Operation in dangerous winds
7) Catastrophic tire failure
8) Loss of traction at high speed on ice, snow, or water deep enough to cause hydroplaning

We'd be better served for safety by exhorting all the veteran RVers to pull their hubs every year for a thorough brake inspection and scale the rig every year to make sure the WD is dialed right with even half the determination, energy, and indignation that we expend telling n00bs to buy a bigger truck.

2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

Mopar1973Man

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2012, 08:52:21 AM »
Not to point fingers but...

It all so common that you see a newbie that has economy vehicle and wants to buy a RV to pull behind it. But there wants for RV size out does the abilities of the tow vehicle more times out of ten. Simply to put it if you want more living space in your RV your going to need a larger tow vehicle for the larger RV. Period! Then the other thing that happens all to often is the fact some does buy a RV that marginal fits their tow vehicle and then is un-happy about the towing grade performance and MPG. I will continue to highly suggest all you guy pulling 30 foot and larger RV's to consider diesel power plants. Diesel power plants are design for heavy loads and have a extremely long lifespan (500K miles or more!).

Another thing about longevity. Tires and engines. Just because your tires on your RV are rated for 65 MPH doesn't mean they will not blow out at 65 MPH. Kind of like say I can rev my Cummis to 3,200 RPM because its right at redline. Both can and will fail if used at there extreme limits. This why most of use will keep pushing larger tow vehicles and giving yourself more margin for weight. Be smart find a tow vehicle that will pull the trailer without struggling.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 08:57:43 AM by Mopar1973Man »
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel
2000 Jayco Eagle FBS 296
http://articles.mopar1973man.com/members-rides/17-mopar1973man/27-2000-jayco-eagle-296-fbs
2013 BigTex 70TV Utility Trailer

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2012, 12:38:22 PM »
Quote
Like most of the threads on this forum, the advice there is overly conservative compared to most other sources.

I know my advice is conservative because I think safety and reliability are important enough to err on the safe side. But I've been in an accident with a tow vehicle that really wasn't as capable as it needed to be, so learned the hard way.

Furthermore, I do not believe the [conservative] advice usually given here is out of line with "most other sources".  Could you cite some of those?  All we are saying is to keep the total weight under the manufacturer's rating. How can that be "overly conservative"?
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

Jammer

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2012, 03:08:36 PM »
I know my advice is conservative because I think safety and reliability are important enough to err on the safe side. But I've been in an accident with a tow vehicle that really wasn't as capable as it needed to be, so learned the hard way.

You were in an accident with a tow vehicle that had autoleveling air suspension, which is now known to be a major contributor to crashes while towing.  You took the wrong lesson from that and blamed size and weight.

Quote
Furthermore, I do not believe the [conservative] advice usually given here is out of line with "most other sources".  Could you cite some of those?

Well, airforums.com for one.  The good folks at Can-Am RV, in London, Ontario for another, who have an enviable safety record despite routinely setting up combinations that exceed manufacturer's towing weight by a factor of two.

http://www.canamrv.ca/towing/

Quote
All we are saying is to keep the total weight under the manufacturer's rating. How can that be "overly conservative"?

First of all, that's not what the overall advice is here.  The advice being dispensed is to derate towing capacity by 10-20% and to use trailer GVWR as a proxy for actual weight.

Second of all, I believe that manufacturers stated towing capacity is not based on safety but is a marketing number used to drive sales of more expensive power trains.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 03:10:23 PM by Jammer »
2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

Jammer

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2012, 03:18:03 PM »
Not to point fingers but...

It all so common that you see a newbie that has economy vehicle and wants to buy a RV to pull behind it. But there wants for RV size out does the abilities of the tow vehicle more times out of ten. Simply to put it if you want more living space in your RV your going to need a larger tow vehicle for the larger RV. Period! Then the other thing that happens all to often is the fact some does buy a RV that marginal fits their tow vehicle and then is un-happy about the towing grade performance and MPG. I will continue to highly suggest all you guy pulling 30 foot and larger RV's to consider diesel power plants. Diesel power plants are design for heavy loads and have a extremely long lifespan (500K miles or more!).

I pull my 30' RV all over the place with my gasoline powered Chevy Suburban and am enjoying lower total cost of ownership, better fuel availability, more predictable engine maintenance, and more power than most diesels.  You couldn't pay me enough to switch to a diesel.

Quote
Another thing about longevity. Tires and engines. Just because your tires on your RV are rated for 65 MPH doesn't mean they will not blow out at 65 MPH. Kind of like say I can rev my Cummis to 3,200 RPM because its right at redline. Both can and will fail if used at there extreme limits. This why most of use will keep pushing larger tow vehicles and giving yourself more margin for weight. Be smart find a tow vehicle that will pull the trailer without struggling.

One of the myriad problems with these discussions is that posters like you are confusing the question of "What RV can I start out with given this tow vehicle" with the question "I have this RV and it's time to buy a tow vehicle.  Which one should I get?"  They are different, and to provide an answer that is actually helpful you have to put yourself in the shoes of the person asking the question. 
2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

Fireball05

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2012, 07:42:42 PM »
First of all, that's not what the overall advice is here.  The advice being dispensed is to derate towing capacity by 10-20% and to use trailer GVWR as a proxy for actual weight.

Second of all, I believe that manufacturers stated towing capacity is not based on safety but is a marketing number used to drive sales of more expensive power trains.

Very true on first point above.   After spending some time this week looking at different trailers on various lots, I can't see any reason not to use actual weight of trailer plus weight of planned contents.   Trailer GVWR varies pretty widely.   For example, two different Jay Feather's I looked at have unloaded weight of 4025 and 4190.   The one that weighs 4025 has a GVWR of 4,995 and the one that weighs 4190 has a GVWR of 6500!!!    I'll be looking at the actual weight of the travel and adding 1000-1200# as a max load to determine what I can pull.      Yes, the GVWR of the 2nd one is over my Sequoia's limit, but the actual weight of the trailer with all my contents seems to be the important number.   

Someone correct me if I'm missing something!

Also will note that erring on the side of safety is probably best, but that since so many factors come into play it would be nice to have a more thorough and informative "white paper" on the issue, so that you fine folks don't have to keep repeating yourselves   :)        Each specific situation will have a pretty big bearing on determining what the "proper" maximum towed weight should be (engine size, type of engine, planned travel distances, terrain, elevation, etc).    My family of 4 weighs 475#, and that includes a 70# siberian husky!    I'm sure that figure alone can vary by a few hundred pounds from family to family.

From a newbie's perspective, I appreciate all the information and different opinions, but it doesn't seem like it should've been so hard to arrive at a conclusion    :)

Oh, and by the way, I'm giving up the idea of an RV and starting a billiards team instead   ;)




Tom

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2012, 08:11:23 PM »
Quote
... since so many factors come into play it would be nice to have a more thorough and informative "white paper" on the issue ...

Thanks. We'll certainly take that under advisement, and we'll review our published articles on the subject. However, most of us on the forum staff are somewhat conservative for good, albeit different, reasons. There are always going to be naysayers who believe that newcomers to towing should ignore the advice and spin the wheel. All we can say to folks ignoring the (conservative) advice is good luck and caveat emptor.

Quote
... I'm giving up the idea of an RV and starting a billiards team instead..

Make that a snooker team and I'll join you   :D
« Last Edit: October 05, 2012, 12:18:57 PM by Tom »
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Carl L

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Re: Possible Newbie - is a TT going to work for us?
« Reply #29 on: October 05, 2012, 03:39:30 PM »

I pull my 30' RV all over the place with my gasoline powered Chevy Suburban and am enjoying lower total cost of ownership, better fuel availability, more predictable engine maintenance, and more power than most diesels.  You couldn't pay me enough to switch to a diesel.
 

So?  Look at my signature line and you will find a Ford Bronco -- there are/were no diesel Broncos .  My experience is with gassers, I have never owned a diesel. 
 
Fuel availability?  Maybe a few decades ago, but in recent years almost every filling station seems to have a green pump dispensing diesel -- even in urban areas. 
 
Power?  I suspect engine size has something to do with that.   There are marine diesels that are the size of a small house.   Mercedes stuffs a 4 cylinder 3.0L diesel into a sedan and has done so for almost a century.  For towing, torque curve characteristics are important also.   Diesel curves tend to favor load pulling as witness the complete dominance of diesel engines in long haul trucking.
 
My admiration of the diesel is its performance at high altitudes.   I live in the US Southwest.  I have towed in every western state except Alaska and oddly enough, Wyoming.   Western towing is fundamentally different than Eastern.  The average elevation of the west is around 3500 feet above sea level.   The huge Colorado Plateau stands some 7000 feet above sea level.   The elevation of Flagstaff, AZ is 6,910 ft.  -- which is a bit higher than the summit of Mt. Michell in N. Carolina at 6,684 ft, the highest mountain east of the Mississippi.   Flagstaff sits on a plain, not on a mountain top.   
 
Normally aspirated engines (those not turbo- or super-charged) lose 3% of their rated HP for every 1000 feet of altitude.   All diesels manufactured in the past few decades have been turbocharged.  Gasoline engines, until the Ford EcoBoost introduced in 2009, are normally aspirated.   Thus a gas engine running along the main street of Flagstaff is operating with only 79% of its rated HP.   Trust me on this:  on that main street this is not a big deal.  Schlepping a trailer over the passes in Utah, California, Idaho, Montana, Colorado or Arizona you feel it -- especially with a head wind.  My Bronc has put in a lot of miles in 2nd and 1st gear dragging the trailer over things like Syskiou, Donner, and Lookout passes and those are just the Interstate passes.   This is the reason that I strongly recommend that vehicles with unblown gasoline engines be downrated by 20% for operation out here in the West.
 
Diesels have a real point out here in the West.  Now so do the Ford EcoBoost gassers.

Quote

 
One of the myriad problems with these discussions is that posters like you are confusing the question of "What RV can I start out with given this tow vehicle" with the question "I have this RV and it's time to buy a tow vehicle.  Which one should I get?"  They are different, and to provide an answer that is actually helpful you have to put yourself in the shoes of the person asking the question. 

Huh?!   I thought we were doing exactly that.  A novice comes in with a truck looking for a trailer, we try to give him a trailer weight which the GVWR of the trailer should not exceed.   If the novice has a trailer looking for the truck to tow it, we give him a tow rating which his truck should equal or exceed.    If they comes in looking for both truck and trailer, we generally tell them to find a trailer floor plan that makes them happy and then buy a tow vehicle with a tow rating that will pull its.   We try to give them a simple, conservative number to work with as they sort out the problems of floorplan, price, and their particular uses.
 
Quote

Second of all, I believe that manufacturers stated towing capacity is not based on safety but is a marketing number used to drive sales of more expensive power trains.

Unfortunately, conspiracy theories make for poor operational considerations.   Are we to believe that They are boosting numbers to move total units, or are They reducing numbers to move people to more expensive units...hmm?   Myself, I evaluate conspiracies on the Rat Theory:   Sooner or later someone will rat out the conspiracy and Drudge or Huffington post will scream it to the rafters.   Until then I assume that the information being published is as accurate as the folks coming up with the numbers can make it.  Adding a might of safety factor helps in this.
 
Thus I am conservative in my recommendations here.   I also lay out my reasoning so folks can follow it and decide for themselves as to whether I am being reasonable or just blowing smoke.   Hell, I am just another schmo on the internet, take me for whatever my reasoning is worth.   If you have a different way to go, so be it
 
 
 
 
 
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco