Can we tow it?

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jkpals

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I am sure this is brought up many times, but I want to make sure that we don't make a mistake in purchasing a 5er.  We have a 2005 Chevy Crew Cab 2500HD V-8 6.0L truck and are looking to purchase a new 5er.  We are looking at many different models all in the mid-profile range, but around 30-31 ft. long.  We live in the midwest and mostly tow to the south and north, not generally in any mountainous area.  We found a model that the dry weight is 8250, and a hitch weight of 1400.  We usually just load it with clothes and food, we always camp at military campgrounds with E/W hookups, so we don't travel with full tanks.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Kay
 

Carl L

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The short answer is no.

Your truck has a rating in the Trailer Life tow rating tables of 8000 lbs..? ? If your "dry weight"? is 8250 lbs you are already over weight before anything is added -- like propane, foods stuffs, bedding, kitchen gear and utensils, and personal gear.? ?There is also the problem that dry weight is a slightly ficticious quatity calculated for a run of trailers, without any optional equipment like awnings, propane, extra batteries, awnings, etc..? ?No one travels light -- do not kid yourselves.

We recommend using the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the trailer to evaluate its towablity.? That way you avoid kidding yourselves or having the mfr do it for you.? ?I also recommend using a 10% safety factor on your tow ratings.? 20% for the mountain and Pacific west.?

Look for a trailer that has a GVWR of no more than 7200 lbs.? ?If you ever think you want to do the wonders of the west, make that 6400 lbs.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Ditto what Carl advises.  Your 6.0L Vortec is not a really powerful engine when it comes to towing and it is already tasked with moving a heavy truck and all its contents.  Stay with a GVWR thatis under the max trailer rating.
 

jkpals

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Sep 20, 2006
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Thank you very much for your replies, I know that this question does get asked alot.  We travel with our 3 young children and safety is our upmost concern, so we definately take the issue seriously.  If you guys don't mind, I do have another question then..............We need something in the 30-31ft range because we have a larger family and need more than 2 bunks, and I have been doing extensive research on different TT and 5er's, and TT in that range are not that much lighter, which leads me too my question............what exactly can we pull with our truck and how is the weight different in towing a TT vs. a 5er? 

We currently have a 30ft Ultralite TT, which of course, is no problem at all, but would just like to upgrade into something we can keep for the next 10 years or so, and really do not want to go out and purchase a new truck!  (Of course, we could always go and get that Class A with Bunks that I have my eye on, and that would solve our towing problem ! ;) )

Thanks again,
Kay
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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You need to be looking for a trailer with a GVWR which is about 10% less than the max trailer towing capability of your truck. There will be a DOT rating plate/sticker near the front left corner of each trailer and that will state the GVWR and also the individual axle ratings (GAWR).  I may have some good news for you below...

HERE is a link to the official Chevrolet 2006 truck specs. Click on the Trailering tab and scan down for your truck model, engine and transmission. Notice that there are separate sections for conventional trailers and fifth wheels.  Assuming your 2005 is the same (it should be - there were no significant mechanical changes in the gas models), it shows a conventional trailer tow capacity of 10,000 lbs for a 2500 long bed with a 6.0L engine and a 4.10 rear axle. If that's your truck, you have a lot more latitude than the figures mentioned earlier in this thread.  You should find the rear axle ratio listed on a sticker in the glove box.

There is little difference in towing a fifth wheel (5W) or a travel trailer (TT). Sometimes a truck manufacturer will rate a truck slightly higher with a fifth wheel, because the load is positioned where the truck is designed to carry loads. However, a TT with a weight distributing hitch will also put the weight where it belongs (as opposed to hanging off the back end) and so is almost the equivalent. In some ways it may even be better. Chevrolet recommends a weight distributing hitch and rates their HD model trucks the same for TT or 5W.


I think perhaps Carl may have given you the rating for 1500 rather than a 2500HD, leading to the lower numbers initially stated. 
 

Carl L

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I think perhaps Carl may have given you the rating for 1500 rather than a 2500HD, leading to the lower numbers initially stated.?

No, I did not.? ?Here are the exact numbers cut and pasted from Tralier Life's 2005 Tow Ratings for Chevrolet:

2500HD Crew Cab 6.0L V-8? 8,000? 16,000?

The last two numbers are tow rating, and GCVWR.

HOWEVER, now that I look again, the same chart, just above gives the following numbers for the 1500 crew cab:

1500HD Crew Cab 6.0L V-8? 10,200? 16,000

Now that does not make too much sense unless Chevrolet really botched the job on the 2500.? ?Not even GMC can be that bad.? ?So it appears that TL botched the chart and your numbers are most likely the correct ones.  Manufacturer numbers have priority for tow ratings.

Ok, lets go back and examine the numbers again.

At a 10,000 lb. tow weight, Kay should tow a trailer with a GVWR of no more than 9000 lbs for east of the Rockies.? West of the Rockies make that 8,000 lbs.? ?With a herd of kids and their gear to drag with her, she is going to need more truck for more trailer.  She is probably towing all she should ever tow right now.  Even with a 4.10 rear end.

Sorry about the confusion Kay.? ?I think Trailer Life owes us both an apology.
 

rubysamm

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I just want to give you guys an applause (clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap)
This question just continues to get asked over and over and over (by myself included!!)
Your patience to continue to check the numbers and answer each individual question is AWESOME
Thank You!!!!
 

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Gary RV_Wizard

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Interesting conflict in the numbers, eh?  The Chevy spec agrees on the 16,000 lb GCWR and a 2500HD does indeed weigh somewhat more than a 1500HD, so I can see it having a lower tow capacity (strange though that sounds). But not 2200 lbs less.

I see that the 2006 TL Tow Guide shows 10,100 for the same truck. I also note that the 2006 TL guide is considerably expanded to show the manydifferent configurations of Chevy trucks, each of which has a different rating.

A difference in the rear axle ratios could explain the difference between the 2005 and  2006  specs. The 2006 is based on a 4.10 axle and it is conceivably the 2005 is for a 3.73???  Hopefully  Kay will check the axle ratio placard in the glove box of here truck and let us know what hers actually is.
 

jkpals

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I just went and checked and it is a 4.10, so maybe that will help clear up any confusion!  Of course, I am not exactly sure what it means, but I have been combing over all the rv message boards to learn the terminology and what it means, so that we know exactly what we can buy safely.  Thanks again for all of your help, it is greatly appreciated.
Kay
 

Carl L

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A difference in the rear axle ratios could explain the difference between the 2005 and  2006  specs.

Could be, but given that the GCVWR of each is exactly the same, 16K, I would put my money on a good old-fashioned butch.
 

Carl L

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jkpals said:
I just went and checked and it is a 4.10, so maybe that will help clear up any confusion!? Of course, I am not exactly sure what it means, but I have been combing over all the rv message boards to learn the terminology and what it means, so that we know exactly what we can buy safely.? Thanks again for all of your help, it is greatly appreciated.
Kay

A rear end ratio is the number of turns of the drive shaft needed to turn the wheels once.  In your case the drive shaft turn 4.10 times to turn the wheel 1.00 times.  The higher the number, the greater the twisting force on the wheel and the slower it rotates.  A ratio of, say, 3.58 sips gas; 4.10 pulls stumps
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Since the technical sources on towing capacity are a bit in conflict, let's revert to the old-fashioned way and calculate the trailer capacity ourselves. It's easy enough. All sources agree that the GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) for this truck is 16,000 lbs. GCWR is the maximum allowable combined weight of the truck trailer and all passengers and gear (whether in the truck or the trailer).  I suggest that Kay get the truck weighed, preferably with the usual number of passengers onboard and a full tank of fuel. Subtract that number form 16,000 and Voila', we have calculated the Max Towing  Capacity for this specific truck. For an estimate, take the curb weight of the truck (usually found on title or registration papers), add the estimated weight of a driver and passengers and use that as the truck's actual weight until you can get it weighed.

I'm guessing that a crew cab 2500HD 6.0L shortbed weighs in around 6200 lbs curb weight, but it could go as much as 7000. Add another 300 lbs for a driver and passenger?  [Substitute your own estimate of people and gear weight].  Check the paperwork tonight and head for the scales as soon as you can thereafter. That takes all the guesswork out of it.

IF my estimate is close, we are looking at a max trailer towing capacity of right around 9500 lbs (16,000-6500). You should have no problem finding a trailer you like in that weight range, even after subtracting the 10% for a safety & performance margin.
 

jkpals

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Sep 20, 2006
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5
I just wanted to thank everyone for their responses!  We just ordered a brand new TT that even if we are fully loaded we will be well under the weight for our truck.  I know the question gets asked over and over, so I wanted to let you know that we took seriously what you had to say to make the right decision.  Anyway, thanks again!
Kay
 

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