half-ton towable

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adouty

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Aug 18, 2006
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Hi all!  Another newbie here and would like some advice on what to buy.  We live in MN so mountains aren't an issue.  We looked at several brands(Coachmen, Flaggstaff, Springdale, Dutchman, Wildwood, etc.)  My wife and I are looking for a bunkhouse model(3kids).  We have a 03 Dodge Quad with the Hemi.  Any advice would be great, thanks. :)
 

Lowell

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Adouty,

There are number of bunkhouse models that will probably work for you.  Perhaps the first thing you should do is load up the wife and kids into the truck and go get it weighed.  Your actual truck weight along with the information available from "Trailer Life" will tell you how much trailer weight you can handle, both in term of Gross Combined Vehicle Weight and the how much tongue weight you can still carry.  Expect to add close to 1000 lbs or more to a trailers "dry weight" by the time you add food, water, blankets, cookware , etc, etc.  If you find a trailer you like, it would be a good idea to get an actual trailer weight if possible before you purchase it.  There are a lot of great models out there, take you time to lookaround.
Jake

 

Carl L

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My wife and I are looking for a bunkhouse model(3kids).  We have a 03 Dodge Quad with the Hemi.  Any advice would be great, thanks.

The first thing is to figure what your truck can haul in terms of trailer weight.  Do that before you all fall in love with a particular unit. 

Exactly which Dodge is that:  1500, 2500, or 3500?    I assume the engine is the 5.9L, right?  4WD?  Rear end ratio?.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Well, he said "half ton" in the subject so he is probably talking about the Ram 1500 Quad cab and the "Hemi" engine is indeed the 5.7L gas V8. 

Taking a 1500 SLT Hemi Quad cab, 4x2 5 speed auto, 3.92 axle and 6.25 ft bed as an example, Dodge says it has a GVWR 7600 lbs, 1605 lb payload, a max trailer capacity of 8750 lbs.  The curb weight is 5095 and the GCWR of 14,000.

Adouty, you can select your specific truck model in the Dodge Towing Guide and get he specs for your truck. We suggest you derate the max trailer weight by at least 10%, especially on a half ton truck.
 

adouty

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Aug 18, 2006
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Thanks for the advice guys.  I do have the 1500 Quad cab 4x4 auto.  I will be getting everything weighed before I buy, thanks for the tip. 
Now I know everyone has there own favorite brand, but I don't know squat about brands and their construction methods.  Everyone we talk to says "Get a fith-wheel."  I know they are generally heavier and more expensive,  But there are a few out there with ultra-lite models.  The Flaggstaff and I think Jayco has one also.  Anyone have experience with either of these? 
 

Carl L

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Everyone we talk to says "Get a fith-wheel."  I know they are generally heavier and more expensive,  But there are a few out there with ultra-lite models.
 

Not everyone.  I for one do not.  The choice is one of the conditions at hand.  Travel trailers, including hybrids, have their own advantages.  Their range of weights run considerably lighter that the range of weights for 5ers.  Their floor plans offer a flat floor and a bit more living space per unit length.  They have a lower profile.  They track the tow vehicle better on turns and in backing into a site.  On the other hand, 5ers do offer a lot of space at the upper range of sizes and handle the heavier weights -- provided the tow vehicle is of sufficient rating.

The handling issue is greatly over blown.  A properly matched tow vehicle and TT combination hitch with a good weight distributing and anti-sway system is a safe and stable vehicle.  Good WD and antisway is expensive but then a decent 5er hitch setup is not free either.  Both are part of the real cost of towing a trailer.

 

Lowell

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I also prefer a travel trailer to a 5th wheel.  I pull a 28ft Cherokee Light, bunkhouse TT with a 2005 Dodge Quad cab, 5.7, 4x4, and we are quite satisfied with both the TT and the truck's ability to tow it. 
Jake
 

adouty

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Aug 18, 2006
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So wich one would be easier on the truck, a TT or 5er.  I found one of each that weigh about the same, but the 5er is a bit more expensive.  I'm just wondering if it's worth the money.  Also, I suppose this is covered some where else, but, I can't seem to find my axle ratio.  I got a 2003 1500 Dodge Ram

Thanks Again! ;D
 

Lowell

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If they are set up correctly, I don't think one is any more severe on the truck than the other.  In the end, it comes down to your personnal preference.
 
F

Frizlefrak

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Failing everything else, you can always determine axle ratio this way.

Support the rear of the truck on jack stands (on level concrete).  Set the transmission in neutral.  Make a vertical chalk mark on the top of your tire.  Make a horizontal chalk mark on your driveshaft.  Rotate the driveshaft, and count how many times it turns in order to make one complete revolution of the tire.

If the shaft turns 4 times for every turn of the tire, you have a 4.00 axle.  3 and a half times, you have a 3.50 axle.  And so on.  Most axle ratios are numbers like 4.10, 3.73, etc....so be looking for incremental turns of the shaft.

 

hughbd

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Aug 26, 2006
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Jake said:
If they are set up correctly, I don't think one is any more severe on the truck than the other.  In the end, it comes down to your personnal preference.

Preference should take a back seat to pin weight. With only about 1,600 lbs payload, most 5th wheels will overload the rear suspension limits of any 1/2 ton pickup. Most Hemi equipped 1/2 tons will come with either 3.55 or 3.92 gearing. The 3.55 isn't as bad as it would seem as the 5 speed auto has a 1st gear ratio of 3 to 1.

My preference leans toward the TT and staying at or under 30' in length and stay well under the tow ratings for the two axle ratios. My '03 Dodge Ram quad cab, Hemi has the 3.55 gearing and we tow a 29'11" Holiday Rambler Alumascape trailer that weighs ~7,000 lbs. The truck handles that load quite well. We do have to be carefull not to exceed the max tow rating rating. The only difference between max for the 3.55 (7,900 lbs) and the 3.92 (8,900 lbs) is the ratio. I tow through Pennsyvania hills (I-81) every year and have no problem keeping up with traffic uphill.
Hugh
 

Carl L

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Preference should take a back seat to pin weight. With only about 1,600 lbs payload, most 5th wheels will overload the rear suspension limits of any 1/2 ton pickup.

Good point.  A fiver's entire hitch weight bears on the rear axle of trear axle of the tow vehicle.  It has got to stay under the load rating for the axle.  On the other hand, a TT with a weight distributing hitch system splits that load between rear and front axles more or less equally. 
 

adouty

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Aug 18, 2006
Posts
6
Thanks Guys!

We decided on a Cherokee Lite TT, and with the wd hitch the Hemi does allright.

Adouty
 

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