Looking for more options for a family of 5

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one504

Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2005
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5
Hi all,

The wife and I decided that we want to start taking the kids (4 1/2, 4 & 7 months!) camping - probably 2-3 day trips to the mountains and the beach. Both locations are about 2 hours from the house, but each one is over a mountain pass (Oregon's Coast Ranger & Cascade Range). Our TV is an '02 Durango 4x4, 4.7L V8 that I will re-gear with something in the 4.10/4.20 range to boost its tow rating to 5,600+ (the factory rates it at 5,600lbs with 3.92 gearing, but I have 3.55's). Other than the gearing, it has the tow package with a Class IV hitch and auxillery engine & tranny coolers.

So far, we have looked at Trail Manor and the Fleetwood Pioneer lines - leaning towards the Pioneer180CK since its 7 person sleeping capacity provides room for the kids friends in the future. Also, we're not completely sold on the lightweight (dare I say "flimsy"?) Trail Manor, and having to unfold/fold all the time. At 3,647lbs dry for the Pioneer though, I expect it is bumping right up against our maximum towing capacity. The next ones we're going to checkout are the Surveyor SV233T hybrid and the SV235RS rear slide.

I would love to hear any and all opinions on what you think might work for us - thanks!
 

Carl L

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Mar 14, 2005
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At 3,647lbs dry for the Pioneer though, I expect it is bumping right up against our maximum towing capacity.

Lets run some numbers.  If you upgrade your truck to the 3.92+ gearing, you get 5,600# of tow capacity.  Since you are towing in the Pacific West, give yourself a headroom of 20% making your upper limit 4,480#.  Allow 500# to your trailer tare weight of 3,647# for the gear you will load into the trailer and you get a dry trailer weight-in-use of 4,147#.  Taking that from you upper limit of 4,480# you get a difference of 333#.  If you have a freshwater tank that translates into 41 gallons of water.

In short, you should be OK in terms of towing capacity.  However, you might also want to take a look at the Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating of your Durango -- especially if you stuff a lot of payload into it.
 

one504

Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2005
Posts
5
Wow - it's tight. My Curb Weight is 4730, and there's probably 500lbs of bodies and gear and 200lbs of gas. My GCWR with the 3.92's would be 10500 - so I'm roughly 500lbs to the good.
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
one504 said:
Wow - it's tight. My Curb Weight is 4730, and there's probably 500lbs of bodies and gear and 200lbs of gas. My GCWR with the 3.92's would be 10500 - so I'm roughly 500lbs to the good.

Well shoot, you are ok then.  Just watch out for that beer and chips.  ;D
 

one504

Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2005
Posts
5
Hey Carl,

On another thread you said to look for a tongue weight of 12-20% of the trailer weight - could you expand on that a bit? I've noticed the low-end aluminum-sided trailers (Fleetwood 180CK or Springdale 189FL) both have tongue weights of 460lbs for 3700lb (dry) trailers - whereas the higher-end fiberglass-sided trailers (Surveyor SV-235RS or Outback 21 RS) have 360lb tongue weights for 3700lb & 3900 lb trailers, respectively. 

thanks - Roy
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
one504 said:
Hey Carl,

On another thread you said to look for a tongue weight of 12-20% of the trailer weight - could you expand on that a bit? I've noticed the low-end aluminum-sided trailers (Fleetwood 180CK or Springdale 189FL) both have tongue weights of 460lbs for 3700lb (dry) trailers - whereas the higher-end fiberglass-sided trailers (Surveyor SV-235RS or Outback 21 RS) have 360lb tongue weights for 3700lb & 3900 lb trailers, respectively.?

thanks - Roy

OK, what I am going to tell you is based on Bill Estes's discourse on the subject in The RV Handbook, 2nd Ed. Trailer Life Books 1997, ISBN 0-934798-44-3, pp 241-243.? ?Estes's book is the best general treatment of RVing in general and trailering in particular that I know of -- get a copy.

In terms of lateral movement, yaw, a travel trailer is like a pendulum.? ?The weight of the trailer acts as if it is concentrated at the center of gravity of the trailer.? ?The closer that CG is to the tongue coupler, the less the leverage a lateral force has on the trailer.? ?Tongue weight as a percentage of trailer weight is a measure of that closeness.? ?Theoretically if the tongue weight were zero, the CG would be at or behind the trailer axles.? ?As the tongue weight increases that CG moves forward towards the coupler and the lever shortens.? As the lever shortens, the easier it becomes to control yawing motions of the trailer with friction or camming systems.?

Why 11% as a minimum?? ?Practice indicates that according to Estes:? "The generally accepted industry standard is that hitch weight should be approximately 10 percent.? In fact that is a bare minimum and some trailers with 10 percent hitch weight don't handle well.? ?Hitch weights of 12 percent or higher (up to the weight limits of the hitch being used) assure propler handling."? [pg. 238, emphasis mine]

 
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