Sold my house, retiring, juggling how to get the RV clear across the country!

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Gary RV_Wizard

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Half ton trucks like an F150 are very car-like, basically an SUV with an open back end. They spend most of their life as a daily driver rather than a hauler, so the suspension is relatively soft for better comfort. That makes them more susceptible to crosswinds and/or getting jerked around by the trailer when conditions are poor or the highway is challenging.

As has been mentioned, the 11,000 lb max tow rating is validated with a utility trailer, heavy but low. RV travel trailers are tall, slab sided, and have a huge frontal area, all of which add tremendously to the workload on the truck. And the faster you drive, the worse it gets. So yes, you can tow a heavy trailer, but you probably do NOT want to tow a long & heavy RV travel trailer frequently or long distances. That would be continually "pushing the envelope", stressful on both you and the truck.

I found specs for a 2016 Heartland Pioneer DS10, which is probably near identical to the 2017. Looks like it runs about 9000 lbs fully loaded, so very likely close to the truck's limit anyway. That 11,000 lb rating is for an empty truck, but you will have kids, dogs and the usual collection of "stuff" in the truck and that eats into the available tow capability. The 11,000 also is for the base trim level without options, so the more typical upscale trims generally have less remaining tow capacity because of the weight of the trim & options.

The available tow capacity is the difference between the truck GCWR (Gross COMBINED Weight Rating) and the actual loaded weight of the truck when towing. The GCWR is fixed for the configuration of the truck, so the heavier the truck gets, the lower the available tow weight. You should put everybody in the truck and drive it to a scale to see what is will likely weigh during travel. Then add the weight of a good WD hitch, probably around 100-125 lbs. From that, you can determine the realistic max tow.

You also need to measure Payload (Cargo Capacity). Again, everything you carry in/on the truck is "cargo", including the trailer hitch. Then see if there is enough cargo capacity left for the trailer tongue weight, which will be 10%-12% of the loaded trailer weight. For planning purposes, assume the trailer GVWR is what it will weight while you are driving. In other words, about 9000 lbs.
 

Kirk

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I really thought the truck I have could pull this trailer. What a shocker. I am feeling so bummed.
I am wondering if you have considered a fifth wheel? While that wouldn't change the weight issues they do give more living space for the total length of the combination and they generally have better handling and maneuvering characteristics.
 

Scottro

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Feb 28, 2021
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Orlando
Kirk is correct. You want to keep that payload behind you near 80% of your capacity or the manufactures stated capacity. As you know from pulling trailers in the past it’s much more comfortable, relaxing and safe to have good drivability and ease knowing you are not overloaded.
Also it just makes sense. You do not want to have to worry about that.
Keep us informed on what you decide to do and how your travels go!
 

campkitty

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placerville ca
I am wondering if you have considered a fifth wheel? While that wouldn't change the weight issues they do give more living space for the total length of the combination and they generally have better handling and maneuvering characteristics.
I did think about looking at a fifth wheel option. I would have to research it.
 

campkitty

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Half ton trucks like an F150 are very car-like, basically an SUV with an open back end. They spend most of their life as a daily driver rather than a hauler, so the suspension is relatively soft for better comfort. That makes them more susceptible to crosswinds and/or getting jerked around by the trailer when conditions are poor or the highway is challenging.

As has been mentioned, the 11,000 lb max tow rating is validated with a utility trailer, heavy but low. RV travel trailers are tall, slab sided, and have a huge frontal area, all of which add tremendously to the workload on the truck. And the faster you drive, the worse it gets. So yes, you can tow a heavy trailer, but you probably do NOT want to tow a long & heavy RV travel trailer frequently or long distances. That would be continually "pushing the envelope", stressful on both you and the truck.

I found specs for a 2016 Heartland Pioneer DS10, which is probably near identical to the 2017. Looks like it runs about 9000 lbs fully loaded, so very likely close to the truck's limit anyway. That 11,000 lb rating is for an empty truck, but you will have kids, dogs and the usual collection of "stuff" in the truck and that eats into the available tow capability. The 11,000 also is for the base trim level without options, so the more typical upscale trims generally have less remaining tow capacity because of the weight of the trim & options.

The available tow capacity is the difference between the truck GCWR (Gross COMBINED Weight Rating) and the actual loaded weight of the truck when towing. The GCWR is fixed for the configuration of the truck, so the heavier the truck gets, the lower the available tow weight. You should put everybody in the truck and drive it to a scale to see what is will likely weigh during travel. Then add the weight of a good WD hitch, probably around 100-125 lbs. From that, you can determine the realistic max tow.

You also need to measure Payload (Cargo Capacity). Again, everything you carry in/on the truck is "cargo", including the trailer hitch. Then see if there is enough cargo capacity left for the trailer tongue weight, which will be 10%-12% of the loaded trailer weight. For planning purposes, assume the trailer GVWR is what it will weight while you are driving. In other words, about 9000 lbs.
I agree. I can do this. I will need to keep the tongue weight at 700 lbs, use a good WDH, keep cargo to a minimum, use a quality tire monitoring system, keep the trailer light etc etc. I saw others with F-150s towing 37' but I am not going over 34'. I will chase good weather too and avoid windy places. I plan on spending more time in RV resorts rather than driving long distances and boondocking.
 

Kirk

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I saw others with F-150s towing 37' but I am not going over 34'. I will chase good weather too and avoid windy places.
There are plenty of people who do foolish things and that is a good example of them. If you look at the wheelbase to length ratio in many of the towing guides, it says that you should not tow anything longer than 32'. After many years of RV travels I assure you that you will not be able to totally avoid bad weather or windy conditions and if you follow your current plan you can expect to have any large trucks that pass you shove your trailer such that you will have to correct your steering. I have towed at near the maximum weight and lengths for a vehicle and it is tiring in the best of conditions and nerve wracking when things get bad while you are on the road. Are you telling us that having the RV you want is more important that putting your child at risk by pushing safe limits? I hope that you don't have the worst happen and it may not, but not everyone is lucky.
 

Ex-Calif

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Not to pile on Kirk's post and be alarmist but a serious issue is the winds channeling down a pass with a bridge crossing perpendicular. It can be instant 0 MPH to 45 mph side gust. I don't know what happened to this couple or what capacity the tow vehicle was but it's clearly a longer rig (dual axle). They were thankfully saved by a trucker who put a chain on the truck and subsequently a rescue crew.

It happens to shorter rigs too.

Don't sell your truck, just buy a trailer within its capabilities...
 

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Laura & Charles

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Could be anywhere. Originally from Ohio. Go Bucks!
Don't sell your truck, just buy a trailer within its capabilities...
I rarely don’t agree with Ex-Calif, but here (sorry D) I’m going to…

You’re looking to full time. I believe settling for smaller living space is a mistake. You’ve found a floor plan that you think will work for you. I suggest you don’t compromise on that and find a tow vehicle that is MORE than capable. And, if you’re going to seek a different tow vehicle, may as well reconsider that floor plan or going with a 5th wheel. (I’ve heard, “Too much truck is almost enough.”)
You have as much time as you allow yourself to get the setup that’s right for you. There’s a ton of options and you’re at a point now where you can consider them all, IF you’re not locked in on your current truck. Did you give thought to a class C or A? A motorized RV, pulling a toad, is what’s right for us right now as we rarely stay put for more than a month. But we’ve been talking about slowing down on the nomad m.o. and maybe trading to a 5th wheel. Point is: you indicated you have time available and financially can handle trading out of your current truck. In that case, if it were me, I wouldn’t let the current truck be driving the decision.
 

JudyJB

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And few of them even own an RV! That is clear from their lack of knowledge. Ask your salesperson what RV they own, if any, and how much they use it each year.
 

viceprice

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The TT in my signature is a bunk house layout like you describe. It is 28ft - really about 32 from tip of the hitch to end of the spare tire on the back bumper. I would not want to tow a TT any longer or heavier. Fully loaded with fuel, water (that is in front of the TT axles), supplies and 2 passengers, combined on the scale is 14,500 lbs pretty evenly split between the TV and TT. We have a cap on the bed that I like. We have a Husey Centerline WDH (1200 lb rated - not the weight of the hitch!). It is a good set up but as I said, I would not pull anything larger/heavier. The truck is in good shape but old technology. I reared end a stopped car in front of us-got lucky no damage to the car, flattened my plastic front license plate holder. That is when I switched out the traditional brake controller for an inertia controller. I feel much safer now. You probably have that in your truck built in.

I feel the push/suck that happens when passed by large van trucks and semis-but it is not a big issue, I just need to know it will happen and drive accordingly like Sarge described. It is aerodynamics.

I would not want a loaded TT behind me that is heavier than the loaded TV. It looks like you have a pretty good tow package and it looks like you have LT tires. I am not an OTR truck driver but have a CDL and a lot of seat time in dump trucks pulling equipment trailers as well as in 3/4 ton pickups pulling equipment trailers. The frontal area of an RV and the wind is a thing that I did not feel pulling the equipment trailers. Based on my experiences driving trucks and our setup, I would stay within the 28 foot floor plan of TT if you can make the weight numbers work. You probably have more horsepower than our truck and will pull fine. Does your truck has the mass to handle the TT you need for safety and stabiliy. Is it aluminum bodied? You may have 1000 lbs more tow capacity than our truck (10,000 lbs) because your truck is 1000 lbs lighter. IMHO, mass of TT should be greater than TV. I bet you can find a TT that will work with your truck. Good luck with your retirement and change of pace!
 

Ex-Calif

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I rarely don’t agree with Ex-Calif, but here (sorry D) I’m going to…
It's OK. We can still be friends - LOL...

I was prodding to see if OP can make a choice - One or the other isn't gonna work - I agree floorplan should be the top consideration but maybe something like this works.


8600GW - If I had a F150/1500 class truck this is what I would be considering.
 

ziplock

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Dec 3, 2017
Posts
1,715
I'm pretty sure Camp Kitty has already made up her mind and decided on a trailer and is planning on heading to the dealership in 2 weeks.

I still have my Renegade so would not be carless.
What will you be doing with this when you head out in your truck?
Don't hate me. I just watched No Ordinary Path video on YouTube on towing a 37' trailer with his F-150. While I don't plan on towing a 37' trailer at this point, now I have hope that I won't need to sell my beautiful F-150 in order to realize my goal of RVing with the right floor plan of a travel trailer.
I don't think you will trade in that new red truck.
I saw others with F-150s towing 37' but I am not going over 34'. I will chase good weather too and avoid windy places.

Which state is the trailer located that you plan on buying?
 

campkitty

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placerville ca
The TT in my signature is a bunk house layout like you describe. It is 28ft - really about 32 from tip of the hitch to end of the spare tire on the back bumper. I would not want to tow a TT any longer or heavier. Fully loaded with fuel, water (that is in front of the TT axles), supplies and 2 passengers, combined on the scale is 14,500 lbs pretty evenly split between the TV and TT. We have a cap on the bed that I like. We have a Husey Centerline WDH (1200 lb rated - not the weight of the hitch!). It is a good set up but as I said, I would not pull anything larger/heavier. The truck is in good shape but old technology. I reared end a stopped car in front of us-got lucky no damage to the car, flattened my plastic front license plate holder. That is when I switched out the traditional brake controller for an inertia controller. I feel much safer now. You probably have that in your truck built in.

I feel the push/suck that happens when passed by large van trucks and semis-but it is not a big issue, I just need to know it will happen and drive accordingly like Sarge described. It is aerodynamics.

I would not want a loaded TT behind me that is heavier than the loaded TV. It looks like you have a pretty good tow package and it looks like you have LT tires. I am not an OTR truck driver but have a CDL and a lot of seat time in dump trucks pulling equipment trailers as well as in 3/4 ton pickups pulling equipment trailers. The frontal area of an RV and the wind is a thing that I did not feel pulling the equipment trailers. Based on my experiences driving trucks and our setup, I would stay within the 28 foot floor plan of TT if you can make the weight numbers work. You probably have more horsepower than our truck and will pull fine. Does your truck has the mass to handle the TT you need for safety and stabiliy. Is it aluminum bodied? You may have 1000 lbs more tow capacity than our truck (10,000 lbs) because your truck is 1000 lbs lighter. IMHO, mass of TT should be greater than TV. I bet you can find a TT that will work with your truck. Good luck with your retirement and change of pace!
Thank you very much for all that info--helps greatly.

I really like the idea of going smaller. Longer rigs will limit where we can park, turn around, get situated in a space in a tight spot in RV resorts, etc. I plan on RVing in the Keys where it will be windy going down those causeways and I be the spaces in the resorts are small.

There has to be a trailer somewhere in this country (for sale) that matches with the 2022 Heartland North Trail 24DBS floor plan in my price range. That is perfect for us. We don't need a sofa. My kiddo needs that space as their bedroom--can't do the claustrophobic crawl-in bunks with the wall between them and the bathroom. I've got a guy at Couch's RV Nation hunting for me so we shall see what he comes up with. I asked for the price of the 2022 rig via email to Lazy Dayz ...waiting for them to contact me so we shall see...It's new so maybe they don't actually have it in.

Can an F-150 do a fifth wheel? I could search on YouTube but I need to avoid rabbit holes because time is closing in on me.
 

SpencerPJ

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I bowed out 2 pages ago. I'd love to offer my
Can an F-150 do a fifth wheel? I could search on YouTube but I need to avoid rabbit holes because time is closing in on me.
There are a select few than can do a small one, they are special ordered with what's called HDPP. Yours can not. Seems you are coming around understanding your initial trailer thoughts were a bit ambitious. Good luck, not sure what your price range is, but RV prices are still ridiculous high right now. Personally, a slight used one has the likely hood that the minor flaws that are in every new one will be worked out. Like life, no guarantees.
 

campkitty

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placerville ca
I'm pretty sure Camp Kitty has already made up her mind and decided on a trailer and is planning on heading to the dealership in 2 weeks.


What will you be doing with this when you head out in your truck?

I don't think you will trade in that new red truck.


Which state is the trailer located that you plan on buying?
i found the perfect trailer...unfortunately it's being built with a finish date of 2/22 ....


I love love love this rig.

I found a guy at Lazy Dayz in Tampa FL who is looking at what they have in stock on their lot now, so we shall see what he can find.

I am having the Renegade detailed this week to list it for sale on autotrader. I thought about buying a Class A and towing the toad but I would have to buy a flat bed trailer because this model of Jeep can't flat tow nor tow with a dolly. I bought it new in 2019 and they are now selling for more than I paid, so off she goes.
 

Ex-Calif

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Don't know your budget but here's a search of similar sizes. All should be bunkhouse.


I think you said you are in Ca. and are planning to go to FL? If so you might consider relocating first and then you can get eyes on a fair number of trailers.

Here's a Forest River in Co.


Here's another in Tn.

 

campkitty

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placerville ca
Don't know your budget but here's a search of similar sizes. All should be bunkhouse.


I think you said you are in Ca. and are planning to go to FL? If so you might consider relocating first and then you can get eyes on a fair number of trailers.

Here's a Forest River in Co.


Here's another in Tn.

Thank you! :D "

RV shopping is almost as much fun as yacht shopping xD Out the door, the one I want (that will be finished on 2/22) will cost me $28k out the door including taxes and a "starter kit" that includes water pressure regulator, water hose, toiletries etc. This rig has a gas fireplace too...which I also love. We'll be living in it for a year so what the heck YOLO. I'm still going to look at the ones you sent.

I calculated the actual tongue weight for the rig I like most using this formula and came up with a whopping 1200# actual tongue weight...
TT GVWR (DW + CC) 7790
8000 lbs x .15 = 1200

Can that be right? A WDH only dissipates like 20 percent of that ??

If that is all correct, how can I tell if this is a deal breaker? 1689 is the payload for my pick up. If 1200 lbs will be placed on my truck, that will be a no go for this rig...

I need to find the weight rating on the hitch installed on my truck...
 
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campkitty

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placerville ca
Since the rig I like most isn't finished yet (2/22), we can't get the GCWR off the trailer, but the specs on the dealer listing has
Cargo Capacity1,582 lbs
Dry Weight6,208 lbs

So if I add those two weights together, round up to 8,000 lbs, is that a pretty close number to the trailer's GCWR?

12 percent of that is 960. A WDH moves part of that to the axle of the TT, correct? How do I calculate to stay under the payload of the tow vehicle which is 1689? I am not finding this in the rabbit hole YouTube. The hitch weight minus the percentage transferred back to the TT axle: Do I need to add this amount to the payload of the TV?

Look at me learning :)
 
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