Thinking about buying an RV

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ebreak

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Nov 10, 2006
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I have a 2005 GMC k1500 with a towing capacity of 7600. I'm considering a Flagstaff 831 BHSS. It has a dry weight of 6700. Do you think I would be safe pulling this RV with the vehicle I have?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Do you think I would be safe pulling this RV with the vehicle I have?

In a word, "No".  The dry weight is a nearly always a generic weight for all similar models and rarely accurate. And the true dry weight is usually higher than the brochure dry weight, because it does not include any options. Most RVs have at least a few options installed.
Then on top of that you have to add a hitch, propane, gear and passengers in the truck and probably at least a little water in the tanks most of the time. Water is heavy (8.4 lbs/gal), so even 10-20 gallons can add a lot of weight.

Your K1500 probably has a small block gas engine and a sensible (read economical) rear axle ratio too. Neither of these is conducive to towing heavy loads, so you should be staying 10% or more under your truck's max tow rating when fully loaded. Look for a trailer with a dry weight in the 5000-5500 range, assuming there will be no more than one passenger in the truck with you. Less if there will be more people weight onboard.
 

Mike Goad

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Feb 7, 2006
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Do you think I would be safe pulling this RV with the vehicle I have?

No!

We had a Chevy Avalanche with a similar towing capacity.  After looking at trailers for several months, we were pretty disapponted at not being to find what we wanted in a trailer small enough for us to tow, yet with a realistic cargo carrying capacity (CCC).

We ended up buying a larger truck and a fifth wheel with plenty of storage as well as weight margin above the dry weight.  Yet, even with that margin, we are being stingy about the weight of the "stuff" we'll be carrying on board the trailer and the truck.

On Monday (11/6/2006), I did a safety presentation at work on the danger of overloading vehicles.  One of the things that I learned in researching the topic is that there is a huge percentage of RVs out there that are running down the roads overloaded.  A tow vehicle starting out too close to it's tow rating will likely end up falling in that category of being overloaded and will be a hazard to the driver, the passengers in it, and the motoring public.

If you are looking to buy a travel trailer or fifth wheel, there are few things more important than understanding your vehicle's limitations and the various weights associated with your trailer.
 

Carl L

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Here's another no vote.

I am a person who actually does tow with a 1/2 tonner -- my Bronco is a bobtailed F-150 with 4wd, a beefed up suspension and a 5.0L V8.  Let me assure you that you do not want to tow a trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than, say, 5500 lbs.  Maybe you can go 6000 lbs if you promise never to leave the flats of east of the Mississippi. 

The weight you need to use to determined if you can pull a given trailer is not its dry weight.  Like Gary said that is flakey number.  Use the GVWR instead.  The GVWR is the dry weight + the maximun carrying capacity of the trailer.  It is a number found on the DOT plate on the trailer and in the trailer spec sheets -- often the form of dry weight + carrying capacity.
 

delsolrp13

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Nov 19, 2006
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i have a 2005 2500 dodge diesel  quad cab auto with  a total weight  of 20000  am starting to look for a 5th  wheel to go full time  and want the bigest trailer i can go with    was told by a salesman i could pull a alf weighting 14500  i think that would be way to much weight.  but i do see the same truck pulling some large units  want the largest i can with a lot of room  is there anywhere you can look a list of trailer weights so we know not to look at the heavy ones  any infor about what your pulling with same vehicle and any brands that are light weight for the size
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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There is no combined list of all brands comparing weights or anything else. You have to consider which ones you like and then check their specs. Most brands offer rigs in several weight & price classes, to accommodate different needs.  If you are at  a dealer lot of a RV show, just look at the DOT rating plate, usually mounted near the front left side. It will show trailer GVWR, which is the number you want to use for estimating purposes.  If looking on a web site, go to the manufacturer's site and click Specifications for the model of interest. It will show the GVWR there. IGNORE DRY WEIGHT!

You will see Dodges like yours towing all sorts of weights. It's a powerful machine and probably rated very conservatively as far as mechanical components are concerned.  The heavier the loads carried/towed, the faster the drive train and suspension will wear, but it would probably still last a good long time. Safety is another matter, though.  Emergency handling is one big factor - do you really want something three times your weight and twice your length pushing you around when that car pulls out 30 yards in front of you? Legalaity is another. It is most unlikely any cop would stop you, but if you were in an accident and found to be overweight, you have almost automatically become a contributor to the cause of the accident. That's a civil matter rather than criminal (unless somebody dies in the accident), but you could end up on the short end.
 

kbfeip

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Dec 24, 2006
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Discovery Bay, CA
FYI...when researching a trailer to pull behind my 1/2 ton Dodge Hemi, several dealers of trailers were preaching that it was okay to add 1500 to 2000 lbs. of trailer weight if you went from a travel trailer to a 5th wheel.

I heard it many times from several different dealers.
 

Carl L

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kbfeip said:
FYI...when researching a trailer to pull behind my 1/2 ton Dodge Hemi, several dealers of trailers were preaching that it was okay to add 1500 to 2000 lbs. of trailer weight if you went from a travel trailer to a 5th wheel.

I heard it many times from several different dealers.

If a dealer told me that the sun would rise in the east, I would check the western horizon the next morning.    Dealers and especially their salesmen want to sell you a trailer.  Moreover they would like to sell you the unit that gives them the highest margin, or is cluttering up their lot.  All these motives may not fit in with your interests.

Go with real numbers.  Use the Trailer Life Tow Rating Tables or better yet, your truck maker's specs.    Use the stated GVWR of the trailer.  Salesman musings are worse than useless.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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It's true that pick-ups are often rated to tow a heavier fifth wheel than a travel trailer, but one cannot simply say "it's OK to go 1500 higher with a fiver".   Ya gotta go with the numbers in the manufacturer's book.  And the manufacturer tow guides are on their web sites and often car dealer web sites as well. And the Trailer Life magazine summaries are pretty decent too, so there is no excuse not to know the real numbers.
 
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