Uneasy about towing this trailer

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Kiddco

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Aug 29, 2018
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Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum here.

The Fiancee and I are planning to buy a travel trailer to live in full time.  Her job takes us to golf courses around the country every 3-9 months. 
We'll be driving from the Chicago area to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, then from Pennsylvania to Tampa, FL.
The issue I'm concerned about is that we found a trailer we like, but I'm not certain my truck can safely haul it.  I'm hoping someone more knowledgeable could chime in.

My truck:
2016 Nissan Frontier SV 4x4 with about 25,000 miles.
Rated at 6100 Lb. tow capacity, and a wheel base of 125.9 inches.

The Trailer:
2019 FOREST RIVER GREY WOLF 23MK
5,063 Lbs. Dry weight
28ft 0 inches long
link: https://rv.campingworld.com/rvdetails/new-travel-trailer-rvs/2019-forest-river-grey-wolf-23mk-rear-living-10k-CRV1520672
 

Back2PA

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Yes, you'd be way overloaded. The gross weight of that trailer is 7600 lbs. You should look at trailers with gross weights under your max towing weight, preferably under by some margin.
 

Kiddco

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If the dry weight is 5,063 Lbs. and we did not load the trailer with any belongings or water, would it still be an issue?

The gross weight is when the trailer is fully loaded right?
And dry weight is the trailer just by itself?

We travel in separate vehicles when we move, so we could put the majority of what we own in her car.
 

Kiddco

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Oldgator73 said:
I have the same truck. The tow capacity is closer to 5400lbs.

I was going off what the door sticker says.  I know the 4 cylinder one is rated lower, I have the 6 cylinder.
Or is that just from personal experience and what you feel it can handle? (not sarcasm)
 

Kiddco

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Oldgator73 said:
I have the same truck. The tow capacity is closer to 5400lbs.

I went out to double check and your pretty spot on admittedly. 
Sticker says 5690LB.

Starting to feel less and less likely.
 

SpencerPJ

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Kiddco said:
I was going off what the door sticker says.  I know the 4 cylinder one is rated lower, I have the 6 cylinder.
Or is that just from personal experience and what you feel it can handle? (not sarcasm)

Look at Oldgator73's trailer.  Think that size.
 

Kiddco

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Okay, so downgrading to a 2019 FOREST RIVER ROCKWOOD MINI LITE 2109S
Link: https://rv.campingworld.com/rvdetails/new-travel-trailer-rvs/2019-forest-river-rockwood-mini-lite-2109s-rear-bath-10k-CRV1507897

Dry weight of 4251LB
GVWR of 5721LB
Length of 22 feet

Assuming we pulled it completely dry and with no luggage, would it be unsafe still?
 

Back2PA

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Kiddco said:
Okay, so downgrading to a 2019 FOREST RIVER ROCKWOOD MINI LITE 2109S
Link: https://rv.campingworld.com/rvdetails/new-travel-trailer-rvs/2019-forest-river-rockwood-mini-lite-2109s-rear-bath-10k-CRV1507897

Dry weight of 4251LB
GVWR of 5721LB
Length of 22 feet

Assuming we pulled it completely dry and with no luggage, would it be unsafe still?
If you truly pulled it mostly empty, the numbers definitely work. If you leave the average amount of stuff in it you be near the max for your truck. If you choose to get that what you'd want to do is weigh it immediately after getting it, then add bedding, bath items, minimal other stuff and perhaps half a tank of water and fill the gray and black halfway, then weigh it again. Only in that way will you really know where you stand. But that trailer would work if you watch your weight. If you can keep your belongings, including weight of liquids, to around 1000# you should be in good shape
 

grashley

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If you will be living in the camper, size really goes matter!

In my opinion, the Frontier is not nearly enough truck for any camper large enough to live in full time.

Here are the issues:  I suspect that 5690# is the GVWR for the truck - the most the fully loaded truck can weigh, and this includes the truck.  There should be another yellow banner placard which states the maximum weight of all passengers and cargo shall not exceed XXXX pounds.  This is the payload for YOUR truck as it left the factory.  This includes the weight of the passengers, any cargo in the truck, 80# for the WD hitch and the tongue wt of the TT, which must be at least 10% of the loaded weight of the TT.

While you MAY get a TT which will fit these limits using dry wt, where do you carry your luggage and other possessions?  Can't put them in the truck.  It is already maxed out.  Can't put them in the camper or the camper now pushes the tongue wt above the truck capacity.

The truth is, since this is your full time home, all your possessions will be in the camper, and that will push the weight to the GVWR of the TT - or higher!  You need a truck to safely tow the GVWR of a TT large enough to be comfortable for two of you to live in.

Work from the Payload on the yellow placard of any potential truck you look at.  Make sure that number is big enough to carry you and your dearly beloved, 80# hitch and 10 - 12% of TT GVWR.  Ignore advertised tow ratings.  They are total hype.
 

QZ

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I had a 2013 Chevy 1500 4x4 ext cab SB 9700 towing capacity, 1,650 payload. I had 1800 in the bed including the tongue weight. The 22 ft TT weighed about 4800 and it was comfortable to drive long distance. I wouldn't want to pull more unless I was camping locally. Even then I wouldn't want to pull more than 6000 or so. I always say just because it can tow X amount do you really want to.

You need a 3/4 ton truck. If you were to look at a 3/4 ton and even consider what your ideal tt to live in would be you might even buy a one ton. Down the road you may want a FW so without any idea of what size it would be I'd say get a one ton. Yeah I know I socks but it happens to person after person.
 

Lou Schneider

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Kiddco said:
Assuming we pulled it completely dry and with no luggage, would it be unsafe still?

Where are you going to carry the luggage?  Not in the truck, every pound you add to the truck subtracts a similar pound from the allowable towing weight.

The towing weight is calculated by subtracting the truck's weight from the GCWR ... Gross Combined Weight Rating, the most the truck and trailer combined can weigh.  The published ratings are calculated with a truck that's empty except for the driver and a tank of gas.

The other issue is the frontal area of the trailer.  Ford addresses this in their excellent Towing Guide, I'm not sure if Nissan also does.  It might also be in your Owner's Manual.  In any case, tow ratings, especially for vehicles smaller than a full sized pickup, are often set with a trailer having much less frontal area than an RV trailer such as a smaller U-Haul or a single horse trailer.

A full height RV trailer (8 ft wide x 8 ft tall) has 64 square feet of frontal area.  It's likely your truck's maximum tow rating was set with a trailer having half or less than that.

Tall and wide trailers require more power to carve a hole in the air and have more sidewall area for side winds to push against.  It's one reason experienced RVers like to leave at least 20% or so in reserve instead of towing at the rated limits.
 

SpencerPJ

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Kiddco:  No offense, and certainly welcome you to this quest for a camper and all, but you seem to be really trying to make a camper work for your truck that simply put, won't.  There are some seriously experienced guys (and gals) that can and will and are giving you sound, true, advise.  I love the sound of your adventure, and you really really need to have a talk with your fiancee, and look at your finances.  You need a bigger Tow vehicle to accommodate the larger trailer that you will need if you plan to live in it full time.  There are many threads on this forum, some started before the person bought the trailer (smart, like yourself) and many after the person bought the trailer (can not pull it safely).  You very much need to get educated on the numbers, what you can pull safe, the reality the salesman won't tell you (wind, semi's and hills while towing).  Good luck, be safe, and congrats on your engagement.   
 

68 Whiskey

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Kiddco, the guys are giving you good advice. How about checking out "www.fifthwheelst.com/rv-weighing-worksheet" and working the numbers there. I have used it because someone told me about it, It has a lot of good safety info on it. 
 

Oldgator73

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in 1998, a year before I retired from the Air Force we decided to buy a 5th wheel. I shopped for a truck and ended up with a Chevy 1 ton crew cab diesel. Salesperson told us it would pull anything we wanted. Picked out the 5th wheel we liked and brought the truck in to have the hitch installed. We were told they would install the hitch and sell us the RV but we would have to sign a waiver stating we were told the truck was not rated to pull that trailer. Ended up trading in the new truck on another new truck. Expensive lesson learned. Best case scenario is you are just very uncomfortable towing your desired trailer with your Frontier. This can make your RVing experience less than enjoyable. Worst case scenario is you have a terrible accident due to improper truck/trailer pairing and somebody gets severely injured or killed.
 

Kiddco

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Lou Schneider said:
Where are you going to carry the luggage?  Not in the truck, every pound you add to the truck subtracts a similar pound from the allowable towing weight.

The towing weight is calculated by subtracting the truck's weight from the GCWR ... Gross Combined Weight Rating, the most the truck and trailer combined can weigh.  The published ratings are calculated with a truck that's empty except for the driver and a tank of gas.

The other issue is the frontal area of the trailer.  Ford addresses this in their excellent Towing Guide, I'm not sure if Nissan also does.  It might also be in your Owner's Manual.  In any case, tow ratings, especially for vehicles smaller than a full sized pickup, are often set with a trailer having much less frontal area than an RV trailer such as a smaller U-Haul or a single horse trailer.

A full height RV trailer (8 ft wide x 8 ft tall) has 64 square feet of frontal area.  It's likely your truck's maximum tow rating was set with a trailer having half or less than that.

Tall and wide trailers require more power to carve a hole in the air and have more sidewall area for side winds to push against.  It's one reason experienced RVers like to leave at least 20% or so in reserve instead of towing at the rated limits.

I really appreciate the response.  To answer your question about luggage, the fiancee will be in a seperate vehicle loaded with our essentials.  Everything else we can buy at the destination (such as food, cleaning supplies, etc).

People bring up the point of living in the trailer being so small, but we would be alright with that.  We are both extremely busy people and would only be using it as a home base for sleeping and eating.

Im going to double check all the weight ratings to ensure saftey, as thats my main concern.  The frontal area concern is a good point.  Keeping a 20% weight buffer sounds like some good advice. 

The boss and I are heading to the RV place now and will be looking at what they have thats within safe limits.  Ill update the forum on what we decide.
 

grashley

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Thanks for the update!

My calculations above remain unchanged, but you answer how it might be possible.  You have removed the weight of your gal from the truck and explained how your stuff gets moved.  That will definitely increase what you can tow.  I would add at least 300 - 400# to the dry wt. to cover stuff like water and sewer hoses, power cords, pots and pans and other things that stay in the TT.  It is a royal pain to unload to travel, then reload at the destination, but it will be an infrequent occurrence.

Best of Luck in your endeavor!
 

Kiddco

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Aug 29, 2018
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So after doing some math and finding that it was definitely in the realm of haul-ability for the camper we wanted, we went ahead and tried financing at the dealer.

Funny thing is that they wouldn't finance us.  The dealer tried 4 banks and all 4 wouldn't even run our info, and that was with a 50% down payment.

Because my Fiancee is an Alaskan resident, they said its out of their service area.
The rep at the RV place said he asked one of the bankers what that means exactly, and the bank told him that they had issues with people financing in Alaska and then running off into the interior Alaskan wilderness and not paying.  Because of the vastness of the area, reclaiming assets is almost impossible.

So now we are trying to go through her local branch back in Anchorage, but we're not holding our breath.

It didn't seem to matter when we told them it wouldn't be traveling in Alaska either.
 
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