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MLC

Is 38 ft to long to bumper pull?

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Been 10 years since we pulled a bumper hitch and it was a 26 ft camper and don't remember the overall length. We are looking at a 33' camper with overall length of 38', It is a tri axle as opposed to the tandem we had on the 26'. Has anyone pulled a trailer this long and how much difference was there from a smaller trailer? Several friends have told me to stay away from the tag and go to the fifth wheel, but with about a $20,000 price difference the bumper pull has its attractions. The bumper will weigh around 12,000lbs loaded as the 5th wheel will be 14,000 loaded. The fifth will also be about a foot taller for increased wind resistance. The tow truck is a ford 350 single rear wheel.

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with a tri-axle trailer. We had a 35' tri-axle Avion bumper pull and it pulled great. Our current 40' 5er is a tri-axle and it pulls great. I think the three axle pull straighter than a two axle bumper pull.

 

the tri-axle Avion was pulled using a Reese Dual Cam. I would suggest nothing less than a 3/4 ton truck, provided it has the payload capacity to handle the 1200# plus tongue weight of a 12,000# trailer.

 

So if the bumper pull suits your needs and you have enough truck and a good hitch set up (Reese Dual Cam or better), there is nothing wrong with the choice.

 

Ken

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I'll find out soon enough.  We just bought an Outback 330RL, 37'10" hitch to tail lights.  My tow vehicle is a 2006 GMC Duramax 2500HD.

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I have a Roughneck tandem axle fulltime trailer that is somewheres around 32-34 ft, 10 to 11,000 loaded and fairly tall. I haul it with a Dodge won ton single wheel quad cab 8ft box.  First miles on I15 in the west I was unhappy with the gentle "zig-zag-zig" from the bow wave when a class 8 or a bus would pass doing 80mph in road gear on the downgrades.  I shopped the Craigs Lists and found a used Propride hitch.  "Zig-zag-zig" has been replaced by a single gentle push that is no longer an issue when large vehicles go steaming by.  The rig runs like on rails now. 

Your 3 axle should be better with a longer axle group resisting the weather vane effect.  But should it bug you there is a solution. 

The only suprise with the Propride is the first time I descended a canyon road in CA, about 12% down grade 10mph hair pin - if you don't trail brake with the trailer, and let your whole rig coast gently with the drive wheels engine braking, the hitch will swing to the end of it's travel with a crash... a quick mirror check confirmed the trailer had not fallen off so a little trailer brake was used on the next couple hairpins to keep a tug on the truck. Smoothness. 

Oh and if you use a jerk a matic trailer brake control vs a proportional control, beware the braking on good traction. A 3 axle trailer will chuck your coffee right on the floor. :)

Edited by noteven

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I pull a 32 ft car hauler living quarters trailer not including the tongue so probablt 36+ ft. Only 2 axle. Pull it with a 2014 F350 6.7 diesel or my Peterbilt 359. My Ford pulls it like its not even there. 12,000# with car inside. Buses and trucks don't faze it. I'd go with 3 axles if I had to do it again just so the tires didn't have too carry so much weight. Had a 22 ft. car hauler with a 3/4 ton and yes sometimes a bus or big truck would really wake you up.

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IMHO, and this is just based on observations of TT being pulled down the interstate highways (career as State Trooper), and then full timing in a fiver, then a 37' gas MH, and now a 43' DP, there are huge differences in how these different RVs handle.

I think what you would find is that with practice you could maneuver and handle any of the 4 types of aforementioned RVs.  However, on a busy interstate, or on a day when those cross winds are hitting at 20mph and above, that would be a different story.

Most TTs will be having a hard time consistently staying in their lane of travel.  The gas coaches probably won't handle much better unless their suspensions have had extensive modifications.  The fivers, with or without dually 1 tons, will be doing just fine.  The large tag axle DP will be relaxing in their captain chairs driving with 2 fingers on the wheel.

This is just my opinion so it doesn't really count for much.  If I found a TT with the right floor plan and price then what the heck.  But I think you should be prepared to stay in camp on days that there are bad cross winds because it probably won't be a fun travel day.

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On ‎2‎/‎19‎/‎2016 at 4:49 PM, TXiceman said:

...So if the bumper pull suits your needs and you have enough truck and a good hitch set up (Reese Dual Cam or better), there is nothing wrong with the choice...

I would recommend a Hensley, Propride or Pullrite hitch.

1 hour ago, FL-JOE said:

...on a busy interstate, or on a day when those cross winds are hitting at 20mph and above, that would be a different story.

Most TTs will be having a hard time consistently staying in their lane of travel....If I found a TT with the right floor plan and price then what the heck.  But I think you should be prepared to stay in camp on days that there are bad cross winds because it probably won't be a fun travel day...

I tow using a Hensley hitch. While I do try to avoid traveling on windy days, the only time I have encountered difficulty was on a day when a gusty quartering head wind picked up to 40 mph. The problem was not with control of the trailer, but with the slide topper unfurling in what likely amounted to 90+ MPH winds of the combined wind and vehicle speed.

I have never had an issue with vehicles passing me on the interstates. On narrow high speed two lanes, there will sometimes be a side push from large vehicles traveling in the opposite direction just as there is with any vehicle with a large flat side profile.  

On ‎6‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 9:10 PM, noteven said:

...I was unhappy with the gentle "zig-zag-zig" from the bow wave when a class 8 or a bus would pass doing 80mph in road gear on the downgrades.  I shopped the Craigs Lists and found a used Propride hitch.  "Zig-zag-zig" has been replaced by a single gentle push that is no longer an issue when large vehicles go steaming by.  The rig runs like on rails now...

This has been my experience also towing with a Hensley Hitch for the past 10 years.

On ‎2‎/‎19‎/‎2016 at 4:36 PM, MLC said:

...with about a $20,000 price difference the bumper pull has its attractions...

Many will remark about the cost of the Hensley, Propride or Pullrite hitches. But even their cost will not add up to  near the cost difference that you are talking about. 

Edited by trailertraveler

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We towed a 3 axle 35 ft long Avion silver for several years with a Reese Dual Cam.  Friend used a Hensley Arrow for the same trailer.  With the Dual Cam, I never had a problem, in wind or passing semis.  Plus it was a lot less money than the Arrow.

Just make sure you have a properly set up hitch and a trailer loaded so it is balance with about 12% of the trailer weight on the hitch.  Also I would never pull a 38 ft trailer with less than a 3/4 ton truck.

Ken

 

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On 2/19/2016 at 4:36 PM, MLC said:

Been 10 years since we pulled a bumper hitch and it was a 26 ft camper and don't remember the overall length. We are looking at a 33' camper with overall length of 38', It is a tri axle as opposed to the tandem we had on the 26'. Has anyone pulled a trailer this long and how much difference was there from a smaller trailer?

 

On 6/18/2017 at 5:06 PM, bob91yj said:

I'll find out soon enough.  We just bought an Outback 330RL, 37'10" hitch to tail lights.  My tow vehicle is a 2006 GMC Duramax 2500HD.

So it's been two years for MLC & almost a year for Bob, any updates or findings regarding your set up?

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Just be sure that your towing vehicle can pull the trailer safely. Also a three axel will be a little harder to back up but not a big deal. 

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MLC, let me just throw one more observation out there.  You said "33' camper with overall length of 38'" is what you where considering, or a fiver.

Our current winter CG in SW Florida has about 400 spots.  I walk the entire CG on a daily basis.  Everyone here are snowbirds and have traveled from out of state.  Out of all the RVs here there are probably over 200 MHs, 190 fivers, and 10 or less TTs.  There is a reason for that IMHO, and that reason is probably that they are the worse overall to tow across country.

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12 minutes ago, FL-JOE said:

MLC, let me just throw one more observation out there.  You said "33' camper with overall length of 38'" is what you where considering, or a fiver.

MLC last visited.......

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Wow, I usually catch it when someone posts on a 2 year old subject.  I must have missed this one before that first cup the other morning.  Thanks Kirk.

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I only had to pull my trailer from the sales lot to the location we are staying at (long term), maybe 30 miles.  It towed with no issues at all.  I regularly tow a 24' enclosed car hauler that weighs 12,000 pounds or so, the live in trailer is obviously longer, but also lighter.

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Just an update,,, bought the 33ft toy hauler have hauled to Daytona twice and Sturgis once.  It is a tri axle and I purchased a good weight distribution hitch with sway control.  The Ford F350 with single rear wheels also has anti sway control.  I have no problem pulling this trailer.  I was worried with all the stories told.  I did have a little fishtailing on one of my earlier short trips at about 70mph On the return trip I moved the bikes about a foot farther forward and no fishtailing at 70mph.  Rare for me to top 70 towing so all is good I could drive and sometimes do with just one hand on the wheel and cruise at 65 without any uneasiness.  I think the tri axle and of course weight placement are the big factors.  Hope this helps anyone else who might be thinking of a larger bumperpull.  Went to Sturgis with 3 harleys in the camper and a golf cart on the pickup with no problems at all.

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On 3/11/2018 at 5:37 AM, FL-JOE said:

MLC, let me just throw one more observation out there.  You said "33' camper with overall length of 38'" is what you where considering, or a fiver.

Our current winter CG in SW Florida has about 400 spots.  I walk the entire CG on a daily basis.  Everyone here are snowbirds and have traveled from out of state.  Out of all the RVs here there are probably over 200 MHs, 190 fivers, and 10 or less TTs.  There is a reason for that IMHO, and that reason is probably that they are the worse overall to tow across country.

I think that the reason for the high number of 5ers(190) vs. The low number of TT^s (10) is the "Brainsashing scare tactics by the manufacturers "  The truth is that you need a larger TV for a TT than a 5er if both weigh the same. If you want to use your TV for something else other than carrying around a hitch in the bed then get a big enough truck to do the job. I'm towing a 24,000 lb. New Horizon 38 ft. OAL TT with three 9K axles with a Freightliner M2. I have a 30,000 lb. 2 5/16" ball Air Safe hitch. No weight or sway compensation needed. It tows great and stops even better. And as an added benefit you will have more room and storage than an equal length 5er, plus you can use the bed of your truck for your garage. I'm sure all will agree, I'm ready for incoming. 

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5 hours ago, MoSKP9 said:

I think that the reason for the high number of 5ers(190) vs. The low number of TT^s (10) is the "Brainsashing scare tactics by the manufacturers "  The truth is that you need a larger TV for a TT than a 5er if both weigh the same. If you want to use your TV for something else other than carrying around a hitch in the bed then get a big enough truck to do the job. I'm towing a 24,000 lb. New Horizon 38 ft. OAL TT with three 9K axles with a Freightliner M2. I have a 30,000 lb. 2 5/16" ball Air Safe hitch. No weight or sway compensation needed. It tows great and stops even better. And as an added benefit you will have more room and storage than an equal length 5er, plus you can use the bed of your truck for your garage. I'm sure all will agree, I'm ready for incoming. 

That certainly is a "heavy duty" combination for RVing.   I don't think I have ever came across anyone pulling a triple axle TT with a Freightliner M2.  I assume you have a commercial 22' box on the truck?  Any trouble with CG's either finding sites big enough or big enough you can get into?

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No problems so far. The FL is 198"WB and 25 ft. OAL. so I'm 63' when hooked up. It's a class 7,  39,600 GVW and 72,000 CGVW. I  have an 11' Knapheide KUV Enclosed Utility body on it. Tpo of body is about 4" higher than the 4 door cab. It has all my mechanics tools in the side boxes so no issues with CG. It's the same length that my previous TV (a Dodge 5500) was, just taller and a little wider. I usually always disconnect after arriving at a CG and use the truck for sightseeing and errands. We are fulltime RVers. I really like the DD13 engine. 

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We bought what we thought was a 32' tt due to the 3200 on the label. We finally measured it and it was 38'.... We now live in a 42' toy hauler and travel in a 38' tt, triple axle and pull it with a 2014 F250 with air bags and the truck doesn't know its behind it. We have more sitting space and storage in the tt than in the fiver. You can definitely fulltime in it...I cook and quilt in mine and hubby works if he needs to.  

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On ‎7‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 1:15 AM, MoSKP9 said:

. I'm towing a 24,000 lb. New Horizon 38 ft. OAL TT with three 9K axles with a Freightliner M2. I have a 30,000 lb. 2 5/16" ball Air Safe hitch. No weight or sway compensation needed. It tows great and stops even better.

 

On ‎7‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 1:31 PM, MoSKP9 said:

No problems so far. The FL is 198"WB and 25 ft. OAL. so I'm 63' when hooked up. It's a class 7,  39,600 GVW and 72,000 CGVW. I really like the DD13 engine. 

And I really like your set-up! I'll check but my dictionary may have your rig pictured in the entry "ideal set-up" 😉

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