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cwr

Tow Vehicle Selection for Large TT

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Hi everyone,

After months of deliberating, we have finally settled on our next long-term rig. (We're in a "starter" rig right now that is not suited to full-time use).

For a long time we have had our eyes on a toy hauler and a HDT truck to tow it. However, for various reasons, logistical and financial, we've elected to forego the toy hauler and get a large travel trailer.

The rig we have our eye on is 37' 4" long and has a GVWR of 10,995 lbs.

While I generally understand all the concepts behind the different weight ratings like GVWR, CVWR, curb weight, etc., I just don't feel completely competent in choosing the right tow vehicle. Keep in mind that I was previously considering a HDT, which means I do not want to "skimp" and get a tow vehicle that is barely adequate. I'd like to have some nice wiggle room, if we can afford it.

We'll definitely need to buy used, but we're interested in a diesel with a crew cab. We'll be carrying quite a bit of gear in the bed of the truck (don't really have a weight estimate on how much right now). My rudimentary research (and observations from real-life) seem to indicate that a F-250 or similar truck with a 6.7 L will handle our needs - but is that cutting it too close for comfort? Open to suggestions...

And I have a few specific questions:

1) Any reason to avoid getting a DRW truck to pair with a travel trailer, other than added cost and tire maintenance? I'm leaning toward DRW if we can find a good deal - just for the additional peace of mind in stability and cargo capacity.

2) What about a crew cab + long (8 ft) bed configuration? Will having a longer truck like that be something i regret when it comes to maneuverability with the trailer? We could use the extra storage offered by the longer bed, but we can forego it if it makes a significant impact on maneuverability.

3) Gear ratios - what should I be looking for?

 

Thanks for any advice!

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just one thought .

With the length of your trailer at 37 feet I feel the you  will get a lot of tail wag the dog effect with only a single wheel in the rear.

I would look very hard at a 5th wheel rather than a bumper pull.  

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If you have a dually, forget about taking it thru drive-thrus.  You will likely park further away from store/mall entrances.  A dually longbed is a lot of truck to wash and wax.  When I wash/wax my truck, I do it over several days depending on the time of year.  They do not come with TPMS as standard equipment.  Checking air pressure/adding air to the inner rear tire is a PITA.  Tire stores offer better discounts on 4 tires than on 6.  In my 6 yrs of ownership, there have been only 2 RV parks where my truck was too large to fit on the site with my coach.  Gourldings was one and the other was in the center of Moab.  I don't remember the name of that one.

Nothing insurmountable about owning/driving a dually

 

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If you have not already bought that 37'+ travel trailer, I think that I would agree you might be wise to look at fifth wheel trailers first. I have towed several travel trailers over the years but would not go much over 30' when pulling from the rear hitch. If the trailer choice is final, then I would clearly get as much truck as I could afford to tow it with. 

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12 hours ago, cwr said:

...My rudimentary research (and observations from real-life) seem to indicate that a F-250 or similar truck with a 6.7 L will handle our needs - but is that cutting it too close for comfort? Open to suggestions...

And I have a few specific questions:

1) Any reason to avoid getting a DRW truck to pair with a travel trailer, other than added cost and tire maintenance? I'm leaning toward DRW if we can find a good deal - just for the additional peace of mind in stability and cargo capacity.

2) What about a crew cab + long (8 ft) bed configuration? Will having a longer truck like that be something i regret when it comes to maneuverability with the trailer? We could use the extra storage offered by the longer bed, but we can forego it if it makes a significant impact on maneuverability.

3) Gear ratios - what should I be looking for?...

The tongue weight of the trailer you are looking at will likely be between 1100 and 1650#. A single rear wheel 350/3500 will have 1500-2000# more payload capacity than a 250/2500 depending on the configuration of the truck. Look carefully at the standard equipment when pricing. In the Chevys, the 3500 includes a locking rear, manual extending trailering mirrors and trailer wiring that are optional on the 2500. When I was looking, similarly equipped models were not much different in price.

In the past, at least in some brands the size of the fuel tank was linked to the bed length. The 6,5' bed had a 24-26 gallon tank while the 8' bed had a 34-36 gallon tank. The larger tank adds 100+ miles when towing a heavy trailer.

I am not sure that there are any gear ratio options in the 250/2500 or 350/3500 SRW trucks. I think there are in the 350/3500 DRW at least in some brands.

2 hours ago, Tex Bigfoot said:

,,,With the length of your trailer at 37 feet I feel the you  will get a lot of tail wag the dog effect with only a single wheel in the rear...  

Not with a long bed crewcab and a good sway control/weight distribution hitch like the Hensley, Propride or Pullrite. All three are designed to move the pivot point of the truck/trailer combination to in front of the rear axle just like in a fifth wheel. Yes they are expensive, but it is a one time cost. The dually will cost more on initial purchase and then more for tires at every replacement in addition to the increased width issue. 

 

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49 minutes ago, trailertraveler said:

a good sway control/weight distribution hitch like the Hensley, Propride or Pullrite. All three are designed to move the pivot point of the truck/trailer combination to in front of the rear axle just like in a fifth wheel.

Thank you for sharing this! I was unaware of these hitch systems - I will definitely be purchasing one once I figure out which one to get...

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Tex Bigfoot is right with a TT that long the tail will wag the dog.

In a cross wind the trailer will not stay behind you even with a HDT, It catches to much air for the weight.

RV Driving School will not teach a lesson if the TT is over 25 ft. They are not safe.

Your money. You choose. 

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Weight and surface area have a lot to do with how well a particular combination will tow. The trailer you are looking at is a big box that is fairly tall, so wind will affect it more than, say, a 34' Airstream. We're considering a 34' Airstream, which has a similar weight (9800 pounds) and we, too, will be carrying quite a bit in the bed of the truck. For that reason we will go with an F350 dually and something like a Pro-Pride or Hensley hitch.

Something to think about is that the wind loading on the trailer at 70 mph is a LOT more than at 60 mph. So is the fuel economy.

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On ‎8‎/‎24‎/‎2017 at 3:32 PM, dlcarsonak said:

RV Driving School will not teach a lesson if the TT is over 25 ft. They are not safe.

Wow, that says a lot.  Our StarCraft 245DS just makes the limit.  The TT the OP is considering would sure make me nervous.  At that length, I would have opt for a 5th wheel.  The DRW really does not buy that much in the sway issue.  I have heard about the Hensley hitch and that it is arguably the best anti-sway set-up on the market.  That would seem an absolute necessity for a TT of this size/weight.  No practical experience with this question, just working on what my gut tells me.

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On 8/24/2017 at 4:32 PM, dlcarsonak said:

Tex Bigfoot is right with a TT that long the tail will wag the dog.

In a cross wind the trailer will not stay behind you even with a HDT, It catches to much air for the weight.

RV Driving School will not teach a lesson if the TT is over 25 ft. They are not safe.

Your money. You choose. 

I couldn't find anything on their page in regards to the length of trailer - is that set in stone somewhere? While I would agree that the longer the trailer the more careful one has to be regarding rig set up and hitches etc, but a blanket statement that they are not safe seems like a knee jerk reaction.

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Just wanted to pop in and say thank you for everyone's input.

With a proper hitch like the Hensley or ProPride, I was not as concerned with the stability of a large travel trailer as I would be without one.

However, in an unexpected turn of events, we found a fifth wheel we really like and have placed a deposit on it.

I've decided that we're going to go with a F-350 DRW as our tow vehicle.

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I wholeheartedly disagree with most of what was said above. You absolutely can tow a large TT and have a LOT MORE use out of your truck. Last summer I towed a 37' Excel TT that weighed 15,500 lbs. On a 20,000 mile 6 month trip from the Florida Keys, all through the Rocky mountains in both the USA and Canada, all the way to 85 miles past the Artic Circle and on every main road in Alaska. This include many steep grades on some pretty big mountains. Frankly, I would never want a 5er. If you know how to drive and back up a TT is no problem. And if a trailer ever rolled over a 5er is taking the truck over also, a lot less chance on the TT. Most of what you hear and read on these rv sites is negative towards TT's and most of it comes from people that have a 5er, BUT have never even driven a large TT properly set up. Their opinions are based on conjecture and fear of what might happen. Either type of trailer can be wrecked if operated unsafely.

 If you are wondering what my tow vehicle for this trip was, hear it is. A 2012 Dodge Ram 5500 Crew Cab CC, 4WD , 198" WB, Cummins 6.7 Diesel totally deleted and custom tuned with EFI Live tuner, 2nd generation Source Automotive 465 turbo, head bolts, air horn, Mishimtoo all  aluminum high capacity radiator and intercooler, 220 amp alternator, BD exhaust brake, Asian 68RC 6 speed auto trans, 4.88 gears, air dog fuel system and sump, back up cameras on truck and TT, 9 mpg on flats and 7.5 mpg in hills. I installed a Knapheide KUV CC enclosed utility boby onto the CC that is 11' long that has a 6 cu. ft.refrigerator, a 4 cu. ft. freezer, a 150 psi air compressor, a 4,000 watt Aimes pure sine wave inverter/charger, a 900 amp hour Vision battery bank (8 six volt 225 amp AGM batteries), a front (highway tread)spare tire, a rear (all terrian tread) spare tire. All of this only took up about 1/2 of the room in the center of the truck. I still have all of the other outside compartments for my tools and spare parts etc.I also removed the rear seat a built in a large storage area with 2 slide out storage drawers. I pull with a Torklift Magnum 30,000 lb. Hitch with their Everest 1000 WD system  

This setup tows rock solid and NO tail wagging at all. You barlely even notice a semi passing you or you passing them. I don't speed and usually drive at 63 mph as tha is the best fuel mileage for my truck and a very safe speed in good road conditions. You just have to slow down from there, for example the "Top of the World Highway" in Alaska was about a 20 mph road.

The TT had 4 slides, a 6.5 KW /Cummins/Onan LP generator, two 15K air conditioners, fireplace, queen bed, Magnum MS2812 Pure sine wave inverter/ charger and a 675 amp hour AGM battery bank with Vision AGM batteries.

It can be done very safely and just requires a lot of thought and planning as to what you want to do. So get what you want and get the truck and tow setup that will do the job. Big trailers take big trucks to pull them whether they are a TT or a 5er. It's not how fast you can go, it's how fast you can stop!

 

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