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Tow Vehicle Question - Please


George D
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I've got a 26' Mallard travel trailer, fully loaded is 6400# with Equalizer weight distribution hitch .

Question: Does the forum feel a 1500 RAM 5.7L, 8 speed auto, 3.93 rear end as good tow vehicle?

 (it's GCWR is about 16000# with a "Max Trailer Weight" of 10480# on it's spec sheet. but I'm skeptical...)

 

Thanks,

George D

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George,

I towed a 21' Bigfoot trailer at a little over 5,000 lbs. with a 1/2 ton and Equalizer hitch.  It did okay, too soft for my liking, especially when meeting large trucks or in windy conditions.  When I replaced the truck, I went with a 2500 and it was like night and day in stability.

Just my experience.  I would opt for the 2500 if I was buying a new truck.

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Welcome to the Escapees Forum!!

The last pieces of information that you need are the cargo carrying capacity of the truck, its rear axle ratings, and the weight of all the cargo that the truck will carry. The cargo weight will include all passengers (except the driver), fuel in addition to whatever amount is included in the curb weight (often less than a full tank), and everything else you will carry in the truck plus the tongue weight of the trailer. The recommended tongue weight (10-15%) for a 6400# trailer would be 640-960#. This calculator  may help.

You can also read about the relationship between tow vehicle wheelbase and trailer length here.

Again, Welcome to the Escapees Forum!!!

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It’s probably OK though I agree with the post above - I would be looking very closely at the payload for that particular truck.  I once looked at a fully loaded 1500 Ram Laramie with only 1068 lb payload, and the small travel trailer I was towing had a tongue weight of 750 lbs.  That’s not enough payload since I was planning on adding a generator, a propane tank and some other heavy items.

Remember that the more options you add to a truck, the less payload you will have.  Moonroofs are heavy as are Diesel engines and 4WD.  

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We have a Open Range Light 27' TT and when we bought it we had a RAM 1500 (gas).  It was great until we hit the mountains.  Not the mountains in the Ozarks but the Rocky Mountains.  After a couple of years avoiding that area we traded for a RAM 2500 Turbo Diesel.  Now I have to check to make sure the TT is still behind me.

If you already have the 1500 then be careful of weight and transmission overload if you hit mountainous terrain.

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11 hours ago, Mr. Camper said:

We have a Open Range Light 27' TT and when we bought it we had a RAM 1500 (gas).  It was great until we hit the mountains.  Not the mountains in the Ozarks but the Rocky Mountains.  After a couple of years avoiding that area we traded for a RAM 2500 Turbo Diesel.  Now I have to check to make sure the TT is still behind me.

If you already have the 1500 then be careful of weight and transmission overload if you hit mountainous terrain.

👍 Having almost enough truck is work for the driver, having more than enough is quite relaxing when driving. Been there done that.

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1 hour ago, Pat & Pete said:

Seems to me that stopping is much MORE important ...

Yes, it is important to stop the WHOLE rig.  But someone always come up with "Can the truck stop the trailer?".  Yes it can and should, with a proper trailer brake system and brake controller, but the truck alone cannot be expected to stop the trailer. 

The big question is the truck big enough to comfortably control the trailer.  I see too many with not enough truck and fighting to keep the truck pointed the right way.

Ken

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I’ve had an electric trailer brake outage while towing a max for the won ton truck rating trailer in mountains. 
 

We made it to level ground down there. 
 

I’ve still never scared myself driving a truck up a grade.

 Not so for the gravity assisted direction.
 

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Not sure of your setup, but try to divide the problem between the Dash (or underdash) electric brake controller and the electric brakes themselves. Obviously, the electric brake rear bumper plug is in. Do the trailer brake lights come on at brake pedal depression? I'm assuming the electric brakes you have are individual solenoids placed inside each brake drum/shoe assembly. If they are, you can have someone operate the brake controller manually. Walking around each wheel, you should hear a "buzz" as the 12 vdc energizes each solenoid. It's not that uncommon for the solenoid wires to actually rub (and chaffe) on any brake component (especially the drums). If so the controller should report an "O.C" type of code upon actuation, the of course you lose braking. If you're still having problems, mention the type of system you have, I could always attach a "typical" schematic.

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Not sure why you are skeptical.  I have a 2020 Ram 1500 Classic Tradesman Crew Cab with the towing package.  Mine is rated a 10,790# with 1,615# payload.

My Rockwood 2205S is about 5,000# empty and 7,000# loaded.

Now, I haven't done the Rockies yet, but with over 50% more towing capacity than the loaded trailer, I don't think that I will have any problems.

I doubt that you will either.

 

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1 hour ago, Texsinbad said:

Not sure why you are skeptical.  I have a 2020 Ram 1500 Classic Tradesman Crew Cab with the towing package.  Mine is rated a 10,790# with 1,615# payload.

My Rockwood 2205S is about 5,000# empty and 7,000# loaded.

Payload/cargo capacity is often where half ton pickups and SUVs fall short. 10-15% tongue weight for a 7000# trailer would be 700-1050#. That leaves between 565-915# for other cargo. The payload capacity is often calculated with a 150# driver and less than a full tank of fuel. Additional gasoline at about 6.3#/gallon, the weight of the driver in excess of 150#, the weight of any passengers, the weight of any additional cargo in the truck plus the tongue weight of the trailer should be less then the cargo/payload capacity of the truck.

One of the reasons that tow vehicles often perform at less than expectations when towing travel trailers and 5th wheels is that the max towing weight is often calculated using trailers with substantially smaller frontal areas (i.e. less air resistance) such as horse trailers, boats and flatbeds. This information, if provided, is often buried in the fine print of a footnote in the specifications. 

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If you believe that the trailer brakes will always be there to do their job, you will eventually have a very exciting ride.  So far  in our 40+ years of camping, I've had the trailer plug come undone, a ground wire get knocked loose, under trailer wiring get torn off by road debris, and outright brake controller failure.  Some resulted in sphincter clenching moments.

Having reserve in the truck/trailer ratio is not a bad thing, and often no more expensive than having "just enough truck".  Be safe out there.  Your family doesn't want you coming home in a box.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I towed a 5000 plus TT in the steep mountains of western USA with a 1998 Dodge Ram V10 2500 and former Dept of Energy truck.  The 4X4 Dodge actually had the rear axle of a 3500 and was a towing monster. Yes I could easily afford the gas.

Although I had WDH equalizer hitch I stopped using it because of total absolute stability due to heavy truck with HD brakes.  Never a problem with sway on steep winding curves or wet or windy conditions and no problem with passing 18 wheelers.

I did use the WD hitch when towing same trailer in flat lands of Texas with my 2001 1500 Dodge Ram. Happy Camper and former Acct & SEC CFP.

https://www.facebook.com/CaptBillPerkinsUNRescuePilot227-capt-perkins-with-bell-212-evergreen-in-tokyo(1).jpg.b468bf06502d48667aa55538e78bedef.jpg

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