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Old 07-08-2013, 08:53 PM   #1
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2 days of reading and more confused...enough truck?

Hello all.

First, let me apologize for yet another "do I have enough towing capabilities for the TT I'm considering buying" question. But, like many here, after reading this forum, my owner's manual and plenty of other google researches...I'm now more confused than ever.

I have a 2009 Suburban 5.3L with all the manufactured installed tow package upgrades. So this is supposed to provide towing capbilities of 8,200 and a GCWR of 14,000. That's the easy part to understand. Then comes the other dozen or so acronyms I'm supposed to know.

There is me, the wife and 3 young kids (8, 5 and 8 months) plus some gear, obviously. We're considering moving from a pop-up to a TT, and the unloaded weights seem to come in from 6,000 to 6,700 lbs (specifically, a Palomino SolAire 292, 307 or 317).

Every sales guy says I'll be fine, then I come here and it seems the pop-up I've been towing very easily for 10 years is a highway death machine.

Any thoughts? Thank you, guys.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:15 PM   #2
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You need the maximum the truck can weigh (GVWR), which is located on your door jamb. Then you need the weight if the truck with you, the wife, kids, everything for camping (GVW). Subtract what the truck weighs from the maximum it can weigh, that is the available payload.

That is how much you have for the hitch weight.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:20 PM   #3
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For example my info.

2010 Tundra Double Cab 5.7 4x4
2010 Graywolf 28BH

Truck GVWR 7200
Truck Weight 5620
Payload 1580
Wife 150
Dog 160
Kid 50
Left over 1220
Hitch Weight 950
270 lbs left for odds and ends.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:22 PM   #4
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If you tag a 6000+ lb camper to the back of your burb, plus all of the gear for 5 of you, it just seems like a lot to be asking of a 5.3
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:47 PM   #5
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thanks.

Per the sticker on the door jam, the GVWR is 7,400.

The spec sheet shows curb weight of 5,600. If I assumed 1,000 of cargo, that's 6,600 or a difference of 800 lbs for hitch weight. (is that the same as tongue weight?)

If I'm close to accurate so far, and having read that hitch/tongue weight should be 10-15%...than that would allow a total trailer weight of 5,333 - 8,000 lbs?

I doubt I'm doing this right.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:53 PM   #6
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Yes. That looks about right. I am close and I know it. The have probably bern times I have been over my gvwr by a few pounds. I am in process of finding a new truck, but the wife also wants a 5th wheel next.

As for the other terms GCWR is the maximum your truck and trailer can weigh together. You also have RAWR which is the maximum weight your rear axle should carry. I hope I am helping.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Kbosch74 View Post
thanks.

Per the sticker on the door jam, the GVWR is 7,400.

The spec sheet shows curb weight of 5,600. If I assumed 1,000 of cargo, that's 6,600 or a difference of 800 lbs for hitch weight. (is that the same as tongue weight?)

If I'm close to accurate so far, and having read that hitch/tongue weight should be 10-15%...than that would allow a total trailer weight of 5,333 - 8,000 lbs?

I doubt I'm doing this right.
You're on the right path! So, yes - "hitch weight" is the same as "tongue weight" for travel trailers and "pin weight" for fifth wheels. Essentially, this is the amount of the camper that pushes down on the rear of the vehicle and adds to the truck's weight (so as to not exceed the GVWR).

You're also spot-on about the 5,333-8,000 pound TT. Bear in mind that this is the *loaded* weight of the camper not the mythical dry weight. The typically user adds 1,000-1,500 pounds to the advertised "dry weight". I prefer to calculate off of GVWR just to plan for a worst-case scenario. But, I'm generally overly safety conscience.

You have it all, but I'm going to offer up a link to my page on this topic:
Learn To RV: What Can I Tow?
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:38 PM   #8
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Thanks, Ependydad.

I just read your page as well. That, and the above replies, are the most simple understanding I've read yet.

Even going through this exercise, it seems that really we're just getting a ballpark idea, correct? I mean, unless you weighed your vehicle and TT every time, all of these factors are going to vary from trip to trip. And the 10 - 15% figure allows for a HUGE difference in TT weights.

All that said, I'm considering a TT with a dry weight of 6,000 - 6,500 lbs. If I had 500 lbs of cargo in the TT (which seems like an aweful lot), it appears that I'm pushing the out limits but not surpasssing them. I figure between that fact, and just some common sense driving (safe speeds, safe distances) I should be OK.

Am I missing anything?

Thank you for your advice and time.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kbosch74 View Post
Even going through this exercise, it seems that really we're just getting a ballpark idea, correct? I mean, unless you weighed your vehicle and TT every time, all of these factors are going to vary from trip to trip. And the 10 - 15% figure allows for a HUGE difference in TT weights.

All that said, I'm considering a TT with a dry weight of 6,000 - 6,500 lbs. If I had 500 lbs of cargo in the TT (which seems like an aweful lot), it appears that I'm pushing the out limits but not surpasssing them. I figure between that fact, and just some common sense driving (safe speeds, safe distances) I should be OK.

Am I missing anything?

Thank you for your advice and time.
Thanks for the kind words. And yes, it's generally a ballpark unless you use the GVWR of the TT and 15% for a "worst case scenario". That gives you the most flexibility. But, like I said - I'm generally overly safety conscience.

I do strongly recommend a weighing or two to get a feel for where you're at. And, since you already have the tow vehicle, load it up like you were going camping and go get it weighed. I was pretty surprised to find out that we used up 1,200 pounds of our payload with our usual "ready to travel" setup - never mind "hitch weight". Find out what your *actual* available payload is (GVWR minus wet truck weight).

500 pounds of cargo seems like a lot, but the dry weight is so absurd. My camper is a lot heavier, so the numbers are likely skewed a bit. But- my advertised dry weight is 400 pounds less than my yellow stickered weight (the weight as it left the factory) and that's before it made it to the dealer's lot and they installed things as part of my original purchase (slide toppers and stabilizers). So, the day I drove it off of the dealer's lot and before I put one thing in, it already weighed more than the yellow sticker. Then you add your stuff. Then you add some water in the tanks (10 gallons is 80 pounds) and some in the water heater (6 or 10 gallons - 48-80 pounds). And then you fill both propane tanks. And then the bed's really uncomfortable and you put a mattress topper on. And pots and pans. And clothes. And stupid knick-knacks. And... and... and... and...

It all adds up. Again, I'm on a bigger scale than you- but I've added about 2,000-2,500 pounds of stuff (haven't weighed in a while and I carry a fair amount of water) from my advertised dry weight.

As for knowingly exceeding limits or not - lots of people do it and arrive safely. I prefer those that do, do it knowingly. Get weighed and make an educated decision.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:01 PM   #10
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Good stuff. Thank you.
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