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Old 06-09-2013, 01:43 PM   #1
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Question Desperatly in need of the correct TV info

My wife and I fell in love with a Rockwood Featherlite TT that has a stated weight of 7400lbs. The two dealers that we visited said I'm OK pulling it with my 2000 GMC Yukon 5.3L with tow package (towing capacity rated at 8100lbs) but several of my friends don't think that's true. They recommend that I try to see if I can't do some modifiactions to the SUV that would improve HP and tourque and if i don't, then they tell me that I'll need another TV for this TT. (I did look into a BANKS system but they don't seem to have a complete system for my model).

I would appreciate any comments from experienced RV'ers on the following:

1. Is it safe to tow this TT with what I have now?

2. If not, are there any modifications that can be made that would make
our SUV able to pull this TT safely?

3. I understand that Toyota is the only company that has actually
complied with the new SAE J2807 towing standard, so what am I to
believe if I have to shop for a newer SUV TV?

4. How do I figure what is a "safe" towing capacity regardless of the
vehicles stated towing capacity.

Thanks in advance for your help. (Feel free to send me an e-mail if you would like)
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Old 06-09-2013, 01:51 PM   #2
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Too much weight IMO for an suv or 1/2 ton. 3/4 would give you plenty of power and less worries. The weight of the TT you mentioned is the base weight. Once you start adding things inside, you are going to be well over 8k. Don't go by what a salesman tells you. All they want to see (most of them) is you drive off the lot with something. Good luck!
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Old 06-09-2013, 01:52 PM   #3
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You need to post more numbers to figure this out.

Year make and model of tt

Don't ever believe a dealer telling u that your tv will tow the unit there trying to sell you.

Mods to your tv will never add towing capacity to it !

Only true way to ultimately know your tv weights is to load tv as you were to go camping and scale it.


Actual towing numbers from your truck are needed.

Normally you'll surpass your cargo carring capacity before anything.

Theses numbers are on your door jamb and door.

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Old 06-09-2013, 02:10 PM   #4
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This might be a little lengthy, but very important.

If you are pulling a camper that is too heavy for your vehicle you are slowly causing damage to your tow vehicle. But, more importantly, you are running the risk of getting into a towing situation where you are simply unable to control your camper because your vehicle is not rated for the load it is pulling. Most towing accidents could be avoided by simply pulling within your SAFE towing capacity.

So, if someone tries to tell you that the weight of the camper is "close enough" to your towing capacity...think again. The MAXIMUM Tow Capacity is NOT the same as the Maximum Allowable Trailer Weight...that must be determined using the formula below.

Below is a guide to calculating your true towing capacity.

STEP 1 -- Determine the TOWING CAPACITY of your vehicle...this is usually stated in your owner's manual, sticker on the driver side door.

(Example: 2009 Ford F-150 Supercab....7800 pounds MAX Tow Rating)

STEP 2 -- Subtract 10% as a safety margin. Most vehicle tow ratings have been embellished and were also calculated without passengers, fuel and cargo....Edmunds.com recommends subtracting 10% from the maximum tow rating to compensate for this. (Example: Subract 780 pounds)

STEP 3 -- Subtract any gear or camping equipment that you plan to take with you..this includes any water, food, chairs, etc. This also includes your weight distribution hitch if you have one.
(Example: 80 pounds Weight Distribution hitch + 60 pounds Propane + 250 pounds Fresh Water + 500 pounds Average weight of food & gear for weekend camp trip for family of four = 890 pounds)

STEP 4 -- The number that you are left with is the MAXIMUM trailer weight that is recommended for your vehicle to safely tow. (Example: 7800-780-890= 6130 pounds)

So, in this example...a 2009 Ford F-150 Supercab with a Maximum Tow Rating of 7800 pounds has a Maximum Allowable Trailer Weight of 6130 pounds (trailer DRY weight or UVW).

Now...ask yourself..is your camper too heavy for your tow vehicle? Remember...bigger isn't always better, especially when it comes to towing. Staying within your Maximum Allowable Trailer Weight is the only SAFE way to tow.

Hope this helps?
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Old 06-09-2013, 02:26 PM   #5
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You may run out of payload capacity on that truck b4 you exceed other numbers.
Consider a 1 ton truck. They are usually only slightly more than 3/4 tons.
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Old 06-09-2013, 03:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troyt View Post
This might be a little lengthy, but very important.

If you are pulling a camper that is too heavy for your vehicle you are slowly causing damage to your tow vehicle. But, more importantly, you are running the risk of getting into a towing situation where you are simply unable to control your camper because your vehicle is not rated for the load it is pulling. Most towing accidents could be avoided by simply pulling within your SAFE towing capacity.

So, if someone tries to tell you that the weight of the camper is "close enough" to your towing capacity...think again. The MAXIMUM Tow Capacity is NOT the same as the Maximum Allowable Trailer Weight...that must be determined using the formula below.

Below is a guide to calculating your true towing capacity.

STEP 1 -- Determine the TOWING CAPACITY of your vehicle...this is usually stated in your owner's manual, sticker on the driver side door.

(Example: 2009 Ford F-150 Supercab....7800 pounds MAX Tow Rating)

STEP 2 -- Subtract 10% as a safety margin. Most vehicle tow ratings have been embellished and were also calculated without passengers, fuel and cargo....Edmunds.com recommends subtracting 10% from the maximum tow rating to compensate for this. (Example: Subract 780 pounds)

STEP 3 -- Subtract any gear or camping equipment that you plan to take with you..this includes any water, food, chairs, etc. This also includes your weight distribution hitch if you have one.
(Example: 80 pounds Weight Distribution hitch + 60 pounds Propane + 250 pounds Fresh Water + 500 pounds Average weight of food & gear for weekend camp trip for family of four = 890 pounds)

STEP 4 -- The number that you are left with is the MAXIMUM trailer weight that is recommended for your vehicle to safely tow. (Example: 7800-780-890= 6130 pounds)

So, in this example...a 2009 Ford F-150 Supercab with a Maximum Tow Rating of 7800 pounds has a Maximum Allowable Trailer Weight of 6130 pounds (trailer DRY weight or UVW).

Now...ask yourself..is your camper too heavy for your tow vehicle? Remember...bigger isn't always better, especially when it comes to towing. Staying within your Maximum Allowable Trailer Weight is the only SAFE way to tow.

Hope this helps?
I agree with what you said, but it is only a small part of the picture, and also the easiest part of the calculations to meet...which makes it kind if deceptive. You can't begin to tow what that number will tell you because you'll exceed GVWR and rear GAWR long before you get to that much weight.
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Old 06-09-2013, 04:47 PM   #7
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I wrote this to answer a very similar question for my father-in-law. He has a 4Runner and needed to know what the maximum amount of trailer he could pull with it's 7,100 pound tow rating. Truth be told, quite a bit less:
What Can I Tow?

And then wrote him about his vehicle specifically (other way around, but I digress):
4Runner Example
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:16 AM   #8
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I have a TT that starts with 7456 UVW I bought a 3/4 Ton with a 3.7:3 Gear Ratio with a 18350 GCWR pulls it with on problem.
Great Truck
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Old 06-10-2013, 01:06 AM   #9
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The first thing you need to do is better understand your trucks capabilities than just my truck can tow x lbs. (I learned this the hard way). Most TV are limited by their payload. To find out your TVs true towing capacities then you need to go weigh it. Load the tv up with all occupants, pets, and cargo that will be in it when towing plus a full tank of fuel and then go weigh it at a local scale (CAT Scale ). Weigh each axle on a separate scale pad so it will give you a breakdown of front and rear axle weights individually and a total weight. Take the total weight and subtract it from your Trucks gvwr to get your available payload. Take the scaled Truck weight and subtract it from your Truck gcwr to get your adjusted towng capacity.

Next understand you will never tow an unloaded or dry trailer. Those numbers are somewhat irrelevant. You can either add the amount of weight of cargo you will tow to the dry weight (this is heavier than you think as most add 1000-2000 lb of gear) or simply use the tt gvwr to do your calculations. Being that this is your first tt, using the tt gvwr is the safer route for you. Next understand that the tt loaded tongue weight needs to be subtracted from your available payload. The loaded tongue weight is typically 13-15% of the loaded tt weight. For your purposes go with 13-15% of the tt gvwr.
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:09 AM   #10
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That 7400 lb weight is probably the dry weight.

It's easily going to be closer to 8,000 loaded up and ready to go camping. Unless you don't plan to take anything with you like propane, clothes, food, chairs, blankets, toys, etc.

Fill the fresh water tanks and you're going to pop over the 8100lb trailer rating you've stated by a good 3-400 lbs.

Now chuck a full fuel tank, a couple adults and maybe the kids, dog and assorted bric-a-brak in the truck and you're waaaaay overloaded for the ratings on a 1500.

Also consider that tow ratings are not just how much "weight" the engine can handle. It's in consideration of the suspension capacity, the transmission, the axles, the brakes, frame size, etc. More power with "tunes" etc just means it's easier to get it rolling. It does not mean the vehicle can handle it. In actuality, more power in to a transmission that isn't rated for the towed weight is just going to reduce it's service life dramatically. The last place you want to find out the brakes aren't rated for the weight is brake fade going down a long steep hill. Overweighted suspension unloads the steering wheels (ie:front) and makes it squirrelly handling and can lead to trailer sway and rear suspension sag. Wd hitches can help this, but overloaded is overloaded....

Lastly, if you get scaled (ie: weighed) and you're over the weight rating on the door placard, the enforcement agency isn't going to care if you've modified the vehicle. You're overweight and they just might make you sit there until you can make it weigh within the tow vehicles weight rating.

I've seen it happen in British Columbia; big trailers behind 3/4 tons sitting by the side of the road because the RCMP won't let them proceed due to over weight. I've had to go get a friends travel trailer out there once because they wouldn't let him go with his 1/2 ton.....mine is a 3/4 ton diesel rated for a 10,000lb trailer....it will haul way more than that, but thats the oem rating.
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