First of all, my hat is off to those of you who understand all this stuff and who take the time to explain it. I am trying to learn and want to see if I am getting it right. I would like to get a ballpark on the capability of my 2008 Yukon Denali to tow a larger trailer. We currently have a 17 ft. Jayco featherlight, with the tent beds on each end, but want to move to a trailer with a walk around bed and more amenities, hopefully without changing our TV. I used the calculator in Changing Gears that was referenced in some of the threads. I read the manual for the car, and got the numbers off the door plates as explained in the manual. I also have the original window sticker from the car. Using these sources, I came up with the following information:
This is the short version of the Denali,not the XL. It is an AWD vehicle, with a 6.2 V8, and axle ratio of 3.42. It has self leveling rear shocks and autoride suspension.
Max trailer weight 7,900
GAWR 3550 front, 4100 rear
MVCW 1375 (found on door of car)
Max tongue weight (from manual) 600 lbs with weight carrying hitch, 1000 lbs with weight distributing hitch [ we plan to purchase the latter)
Putting this info into the Changing Gears calculator, I come up with Max. trailer weight of 6,900 lbs, but only 5,520 if I use the 20% safety margin. Please confirm that this is the number I should use for the LOADED trailer - not the dry weight of the trailer. Right? Thus, if there is going to be 1000 lbs of gear/propane/water in the trailer, then the trailer itself should only weigh 4,520 lbs, if abiding by the 20% safety rule. Right?
I understand that the dry trailer weight listed in the Rockwood trailer brochure may be/probably is less than the actual weight of the trailer. Can I trust the number posted on the door of the actual unit is a pretty accurate dry weight - provided the dealer hasn't added any items?
What about the weight of the hitch? Is it counted as part of the trailer load in making this calculation? Or is it counted as part of the additional weight that the car carries?
The Changing Gear calculator also says that the max. tongue weight (assuming the tongue weight is 12% of trailer weight) is 828 lbs, but if using the 20% margin, it is 662 lbs. Am I right that this is simply a calculation based on the maximum trailer weight @ 12%?
Finally, I am confused by the MVCW number of 1325, found on the door of the car. Based on what it says in the car manual, this appears to be the maximum amount of weight you can put in the car itself. If so, and if the passengers and dog weigh 535 lbs, that only leaves 840 lbs of additional weight that the car can carry. Does the weight of the gasoline, and the hitch weight come out of this number? How about the tongue weight? Do I subtract it from this number? If so, it seems like we won't be able to carry anything in the car if we are pulling a trailer, and that we should go on diets and get a smaller dog!
Put it all together and it looks like to me that we need to consider something smaller than the 2604 Rockwood Ultralite that we fell in love with that has a dry weight posted on the door of about 5800 lbs. Either that, or get a different TV.
I really appreciate your guidance in understanding these numbers.