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Old 03-06-2013, 09:18 PM   #51
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We have a 2010 Armada and pull a 2013 FR Wildwood 26TBSS which had a sticker weight of about 5900lbs. Length of about 28 feet. It seems like the max I could tow comfortably. If you are buying a trailer any longer, I would buy a ProPride hitch at the same time. Something to help you control away and swing with the short wheelbase of the Armada (short compared to a full size truck).

With that said, we pulled from Kansas City to Leadville, Colorado and back last summer. Didn't really notice to much pull or sway crossing the windy Midwest. I'm a slow puller though. Never breaking 65 to help with mileage and to reduce the white knuckle effect of cruising with 40+ feet of vehicle with little to no experience.

The 26TBSS has a triple bunk, a big slide out and fits us (two young boys, a black lab, the DW and myself) just fine. But to be honest, I'd love something bigger! But that is just because it would have more of the "home comforts".
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:38 AM   #52
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Welllll

I spoke with our dealer and told him about my concerns regarding my GCWR and explained to him that I was not comfortable exceeding that. I asked him to cancel our order for the Coachmen 320BHDS.


We are investigating the Keystone Premier 31BHPR. It is not a hybrid or expandable and at 31 feet it is a bit long for my wheelbase, but it fits our family needs pretty well.


90% of our trips will be within five hours of Chicago, so we will not be getting a lot of mountains.


This unit would give me about a 20% buffer on my tow capacity and about a 15% buffer on my GCWR.


Those are numbers that I'm comfortable with
I will be interested to hear how you like the Premier. We looked at it as well, though the only local dealer who would get one was about 7K higher than the Coachmen we bought, so we crossed it off the list fairly quickly. I did like the full color paint options you can get.

As has been stated, that is really not much smaller. Overall length is pretty close and I would be surprised if you under 8500 lbs loaded.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:36 AM   #53
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I agree with everything that you guys are saying. The dry weight of the camper is 6400 pounds and if I had 1000 pounds in gear, propane, batteries, etc. I should be about 7400 pounds, which is 18% below my max tow capacity.

I agree that the length is a bit of an issue and intend to buy the pro pride hitch as a way to offset that.




I have not bought it yet And if I cannot get the same kind of discount, we will look for other options. I was able to negotiate a 38% discount off of list price on the Coachmen ($39,500 list / $24,600 buy) and hope to do the same for the Keystone. If not, we will start the process over :-)




The net net is I am willing to take a little bit of a risk with the longer camper so that we can get the space that my wife really really wants.
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Old 03-07-2013, 12:00 PM   #54
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We are investigating the Keystone Premier 31BHPR.
FWIW, that camper has only one 30 gal gray tank. If you're camping at nothing but full hookups, it's not an issue. Without hookups, you'd be filling that fast with a family of five...black tank also.

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Old 03-07-2013, 12:27 PM   #55
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I tow the 292BHDS (non Liberty) with my F150. It has 1500 payload and 8800lbs towing capacity.

My tongue weight is about 950lbs and GVW of TT is 7300lbs, this is loaded for camping with me, wifey, 2 kids ( 9yo) & a German Shepard, and no food as I weighed on the way home from a weekend trip.
The key is proper weight distribution set up and a GOOD anti sway system. I use the Husky Centerline which does a great job with sway, but the setup plays a bigger factor.

Another thing you may want to do is replace the shocks, as the factory shocks on crew cabs tend to favour a more comfort based ride instead of load dampening ride.
I swapped with Bilstein 5100's and the slight porpoising I was experiencing went away over bumps and expansion joints etc.

Once you get the WD dialed in, you should have no problems pulling a 292BHDS.
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:23 PM   #56
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The net net is I am willing to take a little bit of a risk with the longer camper so that we can get the space that my wife really really wants.
My conscious isn't letting my ignore this.

First of all, I commend you for coming onto the forum and asking the questions of 'am I safe to tow this with that'. However it seems that you have some 'tunnel-vision' when it comes to the feedback that you're receiving. We're at 6 pages of posts without anyone endorsing what you want to do. The alternatives you ask for feedback on are little if any improvement.

You haven't indicated, but I assume that you're a newbie RVer that's going to make the classic mistaken of too much camper for the tow vehicle...too much tongue/total weight, too long. Perhaps you've had some towing experience, but towing a high profile camper isn't anything like a boat or flat-bed trailer.

When you say risk that you'll accept, I hope that you understand what that risk is. I don't want to be an alarmist, but this reminds me of a tragedy back in 2008 of a local family towing to Myrtle Beach with Dodge Durango and a 34' camper on I77 in Virginia. Reports say that the camper started swaying causing loss of control and they crossed the median into a oncoming tractor-trailer. Two daughters in the family of five survived. The driver made his living driving, so lots of experience.

Is the combo you talking about an accident waiting to happen? Perhaps not, but understand that the risk is much higher than with a longer wheelbase TV or shorter camper.

I'm getting off the soapbox now...

Dave
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:29 PM   #57
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I'm with Dave on this.
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:47 PM   #58
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I'm with Dave on this.
+1
I know the land in the midwest is flat and your TV has the horses to pull the camper just fine. Your TV is a beast, with a short wheel base. The midwest is also very very windy. You have to take the safety of your family and family friends you will have with you when towing your TT. You will have some serious tail wag with that long of a camper and a short wheel base. My guess is you will not enjoy the expreience at all. Maybe the dealer will allow you to test the TT and tow it on the highway?
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:01 PM   #59
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Thank heavens you learned the REAL facts before moving ahead with this purchase. My previous TV was an 08 F-150 XLT and our family was going to purchase a 32BHDS. We fell in love with the floorplan etc. However, once I ran the numbers I quickly realized there was NO WAY I'd safely be able to haul it with my truck. In the end we decided to go with a Catalina 28BHS, which has served us well.

However, even a 28BHS Catalina will be too much for your Armada.

Suffice to say, run the numbers BEFORE you buy. It doesn't matter if your trips are 'only closeby', or 'in flat areas'. Should you ever get involved in an accident and you are over ratings, it's going to be a nightmare.

Don't despair though, there are lots of BH models out there and you will find the model appropriate for your TV if you search.

Good on you for coming to a place like this and getting the real deal. Some of these dealers should be ashamed of themselves.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:15 AM   #60
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I do appreciate all the feedback and yes, this will be my first camper. We have not bought anything yet, although there are some floor plans we love, which makes it emotionally difficult to scale back.

The part that makes me feel good is the fact that we cancelled to 320BHDS order because of all the feedback on the thread. Now we just need to look at more models and try to find a bunkhouse floor plan that fits our needs and is safe to tow.


I do have a little tunnel vision and I appreciate the honest feedback.


Sincerely,
Rick
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