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Old 12-12-2012, 03:17 PM   #1
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New Member / Towing Question / 233s Purchase

Greetings Everyone!

You all have been so very helpful these past few weeks and you probably didnt even know it. I am on the hunt for a HTT and have set my eyes on a 2013 233s model sitting on a retailers lot. I have gathered some data and could use some input from any or all who are willing to share.

We currently are pulling a 1996 Coleman Yukon popup with a 1999 Ford E150 conversion van. The tow has been a breeze albeit the braking has not been fun with the camper not having brakes. There is an art (and lots of patience) to pulling off drives w/o burning through pads every trip out. We like the space that a van offers compared to an SUV. We have been known to change diapers by laying our kids out as there is plenty of space in the van.

However, with the upgrade to an HTT I am little concerned that we will be right at the max of towing capacity and could be throwing out ballast when we climb those mtn highways riddled with switchbacks and 7% - 10% inclines/descents. According to my calculations we are right at the max and thats doing a trip with all the holding tanks empty and factoring in passengers/gear in the van.

Here is my data. Please look it over and fire off some responses. I have not factored in the rear axle ratio into any calculations. I have not done Axle Ratio 101 from all of your posts just yet. We would love to keep pulling in a van but also need to be realistic about this as an rv disaster youtube clip is not what I'm looking for! This is not how I want to get my 15 minutes of fame. I also would like to do a year or two of pulling with current TV and see how I like the slower drive and use that experience to help determine future TV.

Tow Vehicle
1999 Ford E-150 Conversion Van 5.4L
Unloaded Weight 5,860 (From Scale) (gas tank is full)
GVWR 7,000 (Vehicle Manual)
GCRW 12,000 (Vehicle Manual)
Towing Capacity 6,900 (Vehicle Manual)
Rear Axle Ratio 3.55 (Vehicle Manual)
Hitch 10,000/1000

Travel Trailer
Roo 233s (Retailer Website Info for 2013)
Dry Weight 4,093
Cargo Capacity 1,833
GVWR 5,964
Hitch Weight 565

Roo 233s (NADA Website Info for 2012 Model)
Dry Weight 4,351
Cargo Capacity 1,833
GVWR 6,184
Hitch Weight 647

Will be using Blue Ox WDS 1000

I have noticed that different sources give different numbers for the 233s (including same year and model). Talk about frustrating. Maybe others have noticed this. I have included pictures of my sources of data. I just got back from a CAT certified scale although it had a good couple of inches of snow on it. I was told that shouldnt throw off the numbers but am not sure I totally believe that.

Anyhow...thank you all.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:02 PM   #2
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1st of all, welcome to the forum !!!

Looks like you have done a lot of homework.....if only everybody would do that.

Call your local Ford dealer with your VIN. He should be able to tell you for sure what axle you have, as well as the tow capacity of your van. The vehicle manual is generic, and may not be accurate with your particular vehicle.

A couple of concerns here.

Does the van have the factory tow package ?? That would have included the hitch, 7 pin wiring connector and wiring harness, an auxiliary transmission cooler, and maybe an extra capacity alternator. The Ford dealer should be able to tell whether the van has the tow package.

The actual weight of the van is 5860 lbs. That leaves you 1140 lbs. before you reach the GVWR. Using the 2 listed tongue weights, the actual tongue weight might be in the 700 lb. range when the camper is loaded and ready to camp. Once you connect that to your va, you will have somewhere around 400 to 500 lbs left for passengers and gear in the van. Depending on kids and ages, that weight might be tough to stay under.

If indeed you keep the van weight to 7000 lbs., then the next concern would be the 12,000 lb. GCWR. It could be hard keeping the Roo weight to under 5000 lbs. or you will exceed the 12,000 lb. GCWR.

Another thing to check out is the hitch.....there should be a sticker on that stating the maximum weights.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:10 PM   #3
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"towing" something is never the problem" the issue is always stopping. You have your precious family in the van and pulling more than you can stop easily and safely endangers them.

Imagine your current set up, working your way down switchbacks and suddenly popped in front of you is a bull moose, or Grandma in her '60s Impalla from a hidden drive.

I'll throw another consideration your way - instead of a trailer, what about a class "C"? All of the room you want on the road - with the addition of the kiddos being able to sit at the dinette to play games, do crafts, read, watch movies AND no trailering hassles - when you arrive you are pretty much set up and ready, a bit of leveling - put out a slide - done!

We ended up with a motor home for those very reasons. Other advantages are huge storage instead of being limited, and potty stops. Instead of having to find a decent public washroom or a place to pull off long enough for the trailer, we never have to leave the vehicle.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Susan View Post
"towing" something is never the problem" the issue is always stopping. You have your precious family in the van and pulling more than you can stop easily and safely endangers them.

Imagine your current set up, working your way down switchbacks and suddenly popped in front of you is a bull moose, or Grandma in her '60s Impalla from a hidden drive.

I'll throw another consideration your way - instead of a trailer, what about a class "C"? All of the room you want on the road - with the addition of the kiddos being able to sit at the dinette to play games, do crafts, read, watch movies AND no trailering hassles - when you arrive you are pretty much set up and ready, a bit of leveling - put out a slide - done!

We ended up with a motor home for those very reasons. Other advantages are huge storage instead of being limited, and potty stops. Instead of having to find a decent public washroom or a place to pull off long enough for the trailer, we never have to leave the vehicle.
I'm not sure I understand your concern for safety while towing and then recommend having unsecured passengers moving freely about a motorhome while in transit???

To the OP...did the vehicle weight of 5860 lbs include driver, passengers and any gear?

Dave
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dave_Monica View Post
I'm not sure I understand your concern for safety while towing and then recommend having unsecured passengers moving freely about a motorhome while in transit???

To the OP...did the vehicle weight of 5860 lbs include driver, passengers and any gear?

Dave
Sorry, re-reading what I wrote not sure I see where anyone was freely moving around the cabin while vehicle was in motion. There are seatbelts at the dinette. You don't have to find a really long place to pull over to accomodate a trailer to go potty and you don't have to exit the vehicle - means that a shorter overall class C can more easily find a spot to pull over.

Even so, a seriously underbraked rig is still more dangerous than a rig with approprate braking capability. Yes a panic stop is going to throw everything around in both instances, but without adequate brakes, jack-knife situtions and roll overs are far more likely.

I should have added that you don't have to kneel on the van floor to change diapers - nice tables and beds and couches already installed and a pack n play fits!
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by WarMovies View Post
Greetings Everyone!

You all have been so very helpful these past few weeks and you probably didnt even know it. I am on the hunt for a HTT and have set my eyes on a 2013 233s model sitting on a retailers lot. I have gathered some data and could use some input from any or all who are willing to share.

We currently are pulling a 1996 Coleman Yukon popup with a 1999 Ford E150 conversion van. The tow has been a breeze albeit the braking has not been fun with the camper not having brakes. There is an art (and lots of patience) to pulling off drives w/o burning through pads every trip out. We like the space that a van offers compared to an SUV. We have been known to change diapers by laying our kids out as there is plenty of space in the van.

However, with the upgrade to an HTT I am little concerned that we will be right at the max of towing capacity and could be throwing out ballast when we climb those mtn highways riddled with switchbacks and 7% - 10% inclines/descents. According to my calculations we are right at the max and thats doing a trip with all the holding tanks empty and factoring in passengers/gear in the van.

Here is my data. Please look it over and fire off some responses. I have not factored in the rear axle ratio into any calculations. I have not done Axle Ratio 101 from all of your posts just yet. We would love to keep pulling in a van but also need to be realistic about this as an rv disaster youtube clip is not what I'm looking for! This is not how I want to get my 15 minutes of fame. I also would like to do a year or two of pulling with current TV and see how I like the slower drive and use that experience to help determine future TV.

Tow Vehicle
1999 Ford E-150 Conversion Van 5.4L
Unloaded Weight 5,860 (From Scale) (gas tank is full)
GVWR 7,000 (Vehicle Manual)
GCRW 12,000 (Vehicle Manual)
Towing Capacity 6,900 (Vehicle Manual)
Rear Axle Ratio 3.55 (Vehicle Manual)
Hitch 10,000/1000

Travel Trailer
Roo 233s (Retailer Website Info for 2013)
Dry Weight 4,093
Cargo Capacity 1,833
GVWR 5,964
Hitch Weight 565

Roo 233s (NADA Website Info for 2012 Model)
Dry Weight 4,351
Cargo Capacity 1,833
GVWR 6,184
Hitch Weight 647

Will be using Blue Ox WDS 1000

I have noticed that different sources give different numbers for the 233s (including same year and model). Talk about frustrating. Maybe others have noticed this. I have included pictures of my sources of data. I just got back from a CAT certified scale although it had a good couple of inches of snow on it. I was told that shouldnt throw off the numbers but am not sure I totally believe that.

Anyhow...thank you all.
JUST ME.... ALWAYS DO YOUR OWN MATH. Better to have safety and less stress with a comfortable ride than a white knuckle nightmare camping trip. keep you and your family safe and happy. Check out this link its an eye opener.

http://changingears.com/rv-sec-tow-v...l
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
1st of all, welcome to the forum !!!

Looks like you have done a lot of homework.....if only everybody would do that.

Call your local Ford dealer with your VIN. He should be able to tell you for sure what axle you have, as well as the tow capacity of your van. The vehicle manual is generic, and may not be accurate with your particular vehicle.

A couple of concerns here.

Does the van have the factory tow package ?? That would have included the hitch, 7 pin wiring connector and wiring harness, an auxiliary transmission cooler, and maybe an extra capacity alternator. The Ford dealer should be able to tell whether the van has the tow package.

The actual weight of the van is 5860 lbs. That leaves you 1140 lbs. before you reach the GVWR. Using the 2 listed tongue weights, the actual tongue weight might be in the 700 lb. range when the camper is loaded and ready to camp. Once you connect that to your va, you will have somewhere around 400 to 500 lbs left for passengers and gear in the van. Depending on kids and ages, that weight might be tough to stay under.

If indeed you keep the van weight to 7000 lbs., then the next concern would be the 12,000 lb. GCWR. It could be hard keeping the Roo weight to under 5000 lbs. or you will exceed the 12,000 lb. GCWR.

Another thing to check out is the hitch.....there should be a sticker on that stating the maximum weights.
Looks like I have more homework...great. Anything to keep me from Christmas shopping! Glad to be here btw. I am down quite a few hours of sleep as I have been scouring the forum for as much info I can get my hands on every night. Thank you all for what you have built here. Its an amazing resource.

1. Factory tow package. I'll check on it. I have a hitch on already. It was after factory. 500/5000. Too small. A seven pin connector is on and has been used with my popup. I will need to put on a new hitch and I have that lined up and ready to go. 1000/10,000. Brake control and Blue Ox going on as well.

2. The transmission cooler. I will have to look into that.

3. Extra capacity alternator. I have no idea. I will look into that as well Why this if I may ask?

4. Do you add the tongue weight to the GVWR of the van?

5. I agree that it would be a tight fit in terms of overall weight. My figures were bringing me close to the 12,000 and that wasnt including tongue weight. The only way to know for sure would be to load it up and get it weighed. If I use the gear I have for camping now (and no more) thats doable. What I would like to accompish is to see how well the van does with the bigger camper. It seems to me that I'm right at the limit. Limits are there for a reason. But then there is no rule that says you need to keep X amount of lbs away from that limit either...or is there? I will be replacing my TV in a couple of years at most and want to determine if I need/want a bigger rig and need to move away from the idea of replacing my van with a new van and instead going down the truck route. I want to see where I'm at in terms of limit and make sure I'm not missing something and I would love to get input from others who may be towing a 233s or HTT with a van like mine.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Susan View Post
"towing" something is never the problem" the issue is always stopping. You have your precious family in the van and pulling more than you can stop easily and safely endangers them.

Imagine your current set up, working your way down switchbacks and suddenly popped in front of you is a bull moose, or Grandma in her '60s Impalla from a hidden drive.

I'll throw another consideration your way - instead of a trailer, what about a class "C"? All of the room you want on the road - with the addition of the kiddos being able to sit at the dinette to play games, do crafts, read, watch movies AND no trailering hassles - when you arrive you are pretty much set up and ready, a bit of leveling - put out a slide - done!

We ended up with a motor home for those very reasons. Other advantages are huge storage instead of being limited, and potty stops. Instead of having to find a decent public washroom or a place to pull off long enough for the trailer, we never have to leave the vehicle.
Susan I totally agree with you that stopping is the issue and not the towing. With current TV listed here I have been towing popup that is 1,700 lbs empty and at least 2,000 lbs with gear...and NO BRAKES! After 11 years of towing it I am amazed Coleman didnt put brakes on the campers this size. I believe a couple years after they made my model they started putting them on ones my size.

Towing this popup has never been an issue. After a few hours I forget she's even back there. Now coming down mtns is a different matter. I've had to learn how to drive w/o using the brakes above 25-30 mph. Put her in low gear..take an hour dose of patience..and enjoy the scenery..coughs..I mean keep my eyes on the road.

This past summer I did six trips up and six trips down some of the steepest roads out west with the popup. When I started the trip my brake pads were at 80%. After 4,000 miles my pads were at 55%. Thats with a trailer (2,000 lbs) with no brakes. Its all about patience, keeping the speed low, and dont ride those brakes. With a heavier trailer there is no doubt that its a different ball game.

I also appreciate your love of the Class C. Thats all I knew until I was an adult. I slept in a drawer in the camper (April) when I was a couple weeks old. There is something that I fell in love with though with tenting and the slide outs of the popup. I dont want to go back to that barrier between myself and the outside.

I also have a budget and limited storage space on the side of the house. Oh..and if I did get a Class C I'm pretty sure the wife would say...fine...but were not buying another vehicle so you can get to work...looks like you'll have to bike it to work!
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dave_Monica View Post

To the OP...did the vehicle weight of 5860 lbs include driver, passengers and any gear?

Dave
OP? I'm new to this Dave. I hope you mean Original Poster.

5,860 includes a full tank of gas and thats it.

Brad
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:45 AM   #10
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WarMovies, your van, with the factory tow package, should be able to tow the 233S, even with the 3.55 rear end ratio.
sounds like the van didn't come with the factory tow package, since you seem to have added the hitch receiver and the 7-pin connecter.
usually a factory tow package has those, along with pre-wiring for brake controller, a towing rear end ratio(such as 3.73), transmission cooler and sometimes a tow/haul transmission feature.

by adding a tranny cooler and not overloading the van, you should be fine pulling the 233S.

be sure to check out the 233S posts in the Expandable/Hybrid section here at FRF. there is a Roo sub-forum and Shamrock sub-forum with lots of 233S owners' posts in each, since they are twin brands.
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