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Old 03-19-2013, 07:45 PM   #1
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Towing capacity question...our first post

We are newbies and this is our first post. So not really sure we are doing this right.
At any rate our question is...We have a 2002 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 5.3 liter extended cab with 3.73 axle ratio. We just purchased a 2013 Rockwood Ultra Lite 2703ss travel trailer with a weight of 6100 lbs. It has two opposing slides at the rear of the trailer and the hitch weight is only 440 lbs. From everything we have been able to find out from these forums is that the hitch weight is very light. Most hitch weights are much heavier. Our truck dealer has told us that we have a 7500-7900 lb. towing capacity. The TT dealer is installing a weight distribution hitch which is supposed to help with any sway problems. We believe we can tow it but we want to know we are doing it safely and worry also about those mountain roads. Any comments or advice out there would be much appreciated.

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Old 03-19-2013, 08:38 PM   #2
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Do you have a sticker anywhere that tells you what the "gross vehicle weight rating" (GVWR) of your truck is? Or possibly one that says how much weight you can carry for occupants and all cargo? You're, unfortunately, before the stickers were made mandatory. Check the door jambs and possibly the glove box. You might also be able to email the manufacturer with your vin and find out.

What you really need to know is what is the difference between the truck's maximum amount it can carry and what you commonly carry in it (you, all passengers, weigh distributing hitch, stuff in the truck and stuff in the truck bed). That difference will tell you how much tongue weight you can carry and normally, with 1/2-ton trucks, that is the limiting factor for towing. The best thing you can do is to load up the truck like you're going camping and then hit the nearest scale (truck stop/CAT scale, quarry, dump, etc.) to find out your true weight.

Realistically, unless the truck dealer intimately knows you, your family and your packing styles- his word is generally a best case scenario. Finding the GVWR minus the actual weight of your truck is the only true way to find out if you'll be within your ratings or not.

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Old 03-19-2013, 08:54 PM   #3
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I looked up the spec on the FR site and didn't see it listed. Perhaps the 2703SS is same as the 2703WS without the wardrobe slide and is no longer offered.

If the listed tongue weight is only 440 lbs that would be without propane or batteries which would increase it. Ideally you want about 12-13% tongue weight of the loaded camper weight. Your camper will probably be in the 7300 lb range and therefore tongue weight should be 875 - 950 lbs. Some of this weight will have to be accomplished by the way you load the camper...some heavier items towards the front under the bed and the front pass through.

Hopefully the dealer is installing a W/D hitch with integrated sway control like Equal-i-zer or Reese dual cam.

Between the total camper weight and tongue weight, you're nearing the limits of your truck. You need to make sure that the W/D is set-up properly to achieve the desired weight distribution and sway control.


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Old 03-19-2013, 09:12 PM   #4
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FR's website shows a 2703WS, not a 2703SS. probably the same model.

you'll be at the max of your truck's capacity, when loaded.
at 32' and only a CCC of 1438lbs.(about 400lbs. of that will be lost to the weight of options not in the "dry" weight number), you'll easily be at the trailer's GVWR of 7621lbs. and near the max of the truck.

that's a lot of trailer for just a 1/2 pickup.
i tow a 25' HTT with a loaded weight of around 5000lbs., with an Avalanche with the same engine and rear end.
i wouldn't tow anything over 6000lbs. loaded and 27' long.
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and Zoe the Wonder Dog(R.I.P.)
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:34 PM   #5
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We pulled an 08 Flagstaff 831RLSS well over 25,000 miles with an 05 Silverado 5.3l Extended cab and a 3.21 rear end. Never had any problems whatsoever. Went thru the Smoky Mountains from Concord to MO, AR, IL numerous times and no problems. Did have dual friction EZ Lift sway bars, but as for the load on the rear of the truck, when we set the bars, we were within 1/4" of the unhitched ride height both front & rear.
With a 3.73 rear end, you should be able to pull it just fine. Just make sure you have sway control either dual friction type or the built in kind.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:40 PM   #6
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You should be fine as long as you don't fill up the truck bed and trailer with 1,000 lbs of stuff.

You will probably want to get a 3/4 ton with a 6 spd tranny after a few trips.


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Old 03-20-2013, 04:37 PM   #7
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2703SS Rockwood Travel Trailer 2013 (it is the same as 2703WS minus the wardrobe which adds the extra weight)
2002 GMC 1500 Sierra 5.3L extended cab with 3.73 axle ratio

Just wanted to thank you all for your replies and information. It was very helpful and gives us some more things to check out. We pick up the trailer on Monday so that will give us an indication of where we are at minus the cargo for traveling. We are getting an Equalizer WDH and we are counting on the TT dealer to know which one is the best for our situation. Someone in one of the forums mentioned wheel alignment being important. Should we have them check this before we leave the dealer?

A new truck would be ideal but may have to wait for a while. We will let you know how our trip home on Monday goes. Thanks again...Happy Camping All!!
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:47 PM   #8
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You have gotten some good advice from both the"OLDCOOT" and Dave_Monica. I know these 2 guy's know what they are talking about. I said this before Dave is the real Guru on towing. This man looks up everything.....
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:36 PM   #9
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We are so glad we became members of the forum. Your advice was so helpful and confirmed our concerns about towing with our half ton GMC.
We began looking at our local dealerships for a diesel rig and we found a really nice 2004 Dodge 3500 5.9 diesel quadcab with low miles. We really weren't looking for a long box but we couldn't turn down this deal. It has so much power, we are going to have to be careful to keep at the speed limits. It wants to get out and go!!!! We traded our little GMC for this big guy and feel we made the right decision. We now have the confidence that towing the Rockwood 2703SS will not be a problem. Thanks again for all your input.
We are now...

2004 Dodge 3500 5.9 diesel quadcab (like new)
2013 Rockwood 2703SS ultra lite TT
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:41 PM   #10
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Congrats! Sounds most excellent!

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