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Old 05-11-2012, 08:00 AM   #1
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Upgrading to a new Silverback, or not.

We are looking at upgrading from our current 2005 Sandpiper 27RKSS to a new 2012 Silverback 29RE. I have been trying to do my due diligence and here are the numbers as best as I have been able to determine:

2012 Silverback:
GVRW 13615
Dry weight 9790
Pin weight dry 1615, 16.5% of trailer dry weight.
Since we are retired and have learned to travel light we carry only about 500 pounds of “stuff” in the trailer, which should result in a weight of about 10290 and a pin weight of about 1700 pounds.

The tow vehicle is a 2011 Ford F-250 6.2 L gasser with 4.30 rear and GVRW of 10,000 pounds.
The door sticker tells me I have 2930 pounds max cargo weight. Reducing that be 700 pounds for the passengers, hitch and rails, and other cargo we are left with 2230 pounds of available weight. Minus the pin weight leaves only 530 pounds.
The truck’s GCWR is listed as 22,000. The above situation gives me 19760 or about 90% of the GCWR.

So, am I playing this too close to the edge? I know we have all seen smaller trucks towing bigger trailers and, of course, the salesman says “no problem, that’s what I tow myself” but I want to be safe and not spend the next several years "white knuckling" my way down the road.

It would be nice if we could take a prospective camper on a test drive like we do with a new truck. It always scares me to think I won't really know how a new trailer will handle until after I've spent more money on it then I spent for my house!
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:32 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by N3HCP View Post
So, am I playing this too close to the edge? I know we have all seen smaller trucks towing bigger trailers and, of course, the salesman says “no problem, that’s what I tow myself” but I want to be safe and not spend the next several years "white knuckling" my way down the road.

It would be nice if we could take a prospective camper on a test drive like we do with a new truck. It always scares me to think I won't really know how a new trailer will handle until after I've spent more money on it then I spent for my house!
I certainly agree with THAT!

When I do this "due diligence" thing on a new camper it is hard to anticipate what the camper is actually going to weight when it is loaded for camping.

As many who have happily hauled giant campers with severely undersized tow vehicles have discovered, the first trip across the scales is a shock.

When asked for advice the best way to decide if a camper is right for you is to look at the "worst case" loading (especially if you are retired and plan to either "full" or "most" time with it). So based on the GVWR of the camper, the required min/max pin load can vary from 15% to 25% of camper weight.

At a GVWR of 13615, that makes the minimum safe pin weight (15%) 2042 pounds; at the optimum distribution (20%) the truck will need to carry 2723 pounds; at the max end of the scale (25%) the truck would need an available payload of 3404 pounds.

Using the "DRY" weight and DRY pin weight you got 16.5% That is "light on the pin" loading but clearly in the safe zone. If you managed to achieve this distribution at your max weight, your pin would be 2246 pounds.

With your available payload number of 2230 pounds, you would be right at your max GVWR loaded at 16.5% Gross to pin.

Obviously, if you kept your camper loaded less than the max weight, your loading options become more flexible.

Did that help?
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:35 AM   #3
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Sure hope it works out-got our 29RE a couple months ago and love it. We pull it with a F250 but its a diesel without any problems.
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:43 AM   #4
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Sure hope it works out-got our 29RE a couple months ago and love it. We pull it with a F250 but its a diesel without any problems.
Pulling was not his question. Carrying was.
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:58 AM   #5
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Too much for a gas motor. Cedar Creeks are notorious for being heavy. Dry numbers are meaningless. My 34CKTS has a GVWR of 13,750 a dry pin of 1650. I have a scaled pin of over 3000 and a traveling weight of 13,500. For that trailer you will need a 1 ton truck preferably a diesel to be even close to a good match.
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Old 05-11-2012, 04:36 PM   #6
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Thanks to all for the input!!

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Originally Posted by donn View Post
Too much for a gas motor. Cedar Creeks are notorious for being heavy. Dry numbers are meaningless. My 34CKTS has a GVWR of 13,750 a dry pin of 1650. I have a scaled pin of over 3000 and a traveling weight of 13,500. For that trailer you will need a 1 ton truck preferably a diesel to be even close to a good match.
Surprisingly, the new 6.2 L gas motor has almost as much power as the 6.0 diesel it replaced. We've seen no real difference towing our Sandpiper between the old 6.0 and the new gasser and we've put about 3500 towing miles on it so far.

As to the meaningless of the trailer numbers, yes, I've heard that before. What surprises me is that a company like Forest River would knowingly under estimate the weights, knowing that they might be leaving themselves open to major law suits in the event of an accident where weight was determined to be a factor.

Quote:
When asked for advice the best way to decide if a camper is right for you is to look at the "worst case" loading (especially if you are retired and plan to either "full" or "most" time with it). So based on the GVWR of the camper, the required min/max pin load can vary from 15% to 25% of camper weight.
I kind of hadn't thought of it that way. Yes we're retired but obligations around home like serving with the Honor Guard at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, volunteering with the food bank, other volunteer activities, etc. means our trips are limited to 2 to 4 weeks at a time. As a result we don't need to carry a lot of stuff. We can keep the camper cargo weight to a minimum.

I know ultimately this is a decision I have to make and live with. Luckily, the dealer has graciously agreed to a "test pull" sometime next week so I can get a feel for how the truck will handle the larger trailer. If handling, acceleration and, most importantly, breaking, are all good I think we are leaning toward pulling the trigger...with the understanding that we will continually need to monitor the weight issues and make periodic trips to the scales.
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:54 PM   #7
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Whoa there cowboy;

Quote:
Originally Posted by N3HCP View Post
What surprises me is that a company like Forest River would knowingly under estimate the weights, knowing that they might be leaving themselves open to major law suits in the event of an accident where weight was determined to be a factor.
The brochure weight ("DRY") is the weight of a "standard" camper of that model. It has no factory or dealer installed options. The "DRY" pin weight is the pin loading of that "DRY" camper. It will give you an estimate of "how heavy on the pin" a particular design is. You will only have so much wiggle room with your cargo to adjust pin load and keep it in the safe range.


A camper with a "DRY" pin that is above 20% of DRY weight will give you an idea that there is a lot of weight forward of the wheels. A "DRY" pin less than 20% will give you an idea that the camper is "light on the pin" and would be more appropriate to a lighter truck (all other specs being equal). Having a large slide forward of the wheels for example would take more truck to carry it than a camper with a large slide aft of the wheels.


The "AS BUILT" weight is actually printed on a yellow tag somewhere on the camper. This is the actual weight with all factory installed options (like air conditioner, ladder, awning, etc). It is the "Out the Door" weight and the sticker has that weight and your payload remaining. If you add those two numbers together you will get the GVWR of the camper. See Photo

NOTE: Any options that are installed at the dealer WILL NOT be on the sticker.

YOU have control of the payload. Mods you do and stuff you carry either subtracts (most likely) or adds (like ripping out the sofa) from your remaining payload.

Quote:
Originally Posted by N3HCP View Post
If handling, acceleration and, most importantly, breaking, are all good I think we are leaning toward pulling the trigger...with the understanding that we will continually need to monitor the weight issues and make periodic trips to the scales.
You will find the camper will pull just fine. The numbers show that.
It IS empty, of course.

Your very first trip should be to the scales before you put a pound in it. Do the 2 weigh ticket procedure (hitched and unhitched weights by axle).

Load 'er up as you plan to camp and do it again. You want to feel sure you have a good handle on the weight and balance of your camper.
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Old 05-12-2012, 12:42 PM   #8
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OK...we just got home from a trip to the RV dealer. I found the famous yellow tag and the actual weight of the camper is listed as 10273.

Using the 16.5% figure determined from the spec sheet and adding 500 pounds of cargo we get a weight of 10773, rounded up to 11K that gives a pin weight of 1815. Truck's cargo capacity of 2930 - 700 pounds of people and stuff leaves 2230. Minus 1815 leaves 415 pounds still available on the truck.

The VCGW would then be somewhere around 20600 pounds out of our allowable 22000. No where near the illusive 20% safety margin I would like to have, but within, I hope, safe limits.

Thoughts??
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Old 05-12-2012, 01:19 PM   #9
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Interesting follow-up

After crunching all these numbers, I decided to go back and see how close to the edge we were with our old 2005 F-250 6.0 L diesel that we towed our Sandpiper with for 5 years before getting the 2011 gasser. Turns out, we were over the trucks GVW by about 10 pounds and right there on the GCVW. Who knew? We bought them at the same time and both the Ford dealer and the camper dealer said "no problem, your good to go"!!

This has been an education, to say the least!!

Thanks again for the helpful input!!
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Old 05-12-2012, 02:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N3HCP View Post
OK...we just got home from a trip to the RV dealer. I found the famous yellow tag and the actual weight of the camper is listed as 10273.

Using the 16.5% figure determined from the spec sheet and adding 500 pounds of cargo we get a weight of 10773, rounded up to 11K that gives a pin weight of 1815. Truck's cargo capacity of 2930 - 700 pounds of people and stuff leaves 2230. Minus 1815 leaves 415 pounds still available on the truck.

The VCGW would then be somewhere around 20600 pounds out of our allowable 22000. No where near the illusive 20% safety margin I would like to have, but within, I hope, safe limits.

Thoughts??
Just two, remember 16.5% is not what you will get (except by accident) when you actually load it. You will only find out that actual number when you scale it.

If your camper is like mine, 90% of your storage is forward of the wheels. and maybe half of that will wind up on the pin.

and

500 pounds of gear is not very much stuff.
(I think my tool box weighs that )

Another member here thought he was just fine and when he weighed it found out he was overloaded by over 1000 pounds.
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