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Old 10-16-2013, 08:37 PM   #1
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Talking New to Prime Time and looking for advice!

Hi all we are new to this forum but long time camper. We have camped for many years and have just sold our old Jayco TT and are ready to up grade. We are looking at buying in late Jan or early Feb at the Novi MARVAC Spring RV show. We wanted to pick the brains of the forum experts and do this right. Sorry don’t trust sales men!

I am the kind of guy that likes to do his research before buying anything major. We have been told to pick the trailer then buy the truck and that’s what we are looking at doing? I want to make sure that the truck I purchase will safely haul my family and the trailer I am looking at.

We have narrowed down our search to the Crusader 335BHS we have spent the last year reading forums including Prime Times, hitting just about every RV show in Michigan.

I wanted to get some advice from the forum!

Would I be ok to pull the 335BHS with a 3/4 ton 4x4 Crew Cab gas?
I am thinking Chevy (used)

Since we are a younger family and only get 4 weeks vacation a year we wont be making many trips out side of the great lakes region.
I am open to Diesel also..

I know payload is the focus point and I will be hauling me and my four girls with my two dogs German Short Hair and German Shepard camping....

Also the only RV dealer that carries the 335BHS is General RV and I have not read many good things about them and have even asked a few of the 335BHS owners on this forum in personal messages if they have had issues with General RV. General RV tells me I can pull the 335BHS all day with a 3/4 ton gas truck?

Thanks in advance for any advice or input.
We all have to learn somehow…..

Ted and Michele
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:14 PM   #2
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You're right- payload going to be your single biggest factor. Given the specs on the PTM Crusader site, the 335BHS has a dry hitch weight of 1,657 and a dry weight of 9,751 pounds. That works out to approximately 17% which is important as you can then use it for some calculations figuring what your wet weights will be.

The camper has 2,270 pounds of total cargo carrying capacity. My bet is you'll use most every last pound. First in options that are order with the camper and then in the gear for a family of 6 + 2 dogs. Don't forget that even minimal water in any/all of the tanks has to be added to that. So, a possible case scenario - you're looking at 17% of the trailer's gross weight (dry weight + cargo carrying capacity) which is just over 12,000 pounds gives you a likely pin/hitch weight of 2,050 pounds. Truth be told, I saw my pin weight percentage increase by about 1 1/2% when I was loaded for bear which means, it's not out of the realm of possibility that you would see a pin weight of 2,225 pounds.

Now, to stay within all of your trucks ratings- it has to be able to carry:
- the weight of the truck
- the weight of the driver and all occupants (including dogs, if they ride in the cab or truck bed)
- the weight of traveling activities (for the kids), snacks, drinks, etc. that make traveling comfortable
- car/booster seats
- the weight of the hitch itself
- and anything else that you might add onto/into the truck (firewood, bikes, toys, bed cover, etc.)

You can make a safe estimate of your family's weights (pad for growing kids somewhat), pet weights, maybe 150-250 pounds for a hitch installed and then best guess anything else you might carry.

For my family of 4, with no pets (but 2 overweight adults), our traveling crap and goodies added onto the truck - we eat up about 1,200 pounds of our payload capacity before we hitch up.

Then you can decide if you're going to find a 3/4-ton truck that fits those numbers. My gut guess- you'll be over. Are you willing to go over? If you're going to end up over, what kind of experience do you have towing heavy weights, with trucks in general, etc. Again, I'm different than you- but I'm not willing to tow over my ratings.
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:33 PM   #3
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Hey Ted & Michelle,

Small world - also from SE Michigan, have a Crusader 335BHS, purchased from General RV. First - the 335 is a great camper! You'll be very happy with it.

Secondly - I agree with Ependydad, you'll really need to watch your weights. With you, four girls, two dogs, and all the 'junk' that ends up with you, you'll really be pushing a 3/4 ton gasser. I pull mine with a 2011 F350 diesel (payload, 3500 lbs per yellow sticker) - pulls great! It's me, the wife, 2 kids in the truck, along with a 50g auxiliary diesel tank in the bed plus a Pullrite Superglide hitch. Please don't listen to what the sales dorks at General RV (or anywhere else) tell you, do your homework! Once it's off their lot, it's your problem. If you're buying a truck to pull a 38' 11-12,000 lb or so loaded to camp fiver, do yourself a favor and just get the one ton diesel. You'll be much happier in the long run and won't be back on one of these forums asking about air bags and extra springs...

We've purchased 3 rv's from General RV in Wixom. It's like buying a car (or truck), do your research ahead of time - know what you want and what you should pay. Triple check all the paperwork, and make sure it's all in writing. And, hope that you don't need service because it can take a long time with them. Fortunately, I haven't needed to take our 335 back for any issues.

PM me with any questions.

Good Luck
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:08 PM   #4
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I have the Crusader 320rlt great unit.
We pull it with a 3/4 deisel silverado.
I had a 6.0 gaser a few years back, wit a 7000lb 5th.
That sucked the gas at 28 liters per 100 klms.
You don't get far till fill time again.
Have a look, chev's have small tanks, 98 liters.

With the diesel I get about 18/19 liters per 100 klms pulling the Crusader 320.
My Silverado pulls the trailer no problem, hills or not.

Get the diesel, for the extra dollars as opposed to gas its worth it.

John
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:46 PM   #5
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hello OP since you are just starting our search for a truck I suggest you look at Ram, GM & ford with an eye towards seating and interior space - with driver 4 girls and 2 dogs cab space may be at a premium
- as for gas engines any one will do - I know my gm 6.0 is thirsty but can pull all day as long as I keep it fed
IMHO what you do get over diesel is a little extra payload with the gas engine in trade for the torque.
if it was my dollars I would try and find a diesel 3500 dually mega cab to match up with that trailer
happy shopping
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
if it was my dollars I would try and find a diesel 3500 dually mega cab to match up with that trailer happy shopping
Sadly, unless it's a '13 Ram MegaCab, the prior years' ratings (GVWR) are frightfully low.
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Old 10-18-2013, 07:19 AM   #7
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Ependydad thanks for the reply to my post and confirming the specs for me. As far as my family’s weight they are older, 17, 15 and 13 and all girls! (God help me, but that’s for another forum). From the numbers you post and I agree a ¾ ton would not “safely” pull the 335BHS in my situation. But it will come down to what I can find and like you stated my experience in pulling. Which is good, I was in the Army for 8 years and one of my two MOS I had was a 63S Heavy Weight Vehicle Mechanic. So I do have experience driving bigger trucks with trailers. But in the Army it was just me know I have my family, so I will keep you up to date on what I do. Thanks again and if you think of anything thing else I should know before buying please pass it along.
Ted
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Old 10-18-2013, 07:21 AM   #8
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Hockey Dad it is small what part of Michigan you from we are over in the Jackson area by MIS. As far as the 335 we feel we picked the correct camper for us. We have spent the last year looking and looking and to be honest we are tired of looking and researching and are ready to purchase. We had it narrowed down to the Keystone Laredo and the Cougar but felt the crusader had more to offer our family. Your statement about once it off the lot is my problem it so TRUE and that’s what I am trying to avoid so thanks for all the advice and if you think of anything thing else I should know before buying please pass it along.

Ted
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Old 10-18-2013, 12:32 PM   #9
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Ted - I grew up in Jackson, now the South Lyon area.

Three teenage girls !!! Good luck!

If you can, try to get one of the Touring Edition 335's - the added features are pretty nice: the auto-level is great once you figure it out (start nose down or level, not nose high!), the Lane furniture is comfortable, the built in vacuum actually is very useful and reaches then entire coach, the fireplace will heat the main living area. If you buy from General at one of the shows, they'll throw in a free 19" flatscreen - perfect for the bunkroom.

A few things I've learned about the 335 along the way:

The mattress in the master bedroom is - to put it as nicely as I possibly can - uncomfortable (sucks!). Get a topper. The bottom clips that hold the window treatments to the wall in the hallway going up to the bedroom will hook you like a fish - I bent them in flat to the wall. Make sure you have a square-drive screwdriver on board - the water heater/pump is hidden behind a panel in the basement, you'll need a square-drive to remove the cover. I'm going to hinge the door so I can get in there quickly. Get a small step stool so you can reach the vent in the kitchen - I'm going to put a Fantastic Fan there in the spring. Make sure you learn where the antenna crank is in the master bedroom ceiling - I nearly knocked myself out on that d@mn thing!!! Keep an eye on your spare tire cover - mine is somewhere along I75 between Tahquamenon Falls and home. Also, watch the glass shade above the dining table - my I broke it with my forehead the first day we had it.

Good luck
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Old 10-18-2013, 04:25 PM   #10
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Lots of good comments and advice here.
I purchased my rig from General RV in Wayland - I will not get into how disappointed I was with them, but we love our 325RES.

My 6L gasser does a pretty nice job with our Crusader and I'm very happy with my setup, but I would hesitate pulling that big 335 with it. I say go with a Duramax/Allison crew cab and don't look back.
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