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Old 06-06-2013, 09:14 AM   #1
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Sanibel 3400 tow vehicle

My son, currently serving in Afghanistan, purchased a 2013 Sanibel 3400 befor leaving. He is trying to decide on a tv to buy when he returns.

He is sold on a diesel, but jumping between a 3/4 and a 1 ton. Is the 3/4 enough?

Would appreciate owners thoughts.
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:48 AM   #2
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First - THANK YOU to your son for his service.

IMO - 1 ton SRW diesel minimum, probably dually. That's a big, heavy 5er.
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:59 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by hockey dad View Post
First - THANK YOU to your son for his service.

IMO - 1 ton SRW diesel minimum, probably dually. That's a big, heavy 5er.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:02 AM   #4
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That fifth wheel's specs are found:
PTM Sanibel 3400

The 2 things that you need to look at are the dry hitch weight and the gross vehicle weight (which isn't directly listed, but you can ascertain it by adding the dry vehicle weight plus the cargo carrying capacity):
- Dry hitch weight: 2,264 lbs.
- Gross weight: 12,695 + 2,746 = 15,441 lbs.

The pin weight will *never* be less than 2,264 pounds. In fact, it's likely to be as high as 20% of the total camper's weight or about 3,000 pounds.

This is important because this weight is applied directly into the bed of the truck. You want to keep within your truck's ratings. The most notable of these is the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). This GVWR has to include:
- the weight of the truck itself
- the weight of any add-ons to the truck after it leaves the factory (bed cover, bed liner, rolltop cover, fifth wheel hitch, etc.)
- the driver's weight, all passengers
- everything in the cab of the truck (activities if there's kids, drinks, snacks, maps, electronics, pets, etc.)
- everything that's in the bed of the truck (firewood, stoves, grills, coolers, extra fuel, toolboxes, etc.)

For reference, my family of 4 and all of our stuff (including hitch) came to a weight of about 1,200 pounds. My advertised dry hitch weight was 1,800 pounds - my actual is 2,300 pounds. My truck's GVWR is 12,300 pounds. Hitched up and ready to roll, I came to 11,500 pounds.

I'll say - off the cuff, that seems like a lot of camper for a 3/4-ton vehicle. Even a 1-ton vehicle, I'd have pause for deciding between a dually or not. I like my truck's training wheels - it gives a lot of stability to the feel of towing. (Besides, I like her big hips.)
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:49 AM   #5
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That's 3 for 3 for a one ton and maybe even a dually.
Thanks for your input and a thanks for your thanks for my son's service. He is in Kabul and relatively safe.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:38 PM   #6
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Dovetail, I'm on board with everyone else, including thanks to your son. I have a 2014 3500 Sanibel. I pull it with a 1 ton dually Ford diesel. I love everything about the truck, the camper and pulling it is a piece of cake. I did add a triglide hitch to the camper which I believe makes a huge difference. Hope this helps.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:34 PM   #7
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Another Sanibel owner here. The 3/4 ton is marginal. He would have to be cautious of what he loaded into the RV to stay under limits. He does not need a dually. My SRW works just fine, even in 30-mph crosswinds.

One thing you didn't touch on was short- vs. long-bed. He really should buy a long-bed. If he gets a short-bed he then has to put up with a slider hitch.

Finally, the experienced RVer who guided me in my truck purchase recommended against 4-wheel drive. If he's going to tow that beautiful 3400 into places where he might get stuck, then he might need 4WD.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:53 PM   #8
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Popcorn and BarryD0706
Thanks for the input. I will look into the triglide, not familiar with it and the long bed is another good thought to consider.

If the 0706 is a bd, I could add 0708 to dovetail!

Appreciate the thoughts
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Old 06-07-2013, 12:59 PM   #9
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My father in law pulls a large Montana with his 3/4 ton Ford no problem.

I have a very good friend who went thru this very same dilemma a while back and struggled with it because a large DRW truck was not a practical choice as his daily driver. Living in a city parking a large wide truck was a real issue. He eventually landed on a 2012 GMC HD2500 Dmax/Allison and loves everything about it. That truck is rated to pull in excess of 20000 lbs in a 3/4 ton truck and pulls his very heavy trailer with no issues and still gives him his daily driver he needed.

I know I am going against the grain here but I thought I would give another perspective.
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by HAARubicon View Post
That truck is rated to pull in excess of 20000 lbs in a 3/4 ton truck
Just so you'll know, that 20000 lbs number is meaningless when it comes to RV's. The pin weight (or hitch weight for a TT) will exceed the CCC and/or the rear GAWR before you ever get close to that 20000 number.
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:32 PM   #11
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Let me give you my actual weight values from our trip to the scales.

My Sanibel weighs 13260 (it could be as high as 15440 if carrying more cargo, and that's the same value as the 3400). My pin weight is 2500 lbs (18.4%).

My Chevy 3500HD has a GVWR of 11,200. Loaded for towing (including pin) it sits at 10,260, giving me a GVWR margin of 940#.

The rear GAWR is 7050. I'm 1030 under that.
The front GAWR is 5200. I'm 960 under that.

If I added in that extra 1820# I supposedly could be carrying in the RV, and assume 20% of that becomes pin weight, then I'd be adding 365 more pounds, leaving me with 575# of additional passengers or bed cargo before I hit my limits.

If you had the same truck in a 2500HD, your CCC would be ~1000 pounds less, putting you slightly over the limits even at my "light" load of 13620.

Adding 4wd or crew-cab (mine is extended) would reduce the CCC by quite a bit so then a 2500 would really be insufficient (if you added those things).
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:40 PM   #12
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HAARubicon (and Barry) bring up a good point- a lot of guys choose to exceed some or all of their truck's ratings. These people usually fall into one of two categories:
1) those who have weighed and do it knowingly; they usually pick specific parameters that they're not willing to exceed (usually its the rear axle weight rating and the tire's load capacity rating). They'll happily exceed the GVWR (aka the maximum the truck should carry).

2) the guys who are almost positively exceeding their ratings but either don't know to weigh or specifically refuse to weigh because "it tows just fine".

The online world is stories, theories and conjecture of what will or won't happen if you're caught towing overweight (if ever) or, heaven forbid, you're in an accident while you're towing overweight.
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:41 PM   #13
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That said- I still maintain that it's important to tow within all of your ratings.
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:55 PM   #14
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The point of the post was not to run around the issue of pin weight, or any of those other issues. It was simply to point out that in some instances a DRW truck is just not a practical choice for some users and should be a consideration for the original poster to consider when making what will end up being a $55,000 plus purchase if he buys new.
Its easy in forum world just to say, sure get that dually, it will "get-r-done". But reality may be different. Do some research on other posts in the Tow Vehicle section and really look at at all options and brands. Until you sign that paper at the dealer, research is cheap.
Budget is another consideration, if the OP has to go to the used market for a TV, there are many issues with different year model trucks.
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Old 06-07-2013, 02:10 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by HAARubicon View Post
The point of the post was not to run around the issue of pin weight, or any of those other issues. It was simply to point out that in some instances a DRW truck is just not a practical choice for some users and should be a consideration for the original poster to consider when making what will end up being a $55,000 plus purchase if he buys new.
Its easy in forum world just to say, sure get that dually, it will "get-r-done". But reality may be different. Do some research on other posts in the Tow Vehicle section and really look at at all options and brands. Until you sign that paper at the dealer, research is cheap.
Budget is another consideration, if the OP has to go to the used market for a TV, there are many issues with different year model trucks.
I agree about the DRW. My 3500HD Chevy wasn't even close to $55k, no way no how!
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Old 06-07-2013, 02:24 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by HAARubicon View Post
The point of the post was not to run around the issue of pin weight, or any of those other issues. It was simply to point out that in some instances a DRW truck is just not a practical choice for some users and should be a consideration for the original poster to consider when making what will end up being a $55,000 plus purchase if he buys new.
Its easy in forum world just to say, sure get that dually, it will "get-r-done". But reality may be different. Do some research on other posts in the Tow Vehicle section and really look at at all options and brands. Until you sign that paper at the dealer, research is cheap.
Budget is another consideration, if the OP has to go to the used market for a TV, there are many issues with different year model trucks.
I completely agree. It's a whole heck of a lot easier making and more importantly, changing decisions now when it's all theory and research than when you've plunked hard-earned cash.

If nothing else, the most important thing is to be an educated buyer. The trouble comes when someone just blindly buys a 2500 or even a SRW and it doesn't turn out to be enough truck for what they want.
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:00 PM   #17
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I completely agree. It's a whole heck of a lot easier making and more importantly, changing decisions now when it's all theory and research than when you've plunked hard-earned cash.

If nothing else, the most important thing is to be an educated buyer. The trouble comes when someone just blindly buys a 2500 or even a SRW and it doesn't turn out to be enough truck for what they want.
And thanks to all here for their input .... Thoughts, data, ideas, warnings and some common sense. I am going to pass this thread onto my son and let him chew on it while he awaits comina home.
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Old 06-09-2013, 01:48 PM   #18
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Thanks for input...

So I'm dovetails son and can't wait to get home and start pulling the Sanibel. Thanks for all the input. Have to admit I'm still a bit confused with the math involved. Just want to make sure I get plenty of truck to pull but not over spend. Sounds like the one-ton is the best option so the choice becomes SRW or DWR. Appreciate the comments about the truck being a daily driver vehicle too. While a DRW will work fine in central Texas, who know how congested the next duty station will be.
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Old 06-09-2013, 03:51 PM   #19
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So I'm dovetails son and can't wait to get home and start pulling the Sanibel. Thanks for all the input. Have to admit I'm still a bit confused with the math involved. Just want to make sure I get plenty of truck to pull but not over spend. Sounds like the one-ton is the best option so the choice becomes SRW or DWR. Appreciate the comments about the truck being a daily driver vehicle too. While a DRW will work fine in central Texas, who know how congested the next duty station will be.
I can tell you, living in the Washington DC/Baltimore area that a dually can be a challenge, but doable. As I said before, I think the training wheels really help with the stability and I can't imagine towing this load without them. But, lots of folks do it without issue.
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:02 PM   #20
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So I'm dovetails son and can't wait to get home and start pulling the Sanibel. Thanks for all the input. Have to admit I'm still a bit confused with the math involved. Just want to make sure I get plenty of truck to pull but not over spend. Sounds like the one-ton is the best option so the choice becomes SRW or DWR. Appreciate the comments about the truck being a daily driver vehicle too. While a DRW will work fine in central Texas, who know how congested the next duty station will be.
Hey Rob, guess you found the thread!
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