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Old 02-13-2014, 10:25 AM   #1
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Seeking Advice for First Travel Trailer

Hi All, I'm new here, and I'm looking for advice...

We're getting ready to buy our first travel trailer, we're looking heavily at a 2014 grey wolf 26BH. I like the fact that it has enough dedicated beds for my entire family without the need to convert the couch or table. It has a triple bunk for our 3 kids and a queen for the wife and I. I believe it's light enough to tow with our van, but I would like some advice on that as well.

Proposed Tow Vehicle: 1996 Dodge Ram Van B2500, Mark III conversion van.
5.2L/318 CI Engine, 4 Spd auto w/ OD tranny, 3.54 rear end gears.

The trailer is said to have an unloaded vehicle weight of 4500 lbs, with a hitch weight of about 400-415 lbs. The owners manual on the van says it can tow a trailer with tongue weight of 800 lbs. The GVCWR (total weight of the van and trailer, with all cargo and people) is 11,500. The van itself weighs 5,220 lbs with a full tank. Here is my calculation:

Subtract van 11500 - 5220 = 6280 lbs left for trailer, passengers, and cargo
Subtract TT 6280 - 4500 = 1780 lbs left for passengers and cargo
Subtract Family of 5 1780 - 600 = 1180 lbs left for Cargo.

In my opinion, I should be well within the towing specs for the van.

Now, what do the Pros think? I'm open to any suggestions. Any other Light Trailers with 3 bunks and a Queen bed? Will the Grey Wolf last a long time?

Thanks!
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:28 AM   #2
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I also need to get my van ready to Tow. I will need to find a bigger receiver hitch, as mine is only 1 5/8", a transmission cooler, and wire for trailer brakes.

The only receiver hitches I can find are only rated for 500lb TW, but the owners manual specifies it can handle 800 lbs. Anyone know where I can find a hitch rated for the max of 800 lbs?
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:52 AM   #3
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You are going to be pushing those numbers to the limit... 5 people you say weigh in at 600 lbs? A decent weight distribution hitch will weigh in close to 100 lbs as well...

As I tell many folk, payload and towing ratings are only really part of it... You are looking at a trailer of 30' at least. So ultimately you are pulling a billboard behind you! These trailers aren't light by any means but for the amount of air space they take up they are incredibly light! A light weight tall wide trailer is going to be affect greatly by opposing forces such as wind, passing vehicles ect...

I can see you struggling greatly with that van! not to say it wont do it, but it wont do it like a higher rated truck would do it...

I am a firm believer that anything over about 30' should have a diesel or at the least a 3/4 ton truck in front of it! Reason being is that seeing that you are pulling a billboard the trailer will want to control the truck too much unless it is a bigger vehicle. I have experienced it, I had a grey wolf 26DBH which is pretty comparable to what you are looking at there. I first towed it home with a 5.3L chevy 1500, was VERY disappointed in it! Traded for a new 2010 Ram 1500 with the hemi and was happy with that until the wife began talking about a larger trailer! After that we traded for the 2006 cummins I have now, will never look back! The hemi did a great job, but huffed and puffed in the hills!

The cummins commands the trailer and never the opposite (knock on wood)...
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:00 AM   #4
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Not to rain on your parade, but that 318 is NOT going to do well towing ANY travel trailer regardless of weight just because of the wind a full size camper catches. I had an 02 Dodge 1500 with the 360 and 3.55 gears and it struggled to pull the camper I had at the time which only weighed 4400 empty. If you will camp within 30 minutes or so from home, live in a relatively flat area, and can take it slow and easy by avoiding major highways, I say go for it. Otherwise I'd be looking at pop ups or A-frames. Just my .02.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:01 AM   #5
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This is a b2500 van, is that not a 3/4 ton rig?

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Old 02-13-2014, 11:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigToyBoy View Post
I also need to get my van ready to Tow. I will need to find a bigger receiver hitch, as mine is only 1 5/8", a transmission cooler, and wire for trailer brakes.

The only receiver hitches I can find are only rated for 500lb TW, but the owners manual specifies it can handle 800 lbs. Anyone know where I can find a hitch rated for the max of 800 lbs?
You are on the right track with these mods(assuming no long hauls thru the mountains are planned like previously stated). My 02 Dodge had issues with tranny temps, so the tranny cooler is definitely in order. Have you tried looking on the B & W Hitch site to see if the offer anything for your TV?
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigToyBoy View Post
I also need to get my van ready to Tow. I will need to find a bigger receiver hitch, as mine is only 1 5/8", a transmission cooler, and wire for trailer brakes.

The only receiver hitches I can find are only rated for 500lb TW, but the owners manual specifies it can handle 800 lbs. Anyone know where I can find a hitch rated for the max of 800 lbs?
If your Van now has a (1-1/4) hitch from the fac.that should say something about the Cap for Towing! (1-1/4) max (2000#) and that is pushing it! They only come in (1-1/4,2, and 2-1/2) sizes. Youroo!!
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:29 AM   #8
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Very likely that it didn't come with a hitch in 96. My memory indicates that at that time many didn't come with hitches. My mom bought a 1997 F250HD XLT with the 7.3 that didn't even come with a hitch. Had it installed aftermarket.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:41 AM   #9
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If one of these vans is your van.... It will pull what you are looking at.... But it will not like it. I drove a Chevy 20 Full size Conversion MARK III for years pulling a 30 footer. 6 Miles Per Gallon..... You will know that it is behind you and some times going down a good hill you will wonder if it will pass you or go into the back of the van. If you have a spare tire on the back of the van... it will fit, but make sure that you do not make a sharp turn or you will hear a crunch and the tire being pushed into the back door..... It looks like that you may have a V8, and that the Chevy 20 that I used to have had a bigger V8.....

My suggestion.... Get a 4 door truck that is larger than a half ton.


https://images.search.yahoo.com/sear...+dodge+ram+van
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Old 02-13-2014, 12:16 PM   #10
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Be sure to get a good brake controller. The money you spend will seem cheap if you need it and don't have it. I struggled for several years with a cheapo controller. I just upgraded to a Tekonsha P3 and it's all the difference in the world.

Above, they are correct in their assessment of the old 318 and pulling. Short trips won't be too terribly bad, but I wouldn't want to try to cover 500 miles in a day with it. You will probably be upgrading that tow vehicle before you know it.

Welcome to the RVing life and the forums... (i.e. you're hooked... get over it!)
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